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We’re Out of Our Minds…

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… and will be back later, insha’Allah. Hopefully by the end of the week.

So, consider this an open thread. Comments will be moderated by moi (Mouse).

Here’s a little something to jumpstart the conversation…

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Religion, Politcs An Uneasy Mix For Most in Canada

Canadians are becoming increasingly uneasy about mixing religion and politics and they’d be more likely to vote for a party led by an atheist or a Muslim than an evangelical Christian, suggests a new poll.

Interesting, to say the least… and I find it somewhat amusing that they’d rather elect a Muslim than an evangelical Christian, because it assumes that a Muslim will be more secular (on the same level as an atheist, even) than an evangelical Christian. It’s also sad, because from what I’ve seen, many Muslims here in Canada who are interested in getting into politics are willing to become secular – something that no Muslim should ever do, because there is no separation of masjid and state in Islam. The best way to govern, is to govern by Islam and Shari’ah (please don’t tell me that the first images to pop into your heard after you read that sentence was a picture of the streets flooded by niqaabis and guys in turbans! And please try not to go into the whole “Shari’ah isn’t good for this day and age” thing, or accuse me of wanting to take over Canada and turn into an Islamic State or whatever.).

Keep supporting MuslimMatters for the sake of Allah

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Zainab bint Younus (AnonyMouse) is a Canadian Muslim woman who writes on Muslim women's issues, gender related injustice in the Muslim community, and Muslim women in Islamic history. She holds a diploma in Islamic Studies from Arees University, a diploma in History of Female Scholarship from Cambridge Islamic College, and has spent the last fifteen years involved in grassroots da'wah. She was also an original founder of MuslimMatters.org.

22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. Didi

    May 31, 2007 at 10:38 AM

    You’re out of your minds? How so? Nutmeg overdose?

    Anyways, Canadians are only more willing to elect Muslims than evangelical Christians because they’re familiar with how much the Christians suck (because we have the large crowd of them down south), but haven’t yet realised that Muslims are, politically speaking, even worse. Christians try to sneak their religious doctrine into law by going through loopholes and appealing to the Christianity of the public, while, as you just hinted, any “true” fundamental Muslim would just force Islamic law on us. Every single country with a majority Muslim population is poor and underdeveloped, most of the men there think that they have the right to “discipline” their multiple wives, people are torturing/killing each other based off what division of Islam they believe in, etc. If people actually read about what your religion says you can/should do, you would have less chance of winning than the Work Less Party (who has a very small chance of winning).

    Secularism is the way to go – notice how every modern economy is secular, and that every country governed by religious law is what we would consider to be “third world”? That’s gotta mean something. What does it mean? Oh yeah. Secularism is the way to go.

    We need leaders whe can think rationally, without factoring superstition into his or her decisions. An atheist is the best candidate for this type of work. When appreached with religiously sensitive issues, an atheist will be able to look at it objectively and make an educated decision, while a theist will look at their preferred medieval holy book and see what the peasants from a couple thousand years ago had to say. For example, when an issue like gay marriage pops up, an atheist will look at it objectively and say something along the lines of “well, they really want to do it and it doesn’t harm anyone, so we might as well allow it”, while your average fundamental theist will say “no, we can’t let them do that, because these passages from my book left over from the dark ages whose statements I can’t confirm say so”.

    Again, the only type of leader one can truly trust to make rational decisions is someone who isn’t bound by superstition. The only people who aren’t bound by superstition are atheists. Vote for atheists, eerybody!

  2. BintMuhammed

    May 31, 2007 at 11:35 AM

    Didi-wat an interesting choice of name.
    Your ignorance is apparent in your writing. Those who defame islam are those who know absolutely nothing about it except what they see on television. If you knew anything about islam, you would have known that we do not base anything on superstitions and islam forbids believing in superstitions. But if you think that following a GOD made law is superstition, then i guess its better for you to follow the atheist ancestors, otherwise known as monkeys. A true Islamic state is one that follows the Sharia in all matters, you will not find one present these days, thats why you see corruption, murder, poverty in so called muslim countries, simply because they are not following the shariah. Why dont you read about the biography of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and what he did for the Arabia Peninsula, or read about he’s rightly guided successors who spread islam through out the world. When you read about true islam, is when you will realize that islaam is the best solution for the people, and a true islamic leader is the best solution for this corrupted world.

  3. tarek

    May 31, 2007 at 12:24 PM

    I have a question for Didi:

    “Is it that whenever there came to you an apostle with what you youselves desired not, you grew arrogant?” (Al-Baqarah 87)

    What do you have to say?

    “But (O Prophet) if they do not respond to you, then know that they follow their own lusts. And who is more astray than one who follows his own lusts without guidance from Allah?” (Al-Qasas 50)

    I conclude:

    “Then do you see one who takes as his god his own vain desire?” (Al Jaathiyah 23)

    Wasalaamu aleikom

  4. tarek

    May 31, 2007 at 12:28 PM

    btw the Napoleonic code which is the law book of almost all the North African countries is hardly Islamic. In the vast majority of Muslim countries (not Islamic countries), there is a smalllll bit of Islamic Family Law (though even that is screwed with- come on, women not getting their Mahr or inheritance?), and much of the rest of the legal system is secular. This was largely the result of colonisation by the “peace-loving” and “tolerant ” Europeans- Christianity or not (although at least Christianity believes man has a bit more potenital than an animal)

  5. AnonyMouse

    May 31, 2007 at 12:32 PM

    BintMuhammad, Tarek, I know you mean well, but that sort of approach won’t work with Didi (I’ve had lots of previous experience with him)…

    @ Didi:
    The reason that so many Muslim countries today are in a terrible state (third world) is NOT because of the religion they’re being ruled according to (and in pretty much every case, Muslim countries aren’t being ruled according to proper Islamic law anyway), but because of various other issues such as socio-economic and historical factors (colonialism).

    And if you look at a list of third world countries, Muslim countries aren’t the ones ones there – Nepal, Haiti, and Vanuatu certainly aren’t Muslim countries.

    You may think religion is just a bunch of superstition, but for us it most certainly is not – there is pretty much always a reason for something we believe in (like your example of gay marriage: we aren’t against it ‘just because’; we’re against it because we think it’s harmful and unnatural, etc.).

    In any case, it all just goes back to whether you believe in God or not; without that, you can’t understand much (or anything) about religion at all… so it’d be useless to debate gay marriage or non-secular government because we’re on two different planes of thought entirely…

  6. Abdul-Quddus

    May 31, 2007 at 1:14 PM

    As-salaamu ‘alaykum.

    BintMuhammed, we must be able to take sincere criticism. Calling the ancestors of atheists as “monkeys” is clearly pejorative. If you’re refering to the modern theory of evolution, you’ve unfortunately bought into an infamous misconception. The Evolutionary theory actually states that homosapiens and “monkeys” share a common ancestor. We did not come from monkeys. The fact that science and Islaam agree that man and monkey have a common antecedent is good news. Perhaps science and religion are coming closer to an agreement. The Abrahamic religions teach that we came from incest. However, I think evolution provides a more logical and healthy answer to our origins.

    Didi, there exists affluent countries bearing a predominantly Muslim majority. Some of these nations are oil-rich states with an abundance of materal wealth. However, I personally would rather judge a nation’s success on a more profound criterion (e.g., the literacy rate, treatment of minorities, disabled, indigent, et cetera).

    The Muslim community in Canada is, in my opinion, one of the finest. They’re well respected , successful, and have been a benefit to the country. During the protests and demonstrations against the Danish cartoons controversy, the Canadian response was civil and law-abiding. The signs and posters in Toronto were nothing like what we saw in Britain and Europe.

    Everyone has an agenda, including atheists. If many members of parliment in the Canadian House of Commons were secular, ideally, they would promote secularism and push religion out of the public sector. If I was elected, being a vegetarian, I’d expose environmental concerns and push “green” projects further than others probably would. At the present moment, secularism is working well for everybody in Canada and I wouldn’t desire another form of governance. If it’s not broken…

    …don’t fix it.

  7. AnonyMouse

    May 31, 2007 at 3:19 PM

    One thing I don’t understand is that whenever you mentioned “Shari’ah” and a non-Muslim country in the same breath (e.g. Canada and Shari’ah), people end up freaking out and thinking that all we “Islamist fundies” are trying to turn said non-Muslim country into an Islamic state.

    People, chill. It’s not likely to happen anytime soon.
    Sad to say, but I look around at my Muslim community and know that if there’s no way we can keep a single masjid running smoothly, there’s certainly no way we can run the country.
    My personal stance is, once we can sort out and deal with the (many) problems within our community, THAT is when we can start seriously thinking about getting involved in federal politics.

    I wrote about this subject on my old blog… hmmmmm, perhaps I should re-post it here…

  8. Didi

    May 31, 2007 at 10:02 PM

    Ok, that’s a lot to respond to, so excuse me if I miss some things out. I’ll try to answer all the important points, starting with my name.

    “Didi” is derived from the French name “Didier”, and, unless you happen to speak Mandarin Chinese (in which my nickname means “little brother”), it isn’t very interesting at all. It’s actually quite common.

    “Superstition is a set of behaviors that are related to magical thinking, whereby the practitioner believes that the future, or the outcome of certain events, can be influenced by certain specified behaviors.”

    So…How is Islam not superstitious? Isn’t it all “praise the almighty lord five times per day and you’ll go to heaven” or something? Is there any proof backing up that claim? No? Then Islam is superstitious.

    “i guess its better for you to follow the atheist ancestors, otherwise known as monkeys”

    Umm…Even if I believed that we descended from monkeys, I wouldn’t “follow” them. We’ve evolved from monkeys, that means that we’re better than them. We want to keep moving forward, not back to the time of the neanderthals.

    Tarek: First off, I’m not sure I know what you’re talking about – it would be easier if you wrote in/translated to regular English. I have enough trouble understanding Shakespeare, and I have a sneaking suspicion that your quotes are from almost a thousand years before his time. Nevertheless, I will attempt to comprehend and refute your “argument”.

    “Is it that whenever there came to you an apostle with what you youselves desired not, you grew arrogant?”

    I take that to mean something along the lines of “Is it that whenever you met a devoutly religious person who said things that you didn’t want to hear, you became more arrogant?”

    Almost. Every time I met a devoutly religious person who talked about their beliefs, I noted that the beliefs were irrational and that they didn’t have any proof whatsoever to back them up. Compound that with the fact that every different one of them had a slightly different set of beliefs and that they were all so firmly convinced that they were right, and I eventually realized that all of the Abrahamic religions are packs of lies. The eastern Asian religions are also full of lies, but they’re, in general, much cooler.

    “But (O Prophet) if they do not respond to you, then know that they follow their own lusts. And who is more astray than one who follows his own lusts without guidance from Allah?”

    That’s an argument for you, not me. I don’t believe in “Allah”, so I don’t believe that I’m astray.

    “Then do you see one who takes as his god his own vain desire?”

    Is that meant to imply that I worship my desires? A tad judgemental, don’t you think? As a secular humanist, I desire global warming to be stopped, I desire cures to be found for AIDS, I desire stem cell research to take place, and I desire third-world countries to be lifted out of poverty. And you say that I’m off track? That is *not* the way to win an argument. My desires have never caused anything bad to happen. Religion has caused more bad things to happen than anything else (excluding emotions, oxygen, DNA, etc.).

    “Although at least Christianity believes man has a bit more potenital than an animal”

    Don’t kid yourself. Everyone knows that humans have more potential than your average animal. It’s just that when we examine ourselves, we find that we’re just like chimps with bigger brains, so we infer that we *are* animals, just ones that have mentally developed. You can ignore evolution (even when doing things like taking modern medicine, which rely very heavily and, in some cases, solely, on our knowledge of evolution), but that won’t make it any less true. Evolution is the must scrutinised scientific theory ever, and no one has yet to find a single flaw.

    “The reason that so many Muslim countries today are in a terrible state (third world) is NOT because of the religion they’re being ruled according to…”

    Well, I just thought that it was interesting how every developed country has a secular government and how every country with a religious government is very poorly developed. Don’t you think that the two *might* be related somehow?

    “And if you look at a list of third world countries, Muslim countries aren’t the ones ones there”

    Yemen and Sudan are both Muslim countries, and they both rank below Nepal on the Human Development Index.

    “You may think religion is just a bunch of superstition, but for us it most certainly is not”

    You may think believing in a flying spaghetti monster is just a bunch of superstition, but for me it most certainly is not…Oh no wait, superstition is objective, so it’s the same for everyone. So religion *is* superstitious; you’re just in denial about it.

    “In any case, it all just goes back to whether you believe in God or not…”

    Belief in God is irrational. Why. Ok, let’s have a look. It is improbable for intelligent beings to exist. It gets more improbable the more intelligent these beings are. God is meant to be infinitely intelligent. Therefore, God is infinitely improbable.

    Last time I got into a discussion with you about this, I listed a large amount of contradictions in the Qur’an. You never answered them. If you want to convince me of anything, first explain why those contradictions are in your Holy book.

    “Didi, there exists affluent countries bearing a predominantly Muslim majority. Some of these nations are oil-rich states with an abundance of materal wealth.”

    Nope, the closest you get is Kuwait, which has an impressive Human Development Index of 0.871. Oh wait, Kuwait has a secular government. Never mind. There are also countries like Qatar and the United Arab emirates, but they’re both run by a mixture of secular and Islamic law.

    “One thing I don’t understand is that whenever you mentioned ‘Shari’ah’ and a non-Muslim country in the same breath (e.g. Canada and Shari’ah), people end up freaking out and thinking that all we ‘Islamist fundies’ are trying to turn said non-Muslim country into an Islamic state.”

    For good reason. If you want to impose Islamic law on a non-muslim country, people have every right to freak out. Islamic law says that you have to starve yourself for a month and waste a significant portion of your day praying, that husbands can “discipline” their wives, that people should get stoned to death for adultery, etc. This is as backwards as it gets.

  9. AnonyMouse

    May 31, 2007 at 11:03 PM

    “Last time I got into a discussion with you about this, I listed a large amount of contradictions in the Qur’an. You never answered them.”

    Because 1) I didn’t have the time, and 2) because I’ve realized that it’s really no use debating with you on this subject, and so I’ve pretty much decided to hold my peace.

    “If you want to impose Islamic law on a non-muslim country, people have every right to freak out.”
    Nobody is trying to impose Islamic law on a non-Muslim country. Chill.

    “Well, I just thought that it was interesting how every developed country has a secular government and how every country with a religious government is very poorly developed.”

    I really don’t think that religion/ secularism has much to do with the development of a country. If you look at history, at one point the Muslim world was THE most developed part of the world with amazing innovations in technology, while Europe was pretty much a mudhole.
    The situation of today’s underdeveloped countries has to do with socio-economic factors and poor governance – not religion.

    “Islamic law says that you have to starve yourself for a month and waste a significant portion of your day praying, that husbands can “discipline” their wives, that people should get stoned to death for adultery, etc. This is as backwards as it gets.”

    Ummmm, no. You’re taking things at face value, viewing it from a purely apathetic and materialistic manner. There is meaning and reason behind these laws… and if you don’t truly open your mind and heart to really trying to learn and understand, well, it will just never make sense to you.

  10. Didi

    June 1, 2007 at 12:00 AM

    You’ll find that I’ll react much more positively to your arguments if you *do* try to refute my statements. Simply ignoring them by saying that “there’s no point” just reinforces my belief that your religion is false and that you can’t back up your claims. You did this last time I challenged your beliefs on evolution as well. The moment I start writing something you can’t refute, you just ignore me.

    “If you look at history, at one point the Muslim world was THE most developed part of the world with amazing innovations in technology, while Europe was pretty much a mudhole.”

    Ok, (1) where is the proof of that, and (2), we’re talking about now, where we have things like modern evolution-based medicine, not a millenium ago, so it doesn’t really matter anyways.

    “The situation of today’s underdeveloped countries has to do with socio-economic factors and poor governance – not religion.”

    Poor governance. Islamic law. Hmm.

    The thing about running countries is that the laws have to change with the times. Nowadays, for example, women have started to realize that they should have equal rights as men. The laws in secular countries have been adapted to that ideal, but that can’t happen in a country run 100% by Islamic law.

    “You’re taking things at face value, viewing it from a purely apathetic and materialistic manner.”

    That’s how you want a leader of a country to behave. You *want* them to look at things apathetically and materialistically. That’s the only way one can make a fully rational decision.

    “if you don’t truly open your mind and heart to really trying to learn and understand, well, it will just never make sense to you.”

    The problem with doing that is that you can open your mind to anything and start believing in it – unfortunately, that doesn’t make it any more true. A kid “opening his mind” to the idea that there are monsters under his bed will no doubt start seeing “evidence” of the monsters, and he’ll start “understanding” why they’re there, but that doesn’t make the monsters real. Anyone looking at the situation objectively will be able to see that the belief in the monsters is irrational, and the belief in them won’t “make sense” to them.

    I am more concerned with what is than what should be. While it would be nice to have eternal life, there’s unfortunately no such thing, so I should focus on living this life to its fullest extent instead.

    I can be converted to Islam. All you have to do is answer all of my questions satisfactorally. Look at the two following guides for assistance – I highly recommend them to anyone who wants to debate an atheist.

    http://www.ebonmusings.org/atheism/theistguide.html
    http://www.ebonmusings.org/atheism/hownot.html

  11. Suhail

    June 1, 2007 at 11:56 AM

    and why do muslims care if you convert or not please enlighten me.

  12. AnonyMouse

    June 1, 2007 at 1:52 PM

    “You did this last time I challenged your beliefs on evolution as well. The moment I start writing something you can’t refute, you just ignore me.”

    When it comes to evolution, I admit that I have little to no knowledge of it at all… but just because I don’t have an answer to something, doesn’t make it right or irrefutable.
    So in this case I admit to my ignorance and inability to answer. Again, however, just because I don’t know the answer doesn’t mean that you’re right.

    “Ok, (1) where is the proof of that, and (2), we’re talking about now, where we have things like modern evolution-based medicine, not a millenium ago, so it doesn’t really matter anyways.”

    http://www.muslimheritage.com/

  13. AnonyMouse

    June 1, 2007 at 1:56 PM

    (Dammit, the whole comment didn’t go through!)

    You’ll find that a lot of today’s modern medicine (and other things as well) is based on what was discovered and learnt by Muslims in the past. It does, in fact, matter, because without those previous discoveries we wouldn’t have what we have now.

    “Poor governance. Islamic law. Hmm.”
    Nope, because no Muslim country currently in existence rules 100% in accord with Islamic law.
    Corruption, ignorance, and culture play a pretty heavy role in these things – thus the poor governance has not to do whether the law is Islamic or not, but with what the rulers are doing.

    It’s pretty much a well-known fact that most, if not all, rulers in the Muslim world today are corrupt despots: and it has nothing to do with them being Muslim.

    “That’s how you want a leader of a country to behave. You *want* them to look at things apathetically and materialistically. That’s the only way one can make a fully rational decision.”

    “Rational” does not always mean “right.” My decisions are not always made based on rationality, but based on my moral compass… and personally, I’d look for that in a leader as well.
    Say, for example, that’s there’s a war or something going on and refugees are clamouring to be let into the country. The purely rational thing would, perhaps, be to not let the refugees into the country because they’ll cause all sorts of financial issues; but the right thing to do would be to let some, if not all, of the refugees in.
    Furthermore, as human beings, there is more to us than pure rationality. We have feelings and emotions… and yes, while sometimes feelings and emotions can lead you to say/ do something wrong, it doesn’t mean that we need to cast away all feeling – we just need to temper them somewhat with reason.

    Reducing yourself to an analytical robot and totally disregarding that which makes us human – that side of us which actually feels something from the heart – doesn’t make you a better person.
    Behaving totally emotionally is also not smart or good; we need a combination of emotion and reason, and this is something which Islam teaches and which is reflected in its laws.

    I don’t think your “monsters under the bed” analogy is accurate; Islam isn’t just blind beliefs or a set of rules, it’s a way of life. From waking up in the morning to going to bed at night; from dealing with family, friends, and enemies to ruling a country… Islam encompasses all these. All of the laws of Islam have wisdoms and reasons behind them, if you simply took the time to learn about them.

    Take, for example, fasting in the month of Ramadan. In your view, we’re starving ourselves unneccessarily; yet for us it is something more, many things more. We are experiencing hunger, thirst, and needs which many others who are less fortunate than us experience every day – this helps us be more empathetic and sympathetic to their situation. We’re also purifying ourselves physically and spiritually – I remember reading in one of those health magazines that lots of other people fast because it helps cleans out the toxins in the body and stuff. Spiritually, there’s a lot to benefit from as well.

    So you see? While at first glance what we do may seem to be “stupid,” there’s actually a lot more to it than what you think.

    “I am more concerned with what is than what should be. While it would be nice to have eternal life, there’s unfortunately no such thing, so I should focus on living this life to its fullest extent instead.”
    As a Muslim, I’m concerned with both. I set for myself ideals and goals, and strive to achieve them. My goals have to do both with this life and the next, and are so thoroughly interwined its impossible to pull them apart. I try to live as a good person, being a positive influence in society, because I know that in this world it’s beneficial to everyone and will (hopefully) make this world a better place; and I do it also because I know that this is one of the things that God is pleased with and which will hopefully get me to Paradise.

    Islam is not a religion which commands random things because they’ll help you in the afterlife; Islam is a religion which commands things that are beneficial to us all in both spheres of existence (this world, and the hereafter). Islam envisions the building of a pure and just society; but rather than just setting idealistic goals it deals very much with realistic and practical means to achieving those goals – and it all starts with us as individuals.

    Besides, if I believed as you did (that there is no afterlife) then still I’d work hard at trying to be a good person and so on – because at least I’ll have done something decent with my life instead of frittering it away on having fun and enjoying myself and not really caring about the whole world around me.

    “I can be converted to Islam.”
    I cannot “convert” anyone. What is in your mind and in your heart, what you believe, is something that none of us have any control over. We can try to answer your questions, but it doesn’t mean you’ll be satisfied or convinced.
    Furthermore, I won’t kill myself if you don’t accept Islam; I will grieve that yet another person has refused to accept the truth, but I know that we’re all responsible for our own decisions and so whatever you decide, YOU will be held accountable for (and the same goes for myself and the rest of us).

  14. Didi

    June 1, 2007 at 11:04 PM

    “When it comes to evolution, I admit that I have little to no knowledge of it at all… but just because I don’t have an answer to something, doesn’t make it right or irrefutable.”

    …So you don’t actually know what you’re arguing against. Great. Well, I suggest reading up on what I actually believe before challenging the rest of my beliefs. After all, I’ve read read a large amount of stuff on Islam and Christianity; it’s only fair that you do the same. Start here: http://www.ebonmusings.org/evolution/index.html

    “It does, in fact, matter, because without those previous discoveries we wouldn’t have what we have now.”

    By “we’re talking about now, where we have things like modern evolution-based medicine, not a millennium ago”, I meant “we live in a different world now and what happened a millennium ago doesn’t concern us, and even if Muslims were more advanced a thousand years ago, that shouldn’t have much effect on how we should govern our countries now”, not “nyah nyah, we have medicine!”.

    “Nope, because no Muslim country currently in existence rules 100% in accord with Islamic law…”

    Nevertheless, as I pointed out, Islamic law is still inferior to modern, western law because the latter can be altered to fit with the times.

    “Rational” does not always mean “right.” My decisions are not always made based on rationality, but based on my moral compass… and personally, I’d look for that in a leader as well.
    Say, for example, that’s there’s a war or something going on and refugees are clamouring to be let into the country. The purely rational thing would, perhaps, be to not let the refugees into the country because they’ll cause all sorts of financial issues; but the right thing to do would be to let some, if not all, of the refugees in.

    Furthermore, as human beings, there is more to us than pure rationality. We have feelings and emotions… and yes, while sometimes feelings and emotions can lead you to say/ do something wrong, it doesn’t mean that we need to cast away all feeling – we just need to temper them somewhat with reason.

    Reducing yourself to an analytical robot and totally disregarding that which makes us human – that side of us which actually feels something from the heart – doesn’t make you a better person.
    Behaving totally emotionally is also not smart or good; we need a combination of emotion and reason, and this is something which Islam teaches and which is reflected in its laws.

    The completely rational thing to do in the “refugee” situation would be to consider both the financial implications, and the possible public outcry, and your country’s international reputation, and your empathy towards the refugees. It’s entirely possible to be both rational and empathetic at the same time – the entire moral basis of secular humanism is based off empathy, and secular humanists have never blown people up in the name of natural selection.

    “we need a combination of emotion and reason, and this is something which Islam teaches and which is reflected in its laws. ”

    Yes to the first, but if Islam’s senses of emotion and reason are reflected in its laws, then Muslims have the most screwed up senses of emotion and reason in the world. Is the law that allows husbands to beat their wives based off emotion or reason? What about the stoning to death/whipping of homosexuals? Sounds more like xenophobia to me. Islam’s laws have far too much emotion and not nearly enough reason in them. Are there any laws against money laundering? No? Well, maybe that’s why countries run under Islamic law are so screwed up.

    “I don’t think your “monsters under the bed” analogy is accurate; Islam isn’t just blind beliefs or a set of rules, it’s a way of life.”

    The scope doesn’t matter. If you thought that the monsters were following you around and commanding you to do things and therefore influencing your “way of life”, it just makes your delusion worse. In the end, you’re still believing in something irrational – that there are monsters under your bed. Plus, Buddhism is a way of life too (on top of that, Buddhists have a much better record for treating fellow humans than Muslims do). If simply being a way of life was a justification for something irrational, why don’t you believe that we’re all reincarnated?

    “Take, for example, fasting in the month of Ramadan…”

    The month of Ramadan doesn’t really bother me, because you’re choosing to starve yourself. What bothers me is when your laws start to influence other people (eg. no criticism of your prophet). If you want to starve yourself, that’s fine by me. Just don’t tell others that they can’t do things that don’t harm anyone, and that they *can* do things that *do* harm others.

    “So you see? While at first glance what we do may seem to be “stupid,” there’s actually a lot more to it than what you think.”

    I never said that it was “stupid”. In fact, I’ve understood why Muslims partake in Ramadan for years. I just don’t want to do it myself. Ever.

    “I am more concerned with what is than what should be. While it would be nice to have eternal life, there’s unfortunately no such thing, so I should focus on living this life to its fullest extent instead.”

    “I know that this is one of the things that God is pleased with and which will hopefully get me to Paradise.”

    How do you know that paradise exists?

    “Islam envisions the building of a pure and just society; but rather than just setting idealistic goals it deals very much with realistic and practical means to achieving those goals…”

    Like flogging homosexuals? Stoning adulterers to death?

    “Besides, if I believed as you did (that there is no afterlife) then still I’d work hard at trying to be a good person and so on – because at least I’ll have done something decent with my life instead of frittering it away on having fun and enjoying myself and not really caring about the whole world around me. ”

    …Good for you?

    “and why do muslims care if you convert or not please enlighten me.”

    Analogy time! Let’s say that you know a very depressed person. He’s depressed because…well, let’s say that he was gay and got rocks thrown at him by Muslims or something. It doesn’t really matter. For the sake of argument, let’s also say that he’s tripping on acid and doesn’t understand the consequences of his actions at the time. This depressed person says “I’m going to kill myself by melting my face off on a gas stove” (finite equivalent to hell). This depressed person walks over to a gas stove and turns it on.

    What do you do? Do you try everything in your power (including physical restraint) to stop this person from melting his face off, or do you stand around, occasionally saying things like “hmm, I wouldn’t do that if I were you”? Let’s assume that you do the latter (because, you “don’t care” if he melts his face off or not). The guy doesn’t listen to your mumblings and melts his face off. Then, the police come and they ask you “why did you let this guy melt his face off?”. What do you answer? “I grieve that he melted his face off, but we’re all responsible for our own decisions”? Do you think that the police are going to like that? Are you proud of the fact that you indirectly aided someone to melt his own face off?

  15. abu ameerah

    June 1, 2007 at 11:34 PM

    Canada is not a real country.

    It is a wild land that is ruled by bears, hockey fans, and Mounties (fake cops who wear outfits circa 1920).

    The only good thing to come out of Canada was maple syrup.

  16. doobiedoo

    June 2, 2007 at 3:13 AM

    Ummm, Abu Ameerah your comments are kind of strange. LOL @ the “wild land that is ruled by bears” bit.

    And Didi, great name :) I actually really liked your “melting your face off with a gas stove” analogy despite the disgusting imagery that presented itself in my brain after reading it.

    Anyways, having grown up in what is considered a “secular” country I do prefer it to the so called “unsecular” alternatives. I think that when people think of “secular” they think of godless and somewhat atheistic. To me secular means that there is no official state religion and all religions are essentially equal in the eyes of the law. I frankly really don’t get why secularism gets such a bad rap. Understandably, countries like France/Turkey have gone to an extreme, but in that regards they seems to be no different than the extremes that Iran and Afghanistan under the Taliban have gone to. Just opposite ends of the spectrum is all. And after seeing countries like Egypt who will not grant the Bahai minority citizenship and national ID cards (despite their families having lived there for 100’s if not 1000’s of years) because their religion is not one of the “heavenly three” I feel even more strongly. One thing that can be said for pretty much every non-secular country in the world, both past and present, muslim, christian, jewish, hindu is that equality for all in terms of being able to worship how you please, is most definitely not a concern. I think that secularism is really the best way to ensure that on at the very least all people are ensured at the very least basic rights and freedom to worship as they choose. And so I will continue to trumpet secularism :)

  17. doobiedoo

    June 2, 2007 at 3:18 AM

    And after rereading my comment, there is no need to throw anecdotes of past Islamic Empires from a millenium ago with examples of how fair they were to minority religions in order to sway my views on secularism. I’m very aware of history and my views remain unchanged, if not even further solidified :)

  18. Didi

    June 2, 2007 at 4:02 AM

    Thank you, doobiedoo. It’s good to see that someone agrees with me (up to a certain point, at least).

  19. AnonyMouse

    June 2, 2007 at 10:52 PM

    Didi, don’t think that I’m ignoring you right now… I’m just busy and don’t have the time to respond ASAP – insha’Allah I’ll get to it on Monday.

  20. abu ameerah

    June 3, 2007 at 10:40 PM

    Further proof that Canada is a wild land ruled by voracious man-eating bears:

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=I8qcW3fHGhM&mode=related&search=

  21. Suhail

    June 4, 2007 at 10:58 AM

    Anyways since you guys have a solid and unchanging views why then discuss. It is not worth it when you think that u are rigid on certain things.

    Also on that melting face thing then yes if the person doesnt want to listen and hear. He has shut down all his organs which can lead my words to his brain then a muslim cant do much like you have.

    Suhail

  22. Megawati Mustafa

    June 5, 2008 at 7:12 AM

    Shouldn’t we just ignore Didi and doobiedoo because we simiply go the opposite direction?! Save your pen or emotion for other important matters.

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