Saudi Arabia: Interview with Carl Medearis

It is both a pleasure and an honor for American Bedu to present an exclusive interview with Carl Medearis.  Carl identifies himself as a follower of Jesus who loves Muslims.  He has spent an extensive amount of time in the Middle East and with Muslims.

American Bedu readers can see and listen to Carl by clicking on the link below.

http://274333.myvideotalkstudio.com/videomail/player/mid/1415028/tid/134267/cid/45560/uid/154428/fid/333301/package/0

And following are the questions and Carl’s answers in written form:

How did your faith impact your own personal experiences and interactions with Muslims?

Initially, my faith was a faith in religion.  It was a faith in Christianity.  And that didn’t have much of a positive impact on Muslims at all.  They didn’t want to join Christianity and they didn’t understand it.  As soon as I started talking about my faith in God or even my faith in Jesus as the Christ, the conversation became very real and very personal and quite profound.  So when I made that switch from saying that Christianity was the better religion than their religion and started to talk about God, faith, shared values and shared faith, the conversations were profound and exciting.

How different are we really; Muslims, Christians, Jews, Buddhists and Atheists for example? Do we have more similarities than differences?

I’m not sure about Atheists; not sure if we have more similarities with them.  But for sure Muslims, Christians and Jews, the monotheistic religions of the world, are actually surprisingly similar.  Now, I’m not a Universalist.  Universalism is the belief that all roads lead to heaven, every way is equal.  I don’t believe in that.  I also don’t believe that Christianity, as a religion, is the only religion to be identified with.  So it’s a complicated, nuanced set of beliefs that I have that are biblical, that the Bible teaches and that Jesus followed.

In one sense religion is man’s attempt to reach God; Jesus was God’s attempt to reach man.  And because of that I love Jesus, I follow Him, I adore Him and I would do anything for Him because He’s done everything for me. So do religions have similarities… I would say yes but maybe not in the way you think.  I think religions and maybe Atheism and Agnosticism are similar in that they have manmade principles by which groups of people try to live their lives.  It can be more or less helpful.  So it’s not a bad thing to be part of a religion.  Not bad at all, if the religion leads you to do good things like community service and go to church on Sunday or to Mosque on Friday or the Synagogue on Saturday, great.  But, if it does more that that, if it starts to make you a fundamentalist against other religions, then that’s not so helpful.

So yes, lots of shared values, lots of shared beliefs, especially the monotheistic religions.  We all believe in one God. We all believe in most of the same prophets, Moses, Abraham, Jesus.  The prophets of the Eastern religions are shared, the land is shared (that’s good news and bad news).  And if we start at that point, the base of our similarities, then I think we have lots of room to grow.

Do you think some Muslims are afraid of Christians and some Christians are afraid of Muslims simply because they fear the unknown? And what’s the best way to overcome fear?

The best way to overcome fear is to get to know one (Muslim or Christian).  You’re right that we fear the unknown so the reason why my Christian friends fear Muslims is because they haven’t actually met one.  And the only Muslims I know that are afraid of Christians are the ones, for the most part, who haven’t met Christians.  Americans are afraid of Arabs, Arabs are afraid of Americans because they see each other on TV and the news doing bad things and so we are afraid unfortunately.  The way to overcome fear is love but before you love somebody you have to know them.  You can’t love an entity, you can’t love a thing.  I can’t say I love Muslims.  I love my friend Abdul, I love my friend Samir, I love my friend Rijad and Hatim.  I can say names to you of the people I love.  I just can’t say I love Arabs or I love Muslims.  Actually, I can say I love the Arab culture but it’s not fair to say I love Arabs or I love Muslims.

However, I love certain people and I can’t love that person unless I know them.  So understanding comes from knowing someone; it’s as simple as that.  If you’re afraid of Muslims walk down to the nearest Mosque, get over yourself.  Be brave, be bold, be courageous and walk into the Mosque and say, “Hi, I’m an ignorant, American Christian and I need some help. Would you please introduce me to a Muslim?”  And just laugh, make fun of yourself, don’t take yourself seriously.  If you’re a Muslim reading this and you don’t know some real live Jesus-following Christians, find one somewhere and just spend some time with them.  They are not that scary, believe me.

How can people from different faiths and cultures talk about God without entering into a huge debate?

I think you start where you start.  You start at the beginning.  God…we agree there is a God. Now, if you’re a Buddhist or an Atheist, maybe not.  But if you’re a monotheist, if you’re a Muslim, Christian or Jew, then by definition you believe in God.  Just start at the beginning.  And don’t focus on the things that separate you, focus on the things that unite you.  Discipline yourself, when you start your conversation say let’s only talk about the things we agree on.  Just as a good practice.

It doesn’t mean that you don’t disagree, because you probably do disagree about some things but as good discipline practice to focus on for the first five hours of conversation, or some long time, only talk about what you share in common and then build from there.  After you have some trust and a friendship and relationship, then you can go the next steps, if you want to of talking about the things you don’t agree on.

How can one easily diffuse a disagreement on faith from blowing up into an inferno? How can we diffuse disagreements?

I would say friendship.  Mostly, friendship diffuses disagreements because we will have disagreements but we should trust the person.  Most of my Muslim friends are still Muslim, they didn’t convert to Christianity or something else, (I’m happy for them to be Muslim) and we have disagreements all the time.  It doesn’t bother me at all; and it doesn’t bother them.  They know where I stand; I know where they stand.  We are confident with each other; we are comfortable with each other.  So there’s nothing to beat friendship and also humility.  If you have somebody that says something you don’t agree with, rather than try to prove that you’re right, just be humble and say, “You know, maybe you’re right.  I don’t think you are but what if you are right?”  That’s ok, if you’re confident.  The ones who have the biggest fights and arguments are the ones who lack the confidence.  You get defensive, in a disagreement or in a discussion, when you lack confidence.

What is your advice to build lasting relationships between Christians and Muslims despite differences in beliefs?

Again focus on what’s similar, start there.  Eat together, have fun together, vacation together, go places together.  Do life together.  The other person will enrich you, will fulfill you. There’s something about being friends with the other that completes you.  If you want to be a completed person, spend time with someone who doesn’t agree with you and get to know them.

Who do you think tends to be more judgmental about the other… Muslims or Christians?

I have no idea.  I think it depends on the person.  It depends on the area; if you are in some parts of the United States, the Christians there (in some areas) will only have known themselves.  And when you only know yourself, you tend to be more judgmental of the other.  There are parts of the Muslim world where, for sure, people make outrageous statements.  I have had Muslims say, “Why do you Christians believe in three gods?” while I’ve never met any Christian in the world who believes in three gods.  But the way we explain the Trinity isn’t very helpful so people think we believe in three gods but of course no Christians think there are three gods, all Christians think there is one God.  So those Muslims who don’t know can be judgmental.  Again, what limits judgmentalism is when you get to know somebody.  You have to actually get to know people personally.

There are Christians who believe that Muslims are set to take over the world. What do you say to them?

I say stop thinking that.  There are some Muslims somewhere who want to conquer the world for Islam, I suppose.  Haven’t you ever met any Christians who want to conquer the world for Christianity?  I have.  I have been in those groups most of my life actually.  So we are both evangelistic religions.  They want to proselytize the other one into their religion which can be helpful or not, depending on how you do that.  So are there some Muslims who want to take over the world and impose Sharia Law in America?   Yes, there are some.  It’s a very small minority though.  And I’d say even if that’s true, even if the Muslims you’ve met, the Muslims who are here in the States, wanted to impose Sharia Law here in America or take over (whatever that means), what does Jesus say to do with your enemies?  He says to love them.  I say to my Muslim friends all the time, “I’ve got good news for you, even if you’re my enemy (and you’re not) but even if you’re my enemy, Jesus commands me to love you.”  So it’s actually good news for you if you’re my enemy then I’m commanded to love you.

What are the most common questions Christians ask about Muslims? And vice versa?

I think many Christians want to know if Muslims are taking over the world.  Are they trying to impose Sharia Law?  Does the Koran command them to go on Jihad?  All the questions that we have are all negative.  Because we only see TV and we don’t know Muslims personally, it’s easy to think that that’s what’s going on.  We only see the bad news; all news is always bad news, right?  So we see the Muslims who are blowing something up in Afghanistan or Iraq obviously the civil war in Lebanon left a huge impact on the American psyche.  So we’re worried about them.  My Christian friends want to know if these things are in the Koran or not?

Muslims have similar questions.  They also want to know why Christians only favor Israel.  Why don’t they like Palestinians?   Why do Christian Americans want to take over Iraq, Afghanistan and our oil and be imperialistic and colonize us?  Because what they see also is just TV.  Imagine that this prejudice and misunderstanding goes two ways.  What we see of them we know from television; what they know of us they also see from television.  They see things coming out of Hollywood, worse yet pornography, a high divorce rate, people not taking care of their children, children not respecting their parents, gang warfare, violence in the street, men walking into schools and killing people.  That typically doesn’t happen in the Muslim world.  They think you Americans/Christians must be crazy.  We need to protect ourselves from them.  So they judge us, stereotype us as much as we do them.  That’s the way it is when you don’t know somebody. The key is to get to know people.

What are nonthreatening ways for Christians and Muslims to get to know one another?

If you live in an area where there are Muslims or Christians, find where the other one is, walk over there, knock on the door and say hello.  Nothing beats just being bold and introducing yourself.  There’s no magic to it.  Get over your fear, your timidity, walk across the street or walk across the office if you have a Muslim or Christian coworker, you might even have to get on an airplane and fly across the world, you can do it; it’s not that difficult these days to fly somewhere.  Meet them, sit down with them, invite them for coffee or tea, or a meal.  Be in each other’s homes, introduce your families, wives, spouses, kids, become friends.  That’s it; it’s not rocket science.  Anyone can do it.

Whether in Saudi Arabia or the United States, it is not typical for Saudi nationals and American nationals to interact socially. How can this lack of involvement be overcome?

In Saudi Arabia it’s true, it’s more difficult.  But you can do it.  Even my friends who live on Western Compounds, which is typical if you are working in Saudi Arabia, I say to them get out of the Compound as much as you can and mingle with the local population.  You have to work hard; both ways – Saudis to know Americans and Americans to know Saudis.

But it’s the same here.  I live in Denver, Colorado and we don’t have a lot of Muslims but there are 30,000 to 40,000.  Denver’s 2 million people but 30,000 or 40,000 is a good number. So there are about 4 different mosques, Islamic centers here in Denver.  I’ve just gone to them.  Just drive over to them and talk to somebody.  There’s an Arab restaurant that’s run by Palestinians and there’s one run by an Iraqi man and I go there to eat.  We have conversations and they usually sit down and eat with you, it’s fantastic.  I’m not sure that’s it’s that difficult technically to do, to get across that barrier it’s just hard to do because we tend to want to live our own lives where we are and stay in our comfort zone instead of get out and meet somebody new.  So just go ahead and get out anyway.

Why do you think many Saudis and Americans are reticent to get out and interact with each other socially?

I think people – Saudis, Americans, Arabs, Muslims, Christians we are all a little bit shy.  It’s comfortable even for me to stay in my home with my family and we have close friends here in Denver.  We have a circle of 20 to 30 friends who we can call up any time, we have our neighbors across the street and we like them a lot so we can hang out with them if we want to.  It takes a lot of effort and maybe I’m tired at the end of the day and or shy.  I’m not shy but some people are shy; they are just afraid to meet new people.  I don’t think there’s any big reason, maybe fear of the unknown maybe a fear of Islam or a fear of Christianity.  Mostly it’s that we’re a little bit lazy and a little bit shy.  There’s not a big conspiracy why we’re not meeting each other.  It’s mostly that, I think.

What are the benefits for Muslims and Christians to interact with each other?

The benefits are so many.  My life has been so enriched, literally enriched.  I feel richer by knowing Saudis and that’s not a play on words, it’s not that Saudis have lots of money and they’re so rich.  Personally, in here (touching heart) and in here (touching head) I feel wealthier, feel richer.  I feel more complete.  I feel like a full, well-rounded person knowing Saudis and Syrians and Lebanese and Sudanese and Egyptians.

Different cultures add to your culture.  They way they show hospitality, the way they treat their families they way they honor their kids and parents and honor their guests.  These things are things that Americans aren’t great at doing.  And so you need to help us learn these things and we need to be open to learning from you.  I love the way Muslims honor God and respect God and treat things so holy.  How many Christians will you see put their Bible on the floor or they’ll toss their Bible over there.  The Koran is such a holy book that it’s always sitting up high. There is this reverence for things of God and things of the Qur’an and Mohammed and religion.  Whether you agree with that or not, what you believe doesn’t matter.  How you treat each other and God is very special and we can learn from that.

How do you explain your love for Arabs and Muslims?

It’s unfortunate that in some conservative Christian circles in America, if they find me loving Muslims too much or Arabs too much, they are suspicious.  It goes back to the same thing though.  They don’t know you; they don’t know Muslims; they don’t know Arabs, if they did they’d love you too.  I don’t try very hard to defend myself.  Who created them?  1.7 billion people today in the world call themselves Muslim.  Who made those people?  God.  God made them.  They were created by God to have relationship with God.  It’s phenomenal.  If I can be the friend of that one which God is the friend of, if God is friends with Muslims, if God knows Muslims, if God made Muslims and I don’t know them and I’m not friends with them and I don’t love them, how can I say I know God if I don’t know any Muslims and I don’t love them?  It’s inconceivable.  It’s unbelievably wrong, mistaken and possibly even sinful on my behalf, if I don’t get to know those who God created.  If I don’t love what God loves and God loves everybody.

Can someone who’s close-minded actually listen and hear what we’re talking about?

No, by definition, no.  Even Jesus said in the Gospels, “For those who have ears to hear, let them hear.”  So even Jesus recognized that some people can’t hear, some people can’t hear the message we’re talking about.  They actually want to hate Muslims and they’re going to hate them.

And there are some Muslims, frankly, to be really honest, there are some Muslims who want to hate Christians and they’re going to hate them, no matter what we say.  But the vast majority of people 90%, maybe 98%, a big majority, are willing to listen and they just don’t know.  They will love somebody once they get to know them.  So I think it’s possible.

What are the top 5 reasons Muslims and Christians should get along?

One, I’m making this up right now, this is all spontaneous.  If they get along they will stop killing each other. Two, for my Christian friends, Muslims make better food than you do.  If you want to have some good food, get to know a Muslim.  Three, it completes us, like I was talking about before.  It makes you a whole person when you get to know somebody from a different culture, a different religion.  Four, it’s fun.  I was just on a skype video conference call with a Sudanese friend of mine and he has the best laugh.  I actually said to him, “Abdullah, if I could put your laugh in a can, I would can it and I’d market it. I think a lot of people would buy your laugh.”  Five, they share so much in common.  There are five and there’re probably hundreds of other reasons as well.

Do you ever wonder if there is more than one heaven depending on one’s faith or belief?

I think there’s only one heaven.  It’s God’s heaven; it’s God’s residence and He will bring all of us there who believe in Him.  Simple as that.  There’s not a Muslim heaven and a Christian heaven.  There’s just one like there’s just one God.

Can you share some of your most unique experiences in the Arab world?

This may be a copout because this is a big question, I have so many.  Honestly, there’s so many. We lived there for 12 years but we’ve been going back and forth to the Middle East for 25 years. It feels like every one’s unique, everyone’s special because it’s people.  The people there are great, they are fantastic.  I can’t answer that, it’s too big.  I’ve written some books to answer that question.  Tea with Hezbollah is a book that answers that question, basically.  Just to give you a teaser on the book, in it we (I wrote it with Ted Dekker) write about meeting with Osama Bin Laden’s brothers and other interesting people across the Arab world…

Is there anything else that you can say or books to recommend?

I’ve written several books and you can find information about them on my website.  My website is just my name, www.CarlMedearis.com, I’m on facebook, twitter all that stuff.  I’d be happy for anyone to contact me through facebook or twitter or my website.  Let me just leave you with a thought.  Don’t be afraid, don’t be afraid of the other, get to know people, spend time with them, love them the way God does. God bless.

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77 Responses

  1. I am also follower of Jesus who loves Muslims.

    Gwendolyn

  2. I have to agree that meeting Muslims has made a huge difference in my life. I never would have thought to visit Syria except for the fact that the most wonderful young Muslim befriended me online. Actually he is now in Germany and we just got back last night from visiting him there. (Thus why I am behind on reading posts here.)

    I love the challenge to not be afraid and get to know people unlike yourself. Oh, and I laughed at Muslims cooking better. Does this mean if I convert, I will suddenly have great culinary skills? :)

  3. 10 Reasons why you Should Like Arabs…

    From Mr. Medearis’s website:

    http://www.carlmedearis.com/blog/2011/12/10-reasons-why-you-should-like-arabs/

    and my comments
    Number 10. Arabs are not homogeneous – Wow, who would have known… Such insight!
    Number 9. Arabs make good food. – and so? There are many cuisines as good as or better. As to “When these Arabs move to the West, they bring their good food with them” They also bring intolerance and lack of respect for the host cultures (in case you don’t follow world news)..
    Number 8. Arabs are happy folk – oh yes, really happy except when they are calling for death to infidels for some imagined insult.
    Number 7. They love traveling and learning about other cultures – you mean they love getting away from their humorless, unjust societies. Actually, I believe you, Mr. Medearis, when you say you know little about them.
    Number 6. They are learners. They love information – Oh yes, the Arab world is known for their dedication to education and learning…
    Number 5. Arabs love life – Too bad they don’t let others enjoy life.
    Number 4. They are the warmest and most hospitable of all the cultures I’ve seen – If, of course, you don’t expect to have any rights or say anything that might offend them, no matter how true. Mr. Medearis, You really need to travel more.
    Number 3. In the West we’re often told that we don’t discuss Religion and Politics in polite company. No such silliness in the Arab world. Ha ha ha. What a pile of BS. Try asking them about certain verses in the Quran, or about events in the life of Mohammed, or even their treatment of women, non-Muslims, gays, etc…
    Number 2. Arabs are good friends. – except that they wont stand up for basic principles of human rights, even for their friends. All someone has to say is it is “against Islam” and they disappear into thin air.
    Number 1. They value family life like no others. Hey, I’ll give you a break here except for the “like no others”. As to “stay together”, you need to read more blogs about family life in the Muslim world.

    There is a word to describe this type of speech. Platitudes (dull, trite remarks uttered as they were fresh or profound). I doubt this man has the moral courage to take a stand for truth and human rights. His “How you treat each other” obviously doesn’t extend to asking Muslims to end oppression and intolerance of others where they dominate.

    Carol, sorry to treat your guest like this, but that is my position. I do not compromise on human rights or pretend that the pain and suffering of others are immaterial, to be forgotten as we sacrifice justice on the altar of cute words to the sound of kumbayah.

    Certainly there are good Muslims and Arabs, but there is a time to be nice and a time for stand up against intolerance and ignorance.

    This religious gibberish is meaningless and counter-productive. It is one-sided and changes nothing. Maybe he means well and is a good person, but that counts for little when rights are being violated and people are suffering.

  4. Jay u really need to take a deep breath n relax. ppl are doing their best to create common grounds to live tgthr but u r only doing ur worst to keep conflicts among ppl.its not cute words yada yada, its learning to respect others n seeing them in a positive side instead of the dark side tht u seem to prefer focusing on. like are u that perfect???

  5. Of course Jews Christians and Muslims have a lot in common religiously, it’s basically the same religion.

    Christianity was a sect of Judaism, with later on the added deification of Jesus, they did this by a small majority vote at the concilium of Nicae, and the integration of some aspects, dates, etc of Roman and European beliefsystems. And intensive editing in the early centuries of the books and scriptures and teachings, and the eradication of other Christian sects.

    Islam is based on Christianity, and Judaism, with whole bible passages copied in the Quran, and some local pagan traditions thrown in, like the pilgrimage to Mecca and the circling of the Kaaba, (the other kaaba’s were destroyed by Mohammed) And of course Mohammeds own proclivities and disdain for women thrown in. And some later additions and amendments.
    But of course the Jews were also already misogynist, and so are the Christians.
    Because they are mono-theistic they are all intolerant and supremacist.

    I think religions should be judged on what they do, maybe more on what their books teach. Although the books of the Jews, Christians and Muslims are seriously flawed and immoral, and dangerous.
    But the most important factor in my mind is how these belief systems affect the happiness and prosperity and freedom of their adherents, and also of those who don’t believe the same stuff.

    And in this light all three religions are seriously dangerous. We should be concerned about all religions except the Jain. As far as I know Jainism is the one religion which doesn’t bother or suppress anybody.

    The Abrahamic faiths have shown again and again that they are inherently misogynist, suppressive, abusive and aggressive. Only in secular countries where they do not have power will they behave in a morally acceptable manner. As soon as they feel they are gaining in power they will start suppressing and abusing.
    And they always start with women.
    They start with telling women to cover up, and to deny them empowerment.
    The religious right in America is currently trying to deny women the right to contraception.

    Christopher Hitchins:
    “The cure for poverty has a name: it is the empowerment and emancipation of women.If you give women some control over the rate in which they reproduce, the floor of everything, health, education, wealth, will increase. It works. It works all the time. Wherever you look in the world, and if you try to remove the shackles of ignorance, disease and stupidity for women it is invariably the clericy which stands in its way”

    There are many religious people who support other religions, especially their ”religious cousins”, in this case the Abrahamic religions.
    Because they all benefit by improving the image and influence of their specific group, but as soon as such would be established they will start turning on each other. And the suppression of women’s rights is always, always part of the agenda.

    We have to look with a weary eye at all religions, and make sure they get less power to influence.

  6. Dear Carol, I loved this post! I make no secret of the fact that I too am a Christian who follows and loves Jesus Christ. As South Africans, we are fortunate in that we have a very large Muslim community. I have some very precious friends who are Muslim and I have worked alongside many fantastic Muslim doctors and nurses.

    I believe that if we can put aside our difference…even if just for a little while…in order to SEE and get to know the other person, great treasure awaits us. We have more in common than we think. I realise this is a hot topic…religion and politics always have a way of separating people, but perhaps we can see the other as just another human being who loves and is loved.

    Thank you for this post!

    Liezel

  7. Religion is personal, i can’t believe how many times i say that, religion should be between you and god in privacy, what religion you are shouldn’t influence how you treat people. easier said than done but its not that hard either.

    I think as humans we can get along with someone and not kill each other if we realize that we are born free, we all have a choie to do whatever we want, with faith, our bodies, our thoughts and beliefs.

    but sadly many in this world don’t agree !! at this time i’m pretty pissed at chritian conservatives and politicians who want to dictate how women should treat their body, some joker actually said contraceptives means more promiscuity or some such crap. mixing religion and politics to control women !!!! age old story .

  8. The only thing i don’t agree with what the author says is “start with beief in god”

    I think we should start with , every one is a equal human being onthis planet and we should simple not care if they believe in god, 1 god, 3 god or no god. That is somethingn they and god or no god resolves :-)

    i think i can eat with someone, talk , laugh, enjoy, help, comfort someone irrespective of their faith or lack of. – if we all do that there is no need for interfaith drama.

  9. You know I listen to him and I think two things. The first is the old phrase of the pathway to hell is paved with good intention. Now that means that here is a person who believes in the cherry picked version of their faith. Who want to hold hands with all those who don’t believe in the cherry picked version of the manmade (un) holy books. In the process of holding hands sing Kumbayah. Then when the time is right and the cherry pickers are feeling like they are in good about their interfaith accomplishments a fundalmentalist who is following the book kills, imprisons, enslave or the very least diminshes their freedom.

    That is senario number 1.

    Next, he just trying to spread Christianity to a point that he can convert enough people to his side so that senario number 1 can be implemented in his favor.

    Issue:

    Why is it that Arabs get lumped into to being muslim. People arabs are an ethnicity. I have no problems with an ethnicity. You can be black, white, brown, purple, pink, multi-colored as it doesn’t matter to me. It is what you bring to the table.

    BEING ARAB DOES NOT MEAN YOUR ARE MUSLIM. BEING A MUSLIM DOES NOT MEAN YOU ARE ARAB.

    Muslim is a person who believes in the tenets of an Abrahamic (un) holy doctrine. Muslims are people like Christians and Jews who believe in a manmade rule book that tends to ensure certain rules are enforced to control a populace and often times subjugate a certain subsect of the population.

    Again Muslims are not arabs. Christians are not european, Etc. Stop inflicting a belief system of a religious doctrine on every ethnicity.

    I have NO problems with Arabs. I have a problem with the Abrahamic belief system as such a system is dependent on the enforcer who can select what will be enforced. In addition, the Abrahamic religions are brutal, oppressive, hateful, division, etc. If you read it in it’s entirity and then remember that the “GOD” is THE ONE AND THE SAME AS YAWHEW IN the OLD testament WHO DOESN”t CHANGE ALL OF A SUDDEN – to become Mr. Wonderful. This is the god who has put women (yes even pregnant women), men, children, infants, animals to death. Killed everything. Which still amazes me as his powers wane in the mist of iron chariots.

    Again, I don’t judge people on their ethnicity. However, I will right judge them on their belief system. As that belief system has a direct impact upon my life and how I want to live it. In addition, such belief systems will have a direct impact on the lives of my children and their children.

    So be warned when I tell you that I judge on your belief system and how that belief system has impacted humanity. So in my assessment the Abrahamic belief system is an evil system that has been the cause of pain, suffering, hate, division, subjugation, slavery and so many more vile things. It’s ugly head and those who believe firmly in it’s tenets continually show the hatred toward people who wish to disregard it. Let me give you a few examples, Rush Limbaugh, Santorum, Gov. Bob O’Donnell, Quiverfill, Hasdic Jews, Saudi Government (30000 + people who called for the death of Hamza), and then the victims are women who have had their faces burn, witches that have been behead (going on today), homosexuals who hanged, People wearing a cross that are beaten for drinking out of tea cups meant for a certain religion, etc. SEE THE PROBLEM.

    Wake up. Do you think that a being who has created so many galaxies give a rats fig about a women shaving her private part, bathing in special water, or which hand a man wiped his butt with, etc. Really. Seriously…… Read how religions were formed from the pagan god some 4000 years ago and see how this has transformed into the religions we have today.

    Sorry for any typos. Don’t have time to go back and edit.

  10. Radhaa, Nice!

  11. Radhaa is our anchor with her words of common sense and wisdom.

  12. I will agree that Arabs are amazing hosts. I have travelled and I must agree that the best hospitality I’ve ever experienced was in Sudan followed by Saudi Arabia.

  13. I agree with Radhaa.

    I also agree that when you get to know people, they are less frightening and it is not as easy to go to war with them. But that applies to all. I know people that have never really met an athiest and don’t believe they can be ethics centered. And I know there are Atheists who can’t believe anything good of any follower of Abrahamic faith. People need to get to know each other. Everyone. And everyone needs to stop trying to change others. I do not try to convert anyone and I don’t hold all Christians reponsible for what bad Christians have done and I don’t hold all Atheists responsible for what bad Atheists have done.

  14. Sandy, I don’t really think religion has anything to do with people’s ethics. I don’t think most humans are born to kill, be unkind, do harm, etc. to others. I think humans are basically good and do not need controls of religions or the belief in someone looking over them or heaven/hell.

  15. Carol – thanks, but i think i’m just old and want to live the rest of my life peacefully – don’t want anyone to tell me what to do :-)

    On a diff not, my b’day is coming up and F asked me “what’s your hearts desite” — ya so sweet isn’t it :-)
    and i saw I want to Skydive – so buy me a tandem skydiving slot and hold my hand to the aircraft !!!

    He refused outright and hell broke loose… god that man infuriates me!!!

    lets see how it works out , he needs it to sink in :-) either way i”m jumping :-)

  16. I also agree with Radhaa. :)

    Also, I disagree about Muslims making better food. First of all, Islam is a religion. There are Mexican, American, Chinese, French, etc. people who are Muslim. Secondly, “Arabic” food changes from one country/region to the next, although there are similarities that tie them altogether. I can make some good Cajun, Mexican and Italian dishes (and “traditional” American, too). You can’t really compare the flavor of any particular ethnic group to another without taking personal preferences into consideration.

    I don’t see what the big deal is about getting to know people that live differently from you. I grew up in a different home culture than most in my area, so if I wanted to make friends I had to get used to differences. Sometimes, I wasn’t accepted for being different but that’s not my problem. When people are more secure in who they are and believe that free will is sacred (or at least very important), then the world will be a more accepting place.

    What I am amazed at is how much Muslims judge Muslim women based on how they dress without really knowing much about their own religion. For instance, I have heard quite a few say that if a Muslim woman doesn’t cover her hair, she “must” not be a good Muslim. There are only three verses in the Qu’ran that talk about this. People somehow take “cover your bosom” and “only show what is apparent” to mean cover from head to toe and only let your hands and face show. Maybe I am wrong, but the context of these verses seemed to be related to not looking like a prostitute and preventing rape, etc.

    Most of the things mentioned in the Qu’ran such as washing regularly, not eating pork, etc. seem to be related to cleanliness issues.

    For Christians, I have seen them judge other Christians with things like “she doesn’t pray enough that’s why bad things are happening”; “She hangs out with bad people, don’t talk to her” (Bad meaning poor kids who haven’t been taught to care for themselves); “she doesn’t live her life exactly how I think a chrisitan should- what is wrong with her?!” Wake up call- a church is an organization that is supposed to help those that need it. Too many people think it’s just a social club for people of the same religion AND culture.

    So I think the first step to accepting others is to accept ourselves and those we know. Don’t expect others to change just because you did. If a group of people don’t accept you, go find one that will. If we can’t accept those who are a lot like us, how can we accept those that are a lot different?

  17. Karen:

    Here is the difference. In the US the student can ignore it and tell the person who sent it to go to hell. In other countries that gets you put in jail or possibly disfigured or put to death. So just because the US has fanatics they still don’t have to law or support to act upon it.

    Sandy:

    Point of issue: Atheist do not follow a doctrine. They simply don’t believe. So if someone who doesn’t believe in a god does something it is his/her failure and the people’s failure for following. It is easier to overcome such afollowing because the basis of what they are following hasn’t been codifed as a divine law.

    Next religion is a codified law that has been given a divine distinction to supposedly protect one from an evil and inflict their doctrine upon the masses. Thus to go against it is perceived to go against God. So if you kill in God’s name then you say but God made me do it. You as a person are exonerated as you are following the instructions of a non-entity that is beyond judgment or assessment.

    Did you know that according to the old testament God is responsible for both good and evil. That God made them both…..supposedly. So that would make God both good and evil. So you are left with….if I harm someone based upon a doctrine of God then God made me do it. If I did something outside of the divine text then the Devil made me do it . Oh, but wait they are the same. Otherwise wouldn’t there be more than one God?

    Bi-Polar? How about just manmade tripe to try to control people.

    Radhaa:

    Yes that would be wonderful. However, religion has yet been able to do that in several thousands of years. I say we have given it enough time and it has done enough damage. Throw it out and start with something new.

    Religion is a documented failure to humanity.

  18. @ JK

    “There is a word to describe this type of speech … Platitudes (dull, trite remarks uttered as they were fresh or profound)”.

    Samuel Huntington (Clash of Civilizations) has a more technical term for such “platitude talk”: ISLAMOPHILIA. He defines it as the irrational and self-destructive desire to show how enlightened and morally superior one is by bending over backwards to embrace the Islamic cause.

  19. @Bigstick. If you think there is just one codified religious law/faith you’re mistaken. And no- people can only seek refuge behind religious law if they are in agreement with the interpretation of whoever is in power. Atheists who want to commit crimes find their own excuses. Most people in power throughout history have claimed adherance to one faith or another. But even among Atheist leaders we have some fine examples of leaders commiting atrocities, and I see no evidence that it was easier to overcome because they were Atheists. People are people- they find a way to justify what they want to do. And yes, I am familiar with the Old Testament. And you really didn’t follow the rules of logic in that whole paragraph but you have made your beliefs about Abrahamic religions quite clear.

    I think so far, secular governments that strive towards policies of tolerance, participation of the people and minority rights are those that have worked best. And those are not “atheistic”. In fact, most of the citizens of those types of countries are members of Abrahamic faiths.

  20. @Honest Abe,

    I saw no bending over here to embrace the Islamic cause. I’d be more suspicious that there is low level conversion prep going on. At any rate- he talked about getting to know people. And that some of us Muslims are actually nice, normal people. Frankly, I don’t see anything wrong with that- unless you just dislike Muslims on principal, just because they are Muslim. And that’s your perogative but nothing to feel morally superior about.

    Anyway it’s become clear here that many of you non-Muslims are completely intolerant of people being Muslims. Based on your descriptions of what Islam “truly” is and what it “truly” means, anyone who is a Muslim would have to be a damn fool idiot. I respect your choice for Atheism, Christianity, Judiasm and every other ism, alot more than you respect my choice- which is not at all. So I’ll just leave you all to your discussions. I once thought long ago- that maybe if I just keep showing people I understand, and accept the validity of their fears and upsetness and suspicions that they could at least learn that maybe Muslims not all either evil or naive and stupid. Granted, no one here seems to find me evil- but most of you seem to think I’m naive or stupid, a cherry-picker or in need of some instruction.

    I’ll tell you this- some of the finest, most tolerant people, by just about any standard, I’ve met are Saudi and are Muslim. And I hope if I became a Christian or an Atheist tomorrow I would never forget that and make sweeping statements about what their truth is- and discount their worth or their cultural identity just because some of their fellow countrymen or co-religionists are otherwise.

    Anyway- it’s clear I’m wasting my time here- and to tell you the truth I think most of you are. You will never convince people in this manner to give up their faiths just because you think you “know” what their faiths are truly about. I have never tried to convince you of my faith- and I never would unless you asked. That just seems like good manners to me.

    This man spent time in a foreign country and got out and met the local population and found that they are people like everyone else. Good for him. You have to be pretty miserable to make something awful out of that.

  21. It’s all about relationships.

    Now…Radhaa…I have been skydiving and absolutely loved it! I think you and F should do a jump together (with respective teachers). A tandem jump is a great way for a first jump as you can relish the experience without the responsibility or fear of panicking. And…once you had have your jump, you’ll understand the term absolute silence too. Have fun!!!

  22. Sandy:

    First and foremost. Don’t go anywhere. I do like you Sandy and have a great deal of respect for your opinion. Even if I don’t always agree with it. You are genuinely a nice person who I think deserves so much more particularly since you live in the prison that is Saudi. However, that said.

    I am against religion having any say into the political realm or forced upon anyone.

    To me religion is a lie. You of all people you know this about me. You have read a lot of my stuff. Come on now.

    Is this just a bad day for you?

    Next, yes I am firmly aware that there are other religions and I won’t discount them in my naming them as tripe either. They are tripe.

    However, I do actually know that the likelihood of doing away with religion is very low. So, yes I agree with you that secularism is best and that people need to keep their religion to themselves for the most part. It should be kept to the churches, mosque, etc. It should not be part of public policy or part of health care restrictions or anything else as it is an affront to people who don’t believe in the doctrines.

    However, I would like to point out that in the USA the Agnostics/Atheists typically know more about religions than the religious do. So I would say that more people who identify with a religion really don’t follow it. They tend to do the motions such as go to church and give money and help the needy. So, I don’t know if you can really call them religious. They are more like a social club known as “a social religious fun and uplifting group.” This group is not a bad group and many times they are a helpful peaceful type of individuals.

    Actually, Sandy by my way of thinking you fall into this classification of the “social religious fun uplifting group.” Not really actually all that religious really as you take the good stuff and leave the rest out. I have read a lot of what you have posted as well.

    So, do me a favor take a deep breathe. Remember I am a pain in the butt. I like being a pain in the butt. It makes me happy.

  23. He lost me when started to talk about his faith in God as opposed to his faith in religion (as if a faith in God or Jesus is not a religion). I am sure he means well but he cannot be serious. Muslims have a very different view of Jesus. Jews don’t view Jesus as relevant to their religion and I doubt many Christians consider Jesus a prophet in the way Muslims do.

    If Judaism, Islam and Christianity share anything it is intolerance. In the Old Testament all the other nations in the middle east are enemies who follow strange gods (a sure sign that those gods are as real as Jehovah). The New Testament is bit nicer about it but the distinctions between believers who are part of the community and others are clear. The Koran talks quite negatively about those who do not believe.

    I am not familiar enough with any Muslims to know what they think. Most Christians and Jews of my aquaintance are from more liberal sects and regard themselves as tolerant. That tolerance goes against much of past practice. Jews being minorities in most countries had to practice tolerance. If you want to see what Jews believe if they lived as a majority just look at Israel. The Orthodox are quite nasty to anyone in particular females who don’t follow their practice. Christianity seems to have developed a bit of tolerance in the last century or so. Whether that was in response to the holocaust or to many of the horrors visited on third world people during the great age of colonialism one cannot know.

    The history of Christianity is full of intolerance starting with Irenaeus who wanted to prune the heterodox elements out of Christianity. One might even say it started with Paul.

  24. Do you think it odd that when someone asks your religion, you are basically expected to give two syllables to sum up the beliefs in your heart?
    Moslem
    Christian
    Hindu
    Jewish
    Buddhist
    TWO SYLLABLES
    “God” and “Love” are each only one syllable!

  25. Dear Bigstick,

    I am against any form of extremism that oppresses all in the name of truth. I am fearful that there will be a day, in my country, where one majority will take over and institute changes that suppresses the freedoms of others. I do believe it is possible that this could and will happen to the United States and the best thing to do is remain vigilant of any political or religious group that enforces their personal interpretations on how a perfect society should operate.

    May I recommend a fascinating novel to you? The Handmaid’s Tale written by Best Selling Author, Margaret Atwood. Written in the 1980’s, is a fascinating story of how American Society was taken over by religious extremists. It would be naive to think that something like it couldn’t happen to any democracy, including mine.

    As for Saudi Society, I believe that there was a time when it was less strict. Movie Theaters were open. Woman could drive, especially in the country. Then oil was discovered and the Commission of the prevention of Vice and the promotion of virtue was created.

    Every Culture evolves, perhaps Saudi will become open over time and American values will be stricter and both sides can meet in the middle.

    Warmly,
    Karen

  26. I am curious…for some reason, I realize that this blog has drawn some who do not believe in religion or God.

    I have a question for those willing to answer….

    Did you have a religion in your life or in your upbringing before you became an acclaimed atheist? If so, what was it? When and why did you leave?

  27. Karen:

    Thank you. Yes, I am aware that it takes very little time to change a country. In fact, in one generation all the freedoms that were fought for could be taken away. Look at where Egypt was 35 to 40 years ago, then look at it today. Same with Afganistan. They used to be far more progressive and free. Then look at Iran same thing.

    Thank you for the suggestive reading.

  28. Yes. I grew up as a southern baptist (mother’s side) with a father’s influence of being catholic. The type damage that these two religious groups can do to families and people are great. I should know I live it, I endured it, I witnessed it, and I got the great privilege of having to hear the scriptures or codex of each of these not so wonderful religions. I also got to watch the wrongs by these same religious people against people of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and of course the poor as they don’t have (wasta) or influence.

    I always wondered about many of the passages within the Bible. So I researched more and more as I grew up. I should say, I even went to a Christian University as well. Now, I would say I really distanced myself from religion over the last 10 years but started to outright voice my opposition to it in the last year. Particularly as I have watched many (particular Christians) make fundalemental pushes into the political realm. As I started researching, I realized that there is currently an upsurge of fundalmentalism going on in all religions. Look at what is happening in Isreal as well. There are fights occurring with secularist and fundalmentalist. The fundalmentalists are a nasty, hateful group of people. Then look at the US with the Quiverfil and Dominionism groups. There are also muslims who can’t seems to stay out of the limelight of continual death, destruction, etc. They are fundalmentalist called Wahhabi, Salafist, Taliban, Al-Qaeda, etc. They have been working to inflict their doctrine of hate upon all. So, my response to all who opposed this is to stand strong, oppose them at every turn, and turn them back. As fundalmentalist are an evil group of people who can take the literal word of these manmade holy books and make the life of people hell on earth.

  29. Thanks for responding, Bigstick. I hope others will too.

  30. That was a good question American Bedu and thanks for responding to it Bigstick.

    For a lot of the reasons Bigstick sited, I pretty much believe that I could be crossing the street at the same time as an atheist and both be hit by the same Mack Truck. As we enter heaven (whatever heaven may be) that atheist might very well recognize Christ before I do in spite of my religious practices. My atheist friends think I’m weird when I tell them they may well be living in better communion with Christ than I am but we Christians have done pretty piss poorly in a lot of spheres – sigh.

  31. carol – you did skydiving !!!! anything you havn’t done :-)
    the day i get to see F jump out of a plane i’m surethe world will end .

    I’ll settle for him not kicking up a fuss when i go.

  32. @Sandy,
    I am sorry if I appeared intolerant of you or Islam. My significant other is Muslim. I have been having some disagreements with some of my Muslim friends on some issues such as if it is okay for a Muslim to marry a non-Muslim and whether or not a woman has to cover her hair in Islam according to the Qu’ran (and to a lesser extent, what the hadiths, etc. say, too).

  33. Jerry M, good comment.
    In my opinion Christianity in Europe started to behave better, and more moral exactly at the same moment they lost power. Power is the big difference between a religion being benign or being evil.

    Carol, My parents had the idea that the local Christian school was actually the best, so I got told about religion etc from 5 years onward and I was quite happy to believe all that stuff. however, i did have some questions which they did not answer in a reasonable or logic manner.
    Also the doctrine itself is totally unlogic. And nasty for a large part if you really read the entire bible, not the bits they cherry pick for you.
    And I still never got a reasonable answer to my questions.
    So i went to the grownup part of the library and started to read up on religions. now the books were a bit difficult at times for a 9 year old but I discovered that a lot of practices stemmed from earlier religions and I never understood why especially Christianity should be the only religion which gets you into heaven and everybody else is screwed, even if they are really nice and good.
    That just doesn’t make sense, and if it were true God must be a nasty prig.
    Like I said, no logic anywhere.
    Then when I was about 10 or 11 I had this vision, standing in the playground, I saw 10.000 years of human history in the past and in the future, and amongst other religions Christianity coming up. And fizzling out and being replaced with something else. As of course has happend to all the other almighty Gods nobody believes in anymore, so will the current popular Jesus, Jaweh, Allah, Mormon, Xenu, etc all fizzle out into nothingness, they will just be names in history books.

    Anyway, I decided to let it rest for a while as I was stil very young anyway.
    And when I picked up and reread my bible with fresh eyes when I was 17 I was amazed at how primitive it was, how childish, and how utterly clearly constructed by simple, primitive men> whose morals did leave a lot to be desired.

    And whenever I look into a new religion I go through the same process. (much faster). WHen I set about to learn about Islam and what it was about exactely I got into some nice websites, I read the Quran and hadith, and I met a lot of nice people online, and it all sounded very nice. But where does all this misogyny come from? all these bad things Muslims do all over the world, and several things I learned jarred, like Mohammed killing off an entire tribe, ”marrying” a girl who just had her parents and brothers killed,, her husband tortured to death, het female family and friends being made into slaves and being divided as booty to be raped and she thinks it’s lovely to marry the man responsible for all that?
    of ourse when you really read the Quran, find out about the rule of obrigation, and read the hadith, Mohammed emerges as a primitive warlord with a lust but also hatred for women, and a lust for power and expansion and all that is reflected in the religion he made up.
    As a more recent religion it is perfectly clear how and where Mohammed made stuff up. Even the pilgrimage to mecca was just a continuation of the earlier religions, he just removed the other gods, and the women priestesses.

    And Mormonism is so recent that Joseph Smith’s charlatan schemes and fake religions before he hit it off with ”mormonism” is in still existent news papers! As is his rise to power and aquisistion of lots of women. All in the news papers of the nineteenth century. And there are people in the modern world who still believe in this bonkers religion.
    The mind reals.

    All religions prove by their own badly written, inconsistent, illogical books and from what we know from history, that they are made up. They are inventions of the human mind. Moreover they reflect perfectly the minds of the men who made them up.

    So there you have it Carol, sorry came out a bit long

  34. Bigstick made the comment that atheists usually know more about religions than the religious people do, I think that is very often the case all over the world. the reason is that atheists have actually thought deeply about religions, and had questions, and studied their religion very deeply, (much more deeply then the ”believers”) and had to come to the conclusion (for some reluctantly) that it was all made up. That there is no proof of any god existing, but that there are an abundance of proofs that religions are human constructs.

    I think most atheist went that route, serious study, coming to the conclusion it is made up.
    That is also why religions don’t really like people who think, who study, who use reason. That’s why they worship and commend ”faith”, ”blind faith” is even better.
    Brainless acceptance of doctrine. is what keeps them powerful.

  35. Karen, I loved your mention of The Handmaid’s Tale. That book often comes to mind when I think about KSA for one example.

    Carol, I was raised in the United Church. Studying history and how it has been affected by religions and then studying science and evolution really got me on the path of ‘no’ religion. Actually I began to question religions and God when a young child and learning of the horrors of the Holocaust. I could not get my head around a God who would allow such things to happen and I could NEVER get an answer that I could believe from a church minister or other religious person so at that point I think my mind was saying there is no God and I continued from there.

    I can respect people who need to have one in their lives, worry about those who feel they can’t shake the shackles of one they are in, and wonder if at some point I’ll ever feel the need for spiritual guidance from outside. I never know what to call myself .. agnostic or atheist but I think the term ‘agnostic’ fits better.

  36. I want to thank Aafke and Wendy for sharing their experience.

  37. Generally I’ve found that people of any faith-or no faith who are the most tolerant of others are also the ones who generally have more knowledge about history, doctrine etc. And I’ve found that those who know the most have less a sense of superiority over everyone else because they are a bit humbled by all the knowledge out there. I’ve met plenty of ignorant and knowledgeable people of all stripes. Thinking that Atheists know more about religions is something I’ve certainly not experienced in any greater percentage than that of people of faith.

    But it seems everyone likes to think “their” group is the one in the know-the special ones with the right and relevant knowledge- and everyone else is more deficient in what matters. As I’ve said, people are people, Atheists are no exception.

    @Strange One, nothing you said upset me at all.

    @Bigstick, not so much a bad day but perhaps finally a surrender to knowing the futility of these discussions. So many here “know” all that is important to know. Frankly it’s exhausting to here my faith trashed repeatedly over and over. I don’t really care what everyone wants to think- but why would I want to read about it over and over? And say what you like- it has often and in many ways been made clear that only an idiot, or ignorant person would be a Muslim. Well, I just have better, more pleasant and productive ways to spend my time.

    And for your information- I consider myself quite religious. And quite knowledgable. In spite of your classification of me as part of the “social religious fun uplifting group.”

  38. Sandy, I don’t consider myself as knowing everything. If anything the more I learn the less I feel I know. :)

  39. Sandy

    First of all let me tell that you are the reason that I actually have hope for betteri tomorrows. So yes today is overwhelming or frustrating for you and i get that. However I have had numerous conversations with muslim particular converts or reverts. Believe me when i tell you that i have been told i am going to hell and beyond many times. Then i have been told the same by a number of bible thumpers as well. Frankly in the USA i belong to one of the most hated groupings next to rapist just because i don’t believe in religion.
    I
    The simple fact is that today people are put to death for not believing in religion. This depends of course on where you live. Why is that people must suffer for their lack of belief and the need and hope for humanity for something better to which religion has never provided. What is wrong with pointing out fallacies and history of religion if it gets people to look at its inhumanity?

    Sandy you are a part of only one religion but the history of this religion and its roots is bloody and oppressive. Look at many religions and you will find almost all follow the same pattern.o

    Here is what i am tired of. You are a muslim, i am agnostic/atheist depending on my day, someone else is Christian, etc.

    When do we stop this and be proud just to be a mortal human who does the best they can who keeps the door open to all humans to do the best they can. All the while standing on an equal footing. Instead of stating i am this or i am that why not we are human with human rights.

    Now until that day happens then i am an agnostic/atheist who believes in humanism.

    There are going to be typos as i am writing this on my cellphone. It is also difficult to review everything so i hope my message to you isnt lost in the lack of review.

  40. @Wendy,
    That is exactly how I feel! Some days I think my head may explode!

    @Bigstick, no worries please. I think I just have fatigue of this topic. Believe me I don’t live my live running around talking about religion all the time. And I get that Atheists are treated badly. This is something I never quite realized until just a few years ago because-so many were in the closet and frankly- it just never occured to me that anyone would care so much about others lack of faith. But clearly they do- in the same way they’re interested in others choice of wrong faith. I’m a big believer in mind your own business. Frankly I wouldn’t even discuss these things much if I didn’t feel there’s a bit of a war going on within my own faith- and with fundamentalists in general. I know some people have a hard time understanding why I don’t care so much about others state of faith, but really. One cannot “prove” the existance of God/Allah. (hence the word faith) If Allah/God is really just- why would he therefore blame people for not believing, when the evidence is confusing and non-conclusive? I sort of figure an Omnipotent being can work it all out without help from me- and I wonder why people who say they believe in him, think he can’t sort everything out himself. I also marvel that anyone thinks they have their own life in such perfect order that they have time to stick their nose in other peoples business. And believe me- pretty much all the same people who think you’re going to hell think I am too. Luckily it isn’t up to them.

    I agree religious history is bloody. But then so is all human history. Bad people use whatever is handy and effective to bully and oppress others.

  41. I think of myself as an agnostic rather than an atheist. I was brought up as Catholic and practiced until college. Like most Catholics I didn’t read the Bible but I was familiar with some of the writings of people like Thomas Aquinas, John Chrystostom and St Augustine. (If one wants a definition of tedious just read any of Thomas Aquinas’s writings.)

    In my teens I became interested in Astronomy and read anything I could on the subject. Many popular astronomy writers also wrote about religion, so I was exposed to most of the common complaints about
    Christianity (Islam wouldn’t have been discussed then). The idea that a just god would send all his prophets to a relatively unpopulated area just does not make sense (unless that god is a trickster). Even before I stopped believing in any god I stopped believing in the god of the Bible. Anyone who reads the Bible will see that the concept of god mirrors the society in which that god is described. So we see a god who demands a public show (sacrifices, special clothing, set prayers etc.).

    Given what we know of the size of the universe, it makes no sense that god would demand so much public show (for Muslims prayer at specific times 5 times a day!). An intelligent and loving deity would not need so much public adulation. Does the god of ancient scripture sound either loving or wise to anyone who has half a brain?

    The idea the moral behavior is written in stone for all time is just crazy.

  42. “Does the god of ancient scripture sound either loving or wise to anyone who has half a brain?

    The idea the moral behavior is written in stone for all time is just crazy.”

    And there we have it. Again. I would suggest that I have at least half a brain as do many others of faith- and that we are not all crazy. I understand that others see it differently than I do- but I still credit them with brains and lack of crazy.

    I understand that the burden of proof is on faith. And so I accept that others do not believe- often for good reason. However, only a fool would think that the only things in the universe that are real, are the things man has managed to prove and make sense of. Man is pretty puny whether or not there is an omnipotent creator. What arrogance to assume things do not “make sense” because based on your personal application of “logic”, it doesn’t make sense. Man and the universe are more than what is quantifiable by man, either singly or collectively. And that innate knowledge is likely what would have compelled man to create religion even if it isn’t true. We are more than what is tangible.

    Really is it any wonder I, or anyone with half a brain, would tire of this type of conversation? A lot of different things don’t make sense to a lot of different people. That doesn’t mean those that are different than you are less intelligent or less informed.

  43. Sandy

    You are really having a day of it. I can say the majority of atheist/agnostic don’t think religious people have half a brain. Remember many at one time were where you are.

    For me letting go of religion was in a way like a slow death of a childhood friend but i was also angry in some ways as i realized how much i had been lied too and in many ways used.

    I still have some very religious family some of whom are not happy with my decision to not believe.

  44. I was just pointing out that right after I commented on how often it is implied or stated, on these boards, that people of faith are either bad, ignorant or not quite bright- someone provided an explicit example!

    It happens more often than you would believe. And it has gotten old for me. Thats all.

  45. I call myself a polyatheist, of all the thousands of Gods which humanity has invented over time there is not one I find convincing. Or believable.

    Worse, I have not yet read a holy book or manual which is not riddled with criminal homicidal misogynistic incentives to evil immoral deeds.
    As long there isn’t a god who can write a book which doesn’t need going through it with a fine toothed comb to cherry pick the good bits i cannot subscribe to anything.

    There is another problem, one cannot ”choose” to believe something. One can fake it, but one cannot be ”made” or forced to believe. And I just don’t believe anything I have learned so far. It’s all too obviously bogus.
    But I will keep an open mind. You never know what is around the corner.

  46. I almost wrote that exact thing Aafke. People don’t “choose” what to believe. People can close their minds I suppose and refuse to take in more information and trap themselves in what they already believe- but that’s about it. And faking it is pointless. Assuming there’s a God- are you going to fool him? It serves no purpose to pretend.

  47. @sandy

    Our hostess asked for comments by non-believers about their beliefs. The kind of request is going to solicit comments that believers will find offensive. In my case I wasn’t actually calling any believers stupid. The Muslims I have known were all working in the computer or
    networking divisions of a company I worked for so I know they were bright people. I’ve known 2 very bright men who were Christian scientists. I am sure George Romney is bright enough, yet he believes in a religion created by someone who was in many ways a conman.

    People need to examine their beliefs. It is one thing to value ancient texts, but before taking them literally on should examine how they were made. In the case of Christianity it is impossible to make a valid case that they are anything like a direct word of god. There are too many sources over too long a time period. As far as Islam goes, the best one might say is that it is the preachings of a Muhammed.

    I am not saying that only things we understand are real, but we give beliefs so much power. In Saudi Arabia the oppression of women is justified by custom and religion. In the US for many years slavery was justified by religion.

  48. I think I can understand sandy. I’m not v religious but I believe in God. So many things good and bad I think are due to his grace. I don’t believe in any book or procedure but every day when I wake up a.d before I go to sleep I need a moment to thank a higher power. And ask him or her to keep us safe. I’m what ia
    Due to five people. God for the blessings. My mom for gift of life. Dad for gift of education. Husband for gift of love. Kids for tea hint me the meaning of love. Without God I may e would have been the same maybe not. Maybe I don’t follow any particular religion but I can accept all of them as long as they do.t do me and my loved ones harm. I’m agnostic or shroud say Hindu agnostic who believes in humans.

  49. If you go back and check your exact words- you pretty much were calling believers stupid. It’s not about me being super sensitive. It’s about what you said- and not just you. This idea that believers are ignorant or not using their brain is a common one here. I’m not saying people can’t think that way- I’m saying I don’t really like it and I’m tired of talking to so many people that feel that way.

    My other unfavorite discussion – which you did not bring up at this time-is the belief that Muslims who are not howling for blood- or, for example, who believe the preponderance of evidence that Aisha was 18 ish when she got married- are not “real” Muslims. Just cherry-picking apologists who don’t quite have the guts to face what their religion REALLY says.

    Yes, people should examine their beliefs. I don’t assume they haven’t just because they disagree with mine.

    Thank you Radhaa.

  50. Radhaa, it seems you are ”deist”!

    Sandy, lets cherry pick ;) I always liked the concept of ”niyah” very much, that it is your intention which really matters, and that whatever you do or believe is between you and god. That is very wise. And if that was considered very important by all religious people the world would be a much better place.

    ”Belief” is very interesting. You see that peoples belief in religion is very often a mirror of their personality, if somebody is thoroughly good their religion will be good. They refuse the bad parts of their religion and find all the good things and practice those. Sometimes you meet people who want to be perfect in their religion and force themselves to believe or subscribe to stuff which is really against their morals and principles, which I think is sad. Because it is a misdirection of a propensity I admire: the wish to do everything perfect.
    I remember we had that student here years ago, ”WM”, who was in the clutch of some nasty salafi madrassa in London. He wrote a lot of nasty comments on bedu, they told him he should despise his own family for not being religious enough, and that he must believe in Jinn though he really didn’t. He seemed in his heart a very nice guy, but they made him into a monster.

    This a very good video about believing, I think most people, religious or non religious can recognize the thoughts put forth here.
    I think that his ”A lack of belief in gods” is the best way to describe myself. I am still open for new information and always ready to change my position.

    Btw, I am really enjoying the discussion here.

  51. Jerry, I think the propensity to ”faith” and religion, is seperate from ”intelligence” or at least the IQ kind of intelligence. ”What exactly is intelligence” is a whole new discussion. :)
    And people who are intelligent can be very good in intellectual acrobatics to justify their believes.

    Religious people have a valid claim that slavery is ok, All Abrahamic religions fully endorse slavery, the bible gives explicit rulings on when a father can sell his daughter, who much a girl slave should bring versus a boy slave, (half the price) how you can twist the rules, how badly you can injure your slave, how much time it will take your beaten slave to die to evade punishement for killing them, and not forgetting the examples of disgusting behaviour towards slaves described in the bible etc. The new testament endorse slavery too. So the supporters of slavery had the bible on their side.
    Same for Islam, only when he was powerless did Mohammed advocate the freeing of slaves, as soon as he had power he enslaved whole tribes. (after killing all the men and boys with pubic hair Nazi-style). He and his men raped women whom they had enslaved, and he accepted gifts of slaves, and gave slaves away. What an example to follow…
    The endorsement of slavery is wrong. you can never ”own” another human being. It is completely immoral. Proof that the Abrahamic religions were invented and codified by men.

    Nasty, evil, selfish, misogynist, immoral brutes of men.

    There is no all caring compassionate invisible sky daddy here. Or all these books would have said that slavery is wrong, that rape is wrong, that killing is wrong, that suppressing women is wrong, etc.

    I could write a better holy book in one afternoon. My book would be far superior to the Thora, Bible and Quran, and I am a simple mediocre human being.

    (Feel free to worship me and send me all your money)

  52. Radhaaa, I am quite convinced that you would be exactly the same person without a belief that somewhere there is some god somewhere.

  53. Aafke – that was an excellent video and thanks for posting!!!

  54. Sandy

    There are numerous passages within the hadiths that uphold the age of aisha as 6 when married and 9 when consummated. Then you have the saudi clerics that uphold this practice of marrying babies and consummating girls who begin their menses. Then you have the islamic law that allows this as well as the four school of islamic jurisprudence. There are numerous countries that will not outlaw the practice as it was good enough for the prophet.

    Your biggest impediment to your claim is the hadith. However, that doesn’t diminish your claim to be a muslim.

    What is wrong with being a cherry picker anyway? It means you take the best parts and leave the trash, rot, poisoned goods, or insert your desired not so good stuff.

    Next, here is a book that looks at pre-islamic and early islam begining. Read, the hidden origins of islam by karl heinz ohlig and gerd r. Puin.

    It has numerous archaeological evidence and an entirely different spin on the unfolding of islam.

  55. I’m not going to argue doctrine. Sorry you don’t know as much as you think you do. The much stronger evidence is that she was older and I’m certainly not the only one who knows this. The true cherry pickers are the ones that insist on this current dominant position. If you had really researched it you would know this. Several hadith make the claim she was 6/9? I don’t think so.

    Please show me anywhere that the Prophet or Quran endorsed 4 schools of thought, clergy, preserving for all time juristic ruling from other times and places, or a written body of Hadith. No where. You won’t find it.

    I will take down the names of the Authors you mentioned. If they seem credible I’ll add your books to my list.

  56. Sandy

    Very good I like your spunk.

    Next i did not endorse the claim. This claim is currently being espoused by those who are running the schools of thought and at the present moment i can’t get the passages from the hadiths as i am away from my residence. However, i will provide what i have as it does come from the hadith bukhari and muslim. In addition reliance of the traveller sacred manual of islamic law states that fathers can marry their daughters without their permission if she has not reached puberty reference is m3.13 in section 2.

    I remember this one as it is from the law book used often by the schools of thought.

    I am aware of your counter argument.

    However, you should know up front that i don’t believe muhammad ever existed.

    The two authors are noted historians.

    Ohlig is a professor emeritius at the university os saarland in germany and was the chairman of the inarah institute for research into early history of islam and the quran.

    Puin is an expert on the historical orthography of the quran.

    I know you are not a fan of the hadith but it doesn’t make my statement any less valid. That is the hadith pose problems to your stance along with the current clergy and islamic school of thought.

  57. Sandy

    I understand from what you just written that there is no hadith state that Aisha was six when the prophet pace be upon him marrid her. However, I think there are hadiths in Al-Bakhari and Muslim state that Aisha was six when she get married and nine when she went to the house of the prophet.
    See for example: Sahih Muslim 1422.

    Please If I misunderstand what you written then please let me know and I would be grateful.

  58. Reading the interview bring a question to my mind which is why religious christian don’t oppose the action of their government given that they enjoy unlimited freedom of speech. For instance, American Government almost always commit atrocities and some times that go without condemnation from the religious establishment. In the contrary the Pentagon sometimes rely on the religious people to motivate the soldiers in the battlefield and to distribute Indulgences.

    And I have read information which I am not certain about that the Bible belt states provide more participant in the Military than other states. So the relationship between the level of religious observation and the willingness to go to fight in wars seems exist. If that is true then Don’t the interviewee thinks that need to be changed?

  59. Yes, those are the hadith- I”m rusty I had to look them up. I don’t have the time or inclination to find out how accurate the hadith may or may not be (also hitting too many blocked sites) Almost certainly the hadith are not accurate in this case.

    Aisha was present at and participated in historical events, and remembers things that make it more believable to place her between 15-21. I have not a lot of interest in retracking the whole issue. But, hadith are very problematic and I never just accept them if something seems off or especially if there are broken chains etc (in fact that gets barely a look from me).

    Many religious scholars are aware of this. However, as I hear it, to “discredit” Bukhari would lead to all kinds of things being questioned and they don’t want that. I never hear any concern about Sahih Muslim hadiths- so I’m guessing they aren’t very strong in this matter. Also, sadly, some men like be told they’re allowed to marry children. As far as I’m concerned the sooner they question everything the better.

    Any law books or sources after hadith are derivative and in no way make something “Islamic”. Hadith pose problems for many of my stances. I’ve never claimed to be orthodox- but I just don’t think that being “orthodox” makes one MORE religious, or less of a cherry picker. I don’t see how following faulty doctrine makes one more educated in their faith than someone who isn’t orthodox and who rummages around and doesn’t accept questionable sources. And hadith are definately questionable as are all the juristic rulings out of medieval times.

    Anyway. that pretty much sums it up for me. I simply don’t have the time to redo al I’ve done. If someone wants to know more about the age of Aisha there is plenty of info out there. If someone wants to know the orthodox view- that’s out their too- but I see no reason to believe orthodox views are by default more accurate.

  60. Bigstick, and Snowman,
    I once did go through the trouble of working it out. According to historical dates where Aischa was reported to be present she cannot have been younger than 15 and could have been 21.
    The hadith are wrong.
    The four schools of Islamic jurisprudence are wrong.
    And Sandy made a good comment, she hit the nail on the head, I bet that’s one of the reasons they don’t want to go into this.
    And maybe a penchant for pedophilia?

  61. aafle-art:

    I am not advocating for the the barbaric stance. However, I am stating that Sandy’s position is outside of mainstream Islam. That which is currently being espoused by the fours schools of Islamic law, the fiqh, the hadith, the currently teachings of many of the clerics and what is being presented as mainstream Islam.

    Also there are others that provide counter agruments to the type of argument that you provided.

    Note: I did read it.

    What I am saying is there is enough within the trilology of sources to substantiate their claims of a child bride and they are: The Koran, The sira or biographies by Ishaq, and Al-Tabari, and the hadith or traditions. Note: The two best sources and well respected hadiths are Bukhari and Muslim.

    Sandy:

    Is there a current push inside Saudi to actually re-evaluate the hadith?

    Next the Reliance of the Traveller is Islamic fiqh based upon the trilology of sources. This fiqh is often referred to by the four schools of Islamic Law. It is endorsed by the International Institute of Islamic Thought, Members of the Islamic Fiqh Academy at Jedda, and the Fiqh Council of North America.

    The basic text for this fiqh was written by Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Mirsri who died in 769 CE.

    Sandy, I really encourage you to read the book that I suggested. It definitely brings a whole new dimension into the the way you will look at the beginnings of islam. The authors are well known and highly respected within the circles of scholars upon Islam. Gerd Puin should be a well known name as he is associated with the Sanaa manuscripts found in Yemen.

    Here are some hadith on the matter:

    SAHIH AL-BUKHARI
    Narrated Aisha:
    The Prophet engaged me when I was a girl of six (years). We went to Medina and stayed at the home of Bani-al-Harith bin Khazraj. Then I got ill and my hair fell down. Later on my hair grew (again) and my mother, Um Ruman, came to me while I was playing in a swing with some of my girl friends. She called me, and I went to her, not knowing what she wanted to do to me. She caught me by the hand and made me stand at the door of the house. I was breathless then, and when my breathing became all right, she took some water and rubbed my face and head with it. Then she took me into the house. There in the house I saw some Ansari women who said, “Best wishes and Allah’s Blessing and a good luck.” Then she entrusted me to them and they prepared me (for the marriage). Unexpectedly Allah’s Apostle came to me in the forenoon and my mother handed me over to him, and at that time I was a girl of nine years of age. (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 58, Number 234)

    Narrated Hisham’s father:
    Khadija died three years before the Prophet departed to Medina. He stayed there for two years or so and then he married ‘Aisha when she was a girl of six years of age, and he consumed that marriage when she was nine years old. (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 58, Number 236)

    Narrated ‘Aisha:
    Allah’s Apostle said to me, “You were shown to me twice (in my dream) before I married you. I saw an angel carrying you in a silken piece of cloth, and I said to him, ‘Uncover (her),’ and behold, it was you. I said (to myself), ‘If this is from Allah, then it must happen.’ Then you were shown to me, the angel carrying you in a silken piece of cloth, and I said (to him), ‘Uncover (her), and behold, it was you. I said (to myself), ‘If this is from Allah, then it must happen.'” (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 87, Number 140; see also Number 139)

    Narrated ‘Aisha:
    that the Prophet married her when she was six years old and he consummated his marriage when she was nine years old, and then she remained with him for nine years (i.e., till his death). (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 62, Number 64; see also Numbers 65 and 88)

    SAHIH MUSLIM
    ‘A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) reported: Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) married me when I was six years old, and I was admitted to his house at the age of nine. She further said: We went to Medina and I had an attack of fever for a month, and my hair had come down to the earlobes. Umm Ruman (my mother) came to me and I was at that time on a swing along with my playmates. She called me loudly and I went to her and I did not know what she had wanted of me. She took hold of my hand and took me to the door, and I was saying: Ha, ha (as if I was gasping), until the agitation of my heart was over. She took me to a house, where had gathered the women of the Ansar. They all blessed me and wished me good luck and said: May you have share in good. She (my mother) entrusted me to them. They washed my head and embellished me and nothing frightened me. Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) came there in the morning, and I was entrusted to him. (Sahih Muslim, Book 008, Number 3309; see also 3310)

    A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) reported that Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him) married her when she was seven years old, and he was taken to his house as a bride when she was nine, and her dolls were with her; and when he (the Holy Prophet) died she was eighteen years old. (Sahih Muslim, Book 008, Number 3311)

    Reference to Quran on the matter that is used by clerics to support the supposition of child brides and their belief of that the hadith are valid.

    Note the part that states the same shall apply to those who have not menstruated.

    If you are in doubt concerning those of your wives who have ceased menstruating, know that their waiting period shall be three months. The same shall apply to those who have not menstruated. As for pregnant women, their term shall end with their confinement. God will ease the hardship of the man who fears him. 65:4,

    This is just a few that I located in a short time.

  62. Aafke:

    Here is one site that refutes your analysis.

    http://www.muslimhope.com/AishaNine.htm

    I don’t know if Sandy will be able to access it or whether the kingdom of censorship will have blocked it or not.

  63. Sandy:

    I should say. It is okay you can get all mad at me. I still will like you tomorrow as well. Why? Because you are a good person who I respect and think highly of and who champions a good cause.

    By the way, not many people outside my family know my views on religion either. I keep it to myself. I do belong to groups that assist in freedom of thought and actions though.
    :D

  64. @bigstick
    ”However, you should know up front that i don’t believe muhammad ever existed”…you said that, or squeezed it in, so now we know you have nothing to do with islam! why do you keep trying to slaughter the religion then. why waste your time on something you will never benefit from. most people here know about this, and everything else, and it is nothing new. you act like child brides is the common life in saudi. i never met one. my family has beautiful daughters in there twenties, and they are all ready and more than ready to marry when they finish their uni. not all saudi men agree with young bride. one female of 16yrs was asked for recently, and one of the male family members at the gathering to meet the man had a fit about it after the guest left, and this was not his daughter. he was angry at the father to allow or even think to let her marry at that age. funny thing is the daughter got mad at the male family member for interfering..she wanted to get married, and goes to parties all the time because she wants to marry instead of going to school. i would let my daughter marry at 14yr before i would let her get a boyfriend and knocked up pregnant and dumped any day. and american girls are sexually active at very very young ages now. get a ticket to saudi and see what it’s like, you will love it, and it will change the toxic thoughts about islam that you have

  65. Page was blocked. Oh well. It probably isn’t something I haven’t seen before. There are those that are desparate to keep her at age 9, those that don’t really care because times were different then and the majority of folks are just trying to put food on the table. I think there are a lot of muslims globally who would like a rethink on the role of hadith- I wouldn’t say there is a push here on this specific topic. The main push lately has been on the meaning of “khulwa” (isolation between unrelated man and women). It’s the basis for gender mixing. Seems to be effective. I suddenly see not only women cashiers (which turned into a fiasco just a year or so ago) but women working in shops all over the place- and no not talking lingerie- regular shops where they are waiting on, and working with men. I can’t believe how quickly that changed. The more important “reevaluation” needed here is the whole “guardianship” issue. And there is definately a lot of talk on that. Child marriage, is also talked about. People are pushing for a legal age limit. And others are pushing back.

    Ok. As for the hadith- I think I already stated how problematic they are. And I found them but not all the info on their authenticity. You would be surprised how scholars sometimes foist “broken chain” hadith on people to convince them to obey. Not that lack of broken chain equals validity- but in my books a 200 year old game of telephone with a break in it doesn’t much matter.

    The Quran verse is interesting. I’d want to speak with an Arabic speaker first. However, it certainly is the case here -as it was in Europe and other places that a contract can be signed several years in advance of a physical marriage. It makes sense there would still be a wait. (actually here- in modern times the wait is usually about a year).

    As for your holy trinity of resources- only one is holy. The others are man-made holy.

    Also, my stance is not that far outside mainstream Islam on her age. I am hearing more and more about how she was older than people previously thought.

    Anyway, I’m not mad at you Bigstick. I just am tired of the naive, uninformed, cherry-picking, not very religious assumptions about me because I’m not bloodthirsty. (not necessarily you here- you get my point) And maybe because my society already has plenty of “read this Hadith” in it” I am “hadith-fatigued.” And I like you too and I’m sure we’d get along fine in real world.

  66. @Gia,
    The 16 year old girl is lucky she has a male relative looking out for her. Any girl who wants to drop out of school to get married isn’t mature enough for marriage and clearly thinks of it as some escape. Sounds like she wants to be taken care of rather than get her work done.

  67. gia, I don’t know what kind of ”milieu” you come from but for the majority of girls having a boyfriend never ends in being ”knocked up” or having sex. Really sad if you think so, or if you yourself were in that position.

    i think that there’s nothing wrong with pointing out where religions are wrong, immoral, when the holy books are wrong, illogical or immoral. I think it is nesseccary. Religions need to put in their rightful place. Which is a lowly one without any influence. Poeple can believe whatever they want in private, but they should not be allowed to bother anybody else or make up the rules of society. They are too flawed and too silly and too immoral for our times.

    And I applaud that family member who objected to selling off the 16 year old girl. It is clear that that silly little goose needs another ten years to mature enough for marriage.

    Bigstick, of course there are lots of people/pedophiles who don’t like the historical evidence, and fight it.
    But they are still wrong.

  68. I used to want to marry at a young age (16ish). Of course, I wanted to work part-time and go to university full-time at age 16, too. Since then, I’ve begun to realize even if it is possible somehow to do all this at the same time, that doesn’t mean it’s the best option. There is life outside workaholism. :D

    @Gia,
    I believe 14 is too young to marry. While I understand that in some societies, getting married at a young age is common, I think 20+ is a much better age to get married, generally speaking, because it gives people time to develop and grow as an individual person before starting a family. Not all Americans have sex at a young age.

    And while I don’t think sex outside of a committed relationship (such as marriage) is a good idea, I do not like how much emphasis is placed on female virginity due to “religion” when the same “religious” people will allow or even condone their son(s) having sex outside of a relationship. Men and women both have sexual needs. To say that this is only true for men is to deny women equal rights. It also makes this a cultural -and not religious- issue.

    I found this world map on average age people lose their virginity: http://liveeternity.blogspot.com/2007/12/loss-of-virginity-world-map.html It would be interesting to see what the average age of this is within countries such as Saudi Arabia and how it varies between the male and female population. I would imagine it would be very difficult to get accurate numbers, though.

  69. Gia:

    Let me point out that I am an Atheist/Agnostic. I don’t believe in religion. Next I didn’t squeeze that part in. I have actually had a very lengthy discussion on the matter on this site. So my stance is known for many. Next I also don’t believe Jesus (the never ending sequel) or Abraham, Noah, etc. existed either.

    Here is the thing though, Saudi finanaces numbers schools and mosques to spread their version of Islam to many countries. That version is based upon what I have just laid out. Next, there are numerous countries that are doing this.

    GUESS WHAT. The islamic schools of law (including the one in Saudi) and your clerics uphold this practice.

    Now nothing in my presentation slams Islam. I presented the facts. I presented what the FOUR SCHOOLS OF ISLAMIC LAW ADVISE is allowed.

    I didn’t torch Islam. Islam does that all by itself as far as I am concerned. Particular as I have a wealth of information that CLERIC are stated is allowed. Not just one, not two but a whole damn lot of them PLUS THE FOUR SCHOOLS OF ISLAMIC LAW. Who are recognized by A LARGE NUMBER OF MUSLIMS to be the source of what Islam allows or doesn’t allow. GUESS WHAT. THESE FOUR SCHOOLS HELP GENERATE – CLERICS who then go out and preach the very thing I just talked about.

    Again. I did not make this up. I only have provided you with what your accepted sources state, what the quran states, what the fiqh states, what the four schools of islamic thought and law states, what your top SAUDI cleric states and what a number of muslims believe.

    Now if you don’t like all that evidence on YOUR religion then that is YOUR ISSUE as again read the above paragraph.

    Next, how would you know if this is done or not done in the kingdom of censorship? I have read that an 8 year has been denied a divorce to a man who is almost 7 times her again in Saudi. So what does that tell you. THAT IT is GOING ON IN SAUDI.

    NEXT. This is a blog on Saudi. Therefore I talk about Saudi and it’s subject matter.

    As far as American women are concerned the average age for marriage is about 25 years of age. Not 14. Do you have some of this that goes on yes but I should point out that the USA is the 5th most populace country in the world. We have at least 10 times the population Saudi but probably closer to 12 times.

    You should note that the earliest this person could get married and only with parental consent is 16 and I think that is only in one or two states in the US. The age of 16 is the absolute youngest age that is allowed. Believe me when I tell you that this is not done often. It is rare and it does require a parental consent for it to happen. The rest require 17 with parental consent. In no state are you allowed to be married at all if you are under 16. In some states you actually have to be 19 to be able to marry without parental consent.

    Here are a few sites to look at for your reading pleasure – if you can access them. That talks about the matter.

    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/saudi-cleric-issues-fatwa-defending-pedophilia-as-%e2%80%98marriage%e2%80%99/

    http://incognito73.instablogs.com/entry/yemens-cleric-al-zindani-child-marriage-bans-un-islamic/

  70. More sites:

    http://organizations.bloomu.edu/gasi/Proceedings%20PDFs/Khabir.pdf

    http://womenagainstshariah.blogspot.com/2011/04/bangladesh-islamic-cleric-threatens.html

    Here is a mulsim writing on the topic of the four schools of islamic law:

    http://www.altmuslimah.com/a/b/a/3461/

    By all means use this time to educated what is being put out their to other countries regarding Islam.

    Again, Saudi’s own top cleric stands by this practice.

    Again, I am not stating anything that isn’t being touted by your own Clerics.

    So ask yourself this question? Why do you see you world as your literal neigbor?

    I see the world as my neighbor and what happens worldwide and the doctrines that impact it will have a direct impact on my family and humanity in one form or another.

  71. @bigstick
    like i said, what are you benefiting from this, nobody has said ‘thanks for the info, i never knew that, and i hate islam now’. most already know this stuff. and my aunt engaged at 14, and married at 16. she married all her life to the same man. and my friend’s friend an american, had sex two months after turning 13 going into high school with senior guy on lunch break at his house close to the school. he got what he wanted, and dumped her. she gained 15lb from it, and felt horrible. this is happening to american girls a lot. parents dont know about it. my brother friend american married a 16yr, and new her at 15. he was early 20’s, and his family did not talk to him because of it. they are older now, and she is his world. nobody can make the world perfect whether it’s against the law or not. getting married to a 9yr girl is creepy for sure, but that pedophilia is in the world legal or not. arab muslim moms that have to protect their 9yr daughters from getting married are in the same boat as american parents that have to protect their girls from rapers, users, and pedophilers. no law can prevent it. it can happen. it’s called crime.

  72. Gia:

    In many countries it is a crime, in many states in the US for rape you get to go away for a damn long time. In some states its a life sentence. There are also statutory rape charges that states have that generally say that if a person is 4 or more years older than the minor it is rape whether the minor agreed to consenual sex or not. In other words, for those who are trying to engaging in sex with a minor who meet that threshold they do so at their peril as if it is found out they get to GO to JAIL.

    In countries that embrace Islam to include Saudi it is just a marriage because Mohammad was allowed to do it so everyone is allowed to do it.

    SEE THE DIFFERENCE!

    It is legalized child sexual and physical abuse. In some cases murder as children die from child birth due to the lack of proper medical care and the fact that their bodies have not devloped enough to deliver a baby as they have not developed to that point.

    Again, see the difference.

    Yes everyone knows that some of this goes on. However it is not condoned nor is it acceptable. It shows bad parenting and often times the state child protective services are called in due to this risky behavior here in the USA.

    Again, see the difference.

    Now, here is a question if most already knew this STUFF then apparently they felt it was alright and are following the STUFF(ISLAM) that they knew condoned this stuff (sex abuse). Particular since this stuff (mild stuff to you apparently by the way you write it) is just run of the mill kind of thing for you.

    What does that say about YOU, Gia?

  73. Regarding the 13 year old girl. This did not happen “to” her. She made a choice to ditch school and go to a boys house for sex at lunchtime. She had other choices she could have made.

  74. @bigstick
    you write from a lot info you get from the web, but not from real life experiences with arabs or muslims in the land of milk and honey. unlike most commentators here, some have arab friends, married, or something, but you, not so sure–just throw the darts. and what were you to benefit from this

  75. Nice, the whole I can’t win this argument routine so I will switch gears.

    This is such a tiring tactic.

  76. Carl is right on one thing. God’s Holy Word said that we should love each other and love our enemies. Jesus, the Messiah and Lord of creation—to whom every knee shall bow (see Philippians 2:9-11)—also said that the Father wishes that none should perish (in everlasting hell: 2 Peter 3:9).

    When Carl speaks with his Muslim and Arab friends, does he speak the (full) truth—in love—to them so that they might choose to be set free? If so, then I would agree that he loves them.

    Does scripture agree with Carl? Does Carl clearly explain the Good News that Jesus is both the Messiah and Lord to his Muslim friends? What does scripture have to say?

    “…the love of God was manifested…” 1 John 4:7-10
    “…the time is coming when…” 2 Timothy 4:1-5
    “…many false prophets have gone…” 1 John 4:1-4
    “…wars and rumors of wars…” Matthew 24:4-14
    “…they will also persecute you…” John 15:18-25
    “…love your enemies and pray…” Matthew 5:43-44
    “…let him be accursed…” Galatians 1:6-10
    “…the god of this world…” 2 Corinthians 4:1-6

    “Who is the liar…” 1 John 2:22-26

    “…who suppress the truth…” Romans 1:16-20
    “…every knee should bow…” Philippians 2:1-11
    “…turn from their wicked ways…” 2 Chronicles 7:13-14
    “…I am coming soon…” Revelation 22:6-21

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