Resources for Ex-Muslim Atheists?

More and more, we receive comments, questions or requests for help or advice from ex-Muslim atheists who are living in Muslim nations, or within Muslim communities/families abroad. As someone with no experience in the Muslim community, I feel inept, and sometimes even worried, trying to offer help or support in situations that are well beyond what I might normally hear from ex-Christian atheists in letters to TAE. The following is an example, but we have received much worse.

I am wondering if TAE might have viewers who are aware of resources or familiar with Muslim situations, sufficiently to provide better advice or help than the folks at TAE might be able to supply? While this thread uses this request specifically, I would ask that anyone who knows of a resource that could be helpful to any ex-Muslim atheists, please post it here. I would like to potentially build a thread that serves this section of our community, due to the, often dangerous, situations described. Thank you, in advance for your help with this. And here is the latest letter:

I am an Iraqi Atheist. I have witness loss of friends due to suicide bombing in Iraq, and have been displaced and forced to leave Iraq for a year due to my previous beliefs.

After becoming an atheist, one of the things I decided to do is exposing religion. My main goal is that if someone saw a criticism of Islam he would spend time defending it, rather than blowing himself up and killing innocent people.

I would like to know what would be the best way to achieve such a goal? Right now I am converting articles criticizing Islam to videos and posting them to youtube. However, some of these get mass flagged.

I don’t feel I am doing enough, and don’t know what should be done next. I was thinking of creating videos like you guys where I appear talking about religion, but I will have to go back to Iraq in the next few months, which places me in danger. In addition I fear for my family.

What is your recommendation?

In which the question “Is there a stupider and more embarrassing atheist than Patrick Greene?” is definitively answered

Via Hemant, I am made aware of this brilliant little nugget of joy. See if you can parse the logic in all this. Perhaps I can’t because I spent my valuable college years drawing talking animals for the school paper rather than boning up on things like the Löwenheim–Skolem theorem. But the sense of it all eludes the humble powers of my primitive brain meat.

The director of the state chapter of American Atheists plans to desecrate the Koran when the state House of Representatives reconvenes in September if the House doesn’t drop its “Year of Religious Diversity” resolution under consideration in its State Government Committee.

Ernest Perce V, who recently was under fire for a controversial Harrisburg billboard he designed and paid for protesting the “Year of the Bible” resolution the House adopted this year, said he plans to whip, or flog, the Koran in the Capitiol rotunda at noon on Sept. 24 should the House not agree to nullify the resolution before it reconvenes from summer recess that day.

…Perce said he plans to thrash the Koran witha nine-tail whip 85 times and a single whip six times to protest the resolution’s number.

“I am a nonbeliever and for (the House) to assume we respect these books is [asinine],” Perce, a Harrisburg resident, said. “I will let other atheists come with me (to protest). I want Christians to lash the Koran, too.”

Allow me to express the depth of my bewilderment through the always-useful internet proxy of an adorable animal photo.

How, exactly, this will accomplish anything is beyond me. Well, I don’t mean “anything” anything. Because it has accomplished at least one thing, which is to put Perce’s name smack at the top of the shit list of every dude on Earth with a kufi and an AK. I mean anything positive and favorable toward what I presume is the hoped-for outcome: to wit, getting across the message that church/state separation is really for the best, and by the way, all those stereotypes you have about atheists being raging assholes are just unfair and wrong.

Yep. Yep. Well played, Mr. Perce.

Hemant reports that he has been talking to Dave Silverman, and Silverman is most assuredly not down with this, and is not lending Perce his or AA’s support. No, we don’t respect “holy” books or the often abominable belief systems they inspire. But there’s such a thing as productive ways to express your disapproval of public policy. And choosing one that does nothing but alienate not only Muslims but pretty much anybody not named Geert Wilders or Ann Coulter, which also stands to drown the whole atheist community in the backwash into the bargain, probably isn’t what a rational person would call “productive.”

Let’s leave the public displays of histrionic hate to the Terry Joneses and Shirley Phelpses of the world, shall we? And Dave? Looks like AA needs to do a little house-cleaning.

Burning Korans, drawing Mohammed, avoiding hypocrisy, creative vs. destructive protests — religion just makes the whole frickin’ world crazy!

There’s a truth about the upcoming Koran cookout planned by Dove World Church and its grandstanding (and light-fingered) pastor Terry Jones: they have every right under the Constitution to do this thing. Are they a bunch of dicks who don’t care about the potential devastating backlash of their actions as long as they get the publicity they crave? Yeah, I suppose they are.

Recently, atheists proudly participated in an online event called Everybody Draw Mohammed Day, which was as deliberate a middle finger to Islam as we could have thought up. Before that, PZ Myers famously threw a cracker in the trash, making him the bête noire of Catholics worldwide. (Though they conveniently forget that he also trashed a copy of The God Delusion at the same time.) As people who are not above acts of deliberate provocation ourselves — indeed, as people who are currently arguing amongst ourselves about the merits of “being a dick” in our encounters with religionists — it would hardly be honest of us to join the chorus of chest-beating outrage against Jones’ church for the horrible offense of burning somebody’s holy book. While most of us, I’m sure, take Fahrenheit 451 to heart and deplore book-burning on general principles as a disgraceful act of intellectual cowardice and the suppression of ideas, we should also acknowledge the legitimacy of the act as a form of protest speech. After all, I can’t very well defend the rights of flag-burners while condemning a Koran-burner. Don’t work dat way!

I suppose where the conversation ought to go from here for atheists is in whether or not Jones is motivated by a desire to conduct a legitimate form of protest, or if he’s simply a crass political opportunist, playing into a rising tide of anti-Muslim bigotry in order to increase his profile from “obscure pastor of an outcast hick church” to “internationally famous martyr and warrior for Christ”. Well, what is legitimate protest in this context? Yes, radical Islamists brought down the World Trade Center. But all Muslims are not radical Islamists, and all Muslims did not partake in, let alone condone, the 9/11 attacks. So if Jones’s idea is that he’s protesting Islam for 9/11, he’s clearly throwing his net way too wide. The thing is, I suppose he knows it, but doesn’t care. He’s getting the publicity he wants.

The potential for hypocrisy in criticizing the upcoming burning has been much on my mind, and I’ve been forced to think about the similarities and differences between what Jones is about to do, and, say, Everybody Draw Mohammed Day. And then I’ve been forced to question whether or not any of my ideas are simply bullshit justifications I’ve been making up to feel better. I don’t think they are. But I do think it’s a positive thing, overall, that I’m willing to be self-critical. This is an advantage the godless life offers, I think, over the brazen certainties of God-botherers like Jones, who confidently assert that God (i.e., their projection of themselves upon the universe) truly wants them to do what they’re planning.

Everybody Draw Mohammed Day, for one thing, was on the whole a creative rather than destructive act of protest. It was a response, not only to the real Islamist violence and threats of violence that erupted in the wake of the publication of a few innocuous (and not especially good, when you think about it) cartoons, but to the arrogant assumption on the part of Islamists that non-Muslims were somehow obligated to follow Islam’s rules. Also, at the end of the day, what you had were a bunch of silly cartoons. While there was a little huffing and puffing about EDMD, in the end, the message I think got across (to the general public, if not to radicals) that taking someone’s life over a lame doodle was both insane and pitiful in equal measure. Lame doodles themselves can’t possibly hurt a fly. EDMD might have offended some Muslims. But in the end, no one killed anyone.

Now, piling up a couple hundred copies of the Koran and torching them — that would be a destructive form of protest. Furthermore, it’s hypocritical of Jones to justify it by condemning Islam as a hateful, intolerant religion, when he has a history of hate speech (against gays, the usual suspects) and intolerance. While I think Jones has the right to go through with his speech, I don’t think his motives are honest. He’s exactly what he condemns, except that his religious radicalism wears a cross rather than a crescent moon and star. (The atheists who took part in EDMD might condemn Islam and Islamist violence, but we’d never want to deprive Muslims of their right to worship, as many right-wingers do right now.)

Could this event trigger more terrorist attacks and counter-strikes against our troops overseas? Yeah, I suppose it could, though it isn’t as if they needed more reasons to do that. But if Jones ends up giving them one, the first such attack will be all the vindication he needs. “See, we were right about how violent Islam is!” Not caring that, in this instance, he threw the first punch. Yeah, it’s entirely valid to condemn radical Islamists for doing what they actually do, which is kill people who aren’t sufficiently “respectful” to their beliefs. But you limit your condemnation to those individuals and groups who do the violence. As has been pointed out to an indifferent Jones, it’s absurd and dishonest as hell for him to suggest that he’s only protesting the violent Islamists, and that “moderate Muslims” ought to support him, when it’s their holy book he’s burning too.

In the end, I think what we as atheists should take away from all this insanity is a sobering realization that this is the kind of world you get when religion runs the show. Belief pits us against our fellow man for the most absurd of reasons: failure to worship the correct invisible magic man in the correct way. And for all that defenders bleat about the alleged benefits of religion — that sense of charity, well-being, love and community we are told believers enjoy better than any of the rest of us — they always leave out the part about religion’s innate tribalism. Whatever benefits religious beliefs confer are only enjoyed by those within that particular belief community. If you’re an outsider…run.

We rationalists can only hope humanity outgrows its penchant for religious tribalism one day, and that all these vile superstitions are eradicated from our cultural landscape completely. (Not through violence, of course, but through intellectual and moral awakening.) There really ought to only be one tribe — humanity.

But until then…yeah, go ahead, burn that Koran. Whatever. I’ll be at home that day. Let me know when the smoke clears and it’s safe to breathe free again.

Draw Muhammad Day…

I support the efforts of Draw Muhammad Day. I took a few minutes and made a quick drawing and posted it to Facebook…and that was going to be the extent of my participation.

Fortunately, our local religion reporter made a blog post and she couldn’t have managed to misrepresent the subject more, if she’d tried.

I took the opportunity to correct her…and I was sufficiently irritated that I thought I’d copy that correction here. As next Sunday’s show is cancelled, consider it a replacement rant.

“Again, I thought this would fizzle out, but apparently it’s become all the rage to make a spectacle out of demeaning Muslims.”

How does this demean Muslims? Be careful you don’t break your back while trying to twist this issue to portray the Muslims as the victims…

The fact is that some Muslims have repeatedly demonstrated remarkable and violent hypocrisy when it comes to free speech. They demand that their views be respected by everyone else in society – and anyone who offends them may well suffer a violent response.

“If it’s true that the Prophet Muhammad is not drawn or depicted by Muslim artists based on Islamic beliefs, why revel in ignorance? In other words, if it were considered heathen-like behavior to draw Jesus, would that be tolerated with the same level of revelry – or is there something else at work?”

Of course it would be tolerated. What sort of journalist doesn’t grasp the basics of free speech and expression?

There is no right to not be offended. There is no right to impose your ignorance, fears and superstitions on the rest of society.

Why do you think this is happening? If there had never been a gross over-reaction to cartoons, do you think anyone would have organized people to draw Muhammad?

Do you really suspect that the individuals drawing and encouraging others to draw Muhammad are simply cruel-minded bigots poking a stick at the poor Muslims?

This is not only about free speech, it’s valid social commentary and a serious issue. There are people who travel with bodyguards and live under constant threat of violence or death for exercising basic freedoms that we should all support. People like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Salman Rushdie and Lars Vilks.

What a staggeringly myopic perspective one must have to shrug this off as someone else demeaning Muslims.

Muslims, on this subject, have demeaned themselves.

Because it’s SCIENCE!

Today is Boobquake, the day when freethinking ladies everywhere prove to the world that science isn’t boring and show misogynist Iranian clerics a thing or two. I mean, I’d be the last to doubt the power of breasts in the course of human events. But actually causing tectonic activity? I’d say that’s due for some myth-busting. So in the spirit of research, I reiterate my support for this endeavor, and the dawning of a new age of global enlightenment it portends. I’m sure the day will rack up some revealing results.

Now, as in all worthy scientific efforts, the results of your research should be made publicly available for peer review. Over at Skepchick, some worthwhile boobular myths are examined, none actually having to do with geological activity, but still. And so far, among our fine AXP family of readers, Jennifer Juniper has documented her data points. I’m sure we’ll enjoy more results as the day goes on, which, even if we don’t have an actual quake, will completely rock the world! So I’ll just let Mike and the Bots from MST3K lead us out in song…and enjoy your experimenting. I certainly will!



Addendum, later in the afternoon: Holy cow, it worked! Well done, ladies!

Boobquake is Coming!

An Iranian cleric has discovered the cause of catastrophic earthquakes, and it’s not plate tectonics after all. Nope, it’s women’s immodesty. According to Hojjat ol-eslam Kazem Sediqi,

“Many women who do not dress modestly lead young men astray and spread adultery in society which increases earthquakes,” he explained.

Huh. Who knew my girls were so dangerous. I have to admit that when I first heard about this, my initial response was to keep them under wraps. I just didn’t want to be responsible for all that human suffering. Since then, Jen McCreight over at Blag Hag has convinced me that an experiment is necessary to test this new theory. The experiment must, of course, be photographed.

Boobquake 2010 will take place on April 26th. On that date, you are encouraged to show as much or as little cleavage as you have. If you prefer not to show cleavage, Mr. Sediqi warns that tight-fitting clothing will piss off Allah as well. He issues the following admonishment:

“What can we do to avoid being buried under the rubble? There is no other solution but to take refuge in religion and to adapt our lives to Islam’s moral codes,” he said.

Let’s give this a fair test, shall we? I say we all get out there and rock the planet on April 26th. I should also point out that women going shirtless is technically not illegal in Austin – but feel free to engage in your preferred brand of immodesty and unrepentant degeneracy that day.

Oh, one last thing – science requires that observations be repeatable, so we might have to do this again next year. Just sayin’.

Why we need blasphemy

Pat Condell, in one of his wonderfully cranky YouTube rants, opined that the Danes (I think it was the Danes) were probably wondering what the hell had happened to their free country since Islam showed up. The idea that freedom should surrender without a fight to religious fundamentalism of any kind, but especially that which has only fear and violence to support itself, is disgusting. And craven laws like that passed in Ireland, which naively strip away basic rights out of the fear of even a little bit of violence, merely give the fundamentalists what they want: a culture of oppression which is the only kind of culture where fundamentalism can thrive.

Now from Denmark comes word that a Somali terrorist has been shot (to which I say “Good,” and the PC crowd can flame away all they like) and wounded attempting to break into the home of cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, who was responsible for some of the controversial Mohammed cartoons that caused such a stink some years ago. The man’s goal was, of course, not to sit down over coffee with Westergaard to offer constructive critiques and rebuttals to his work, but to murder him, which is of course a perfectly rational response to a cartoon.

Once more with feeling: if your religion cannot stand up to a fucking cartoon, it ain’t the cartoon that has the problem.

I have spoken to a number of atheists who, with the very best of intentions, have naively asserted that the best thing to do when faced with the violence of radical religious extremists is to sit down, shut up, and not get them riled, because really, we don’t want anyone to get hurt, do we? That they cannot see how this cowardice and capitulation gives religious lunatics the power over us they wanted all along never ceases to amaze me. And does anyone actually think that, by appeasing them once in this way, they’ll be satisfied and decide they can stop shooting and bombing and whatever else it is sky-daddy has told them to do this week, “peace” be upon him? Let’s do that as a multiple choice question: A) No; B) No; C) Hell no!; D) What, are you stupid? Once they know that a tiny bit of fear is all it takes to control you, then they’ll just keep demanding and threatening more and more, until you’re afraid to wipe your tender bottom without their divine mandate.

People, what we need is more blasphemy, more anger and more outrage in the face of this lunacy. Religious extremists are the cockroaches in the kitchen, and only the light of reason will send them scurrying to hide. Belief systems propped up by violence are ones that have already failed. No respect should be given them. So pick up your pens, cartoonists, and blaspheme your butts off! And if they turn up at your door, well…shoot first. If they really think they’re the only ones out there to be feared, they obviously haven’t heard Matt Groening’s dictum: “It is unwise to annoy a cartoonist!”

Allah Flummoxed by Swine Flu

I wanted to share with you the very first news item I saw on television this morning. It was a story about swine flu concerns surrounding hajj. Hajj is the pilgrimage to Mecca that is required of all Muslims who are able to make the trek. Google “hajj+’swine flu'” to find related articles.

Apparently, if adherents are required to destroy skyscrapers and execute unbelievers for jihad, the god will ensure their success. But protecting adherents from a flu bug, while they make the required hajj, is a bit too much to ask from the all-powerful creator of everything.

Last Muslim email, I’m done. Your turn.

All right, seriously, we’re going around in circles. I’m bored. You can talk to Muhammad if you want.

Parts 1 , 2, 3.

Why do you think your god just existed without anything happening that caused the god?

Because it makes sense to say that god led to the creation of something then to say things JUST HAPPENED by itself. The same way you guys are saying that the burden is on me to prove the existence of god, the burden is also on you guys to prove that whatever is out there actually led to the creation of the universe and you guys still havent found out.

Why don’t you give me a good reason why I SHOULD go around killing strangers?

The fact that you kill all sorts of animals etc via pollution what makes it different then your own species? They are all bunch of interacting atoms so why does it make it right to kill insects birds fish or even dangerous lethal species but not your own species? Im sure if you ever see a bee hive on top of your doorway the first thing you would do is kill it you wouldnt think about “HEY ITS NOT BENEFITING ME IN THE FIRST PLACE SO WHY NOT JUST LEAVE IT THERE”

Many apologies, but I don’t believe you. If you make up a story using conversational Arabic, you can even write it in English. All you need is a translator who understands both English and conversational Arabic. It sounds like you’re asking me to believe that Muhammad didn’t know any people who could translate between conversational and written Arabic. You want me to accept your claim that Muhammad had no believable earthly means for committing his thoughts to paper, but as an alternative you want me to believe that it was accomplished by magic.

I see where it is going. You can’t find a valid response so you have to say “I DONT BELIEVE YOU” Well its the truth and thats how arabic works. You can translate conversational to english and write it down sure. YOu can also translate written arabic to english even though its going to sometimes distort the meaning but if you were to translate conversational arabic to written arabic it would also disort meaning and looking at the perfection of the quran in its meaning etc there is no way it was translated it like that.

Another thing that doesn’t seem to add up about your story: If Muhammad was illiterate, how was he able to know what it was that he wrote?

I think you’re a bit confused. Muhammad did not write the story. Allah reveals it to Muhammad, Muhammad memorizes the revelations. Muhammad recites it to a group of people the group of people write it on a book. The fact that the writting of the quran into a book happened shortly after the Prophet’s death makes it impossible for any deviation.

Oh, I see how it works now. All I have to do is make some kind of claim, and then it becomes “history,” and then it is undeniably true. There is no need to verify anything at all.

Well, in that case, I’ve got a claim for you. I am illiterate. I have no means of writing this email to you right now. But I’ll tell you how I do it: I have magical supernatural powers, thanks to the angel that I am channeling right now. And you know what the angel just told me? He says Muhammad — both of you — are full of shit.

No but the claim needs to be logical and based on true observation. I obviously know you are literate because I’ve read your background and you’ve read on TV so thats a fail on your part. Muhammad was a loner back the and it was confirmed via counts in poems etc. There couldnt have been another person comming up with a story and then reciting it to Muhammad. THink of the logic here. If there was a person who came up with a story and gave it to Muhammad, why would he come up with something that would disprove his religion? It just doesnt make sense. People back then did not believe in god and now all of a sudden youre telling me that there could have been a person who did not believe in god help someone deny his religin?

Have at it. I’ll let Muhammad know you’re discussing his masterful arguments.

We get Muslim email (part 3)

Yep, I went another round with Muhammad. He sent two emails and here’s the resulting response.

This was part 1 and part 2.

Muhammad’s first reply:

What additional information do you get from calling it “God?” Even assuming that “dimensions interacting with each other” made sense as something other than a bunch of words strung together, why wouldn’t you just keep calling them dimensions? Do the units of measurement become conscious when you apply this label? I don’t get it.

Because if it were JUST dimensions and nothing else, what made it shit out the universe?You cant say it just happened because for all I care it could have just sat there and just existed without anything happening but the fact is something did happen and it was the fact that it shat out the universe. IT cannot do something by itself without another thing acting upon it.

You’re making a bunch of statements that are not supported by any observation. We don’t know whether it’s in some way more likely for energy to “sit on its ass” than “shit,” because we have nothing outside of this universe to compare it to. Science doesn’t currently have any definite position on whether there is some kind of metaverse, containing more energy which either sits or shits. We don’t have any statistical data. For all you know, free floating energy has no alternative but to shit universes. Or whatever you’re trying to say.

What im trying to say is sciences says that energy just existed and has always existed. If that was true all it could have done is just exist without anything happening but some how some way it didnt just exist without anything happening it led to universe what caused it to lead to the universe?

There are two uninhabited patches of land. On one of them, it rains. On the other, it does not rain. Does this require somebody to “intelligently” choose to make it rain in one place and not another? Must everything be uniform, all the time, unless there is divine intervention picking between two places? If so, what is your justification for this claim?

It rains as a result of evaporation and this evaporation happens because there is water and water is there because of the interaction of atoms and the atoms came from energy and energy like I said is from god. Without god you wouldnt be arguing about these two uninhabited patches of land. What Im trying to say is there is something behind everything that is happening. And if that first happening was something by itself without existence then nothing would have happened.

You can’t measure god and say he exists or not using natural physical laws. God is super natural therefore no physical laws or nature or quantum mechanics apply to him. This is where the quran revelation comes in handy and explains the only proof of his existence.

Why would I want to do that exactly? Austin has an excellent police force which solves murder cases with a fairly high rate of success. It may not be a guarantee that I would be caught, but I think it’s pretty likely that I would wind up sent to jail or executed myself. And even if I did wind up getting away with it, many of my friends would probably have awkward questions for me, probably even fear me. As a result, I would certainly lose contact with many people whose love and friendship I value highly.

So are you saying you’re not going to kill random people because of the fact that you would be jailed? So if there was enforcement order you would kill people at will?

So instead I’d like to ask: what is your god’s purpose for existing? Why does the god do the things that it does? What drives it? Why does it do whatever you think it is doing?

He exists because he created everything therefore he must exist. He has a reward of heaven and hell in which the believers will go heaven and the non believers will go to hell. He deserves every respect and worship to him because without him you wouldnt exist so the least we can do is respect him and bare witness his existence.

Second email:

That makes very little sense to me (are you saying that you can’t make up a story and then dictate it?) but okay, we’ll move on.

If you make up a story using the arabic language in which you would use when engaging in a conversation then no you cant write it down. But if you make up a story using the language in which can be written then yes you can write it down. For you to be able to that though you must learn how to read arabic first.

Imagine yourself in my shoes for a minute. You are merely a poor benighted atheist, without any belief in God or supernatural magical powers whatsoever. I come to you and say “Look here, I know for a certainty that there is a magical being who lives in the sky and listens to every one of the seven billion people on this planet, every minute of every day. And the reason why I know this is that 1,500 years ago, an illiterate man wrote a book about him.”

So you’re saying that you would much rather believe it if you were actually alive during that moment? Too bad thats when it happened and it is history that doesnt mean you can deny it. Do you think 3000 years from now people are going to deny all the science discovered now just because its too old?

1. This being you’ve described really exists, despite a complete absence of other corroborating evidence.
2. I am somehow mistaken, and the author of this book either wasn’t illiterate or somehow found SOMEBODY who was willing to listen to this story and write it down.

Again you cannot come up with a story that is in readable form unless you know how to read arabic. Thats just the way it is. So the prophet could not have made up that story unless he knew how to read which he didnt. There are many arabic poems in the past the confirm Prophet Muhammad‘s illiteracy.

Before you answer, stop and ask yourself if your answer would be the same if the book was not the Koran but say, the book of Mormon, or a book about Scientology or something.

Bible book and others have been proven to be edited through out the year.The old and new testament is from god himself but they have been changed and edited through out the years the Koran was never changed….

And now, my reply to both. Sorry, but editing is becoming a pain so I’m not going to even try snipping for clarity this time.

Because if it were JUST dimensions and nothing else, what made it shit out the universe?You cant say it just happened because for all I care it could have just sat there and just existed without anything happening but the fact is something did happen and it was the fact that it shat out the universe. IT cannot do something by itself without another thing acting upon it.

This rule that you’ve made up seemingly doesn’t get applied to your god. After all, you believe that the god just sat on its ass before shitting out the universe. All you’ve done is answer a question you don’t understand, by making up additional stuff which you still don’t understand. Again I’m asking what reason you have for believing this addition god-thing exists.

What im trying to say is sciences says that energy just existed and has always existed. If that was true all it could have done is just exist without anything happening but some how some way it didnt just exist without anything happening it led to universe what caused it to lead to the universe?

Why do you think your god just existed without anything happening that caused the god?
It rains as a result of evaporation and this evaporation happens because there is water and water is there because of the interaction of atoms and the atoms came from energy and energy like I said is from god. Without god you wouldnt be arguing about these two uninhabited patches of land. What Im trying to say is there is something behind everything that is happening. And if that first happening was something by itself without existence then nothing would have happened.

And around we go in a circular argument. You want me to accept your assertion that god exists, and your argument for this is that “Things don’t just happen without intelligence.” Then when I suggest an example of something that doesn’t have an intelligent cause behind it, and you say “God did that.” But God is the thing that you are trying to prove to me, so all you are doing is repeating your assertion, not making an argument. When are you going to justify the belief that your god exists?

So are you saying you’re not going to kill random people because of the fact that you would be jailed? So if there was enforcement order you would kill people at will?

Incarceration is one of many reasons. Maintaining relationships with other people is another. Yet another is that I have no motivation to kill strangers; it wouldn’t get me anything useful. And if there were no formal law enforcement, that stranger quite likely would still have friends and relatives who would wish vengeance.

You asked me why I don’t kill strangers, and I gave you several reasons why I would not do it. You focused on one reason and then asked if that was the only one. I get the feeling that you’re not really looking for a serious discussion, but you just like to hear yourself talk. Why don’t you give me a good reason why I SHOULD go around killing strangers?

Moving on to your second letter:

If you make up a story using the arabic language in which you would use when engaging in a conversation then no you cant write it down. But if you make up a story using the language in which can be written then yes you can write it down. For you to be able to that though you must learn how to read arabic first.

Many apologies, but I don’t believe you. If you make up a story using conversational Arabic, you can even write it in English. All you need is a translator who understands both English and conversational Arabic. It sounds like you’re asking me to believe that Muhammad didn’t know any people who could translate between conversational and written Arabic. You want me to accept your claim that Muhammad had no believable earthly means for committing his thoughts to paper, but as an alternative you want me to believe that it was accomplished by magic.

Sorry, but I just don’t believe you. I still find all the other alternatives much more plausible.

Another thing that doesn’t seem to add up about your story: If Muhammad was illiterate, how was he able to know what it was that he wrote?

So you’re saying that you would much rather believe it if you were actually alive during that moment? Too bad thats when it happened and it is history that doesnt mean you can deny it. Do you think 3000 years from now people are going to deny all the science discovered now just because its too old?

Oh, I see how it works now. All I have to do is make some kind of claim, and then it becomes “history,” and then it is undeniably true. There is no need to verify anything at all.

Well, in that case, I’ve got a claim for you. I am illiterate. I have no means of writing this email to you right now. But I’ll tell you how I do it: I have magical supernatural powers, thanks to the angel that I am channeling right now. And you know what the angel just told me? He says Muhammad — both of you — are full of shit.

I guess you’ll be abandoning Islam now. I wrote it down, after all, so it’s history now.

That’s all for now! If I get another reply, I’ll mention it in comments until there’s another full round to post.