Moral Actions

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chimp3's picture
Moral Actions

Name one good or noble action that can not be accomplished without religion.

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valiya s sajjad's picture
I can cite many.... but then

I can cite many.... but then you would ask, "who says these things are moral?"

And for that you would have to first decide a reliable standard for morality. And once that can opens up, the rest of the discussion I had with Algebe, in which you also had taken part, would unfold.

chimp3's picture
Answer the question, if you

Answer the question, if you would.

MCD's picture
You wrote: " ...you would

You wrote: " ...you would have to first decide on a reasonable standard for morality..."

Done. I make my own decisions about what I consider to be the reasonable standards for morality.

My guess is that everyone does this.

AlphaLogica's picture
Oh, the old argument from

Oh, the old argument from moral authority. The idea that without a supernatural dictator telling us what is or is not moral, morality simply does not exist. Well I call that into question, and luckily for us a very clever man by the name of Socrates has given us the answer.

To paraphrase:

Is something moral because God says so, or does God say something is moral BECAUSE it is, moral?
If God is required to deem an act to be moral, then morality is only what one persons God says it is, and morality is based on nothing more than ones own subjective religious preference.

But, if God deems something to be moral, BECAUSE it is moral, then God is not required in the first place, because an act is moral based on its own merit, and would still be moral, even if God never existed in the first place.

Valiya my friend, the argument from moral authority was cut to ribbons long ago by the VERY sharp razor of the Socratic Method.

valiya s sajjad's picture
Here you go

Here you go

"No extra-marital sex, pre or post"
"No dating"
"No dealing in interest, taking or giving"
"No doing bad things to people who do bad to you"
"Not sitting at a table where alcohol is served" and i can go on and on

CyberLN's picture
I'll not make any editorial

I'll not make any editorial comments about the consideration that these things are noble or goodl, however, I would like to know why you think that someone is unable to make the decision to, say, refrain from dating without religion as the driver.

Algebe's picture
Hello Valiya

Hello Valiya

I know from our previous discussion that you believe in moral objectivity and absolutes. Let's look at each of the examples you've cited.
"No extra-marital sex, pre or post"
How does this commandment apply to people who can't get married due to various injustices, such as "mixed-race" couples in countries with strict anti-miscegenation laws (such as many U.S. states until the late 1960s)? Gay people still can't get married in most places, but they still have the same feelings of love as anyone else. I agree with you about extra-marital sex after marriage, though. That's dishonest and dangerous.

"No dating"
The alternative is arranged marriage. What do you think about that?

"No dealing in interest, taking or giving"
Under that rule, very few people would be able to buy houses to live in or rent out, or run businesses. We would not be able to build assets for retirement. Even in Islamic countries, you have pseudo-loan systems, such as mudarabah and musharakah, which are effectively the same as lending/borrowing at interest.

"No doing bad things to people who do bad to you"
What about self-defense? Is it ok for the state to punish someone on my behalf if they do wrong to me?

"Not sitting at a table where alcohol is served" and i can go on and on
In most of Europe, the water in towns and cities was unsafe to drink until the 20th century. Wine, beer, mead, and spirits (watered down for children) were the only safe drinks. Did pre-modern Islamic countries have water purification systems?

valiya s sajjad's picture
Hello Algebe

Hello Algebe

You said: “How does this commandment apply to people who can't get married due to various injustices, such as "mixed-race" couples in countries with strict anti-miscegenation laws (such as many U.S. states until the late 1960s)?”

I am not aware of these issues. But I assume you are saying that there are situations where people from different races are not allowed to get married. In such a situation, if two people from different races want to get married, and the law doesn’t allow them… can they then indulge in an illegal relationship? IF that’s what you are asking…here is the answer.

In Islam, a marriage is a contract between the two families of the bride and the groom… the groom has to give a dowry to the girl, and if the both sides are okay… the contract is done with two witnesses. This is all marriage is in Islam… if you can live together illegally, you might as well enter this contract and live legally (from a religious point of view).

You said: “Gay people still can't get married in most places, but they still have the same feelings of love as anyone else.”

Gay marriages are illegal in Islam. Period. If you are bring excuses like natural tendencies and such factors, then what do you tell a person who has a strong desire to unite with a child? Or what about someone who is crazy about a woman, but she is not interested in him? There simply is no way to fulfill their urges. And if a Muslim has these urges, he has to overcome them by putting his faith in God. With faith you can overcome any of these. So gay relations are immoral. But suppose you slip and commit a sin, it’s not the be all and end all… you can always repent and turn back to god.

You said: "No dating"
The alternative is arranged marriage. What do you think about that?

Of course yes… that’s the norm in Islam.

You said: “Under that rule, very few people would be able to buy houses to live in or rent out, or run businesses. We would not be able to build assets for retirement.”

Yes you are right… but you will have to put up with it because interest is immoral. There is only one condition under which you can break a moral code in Islam… if your life or limb is under threat (of course there are exceptions but all of it is within well-defined principles). Say for example, you have to undergo an urgent heart operation to save your life… but you don’t have money. You tried everywhere, but you couldn’t cough up the sum. Then you can think of an interest-based loan.

But let me just digress a bit and tell you why you are asking these questions. It’s because to you it’s absolutely unthinkable that something like giving ‘interest’ could be so immoral. Just replace ‘interest’ with ‘murder’… can I murder someone if I don’t have a home to line in? The answer would be no. So, it’s really not about the situation, it’s about your notions of right and wrong. And that’s why I have been emphasizing on the standard.

You said: “Even in Islamic countries, you have pseudo-loan systems, such as mudarabah and musharakah, which are effectively the same as lending/borrowing at interest.”

You are right. That’s where the question of interpretation comes in, which we had discussed in another post. Mudarabah is interest in disguise… and that’s why many scholars have declared it immoral.

You said: "What about self-defense? Is it ok for the state to punish someone on my behalf if they do wrong to me?”

Yes… self-defense is fine. Remember the rule that any code can be broken if there is a threat to your life or limb. And regarding the second question, I would have to elaborate a bit more about some moral principles in Islam. In any moral deed, there is a scale extending between ‘most excellent’ to ‘permissible’… if you go below that it becomes immoral. In this case, the highest excellent behavior would be forgiveness for the criminal… but you can go so far as asking the government to give him just desserts for what he did unto you. And that’s the least desirable level. The government cannot punish anyone if the victim gives pardon. However, this latitude is given to the victim otherwise it would become impossible to punish the guilty and there could be a rise in crimes.

You said: “Wine, beer, mead, and spirits (watered down for children) were the only safe drinks. Did pre-modern Islamic countries have water purification systems?”

No… there were no purification systems… and they did fine without alcohol.

Algebe's picture
@Valiya

@Valiya
”But let me just digress a bit and tell you why you are asking these questions. It’s because to you it’s absolutely unthinkable that something like giving ‘interest’ could be so immoral. Just replace ‘interest’ with ‘murder’… can I murder someone if I don’t have a home to line in?"

I don't understand. How can you equate borrowing a mortgage to buy a house with murder? Someone has money they don't need right now so they put in the bank to earn interest. The bank lends the money at interest and pays its shareholders and employers. I borrow the money and build my house now instead of waiting for decades to save the money. With that money I can pay carpenters to build my house, so they can feed their families. Why is that immoral? Who is harmed?

"No… there were no purification systems… and they did fine without alcohol."

In one year in the mid-19th century one-third of pilgrims traveling to Mecca died of cholera. Cholera and typhus epidemics happened in the Ottoman Empire and other Islamic areas, just as in the rest of the world.

(Arranged marriages) "Of course yes… that’s the norm in Islam."

And so are forced marriage, underage marriage, and "honor" killing. Japan used to have similar customs. A woman belonged to her father until marriage and then to her husband. Now Article 24 of their constitution says that marriage must be based on mutual consent, individual dignity, and equality of the sexes. Does Islam have anything like that? I ask this because in the UK, Australia, and other Western countries, we frequently hear about underage girls being sent back to places like Yemen, India, etc., to marry old men.

valiya s sajjad's picture
Hi Algebe

Hi Algebe

You said: “I don't understand. How can you equate borrowing a mortgage to buy a house with murder?”

That’s the whole crux of my argument. That shows your standards are different… and I would like to know what that standard is (I think we have gone over it fully in our last discussion).

You said: “Someone has money they don't need right now so they put in the bank to earn interest. The bank lends the money at interest and pays its shareholders and employers. I borrow the money and build my house now instead of waiting for decades to save the money. With that money I can pay carpenters to build my house, so they can feed their families. Why is that immoral? Who is harmed?”

After making it clear that the basis of my morality is not this kind of reasoning… let me humor you anyways. If you think interest has some benefits in it… ask economists how it concentrates wealth in the hands of few and how it generates poverty. The modern economy is entirely based on interest… interest begins at the very source of money generation… in built into the system is a process that never lets you get out of debt. The money that has go upwards is by default more than the money that trickles down… burdening the weakest section of the people. An interest based economy is by its very nature unequal and unfair.

You said: “In one year in the mid-19th century one-third of pilgrims traveling to Mecca died of cholera. Cholera and typhus epidemics happened in the Ottoman Empire and other Islamic areas, just as in the rest of the world.”

And you think alcoholic drinks are the answer? If people back in those days knew about germs they could have simply boiled the water before drinking it. That’s an easier solution than feeding alcohol to children. But going back to our basics… morality is not about best practices. Those are things that mankind will have to work out for themselves… nobody is arguing that religions brought all the scientific advancements of the modern world… yes, we may have moved from gold coins to fiat money and now to digital cash… that depends on our scientific advancement… those things may change, but the value that a small portion of that wealth belongs to the poor is a value that will not change.

You said: “And so are forced marriage, underage marriage, and "honor" killing.”

You are coming with your baggage of prejudice. Arranged marriage doesn’t mean forced marriage. A marriage cannot take place without the consent of the bride. Honor killing is not from Islam at all… it is a cultural practice that existed in some parts of the world, and when islam spread to those regions, these practices continued alongside.

Algebe's picture
Hello Valiya

Hello Valiya
"After making it clear that the basis of my morality is not this kind of reasoning.."

No. You stated that lending and borrowing at interest was immoral. Now you have launched into economic theory. (I disagree with your conclusions on that, but this isn't the place for that debate). Whether interest is economically sound or not is beside the point. I'd like to hear specifically why you call it immoral from a religious standpoint. Perhaps you could also explain why Saudi Arabia, the location of Mecca and home of Wahhabism, issued $17.5 billion in sovereign bonds last October to cover its budget deficit? Presumably they'll be paying interest on that debt.

You said: "You are coming with your baggage of prejudice."
Maybe. But the abuses I mentioned -- underage and forced marriage and "honor" killings of women--have been happening in Islamic communities for so long that they are really part of Islamic culture, if not strictly part of the religion. When will Islam get around to stamping out these practices, which you say "are not Islam at all"? Can a woman instigate a divorce from an abusive husband under Islam? Can she make a complaint to the police?

Alcohol is a wonderful substance with all kinds of medicinal benefits if used wisely. Tobacco is an evil addictive product with no benefits. Why does Islam condemn alcohol but not tobacco? Your prophet would have known about alcohol, but he wouldn't have known about tobacco, because Colombus hadn't reached the Americas then. But surely god would have known about it. Is tobacco mentioned anywhere in the Quran? Is tobacco acceptable to your morality?

valiya s sajjad's picture
Hello Algebe

Hello Algebe

You said: “No. You stated that lending and borrowing at interest was immoral. Now you have launched into economic theory.”

I think I have made it clear. The reason why something is moral or immoral is because the scripture says so. Period. I was only explaining the economics of it because you were defending it on the basis of some merits. I was only trying to say that even on that count, it doesn’t really hold up. But no matter what economics says, it would be immoral to me.

You said: “Perhaps you could also explain why Saudi Arabia, the location of Mecca and home of Wahhabism, issued $17.5 billion in sovereign bonds last October to cover its budget deficit? Presumably they'll be paying interest on that debt.”

If they pay interest on it… it is from a religious point of view immoral. The ones who are indulging in it have to answer that. Many things the Saudi government is doing is immoral and scholars have criticized them for long. Preventing women from driving is a case in point.

You said: "When will Islam get around to stamping out these practices, which you say "are not Islam at all"? Can a woman instigate a divorce from an abusive husband under Islam? Can she make a complaint to the police?”

I don’t blame you for your faulty perceptions because often times what happens in Saudi is portrayed as pure islam. But even in Saudi arabia a woman can instigate a divorce from an abusive husband… the technical term for it is ‘Khula’. Women are free to make a complaint to the police, of course yes. These things are common in a large number of Islamic countries like Malaysia, Kuwait, UAE, Qatar, Morocco, Egypt and so on…

You said: “Why does Islam condemn alcohol but not tobacco? Your prophet would have known about alcohol, but he wouldn't have known about tobacco, because Colombus hadn't reached the Americas then. But surely god would have known about it. Is tobacco mentioned anywhere in the Quran? Is tobacco acceptable to your morality?”

Now coming to the issue of smoking. When it comes to morals in Islam there are what are clearly defined codes (like no fornication, no lying, no cheating, no interest etc)… and then there are what can be defined as ‘directive principles’… which give a general direction without giving specifics. One such directive principles is ‘Don’t bring harm to your own self knowingly’. If I have diabetes, and doctor tells me that sugar must be avoided, then according to this principle, I must avoid sweets. But sugar at other times is fine. Similarly, if doctors tell us smoking is bad then this principle tells us that we have to avoid smoking.

I know you will have many questions seething in your mind at this point. I will not preempt you though… I will wait until you raise them and answer them accordingly.

Algebe's picture
Hello Valiya:

Hello Valiya:

You said: "The reason why something is moral or immoral is because the scripture says so. Period."

And you never question the scriptures?

You said: "I don’t blame you for your faulty perceptions because often times what happens in Saudi is portrayed as pure islam."

Actually we hear more about abuses in Pakistan, India, Yemen, Nigeria, Sudan, etc. Are those perceptions faulty too? Or are those countries not really Islamic?

You said: "One such directive principles is ‘Don’t bring harm to your own self knowingly’."

In Islamic countries the possession of alcohol is a crime, but tobacco is perfectly legal. Why the separate standards?

You didn't answer my question about why Islam isn't stamping out forced marriage, underage marriage, honor killings, which you describe as non-Islamic, even though they are certainly part of the cultural landscape in many Islamic countries. Islam is an authoritarian religion about many things. Why aren't Islamic leaders acting on these issues. Are alcohol and interest more important?

valiya s sajjad's picture
Hello Valiya:

Hello Valiya:
You said: “And you never question the scriptures?”

You can study the scripture, analyze it and if you are convinced you can decide to live by its moral code. That’s when you become a believer… so questioning comes before belief not after it.

You said: "Actually we hear more about abuses in Pakistan, India, Yemen, Nigeria, Sudan, etc. Are those perceptions faulty too? Or are those countries not really Islamic?’

Honor killings take place in the hindu and Christian communities also in many of these countries… the country that leads the world in wife beating is Laos (non muslim)… Egypt ranks on top for ‘husband beating’… what does that tell you… that islam empowers women more than men!!???! Is domestic violence any less in the US… just check the stats and you would be surprised. Does that mean that Christianity encourages wife beating? There is more to it than what meets the eye.

The thing is Islam has well defined moral codes… if some people don’t live by it then it’s their problem, not that of the faith.

You said: "In Islamic countries the possession of alcohol is a crime, but tobacco is perfectly legal. Why the separate standards?”

Once again… don’t judge the religion by what governments do. Judge it for what the scriptures say. Banks based on interest also operate in all these countries… not because the injunction is unclear… but because the governments (for whatever reason, political or otherwise) have allowed it. Ask any scholar and he would say it’s haram/forbidden.

You said: You didn't answer my question about why Islam isn't stamping out forced marriage, underage marriage, honor killings, which you describe as non-Islamic, even though they are certainly part of the cultural landscape in many Islamic countries.”

These are not the norm, only exceptions. Even if it otherwise… I can only defend the faith.. not what the people do. People who study the religion and practice it properly can benefit from its moral guidance…

Algebe's picture
Hello Valiya:

Hello Valiya:
Isn't it interesting that places with strong religious cultures, such as Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, etc., all seem to have such terrible social indicators for family violence, etc.These religions of peace and love are all supposed to teach us to be better people and live in harmony, yet everywhere they seem to bring out the worst in people. Is it just coincidence, or could it that the terrible power of religion is like a lethal weapon put into the hands of children?

When I question practices like forced marriage in Islamic cultures, you tell me that those people have strayed from the true path of Islam. That reminds me of what die-hard communists said when Soviet Russia was exposed as a vile tyranny. They told us that communism was a wonderful system, but that the way it was applied in Russia and China wasn't pure enough, that they had strayed from the true teachings of Marx and Lenin. Both communism and religion concentrate power into the hands of a few high priests. How much evil has to occur before people start to think that maybe the philosophies themselves are flawed?

valiya s sajjad's picture
Hello Algebe

Hello Algebe

You said: ‘Isn't it interesting that places with strong religious cultures, such as Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, etc., all seem to have such terrible social indicators for family violence, etc.”

That’s a very contorted way of looking at things. A majority of countries in the world have religion…so obviously there will be more religious people involved in not just spousal abuse, but take any parameter and they would be in the lead. In Africa, more blacks will be beating their wives, while in America more whites will be doing so… does that say anything about blacks or whites? No… it’s just you will find more of something in any community, where that community is the in majority. And of course, there could be a multiplicity of factors driving human behavior, so you can’t just take some statistics and arrive at any conclusion. Why are more Palestinians turning into suicide bombers... its their political situation.

You said: “Is it just coincidence, or could it that the terrible power of religion is like a lethal weapon put into the hands of children?”

It’s just your bias. You want to pin the bad things on religion, but the good things you ignore. Bhutan a bhuddist country has the world’s highest happiness index. Saudi Arabia has a low crime rate compared to world average… per capita alcohol consumption is the least in Pakistan followed by Mauritania, Libya, Kuwait, Bangladesh, Saudi arabia and more muslim countries. Myanmar, a budhist country is the most charitable country in the world… but you want to see only the bad things…

You said: “Both communism and religion concentrate power into the hands of a few high priests. How much evil has to occur before people start to think that maybe the philosophies themselves are flawed?”

First of all, thank you for pointing out that even ideologies like communism have faults. At least you admit that it’s not just religions, but other isms too. But it’s actually more than that. It’s a fundamental problem with politicians in general, and man’s greed for power. Do I need to tell you that America, a democracy, has been the major cause of much of the world’s terrible wars in the recent times. I think more human lives must have been lost in human history because of wars initiated by the US than any ism or religion. Similarly rulers have exploited religion too to expand their power and terrible consequences have occurred.

Algebe's picture
Hello Valiya:

Hello Valiya:
You said: "First of all, thank you for pointing out that even ideologies like communism have faults. At least you admit that it’s not just religions, but other isms too."

I think you're deliberately misinterpreting what I said. I said that true believers in various -isms tend to deny inherent flaws in their ideologies, and to claim that things went wrong simply because people failed to follow the true faith rigorously enough. Communists said that about the Soviet Union, and you're saying about Islam. If enough people do evil in the name of an religion/ideology for long enough, sooner or later we have to conclude that there's a problem in the philosophy itself.

I think your alcohol consumption statistics are a red herring, since alcohol is illegal in most muslim countries. Saudi Arabia's crime rate is a little misleading, too. Oppressive states tend to have low rates for conventional crimes. You could say the same thing about Iraq under Saddam. Of course, the crimes committed by states against their own people are another matter.

America is a democracy, but it's also an extremely religious country. Maybe if they start electing atheists to high office, we'll see a more peaceful approach to international relations, but I don't think that's going to happen soon. The Christians have a pretty tight grip on power.

You said: "I think more human lives must have been lost in human history because of wars initiated by the US than any ism or religion."

Well that's a very startling claim. The biggest death tolls in modern times have be the two World Wars. I don't think America initiated either of those. If we're talking about all of history, we also need include the Spanish conquest of Latin America, the 30 Years War in Europe, and the Taiping rebellion in China. All caused tens of millions of deaths, and all were inspired by religion.

You said: "but you want to see only the bad things…"

And you seem to be looking at Islam and other religions through rose-tinted glasses. You attribute all good things to religion and all the bad things to people's failure to follow religion correctly.

valiya s sajjad's picture
Hello Algebe

Hello Algebe

You said: "I think you're deliberately misinterpreting what I said. I said that true believers in various -isms tend to deny inherent flaws in their ideologies, and to claim that things went wrong simply because people failed to follow the true faith rigorously enough.”

Oh… so you are bunching up communists with religious believers now… I thought they were atheists, more like your own. And now I have to answer for the crimes of your kind as well. Interesting!

You said: “Communists said that about the Soviet Union, and you're saying about Islam. If enough people do evil in the name of an religion/ideology for long enough, sooner or later we have to conclude that there's a problem in the philosophy itself.”

There is not a single ideology or ism that came to power and has remained untainted – be it religion, communism, democracy, nationalism etc. Communism to me is atheism in power (I know you will have your finer analysis of differentiating the two, which sadly you don’t allow the latitude for while critiquing others). I am sure you would agree with the principles of democracy. Would you attack the principles of democracy for what those in power in democratic countries do?

Therefore, the problem rests primarily with power – power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, doesn’t it? Therefore your generalizations are disingenuous, you have to analyze isms or religions based on their principles and philosophies and not what people do in their name.

You think: “I think your alcohol consumption statistics are a red herring, since alcohol is illegal in most muslim countries. Saudi Arabia's crime rate is a little misleading, too….”

I was giving these reasons to show that there are both positive and negative examples in these countries. But look at your double standards… when it comes to good things, you want to do deeper analysis and get to the root causes of why they happen, so that religion doesn’t get the credit… whereas when it is bad things, you don’t want to look any further, just dump it all on religion.

You said: “America is a democracy, but it's also an extremely religious country.”

That’s precisely what I am saying… you can’t judge a system based on what the people in the system are doing… you can’t blame democracy for what the so called religionists are doing in its name.

You said: “Maybe if they start electing atheists to high office, we'll see a more peaceful approach to international relations…”

Atheists were in power in Russia and are in power in China. Why aren’t they any different? Oh, you would say they are ‘Communists’ another belief system. So, you don’t have any atheistic systems at work anytime in the history of the world to show as an example… and you are making pipedreams of a utopian world if such a thing were to happen. Very clever argument.

You said: “Well that's a very startling claim. The biggest death tolls in modern times have be the two World Wars.”

Well… I think the World Wars were actually triggered by the US corporates… but that’s another interpretation of history. However, my basic argument is you can’t blindly blame an ideology for what its supposed adherents do. You have to analyze the principles of the ism before coming to a conclusion.

You said: “And you seem to be looking at Islam and other religions through rose-tinted glasses. You attribute all good things to religion and all the bad things to people's failure to follow religion correctly.”

That’s NOT what I am doing. If you had read my posts carefully, not just here but anywhere in this forum… I only put forth the principles and philosophies of Islam to speak for the faith… I don’t present the good things that happen in Islamic countries as a proof… may be as an answer to those who highlight the negatives, but never as my main argument.

Nyarlathotep's picture
valiya s sajjad - I think the

valiya s sajjad - I think the World Wars were actually triggered by the US corporates

While I consider myself very critical of US foreign policy, that statement is just ludicrous. Please explain to us in detail how US corporations triggered World War 1, the war where the US showed up late...

Algebe's picture
Hello Valiya

Hello Valiya
You said: "Oh… so you are bunching up communists with religious believers now… I thought they were atheists, more like your own. And now I have to answer for the crimes of your kind as well. Interesting!"

LOL. I'm about as far from a communist as you can get. In fact, I see many features in common between religion and totalitarian communism. Both have charismatic founders/leaders, strict dogma, and double standards for the elite and the rank and file. Mao was worshipped like a god. Communism promises a workers' paradise on Earth. Religions promise a paradse after death. Neither delivers. Some communist regimes have made atheism compulsory. But the reverse isn't true. Communism isn't compulsory for atheists. Ask anyone here. What your doing is a basic logical fallacy. Most communists are atheists. You're an atheist. Therefore you're a communist.

Which US corporates started the World Wars? A lot of big corporations profited from the wars, but it's a stretch to say they caused them.

You said: "I only put forth the principles and philosophies of Islam to speak for the faith"

So you absolve Islam from its consequences in the real world, and from the actions of its believers? I blame all religions for all the harm they cause in the world.

valiya s sajjad's picture
Hello Valiya

Hello Valiya

You said: “I'm about as far from a communist as you can get.”

I know you are far away from communism, but to a someone who doesn’t bother to study the difference between atheism and communism could easily collate the two and blame one for the ills of the other… now that’s what you seem to be doing in your hasty judgements of religion.

You said: “I see many features in common between religion and totalitarian communism. Both have charismatic founders/leaders, strict dogma, and double standards for the elite and the rank and file.”

You are making a big mistake here. Totalitarian rulers exploit anything they can to establish totalitarianism. Hitler used german nationalism, saddam Hussein used bathism, gaddafi used Libyan nationalism, stalin and mao used communism, narendra modi used liberal democracy… and America in an indirect way use liberal democracy to establish totalitarian rulers in other parts of the world…so it’s not that religion creates totalitarians… rather totalitarians exploit religion.

You said: “Communism isn't compulsory for atheists. Ask anyone here. What your doing is a basic logical fallacy. Most communists are atheists. You're an atheist. Therefore you're a communist.”

Communism is an ideology that came out of materialism, which is founded on atheism. You are trying to make the link between atheism and communism appear loose and unimportant… but no, one is founded on the other. There is no communism without atheism at an ideological level. But yes, at a practical/political level there are theists who are communists.

But I agree that all atheists are not communists. But I was only trying to make you understand the logical fallacy you were indulging in. Let me explain:

You say: Muslims do bad things – muslims belong to Islam – therefore Islam must be a bad religion.

In a similar logic, I say: Communists do bad things – communism is based on atheism – therefore atheism must be a bad philosophy.

I agree both are logical fallacies.

You said: “Which US corporates started the World Wars? A lot of big corporations profited from the wars, but it's a stretch to say they caused them.

Here are two documentaries that sheds light on it:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SMKnH2BlkBA
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hfEBupAeo4

You said: “So you absolve Islam from its consequences in the real world, and from the actions of its believers? I blame all religions for all the harm they cause in the world.”

The same way you absolve atheism of the terrible consequences of communism.

Nyarlathotep's picture
valiya s sajjad - Here are

I edited this post to remove the hyper-links to the conspiracy site as that site is not exactly safe, but I preserved the url's if anyone is interested; you have been warned:

valiya s sajjad - Here are two documentaries that sheds light on it:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SMKnH2BlkBA
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hfEBupAeo4

First one is about WW2. I want to see how "US corporations" triggered WW1. I think that will quite difficult to support, even for a conspiracy theorist.

The second one is made by Michael Rivero, a known conspiracy theorist who endorses:

  • JFK killed by CIA - http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/RANCHO/POLITICS/JFK/jfk.php#axzz4VkHGH9xa
  • Big bang theory is a religious conspiracy - http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTICLES/bang.php#axzz4VkHGH9xa
  • 911 inside "jobbery" - http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTICLES/wrh_9-11_index.php#axzz4VkHGH9xa
  • Global warming is a scam - http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTICLES/climategate.php#axzz4VkHGH9xa
  • Bin Laden died in 2001 - http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTICLES/binladen_9-11_index.html
  • And of course, the obligatory Jewish Bankers non-sense - http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/node/525478#axzz4VkHGH9xa

And sadly this is only the tip of the iceberg. The fact that you thought it was a good idea to use this guy as a source, is very troubling.

Algebe's picture
Hello Valiya:

Hello Valiya:

Atheism has been around far longer than communism, but communism is not an offshoot of atheism. Marx used atheism as a weapon for communism in reaction to the role played by religions in oppressing the masses, especially in Russia. Moses the Raven in George Orwell's "Animal Farm" symbolizes that. Napoleon once said that religion is great stuff for keeping the common people quiet. Communist revolutions happened in response to tyranny, and religion has always been a tool of tyranny and an "opiate for the masses."

How about that. Tyrants supported by religion made life so horrible in some places that communism, one of craziest ideas in human history, actually seemed like a good idea by comparison.

"The same way you absolve atheism of the terrible consequences of communism."

Communists used atheism. Atheism did not create communism. Therefore there's nothing to absolve. You can't say that about the Islamic teaching that those martyred for a jihad will receive great rewards in heaven. We all know the consequences of that.

valiya s sajjad's picture
Hello Valiya:

Hello Valiya:

You said: “Atheism has been around far longer than communism, but communism is not an offshoot of atheism.”

Nothing is farther from truth than this. The foundation of communism is dialectical materialism, which is simple and clear atheism. Without dialectical materialism there is no communism – can you argue otherwise?

You said: “How about that. Tyrants supported by religion made life so horrible in some places that communism, one of craziest ideas in human history, actually seemed like a good idea by comparison.”

Wonderful logic! Perhaps the people felt the same way about free market and capitalism as well… is that why they embraced communism?

You said: “Communists used atheism. Atheism did not create communism.”

Bad people used Islam… Islam did not create bad people!

Algebe's picture
Hello Valiya:

Hello Valiya:

There's nothing in atheism that leads inevitably to communism. Atheism is simply the absence of belief in gods. The fact that atheism was incorporated into another philosophy does not make atheism or atheists immoral or somehow responsible for the failings of that other system, as you seem to be suggesting.

I don't think any country with a capitalist system has ever switched to communism. Communism is almost always imposed by force and removed by force. The countries where capitalism evolved enjoyed unprecedented improvements in social indicators, such as life expectancies, public health, literacy, etc. Those achievements have never been matched in a communist country or a theocracy. If you lived in a communist state, you'd be standing in line to buy stale bread or two left shoes rather than typing on a computer.

If bad people are able to use Islam, that's because of inherent faults within Islam itself. What are your thoughts on the link between suicide bombers and Islam's promise of rewards in heaven for jihad martyrs? It's Islamic orthodoxy, and it's as fundamentally evil as the medieval Christian idea that any atrocity committed while on a Crusade would be automatically forgiven by god.

valiya s sajjad's picture
Hi Algebe

Hi Algebe

You are clearly using two different standards in judging atheism and religion.

You said: “There's nothing in atheism that leads inevitably to communism.’

I know that. But there wouldn’t be communism without atheism. See the difference? For communism to occur, atheism is a prerequisite…

But you are not getting my argument… I am not blaming atheism for communism… I am only trying to show the fallacy in that logic… because what you are doing with religion is the same fallacy.

You said: “The countries where capitalism evolved enjoyed unprecedented improvements in social indicators, such as life expectancies, public health, literacy, etc.”

You are arguing as if I am supporting communism against capitalism. I agree with you communism is evil… but the question is can you tie it up to atheism? If no is your answer… the same is the logic why you can’t tie islam to the evils in muslim countries.

You said: “If bad people are able to use Islam, that's because of inherent faults within Islam itself.”

That’s where your double standards are exposed. Bad things done by atheistsare because of reasons like communism… but bad things done by muslims can’t have any other reasons but Islam.

You said: “What are your thoughts on the link between suicide bombers and Islam's promise of rewards in heaven for jihad martyrs?”

Are you aware that in Islam suicide is FORBIDDEN. It’s a sure shot way to hell fire. But why do the bombers do it in spite of it… political reasons. Islam is not the reason… it’s politics making using of religion, choosing to interpret it the way they want to for their ends.

Algebe's picture
Hello Valiya:

Hello Valiya:
You wrote: "Are you aware that in Islam suicide is FORBIDDEN. It’s a sure shot way to hell fire."

Except when the suicide is classed as martyrdom. Then you get the heavenly rewards, including the big ruby and the 72 virgins. I think opinions in Islam are divided on this point, but many clerics, including no less an authority than Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran, have made statements in support of so-called "martyrdom operations." Pakistan's Minister of Religious Affairs actually called for a suicide attack on Salman Rushdie. In the Iran-Iraq war, a 13-YEAR-OLD BOY strapped bombs to his chest and blew himself up alongside an Iraqi tank. Khomeini declared that CHILD a national hero and urged others to do the same. The people who encouraged the CHILD to do that should have been arrested for murder.

So islam has this piece of scripture that encourages people to kill and die as martyrs. Where's the atheist scripture that encouraged Stalin and Mao to oppress the people of Russia and China?

You said: "But there wouldn’t be communism without atheism."

Why not? The basic tenets of communism are control of the means of production by workers and the abolition of private property. Neither of those things are incompatible with Christianity in theory. Some have even suggested that Jesus and his disciplines formed a kind of commune. As I said before, I think the atheist component of communism was a reaction to the role of religion in supporting tyrants.

valiya s sajjad's picture
Hello Algebe

Hello Algebe

You said: “Except when the suicide is classed as martyrdom. Then you get the heavenly rewards, including the big ruby and the 72 virgins.”

That’s the question of interpretations… and I think we have discussed it in our other post. Those who call suicide bombers martyrs are doing their interpretation wrong. If you want to know how, I will have to get into fiqh and all those issues, which is clearly outside the ambit of this forum. Ayatollah Khomeini is a Shia, who are less than 20% of the total world muslim population. Not that it means much… but just letting you know. I am not a Shia.

You said: “So islam has this piece of scripture that encourages people to kill and die as martyrs.”

If you quote the source I can tell you why that interpretation is clearly wrong.

You said: “Where's the atheist scripture that encouraged Stalin and Mao to oppress the people of Russia and China?”

Firstly, it’s a fallacy to think that a scripture is the only way to influence people’s minds. Was french revolution born out of a scripture? People can be influenced by thinkers and philosophers even without an organized structure or a scripture. Clearly communism was born out of the atheistic philosophy of materialism… there is no gainsaying that.

You said: “Why not? The basic tenets of communism are control of the means of production by workers and the abolition of private property.”

But you are forgetting a tenet that is even more basic. And that is dialectical materialism… the philosophy that there is no reality outside of the material/physical reality of the universe. In other words a clear-cut denial of God.

Nyarlathotep's picture
valiya s sajjad - There is no

valiya s sajjad - There is no communism without atheism at an ideological level.

Did you know there is Christian communism? How? Because not all communists are Marxists. So no, communism does not require atheism.

valiya s sajjad's picture
Nyarl: Did you know there is

Nyarl: Did you know there is Christian communism? How? Because not all communists are Marxists. So no, communism does not require atheism.

As i mentioned earlier, that's communism compromised for practical/political reasons. Ideologically, communism is not possible without atheism because communism stems from materialism.

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