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-- Faith is the great cop-out,

the great excuse to
evade the need
to think and evaluate evidence.

Faith is belief in spite of,
even perhaps because of,
the lack of evidence.

“Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”

Carl Sagan

The Greek word "skeptesthai"
means to look, to see for yourself.

It’s simply the willingness
to hold back credence
until credible substantiation is shown.

"They were born into a ... culture
and became believers because of cultural influences just like
Muslims in Iran,
or Catholics in Mexico,
or Buddhists in Thailand,
or Hindu's in India.

They know this and yet want to maintain theirs is the correct religion anyway,
just like Muslims, Catholics, Buddhists and Hindu's do when faced with this same sociological data.

Christians claim that these other religions are man-made ones.
But let's connect the dots here.

If other people in other parts of the globe
have created man-made religions

and are persuaded to believe in them because they were raised in their respective cultures,

then why is this not also true for their particular sect of Christianity? "

George Washington:

"Religious controversies are always
productive of more acrimony
and irreconcilable hatreds
than those which spring
from any other cause."

"Next time you read the Bible,

( or other Holy writing )

which allegedly was inspired by the creator of the cosmos himself,

remember this uncomfortable fact:

its utter mundanity ( the quality of being commonplace and ordinary )

betrays its decidedly terrestrial origin."

The Argument from Mundanity.

" In the minds of many Christians, the Bible was written (or, at the least, inspired) by the creator of the cosmos.

This fantastical entity,
children have been inculcated to believe,
is comprehensively aware of the thoughts and inner conflicts of every ( past, present & future ) individual roaming the planet.

Certainly, considering it's supposed author,
one might expect the Bible to be full of dazzlingly specific information
(of which none of its readers previously had been aware).

Considering the claimed author,
it should be the pinnacle of intellectual achievement,
featuring innumerable accurate tidbits about events and discoveries still to come.

Yet, this certainly is not the case.

More eloquently than could I,
Sam Harris articulates the point in 'Letter to a Christian Nation',
writing, "... just imagine how breathtakingly specific a work of prophecy would be,
if it were actually the product of omniscience.

If the Bible were such a book, it would make perfectly accurate predictions about human events.

You would expect it to contain a passage such as
'In the latter half of the twentieth century, humankind will develop a globally linked system of computers--the principles of which I set forth in Leviticus--and this system shall be called the Internet...'

The Bible contains nothing like this...

...making the salient point that a great deal of human misery could have been wiped out had the Bible simply provided a single nugget of previously unknown medical knowledge.

"Why," he asks, "doesn't the Bible say anything about electricity, or about DNA, or about the actual age and size of the universe?

What about a cure for cancer?
When we fully understand the biology of cancer, this understanding will be easily summarized in a few pages of text.

Why aren't these pages, or anything remotely like them, found in the Bible?

Good, pious people are dying horribly from cancer at this very moment, and many of them are children.

The Bible is a very big book.

God had room to instruct us in great detail about how to keep slaves and sacrifice a wide variety of animals.

To one who stands outside the Christian faith, it is utterly astonishing how ordinary a book can be and still be thought the product of omniscience."

In fact, it does not contain a single sentence that could not have been written by a man or woman living in the first century.

This should trouble you."

New reformation Leaving

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From the Universal Declaration of Human Rights...

"Article 18.
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion;
this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief,
and ................"

"Article 19.
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression;
this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference ................"

"Article 20.
(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
(2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association."

......... End of quotes from the Declaration.

"By virtue of the Human Rights Convention, by virtue of German Basic Law, by virtue of the European Parliament and its resolutions, I herewith resign from Islam.
Even though the religion contends that I may not do so, I declare in public that I resign from Islam."

"Clergy, seen by their loyal followers to have special access to and understanding of the Divine, have a special responsibility to critically study and honestly examine what they teach, whatever their tradition."

The competing traditions of mankind can not all be correct, in fact none maybe correct.

Leaving Islam - Apostates Speak Out

Edited by Ibn Warraq

“…probably the first book of its kind—a compendium of testimonies from former Muslims about the reasons for their estrangement from the Islamic faith itself.”
-New York Review of Books

In the West abandoning one's religion (apostasy) can be a difficult, emotional decision, which sometimes has social repercussions.

However, in culturally diverse societies where there is a mixture of ethnic groups and various philosophies of life, most people look upon such shifts in intellectual allegiance as a matter of personal choice and individual right.

By contrast, in Islam apostasy is still viewed as an almost unthinkable act, and in orthodox circles it is considered a crime punishable by death.

Renowned scholar of Islamic Studies Bernard Lewis described the seriousness of leaving the Islamic faith in the following dire terms: Apostasy was a crime as well as a sin, and the apostate was damned both in this world and the next.

His crime was treason, desertion and betrayal of the community to which he belonged, and to which he owed loyalty; his life and property were forfeit. He was a dead limb to be excised.

Defying the death penalty applicable to all apostates in Islam, the ex-Muslims who are here represented feel it is their duty to speak up against their former faith, to tell the truth about the fastest growing religion in the world.

These former Muslims, from all parts of the Islamic world, recount how they slowly came to realize that the religion into which they were born was in many respects unbelievable and sometimes even dangerous.

These memoirs of personal journeys to enlightenment and intellectual freedom make for moving reading and are a courageous signal to other ex-Muslims to come out of the closet.

Ibn Warraq is the author of Why I Am Not a Muslim , and the editor of What the Koran Really Says, The Quest for the Historical Muhammad, and The Origins of the Koran.


Review of "Why I Am Not a Muslim" by Ibn al-Rawandi

More reading :

Taslim Nasreen/Nasrin

Islam - library

Qur'an: A Work of Multiple Hands?

Forum . @CEMB_forum on Twitter

On the historical status of women in the Islamic Empire

( from a posting copied some years ago )

Before the advent of Islam, the pagan Arab women generally enjoyed a respectable status in society;
many of them including Khadija - the first wife of the prophet of Islam, had the right to engage in business and choose or dismiss their husbands in a matrilineal fashion;
they took part in most activities of war and peace including public worship.
In female oriented Arab paganism, goddesses had special status;
in Mecca, the female goddess Al-Uzza, in Taif the goddess Al-Lat and in Medina the goddess Manat were the most popular deities,
and their statues were most revered while the statue of the stern Allah was almost neglected.

Arab pagan poetry was mostly concerned with the beauty and grace of their women, and the glory of their tribal values in peace and war.
And it was only in one predator tribe of Mecca that the evil custom of burying alive of the daughters prevailed.

It was highly unusual for a man of pre-Islamic Arab society to have more than one wife in his house; and it is quite certain that polygamy was introduced and encouraged by the prophet after the revelation of Islam.
Women were to produce as many Muslims as possible.
This ultimately resulted in the degradation in the status of the married woman in the Islamic society.
Whereas the pre-Islamic Arab custom allowed many looser forms of marriage on the matrilineal and matri-local tradition that gave the woman freedom and liberty as full human being,
however the artificial rules of Islamic nikah reduced marriage to mere sexual and social slavery.

The prophet of Islam, before prophethood, opposed the burying alive of the newborn daughters;
he was eager to work for a woman and gladly married a divorced woman.
The early Islam continued with most of the pre-Islam tribal traditions;

there were no hijabs or veils for women of Madina;

and at a later date only the nine wives of prophets were restricted in their social intercourse as their home was constantly full of visitors.
However the prophet's women sex-slaves were not restricted in any such manners.

Indeed, the semi-transparent half-face- veil (hijab) was actually a very old custom originating in the Assyrian times, a status symbol and a mark of social distinction for the free women.
The pre-Islamic pagan Arab woman of the cities often wore the fashionable semi-transparent half-face veil but the tribal women never did.

Later, Islam added measures for "the preservation of modesty for women" -like casting down their eyes in public, concealing their breasts and jewellery and the likes.
However, these restrictions were later extended by the followers of the prophet far beyond his original intentions as expressed in Koran, and remained more or less a permanent fixture of Muslim life thereafter.

Later on, however, the insecurity of early Islam gradually added to the exclusion of women, and 100 years later, by the reign of the Abbasid Caliph Haroon ur Rashid, women became merely sexual toys and breeding machines;
and as married women they were merely maid servants- mere man's social appendages.
Moreover, as female sex-slaves, women were freely bought and sold in open markets of all Islamic countries, and loaned, rented or bestowed as gifts to friends.
The prophet himself bestowed women sex-slaves to his favourites.
There was no limit to the number of slaves one could own; one of the companions of prophet Hazrat Zubair Ibn ul Arvan, for example, had 1000 men-slaves and 1000 women sex-slaves.
Islam took the woman as the land tilled by the man where he spilled his seeds........

......................... The conquest of Syria forced the conversion of Christian priests to Islam, who changed their religion but not their profession:
they became the stern anti-feminine Islamic mullahs and not only continued their religious magic and rituals but also continued the essentially Christian medievalism under Islam.

In short, as a result of conquests, destructions and imposition of Islamic tribal medievalism, societies under the Islamic Empire went further than any other in their total exclusion of women from political power and social influence.
Islamic legislation went far beyond anything the prophet had originally dreamed of in his tribal religiosity in cheating women of their rightful place in society and in matters of inheritance.

Where originally the Koran gave women the right of inheritance, the legalized institution of Waqf- the religious foundation, excluded the daughters and their descendents from inheritance.

Though the Koran does give the right of inheritance to women, she continued to be a "minor"; usually uneducated, needing a "guardian" in father, husband or the son.
Indeed, the status of women was theoretically exalted but utterly deplorable in practice.

Multiplying number of harems (residing place for the female sex-slaves), finally institutionalised under Caliph Al-Walid II, emphasized the inevitable degradation of womanhood under the Islamic empire.
Haroon ur Rashid, the Islamic Caliph (ruler) had 2000 female sex-slaves, Caliph Mutwakkal had 4000 female sex-slaves;
and every mullah, official or soldier of the Islamic state had some men-slaves and women sex-slaves belonging to the conquered nations.

Not being allowed to learn, experience or think for herself, it is no wonder that there are very few outstanding women in Islamic history...

It is interesting to watch the uneven historical progress of humanity.

" So king Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth for riches and for wisdom "(1 Kings 10:23 KJV)

He had 700 wives and 300 concubines !!!!!

"Ancient beliefs divide people.

which omits belief in the supernatural,
including all gods and goddesses, devils and angels, hells and heavens,
offers an escape from the mistakes of the past."

"Clergy, seen by their loyal followers to have special access to and understanding of the Divine, have a special responsibility to critically study and honestly examine what they teach, whatever their tradition."

The competing traditions of mankind can not all be correct, in fact none maybe correct.

If a "God" directed revelation,
why was it so fragmented and painful ?

Truely, an objective view
of the history can only conclude:
"Man made his Gods & his religions..."

"EVERY religion
can NOT be right,

but ALL can
be wrong."

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