Seeking Common Ground: Why Progressive Muslims & Atheists Should Work Together | Kile Jones

Seeking Common Ground: Why Progressive Muslims & Atheists Should Work Together | Kile Jones August 5, 2015
 Quinn Dombrowski / Flickr via Creative Commons
Quinn Dombrowski / Flickr via Creative Commons

GUEST POST BY KILE JONES

Can progressive Muslims and atheists actually find ways to work together? Some of my atheist comrades may disagree with me, but I think so. Of course we may diverge on whether a God exists, or if there is an afterlife, but when it comes to this world and the problems humans face, our tribes have much we agree on. And our agreements are not petty or tangential. They are sources of energy that can be harnessed for a much needed change.

 

So what do we agree on? Well besides opposing theocracy, blasphemy laws, and Bronze-age ethics, we promote human rights, freedom of conscience, separation of Mosque and State, education, and compassion.

 

You could imagine how we feel about the punishment of atheist bloggers in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, the persecution of minority Christian and Muslim sects in Iraq and Pakistan, and the “Islamo-fascists” who cite the Qur’an as a justification for violence. When Theo van Gogh was brutally murdered we shook our heads. When Craig Hicks shot and killed two Muslim students, we were ashamed.

 

What we don’t do, however, is proceed to naively caricature the other group by taking an extremist as the representative model of that group. Many atheists and progressive Muslims recognize that while acknowledging cultural context and social nuances doesn’t excuse wickedness, they certainly help us understand it better.

 

So while I may agree with some of what Bill Maher, Ayaan Ali, and Sam Harris say, I cannot take the leap required to lump Muslims together under a reified banner of disapprobation. It’s not simply a matter of my soft insides getting the best of me: it’s my reason that cannot allow me such frivolities.

 

At this point, I’m going to be blunt: Many of my fellow atheists buy into an overly simplistic depiction of Islam made by uncritical lay-activists and quasi-scholars. If you don’t believe me, spend a day looking at my Facebook feed! Of course, in light of this, I do not think Islam, Muslims, or the Qur’an are beyond reproach. I am all for what Daniel Dennett calls “breaking the spell.”

 

Critical analysis, thoughtful critique, careful research, honest exploration; these are the tools needed to counteract our natural urges to demonize, contain, and control. Some Muslims refer to it as a “jihad of the pen.” And it is this struggle–to counteract our lesser angels while remaining intellectually vigilant–that us atheists and Muslims can work on together.

 

Trust me on this one, we have more than enough opposition to what we are advocating for. The Ayatollahs and Mullahs of the world cannot fathom the strength and meaning that can exist between our different groups. Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller don’t realize the latent potential we have to flip the script and change the popular narrative of Muslim-panic and atheist-distrust.

 

But it requires us to speak up, to defend each other against unfair attacks, and to try and see past our differences. So when a Muslim friend of yours says, “those atheists are all immoral liars” you can challenge their vitriol. I will do the same for you.

 

Someday I hope to see a robust Muslim-atheist coalition that feeds the hungry, clothes the poor, and takes care of the widow and orphan. When Muslim-atheist groups will sit down for coffee (I recommend Turkish!) and come up with surprising ways to show that although we believe different things, we can transcend the petty divisions placed between us.

 

Are you up for the challenge?

Kile Jones is an atheist involved in inter-faith dialogue who works towards building bridges between non-believers and religious persons. He is also the founder of “Interview an Atheist at Church Day” and Claremont Journal of Religion. His twitter is @KileBJones

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  • My rule of thumb for seeking common ground with progressive Muslims is the same with seeking common ground with progressive members of any faith: if you’re a progressive in name only (i.e. if you think LGBT people and apostates deserve to burn in Hell, or that women should be submissive to their husbands, but you say it in a kinder gentler way), forget it! However, if you place humanity above dogma, if you realize that maybe some your religion’s traditional doctrines were wrong, then we’ll talk. Does that make sense?

  • No one is in charge of Islam, least of all Muslim atheists. Whatever Muslims do in Islam’s name, good or bad, that’s what Islam is. The tree is known by its fruit. And click over to YouTube and watch Dennis Prager’s brief explications of the Ten Commandments, and then see if “Bronze Age ethics” are quite so contemptible after all. Then as now, it depended on which religion you were talking about.

  • Jesus Bones

    Sounds fair and reasonable, but use caution when dealing with religion, for in the long run it will always come down to the dogma.

  • nnmns

    Atheists and Muslims stand together in lists of electability and such. It would be reasonable that we stand in support of each other but I have repeatedly heard Muslims approach Christians saying “At least we’re not atheists.” so I have qualms.

  • mike

    i don’t think I have ever meet a progressive muslim. I’ve heard rumor of secular muslims, but all I’ve ever talked to said that sharia was god’s law and was the only salvation for the world.
    if you call 877 why-islam, the Islamic Cirlce of North America will send you their book “Towards Understanding Islam’. the second thing they talk about is ‘What Does it Mean to Deny God’. on page ten they sum it up. I don’t have the book with me, but suffice it to say, they blame atheists for all the ills of the world. it is quite humorous. everyone should check it out.

  • mike

    ‘behaving’. what does that mean. yes many muslim say that according to sharia they are to follow the laws of a foreign land while in it. and they often cite the hadith were Muhammad sends some dudes to the Coptic king in Egypt for protection. that doesn’t make them secularists. yes, of course they can believe whatever they want. being law biding doesn’t make one a secularist either. so how many muslims do you know?
    yes I’m sure many religious people blame atheists for all the ills of the world. in fact I was talking with an old catholic in the hot tub at the ymca once and he said he felt America was in decline because god has been removed from the public square. I pointed out the stupidity of his argument. but you can do that with some people, while others just ban you.
    I care. you may not care that I care, but oh well.
    I’m glad you laughed, because I did too. how do you make the leap to human sacrifice?

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/six-minnesota-men-arrested-trying-to-join-isis-identified/

  • mike

    yes, we are all ‘behaving’ secularists in America, that doesn’t mean all Americans are secularists. Islamic governments building mosques in America isn’t against the law, but it’s not very secular either. anyway, good to hear you care.
    last time my brother was in china, he said he couldn’t find a dog restaurant. speaking of eating dog, you reminded me I need to ask nur if my buddy was right. he just got back from Malaysia and claimed that the banker at the Bank of Islam he said all muslims get a 10% discount ‘on everything’. that doesn’t really make sense, but nur should know, not being a muslim anymore. what do you think of them having your religion on your ID?

  • mike

    well I imagine in muslim minds Malaysia is a tolerant secular country. same with turkey.
    I would too. unless of course I was in an Islamic country.
    good night.

  • rosross

    There is nothing particular about Islam in terms of the religion as it manifests not being true to the doctrines as written. This applies to all religions.

    But Islam, like the rest must deal with the realities and you cannot clear up misconceptions without addressing dysfunctional realities in the religion as it is expressed.

    The inherent misogyny in the religion is equalled only by Hinduism in this day and age but fundamentalist Christianity, Judaism, Jainism, Buddhism are not far behind.

    The Imams need to speak out against the subjugation of women and girls and against radicalism and violence. That will clear up misconceptions.

  • Jammy

    As much as i want to agree with this and point at you with Maajid Nawaz. I have to ask a lot about where you stand on multiple issues. One of which is the fate of ex-muslims in the hands of those (very small) secular muslims.
    If the worst of Islam [globally and historically] can be fought, why not fight it together with secular muslims?! Try to reform it into a more UDHR compatible religion.

    I can only hope the quote below becomes the narrative in most mosques and madrasat. It would make the world a better place.
    “So what do we agree on? Well besides opposing theocracy, blasphemy laws,
    and Bronze-age ethics, we promote human rights, freedom of conscience,
    separation of Mosque and State, education, and compassion.”

  • rubaxter

    The fact this discusses the situation between Muslims and adult citizens of a secular society only highlights the real issue that won’t go away.

    Why is ‘Muslim’ even dragged into the discussion except that one side can’t shed their need to identify with a crutch built of primitive bigotry to get them through the day?

    Nothing mentioned above in terms of cooperation has any need to delve into dogma in order to address the resolution of human suffering or human progress, so why is religion even mentioned? Religion brings nothing to the table of any especial value that isn’t already present in the US, anyway, as a precept of the Constitution and rule of law.

    Until Muslims realize a secular democracy like the US really doesn’t need their religion or any religion to make things change for the better, any more, they just don’t get why atheists and agnostics are wary of people entering into every conversation having to wear their Muslim/Christian/Jewish/Hindu badge on their sleeve. Especially in the case of a religion that denies the right of a secular democracy to exist in the first place, and which shows by practice it is hostile to a secular democracy, as witness Turkey’s veer back into religion-based government.

  • Nastar Bee

    This is a brilliant article, I’m very surprised at some of the comments I have seen on here. The fundamental message is that true followers of Islam, and indeed all religions, strive for our basic human rights as do all compassionate human beings, Atheists included.

    The article is about breaking down communication barriers and start a respectful rhetoric where we can use our common ground to better the world. The media is full of marginalising and turning groups against each other, and it is up to us to challenge this narrative with our own dialogue, tolerance and understanding of each other.

    I am what some people might call a ‘progressive Muslim’, an Ahmadi Muslim who follows the teachings of the Holy Qur’an and the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings on him) and believes in the advent of the Promised Messiah, awaited by all major religions. My religion teaches that this it’s time for the ‘Jihad of the pen’ and that the ‘Jihad of the sword’ is over. As a great leader once said, ‘Swords can win territories, but not hearts, force can bend heads, but not minds. (Khalifatul Masih, 4th Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community)

    Intolerance is born out of ignorance and external forces that exacerbate the toxic notion that people of all faiths cannot live together. Yes, of course there are individuals who do questionable things in the name of their beliefs, but we all know groups cannot be held accountable for such individual acts. We need to stand up in solidarity with our Jewish, Christian, Atheist, Hindu, Bhuddist, Muslim brothers and sisters and say that we want to live amongst each other and learn from each other with empathy, kindness and consideration and without tit-for-tat behaviour.

  • Unrepentant Atheist

    100% against this. As much as it is a nice idea about allying together to get what we want, the Qu’ran has the same issues as the Bible does, and in some cases more so.

    So as much as we have Christians that are hyped up on Jesus love and ignore the darker parts of the Bible, I am sure that there are Muslims that treat their Qu’ran the same way. They want to see the good friendly parts and ignore the darker hateful parts.

    But right now, the more dangerous components of the Muslim religion are running rampant and slaughtering people and making an advertisement out of it. Progressive Muslims need to change how their countries and even their own followers worship. Until countries start backtracking on blasphemy laws, and holding hands out to people that think differently as them, there isn’t much they can add to the table, and in many ways, they would be more of a burden to an already difficult struggle to change how Atheists are perceived.

    For Progressive Muslims to be an ally in the separation of Church and State, then they have to start practicing what they preach. Until then, they are going to appear as a religion that stifles civil rights, freedom of speech, and diversity. A religion that teaches a good Atheist is one that is a head on a pike.

  • Unrepentant Atheist

    We need people like you, however shouldn’t your focus be reparations of your religion’s image and changing what appears to be a more fundamentalist approach to your religion? While I am more than happy to hold out my hand to individuals like yourself, I feel the religious baggage would be more detrimental to any mutual goals we would try to achieve together.

    I guess what I am saying is that your voice as a more open and approachable Muslim seems muted when compared to the violence some of the more extremist groups. The Muslim governments seem to support the more extremist views as well, if not blatantly in the open, then behind the scenes with financial and military support.

    What would you like to see done and how would it benefit everyone as a group? Do you think it could be successful without first dealing with your religions internal issues?

  • Unrepentant Atheist

    Well, I care. And working side by side with someone that believes I am the problem, and that I should burn in Hell (not sure what Muslims believe happens to Atheists, but I am sure it is as bad if not worse), makes it difficult to partner with them on issues of separation of Church and State.

    It seems to me like it is the old adage, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend”. I am not interested in being viewed as a disposable piece, which is almost certainly what we’d be in any such partnership.

  • Rohitt Sharma

    If Muslims take a step beyond Islam and become “progressive Muslims” what ever that is, then why not go the next logical step and become full unadulterated Atheists?

    I think this is a logical step for Ro Waseem. If he wants to be true to himself he should step out of his charade of being a ‘progressive Muslim’ to appease the West’s secular design. He should become a true Atheist.

    I am with him. But he has to first prove that he is serious. I’d like to read his rewrite of the Qur’an, once he has completed it. I think Kile Jones would agree that is fundamental to progress along this way of thinking.

    Who knows we may be able to eliminate Islam altogether. And all be Atheists. Hopefully not retros, chameleons. So Mr. Ro Waseem lets see your first draft of the Qur’an published here for critique and contributions from your admirers. I sure will look forwarded to seeing your efforts in print, here.

  • S N Smith

    Ro Waseem would benefit from listening to this lecture: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=udFEBj_rCe8

  • Nastar Bee

    The responsibility lies with everyone, if everyone wants the same thing, i.e. a peaceful and harmonious society, and I believe that can only be done by extending our hands out to each other and listen and learn.

    My community regularly run interfaith forums where you can discuss what is happening in our multicultural society, share ideas about how to tackle our concerns in local communities, thus forging great alliances with people from all backgrounds.

    Your comment about my voice being that of a minority does upset me. It highlights the point that I made about a particular narrative being fed to common people. The Muslim countries you hear about today are not an example of what it means to be Islamic; they are merely part of a global capitalist society, thirsty for greed and wealth, often at the cost of minorities. It is shameful and damning. You’re right, at this time, they may support a more extreme Islamic ideology, but how refreshing would it be to hear condemnation from Saudi Arabia about the ill treatment of religious minorities! The way a country is governed should’t be used as an example to measure the ferocity of an entire religion. There is too much corruption in global politics; can we really say that any of these world leaders truly fear God?

    Awareness and education, I believe, is key. There is so much work that my community and other Muslim communities do that try to build ties with their local and national communities, but these events are largely under reported by the mass media. Did you know that a Global Muslim Leader (Mirza Masroor Ahmed, 5th successor of the Promised Messiah) has addressed Capitol Hill, the European Parliament, calling for countries to promote peace and tolerance to one another, and to take responsibility for their actions, whilst condemning terrorism all together? Exactly. I really would love to wipe away this religious baggage so we can see people for who they are. People just like you and me.

  • Speed_Racer

    i dont understand how you can say atheists and muslims should work together when you clearly understand atheists are against all religion, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Satanist, or otherwise.

    we don’t believe in fairy tales so there is no reason for atheists to work with anyone to better the future. religion is an old concept that will die out over time and atheists will show everyone brainwashed by it that religion had it wrong all along.

    the code word for progressive muslim or progressive christian simply implies that you do not follow the crazy things the holy book tells you. You do not follow your own religion so in essence, YOU agree with atheism if you are not a radical christian or muslim or buddhist.

    the holy books clearly state that the Crusades were JUSTIFIED. Violent JIHAD is JUSTIFIED in your book. Calling yourself progressive is quite moronic if you are not going to call yourself atheist as well, lumping yourself together with idiots is not very smart.

  • Unrepentant Atheist

    Its not about being the minority, its about the fear of not speaking out against those that misuse your religion. The extremists are not afraid of speaking their views, but other Muslims cower before them. I understand why, but it is the first problem that needs to be addressed. People fear Muslims, and it is going to be hard to get people to reach out to you with your religion hijacked by ISIS.

    What good it is going to do to get together and speak about multicultural goals, if a portion of your religion is lighting people on fire, and making propaganda videos on how to kill everyone not like them?

  • Unrepentant Atheist

    You misunderstand. Anti-Theists are against religion, which happen to be Atheists. Humanist Atheists often work with the religious for shared goals. So among the Atheist community there are various groups that hold different ideas where the only common ground is that they believe a god or gods do not exist.

  • Unrepentant Atheist

    Oh, I agree with you on the separation of church and state. I am not just very trusting of religions that have recently been massacring Atheists in the streets. It isn’t about hurt feelings, its about trust.

  • BeaverTales

    I’m an atheist. Ultimately, both we apostates and heterodox (i.e. progressive) Muslims live in fear of retaliation by Islamists, Christianists and sundry other bigots, but we have several other things in common too.

    Let’s start by agreeing that not every single idea in the Quran/Hadiths are God’s literal unchanging word….whether we call it due to a ‘question of interpretation’…or errors in transcription from the divine on the part of the authors from a medieval theocracy…or that Allah (or any other deity) doesn’t exist…we must decide if we are in agreement about what constitutes basic human rights and then agree on the compromises we must all make while living in pluralistic and secular communities.

    If we can’t agree that at the bare minimum that any ideology that promotes violence or alienation of another’s free will and opportunities is a “solution” to religious differences, or if any dogma is so important that we can’t question it….then we shouldn’t waste each other’s time.

  • mike

    Bangladesh, two atheists bloggers hacked to death in the streets. Nigerian thrown in an insane asylum for saying he was an atheists. Saudi Arabia passed a law in april of last year equating atheism to terrorism.

    wiki link won’t take. google discrimination against atheists:

    Islamic countries[edit]

    See also: Islam and atheism and Apostasy in Islam

    Atheists, or those accused of holding atheistic beliefs, may be subject to discrimination and persecution in many Islamic countries.[99] According to the International Humanist and Ethical Union, compared to other nations, “unbelievers… in Islamic countries face the most severe – sometimes brutal – treatment”.[100] Atheists and other religious skeptics can be executed in at least thirteen nations: Afghanistan, Iran, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen.[1]

    According to popular interpretations of Islam, Muslims are not free to change religion or become an atheist: denying Islam and thus becoming an apostate is traditionally punished by death for men and by life imprisonment for women. The death penalty for apostasy is apparent in a range of Islamic states including: Iran,[101][102] Egypt,[103] Pakistan,[103] Somalia,[104] United Arab Emirates,[105] Qatar,[106] Yemen[106] and Saudi Arabia.[103] Although there have been no recently reported executions in Saudi Arabia,[107] a judge in Saudi Arabia has recently recommended that imprisoned blogger Raif Badawi go before a high court on a charge of apostasy, which would carry the death penalty upon conviction.[108] While a death sentence is rare, it is common for atheists to be charged with blasphemy or inciting hatred.[109] New “Arab Spring” regimes in Tunisia and Egypt have jailed several outspoken atheists.[109]

    Since an apostate can be considered a Muslim whose beliefs cast doubt on the Divine, and/or Koran, claims of atheism and apostasy have been made against Muslim scholars and political opponents throughout history.[110][111][112] Both fundamentalists and moderates agree that “blasphemers will not be forgiven” although they disagree on the severity of an appropriate punishment.[109] In northwestern Syria in 2013 during the Syrian Civil War, jihadists beheaded and defaced a sculpture of Al-Maʿarri (973–1058 CE), one of several outspoken Arab and Persian atheist intellectuals who lived and taught during the Islamic Golden Age.[113][114]

    Jordan requires atheists to associate themselves with a recognized religion for official identification purposes,[115] and atheists in Indonesia experience official discrimination in the context of registration of births and marriages, and the issuance of identity cards.[116] In 2012, Indonesian atheist Alexander Aan was beaten by a mob, lost his job as a civil servant and was sentenced to two and a half years in jail for expressing his views online.[117] In Egypt, intellectuals suspected of holding atheistic beliefs have been prosecuted by judicial and religious authorities. Novelist Alaa Hamad was convicted of publishing a book that contained atheistic ideas and apostasy that were considered to threaten national unity and social peace.[118][119]

    Algeria[edit]

    The study of Islam is a requirement in public and private schools for every Algerian child, irrespective of his/her religion.

    Atheist or agnostic men are prohibited from marrying Muslim women (Algerian Family Code I.II.31).[120] A marriage is legally nullified by the apostasy of the husband (presumably from Islam, although this is not specified; Family Code I.III.33). Atheists and agnostics cannot inherit (Family Code III.I.138.).

    Bangladesh[edit]

    Several Bangladeshi atheists have been assassinated, and a “hit list” exists issued by the Bangladeshi Islamic organization, the Ansarullah Bangla Team. Activist atheist bloggers are leaving Bangladesh under threat of assassination.[121]

    Iran[edit]

    In Iran, atheism is not recognised as a belief in a legal sense. The law specifies that all citizens must declare themselves as Muslim, Christian, Jewish or Zoroastrian, with adherents of the latter three religions counted as religious minorities. The four recognised religions provide rights such as applying for entrance to university,[122][123] or becoming a lawyer, with the position of judge reserved for Muslims only.[124] The Penal Code is also based upon the religious affiliation of the victim and perpetrator, with the punishment oftentimes more severe on non-Muslims.[122][125] Numerous writers, thinkers and philanthropists have been accused of apostasy and sentenced to death for questioning the prevailing interpretation of Islam in Iran.[126][127][128] The Iranian Atheists Association was established in 2013 to form a platform for Iranian atheists to start debates and to question the current Islamic regime’s attitude towards atheists, apostasy, and human rights.[129]

    Saudi Arabia[edit]

    Main article: Irreligion in Saudi Arabia

    Atheism is prohibited in Saudi Arabia and can come with a death penalty if practiced.

    In March 2014, the Saudi interior ministry issued a royal decree branding all atheists as terrorists, which defines terrorism as “calling for atheist thought in any form, or calling into question the fundamentals of the Islamic religion on which this country is based”.[130]

    Turkey[edit]

    Compulsory religious instruction in Turkish schools is also considered discriminatory towards atheists.[131]

  • mike

    so I take it you didn’t know the 6 Somalis arrested on terror charges? don’t you find it strange that muslims are taken in, by the US from war torn countries, and they do their best to return to fight with the jihadists? at least they were returning to Somalia in the past, but I never heard any that didn’t want to fight with al-shabaab.

  • ugluk2

    I think there are plenty of decent Muslims and secularists who can work together in real life, but as you can see from the comments there is a type of evangelical atheist who is a obsessive and self righteous as a typical fundie. The secular left has a history going back to the French Revolution of murderous behavior towards religious people. So by the logic of some in this thread, this means secular lefties can’t be trusted.

  • Unrepentant Atheist

    There was a couple over the last couple months in a country I forget the name of. Basically two Atheist bloggers were hacked to death in the streets.

  • Unrepentant Atheist

    Thanks Mike.

  • mike

    if you call 877 why-islam, the ICNA will send you a book called ‘towards understanding islam’. here is the paragraph that concludes the part under the title, ‘what does it mean to deny god’.

    “The result is that people like this will meet failure in every undertaking they embark upon. Their moral, civil and social lives will be in disarray while their struggles for prosperity and family success will fall short, in other words, their whole lives will be in turmoil. Disorder and confusion will emanate from them all over the world. They will, without hesitation, shed blood, violate the rights of others, be cruel to them and oppress them. Through their behavior they will breed disorder and destruction in the world. Their perverted minds, blurred vision, distorted values and self-perpetuating vices will make life miserable both for themselves and those around them. These are the people who will destroy the peace and tranquility of life on earth. Tyranny, arrogance, destruction and mayhem will be sure to follow. In the afterlife, ….blah blah blah”

    and these are americans.

  • mike

    well when modern secularists return to the ‘reign of terror’, then your comparison will hold some water.

    but you still make a good precautionary warning, “lefties can’t be trusted”. how true.

  • mike

    probably so. but will the muslims allow him the middle of the road. that is the question. 😉
    witching hour again already. you have a good night. don’t forget to go talk to your Somali buddies and ask them why some of them leave the warm (using the term loosely) embrace of Minnesota for the killing fields of the Islamic State and al-shabaab?

  • mike

    almost forgot. did you read that islam.com link? what did you think of iLove01 and Abdul Wasway?

  • PineCone

    I agree. I am totally against the crimes against humanity committed by religions. But the same types of crimes have also been committed by the anti-religious secularists. And there are good examples of religions and secularists that have not committed these types of crimes.

    As far as obsessive and self-righteous goes, this is a human trait that exists in all groups. It is present in religious groups. It is also present in the anti-religious. I think it is a mindset. And it is dangerous. Anyway, my 2 cents.

  • PineCone

    “i dont understand how you can say atheists and muslims should work
    together when you clearly understand atheists are against all religion,
    Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Satanist, or otherwise.”

    Atheist just means you don’t believe in God or gods. Not that you are against religion.

    There are atheists that are religious. Like Buddhists.

    I’ve gone to Unitarian services that had atheist members. They were not theists or believers in God, but they were spiritual. A significant number of atheists are spiritual. Even in those atheists that choose to not be in a religion, not all are against all religion. They support our Constitution, for example and believe people should be allowed to practice a religion. They aren’t against that.

    People that were against all religion, carried out violence and murder against innocent people. They had an anti-religious stance to JUSTIFY their crimes against humanity. They tried forcing secularism on people and were against freedom.

  • PineCone

    Spot on. I’ll try to get my friend who is an atheist, but also a devout Buddhist to post on here. Generally, the atheists I know don’t belong to a religion. And are not really interested in joining a religion. But they aren’t anti-religious – unless that religion is harming others. But on that same token, they would oppose anti-religious groups that harm others, too.

  • PineCone

    “well when modern secularists return to the ‘reign of terror’, then your comparison will hold some water.”

    In some places, like China, it is still an issue.

  • PineCone

    I’ve heard atheists say derogatory, mean-spirited, hateful and down right cruel things about non-atheists. Unfortunately that very vocal, yet small minority gives us all qualms, too.

  • Unrepentant Atheist

    Anti-Theists are not harmful in the way extremists are, at least not as a group (I am sure there are some wackadoo Anti-Theists out there that believe violence is an answer). They are typically the people that speak out against religion and the harms it causes, as well as being an “Atheist Warrior” to defend religious incursion into our government and support the concept of separation of church and state.

    I consider myself an Anti-Theist. My ire is toward the belief, and not the people (most people are good people, regardless of belief). I choose to push back when religious icons get put on government property, or when Bibles and other religious texts and icons get pushed into our public schools. I also follow many Humanist values, but I tend to be more blunt and less diplomatic than most Humanists I know. I look up to people like the late Christopher Hitchens who showed what the power of a well thought out argument, without the filter of political correctness, can do for moving a person to think for themselves.

    I am interested in what your Buddhist friend has to say. I don’t know as much about Buddhism, and I am always curious to learn more.

  • mike

    everything is an issue in china. fascism is never good, whether ‘secular’ or religious. but you are right, let me modify my statement if I may.
    when modern western secularists start to act like Robespierre, your point will be better.

  • mike

    you plan on voting for Hillary?
    do you support a national minimum wage?
    food stamps?
    free housing paid for by the government?
    Obama care?
    do you think the government can and should solve everyone’s personal issues?

  • PineCone

    Anti-theist extremist are just as harmful as other extremists. In America less than 1% of people are anti-theists, so they don’t really have the power to commit great harm. But the fact is anti-theist regimes in the world have only been horrible. There have been no good anti-theist regimes. I choose to push back when anti-theists infringe on freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Humanism is now considered a religion by our government and military. I’m not surprised you look up to Christopher Hitchens. I’m not big into Marxism, but he was a talented writer. He was actually hired by the Catholic Church to investigate miracle claims attributed to Mother Theresea. He wrote for Vanity Fair and wrote philosophy books. I don’t agree with his philosophy. He was close friends with many religious people, and they said good things about him.

  • PineCone

    In the West, religious people, especially Christians embrace secular governing systems. They are a Christian ideal. We just don’t view ourselves as being secular. And we absolutely oppose what secularists in Mexico did in the past century, persecuting and murdering innocent people.

  • Unrepentant Atheist

    Extremism in any form is usually bad.

    I don’t really see Anti-Theism as a form of government. While the one most point to, Stalin, would have been as bloody if he had religious beliefs. He did clamp down on religion hard (though he relented some during WWII), but his massacres included political opponents that were not religiously motivated. The man believed killing his opponents was the easiest way to maintain his power. Being an Anti-Theist just didn’t give him any reason to protect the church.

    As for others, Pol Pot was insane, and I don’t think anyone can attribute logic thought to the guy, so I don’t think you can associate any ideals with him. China, probably the last standing government that tried to quash religion, is now letting it back in, though in a limited form.

    As for me, I am happy with a secular government. I don’t want to take away anyone’s right to believe, worship, or share their belief with others. However, I don’t want that belief anywhere near government or schools. I feel religion should be something intimate that is taught by parents to their children, not invasive in our culture, if taught at all. To not keep that separation between church and state is to lead away from secular government and towards a theocracy.

    Most people I have talked with understand you can not force people not to believe. The governments that have tried to, might get their citizens to be silent about it, but they still find a way to worship and believe. My approach, and the approach of many modern day Anti-theists, is to get people to think and want to question again. Educate people on how to think critically and to not accept what was told to them just because its nice and fluffy and gives hope that a loved one is waiting for you on the other side of deaths door.

    If that happens, then slowly (and there is no quick fix for this), religion will fade away on its own, or at least become the minority. It will take longer than my life time. I only hope that my children wont have to worry about some people coming up to them and threatening them with the eternal supernatural oven in which they will be put in if they don’t believe.

    As for Hitchens, he was definitely charismatic. I don’t necessarily share his political views, but he is one of the few people that was consistent in his message. He just seemed inherently honest about the way he spoke.

  • PineCone

    I believe in God. I’m a modern day theist. I don’t just accept what was told to me just because its nice and fluffy and gives hope that a loved one is waiting for you on the other side of deaths door. But, I am committed to following Jesus Christ. And what you are against is not what he taught.
    I’m extremely skeptical and want people to think and question things. I’m grateful I have a church that encourages me to think for myself and is not afraid of questions. We have open and frank discussions. It is awesome. As an atheist I didn’t think such faith based communities existed. I was dead wrong.
    Good luck on converting people to your worldview. I used to believe like you, but have changed. But I will fight for your right to disagree with my opinions. Just like I hope you would do the same for me and your opinions.

  • Unrepentant Atheist

    Agreed.

    There is a lot of variation within Christianity, and I have completely read the Bible (I was raised Catholic). From what I have read, the faith over knowledge bit tends to have believers thinking that the natural world isn’t important as having faith. This isn’t necessarily how everyone understands it, and many of our greatest scholars have come from the religious. I am glad you are a skeptical person, and that is all I can ask from anyone. The conclusion you get from that is up to you.

  • PineCone

    Yea. I was raised by a non-believer and a believer. I’ve heard it all. Luckily I was exposed to a variety of viewpoints & worldviews and allowed to choose for myself. As a Christian youth leader I take that same open-minded approach with the children I teach. I try to teach the truth about Jesus Christ. But also expose them to what other people say.

  • mike

    what Mexican secularists are you talking about?

  • mike

    interesting.
    so how long would you allow someone to draw food stamps. 6 months I the short term and no more than 3 years total? same with housing?

  • mike

    what is a non-system sociologist?
    I know it is not your job. it’s above your pay grade. but if you had your druthers, how would you fix the broken system? you said “short-term”. surely you must know what you mean by that?

  • PineCone
  • mike

    sorry, I’m not that familiar with Mexican politics. I have no idea who Miguel pro was. it that poncho villa?
    you do know that mexico isn’t considered part of the west?

  • mike

    so you are calling for schoolfare as opposed to workfare or welfare? ok. not a bad idea. so rather than issuing food stamps, the recipients would have to show up for school 5 days a week and get their meals there, and then have to complete high school courses or trade school? sounds like a plan. I could be down with that.
    did you ever see the study out of California were they assigned like 2 or 3 welfare recipients to a single social worker to help guide them into the work force. it showed no more effective than the people who were assigned to the ‘overworked’, underpaid social workers.

  • PineCone

    Miguel Pro was murdered by anti-religious fanatics. What is the west? Just predominately white nations?

  • mike

    yes it is predominantly white nations. America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand and western Europe. even some of eastern Europe since the fall of the USSR and the warsaw pact.

    funny enough I kind of consider the Japanese to be ‘western’. and south Korea. in short I would say industrialized, capitalist democracies.
    who do you consider to be the west?

    yeah I googled him. looks like the government killed him. a Jesuit priest.
    who knew the Mexicans hated the Catholics so much in the 20s? are you Mexican?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miguel_Pro
    “In summer 1926—his studies in Europe completed—Father Pro returned to Mexico. On the way, he visited Lourdes where he celebrated Mass and visited the grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes.

    Father Pro arrived at Veracruz on July 8, 1926. Plutarco Elías Calles was now president of Mexico. Unlike his predecessors, Calles vigorously enforced the anti-Catholic provisions of the 1917 constitution, implementing the so-called Calles Law, which provided specific penalties for priests who criticized the government (five years imprisonment) or wore clerical garb in certain situations outside their churches (500 pesos). This law went into effect on July 31, 1926.

    By this time, some states, such as Tabasco under the notorious anti-Catholic Tomás Garrido Canabal, had closed all the churches and cleared the entire state of openly serving priests, killing many of them, forcing a few to marry and leaving a few to serve covertly at risk of their lives. On his return Fr. Pro served a Church which was forced to go “underground.” He celebrated the Eucharist clandestinely and ministered the other sacraments to small groups of Catholics.

    Details of Pro’s ministry in the underground church come from his many letters, signed with the nickname Cocol. In October 1926, a warrant for his arrest was issued. He was arrested, and released from prison the next day, but kept under surveillance.”

  • mike

    so what is this ‘schoolfare’ vision you have? I don’t get it. or did I get it? you haven’t laid it out for me. again, if you had your druthers you would do what?

  • PineCone

    I, like many Westerners, spend time in Mexico. But I’m American. I value all life. I’m not big on the “the west” label.
    Yea, Plutarco Elías Calles was a bit of a tyrant. It is tough to find examples of anti-religious governments that weren’t horrible. I can find good examples of religious ones, though. And horrible ones. But only horrible for the anti-religious.

  • mike

    yeah, I was just in Cozumel, but I still had never heard of Miguel pro. of course there is lots of history out there.
    “It is tough to find examples of anti-religious governments that weren’t horrible”. true, and that is why I would make a distinction between secular and anti-religious. I don’t consider stalin or mao to have been secularists. separating religion from government doesn’t mean you have to stamp out religion.
    “But only horrible for the anti-religious.” exactly. this is why it is so important to have freedom of thought and belief. I myself don’t care for religion. if that makes me ‘anti’-religious, so be it.

  • mike

    ok, well get on it. what does your wife do?

  • PineCone

    Secularists have been horrible, too. Some have been persecuted others in an attempt to force secularist beliefs and ideals onto others. I don’t care for all religions. But I’m also for the freedom of religion. And I don’t want secularism pushed on me.

  • mike

    ok. so she doesn’t have time to launch your pilot program then? I guess it will never happen then. the sociologist definitely won’t do it. they are all talk and no action.

    that is right, you never answered if y’all print 50,000 pages or more at your company. nothing nefarious behind that question, just a sales pitch.
    sunprintmanagement.com

  • mike

    yes. everyone has been horrible.
    real secularism doesn’t force itself on anyone, it is lassie faire by definition. I don’t want secularism pushed on you either.

  • mike

    That is a hospital in Texas. We do lots of hospitals. They print a lot. That is my boss’ account. It is actually a 5 hospital consortium or something like that and they print 90million pages a year. Even at just a penny a page that adds up. I forget how much money we saved them in the first year. Of course we would cater to Muslims, why not.

  • mike

    Good for them/you. I was talking with my brother last night about Common Core and he mentioned how he wouldn’t want the feds demanding a certain curriculum and then he caught himself, and said it doesn’t really matter because the textbook companies. So I said, yeah, how is it that they are still printing text books?

  • mike

    Just in case you have a couple of MFPs and laserjets sitting around, here is the pitch: We provide HP laserjets, all your toner and all your maintenance for a penny a page for monochrome and 12 cents for color. Depending on how much you print, there may be a monthly fee for the MFPs.
    Tell your lovely wife too. 😉

  • mike

    tru dat. I figured you were being silly. but I never quite know for sure with you.

  • mike

    hm, I never heard that one before. to quote ace ventura ‘pet detective’: aaaallllrighty then.

  • PineCone

    So the secularists that forced secularism on other people were not real secularists? Is that like saying Christians that forced Christianity on other people were not real Christians because Jesus taught to not do that?

  • mike

    yes.

    yes again, if in fact jesus taught not to do that.

  • PineCone

    And we fail to live up to our own ideals. All of us are capable of that failure.

  • mike

    tru dat. even jesus. clearly he failed to make his vision clear. ‘render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s’ isn’t exactly laying out a separation of religion and governance too well. ‘do unto others as you would have done unto you’ might not work out too well either. or ‘love thy neighbor as yourself’.

  • PineCone

    ‘render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s’ wasn’t about separation of religion and governance. I think you are taking what he said out of context. Jesus took it further than loving thy neighbor. He said to love your enemies, too.

  • mike

    ok. so what does ‘render unto….’ mean? so jesus wasn’t for separation?
    so you are saying that Christians should be pacifists? you can’t kill you enemy, even if he is trying to kill you? looks like there are very few Christians in the world then. the Amish, Mennonites and maybe Quakers?

  • PineCone

    Jesus made the quote about Caesar to the religious leaders who were trying to trick him into saying something that could have him imprisoned, tortured or executed. Jesus was speaking to individuals in this passage. He is not addressing governments or separation between church and state here, but is primarily speaking at the personal level. No, I’m not saying Christians should be pacifists. And neither was Jesus Christ.

  • mike

    ok. why don’t you explain to me why Christianity is for separation of religion and governance.
    if these aren’t calls to be pacifists, then what in the world does ‘love your enemy’ or ‘turn the other cheek’ mean then?

  • PineCone

    I believe a secular governing system is an ideal that many Christians embrace. Especially one that grants freedom to other people. The same kind of freedom we want for ourselves. I think Christians are called to be non-violent. But it would be wrong to just sit by and watch people harm others and not stop them. Turn the other cheek if they hit you. If they hit you again, game on. Love your enemy? I think the Good Samaritan parable illustrates that. 2 men ignored their enemy and did not help him. 1 man helped their enemy.

  • mike

    I believe that a secular governing system is an ideal many Christians have embraced too. but that wasn’t my question. the question was when and were did jesus articulate such a system?
    yet when peter drew his sword to defend jesus, be was chastised for it. jesus went willingly to his death.
    wasn’t it a jew who was injured and the Samaritan stopped to help him? the jews still to this day hold Samaritans in low regard. I think many of them are forced to convert in Israel to advance in society.

  • Nastar Bee

    First please let me apologise for my late reply. This is a very interesting and important discussion, and I hope we can continue it 🙂

    I must correct you on Muslims speaking out. We are not afraid of speaking out. We do not cower before them. It is hard to describe the feeling of having your faith, something that is so close to your heart, be tarnished in such a deplorable way. It is heartbreaking. We owe it to our creator and our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him) to speak out. And we do. I do not fear ISIS. All my Muslim comrades do not fear speaking out against ISIS. I can reference 100s of articles that have been written by Muslims condemning ANY kind of terrorism. I gave you the example before in my last comment about Mirza Masroor Ahmed, (the 5th successor of the Promised Messiah, and current head of the Worldwide Ahmadiyyah Muslim Community) addressing Capitol Hill, the European Parliament, calling for countries to promote peace and tolerance to one another, and to take responsibility for their actions, whilst condemning terrorism all together. As I say, the reason you do not see it this way, is because the popular media doesn’t tell you our story. The media portrays the narrative that we are scared etc.

    But, you’re right, there are people who claim to be Muslims that are committing terrible acts, all faiths and backgrounds. But it is absolutely essential to strip this down and see that there is a larger non-religious agenda that often works with terrorism, and that is the fight for power and territory.

    ISIS, similar to Nazi Germany, similar to many other regimes, use powerful propaganda techniques to recruit disengaged masses; Hitler himself said that to be successful in controlling people, is to aim arguments at their emotion and NOT their intellect. People that join to fight for these causes are often fed lies and brainwashed. In the case of ISIS, there is a volatile cycle that is perpetuated by the wars in the Middle East and a marginalisation of Muslims in the west by much of the media, that allows for people to be easily lead to fight for these causes, because as you said, the propaganda is powerful and able to tap into their emotions. ISIS isn’t a problem with religion, rather it is a machine that uses religion to legitimise its actions to recruit etc. Ordinary Muslims cannot convince the leaders of ISIS through logic and reason that what they are doing is wrong and unIslamic, because they do not care. They want land. They want power. Following the religion righteously, they feel, will not achieve this.

    This is why I say it is about education. We need to have these discussions and reengage with people that feel like they do not have a place in secular society. We need to let them know that there are understanding people from all faiths that see them as humans, not just Muslims, and treat them on a level playing field. If these Muslims knew about the true peaceful teachings of Islam, they could be swayed from joining such forces. If they believed that Atheists and Christians etc welcomed their religion, understanding the role of global politics has in the marginalisation of certain groups, then we would win back their hearts and trust to assimilate back into a peaceful society where everyone is happy! Ah how I wish it was that simple.

    One thing I would like you to take away from this post, is my religion does not light anybody up, in the same way Christianity does not torture anybody etc. Some people move away from the pure teachings of religion then manipulate others to do their dirty work for their own selfish gain. We must stop generalising, and start getting to know one other for who we really are. All religions,at the core, promote love peace and unity. I look forward to your response.

  • PineCone

    Are you familiar with the Raven Foundation?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AWVGN2wtlpM
    It is interesting!

  • mike

    no, I’ve never heard of them. sorry I don’t have any volume on this computer. but i’ll checkout their website.

    http://www.ravenfoundation.org/
    interesting article on the gays. it has been 25 years since I read the bible, so I must say I don’t recall jesus referencing hosea or even who hosea was. I do recall the story of fire and brimstone raining down on a couple of towns.
    as for nuclear disarmament, I didn’t read it but we might want to wait until putin is out of power and the Chinese stop trying to grab up the whole china sea. also we definitely want to get a better missile defense system in place.

  • PineCone

    I’ve been digging some of their videos. Especially their stance on non-violence.

    I didn’t see the article you were talking about. Did it compare Hosea to Jesus with his disciples when they asked him to rain fire and brimstone on a town?

  • mike

    no it was jesus telling the Pharisees to read hosea. god damn I’m getting old. now I don’t recall what it was that hosea said? maybe something about god being a god of mercy. or that was something else I read on that website. there was lots of stuff about god being merciful. but if that is the case, then why all the fire and brimstone.

  • PineCone

    I think they get into that kind of stuff. And it is all about Jesus. When presented a chance to rain down fire and brimstone, Jesus did not. As another example from a different story, when the law said to stone the adulteress woman, Jesus did not and told others they should not, as well. And in both cases, he told them why.

  • mike

    right, right, right. let he who is without sin cast the first stone’. but jesus is god, right? so why did he change his mind from his earlier revelations? why rain down fire and brimstone in one instance, flood the earth in another but then advocate no punishment for adultery?
    sorry I don’t remember the ‘told them why’ part?

  • PineCone

    Fire and brimstone: Jesus rebuked his disciples and said he came to save people, not destroy them. He said that was his true spirit.

    Adulteress woman: Jesus said only those with no sin could punish her. He wrote in the sand, most likely writing out their sins or writing out the 10 Commandments. Nobody was innocent. He told her he forgave her and told her to change her ways.

    I don’t know why God changed his ways. I think before Jesus, God was dealing with the nation of Israel, a weak and disobedient nation. Interesting, the people his disciples wanted to rain fire and brimstone down on were Samaritans. Jesus used a “good Samaritan” to show their enemy doing God’s will, and their religious leaders not doing God’s will in ignoring the suffering man.

  • mike

    so who destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah?
    yes I know the story. so god first tells his prophets to tell people to stone people to death. then he comes to earth himself and changes those old laws? and this makes sense to you?

  • PineCone

    I do not believe that is what the stories are asking us to believe. Many of the stories in the OT were about Israel, a nation that was often times at war. And war is hell. I know our nation has literally rained fire and brimstone down on nations we thought would harm us, in the form of missiles and bombs. To me it is interesting that God had told Israel to not attack their neighbors. This was a time in history when nations attacked other nations. Only in self defense could Israel fight. And it was kill or be killed times back then.

  • mike

    you don’t think the story of Sodom and Gomorrah is asking us to believe that god will punish the sinful?
    so when the bible says the whole earth was flooded, it is wrong?

  • PineCone

    That is not how I interpret it. What were some of the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah? Inhospitality. Failure to care for the poor. The story also mentions violent rapists, which kind of reflects the wickedness of the nation. I imagine it was like ISIS x NAZIS x Communists. And the Jews had a story about how this once powerful, yet wicked nation lost its power.

    When the earth was flooded, it said people were very wicked. I believe it suggests they were more wicked than Sodom. God sent the water to clean the world of the wickedness. He offered a way out to those who would listen.

  • mike

    yes there were men trying to rape angels. not sure how you do that, but anyway, lot, god’s prophet offered his daughters to the rapists. does that make sense to you?
    so was the whole earth flooded? who did he offer a way out to, other than Noah?

  • PineCone

    Every person, with exception of maybe 2, that God choose did horrible things like Lot did. Scripture never says what Lot did was good, nor does it suggest we are to follow his example.
    Noah preached to the wicked people for a long, long time.

  • mike

    so if some guy showed up saying that god was going to flood the entire earth, you would listen?
    so was the whole earth flooded?
    so who are the two? mary and john the Baptist?

  • PineCone

    + so if some guy showed up saying that god was going to flood the entire earth, you would listen?

    I like to think that if I lived in a world with people who were as wicked as ISIS, the Nazis and the Communists combined and that evil and wickedness really bothered me, if I met a man that wasn’t anywhere as wicked as those people, I might listen. Especially if he offered a way out of the wickedness that would destroy me.

    I was thinking of Jesus and Enoch.

  • mike

    enoch? wow, breaking out the gnostic bible. if you are going to go back to noah’s grandfather, why not methuselah?
    so do you believe in giant angels who were sent as guardians, but instead taught the women sorcery and how to braid their hair to seduced the men?

  • PineCone

    I know it is written that Enoch did not face death. I didn’t break out the “gnostic bible”. I’ll read about Methuselah. Sure.

    What verses in the Bible are you referring to in regards to giants, sorcery and hair braiding?

  • mike

    it is not in the bible. it is in the book of enoch. it didn’t make the cut.
    didn’t god let methuselah live to be like 1,000 year old because he promised not to flood the earth while there was still a righteous man on earth? and that man was methuselah, right? obviously Noah too, but anyway, it’s been 25 years since I read the bible. so I may be wrong.

  • PineCone

    I don’t know. A man named Enoch is in the Bible.

    I want to change my answer. I believe Elijah was a man who was pretty righteous.

  • mike

    Elijah went up to heaven on a fiery chariot. he didn’t die. but enoch supposedly didn’t die either. you are right, he was said ‘not to have faced death’. enoch was noah’s grandfather, or maybe great grand father. I can never remember.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Enoch

  • mike

    lots of mythology out there. funny that giants are a common theme. from the Titians of greek lore to the people of Ad and Thamund in the Koran.
    didn’t you see the movie Noah with Russell Crowe? the giant rock creators with the light inside them were ‘watchers’.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watcher_(angel)

    In the Book of Enoch, the Watchers (Aramaic. עִירִין, iyrin), are angels dispatched to Earth to watch over the humans. They soon begin to lust for human women and, at the prodding of their leader Samyaza, defect en masse to illicitly instruct humanity and procreate among them. The offspring of these unions are the Nephilim, savage giants who pillage the earth and endanger humanity. Samyaza and his associates further taught their human charges arts and technologies such as weaponry, cosmetics, mirrors, sorcery, and other techniques that would otherwise be discovered gradually over time by humans, not foisted upon them all at once. Eventually God allows a Great Flood to rid the earth of the Nephilim, but first sends Uriel to warn Noah so as not to eradicate the human race. The Watchers are bound “in the valleys of the Earth” until Judgment Day. (Jude verse 6 says that these fallen angels are kept “in everlasting chains under darkness” until Judgement Day.)

  • PineCone

    I did see that movie. I heard the movie director/producer say he wanted to make the most un-Biblical version of the Noah story. The story in The Bible is pretty short, so you would have to add a lot to fill 2 hours.

    Some people speculate that the giants might be extraterrestrial beings.

  • mike

    yeah I don’t recall an evil stowaway, or a battle for the arch? my recollection was Noah was simply mocked and laughed at for building a huge boat, not attacked. and I thought his sons were already married and older. the twin daughters being born and him wanting to kill them made little sense. him getting planting a vineyard and getting drunk is part of the story and his conflict with ham. have you ever heard of the curse of ham?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curse_of_Ham

  • PineCone

    Yea, Noah did get drunk in the Bible story. For a person who is portrayed as heroic, it is interesting that info is included. I wouldn’t include it in the story if I was making it up! Apparently, sometimes God chooses drunks.

    The curse of Ham is an unfortunate misnomer. I’m glad I’ve never heard anyone teaching it.

  • mike

    how is it a misnomer? that it should be the curse of canaan? it is strange that he curses the son of the guy who he was upset with. talk about being held accountable for the sins of your father. and canaan was ham’s fourth son, right? so he gets cursed because ham was the fourth son? your god’s prophets are making less and less sense with every story.
    do you know the one of Jephthah’s daughter?

  • PineCone

    The Wikipedia entry you gave me called it a misnomer.

  • mike

    right, because it was actually canaan who caught the brunt of the curse, despite having nothing to do with the actions of his father. just that he was the same numbered son to ham as ham was to noah.
    that it is a misnomer is not important. Greenland is full of ice and Iceland is green. a rose by any other name, still smells as sweet. names aren’t that important. but the devil is in the details.
    fun talking to ya pinecone. you keep reading your bible. just remember, don’t believe everything you read.

  • PineCone

    I do not believe everything I read. Hence my skepticism of what you write. I kid, I kid… 🙂 Peace out!

  • mike

    you should watch Joseph Campbell’s: ‘the power of myth’.

  • PineCone

    Sure, I’d love to learn about his myths.

    “In the 1940s a white American man wrote about the sacred myths of other cultures. He decided he knew what they meant better than those cultures themselves did.” 🙂

  • mike

    ok. but who are you quoting?

  • PineCone

    I don’t know. It just came up when I searched for him. I will give the video a watch. But I will be skeptical!

  • mike

    always good to be a skeptic. he seems to love all mythologies. it is just funny to see how many there are. but many claim a commonality to they. have you ever heard there is a myth of a virgin birth in Egyptian mythologies?
    when I googled him, his foundation came up first and then his wiki page.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Campbell
    “Campbell’s concept of monomyth (one myth) refers to the theory that sees all mythic narratives as variations of a single great story. The theory is based on the observation that a common pattern exists beneath the narrative elements of most great myths, regardless of their origin or time of creation.”

  • PineCone

    Native American cultures had virgin birth stories, too.

    Just keep that Zeitgeist Movie stuff away from me!

  • mike

    sorry, not familiar with zeitgeist?

  • PineCone

    Yea, it was a documentary that alleged Jesus was a copy of Horus, Mithra, Krishna and Dionysus. It suggested they all involved a virgin birth, a star in the east, walking on water, healed the sick, performed miracles, resurrected, etc. A lot of people thought it was a legit documentary. But it wasn’t very factual.

  • mike

    well I’ve always been a fan of Dionysus, the god of wine. or his roman counterpart Bacchus. isn’t horus the keeper of the book of knowledge?
    so what did you think of the series Lost?
    never heard of Mithra and know less then little about Krishna, but I used to eat lunch with the Hare Krishna’s in college.
    so do you believe jesus is the lord and savior?

  • PineCone

    I watched Lost. I was hooked. It has been awhile, but I remember it had some religious undertones. I think I was still pretty agnostic when I watched it.

    Yes, Jesus is the Lord and Savior of my life.

  • mike

    so you are ‘born again’? you weren’t raised Christian? you have recently converted?

    do you remember the finale, when jack is in the church? did you notice the stained glass window on the other side of the coffin?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1xrNaTO1bI

  • PineCone

    I do remember the church part, but not the stained glass.

    Depends on what you need by “born again”. If you mean this:

    “Jesus answered him, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above’.” John 3:3

    I believe so.

    Also, depends on what you mean by raised Christian. I was baptized as a baby. I went to Sunday School for a few years. But not regularly. I think by the age of 16 I identified as an atheist.

    I decided to turn my life over to God about 5 years ago.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDhcyBFC8vo

  • mike

    yeah, that is born again. I guess I would call that a non-practicing Christian upbringing.
    so why did you decide to turn your life over to god?
    sorry, I have no speakers on this computer, but that chick is cute. is that why? 😉

  • mike

    oh yeah, I forgot. the stain glass had a cross, star of david, crescent moon, Buddha and other religious symbols.
    and there was the eye of horus on the wall in the building under the giant foot and the dharma wheel is what changed time. I hated the time travel part. I liked the names and the lord of the flies type parts.

  • PineCone

    She is very attractive. But I probably posted it for the same reason you posted a video. I like the lyrics.
    http://www.lyricsmania.com/tired_feet_lyrics_alela_diane.html

    I love God.

  • PineCone

    Yes, the ending and later episodes were disappointing. It looked like they had no plan, or abandoned their plan to make the series last longer because it was making so much money. Although I think what happens, as far as the mystery goes, is interesting. Because we know so very, very little about our own world today.

    I heard they were going to create some spin offs, kind of like what Star Trek did with movies and tv shows. Maybe they’ll get into explaining more of the mysteries.

  • mike

    yeah, they were just making things up after like season 3. the flash sideways, I think they might have confused themselves. so then they just wrapped it all up with having them all being in a ‘purgatory’.
    I took it to be that they all died in the plane crash, right? they were ‘ghosts’.
    spin offs? I don’t know. I think the bloom is off jj abrams.
    I see minority report has spun off a series.

  • mike

    you feet are tired? how old are you? you sound too young to have tired feet already?

  • PineCone

    I’m old enough to have been listening to Depeche Mode for so long that that pop song you posted made me groan! I liked there earlier stuff a lot better.

  • PineCone

    There are some “Lost” books. They could create a whole Lost universe.

  • mike

    so what so you think of this whole gay marriage thing?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ErnMC7xokQ8

  • PineCone

    If I was gay I would totally have a gay marriage.

  • mike

    so that means you support gay marriage rights?

  • PineCone

    Yea. I go to a church that actually fights for equal rights.

  • Sam

    Ameen and insha’Allah.

  • zaff1

    The evidence is irrefutable that the universe was created by a Divine, Intelligent, Creator. So atheists are absolutely wrong in denying the existence of God. In fact denial of the existence of God underpins the satanic Novus Ordo Seclorum (New World Order) agenda which is enjoying some success in this regard given the increasing number who hold the atheistic worldview. But this worldview is an empty one and most of those who hold it are victims of programmed ignorance and perception management i.e. victims of mind control. Victims of programmed ignorance have been kept so deceived and distracted that they don’t spend even a moment seeking out the truth. Hopefully understanding the content of this video coupled with critical thinking will help lift the veils of deception covering their minds https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-GeWJu_Zqw

  • Nick Winters

    While I agree with you in principle, the main problem (in the U.S. at least) is that the Mainstream and niche media all routinely ignore moderate Islamic voices in favor of apostates or crazy radicals. It appears to you that they are not speaking up because they are actively being turned away when they try to speak on the various popular platforms.

    The other issue, of course, is one of organization. Since there is no one voice like the pope who speaks for Muslims in the states, there is no one person the media can turn to who can speak authoritatively. Accordingly, moderate voices are tuned out because they are perceived as speaking only for themselves.

  • Unrepentant Atheist

    I agree with that, but it fits typical “entertainment” based media. Whats more interesting, people talking about peace, or people killing one another? Its sad, but that is not going to change, at least not in the short term. That part is what I work on. I can’t change Islam, but I can help to change the education system and try to make people think. We all do what we can.

  • Terrymac

    But sir, you yourself are an ATHEIST! You are a-theist as far as all the non Abrahamic religions that have ever existed, are concerned, are you not?
    So you actually have more in common with ATHEISTS than you think! In fact, you’re only one “God” away from being a fully fledged ATHEIST for real! So why not just take that final step into the real world with the rest of us? You know it makes sense!
    Throw off the mental shackles of your Islamic indoctrination, think for yourself, it really is the freeing up of your true spirit! Your childhood indoctrination is just that…the imprisonment of your true mind, your independent mind.

  • Terrymac

    Not “anti-religious fanatics”, they were specifically anti- CATHOLIC revolutionaries!
    You see my point. It’s all a matter of perspective. And while Pro’s murder was inexcusable it doesn’t stand independently of Mexican history which was just as full of Catholic corruption as any “secularist” corruption. Even more so, considering the role the Catholic church played in destroying the indigenous people’s culture during the Spanish invasion of Mexico.

  • zaff1

    And your comments make absolutely no sense at all, complete nonsense, indicating a defect in your mental processes. You are not mentally well and no doubt emotionally unwell too. However I would not say you are spiritually unwell since you are devoid of all spirituality. You are spiritually empty. This is tragic beyond your understanding. It’s not surprising then that you are an atheist.

    Given your state of sickness it would of course be completely foolish of me to request of you to provide evidence for your blanket statements and expect a reasonable response. A mentally and emotionally sick person is not capable of reason. Let alone a spiritually empty one. How else could you have come to the conclusion that I am an atheist when I have stated that ‘The evidence is irrefutable that the universe was created by a Divine, Intelligent, Creator. So atheists are absolutely wrong in denying the existence of God.’ Have you even watched the video? If you have then your comments reflect an even grimmer situation than if you have not.

    In any case if you are interested in learning how to think critically (it would be extremely surprising if you are) have a look at this site http://philosophy.hku.hk/think/critical/ct.php I would also suggest that you seek urgent help regarding your emotional issues. And your spiritual emptiness? Unfortunately no human being can assist you with this. Only the Almighty God can. Only He has the power to open hearts and fill them spiritually. I will conclude with best wishes for your return to full health. Remember satan thrives on sick and suffering humans. Oh, and by the way I would also suggest you research the four pillars of satanism if you are not already aware of them. If not you may be surprised to learn that you subconsciously hold one or more, or even all of these beliefs! Sadly many humans do. The satanic forces have been hard at work for a long, long time here on earth. Mind control (especially perception management / deception) is their supreme specialty.

  • Terrymac

    It’s remarkable just how often religious types become very defensive and resort to personal insults and questioning a person’s sanity simply because they don’t blindly accept the dogmatic assertions of their own personal religious beliefs! It’s as if they are afraid to have their own “beliefs” questioned! It’s extremely ironic (and very amusing!) how you advise me to “think critically” when this is the very thing you are afraid to do yourself! You then make insulting remarks about “seeking help” when you know absolutely nothing about me, for all you know I could be a student of philosophy or comparative religion. By the sound if things it’s you yourself who could be doing with such help!
    So much for religion making a person a more tolerant and accepting person, it certainly hasn’t helped you to become such.
    The fact remains that you ARE indeed a-theist as far as the God Thor is concerned (I assume you don’t believe Thor exists?), the same goes for the Sun God Ra, or the monkey God Hanuman, or all the other “Gods” that have ever been claimed to exist APART from the “God” YOU think exists! (whatever one that is, I haven’t quite worked that one out yet as you haven’t stated what “God” it is you think exists!)
    “Satan” is also a fantasy that only exists in your mind. You see in this day and age we require EVIDENCE to prove something exists for real, and not just in the imagination of the imaginer. This is why science is responsible for our modern civilisation, and NOT religion! Religion hasn’t had an original contribution to make for over 2000 years! All it does is retard our progress whenever it can, by instilling division and encouraging dogmatism and discouraging curiosity.
    Your reply to me is a perfect example of such dogmatism.