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History of Islam

 

Is There a God?

The Truth Shall Set You Free

George Carlin of Religion

The Abrahamic Religions

History of Islam

Reasons People Are Religious

Religion: Business, Politics, and War

Terminologies and Notations

About the Author

Copyright Information

 

[_History of Islam is part of the Is There a God? series. _]

 

Is There a God?

 

Book One: History of Gods

Book Two: History of Religion

Book Three: History of Humans

 

[*Epicurus (341-270 BCE). *]

Is god willing to prevent evil, but not able to?

Then he is not omnipotent.

 

Is he able, but not willing?

Then he is malevolent.

 

Is he both able and willing?

Then whence cometh evil?

 

Is he neither able nor willing?

Then why call him god?

[* *]

Where Does Evil Come From?

 

If god wants to prevent evil,

but he can’t,

then he is weak.

 

If god can prevent evil,

but he doesn’t want to,

then he is evil.

 

If god can prevent evil,

and wants to prevent evil,

then why is there evil?

 

If god cannot prevent evil, or

he does not want to prevent evil,

then why call him god?

 

The Truth Shall Set You Free

 

The beliefs of your parents, if they are false, should not be your beliefs.

 

The beliefs of your peers, if they are outlandish, should not be your beliefs.

 

The beliefs of society, if they are dogmatic, should not be your beliefs.

 

The beliefs of your ancestors, if they are contentious, should not be your beliefs.

 

The beliefs of your country, if they are unjust, should not be your beliefs.

 

Abandon all false, outlandish, dogmatic, contentious, and unjust belief systems.

 

Accept what is right and not who is right. This is the path to spiritual enlightenment.

 

Through spiritual enlightenment you will know the Truth and

 

The Truth shall set your mind free…

 

 

George Carlin of Religion

[* *]

“Religion was invented when the first con man met the first fool.” —Mark Twain, American writer (1835 – 1910)

 

When it comes to bullshit, big-time, major league bullshit, you have to stand in awe of the all-time champion of false promises and exaggerated claims: Religion. No contest. Religion.

 

Religion easily has the greatest bullshit story ever told. Think about it. Religion has actually convinced people that there’s an invisible man living in the sky who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever ‘til the end of time!

But He loves you. He loves you, and He needs money! He always needs money! He’s all-powerful, all-perfect, all-knowing, and all-wise, somehow just can’t handle money! Religion takes in billions of dollars, they pay no taxes, and they always need a little more. Now, you talk about a good bullshit story. Holy Shit!

But I want you to know something, this is sincere, I want you to know, when it comes to believing in God, I really tried. I really, really tried. I tried to believe that there is a God, who created each of us in His own image and likeness, loves us very much, and keeps a close eye on things. I really tried to believe that, but I gotta tell you, the longer you live, the more you look around, the more you realize, something is fucked up.

Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed. Results like these do not belong on the résumé of a Supreme Being. This is the kind of shit you’d expect from an office temp with a bad attitude. And just between you and me, in any decently-run Universe, this guy would’ve been out on his all-powerful ass a long time ago. And by the way, I say “this guy”, because I firmly believe, looking at these results, that if there is a God, it has to be a man.

No woman could or would ever fuck things up like this. So, if there is a God, I think most reasonable people might agree that he’s at least incompetent, and maybe, just maybe, doesn’t give a shit. Doesn’t give a shit, which I admire in a person, and which would explain a lot of these bad results.

So rather than be just another mindless religious robot, mindlessly and aimlessly and blindly believing that all of this is in the hands of some spooky incompetent father figure who doesn’t give a shit, I decided to look around for something else to worship. Something I could really count on.

And immediately, I thought of the Sun. Happened like that. Overnight I became a Sun-worshipper. Well, not overnight, you can’t see the Sun at night. But first thing the next morning, I became a Sun-worshipper. Several reasons. First of all, I can see the Sun, okay? Unlike some other gods I could mention, I can actually see the Sun. I’m big on that. If I can see something, I don’t know, it kind of helps the credibility along, you know? So everyday I can see the Sun, as it gives me everything I need; heat, light, food, flowers in the park, reflections on the lake, an occasional skin cancer, but hey. At least there are no crucifixions, and we’re not setting people on fire simply because they don’t agree with us.

Sun worship is fairly simple. There’s no mystery, no miracles, no pageantry, no one asks for money, there are no songs to learn, and we don’t have a special building where we all gather once a week to compare clothing. And the best thing about the Sun, it never tells me I’m unworthy. Doesn’t tell me I’m a bad person who needs to be saved. Hasn’t said an unkind word. Treats me fine. So, I worship the Sun. But, I don’t pray to the Sun. Know why? I wouldn’t presume on our friendship. It’s not polite.

I’ve often thought people treat God rather rudely, don’t you? Asking trillions and trillions of prayers every day. Asking and pleading and begging for favors. Do this, gimme that, I need a new car, I want a better job. And most of this praying takes place on Sunday: His day off. It’s not nice. And it’s no way to treat a friend.

But people do pray, and they pray for a lot of different things, you know, your sister needs an operation on her crotch, your brother is arrested for defecating in a mall. But most of all, you’d really like to fuck that hot little redhead down at the convenience store. You know, the one with the eyepatch and the clubfoot? Can you pray for that? I think you’d have to. And I say, fine. Pray for anything you want. Pray for anything, but what about the Divine Plan?

Remember that? The Divine Plan. Long time ago, God made a Divine Plan. Gave it a lot of thought, decided it was a good plan, put it into practice. And for billions and billions of years, the Divine Plan has been doing just fine. Now, you come along, and pray for something. Well suppose the thing you want isn’t in God’s Divine Plan? What do you want Him to do? Change His plan? Just for you? Doesn’t it seem a little arrogant? It’s a Divine Plan. What’s the use of being God if every run-down shmuck with a two-dollar prayerbook can come along and fuck up Your Plan?

And here’s something else, another problem you might have: Suppose your prayers aren’t answered. What do you say? “Well, it’s God’s will.” “Thy Will Be Done.” Fine, but if it’s God’s will, and He’s going to do what He wants to anyway, why the fuck bother praying in the first place? Seems like a big waste of time to me! Couldn’t you just skip the praying part and go right to His Will? It’s all very confusing.

So to get around a lot of this, I decided to worship the Sun. But, as I said, I don’t pray to the Sun. You know who I pray to? Joe Pesci. Two reasons: First of all, I think he’s a good actor, okay? To me, that counts. Second, he looks like a guy who can get things done. Joe Pesci doesn’t fuck around. In fact, Joe Pesci came through on a couple of things that God was having trouble with.

For years I asked God to do something about my noisy neighbor with the barking dog, Joe Pesci straightened that cocksucker out with one visit. It’s amazing what you can accomplish with a simple baseball bat.

So I've been praying to Joe for about a year now. And I noticed something. I noticed that all the prayers I used to offer to God, and all the prayers I now offer to Joe Pesci, are being answered at about the same 50% rate. Half the time I get what I want, half the time I don't. Same as God, 50-50. Same as the four-leaf clover and the horseshoe, the wishing well and the rabbit's foot, same as the Mojo Man, same as the Voodoo Lady who tells you your fortune by squeezing the goat's testicles, it's all the same: 50-50. So just pick your superstition, sit back, make a wish, and enjoy yourself.

And for those of you who look to The Bible for moral lessons and literary qualities, I might suggest a couple of other stories for you. You might want to look at the Three Little Pigs, that’s a good one. Has a nice happy ending, I’m sure you’ll like that. Then there’s Little Red Riding Hood, although it does have that X-rated part where the Big Bad Wolf actually eats the grandmother. Which I didn’t care for, by the way.

 

And finally, I’ve always drawn a great deal of moral comfort from Humpty Dumpty. The part I like the best? “All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty back together again.” That’s because there was no Humpty Dumpty, and there is no God. None, not one, no God, never was.

In fact, I’m gonna put it this way. If there is a God, may he strike this audience dead! See? Nothing happened. Nothing happened? Everybody’s okay? All right, tell you what, I’ll raise the stakes a little bit. If there is a God, may he strike me dead. See? Nothing happened, oh, wait, I’ve got a little cramp in my leg. And my balls hurt. Plus, I’m blind. I’m blind, oh, now I’m okay again, must have been Joe Pesci, huh? God Bless Joe Pesci. Thank you all very much. Joe Bless You!

 

George Carlin

May 12, 1937 – June 22, 2008

Photo: wikipedia.org

 

 

Chapter 1

 

The Abrahamic Religions

[* *]

“It seems to me that Islam and Christianity and Judaism all have the same god, and he’s telling them all different things.” —Billy Connolly

 

In the first book,[_ History of Gods_], we witnessed how different civilizations worshipped gods for hundreds (and some thousands) of years. The beliefs of those civilizations changed according to social progress and geopolitical events. Now, if god is singular and eternal, why had civilizations changed allegiances from one god to another? Or from many gods (polytheism) to one god (monotheism)?

 

The Middle East has been the biggest exporter of religion. The three major Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) are the products of the Middle East. The spiritual headquarters of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are within 666 miles of each other (distance from Jerusalem to Mecca). Therefore, it is no surprise that in the 21st century, the Middle East is still mired in religious conflicts and wars.

 

We need to understand that religion is an ideology (a set of ideas and beliefs). Religion is not about race (proper word is ethnicity). Anyone, regardless of ethnicity, can adopt a religion as their own. For example, in the Christian religion, the adherents include Caucasians, Africans, Indians, Arabs, and Asians. The same is true of any religion: You can convert to any religion, regardless of the color of your skin. You are simply adopting a belief system when you convert to a religion. Therefore, someone who is anti-religion is not a racist.

 

History has shown that the vast majority of people adopted the religion of their elite and rulers. For example, Christianity proliferated on the back of the Roman Empire. Similarly, Islam proliferated on the military conquests of Muslim conquerors:

 

-Khalid ibn al-Walid,

-Tariq ibn-Ziyad,

-Jawhar as-Siqilli,

-Togrul, Tamerlane,

-Mehmed II,

-Akbar,

-Sayyed Mahmud Khan,

-Ottoman Empire, and many others.

 

In other words, the state religion was often the de facto religion for the majority of its citizens—people were born into the religion of their parents and state. This is to ingratiate themselves with those in power, either to fit in or to curry favour. The remaining potential adherents are impressionable and are easily indoctrinated into religion, especially the most vulnerable groups in society and those at distressing periods in their lives. Examples of these groups are the poor seeking to better their lot in life, and those facing personal tragedies seeking guidance.

 

[*Judaism, Christianity, and Islam *]are known as “Abrahamic” religions because they stemmed from the beliefs of a man named Abraham, if he existed at all. Abraham had borrowed his religious ideas from other cultures, most of which were discussed in book one, History of Gods.

 

We have to keep in mind that what we consider myths and fables today, our ancestors accepted as religion. Perhaps 500 years from now our descendants will look at our religions as myths and fables.

 

In 2017, the world’s population was estimated at 7.5 billion people. Of those 7.5 billion, over 6 billion identified with a religion. The other 1.2 billion identified with the group “Secular/Nonreligious/Agnostic/Atheist”—this group was also the fastest growing. This trend demonstrated that people were leaning away from religion. However, to the chagrin of many, Islam registered an increase of 500 million new adherents from 2004 to 2017 (1.3 billion to 1.9 billion).

 

Top Religions of the World

 

1) Religion: Christianity

Adherents: 2.2 billion (about 1.2 billion were Catholic)

Percent: 31.5%

 

2) Islam

1.9 billion

23.2%

 

3) Secular/Non-religious/Agnostic/Atheist

1.2 billion

16.3%

 

4) Hinduism

1 billion

15.0%

 

5) Chinese traditional religion

349 million

7.3%

 

6) Buddhism

376 million

7.1%

 

7) Folk religion (ethnic religions excluding some in separate categories)

300 million

5.9%

 

8) African traditional religions

100 million

1.5%

 

[*9) Sikhism *]

23 million

0.3%

 

10) Juche

19 million

0.3%

 

[*11) Spiritism *]

15 million

0.2%

 

12) Judaism

14 million

0.2%

 

13) Bahá’í

7 million 0.1%

 

14) Jainism

4.2 million

0.06%

 

15) Shinto

4 million 0.06%

 

16) Cao Dai

4 million 0.06%

 

17) Zoroastrianism

2.6 million

0.04%

 

18) Tenrikyo

1 million 0.02%

 

19) Neo-Paganism

1 million

0.02%

 

20) Unitarian Universalism

800,000

0.01%

 

21) Rastafarianism

600,000

0.01%

 

Source: Pew Research Center. Islam, the world’s fastest-growing religion, is expected to jump from 1.8 billion in 2015 to 2.76 billion by 2050 according to the Pew Study.

 

The list above only includes the top 21 religions—there were hundreds of them in the world. In the US alone, there were about 313 religions and denominations. Some of these were fringe religions that included groups who worshipped animal spirits, aliens, and psychoactive substances. And several of them were still polytheistic; as examples, Druidism, Wiccan, Santeria, and Shintoism. Buddhism is not covered in this book because it is considered more philosophy than religion. In Buddhism, there is no deity to worship, just the teachings of a prince-turned philosopher.

 

We’ll focus on the three religions that have been in perpetual conflict since c. 70 and 632.

 

In circa 70, about 40 years after Jesus’ supposed death, the first writings of Christianity appeared.

 

In 632, Muhammad, founder of Islam, died and Islam exploded in the Middle East under his successors.

 

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are known as Abrahamic religions because they share the same root. These Abrahamic religions have always been in the global conversation. The inter-faith and sectarian violence between these religions are regularly in the newspaper and on television. Throughout history, the adherents of these Abrahamic religions have been responsible for all the major religious wars and conflicts around the globe. As examples, the Crusades, Jihads, pogroms, and holocausts. For these reasons, we’ll focus on Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

 

“There are no great religions. They’re all stupid and dangerous.” —Bill Maher

 

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are considered Abrahamic religions because in c. 2 000 – 1 800 BCE a man named Abraham claimed that god spoke to him. More amazingly, that god had created a covenant with him. In this covenant, god agreed to make Abraham the father of all the nations on Earth and his descendants would be the Chosen People of god. This rocking covenant was supposedly arranged in Canaan (modern-day Israel, Palestine; and parts of Syria, Jordan, and Egypt). At the time of Abraham’s divine revelation, Canaanites were polytheists (believed in many gods), as were most people in the Middle East.

 

Also, in Abraham’s time ( 2 000 – 1 800 BCE), the Hindus, Chinese, Sumerians, and Egyptians had already established advanced civilizations, each with their own religion. It’s reasonable to conclude, based on the historical pattern of how knowledge was passed from culture to culture, that Abraham (if he did exist) borrowed from existing religions to form his own belief system.

 

“Religion has what is easily the greatest bullshit story of all time.” —George Carlin

 

The Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam were copycats of other religions before them. It started when Judaism copied from the Mesopotamian and Mediterranean pagan religions, then Christianity copied from Judaism, then Islam copied from Judaism and Christianity. Had our ancestors stuck to worshipping the Sun, we wouldn’t have a world full of people hating each other over fictional characters.

Again, we’ll only discuss the Abrahamic religions in this book because they’re still problematic in current affairs. The perpetual and violent conflicts between the three main Abrahamic religions and their deep-rooted sectarian wars affect global events.

 

Even those who have vehemently denounced religion, they’re still caught in the crosshairs of the continued religious nuttery.

 

The Historical Origins of Abrahamic Religions

As the oft-told story goes, Abraham (birth name Abram) was born circa 1 800 BCE in Ur, Babylonia. His father was Terach, an idol merchant (sold statuettes and figurines of pagan gods). In their time, polytheism was the religion of the day. However, Abraham had a divine revelation that there was only one god responsible for creating the Universe and everything in it. He was so sure of his belief that he began teaching it to other people.

 

To Abraham, polytheism (belief in many gods) was idol worship and he tried to warn his father, Terach, of that folly. One day, Abraham was assigned to watch his father’s idol shop. After his father left, Abraham took a hammer and smashed all the idols, except for the biggest one. Abraham then placed the hammer in the hand of biggest idol (the last god standing).

 

When Abraham’s father returned and asked him, “Why are all the gods smashed up save for the biggest one?”

“All the gods got into a fight and the biggest god destroyed the smaller gods,” Abraham replied.

“That’s absurd! These are statues. They’re not alive. They have no power, not even the biggest one.”

“Then why do you worship them?” Abraham inquired.

 

As time passed, Abraham’s god, the one true Creator, summoned him and made an offer he couldn’t refuse: If Abraham left his home and family to serve god, then god would make Abraham the father of all nations. This god also promised Abraham and his descendants a nation of their own. Who could refuse such a generous offer, especially one from a god? Abraham accepted, thus establishing the covenant (B’rit) between the Jews and god. Although there was no witness to the agreement, the religious Jews hold the covenant as true. Thus began a long, painful road for humanity.

 

The Offsprings of Abraham

 

Abraham and Hagar: Ishmael. According to the “sacred” scriptures, Abraham’s first wife was Sarai (Sarah), who was unable to have children. So Sarah offered her maidservant, Hagar, to Abraham. Together, Hagar, the maidservant (some call her a concubine) and Abraham had a son named Ishmael.

 

Abraham and Sarah: Isaac. When Abraham was 100 years old (yes, 100) and his wife Sarah was 90, she was miraculously conferred with the ability to conceive. Apparently, god had made Sarah fertile again when she was 90 years old. After this rocking miracle, Abraham and Sarah had a son named Isaac.

 

In summary, as it pertains to the Jews and Muslims: Abraham had two sons: Ishmael and Isaac. Ishmael was the son of Abraham and Hagar (the maidservant). Isaac was the son of Abraham and Sarah (Abraham’s wife).

 

Ishmael. Ishmael was the eldest son of Abraham and went on to have 13 children (12 sons and one daughter). Ishmael’s sons were Nebaioth, Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, Mishma, Dumah, Massa, Hadar, Tema, Jetur, Naphish, Kedemah. His only daughter was named Mahalath (aka Basemath). Ishamael’s children became the patriarchs of the Muslim Arabs. Ishamael died when he was 137 (yes, 137). His descendants were known as Ishamaelites (aka Muslim Arabs). To the Jews and Muslims, Ishmael was the ancestor of the Arabs, or Arab Muslims. This prophecy was fulfilled when Muhammad declared himself a prophet in circa 620. In retrospect, the entire story was backdated.

 

Isaac. Isaac was the second son of Abraham. Isaac and his wife, Rebecca, had two sons: Jacob and Esau. However, Esau was considered a black sheep in the family who “sold his spiritual leadership to Jacob for a bowl of lentil soup.” Needless to say, Esau didn’t have godlike qualities.

 

Jacob (aka Israel). Jacob was the son of Isaac and the grandson of Abraham. Jacob had 12 sons: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Zebulun, Issachar, Dan, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Joseph and Benjamin. The 12 tribes of Israel were named after Jacob’s 12 sons.

A painting of Abraham, who according to the Old Testament was the father of the modern-day religious Jews and Arabs and also “the father of all nations.” The Caucasians, Chinese, East Indians, and Africans may disagree with the assertion that a Middle Easterner was their only ancestor. Photo: Wikipedia.org

 

According to the rocking holy scriptures, Abraham, this man of god, was quite the gigolo. Sarah was his first wife but not the only one, and Hagar was his first concubine but not the only one.

 

Genesis 25:6: But unto the sons of the concubines, which Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts, and sent them away from Isaac his son, while he yet lived, eastward, unto the east country.

 

Genesis 25:1: Then again Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah.

 

[*Genesis 25:4: *]And the sons of Midian; Ephah, and Epher, and Hanoch, and Abida, and Eldaah. All these were the children of Keturah.

 

Chronicles 1:32: Now the sons of Keturah, Abraham’s concubine: she bare Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah. And the sons of Jokshan; Sheba, and Dedan.

 

Jewish-Arab Conflict

By now, if you’re thinking this was simply a sibling rivalry or long-running family feud with myths and fables thrown in to make one side look good, you’re correct. Because that’s what exactly what it was.

 

The 12 Tribes of Israel, each named after Jacob’s sons. Jacob was the son of Isaac and the grandson of Abraham. Map: Wikipedia.org

 

In summary, as centuries passed, the 12 tribes of Israel dispersed throughout the Middle East. Then became enslaved in Egypt, where god, in a form of a burning bush on-top Mount Sinai, revealed himself to Moses (a descendent of Abraham). Seeing that his Chosen People were suffering, god eventually forced the Ten Plagues on the Pharaoh’s people. Moses then parted the Red Sea to escape Pharaoh’s wrath and saved the Israelites from bondage. God then gave Moses the 10 Commandments on Mount Sinai.

 

However, the Israelites reverted to worshipping idols and were punished by god, and they had to wander the wilderness (some say desert) for 40 years. Eventually they settled down in Judah (Canaan, Israel), where they were taken captive and enslaved by the Babylonians, then subjugated by the Romans. These events were a part of a historical pattern of the Jews being enslaved, exiled, and persecuted.

 

“Religion: The belief that an unseen, all powerful entity made everything in the Universe just for you and that you’re special; your ancient, retranslated and rewritten texts are the right ones and all those other religions are completely wrong without a single shred of evidence. Makes perfect sense.” —Freethinkers

The Arabs

In Abraham’s time, circa 1800 BCE, there were thriving civilizations in North America, South America, Asia, Europe, and other parts of the Middle East besides Canaan. In Abraham’s time, the Canaanites were a tiny minority in the global population, as the Israelites are today. Even as a population within the Middle East, the Canaanites were a very small minority, as the Israelites are today. The Old Testament’s claim that Muslim Arabs are the descendants of Ishmael (first son of Abraham with maidservant Hagar) is hard to digest. Based on population projections the math does not add up. Most present-day Muslim Arabs are descendants of the ancient Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, and other Canaanites who had converted to Islam after 632. that is, most modern Jews and Arabs are not the descendants of Abraham.

 

Even if we believe the Old Testament, only a fraction of the present-day Arabs are descendants of Ishmael (if he did exist). At the time, he was one man surrounded by millions in the Middle East. Again, the math simply does not add up.

The Jews

According to the Old Testament, the religious Jews are the descendants of Isaac and his son Jacob (Abraham’s grandson). Again, these religious Jews believe they’re The Chosen People of god—chosen as a light unto humanity, to show the rest of the world how to live, as an exemplary example of god’s children. Similar to how the modern-day Arab Muslims could not have been the progeny of Ishmael, the modern-day Jews could not have been the descendants of only Isaac and Jacob. Abraham was only one person among the hundreds of thousands in Canaan. The majority of modern-day religious Jews are the result of their ancestors’ conversion to Judaism, not by their heredity to Abraham.

We’ve learnt that the Jews, Christians, and Muslim believe that Abraham was a prophet (messenger of god). But how did Christianity establish itself as a dominant Abrahamic religion?

 

Photo: Al-injil.net

 

The story of Judaism did not begin with Abraham (circa 1800 BCE), but was dated in the Old Testament to the first person and prophet on Earth: Adam. According to the Old Testament, god created Adam from dust, then from Adam’s rib cage, god created Eve, the first woman. Going with this theory, Adam and Eve (Middle Easterners) were the ancestors of all the Africans, Chinese, East Indians, Native Americans, blond-haired-blue-eyed Scandinavians, and everyone else on Earth.

 

Adam was the first prophet and Abraham was the 13th mentioned in the Old Testament—there were 12 prophets in-between. Abraham was a remarkable character because of what the scribes had written about him, notably that god had made a sacred covenant with him and his descendants, and he was chosen by god to be the father of all nations. More importantly, Abraham was the champion of monotheism (a single god).

 

Now, if Abraham championed the concept of one god and that one god just happened to favour Abraham and his children, some would say that was nepotism (nepotism: favouritism granted to relatives). But that’s another story.

 

Judaism is wrapped up in a series of books, about people who baked bread, ate bread, lied, stole, cheated, killed animals, got in trouble, had sex, had regrets, suffered, and made sacrifices to a fictional character in the cloud. In brief, about life, about experiences common to every person.

 

The Hebrew Bible (Tanach)

The Hebrew Bible consists of 24 books in three categories:

 

[_—The Five Books of Moses (Torah, Chumash) _]

 

—The Eight Books of the Prophets (Neviim)

 

—The Eleven Books of the Writings (Kesuvim)

 

Memorizing them is not required, as that can lead to utter confusion and even madness, since each major denomination of Judaism has different interpretations of the holy books. Therefore, different interpretations of what god wants. Therefore, different gods. Because a single god cannot consistently contradict his own words and actions. Either god is confused or hypocritical, or those who created him are.

 

David Hayward, Nakedpastor.com

The Five Books of Moses. The books in The Five Books of Moses are Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. The Five Books of Moses is the common text of the Jews, Christians, and Muslims. The Five Books of Moses is known as the Torah in Judaism, Old Testament in Christianity, and Tawrat in Islam. Although, The Five Books of Moses are referenced by Christians and Muslims, they are not the only ones. There are 19 other books in the other two categories.

The Eight Books of the Prophets (Neviim). The books in The Eight Books of the Prophets are Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and The Twelve.

 

The Eleven Books of the Writings (Kesuvim). The books in The Eleven Books of the Writings are Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra/Nehemia, and Chronicles. Now, what’s religion without the prophets (messengers of god)? Prophets for profit.

 

Prophets in the Old Testament

 

1. Adam

2. Abel

3. Seth

4. Enos

5. Cainan

6. Mahalaleel

7. Jared

8. Enoch

9. Methuselah

10. Noah

11. Shem

12. Melchizedek

13. Abraham

14. Isaac

15. Jacob

16. Elias

17. Gad

18. Jeremy

19. Elihu

20. Caleb

21. Jethro

Moses

Joshua

Balaam

Zechariah

Eli

Samuel

Nathan

Micaiah

 

30. Ahijah

Jehu

Elijah

Elisha

Elisha

Job

Joel

Jonah

Amos

Hosea

Isaiah

 

41. Micah

Nahum

Zephaniah

Jeremiah

Habakkuk

Obadiah

Daniel

Ezekiel

Haggai

 

50. Malachi

Shmaiah

Iddo

Zenos

Zenock

Neum

56. Ezias.

 

 

Notice that Ishmael, the eldest son of Abraham (with maidservant Hagar) was not a prophet according to the Jews. According to Jewish tradition, Ishmael was the father of the Arabs, and as sibling rivalries went, it appeared Ishmael was disowned. However, Abraham’s other son, Isaac, with first wife Sarah, was noted as a prophet; and so was Isaac’s son, Jacob (aka Israel). The divine irony was that there were, as of 2015, roughly 1.8 billion Muslims and only 15 million Jews.

“Organized religion is a sham and a crutch for weak-minded people who need strength in numbers. It tells people to go out and stick their noses in other people’s business. I live by the golden rule: Treat others as you’d want them to treat you. The religious right wants to tell people how to live.” —Jesse Ventura

 

Also notice that Jesus Christ and Muhammad are not in the Old Testament (Torah in Judaism, Tawrat in Islam). Jesus Christ is a prophet to the Christians and appears in the New Testament (Christian Holy Bible, circa 70). Muhammad is a prophet of the Muslims and appears in the Quran (aka Noble Koran, Qu’ran, circa 632). The Muslims also acknowledge every Jewish and Christian prophet as their own. However, in practice they put Muhammad above all.

 

“The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, infanticidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.” ―Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion

 

Religion is an evolution of social and geopolitical events. Increasingly, religious texts have been evolving to make them more agreeable with new scientific discoveries. That is, religion has been updated to keep up with science. However, there are some detrimental practices that remain to this day. For example, the practice of circumcision (surgical removal of a genitalia’s foreskin) is a religious custom of the Abrahamic faiths. According to the “sacred texts” Abraham circumcised himself to seal his covenant with god. To this day, circumcision is compulsory for newborn Jewish males and customary for males of other Abrahamic faiths. Circumcision has no scientific validity, except for the belief of a sheep herding, Bronze Age culture.

 

“This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; every man child among you shall be circumcised.” —Genesis 17, 10-14

 

There is no scientific basis for infant male circumcision. If there were health or evolutionary benefits to being circumcised, we would be born circumcised. Research has shown that the long-term health risks of circumcision outweigh any benefit espoused by the for-profit medical industry (refer to research compiled by Dr. Morten Frisch, or visit Intactamerica.org). Circumcision, like animal sacrifice, is another outdated practice conjured by a delusional goat herding “messenger of god.”

 

Christianity and Islam

Islam became an Abrahamic religion when it adopted the Old Testament (Tawrat in Islam). In the Old Testament, Abraham and his sons Ishmael (Arabs) and Isaac (Jews) were the ancestors of the Arab Muslims and religious Jews. Christianity became an Abrahamic religion because Jesus Christ was supposedly the Messiah the Jews had been promised.

 

Although, the Jews, Christians, and Muslims believe in the Old Testament, the Jews have a variant of the Old Testament called the Talmud (interpretations and comments of the Old Testament, or Torah). The Christians and Muslims do not subscribe to the Talmud, which has divinely-disparaging remarks about the Christians and Muslims.

 

The Torah consists of five books: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. In Christianity, the Torah is called the Old Testament; in Islam the Torah is known as the Tawrat. Therefore, Christians and Muslims believe in all the Jewish prophets (messengers of god in the Old Testament). In other words, Christianity and Islam are continuations of Judaism, or they’re different branches of Judaism. The Christians believe Jesus Christ is a prophet, the Messiah, the son of god, and god reincarnated into a human body. While the Muslims believe Muhammad was the last prophet (messenger of god) on Earth.

 

The four main Abrahamic religions are Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and the Bahá’í Faith. The Bahá’í Faith was founded by Bahá’u‘lláh in Persia (Iran) and has about 5 million followers.

 

Abrahamic Religions

Below is a list of the four Abrahamic religions.

 

Judaism

Judaism was the first Abrahamic religion and the oldest.

[*Founded: *]circa 1 800 BCE

Adherents (2015): 15 million

 

Christianity

Founded by semites but spread far-flung by the Roman Empire.

Founded: circa 30-70

Adherents (2015): 2.2 billion (about 1.2 billion are Roman Catholics)

 

Islam

Founded by the tales of a single man: Muhammad.

Founded: circa 620 – 632

[*Adherents *](2015): 1.8 billion

 

Bahá’í

Founded: circa 1844

[*Adherents *](2015): 5 million

It gets more convoluted when we take into consideration the different branches (subgroups, denominations, sects) within the major Abrahamic faiths.

 

Judaism. Judaism has four major denominations: Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist.

 

Christianity. Christianity has five major denominations: Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Anglican, and Protestant. Of the 2.2 billion Christians, about 1.2 are Catholic.

 

[*Islam. *]Islam has several denominations (sects): Sunni, Shia, Sufism, Yezidi, and Ahmadiyya. The vast majority of Muslims are Sunni (75-80%), followed by a distant second Shia (10-15%).

 

Polytheism to Monotheism

One reason monotheism made more sense than polytheism was that it simplified the concept idea of god—people only had to remember one god instead of dozens, hundreds, and even thousands. However, religion was subjective and arbitrary, always favouring the people who created it and subject to various interpretations. As centuries passed, monotheism achieved the opposite of its original intent. The dozens of denominations of monotheism had made Abrahamic religions convoluted, just like polytheism. People only worshipped one god but their interpretations of that god’s will and word were vastly different. In this regard, monotheism had fractured and became polytheism in a different form.

 

“Denominations often form slowly over time for many reasons. Due to historical accidents of geography, culture and influence between different groups, members of a given religion slowly begin to diverge in their views. Over time members of a religion may find that they have developed significantly different views on theology, philosophy, religious pluralism, ethics and religious practices and rituals. Consequently, different denominations may eventually form. In other cases, denominations form very rapidly, either resulting from a split or schism in an existing denomination, or if people share an experience of spiritual revival or spiritual awakening, and choose to form a new denomination based on that new experience or understanding.” —Wikipedia.org

 

In 1800 BCE, the “known world” was confined to the continent in which people lived. Science was so underdeveloped and crude that people thought they’d fall off the Earth if they travelled beyond the horizon. For about 2 400 years (circa 1800 BCE – 620), while all the descendants of Abraham (Middle Easterners) were fighting to be god’s favourite children, what were the millions of Africans, East Indians, Chinese, North American Natives, Europeans, and South American Natives doing? Merrily living and believing in their own gods, as witnessed from the previous chapter. In other words, while the Judaic god of the Jews, Christians, and Muslims was being established in the Middle East, hundreds of other gods were being worshipped in other parts of the world.

 

If there was indeed only one true god, surely everyone would had heard of her or him. And if god’s word was final, why were there so many different interpretations of it? And more importantly, why did it keep changing? Could it be that our ancestors created god in their own image? Like we create god in our own likeness.

 

Most of the civilized world would come to know the one true god concocted by a goat herding, Bronze Age gigolo. However, monotheism wasn’t proliferated by god himself but on the backs of the Roman Empire’s legionnaires.

 

The will and word of god changes according to a specific religion, denomination, congregation, and priest/rabbi/imam. Every person who claims to know god, to represent him, and to communicate with him has a different interpretation of his will and word. God is like a popularity contest, whoever makes him look the best has the most followers.

 

Think of ancient religions in this way: If you believe in 2000 year old ideologies, then you are 2000 years behind in your thinking. The truth is liberating.

 

Be suspicious of those who claim they are connected to god in someway. And especially distrustful of those who require that you go through them to reach god. No all-knowing and all-powerful god needs a middleman to represent him, nor validate him.

 

“There will be no peace in the Middle East until the Jews and others involved abandon their myth-based beliefs.” —Garry Greenwood, All the Emperor’s Men

[_ _]

We are all Humans. We become segregated when we label ourselves as Jews, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, or Hindus.

[_ _]

In the beginning, man made god, then the problems started…

[* *]

Chapter 2

 

History of Islam

[* *]

“It is impossible that god had anything to do with the Koran because of all the contradictions and the bad things in it. We don’t want to say that Mohammed lied to us, but he thought that god was talking to him, in reality it was all his ideas and desires.” —Ahmad Al-Qubanji, Islamic cleric in Iraq

 

The Pew Research Center estimated that as of 2015, Islam was the fastest growing religion in the world. By 2050, the number of Muslims is expected to explode from 1.8 billion to 2.76 billion, if the conversion rate holds steady. The majority of these converts is expected to come from developing and third world countries, mostly in Africa and the Indian subcontinent.

 

Research shows that nations with well-educated populations are increasingly shunning religion and embracing spirituality. Their citizens no longer need the self-anointed representatives of god or a human-conjured deity. These self-anointed rabbis, priests, and imams who claim to represent god, to know god, to speak his will and word, are parasites making a comfortable living while brainwashing the masses. They stunt or delay the mental and spiritual growth of their followers.

 

[*Islam is based *]on the account of Muhammad, who claimed the will and word of god were revealed to him by the angel Gabriel. If Jesus was the most amazing story ever sold, Muhammad’s tale is a close second. Following a historical pattern, Islam copied ideas from other religions.

 

Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Bahá’í are all Abrahamic religions because they are the continuations of the Old Testament (Torah in Judaism, Tawrat in Islam). Islam (surrender or submit to god) is the youngest of the three major Abrahamic religions. It was founded by an Arabian merchant named Muhammad in ca. 620.

 

The victor writes his-story, and Islam is the history of Muhammad. According to legend, beginning when he was 40 years old, Muhammad received the will and word of god from the angel Gabriel (an agent of god with wings who could fly). Muhammad continued to have these divine revelations throughout his life, particularly when the Arabian tribes (many of them nomadic) needed answers and guidance for their harsh, desert lives, and intertribal conflicts. Muhammad was supposedly illiterate (couldn’t read or write), so the angel Gabriel dictated to Muhammad the will and word of god. Muhammad, with divine intervention of course, transcribed god’s will and word into a book which became known as the Quran (Koran, Holy Quran, or the recitation or the recitations).

 

The Muslims believe Muhammad is the last prophet sent by god to deliver god’s will and word to humanity. Now, as always with the problem with religion, there are contradictions as to what god really wants. The Jews believe Malachi was the last prophet, the Christians believe Jesus was the last prophet, and the Bábís (adherents of the Abrahamic faith Bahá’í) believe Bahá’u‘lláh was the last prophet sent by god. Who is right? The beauty of religion is its mouthwatering mystery. It keeps people guessing until they get confused and forced to accept whatever is told (you just have to believe or you’ll go crazy trying to make sense of it all).

 

God willing, let’s begin this chapter with a summary of Islam.

 

From Wikipedia.org:

 

The history of Islam concerns the religion of Islam and its adherents, Muslims. ‘Muslim’ is an Arabic word meaning ‘one who submits to God’. Muslims and their religion have greatly impacted the political, economic, and military history of the Old World, especially the Middle East, where its roots lie. Though it is believed by non-Muslims to have originated in Mecca and Medina, Muslims believe that the religion of Islam has been present since the time of the prophet Adam. Muslims believe that prophets Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, among others, are all Islamic prophets, and they have equal veneration in the Qur’an. The Islamic world expanded to include people of the Islamic civilization, inclusive of non-Muslims living in that civilization.

 

A century after the death of last Islamic prophet Muhammad, the Islamic empire extended from Al-Andalus (Spain) in the west to Indus in the east. The subsequent empires such as those of the Abbasids, Fatimids, Almoravids, Seljukids, Ajuuraan, Adal and Warsangali in Somalia, Mughals in India and Safavids in Persia and Ottomans were among the influential and distinguished powers in the world. The Islamic civilization gave rise to many centers of culture and science and produced notable scientists, astronomers, mathematicians, doctors, nurses and philosophers during the Golden Age of Islam. Technology flourished; there was investment in economic infrastructure, such as irrigation systems and canals; and the importance of reading the Qur’an produced a comparatively high level of literacy in the general populace.

 

In the later Middle Ages, destructive Mongol invasions from the East, and the loss of population in the Black Death, greatly weakened the traditional centre of the Islamic world, stretching from Persia to Egypt, and the Ottoman Empire was able to conquer most Arabic-speaking areas, creating an Islamic world power again, although one that was unable to master the challenges of the Early Modern period.

 

Later, in modern history (18th and 19th centuries), many Islamic regions fell under the influence of European Great Powers. After the First World War, Ottoman territories (a Central Powers member) were partitioned into several nations under the terms of the Treaty of Sèvres.

 

Although affected by ideologies such as socialism and secularism during much of the 20th century, the Islamic identity and the dominance of Islam on political issues intensified during the early 21st century. Global interests in Islamic regions, international conflicts and globalization changed the type of Islamic influence on the contemporary world. In the contemporary period, a set of ideologies holding interpretations of Islamic texts that advocate the unification of religion and state has spread, but the ideology has been criticized.

 

Read more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Islam

 

In the previous chapters, we read that Judaism took roughly 1 500 years and Christianity 300 years to become established and codified. That is, it took countless scribes over 1 500 years to finalize the Hebrew Bible, and it took countless scribes over 300 years to write the Christian Holy Bible. Even then, the Hebrew Bible and Holy Bible have been rewritten, updated, and retranslated countless times. At last count there are over 30 different versions of the Holy Bible (King James, Good News, New International, etc.). Add to the different versions, the different interpretations of god’s will and word from the different Christian denominations, such as Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, Jehovah’s Witness, and so on, and we have a god who is clearly confused as to what he wants his creations to believe.

 

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” —Joseph Goebbels (1897 – 1945), Nazi propagandist

 

God willing, Islam is more believable than Judaism and Christianity because the Quran is the will and word of god transcribed by one man: Muhammad (circa 570 – 632). At least that’s what devout Muslims believe. However, the Quran has also been revised countless times since circa 632. Just like the Hebrew Bible and the Holy Bible, there are also different versions and interpretations of the Quran.

 

Sadly, Islam followed the same splintered pattern as Judaism and Christianity. Just like Judaism and Christianity, Islam also branched into different sects, with Sunni and Shia being the top two.

 

Sunni

Sunni is by far the largest Islamic denomination. After Muhammad died in 632, a struggle ensued between his potential successors. One candidate was Abu Bakr, an effective leader and one of Muhammad’s closest confidante. The other was Ali, Muhammad’s closest relative. Those who followed Abu Bakr were known as Sunnis. They believed their implementation of the Quran was closer to the original customs and traditions of the prophet Muhammad.

 

Shia

Shia is the second largest Islamic denomination (sect). Those who followed Ali, Muhammad’s son-in-law and cousin, after Muhammad’s death were known as Shiites.

 

Other Islamic sects include Sufism, Yezidi, and Ahmadiyya.

 

Islam Quick Facts

Islam, like Christianity and Judaism, is a religion. Islam, like Christianity and Judaism, is NOT an ethnic group or race. It’s an ideology (set of principles). One becomes a Muslim by adopting Islam as their religion. There are Asian Muslims, African Muslims, Caucasian Muslims, and of course Arab Muslims. Therefore, Islamophobia is the fear or hatred of Islam the religion, and not any specific ethnicity.

 

Like all religions, Islam has a history of borrowing concepts from other religions. It could be said that Islam was created in response to Judaism and Christianity. That is, Islam was created specifically for the religious Arabs as a way to put them in a good light with god. Think when Coca-Cola first appeared, then PepsiCo, Dr. Pepper/Snapple, then a bevy of other soft drink competitors. Institutions, like companies, inspire competition.

 

[*Formed: c. 620 *]

 

Origin: Mecca and Medina in modern-day Saudi Arabia.

 

Adherents: Roughly 1.8 billion as of 2015.

 

[*Deity: *]Monotheist (Allah, or Yahweh). The same god as the Jews and Christians.

 

Sacred Texts: Quran (Koran). In principle, Islam recognizes all other Abrahamic religious texts such as the Old Testament, Talmud, and Holy Bible. Muslims believe the Quran is the continuation of those books. Like the Bible, the Quran is full of inherent contradictions and like the Talmud, it’s full of hatred for the non-believers.

 

Headquarters: Mecca, Medina, Jerusalem.

 

[*Holidays and Remembrances: *]Muharram (Islamic New Year), Mawlid al-Nabi (Muhammad’s birthday), Ramadan (month of fasting), Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca), Eid al-Adha (Festival of Sacrifice); Christmas, Easter, and other Abrahamic holidays.

 

[*Major Denominations: *]Sunni, Shia, Sufism, Yezidi, Ahmadiyya. To add to the confusion, there are offshoots (sub-groups) of the major denominations.

 

Sunni: 83-85% (Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Indonesia, Malaysia…)

 

Shia: 10-14% (Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Bahrain…)

 

The remaining sects are a small minority. Most Shia Muslims (Shiites) live in Pakistan, India (about 150 million), Iran, and Iraq.

 

Politics in Islam

In the previous chapter, we read how Roman royal court intrigue dictated the course of Christianity. It was the same with Islam.

 

“Politics, competition, influence and power fuel the current sectarian tensions between Shia and Sunni Muslims, the two main branches of Islam. The root of the hostility is a political question in itself: who is the legitimate successor to the Prophet Muhammed?…Both sects share common religious convictions: the five pillars of Islam, the Quran and Prophet Muhammed being the last messenger of God. The differences lie mostly in the Shia and Sunni interpretation of the hadiths and Sharia law on how Muslims should define and govern themselves. But for the most part, the religious differences are superficial. The conflict and violence are more about political power, where geo-politics intertwines with theology.” —Kulsoom Rizvi

 

Again, we go back to the contradictions, inconsistencies, and absurdities of religion. If the Quran is the final will and word of god, the eternal and unchanging word of Allah, then why are there different interpretations of its verses? For this reason, the Middle East has been in perpetual conflict over religion.

 

A primary goal of Muhammad was to end tribal feuds and warfare that were common in his time. However, Islam, and religion in general, have done the exact opposite. Islam was an offshoot of Judaism; the Sunni and Shia sects were offshoots of Islam; thus the god question has always been, “Whose god?”

 

For more on the Sunni-Shia conflict, we revisit Ms. Kulsoom Rizvi’s article:

 

SYRIA

Syrian unrest began with protests against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in March 2011. The ruling elite in this war-torn country belongs to the Alawites, a minority offshoot of Shia Islam. The civil war has exposed underlying grievances between Shia and Sunni.

 

IRAQ

This is the heartland of the global Shia community. For a long time, the majority Shia Muslims are discriminated by the Sunni-dominated regime. After the 2003 war and fall of Saddam Hussein, Shia Muslims stepped into power, targeting Sunni Muslims through government death squads and torture. Sunnis responded with suicide attacks and bombings. The war has amplified tensions between the two, emphasizing growing nationalistic attitudes of Shia Muslims.

 

SAUDI ARABIA

Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia consistently feels challenged and threatened by Iran in the race for regional power. Iranians are neither Arab nor Sunni [Iranians are Persians who speak Farsi and not Arabic]. Saudi Arabia fears Iran will stir unrest among the Shia Muslims living in the Gulf.

 

IRAN

The 1979 Iranian Revolution is key to empowering the Shia community. Iran sponsored and encouraged Shia uprisings in Saudi Arabia’s oil rich eastern province. Keeping Syria in power is vital to Iran’s strategic interests in the Middle East. Syria has been the route to sending people, money, and weapons to groups like Hezbollah, a Shia militant group created by Iran. For Iran, it is all about regional interests. [Although an Islamic State, Iranians do not consider themselves as Arabs, but as Persians who speak Farsi, not Arabic.]

 

Kulsoom Rizvi.

Read more: Yourmiddleeast.com/features/shia-and-sunni-muslims-do-you-know-the-difference_16339

 

The Sunni-Shia conflict has raged since 632, when Muhammad died. The West has exploited this boiling point in the Middle East—the Sunni-Shia conflict is the perfect divide and conquer strategy of the West.

 

“Convince people of absurdities and get them acquiescing to atrocities.” —Niccolò Machiavelli

 

The Historical Origin of Islam

In circa 600, there were no Muslims. Muslims did not exist prior to circa 600. Muslims came into existence when Islam was concocted by its founder Muhammad. The people who adopted the religion Islam were labelled as Muslims. Likewise, the people who adopted the religion Christianity were labelled as Christians and the people who adopted the religion Judaism were labelled as Jews. From history, we know that god had absolutely nothing to do with religion. Religion was invented by men and promulgated by men. The men who invented religion said it was god’s doing. In reality, god had nothing to do with religion.

 

To put this in perspective, prior to circa 600 there were no conflicts and wars between Sunni Muslims and Shiite Muslims. There were no wars between Christians and Muslims. There were no wars between Jews and Muslims. Because Muslims did not exist until Islam was concocted. Now, back to the origin of Islam.

 

In circa 600, the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire (330 – 1453) was busy spreading Orthodox Christianity throughout its territories. During this time, the Arabian Peninsula (modern-day Saudi Arabia) was still a pagan (polytheistic) society—at one point the pagan Mesopotamian states worshipped over 2,100 deities. Although the tentacles of the Roman Empire extended into Egypt, they never reached the Arabian Peninsula because of successive Roman losses in the Roman-Parthian (Persian) Wars (66 BCE – 217). The Arabian Peninsula remained a divided land with feudal tribes fighting each other for the control of water wells and arid patches of desert. This all changed when Muhammad came on the scene.

 

Muhammad was born in Mecca (in modern-day Saudi Arabia) in ca. 570 and died on June 8, 632 (62 years old when he died). In his time, Mecca was not part of Saudi Arabia, as the modern nation of Saudi Arabia was not founded until January 8, 1926. Muhammad was born into one of the ruling Meccan tribes. His father, Abdullah, died six months before his birth, and his biological mother died when he was six years old. This left his uncle, a tribal leader, as his protector.

 

God willing, below is a brief overview of Muhammad’s life from Wikipedia.org:

 

His father, Abdullah, died almost six months before Muhammad was born.

 

According to Islamic tradition, soon after Muhammad’s birth he was sent to live with a Bedouin family in the desert, as desert life was considered healthier for infants. Muhammad stayed with his foster-mother, Halimah bint Abi Dhuayb, and her husband until he was two years old. Some western scholars of Islam have rejected the historicity of this tradition. At the age of six, Muhammad lost his biological mother Amina to illness and he became orphaned. For the next two years, he was under the guardianship of his paternal grandfather Abd al-Muttalib, of the Banu Hashim clan, but when Muhammad was eight, his grandfather also died. He then came under the care of his uncle Abu Talib, the new leader of Banu Hashim. According to Islamic historian William Montgomery Watt there was a general disregard by guardians in taking care of weaker members of the tribes in Mecca during the 6th century, ‘Muhammad’s guardians saw that he did not starve to death, but it was hard for them to do more for him, especially as the fortunes of the clan of Hashim seem to have been declining at that time.’

 

While still in his teens, Muhammad accompanied his uncle on trading journeys to Syria gaining experience in commercial trade, the only career open to Muhammad as an orphan. Islamic tradition states that when Muhammad was either nine or twelve while accompanying the Meccans’ caravan to Syria, he met a Christian monk or hermit named Bahira who was said to have foreseen Muhammad’s career as a prophet of God.

 

Little was known of Muhammad during his later youth, and from the fragmentary information that was available, it was difficult to separate history from legend. It was known that he became a merchant and “was involved in trade between the Indian ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.” Due to his upright character he acquired the nickname “al-Amin” (Arabic: الامين), meaning “faithful, trustworthy” and “al-Sadiq” meaning “truthful” and was sought out as an impartial arbitrator. His reputation attracted a proposal in 595 from Khadijah, a 40-year-old widow. Muhammad consented to the marriage, which by all accounts was a happy one.

 

Read more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhammad

 

From what we know of his early life, Muhammad was a trustworthy person, a successful merchant, an astute arbitrator/mediator, a loyal husband, and well-traveled businessman. Basically, an outstanding member of his tribe and community. He also grew up in a pagan society that had an entrenched history of worshipping multiple gods. When Muhammad introduced his new found Islam faith to the Meccans, they had rejected it outright. It was not easy to do away with their established way of life. Religion was an ingrained institution in those days as it is today.

 

[*Muhammad was born *]in Mecca but was exiled to Medina. The Mecca ruling elite were pagans and distrusted and feared his teachings and claims of being a messenger of god. He later returned to Medina with 10,000 soldiers. Map: Hubpages.com

 

[*The Kaaba (square) *]in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, is at the center of Islam’s most sacred mosque, Al-Masjid al-Haram. Long before Muslims circled the monolithic structure to come closer to Allah, they were pagans who worshipped multiple gods at the exact same spot. Photo: Wikipedia.org

 

In polytheistic Mecca, there was a gigantic, monolithic, black square called the Kaaba. For centuries, the Arabian pagans/polytheists came to the Kaaba to worship their deities. Muhammad believed that the Kaaba was constructed by Moses, a prophet in the Old Testament. It was also in this holy place of the Arabian pagans that the legend of Muhammad began.

 

Night Journey to Jerusalem

The origin of Islam began with Muhammad’s night Journey to Jerusalem. Muhammad’s Night Journey that began his career as a messenger of god (prophet) came in two parts: the Isra and Miraj.

 

One night in 621, when he was 40 years old, Muhammad was sleeping near the Kaaba. The angel Gabriel appeared to Muhammad and took him to a horse-like White Beast, which had been used by other prophets before Muhammad. Together, with a single leap on the White Beast (steed of the prophets), they took a trip to Jerusalem, which was (and still is) the spiritual centre of the Jews and Christians. The place that the White Beast took Muhammad to was the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

 

[*The angel Gabriel dictating *]the will and word of god to Muhammad. The angel magically appeared (only to Muhammad) when Arabian tribes needed answers and guidance. No explanation was ever given as to why Gabriel never appeared in front of a large crowd to deliver god’s wishes.

 

In Jerusalem, Muhammad met several prophets from the Old Testament and New Testament, such as Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joseph, John the Baptist, Jesus, etc., and led them in prayer. Then, depending on the source, Muhammad was offered water, milk, and wine; or just milk and wine. Muhammad chose milk as the middle ground. The angel Gabriel commented on his choice of milk, “You chose milk in accordance to the purity of your nature. You have received guidance and your followers too. Had you chosen wine, your followers would have been astray.”

 

Circa 621. Muhammad’s Night Journey from Mecca to Jerusalem guided by the angel Gabriel on the beast of the prophets. Many Muslims believe this was a physical journey that actually occurred, others believe it was a spiritual journey, while some believe it was a metaphorical journey. The non-religious know it’s philosophy wrapped in myths and fairytales. Photo: Liberty.org.uk

 

Ascension to Heaven

As with all the prophets (messengers of god) before him, Muhammad had the glorious privilege of speaking directly and indirectly with god, who gave Muhammad the first of his many divine revelations. This was the pattern of the chosen prophets: god only revealed himself to the prophets when they were alone, when no one could verify the events, save for the words of the self-anointed “prophets” many years or centuries after the divine events. Did god and his angels have social anxiety that prevented them from appearing in front of a group?

 

Muhammad’s ascension to the Throne of Heaven/God/Allah where he purportedly spoke with god. Photo: Wikipedia.org

 

The Seven Levels of Heaven

The seven levels of heaven that Muhammad ascended through was described by an Islamic source as:

 

Then came Mi’raj, Prophet Muhammad ascended to the heavens–the Ascension–as we were told, followed Prophet Muhammad to the first level of Heaven. This was where he met Prophet Adam (peace be upon him) in his celestial form. The Prophets exchanged greetings and the first man and first Prophet known to mankind testified that Muhammad was the Prophet of God.

 

Prophet Muhammad ascended to the second level of heaven, meeting with Yahya son of Zachariah and Jesus son of Mary. They greeted each other, and then the cousins again testified to Muhammad’s Prophethood.

 

The same exchanges took place on the third and fourth levels of heaven with Prophet Joseph and Prophet Idris (peace be upon them) respectively. Prophet Harun made his testimony when met at the fifth level of heaven.

 

At the sixth level of heaven, Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) greeted Prophet Muhammad, gave his declaration of faith and wept. “The reason for my tears is that a youth was commissioned as a Prophet after me, but his followers will enter heaven in greater numbers than mine.”

 

Needless to say, this wasn’t the only interaction with Moses as the Apostle of God would meet him again during his descent.

 

At the seventh level of heaven, Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) was resting against Al-Bait Al-Ma’mur, a celestial house of worship, which seventy thousand different angels circumambulate daily. The Prophets exchanged greetings and Abraham gave his testimony of faith.

 

Prophet Muhammad was then led to Sidrat Al-Muntaha, a tree of Paradise, with a shade so far for the eye to see and with beauty beyond description. The tree was also known as the Lote tree or the Lote tree of the Uttermost End…

 

Maria Zain

Read more: Onislam.net/english/reading-islam/about-muhammad/457502-amazing-night-journey-and-ascension-to-heaven.html

 

As lore went, Muhammad had quite the trip (or he was tripping).

 

According to the Quran (transcribed by Muhammad of course), Muhammad had never been to Jerusalem, and he was illiterate (couldn’t read or write). However, Muhammad was able to describe Jerusalem with vivid detail to a confidante, Abu Bakr (the same Abu Bakr who founded the Sunni sect after Muhammad’s death). Remember, Muhammad was a “well-traveled” merchant.

 

After his Night Trip to Jerusalem, Muhammad began teaching the will and word of god. He gradually compiled the divine revelations in what became the Quran. Remember, he couldn’t read or write so the divine revelations were guided by the angel Gabriel and, god willing, Muhammad simply transcribed them to parchment and scrolls.

 

Islam, like Judaism and Christianity, started tediously slow and faced ridicule and persecution in the first decades. Several sources state that in his first 10 years of teaching, Muhammad had only about 150-300 followers. In the beginning, a few of his family members (his first wife was the first Muslim), clan members, and the marginalized people of Mecca converted. Other than those, the Meccan pagans were happy being pagans, worshipping multiple gods.

 

The ruling tribes of Mecca, who were pagans, persecuted Muhammad and his followers. They went as far as killing some of his followers and even tried to assassinate him. Needless to say, the pagans weren’t tolerant of other religions in Muhammad’s time; just like the present-day Muslims aren’t tolerant of other religions or sects of Islam.

 

Eventually, Muhammad and his early Muslim followers, viewed as a threat to the ruling authority, were forced to flee from Mecca to Yathrib (Yathrib was renamed Medina after Muhammad’s death in 632; Medina means “city of the prophet”). At the time of his exile, save for his business travels, Muhammad had been a resident of Mecca for most of his life. His forced exile at the sword from his birthplace and hometown must had been punishing on the psyche.

 

In Medina, god willing, Muhammad put his skill as a mediator to good use. He built a modest, public mosque where he held prayers and resolved disagreements. As the years passed, he gained the trust of the Medinese tribes by settling disputes between the Jews, Pagans, and Muslims. More strategically, he was able to settle disputes, and sometimes violent clashes between the Medinese tribes and the surrounding tribes (in the arid dessert of the Arabian Peninsula, water was the most precious commodity and rival tribes sometimes killed each other for control of a single water well). Also, there were long running tribal blood feuds between various Arabian tribes. Muhammad sought to end the bitter warring tribal factions and unite them all. One way he did this was encouraging inter-tribal marriages, or strategic/political marriages. He led by example and married several wives from other tribes to cement political alliances.

 

Muhammad’s success in Medina was keenly noted by his old pagan enemies in Mecca. He was forbidden to reenter Mecca, particularly to pray with his followers at the Kaaba. As Muhammad gained more followers in Medina and attempted to extend his teachings to Mecca (he would conquer Mecca from the outside), the Meccan authorities sought to put an end to this heretic. First they tried to persuade the Medinese authorities to extradite Muhammad. When the Medinese refused, the Meccans gathered 1,000 soldiers to force the issue.

 

Muhammad managed to assemble 300 soldiers, mostly old men and boys, to meet the 1,000 Meccan soldiers on the battlefield. In a succession of battles, each time outnumbered by more than 3-1, Muhammad and his followers held their ground. For awhile, it seemed a stalemate was inevitable and the Meccan authorities wouldn’t be able to eradicate the heretic and his loyal followers. However, as Muhammad and his Muslims continued fighting while outnumbered more than 3-1, and held their ground, the surrounding Medinese and Meccan tribes took notice and admired their bravery. These neutral parties concluded that god had to be on Muhammad’s side. Gradually, the surrounding tribes allied with Muhammad until his army swelled to 10,000 strong. He was now in a position to raze Mecca to the ground and enslave every single Meccan.

 

For defaming his character, murdering his Muslim followers in Mecca, attempting to assassinate him, exiling him from his birthplace, harassing him while in exile, killing his followers on the battlefield; for all the physical pain and mental anguish Muhammad had endured at the hands of his transgressors for a decade, Muhammad forgave them all. After conquering Mecca, Muhammad and his followers did not rape, pillage, and plunder as was customary of the victors at the time. His mercy went further: he did not force anyone to convert to Islam. At the time of his death on June 8, 632, most Medinese and Meccans had converted to Islam.

 

So the lore goes.

 

During his brief period as a prophet, Muhammad had accomplished his goal of uniting the various Arabian tribes through monotheism. However, as with any religion, the infighting caused deep divisions among his top adherents. After Muhammad’s death one of his closest allies, Abu Bakr, founded the Sunni denomination of Islam. While his son-in-law and cousin, Ali, founded the Shia denomination.

 

In his lifetime, Muhammad had 9-13 wives. One of the wives (Aisha) was purportedly six years old, while other sources say 16 years old. He had received the divine revelations intermittently, most of them coming when there was a new law to be made or dispute to resolve. He claimed that god had revealed to him the answers, through the angel Gabriel, and he simply transcribed them, although he couldn’t read or write. It was divine transcription.

 

In the 21st century, 1 400 years after Muhammad’s death, the Middle East is awash with conflicts and wars between different Islamic sects and other religions, notably Christianity and Judaism. The clash of civilizations between the Jews, Christians, and Muslims have been ongoing for millennia. If there were a god, he sure loves watching a good fight, perhaps for his own amusement.

 

Muhammad’s religion has done exactly what he had intended. Islam has divided people along superficial lines, based on their religion and the sects of that particular religion. The Sunnis and Shiites have been in perpetual conflict since Muhammad’s death in 632.

 

The divisive nature of religion is evident in the evolution of Islam, as it was with Christianity and Judaism.

 

The Historical Origin of Allah

Allah is the Arabic word for god, or from its root “the god.” Recall how for centuries the Kaaba was the central worship location for the Arabian pagans. According to historical sources, Allah was one of the original 360 deities that the Arabian tribes had worshipped at the Kaaba in Mecca. What made Allah special was that he was worshipped as the chief god, or moon god. When he founded Islam, Muhammad simply asked his followers to worship only one god, rather than 359. Like Abraham before him, Muhammad had simplified the idol business—he had cut out hundreds of middlemen. He had streamlined the process and made the business of idol worship more simpler and efficient. Muhammad, like Abraham before him, would have made a good supply chain management expert.

 

Below were historical accounts on the origin of Allah.

 

“According to al-Masudi (Murudj, iv. 47), certain people have regarded the Ka’ba as a temple devoted to the Sun, the moon and the five planets. The 360 idols placed round the Ka’ba also point in this direction. It can therefore hardly be denied that traces exist of an astral symbolism. At the same time one can safely say that there can be no question of any general conception on these lines. The cult at the Ka’ba was in the heathen period syncretic as was usual in heathenism. “ —E.J. Brill, First Encyclopedia of Islam, 1987, Islam, p. 587-591

 

“But history establishes beyond the shadow of doubt that even the pagan Arabs, before Muhammad’s time, knew their chief god by the name of Allah and even, in a sense, proclaimed his unity…Among the pagan Arabs this term denoted the chief god of their pantheon, the Kaaba, with its three hundred and sixty idols.” —Samuel M. Zwemer, The Moslem Doctrine of God, 1905, p 24-25

 

“In fact, he did not at first intend to establish a new religion, but rather to reform the belief in Allah which already existed, and to show what this belief truly signified and rightfully demanded.” —Tor Andrae, Mohammed: The Man and His Faith, 1936, Translated by Theophil Menzel, 1960, p13-30

 

“Now there dwelt in Mecca a god called Allah. He was the provider, the most powerful of all the local deities, the one to whom every Meccan turned in time of need. But, for all his power, Allah was a remote god. At the time of Muhammad, however, he was on the ascendancy. He had replaced the moon god as lord of the Kaaba although still relegated to an inferior position below various tribal idols and three powerful goddesses: al-Manat, goddess of fate, al-Lat, mother of the gods, and al-Uzza, the planet Venus.” (Islam and the Arabs, Rom Landau, 1958 p 11-21)

 

“Muhammad no more invented Allah than he did al-Lat, al-Uzza, and Manat. The Cult of the deity termed simply ‘thc god’ (al-ilah) was known throughout southern Syria and northern Arabia,’ and it was obviously of central importance in Mecca, where the building called the Ka’ba was indisputably his house. Indeed, the Muslim profession of faith, 11 there was no ilah except al-ilah, ‘attests to precisely that point: the Quraysh were being called upon to repudiate the very existence of all the other gods save this one. It seems equally certain that Allah was not merely a god in Mecca but was widely regarded as the ‘high god,’ the chief and head of the Meccan pantheon, perhaps the result, as has been argued, of a natural progression toward henotheism or of the growing influence of Jews and Christians in the peninsula.’ The most convincing piece of evidence that the latter was at work was the fact that of all the gods of Mecca, Allah alone was not represented by an idol.” (The Hajj, F. E. Peters, p 3-41, 1994)

 

“Allah, we can be sure, was neither an unknown nor an unimportant deity to the Quraysh when Muhammad began preaching his worship at Mecca. What is equally certain was that Allah had what the Quran disdainfully calls ‘associates’: other gods and goddesses who shared both his cult and his shrine. The processional chant of the pagans of the Age of Barbarism was, we were told, ‘Here I am, O Allah, here I am; You have no partner except such a partner as You have; You possess him and all that is his.’ 103 The last clause may reflect what we have already seen was an emerging tendency toward henotheism, the recognition of Allah as the ‘high god’ of Mecca. But it was not sufficient for Muslims, who put in its place their own manifestly monotheistic hymn: ‘Here I am, O Allah, here I am; You have no partner; the praise and the grace are Yours, and the empire; You have no partner.’ (The Hajj, F. E. Peters, p 3-41, 1994)

 

“While Allah was best known as the principal god of Mecca, he was also worshiped in other places throughout Arabia as was shown by the occurrence of the name in Sabean, Minean and particularly Libyanite inscriptions. The Qur’an (xxix, 61) refers to the belief of the pagans in Allah as the creator of the heavens and the Earth; and Muhammad’s own father bore the name of `Abd Allah or `Abdullah, meaning the slave or worshiper of this god. In Mecca, Allah was worshiped in the Ka’bah and possibly represented by the famous Black Stone in that place.” (The Archeology Of World Religions, Jack Finegan, 1952, p482-485, 492)

 

“In Mecca, Allah was worshiped in the Ka’bah and possibly represented by the famous Black Stone in that place.” (The Archeology Of World Religions, Jack Finegan, 1952, p482-485, 492)

 

“Prior to the rise of Islam, these three goddesses were associated with Allah as his daughters and all were worshiped at Mecca and other places in the vicinity.” (The Archeology Of World Religions, Jack Finegan, 1952, p482-485, 492)

 

“Allah (allah, al-ilah, the god) is the principal, though not the only, deity of Makkah. The name is an ancient one. It occurs in two South Arabic inscriptions, one a Minaean found at al-'Ula and the other a Sabaean, but abounds in the form HLH in the Lihyanite inscriptions of the fifth century- B.C. Lihyan, which evidently got the god from Syria, is the first Centre of the worship of this deity in Arabia. The name occurs as Hallah in the Safa inscriptions five centuries before Islam and also in a pre-Islamic Christian Arabic inscription found in umm-al-Jimal, Syria, and ascribed to the sixth century . The name of Muhammad's father is 'Abd-Allah ('Abdullah, the slave or worshipper of Allah). The esteem in which Allah is held by thepre-Islamic Makkans as the creator and supreme provider and the one to be invoked in time of special peril may be inferred from such koranic passages as 31 : 24, 31; 6 : 137, 109; to : 23. Evidently he is the tribal deity of the Quraysh.” ( History Of The Arabs, Philip K. Hitti, 1937, p 96-101)

 

“When Mohammed proclaimed his creed: ‘There is no God but Allah,’ he was not trying to introduce a new God. His pagan countrymen knew and acknowledged this divinity. His name, Allah, occurs already in pre-Mohammedan times, both in inscriptions and in compound personal names like Abd Allah, ‘servant of Allah.’ The effective note in Mohammed’s evangelistic preaching is that he was able to accuse the pagans of acknowledging Allah as the creator of heaven and Earth, and yet failing to draw the only possible conclusion from their belief; which is, to worship Allah and none else besides Him. ‘If thou ask them who hath created the Heavens and the Earth, and hath imposed laws upon the Sun and the moon, they will certainly say, ‘Allah’…If thou ask them who sendeth rain from Heaven, and by it quickeneth the Earth after it hath been dead, they will certainly answer ‘Allah’ (Sura 29, 6 1 and 63). When in extreme danger, especially on the sea, the pagans call upon Allah (29, 65; 31, 31; 17, 69), but when they are on land again, and feel safe, they share His divine honour with other beings.

 

Allah is supposed to have given certain commandments and taboos to men (Sura 6, 139 ff.), and the most sacred oaths are sworn in His name (Sura 3,r, 40; 16, 40). Thus, even though Allah is not worshipped as He deserved, the cult of Allah is not entirely neglected. A species of tithing, or offering of the first-fruits of grain and cattle, is offered to Allah as well as to the other gods (6, 137). But, above all, Allah is apparently regarded as ,the Lord of the Ka’ba,’ the God to whom the cult of the highest sanctuary of Central Arabia is dedicated. In one of the oldest Suras (io6) Mohammed urges his tribesmen, the Quraish, to worship ‘the Lord of this house, who allows the two annual trade caravans to be equipped, and who cares for them, and permits them to dwell in security. Concerning himself he says that he has received the commandment to worship ‘the Lord of the house,’ i.e. the Ka’ba. Apparently, then, the Prophet and his countrymen fully agree that the God who is worshipped through the ritual of the Ka’ba is Allah.” (Mohammed: The Man and His Faith, Tor Andrae, 1936, Translated by Theophil Menzel, 1960, p13-30)

 

“Religion: Comedy for the intelligent; reality for the ignorant.” —Freethinkers

In circa 1 800 BCE, in Canaan (Israel and Palestine) Abraham had reduced dozens of gods to one.

 

In circa 70, in Rome, the creators of Jesus Christ had done the same thing.

 

In circa 620, in Mecca, Muhammad had done the exact same thing. Thus, the conversion from polytheism to monotheism was complete. The evolution of Islam was nothing new. Our ancestors had created gods in their own image. They did so by borrowing ideas from other cultures and religions. Islam followed the exact same pattern. Where religion is concerned, religion started with the worship of the Sun, and there’s nothing new under the Sun.

 

The Spread of Islam

“By 2050, Britain will be a majority Muslim country. It will be the end of freedom and democracy and submission to god. We don’t believe in democracy, as soon as they have authority, Muslims should implement Sharia law. This is what we’re trying to teach people.” —Anjem Choudary, Muslim activist, 2014

We read how pagans of the Roman Empire had no idea who the One True Creator of Christianity was until they were introduced to him by the Christian missionaries and priests. Likewise, the pagans of the Middle East also had no idea who the One True Creator was until they were introduced to him by the Sword of Islam. From this we can deduce that god had unique ways of revealing himself. First, through loner prophets whose tall tales were unverifiable. Second, through the sword.

 

After Muhammad died in 632, he left his spiritual empire with 10,000 plus strong soldiers that he had united from former warring tribes. Afterward, by pen, by trade, and by force, Islam rapidly spread throughout the Middle East, North Africa, the Indian sub-continent and even to farflung places as Malaysia and Indonesia.

 

Like the Christians with their Crusades, the Muslims had their Jihads (Holy War), backed by a political system to advance Islam.

 

[*Caliph: *]The civil and political leader of the Muslim world, successor of Muhammad’s political authority.

 

[*Caliphate: *]A unified federal Islamic government for the Muslim world, ruled by an elected head of state or caliph.

 

[*The spread of the Islamic Caliphate *]within 100 years after Muhammad’s death. The Islamic Empire stretched from Spain to Pakistan, and eventually took over the former North African territories and provinces of the Roman Empire. Map: Mifami.org

 

After reading the pages below, if the pattern of religion’s proliferation sounds familiar, because it had been done before. Remember Constantine the Great and the Roman/Byzantine Empire? It’s a top-down proliferation: When the ruling elite adopted a religion, in due course the citizens followed. They had to in order to ingratiate themselves with those in power.

 

The few pages below are from History-world.org which is highly recommended for those studying world history. The passages below cover only the first few centuries after Muhammad’s death. But history repeats itself, so it should be easy to extrapolate the rest and fill in the blanks.

 

From History-world.org:

 

The Islamic state expanded very rapidly after the death of Muhammad through remarkable successes both at converting unbelievers to Islam and by military conquests of the Islamic community’s opponents. Expansion of the Islamic state was an understandable development, since Muhammad himself had successfully established the new faith through conversion and conquest of those who stood against him. Immediately after the Prophet’s death in 632, Abu Bakr, as the first Caliph, continued the effort to abolish paganism among the Arab tribes, and also to incorporate Arabia into a region controlled by the political power of Medina. United by their faith in God and a commitment to political consolidation, the merchant elite of Arabia succeeded in consolidating their power throughout the Arabian peninsula and began to launch some exploratory offensives north toward Syria.

 

Expansion Under The First Four Caliphs

During the reigns of the first four caliphs (632-661), Islam spread rapidly. The wars of expansion were also advanced by the devotion of the faithful to the concept of jihad. Muslims were obliged to extend the faith to unbelievers and to defend Islam from attack. The original concept of jihad did not include aggressive warfare against non-Muslims, but “holy war” was sometimes waged by Muslims whose interpretation of the Koran allowed them such latitude. Jihad was directly responsible for some of the early conquests of Islam outside of the Arabian peninsula. The Islamic cause was also aided by political upheavals occurring outside of Arabia. The Muslim triumphs in the Near East can be partly accounted for by the long series of wars between the Byzantine and Persian empires. Earlier Byzantine victories had left both sides exhausted and open to conquest. Moreover, the inhabitants of Syria and Egypt, alienated by religious dissent and resenting the attempts of the Byzantine Empire to impose Christianity on the population, were eager to be free of Byzantine rule. In 636, Arab armies conquered Syria. The Muslims then won Iraq from the Persians and, within ten years after Muhammad’s death, subdued Persia itself. The greater part of Egypt fell with little resistance in 640 and the rest shortly afterward. By the end of the reigns of the first four caliphs, Islam had vastly increased its territory in the Near East and Africa.

 

The new conquests of Islam were governed with remarkable efficiency and flexibility. The centralization of authority typical of military organization aided in the incorporation of new peoples. Unbelievers in the conquered territories became increasingly interested in the new religion and accepted Islam in great numbers. In addition to the obvious power of the religious message of Islam, the imposition of a personal tax on all non-Muslims encouraged many to become converts. Contrary to exaggerated accounts in western Europe of the forceful imposition of Islam upon conquered peoples, Jews and Christians outside of Arabia enjoyed toleration because they worshiped the same God as the Muslims; many non-Muslims participated in the Islamic state and prospered financially and socially.

 

Islam was and remains one the most effective religions in removing barriers of race and nationality. Apart from a certain privileged position allowed Arabs, distinctions were mostly those of economic rank in the early days of conquest. The new religion converted and embraced peoples of many colors and cultures. This egalitarian feature of Islam undoubtedly aided its expansion.

 

Arab Domination Under The Umayyads

The first three caliphs of Islam were chosen in consultation with the elders and leaders of the Islamic community, and a pattern was established for selecting the caliph from the Karaysh tribe of Mecca. The fourth caliph, Ali, who was the son-in-law of Muhammad, was devoted to Islam and convinced that leadership of the Islamic community should remain in the family of the Prophet. The followers of Ali were later called Shii or Shiites (after Shiat-u-Ali, or “party of Ali”), and believed that the first three caliphs had been usurpers to legitimate power. Ali and his followers were opposed first by Muslims under the leadership of Muhammad’s widow Aisha, daughter of Abu Bakr, and later by the forces of Muawiyah, the governor of Syria and a relative of the third caliph. In 661 Muawiyah proclaimed himself caliph, made Damascus his capital, and founded the Umayyad Dynasty, which lasted until 750. Thus the caliphate became in fact, although never in law, a hereditary office, not, as previously, a position filled by election.

 

Umayyad military campaigns of conquest for the most part were highly successful. The Umayyad navy held Cyprus, Rhodes, and number of Aegean islands, which served as bases for annual seaborne attacks on Constantinople from 674 to 678. With the aid of Greek fire Constantinople was successfully defended, and the Arab advance was checked for the first time. Westward across North Africa, however, the Umayyad armies had much greater success. The Berbers, a warlike nomadic people inhabiting the land between the Mediterranean and the Sahara, resisted stubbornly but eventually converted to Islam. The next logical expansion for Islam was across the Strait of Gibraltar into the weak kingdom of the Visigoths in Spain. The governor of Muslim North Africa sent his general, Tarik, and an army across the Strait into Spain in 711. Seven years later the kingdom of the Visigoths completely crumbled. The Muslims advanced across the Pyrenees and gained a strong foothold in southwest France, where they carried out a major raid to explore the possibility of a further northward advance. However, they were defeated by Charles Martel near Tours in 732, in a battle which, together with their defeat by the Byzantine emperor Leo III in 718, proved decisive in halting their northward expansion into Europe. Meanwhile the Muslims had been expanding eastward into Central Asia, and by the eighth century they could claim lands as far as Turkestan and the Indus valley.

 

The mainstay of Umayyad dynastic power was the ruling class consisting of an Arab military aristocracy, who formed a privileged class greatly outnumbered by non-Arabic converts to Islam – Egyptians, Syrians, Persians, Berbers, and others. Many of these converted peoples possessed cultures much more advanced than that of the Arabs, and the economic and cultural life of the Arab empire came to be controlled by these non-Arab Muslims (mawali). Because they were not Arab by birth, they were treated as second-class citizens. High government positions were closed to them. They paid higher taxes than Arabs, and as soldiers they received less pay and loot than the Arabs. Resentment grew among the non-Arabic Muslims who objected to their lesser status as a violation of the Islamic laws of equality. Eventually the resentment of the mawali helped bring about the downfall of the Umayyads.

 

Shia Movement Against The Ruling Group

This resentment also found expression in the religious sphere, where large numbers of non-Arabic Muslims joined the sect known as the Shia, which had been forced from power on the accession of the Umayyads. The Shia continued to regard Ali and his descendants as the rightful rulers of the Islamic community, and believed that in every age a messiah-like leader would appear and that he must be obeyed. The Shia also rejected the Sunna, the body of later tradition concerning Muhammad that was not contained in the Koran; they insisted on the Koran as the sole and unquestioned authority on the life and teachings of the Prophet. Though originally an Arab party, the Shia in time became a general Islamic movement that stood in opposition to the ruling Arabic dynasty. The Shia evolved into one of the two major groups in Islam. The majority, called Sunni because they were the “orthodox” perpetrators of Muhammad’s Sunna, or tradition, upheld the principle that the caliph owed his position to the consent of the Islamic community. The numerical superiority of the Sunni Muslims has continued to this day…’

 

*Part 1 of 15. *

Read more: www.history-world.org/islam4.htm

 

If there were a god, why would he need soldiers to spread his teachings? Religious imperialism may or may not be the work of god, but it sure has benefited those in power.

 

“Religion was invented to control the masses.” —Naturalopist

 

“Of all the tyrannies that affect mankind, tyranny in religion is the worst.” —Thomas Paine

 

Peaceful Passages in the Quran

“As long as there is this book, there will be no peace in the world.” —William Gladstone (1809 – 1898), British Prime Minister, holding the Quran above his head in the British Parliament

 

The Noble/Holy Quran is “the Islamic sacred book, believed to be the word of God as dictated to Muhammad by the archangel Gabriel and written down in Arabic. The Koran consists of 114 units of varying lengths, known as suras ; the first sura is said as part of the ritual prayer. These touch upon all aspects of human existence, including matters of doctrine, social organization, and legislation.” —Google Dictionary

 

We read earlier that the Jewish Talmud contains distasteful comments about non-Jews (Gentiles), particularly towards Christians and Moslems (Muslims). The Quran responds in kind to the infidels (nonbelievers). This begs the question, is Islam a religion of peace or a religion of war? Allah hasn’t satisfactory answered this question for non-muslims. At last count, there are roughly 109 specific passages in the Quran that encourage Muslims to kill nonbelievers (infidels). However, most of the Quran was written when Muhammad and his followers were being persecuted and attacked by the Meccans, therefore Muslims maintain that those violent verses were for defensive warfare and are now outdated. Again, as with all religions, everything is open to interpretation.

 

“Religion was used as an ideology, as a system of control. When they forced the veil upon women, they were using it as an instrument of control in the same way that in Mao’s China people were wearing Mao jackets and women were not supposed to wear any makeup.” —Azar Nafisi

 

Radical (fundamental, extreme) Islam adherents believe the Quran is the final and unchanging word of god (Allah). They adopt the literal interpretation of the Noble Quran, which in turn has spurred fundamentalists to war in order to create new Islamic caliphates. These literal interpretations have also spawned terrorist groups hell-bent on spreading Islam through violent means. And the Sunni-Shia rift after Muhammad died? It is still the cause of sectarian violence to this very day.

 

Allah willing, let’s look at a few “peaceful” verses in the Quran that encourage violence.

 

—Quran 2:191-193: And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out. And Al-Fitnah [disbelief or unrest] is worse than killing…but if they desist, then lo! Allah is forgiving and merciful. And fight them until there is no more Fitnah [disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allah] and worship is for Allah alone. But if they cease, let there be no transgression except against Az-Zalimun [the polytheists and wrongdoers, etc.]

 

—Quran 2:244: Then fight in the cause of Allah, and know that Allah Heareth and knoweth all things.

 

—Quran 40:71-72: When the fetters and the chains shall be on their necks; they shall be dragged into boiling water, then in the fire shall they be burned.

 

—Quran 2:216: Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not.

 

—Quran 3:56: As to those who reject faith, I will punish them with terrible agony in this world and in the Hereafter, nor will they have anyone to help.

 

—Quran 3:151: Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers, for that they joined companions with Allah, for which He had sent no authority”. [aimed at polytheists and Christians]

 

—Quran 4:74: Let those fight in the way of Allah who sell the life of this world for the other. Whoso fighteth in the way of Allah, be he slain or be he victorious, on him We shall bestow a vast reward.

 

—Quran 4:76: Those who believe fight in the cause of Allah…”

 

—Quran 4:89: They but wish that ye should reject Faith, as they do, and thus be on the same footing (as they): But take not friends from their ranks until they flee in the way of Allah (From what is forbidden). But if they turn renegades, seize them and slay them wherever ye find them; and (in any case) take no friends or helpers from their ranks.

 

—Quran 4:95: Not equal arre those believers who sit (at home) and receive no hurt, and those who strive and fight in the cause of Allah with their goods and their persons. Allah hath granted a grade higher to those who strive and fight with their goods and persons than to those who sit (at home). Unto all (in Faith) Hath Allah promised good: But those who strive and fight Hath He distinguished above those who sit (at home) by a special reward…”

 

—Quran 4:104: And be not weak hearted in pursuit of the enemy; if you suffer pain, then surely they (too) suffer pain as you suffer pain…”

 

—Quran 5:33: The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement.

 

Read more: www.thereligionofpeace.com/quran/023-violence.htm

 

The common refrain of religion is that god never does anything himself. He wants his will and word spread to his creations by other humans (prophets), demands that humans fight over him in his name, and that all glorify him. If there were a god, he must be a lazy son of a bitch who wants everything done for him. On top of that, he wants the credit. There’s a label for that type of personality: egotistical psychopath. A god who is capable of creating a 93 billion light-year big (and expanding) Universe would not need to be egoistical. Nor would he need anyone to validate him. It is the rabbis, priests, and imams who claim to know him and to represent him who are the egotistical psychopaths. They are not men of god, but opportunists and con artists.

 

Modern Islam

“Islam is a dangerous religion.” —Michel Houellebecq

 

Wikipedia describes Sharia law as, “Sharia law (Arabic: شريعة) is the body of Islamic law. The term means ‘way’ or ‘path’; it is the legal framework within which the public and some private aspects of life are regulated for those living in a legal system based on Islam.”

 

It is common for Moslems to conclude that Islamic Sharia law was codified in the Quran by Muhammad. That was not the case, though. Sharia law was conjured and implemented about 200 years after Muhammad’s death. Sharia law was never part of the original Quran. The angel Gabriel must had forgotten to dictate to Muhammad a few of god’s will and word. Allah willing, these addendums were more examples of how religion evolved based on the whims and wants of men.

 

“I don’t know if god exists, but it would be better for his reputation if he didn’t.” —Jules Renard

In Islamic states where it’s implemented, Sharia law supersedes common law (the legal code practiced by most Western nations). Sharia law is oppressive to women and non-Muslims. The only group Sharia law favours is Muslim men in Islamic states, especially those in power. Countries that practice Sharia in part or in full are Egypt, Mauritania, Sudan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, the Maldives, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and certain regions in Indonesia, Malaysia, Nigeria, and the United Arab Emirates.

 

Modern Muslims who use the literal interpretation of the Quran are as tolerant of other religions as those Muslims in 650, which is to say Muslim fundamentalists don’t tolerate other religions at all. These extremists are as backward and feebleminded as those in 650. The religious nuttery headlines below drives this point home. These snippets are just a small sample of the brilliantly stupid people who believe they’re the chosen people of Allah and must let the world about it.

 

“Whosoever kills an innocent human being, it shall be as if he has killed all mankind, and whosoever saves the life of one, it shall be as if he has saved the life of all mankind.” —Quran 5:32 [contradiction on a godlike scale]

 

Religious Nuttery Headlines

Below were a few headlines pertaining to the Muslim extremists, taken in a four month period in 2015.

 

[*Woman Accused of Burning Quran Killed in Kabul. *]KABUL—A woman was killed by a frenzied mob in Kabul on Thursday after she was accused of desecrating the Quran, an incident that sparked conflicting reactions in Afghanistan.

 

The woman, whose father said she suffered from mental illness, was beaten to death. —MARGHERITA STANCATI and EHSANULLAH AMIRI, Wsj.com (Wall Street Journal), March 19, 2015.

 

A Saudi woman tweeted a photo of herself without a hijab. Police have arrested her. The Saudi woman was going out for breakfast when she decided to make a statement. Violating the country’s moral codes, she reportedly stepped out in public wearing a multicolored dress, a black jacket and ankle boots — without a hijab or abaya, a loosefitting garment. Late last month, she tweeted a photo of her outfit, and the post circulated through Saudi Arabia, drawing death threats and demands to imprison or even execute the woman. On Monday, police in the country’s capital of Riyadh said they had arrested the woman, following their duty to monitor “violations of general morals,” a spokesman…—Samantha Schmidt, December 13, 2016

 

Move over Copernicus! Saudi cleric says Earth doesn’t revolve around Sun. A Saudi cleric has appeared in a video rejecting that Earth revolves around the Sun, claiming instead that it is “stationary.” His statements have incited a fiery response on social media. When questioned by a student about whether the Earth is stationary or moving, Sheikh Bandar al-Khaibari responded with “stationary and does not move,” Saudi-owned broadcaster Al-Arabia reported. —http://rt.com/news/233063-saudi-cleric-Earth-Sun/, Feb. 15, 2015

 

Islamic Leader Commands Female Genital Mutilation of Two Million Women. Mosul, Iraq—A Jihadist leader associated with the militant Islamist group ISIS—the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham—has ordered that all women aged from 11 to 46 years in Iraq undergo female genital mutilation (FGM), according to a UN spokeswoman. –Robert Myles, Beforeitsnews.com, Jan. 26, 2015

 

Outspoken blogger Avijit Roy hacked to death in Bangladesh capital. DHAKA, Bangladesh—A prominent Bangladeshi-American blogger known for speaking out against religious extremism was hacked to death as he walked through Bangladesh’s capital with his wife, police said Friday.

 

The attack Thursday night on Avijit Roy, a Bangladesh-born U.S. citizen, occurred on a crowded sidewalk as he and his wife, Rafida Ahmed, were returning from a book fair at Dhaka University. Ahmed, who was also a blogger, was seriously injured. It was the latest in a series of attacks on secular writers in Bangladesh in recent years…Roy “was the target because of his crime against Islam,” the group said on Twitter. —Julhas Alam, The Associated Press, February 27, 2015

 

Woman arrested in Saudi Arabia for driving sick father to hospital. A Kuwaiti woman has been arrested in Saudi Arabia for driving her diabetic father to hospital.

 

The woman was stopped by police near the border with Kuwait and detained before being held in custody pending investigation, according to the Kuwait Times.

 

It comes a week after a group of women staged a high-profile protest against the ban on female drivers in Saudi Arabia. —William Turvill, Daily Mail UK, November 13, 2013

 

Woman Was Publicly Beheaded in Saudi Arabia’s Tenth Execution of 2015. (15 days into 2015). Gruesome footage circulating on social media shows Saudi authorities publicly beheading a woman in the holy city of Mecca earlier this week. The execution is the tenth to be carried out in country in the last two weeks; setting 2015 up to be even more bloody than last year, when 87 people were punitively killed by the state.

 

Rare video of Monday’s killing shows the woman, a Burmese resident named as Lalia Bint Abdul Muttablib Basim, screaming while being dragged along the street. Four police officers then hold the woman down before a sword-wielding man slices her head off, using three blows to complete the act. —Harriet Salem, Vice.com, Jan. 15, 2015

 

[*Record Beheadings and the Mass Arrest of Christians. *]Was it ISIS? No it’s Saudi Arabia – “US Ally” Saudi Arabia Set To Top 2014’s Record Decapitation Level. In the past month, a group of radical Islamic extremists based in the Middle East beheaded at least 23 people and enforced a ban on Christianity by arresting a group of people for practicing the faith in a private home.

 

No, I’m not talking about ISIS. The real culprit is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, one of the America’s closest global allies. —Michael Krieger, Libertyblitzkrieg, Sep. 15, 2014

 

[*Brunei adopts sharia law amid international outcry. *]Brunei has become the first East Asian country to adopt sharia law, despite widespread condemnation from international human rights groups.

 

The Islamic criminal law is set to include punishments such as flogging, dismemberment and death by stoning for crimes such as rape, adultery and sodomy. The religious laws will operate alongside the existing civil penal code. —Arshiya Khullar, for CNN, May 1, 2014

 

Muslims Unleash a ‘Campaign of Terror’ in Thailand by Burning and Beheading Buddhist Women. The recent burning and beheading of female victims in Thailand’s southern Muslim provinces marks a renewed campaign of terror by insurgent groups, according to a Human Rights Watch statement released today.

 

At least three Thai Buddhist women have been killed and mutilated by insurgents since February, according to HRW.

 

“Southern insurgents are killing Buddhist women and spreading terror by beheading and burning their bodies,” Brad Adams, Asia director at HRW, said in the statement. —Will Baxter, UCA News, April 5, 2014

 

African State Of Angola Bans Islam All Mosques To Be Destroyed. By popular demand, Angolan authorities have taken pre-emptive action and decided to ban Islam, which they consider a cult, NOT a religion. —Africanglobe.net, Nov. 24, 2014

Islamist: “I Want Every Woman in this Country Covered from Head to Toe.” British Islamist Abu Rumaysah, a radical who said he wants to see every woman in the UK “covered from head to toe” was interviewed on CBS News. And what he is helping people in his community do was shocking.

 

Rumaysah and his Islamist supporters patrol the streets of East London, chastising British citizens for not complying with Islamic law. In a series of videos, they can be seen harassing women for inappropriate dress, rebuking men simply for drinking alcohol, and calling a man “dirty” on the suspicion that he might be gay: Ultimately, I want to see every single woman in this country covered from head to toe,” Rumaysah told 60 Minutes correspondent Clarissa Ward. “I want to the see the hand of the thief cut. I want to see adulterers stoned to death. I want to see Sharia law in Europe, and I want to see it in America, as well. I believe our patrols are a means to an end.”

Rumaysah told Ward that Western Democracy is a “barbaric” system and that he should be free to “choose” Islamic law and enforce it as he sees fit. He even told Ward to cover herself up.

 

“Why can’t I tell you to cover up? Am I free to say that?” Rumaysah asked. “So, cover up. Wear the hijab.” —Headlinepolitics.com, Nov. 4, 2014 [This goat herding moron should resettle in an Islamic state.]

 

[*Rape victim sentenced to 200 lashes and six months in jail. *]A judge in Saudi Arabia has ordered a victim of gang rape to receive 200 lashes—more than double her original sentence for being alone with a man who was not a relative—after she appealed against the lenient sentences given to the men who attacked her. He also jailed her for six months.

 

The 21-year-old woman, who was 19 at the time of the attack and was known by the Saudi media as “the girl from Qatif”, was raped 14 times by a gang of seven. Although her attackers were found guilty and sentenced to between 10 months and five years last year, she was simultaneously sentenced to 90 lashes as punishment for riding in a car with a man who was not a relative. —Vicky Baker, Theguardian.com, Nov. 17, 2007

 

Saudi blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes may face death penalty—wife. Raif Badawi, a Saudi blogger already sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes, is to undergo a retrial for apostasy (renouncing Islam). If found guilty, he will face the death penalty, his wife told The Independent.

 

Ensaf Haidar, Badawi’s wife, said she heard from “official sources” that Saudi judges in the country’s criminal court want Badawi to have a retrial for apostasy.

 

In 2013, a judge threw out a charge of apostasy against the 31-year-old liberal blogger after he proved to the court that he was a Muslim. The case against him included an allegation that he “liked” a Facebook page for Arab Christians. —Rt.com, March 1, 20015

 

“Earthquakes were caused by jeans-wearing women.” Maulana Fazlur Rehman: “From earthquakes to inflation were caused by the Jeans-Wearing Women.” Islamabad: Jamiat Ulema-e-Islami Fazl (JUI-F) Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman following the Friday sermon requested the armed forces of Pakistan to launch a military operation against “jeans-wearing women” all over Pakistan in a press conference at a local hotel in Islamabad. —SHEIKYERMAMI, May 25, 2015, Sheikyermami.com/2015/05/earthquakes-were-caused-by-the-jeans-wearing-women/

 

Indonesian Muslims Call for Atheist Beheading. Alexandar Aan, a 30-year-old father and civil servant who was beaten, fired from his government job, and then arrested by local authorities for daring to declare “God doesn’t exist” on his personal Facebook page, is now facing calls for his beheading by local Muslims.

 

The trouble began several weeks ago when civil servant Alexander Aan posted a message on the Facebook page of Atheist Minang, a group of Indonesians with godless beliefs. It read: “God doesn’t exist.”  The post so enraged residents in Aan’s hometown of Pulau Punjung in West Sumatra province that an angry mob of dozens stormed his office and beat up the 30-year-old. He was then summarily fired and later picked up by Indonesian authorities as part of an investigation of whether he violated the law by ‘Insulting Islam’. If convicted of blasphemy, he could face a five-year jail sentence. —Atheistalliance.org, March 20, 2015

 

Almost all mosques destroyed in Central African Republic unrest. UNITED NATIONS: Almost all of the 436 mosques in the Central African Republic have been destroyed by months of vicious fighting between Christians and Muslims, the US ambassador to the United Nations said on Tuesday, calling the devastation “kind of crazy, chilling.” —The Times of India, March 18, 2015

 

[*Frosty fatwa: Saudi cleric bans snowmen. *]Do you want to build a snowman? You’d love to? Well, that’s too bad—at least according to Saudi Arabia’s Sheikh Mohammed Saleh al-Munajjid, a prominent cleric.

 

With snow covering the highland areas of Tabuk province in Saudi Arabia, there’s not much else to do with the fluffy white stuff other than build snowmen and snow camels.

 

But with photos of snow people and snow camels popping up everywhere, Munajjid made it clear that Islamic teachings strictly prohibit the practice.

 

Asked whether the unusually snowy winter in Saudi Arabia meant that parents could build snowmen with their children, Munajjid delivered the bad news.

 

“It is not permitted to make a statue out of snow, even by way of play and fun,” Munajjid wrote. —Abby Phillip, Washingtonpost.com, Jan. 13, 2015

 

Egyptian student gets 3 years in jail for coming out as atheist on Facebook. An Egyptian court has sentenced a 21-year-old student to three years in jail for insulting Islam after police discovered he declared his atheism on Facebook. The young man had been harassed for his atheist views and had his own father testify against him.

 

Karim Ashraf Mohammed Al-Banna was tried in Idku city in northern Egypt. The student was arrested last November when he came to police to file a harassment complaint. It was revealed that Al-Banna was harassed in public for announcing he was an atheist online.

 

The student was kept in custody till the trial, which determined he made Facebook posts “insulting” to Islam. —Thierry Roge, Reuters, Jan. 11, 2015

 

Two men convicted of terrorist plot to attack New York-Toronto train. Two men accused of plotting to attack a passenger train travelling from New York to Toronto were found guilty of several terror-related charges and could spend the rest of their lives in prison.

 

Prosecutors had argued during the trial that the men were motivated by Islamic extremism and spent months plotting to kill as many people as they could. Investigators said the men received guidance from members of al-Qaida, in what they called the first known attack planned by the terrorist network in Canada. [Esseghaier, who was pursuing a doctorate in Montreal, refused to participate in the trial because he wanted to be judged by god and the Quran.] —Associated Press, March 21, 2015

 

Afghanistan: Woman Beaten to Death For Burning the Qur’an. A mentally impaired woman was allegedly killed in Kabul on Tuesday by group of angry men over accusations of burning a copy of the Qur’an. An angry mob armed with sticks, bricks, and stones beat the woman to death near the Shah-e Doh Shamshira shrine in central Kabul, local police told the Afghanistan’s Tolo news agency.

 

The 27 year-old victim’s body, whose father said has suffered from a mental illness for 16 years, was then set on fire and thrown into a muddy river after she died, according to witnesses. —Aziz Allilou, Morroco World News, March 20, 2015 [This is the type of horror civilized people expect from savages.]

 

[*Yemen: over 100 dead in suicide bombings at Houthi mosques in Sana’a. *]Scores of people have died in three suicide bombings targeting mosques used by the Shia Houthi militia in the Yemeni capital Sana’a.

 

A television network owned by the Houthi rebels said 137 people were killed and 345 injured, while a medical source told Reuters that 126 had died. The attacks have been claimed by an affiliate of Islamic State. —Theguardian.com, March 20, 2015

 

[*Sweden’s feminist foreign minister has dared to tell the truth about Saudi Arabia. What happens now concerns us all. *]If the cries of ‘Je suis Charlie’ were sincere, the western world would be convulsed with worry and anger about the Wallström affair. It has all the ingredients for a clash-of-civilisations confrontation.

 

A few weeks ago Margot Wallström, the Swedish foreign minister, denounced the subjugation of women in Saudi Arabia. As the theocratic kingdom prevents women from travelling, conducting official business or marrying without the permission of male guardians, and as girls can be forced into child marriages where they are effectively raped by old men, she is telling no more than the truth. Wallström went on to condemn the Saudi courts for ordering that Raif Badawi receive ten years in prison and 1,000 lashes for setting up a website that championed secularism and free speech. These are ‘mediaeval methods’, she said, and a ‘cruel attempt to silence modern forms of expression’. And once again, who can argue with that?…The United Arab Emirates joined it. The Organisation of Islamic Co-operation, which represents 56 Muslim-majority states, accused Sweden of failing to respect the world’s ‘rich and varied ethical standards’—standards so rich and varied, apparently, they include the flogging of bloggers and encouragement of paedophiles. —Nick Cohen, The Spectator, March 28, 2015

 

What we read was just a small sample of religious fundamentalism at it finest (or worst) over a four month period. Religious nuttery has been ongoing for 6,000 years and shows no sign of waning. In religion, self-anointed men of god like to play god, and the foolish follow.

 

Sex, Sex, Sex, and More Sex in Paradise for Muslim Martyrs

And the most nauseating part of the Quran that Muslim men embrace? The promise of 72 Virgins for martyrs who die in the name of Allah.

 

[*Allah’s promise: *]The gift of 72 virgins for the believers, for eternity. A supreme gift of that magnitude is hard to pass up for Muslim males, or for any male for that matter. Muslims have murdered and suicided to please Allah in hope of entering this promised sensual paradise. Photo: Wikiislam.net

 

Again, if there were an all-powerful god who created this 93 billion light-year big (and expanding) Universe, he would not need anyone to fight his battles for him.

 

“In Islam, the concept of 72 virgins (houri) refers to an aspect of Jannah (Paradise). This concept is grounded in Qur’anic text which describe a sensual Paradise where believing men are rewarded by being wed to virgins with ‘full grown’, ‘swelling’ or ‘pears-shaped’ breasts. Conversely, women will be provided with only one man, and they ‘will be satisfied with him’.”—Wikiislam.net/wiki/72_Virgins

 

“72 Virgins in Islam: Promising pussy in the afterlife is the lowest thing I’ve ever heard.” —Bill Maher

 

“Take your primitive beliefs back to the desert where they belong and leave the rest of the World alone. We have no intention of reverting 1 400 years in our thinking just to suit Muslims.” —Naturalopist

 

The Religion of Peace?

Below are more samples of “Islam: The Religion of Peace” on display.

 

—“O believers, take not Jews and Christians as friends; they are friends of each other. Those of you who make them his friends is one of them. God does not guide an unjust people.” —Quran 5:54

 

—“The purest joy in Islam is to kill and to be killed for Allah.” —Ayatollah Khomeini, spiritual and political Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

 

—“The Last Hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: ‘Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him’; but the tree Gharkad would not say, for it is the tree of the Jews.” —Sahih Muslim, Book 40, Number 6985

 

—“Fight and kill the disbelievers wherever you find them, take them captive, harass them, lie in wait and ambush them using every stratagem of war.” —Quran 9:5                                                  

 

With trillions of dollars from oil revenue in over a century, most of the theocratic states of the Middle East decided to purchase weapons, start wars, and fund the expansion of Islam across the globe rather than invest in technology, education, and science. In the modern era, Islam has contributed nothing to humankind, and if Muslim extremists have their way, we’d be back in the Stone Age.

 

Islamic State Bans Math, Social Studies, Evolution in Classrooms. Murder, torture, and rape? Halal. Math, social studies, sports, and music? Haram, according to the group which calls itself the Islamic State (formerly ISIS, ISIL, or QSIS, depending on whom you ask). The Salafist jihadi organization announced a new curriculum banning the study of a wide variety of subjects for students in areas of Iraq and Syria it controls, CNN reports.

 

Students will be forbidden to learn math, music, social studies (especially anything about elections or democracy), and even sports. Teachers who break the rules “will be punished,” according to fliers posted in ISIS-controlled territory. —Taylor Wofford, Newsweek.com, September 17, 2014

 

[*The Head Of Sharia Law in Saudi Ordered All Christian Churches Destroyed! *]The Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah, the exalted director of the country’s sharia law, has issued a decree that the Saudi government demolish all of the churches in the land. According to the report:

 

Saudi Arabia’s top Muslim cleric called on Tuesday for the destruction of all churches in the Arabian Peninsula after legislators in the Gulf state of Kuwait moved to pass laws banning the construction of religious sites associated with Christianity. —Eric Walters, Freedomjournalism.com, March 27, 2015

 

ISIS have fetish for kinky underwear, Viagra, and ‘abnormal sex’–report. “Perverted” ISIS [Islamic State] fighters in the Syrian stronghold of Raqqa indulge in “brutal and abnormal” sexual practices, in sharp contrast with the austere religious image they try to project, claims a new report compiled by local activist journalists.

 

“A large section of ISIS members suffer from sexual anomalies and brutal instinctive desire for sex, except for sadism and perversion which they are carrying already,” alleges the online report, produced by well-known underground citizen journalism group Raqqa Was Being Slaughtered Silently (RSS).

 

Among the laundry list of purported perversions is the purchase of “strange underwear,” marrying “more than one wife, during short periods” and the “search for blue [Viagra] pills in order to increase their strength to have more sex.” —ww.rt.com, February 18, 2015

 

[*Italian police: Muslim migrants threw Christians overboard. *]Rome (CNN) Muslims who were among migrants trying to get from Libya to Italy in a boat this week threw 12 fellow passengers overboard—killing them—because the 12 were Christians, Italian police said Thursday.

 

Italian authorities have arrested 15 people on suspicion of murdering the Christians at sea, police in Palermo, Sicily, said. —Hada Messia, Livia Borghese and Jason Hanna, CNN, April 16, 2015

 

[*Jacqui Lambie receives beheading threat, ordering her to help implement Sharia law in Australia. *]A letter containing a threat to behead Tasmanian senator Jacqui Lambie unless she helps implement Sharia law in Australia has sparked a security assessment at the outspoken independent’s office.

 

The letter was received at the senator’s Burnie office last week and included threats to behead the former Palmer United Party member unless she converted to Islam and helped implement Sharia law by March 18. —Tyson Shine, http://abc.net.au, March 1, 2015

 

“The most worthless of mankind are not afraid to condemn in others the same disorders which they allow in themselves; and can readily discover some nice difference in age, character, or station, to justify the partial distinction.” ―Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

 

The Talmud, Bible, and Quran are full of lalatales (nonsense) and the rabbis, priests, and imams who claim to know god’s plan are lalatalers (a whimsical word for bullshit artists). Long before people were labelled as Jews, Christians, or Muslims, earlier civilizations had created gods in their own image and crafted their own creation myths. We now view the primitive beliefs of those civilizations as outdated and false. The Muslims, like the Jews and Christians before them, are simply a part of this god-myth creation timeline, one that has been around for millennia. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are also primitive belief systems and they, too, like the religions they had copied from, are outdated and false. They, like their predecessors, should be rejected. Stop giving your hard earned money to these storytellers. The religion scam has been ongoing for thousands of years.

 

“Whether most Muslims are peaceable is irrelevant. The fact is that fanatics rule Islam now and act-out what the Qur’an truly says …maul, march, and murder every Infidel who won’t convert!” —Gary Patton

[* *]

Chapter 3

 

Reasons People Are Religious

[* *]

“If you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it, and you will even come to believe it yourself.” —Joseph Goebbels, World War II Nazi propaganda minister.

 

“It is easier to fool people than to convince them they have been fooled.” —Mark Twain

 

If you need to believe in someone, believe in yourself. Be suspicious of anyone, especially the rabbis, priests, and imams who preach the word of god, who claim to know god, and who profess to speak with god. These lalatalers are delusional or are con-artists taking advantage of the unenlightened. An all-powerful, all-knowing god does not need anyone to represent him or require his subjects to go through intermediaries in order to reach him, her, or it.

 

We are born without knowledge and from this truth the world can be a cruel place for the unenlightened. We seek guidance and direction in times of uncertainty. In times of desperation, sorrow, and sadness, be weary of those who claim god has a plan for you, because if god has a plan tailored just for you, then he also has plans for the countless trillions of his creations in the Universe. And if there were a god that immensely powerful, he does not need a middleperson to communicate that plan to you. Again, be suspicious of those who claim to know god, to communicate with god, or to represent god—the greatest wealth and power in history have been accumulated by those who claim to have a special connection with god. It comes down to money, control, and power. For example, the church sanctioning the divine right of kings to rule, both benefiting the kings and the church.

 

In 2017, Earth’s population was roughly 7.5 billion. Of those, 2.2 billion were estimated to be Christians, 1.9 billion Muslims, and 15 million Jews. Of the 2.2 billion Christians, 1.2 billion were estimated to be Catholics.

 

Religion: Christianity

Followers: 2.2 billion

Percent: 31%

 

Islam

1.9 billion

22%

 

Unaffiliated (atheists, agnostics)

1.2 billion

17%

 

Hinduism

1 billion

14%

 

Other

836 million

12%

 

Buddhism

350 million

5%

 

Judaism

15 million

0.2%

 

Source: Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project

 

Scientology: Going Clear or Going Broke?

In addition to the three Abrahamic faiths that have been a curse to humanity, fringe religions have also contributed to the mayhem. For example, the cult Scientology claims that humans are possessed by alien souls. Thus, our spirituality is suppressed and can only be freed through “going clear” audits administered by the Church of Scientology. These multi-level audits cost tens of thousands of dollars and many Scientologists have lost their homes and life savings in order to pay for these audit scams.

 

“Xenu, also Xemu (pronounced Zee-new), was, according to Scientology founder and science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, the dictator of the ‘Galactic Confederacy’ who, 75 million years ago, brought billions of his people to Earth in DC-8-like spacecraft, stacked them around volcanoes and killed them using hydrogen bombs. Scientology holds that the essences of these many people remained, and that they form around people in modern times, causing them spiritual harm. Members of the Church of Scientology widely deny or try to hide the Xenu story.” —http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Xenu

 

It’s common for Jews, Christians, and Muslims to mock Scientology and its followers. After all, Scientology’s creation myth is based on intergalactic aliens and lost souls. Whereby, more plausible of course, the creation myth of the Abrahamic religions is based on god creating humans from dust and a talking snake that suppresses our spirituality. Obviously, in order to free our soul, we need to go through auditors (Scientology); rabbis, priests, and imams with the Abrahamic religions. These self-appointed middlemen of god have made fortunes throughout history.

 

If there were a god, he would let you know directly and not through self-appointed intermediaries such as rabbis, priests, imams, clerics, preachers, reverends, bishops, pastors, auditors, and so forth. Those who claim to know the will of god or to be the representatives of god are con artists taking advantage of the ignorant, or they themselves are ignorant (con artist: a person who cheats or tricks others by persuading them to believe something that is not true. —Google Dictionary). The idea that an omniscient god needs to convey his messages through a third party is ludicrous and an obvious scam.

 

“Religion was invented when the first con man met the first fool.” —Mark Twain

 

“Beware of false knowledge. It is more dangerous than ignorance.” —George Bernard Shaw

 

Research has concluded that the higher a person’s level of education, the less likely they are to be religious. However, there are millions of highly educated people who do identify with a faith. This proves that people will believe anything, even for superfluous and superficial reasons, as long as they’re absolved of fault. No one wants to be told that their bad behavior is their own doing, they’d rather blame it on something or someone else. God is that perfect punching bag. God can’t be seen, can’t be heard, therefore the perfect scapegoat. This absolves the believers of personal responsibility.

 

Despite overwhelming scientific evidence that any god conjured by humans cannot adequately describe the physical world and the spiritual world, roughly 6 billion people still believe in a deity. Let’s examine some of the reasons for this phenomenon.

 

Tradition

“The great trouble is that the preachers get the children from six to seven years of age and then it is almost impossible to do anything with them.” —Thomas Edison

 

Ahhh, the rich rituals and ceremonies of religion that have lured followers throughout time are alive and well today. The vast majority of theists are indoctrinated into religion through their immediate or extended families. Through family, they learn to practice rituals and ceremonies, which are then passed down for generations. It is also through family that they adopt belief systems describing the physical world and spiritual world. As examples, Christmas, Passover, Ramadan, and Easter are major religious events that should be familiar to most people regardless of their religion.

 

In addition, traditions and rituals such as meditation, baptism, bar/bat mitzvah, Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca), Hanukah, circumcision, Sunday Mass, prayer, confession, fasting,chanting, animal sacrifice, kosher dietary practices, and a plethora of others have been woven into the fabric of daily life over the centuries. These ingrained traditions and rituals provide a sense of belonging and community. These practices and familial indoctrination are inherited in successive generations. The sense of belonging and community are powerful psychological incentives. Very few bother to question these ancient practices, but the few who do achieve freedom of thought—a liberated mind unburdened by outdated knowledge and practices.

 

“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” —US Pledge of Allegiance

 

Since religion is indoctrinated in a child’s formative years by family, and the bond to family is strong, the bond to religion is also strong and immensely harder to break in adulthood.

 

Religion over the millennia, through its rituals and ceremonies, has become a form of social and familial conditioning deeply rooted in the communities of the world. In turn, these communal bonds have been reinforced to the present. In summary, people tend to adopt the religion that they are raised in.

 

Familial attachment

Family ties can be the most difficult to break because humans are social and communal beings, and religion is deep-rooted in the family unit. Many people’s first religious indoctrination begins in the family. Eating turkey on Easter Sunday, opening presents on Christ(mas) Eve, drinking on St. Patrick’s Day, baptizing, experiencing the bar mitzvah, praying five times a day, and other religious activities are ingrained in the family unit. By default, people become religious through the state or family. Breaking from family can be painful to the psyche—few want to admit that their beloved parents believed in falsehood. For some, family tradition is a treasured way of life. However, in order to advance, we need to break with tradition and the status quo. We create our own life with the choices we make, not with the choices our family made. Most importantly, when new facts are discovered, your opinions must change to fit those facts.

 

“All children are born Atheists; they have no idea of god.” —Baron d’Holbach

 

Christians are taught to accept Jesus Christ into their lives as their lord and savior. From this, there is a deep emotional attachment of loving someone who died for their sins. Jesus is family to these devout Christians, and how could anyone abandon the person who died on the cross for their sins? That’s just evil.

 

Morality

“If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for a reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed.” —Albert Einstein

 

Morality is the “recognition of the distinction between good and evil or between right and wrong.” Why do people do good things? Why do people do bad things? Why are some people greedy? Why are some people cruel? Is our life predetermined by an all-powerful, all-knowing entity? Does god have a plan for us?

 

According to the Abrahamic religions, Satan is the tempter of evil. It is Satan who seduces people to do wrong. Although no one has ever heard Satan’s voice, nor seen it, Satan is responsible for our wrongdoings. Satan is responsible for leading us astray. Satan is the deceiver. Every day we must fight Satan and defeat that mischievous devil who’s always up to no good. And if we want to do good, god has a plan for us. Only if it were that simple.

 

“They told me to use the brain god gave me. I did. Now I’m an atheist. Ironic, isn’t it?” —Naturalopist

 

According to psychological science, our sense of right and wrong, or good and evil can be explained by multiple theories. The primary theories of human behavior are:

 

-Behavioural theories

-Cognitive theories

-Developmental theories

-Humanist theories

-Personality theories

-Social Psychology theories

-Learning theories

 

All these theories of human behavior have many supporting sub-theories. If we objectively examine our life, every single action we’ve ever performed can be explained by one or more of the theories listed above.

 

Human nature in a historical context can be summed up in this way: same behaviors by different people in different eras. We can now explain human behaviour without the guiding hand of god or Satan.

 

Religion can provide a moral compass to many, but religion is unnecessary for a moral compass. The most effective deterrence to ill or evil behavior is karma, which teaches us to become aware of the consequences before we act.

 

The basis of morality can be summed up as:

 

Don’t lie, cheat, steal, or kill.

 

[*Or stated in positive terms: Be honest, fair, productive, and compassionate. *]

 

Morality can be taught because all the elements of morality can be learned. Again, when we are aware of the consequences in advance, we make better decisions.

 

Spirituality

“Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality.” —Carl Sagan

 

At some point in our life, we want to know the meaning and purpose of life. Why are we here? What are we meant to do with our time? What happens to us after we die? These are pressing questions that can be answered with religious fables, or our own perceptions and experiences of reality.

 

“Religious beliefs, and its accompanied rituals, are forms of emotional based focusing techniques that manage stress. In short, they’re a broad based multifaceted security blanket akin to what a child employs to soothe itself when distressed.” —Naturalopist

 

When faced with life’s hardships, most of us want to be reassured that there is hope, that everything will be fine, that a brighter future awaits. It’s unfortunate that people are most vulnerable when they’re desperate or distressed. They need guidance and direction, and without previous experience they’ll turn to any belief system for comfort or spiritual fulfillment.

 

 

The above is a popular Internet meme by Vine Deloria, a Sioux. It implies that spirituality is best understood through personal experience. For example, when we survive our darkest hours, we gather strength and know what we’re capable of. From there we go from strength to strength, and during these trials and tribulations, where is god? That is when we accept, through empirical evidence and personal experience, that we are the creator of our life; that we can overcome any obstacle, setback, or hardship. We create our own life with the choices we make.

 

For some people, religion endows life with meaning, so when people are unable to find an alternative spiritual path, religion becomes the de facto path.

 

Forgiveness

Many religious people commit transgressions or petty crimes during the week and ask for forgiveness on the weekend, believing that god will forgive their trespasses. Or many non-religious people commit heinous crimes and become imprisoned for their acts. They then adopt religion hoping a higher power will forgive them—the fact that many prisoners become deeply religious is a testimony to this pattern.

 

The belief that god forgives all is a dangerous precedent because people who believe they’ve been absolved of all responsibility venture into society to recommit crimes. After conversion, even lifelong criminals believe they are god’s children, and of course god loves all his children. By embracing religion, they believe they’ll be forgiven and enjoy eternal life in heaven. What people believe becomes their reality, even if what they believe is false. Religion has nothing to do with it.

 

Salvation

Closely related to forgiveness is salvation (redemption, atonement), which is a common experience across all cultures. Salvation is the soul’s desire to right the wrongs we’ve done. Many seek salvation in synagogues, churches, mosques, and temples. It can be comforting to have self-professed men of god to guide us through the darkest hours. Adherents believe god had put them in devastating predicaments to test their will and faith—it’s all part of god’s plan for them. However, a god who wants people to suffer and die must have a sick and twisted mind.

 

For others, salvation is simply picking the shattered pieces and rebuilding their lives. To these people, a good and just god does not put them in perilous predicaments in the first place.

 

“The more I study religions the more I am convinced that man never worshiped anything but himself.” ―Richard Francis Burton

Salvation is a theme that extends even beyond death: People fear death, but they fear what happens to them after they die even more. These god-fearing people believe in heaven and hell as places of eternal reward and damnation. They want to be rewarded with an eternal life in the grace of god and avoid eternal punishment for their “sins”. These are powerful motivations for people to embrace religion.

 

Peter Pan Syndrome

“Faith means the purposeful suspension of critical thinking. It’s nothing to be admired.” —Bill Maher

 

The fear of freedom and responsibility lurks in the hearts of men. Many people don’t want to grow up, while others are incapable of growing up, because with freedom comes responsibility. They know that with god on their side, if they lie, cheat, or steal, they need only to confess to the misdeeds and crimes and all will be forgiven. The running logic is that if they kill, it’s Satan’s fault and god will forgive. After all, god created Satan. This blame game is common for theists: “God created me. If I’m immoral, it is what god wants, and he’ll forgive me because he made me in his image.” Where is personality responsibility in this line of religious thinking?

 

When a person can defer personal responsibility to an imaginary figure, they can justify any injustice or crime—nearly all serial killers in US history were devout Christians.

 

“Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.” —Thomas Jefferson

 

An immature person wants to live in an ecosystem whereby they’re absolved of guilt and responsibility. Religion, with its quick-fix tradition of forgiveness, is ideal for the immature mind. When something goes wrong, blame the bearded guy in the sky. Or Satan made them do it.

 

Give yourself to god and you’ll be exonerated from personal responsibility. Who can resist divine redemption?

 

Intellectual Laziness

“Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.” —George Carlin

 

One argument is that theists believe in god as the answer to everything because they’re intellectually lazy. Even without religion in the conversation, we know that the world is full of people who are naive (gullible), ignorant, or stupid.

 

The difference between an ignorant person and a stupid person is that an ignorant person hasn’t been enlightened, whereby a stupid person can’t become enlightened. In order to fathom the physical and spiritual worlds, we need to understand many disciplines ranging from physics to archaeology. All these disciplines require logic, reason, and the ability to construct sound arguments. But why subject the brain to such vigorous labour when we can “leave everything to god” or “let god be.”

 

The “only god knows”, “leave it to god”, and “let god be” boilerplate excuses are for people who don’t want to use Nature’s most complex creation: The awesome human brain.

 

The canned, standby god responses are a copout—cognitive laziness at its finest.

 

Miseducation

“When you control a man’s thinking, you do not have to worry about his actions. He will find his ‘proper place’ and will stay in it. You do not need to send him to the back door. He will go without being told. In fact, if there is no back door, he will protest until one is made for his use. His education demands it.” —Dr. Carter Woodson

 

Without knowing it, many people have been miseducated from toddlerhood. Call it indoctrination, brainwashing, bullshit, or by any other name, it is religion’s irresponsible cradle-to-grave miseducation of our youth. This miseducation is detrimental and wastes precious time. Those who are miseducated have lost precious time learning hogwash, then have to spend more precious time unlearning and relearning.

 

When we understand the true nature of the physical world and spiritual world, we can make informed decisions. In this regard, religion miseducates and moves us further from the truth.

 

Perhaps religion should heed its own creed, “The truth shall set you free.”

 

Popular Culture

Movies and TV shows with cultural references to Jesus Christ, the Bible, Moses, and other biblical characters and events are recurring. Phrases such as “Jesus Christ!”, “Oh my god!”, and “Holy shit!” are ubiquitous in the English language, used to express excitement, doubt, contempt, surprise, annoyance, anger, and so on. In a court of justice, the placing of the right hand on the Bible and the freedom to practice religion as part of the constitution are ingrained in our consciousness. It’s what we grew with and what we believe to be true. Religion provides a sense of belonging. And in many Muslim countries, religion is a national identity.

 

What happens if we abandon religion? We develop a new way of thinking and a new way of life. We experience spiritual growth and science becomes our new truth, rather than the words of self-declared men of god who have a human-god complex.

 

Historical fact: The motto “In God We Trust” on the U.S. dollar bills was not adopted by the founding fathers, but by the U.S. Congress in 1956 in response to fears of “godless” communism. The original motto (E. Pluribus Unum) adopted in 1782, means “Out of One, Many”, which reflected the heritage of diversity and tolerance. (Source: Being Liberal)

 

Excuse

Many people use god as an excuse for their bad behavior or atrocities. It’s the old, “God made me do it.” As examples,

 

—An adulterer, “If god wanted me to be with one woman, I’d be with one woman.”

 

—A pedophile, “God made me this way.”

 

—A murderer, “God will forgive me.”

 

—A rapist, “Only god can judge me.”

 

“Domestic violence happens because women do not obey men.” —Archbishop Braulio Rodigruez Plaza

 

In other words, god is used in a grotesque way to cover for their moral weaknesses, sins, or crimes.

 

Anthropomorphism: The attribution of human characteristics to divine beings, animals, or objects.

 

Religious Trauma Syndrome

Below is an interview Valerie Tarico conducted with Dr. Marlene Winell.

 

Religious Trauma Syndrome: How Some Organized Religion Leads to Mental Health Problems

 

Let’s start this interview with the basics. What exactly is religious trauma syndrome?

 

Dr. Marlene Winell: Religious trauma syndrome (RTS) is a set of symptoms and characteristics that tend to go together and which are related to harmful experiences with religion. They are the result of two things: immersion in a controlling religion and the secondary impact of leaving a religious group. The RTS label provides a name and description that affected people often recognize immediately. Many other people are surprised by the idea of RTS, because in our culture it is generally assumed that religion is benign or good for you. Just like telling kids about Santa Claus and letting them work out their beliefs later, people see no harm in teaching religion to children.

 

But in reality, religious teachings and practices sometimes cause serious mental health damage. The public is somewhat familiar with sexual and physical abuse in a religious context. As Journalist Janet Heimlich has documented in, Breaking Their Will, Bible-based religious groups that emphasize patriarchal authority in family structure and use harsh parenting methods can be destructive.

 

But the problem isn’t just physical and sexual abuse. Emotional and mental treatment in authoritarian religious groups also can be damaging because of

 

1) toxic teachings like eternal damnation or original sin

 

2) religious practices or mindset, such as punishment, black and white thinking, or sexual guilt, and

 

3) neglect that prevents a person from having the information or opportunities to develop normally.

 

Can you give me an example of RTS from your consulting practice?

 

Dr. Marlene Winell: I can give you many. One of the symptom clusters is around fear and anxiety. People indoctrinated into fundamentalist Christianity as small children sometimes have memories of being terrified by images of hell and apocalypse before their brains could begin to make sense of such ideas. Some survivors, who I prefer to call “reclaimers,” have flashbacks, panic attacks, or nightmares in adulthood even when they intellectually no longer believe the theology. One client of mine, who during the day functioned well as a professional, struggled with intense fear many nights.

 

—Dr. Marlene Winell, Leaving the Fold–A Guide for Former Fundamentalists and Others Leaving their Religion

 

Valerie Tarico

Read more: www.valerietarico.com/2013/03/26/religious-trauma-syndrome-was-it-real/

 

The Afterlife

“An intelligent person does not need the promise of heaven to see the merit of good deeds.”

 

If god wanted you to live forever, you would live forever. There is no reason for god to create trillions of life forms, let them die, then resurrect them again so they could live forever. That line of thought assumes god is inefficient with his creation process.

 

People who waste the only life they know are likely to seek another life in another place. It’s known as Heaven. There are several problems with this assumption.

 

What happens after you die? In order to live again, you have to exist. In order to exist, you have to be made of matter. In what place would you live? If god provides everything, what would you do all day along? You would get along with everyone. You wouldn’t have to worry about anything. You wouldn’t have to do anything. If all that were true, everyone would be a robot in heaven.

 

If you don’t exist after you die, you don’t exist. You wouldn’t know it.

 

If god wanted you to live forever, you would live forever.

 

“After your death, you will be what you were before your birth.” —Arthur Schopenhauer

 

“…When you died, you were supposed to live on in the memories of others. That’s what I’d always been told. Didn’t matter what you believed, which religion you subscribed to, what god you worshipped. The simple fact was that none of us knew what lay beyond. Immortality and eternal life? The only sure shot at that was the memories of those you left behind: your friends and family…”

― Brian Keene, Dead Sea

 

The Problem with Religion

“To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.” —Thomas Paine

 

There are countless problems with religion, but let’s focus on a very problematic one in this chapter. In every religion, there are small groups of extremists (fundamentalists) who are dangerous because they use god as a moral justification for any wrongdoing, including rape, murder, slavery, terrorism, plunder, and war.

 

In addition, religion is backward thinking that hampers the advancement of knowledge. The “holy” scriptures are brimming with absurdities, inconsistencies, and fallacies that it would take an entire book to distill (many have been written). Let’s look at one obvious absurdity.

 

God created everything, including the heavens and Earth, and everything in them. God loves all his creations and wants them to obey his wishes and laws. However, every wrongdoing and evil are the responsibilities of the devil, and the devil is always working against mankind. But if god created everything, then he also created Satan. Does god love Satan? Why can’t god stop Satan from tempting people with evil? What kind of sick bastard would create the Devil?

 

In this day and age, parents who want their children to benefit from the advances of science are wise to steer them away from religion. Children need to be emotionally balanced, mentally strong, and intellectually well-adapted in the digital age and science age—the age of humanity. Children need to grow emotionally, mentally, intellectually, and spiritually. Religion no longer provides comfort with its pretenses of “that’s what god wants” and “the devil did it.” These subterfuges leave children in an emotional and intellectual coma from which they have to waste more time recovering from in adulthood.

 

You have free will. No one can tell you what to do. You create your own life with the choices you make. Over time, those choices accumulate and become YOUR LIFE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 4

 

Religion: Business, Politics, and War

[* *]

“There will be no change because the people who stand to lose from change have all the power. And the people who stand to gain from change have none of the power.” —Niccolò Machiavelli

 

Imagine a movie about cocaine-binged nights, wild parties in lavish mansions, sex with underaged boys, money laundering, political coverup, legal intimidation, and millions of dollars at stake. It sounds like an Oliver Stone movie, but it’s not. It’s the true story of a high ranking Vatican official’s double life: man-of-god by day and pedophile-cocaine fiend by night. For years, the Vatican knew this pedophile priest had molested many children entrusted to his care. Vatican officials did everything to hide his crimes because he was the head of a Jesuit missionary unit that brought tens of millions of dollars into the Vatican coffers. What did this pedophile-priest, man-of-god tell his child victims to intimidate them into silence? “If you tell anybody, your parents will burn in hell.” The sordid details were exposed in the PBS Frontline documentary: Secrets of the Vatican.

 

Again, be leery of those who preach the word of god, who claim to know god, and who profess to communicate with god. These self-appointed men of god use religion as a powerbase to further their ambition and depravity. They lie, cheat, steal, kill, and use god to justify their behavior. They have a human-god complex similar to dictators.

 

To many religion is a crutch for the lame, hope for the destitute, and comfort for the dying, while others view religion as a discordant and intolerant worldview. Unfortunately, religion is ubiquitous in every section of society. Its tentacles reach into business, politics, and war. Therefore, religion is about money, control, and power. Almost every major event in history has had religion’s involvement, either indirectly or directly. The crusades, jihads, and other holy wars are a few examples.

 

Throughout history, the Vatican has had a hand in throning and deposing the monarchs of Europe. In the Middle East, many Muslim clerics are more powerful than state government officials. What makes these Muslim imams and clerics particularly dangerous is that their only qualification is the ability to passionately regurgitate outdated teachings from the 7th century.

 

Religion is meddlesome and rears its ugly head in places it has no business being in.

 

 

Religion Is Business

“If you want to make a little money, write a book. If you want to make a lot of money, create a religion.” —L. Ron Hubbard, founder of Scientology

 

The faith-based industry is one of the largest businesses in the world. Business defined by Webster’s Dictionary is “commercial activity involving the exchange of money for goods or services.” So, what goods or services is religion selling? False promises and exaggerated claims, according to George Carlin.

 

Are you ready for a new life? Are you ready for something exciting? Are you finished with being weak, timid, and fearful and guilty and condemned? Are you tired of insecurity and having no confidence? I believe god’s words have the answers to all those problems…

 

-How can you have peace of mind?

 

-How can you overcome fear?

 

-How do you get what you want out of life?

 

-Have you felt insecure, rejected, abandoned?

 

-Are you having problems with your finances?

 

-Are you lonely, in pain, or feeling despair?

 

-Are you sick? Do you or anyone you know have cancer, diabetes, or heart disease?

 

Call now! There’s a miracle waiting for you! God has a plan for you!

 

If you answered “yes” to any of the questions above, then religion is for you! Do you want to donate $20, $50, $100, or $200? The more you donate, the higher your miracle will be prioritized. Your miracle is waiting for you! God’s helpers are waiting by the phone, so call now! And have your credit card ready!

 

God is eternal, all-powerful, and all-knowing, but he needs minions to collect money for him. He can simultaneously hear the prayers of billions of people but needs his little angels on Earth to collect donations. How much of that money really goes to god? And why would god need money?

 

In 2017, the religious industry had revenues of over $110 billion—all tax free. Some estimate the number was much higher because of cash donations. There are the Bible books, Bible self-help books (Bible Finance, Bible Love, Bible Cooking, Bible Healing, Bible this and Bible that). There are also Christian music, Holy Holidays (vacations to holy sites), holy wedding services, and holy merchandises such as clothing, figurines and jewelry. Religion is no longer a cottage industry, but it has become an industry unto itself. In Islam, the Hajj (annual pilgrimage to Mecca) brings in tens of millions of dollars for Saudi Arabia’s tourism industry.

 

“Jesus died on the cross so Pastor Joel Osteen could buy a $10.5 million home in Houston, Texas.” —Internet meme

 

“Jesus died on the cross so preacher Joyce Meyer could buy a $5 million private jet.” —Internet meme

 

God is evil and greedy if he requires that his followers donate money before he helps them.

 

Besides the tangible goods, there are also the intangible services that are timeless as time itself: salvation and eternal life. Who wants to be forgiven for their misdeeds? Everyone. Who wants live forever with loved ones in heaven? Everyone. After he dies, what man wants 72 virgins at his beck and call in paradise? Every man. These promises of redemption, an everlasting life, and vagina galore in paradise after death are nearly impossible to resist. What does one need to do to receive these gifts from god? Do the bidding of the middlemen (rabbis, priests, imams, clerics, etc.). For thousands of years, self-appointed men of god such as rabbis, priests, imams, and clerics have been promising their followers the impossible.

 

“But God loves you. He loves you, and He needs money! He always needs money! He’s all-powerful, all-perfect, all-knowing, and all-wise, somehow just can’t handle money! Religion takes in billions of dollars, they pay no taxes, and they always need a little more. Now, you talk about a good bullshit story. Holy Shit!”[* *]—George Carlin

 

Every generation is told the Rapture is near, the Messiah is coming, the Kingdom of Heaven is upon us, Allah awaits. God hasn’t told us when these earthshaking events will happen. Nevertheless, prepare yourself and surrender to god (read: give your soul and property to the men with god-like complex so they can live lavishly this lifetime, while they give you an IOU (promise note) for the next life). Has anyone been to the next life and back? If god wants us to live in heaven, we would have been born in heaven.

 

Unfortunately, no one has died and came back to life to testify that there is an afterlife. We only live once and those who squander this life cling to hope that there’s another life. Throughout history, these self-anointed representatives of god were aware of this conundrum and took advantage of the ignorant and destitute.

 

If there were a god that constructed this 93 billion light-year big and expanding Universe, a god that created everything small and big, would he be so petty as to ask for donations?

 

“Follow the money trail. It will lead you to the truth.” —Naturalopist

 

The business of religion is about exploiting personal guilt, inherent human weaknesses, the fear of death, the afterlife, and the unknown. All of them neatly packaged in lalatales.

 

FAITH IS CHILD ABUSE: Teaching a child to blindly accept your religious lies is teaching them not to think. You are teaching them that belief, without evidence, is acceptable. This damages the child’s ability to reason. Add to that, teaching the child that normal behavior is sinful, and that the sinful are hell bound, and you get a clear pattern of psychological abuse.

 

In May 2015, Pope Francis made the following remark on greedy multinational corporations, “They support a ‘structurally perverse’ economic system where the rich exploit the poor and turn the earth into an immense pile of filth.”

 

Now, is the pontiff a wolf in sheep’s clothing?

 

The Vatican Net Worth

by Myfirstclasslife.com

 

Besides artwork, the Vatican also owns a global network of churches and religious buildings that serve the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics. While the Catholic Church gets a fair amount in donations, that’s definitely not where the majority of their money comes from.

 

The Vatican has a very dense and widespread investment portfolio–holding billions of shares in the most powerful international corporations. Just to give you an example–the Vatican is heavily invested in Gulf Oil, General Motors, General Electric, International Business Machines, Shell and many others. The Catholic powerhouse also has large investments with the Rothschild family, and a number of world-renowned banks. In the United States alone, the Vatican is deeply invested in the Morgan Bank, the Chase-Manhattan, the Bankers Trust Company and a number of others. Their investments are so diverse and abundant, that it could make for a separate story…

 

“The Catholic Church,” he said, “must be the biggest corporation in the United States. We have a branch office in every neighborhood. Our assets and real estate holdings must exceed those of Standard Oil, A.T.&T., and U.S. Steel combined. And our roster of dues-paying members must be second only to the tax rolls of the United States Government.” —May 8, 2015

 

Read more: www.myfirstclasslife.com/the-vatican-net-worth-what-life-style-does-pope-francis-really-live/

 

Religion in Politics

“I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute; where no Catholic prelate would tell the President—should he be Catholic—how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote; where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference, and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the President who might appoint him, or the people who might elect him. I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish; where no public official either requests or accept instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source; where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials.” —John F. Kennedy

 

As a non-profit institution, the Catholic Church is the largest landowner in the world. Overall, it is the 3rd largest landowner behind the Throne of England and Saudi Arabia’s monarch. The Catholic Church’s extensive portfolio of art, gold, stocks, bonds, land, and even its own bank are made possible by 1 700 years of tithe (usually 10%), donations, and tributes. From this financial base, the Vatican became very influential in politics.

 

 

However, it’s difficult to determine the wealth of Islam since Islam does not have a central governing body like the Vatican. However, oil-rich Gulf States (Arab nations that border the Persian Gulf) such as Kuwait, Bahrain, Iraq, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates are enormous contributors to the spread of Islam. These nations have been known to financially support Islamic terrorist organizations such as Al Qaeda, ISIS, and their offshoots. These state-sponsored terrorist organizations in turn have caused turmoil in every corner of the Earth, all in the name of god.

 

“Religion is excellent stuff for keeping the common people quiet. Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich.” —Napoleon Bonaparte

 

In 1947, religion’s political authority was on display when India was partitioned into three separate nations along religious affiliations:

 

—India (1.25 billion; Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, and fast-growing Muslim)

 

—Pakistan (182 million; Shia Muslim)

 

—Bangladesh (156 million; Sunni Muslim)

 

The partition of India (into India and Pakistan, then Pakistan into Pakistan and Bangladesh) is a prime example of the divisive nature of religion and its influence in politics. In Muslim countries where Sharia law is enforced, its effects harken back to the Dark Ages.

 

“I’m completely in favor of the separation of Church and State. My idea is that these two institutions screw us up enough on their own, so both of them together is certain death.” —George Carlin

 

As for the court intrigues of the Vatican, there has been wide speculation that the true power behind the Catholic Church and its immense wealth is the “Black Pope”. It is rumoured that this Jesuit Black Pope is the most powerful man in the world. Just like the politicians who have puppetmasters (campaign contributors), the Pope and bishops and cardinals also have puppetmasters who dictate policies behind the scenes in secret. The Black Pope and his secret Vatican conclaves may very well be the power behind the power.

 

“I do not believe that any type of religion should ever be introduced into the public schools of the United States.” —Thomas Edison

 

During the Vietnam War (1955 – 1975), it was widely rumoured by insiders that it was called “Cardinal Spellman’s War.” Archbishop Francis Spellman (1889 – 1967) of New York had called it the “war of civilizations.” He was politically connected and used his power in the Vatican and his political influence to ensure the Catholic South Vietnamese would defeat the atheist North Vietnamese. But Ho Chi Minh, a Nationalist before a Communist, had other plans.

 

Religion in politics goes back to the Medieval times when monarchs were terrified of being excommunicated by the Church, even the most powerful kings and queens of Europe succumbed to edicts of the popes.

 

Read more:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_people_excommunicated_by_the_Roman_Catholic_Church

 

“Almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so.” ― Robert A. Heinlein

 

In the US, “passing the plate for politics” is a common practice. Although, the US Constitution forbids the mingling of church and state, passing the plate for politics continues openly. In this practice, money is donated to the church and then used as political contributions, which buys influence and votes. Most laws passed at the behest of religious groups are antiquated and discriminatory, tending to persecute minority groups.

 

Religion, through politics, has dictated what people can and cannot do through the guise of “religious freedom.” Jesus would not have approved, obviously. The US is a country founded on the principle of freedom from religious persecution, but religion is now being used to persecute freedom.

 

Throughout the millennia, learned men have deliberately used religion as a powerbase. These self-declared men of god have used religion to justify hate, bigotry, war, and even genocide.

 

Religion in War

“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” —Voltaire

 

“Religion: It has given people hope in a world torn apart by religion.” ―Jon Stewart

 

The Christian Crusades and the Muslim Jihads continue to this day. It is spiritual warfare, and where the pen fails, the sword prevails as god’s will and word. The crusaders and jihadists are alive and well today.

 

[*The spread of Islam *]with the pen and sword. Map: Washburn.edu

 

“The Bible tells us to be like god, and then on page after page it describes god as a mass murderer. This may be the single most important key to the political behavior of Western Civilization.” ―Robert Anton Wilson

 

[*The spread of Christianity *]with the pen and sword. Map: Worldreligions.psu.edu

 

The proliferation of spiritual warfare introduced people to a god that they had previously never heard of. As examples, Asian countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei had no concept who the god of Islam was until they were introduced to him by Muslim merchants and missionaries. Now, those countries are predominantly Muslim.

 

Inter-faith and Sectarian Wars

Inter-faith conflicts and wars have been the hallmark of religious history.

 

When Judaism was concocted, it was in conflict with the pagan religions of its time.

 

When Christianity was concocted, it was in conflict with Judaism and the pagan religions of its time.

 

When Islam was concocted, it was in conflict with Judaism, Christianity, and the pagan religions of its time.

 

When Judaism, Christianity, and Islam became established, they branched into numerous denominations. What we have now is a splattered-manure waste of inter-faith conflicts and wars, and also sectarian conflicts and wars—wars between religions and wars within religions.

 

Below are just a few examples of the religious quagmire that still plagues humanity. Most were taken over a four month period in 2015. Imagine the madness we’d witness if we collected samples for the last 1,000 years.

 

Muslims Ambush Eighty-Two Christians As They Sleep On Their Beds, And Slaughter All Of Them In Major Massacre That The Media Is Ignoring. Muslims in Nigeria, who are all part of the Fulani tribe, ambushed eighty-two people in a Christian village as they slept in their beds and slaughtered all of them in a new massacre of Christians that the media is not paying any attention to. —Theodore Shoebat, Rightsidenews.com, March 25, 2015

 

[*Riots in Pakistan follow suicide attacks on two Christian churches. *]Anguished Pakistanis protesting suicide attacks on two Christian churches clashed with police and other residents in chaotic scenes in the city of Lahore on Monday, leaving one person dead and several others injured, police said.

 

The mainly Christian demonstrators hurled stones, damaged cars and blocked a major highway in the eastern city as helmeted riot police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowds.

 

The protests followed twin suicide attacks at two churches during Sunday services that killed 15 people and wounded more than 70 others. The Pakistani Taliban militant organization, which is at war with the Pakistani state, claimed responsibility. —AOUN SAHI AND SHASHANK BENGALI, LAtimes.com, March, 2015

 

Armed Muslim Brotherhood Fanatics Attack Egyptian Church Over Plans to Honor 21 Beheaded Coptic Christians. A group of armed Muslim fanatics, who some have identified as Muslim Brotherhood members, attacked a church over plans to honor the 21 Coptic Christians beheaded by terror group ISIS in the Egyptian village of Al-Our. The church’s priest said that he made local police aware of plans for the attack, but the authorities offered no protection. —STOYAN ZAIMOV, Christianpost.com, March 30, 2015

 

Pregnant Muslim woman attacked in France. The 29-year-old woman, who was wearing a hijab, or Muslim headscarf, was hospitalized on Tuesday after being attacked on a street in Toulouse, southern France. 

 

According to reports the heavily pregnant woman who is due to give birth in mid-April was approached by two men after she had dropped off her children at school. —Thelocal.fr, March 27, 2015

 

Sydney: ‘violent attack’ on Muslim woman highlights Islamophobia. The woman, who does not wish to be named, says she was shoved, kicked and called names between Sydney’s Central and Town Hall stations before anybody came to offer her support.

 

“When (the attacker) became loud, I looked around me… and I just thought ‘Nobody is here to help me,’ so if I keep speaking he may come closer to me and attack me physically,” she told SBS.

 

She says she knew the attack was religiously motivated because of the way he looked at her hijab and told her “you people get in our way,” before pushing her. —Rachael Hocking, Muslimvillage.com, March 28, 2015

 

Christian militias take bloody revenge on Muslims in Central African Republic. Children were reportedly targeted by Christian anti-balaka gangs set up in wake of attacks by Muslim Seleka rebels. They brought in the bodies one by one, laying them down on a white sheet concealed behind a flimsy black curtain. Among them was a man, probably in his 20s, his head twisted leftward, the skull dented on one side and cracked open on the other. The others also had fatal head injuries that stained the sheet crimson. The first flies began settling on the five corpses. —David Smith, Theguardian.com, March 10, 2015

 

Brooklyn Jews attacked with paint. New York police are investigating whether two incidents in which Jews were struck with paint are hate crimes. —Jta.org, Marc 30, 2015

 

Jewish Sites Attacked in UK, Hungary. A group of assailants entered a synagogue in London on Sunday and attacked worshipers and property, with reports indicating that some attackers shouted, “Kill the Jews.”

 

Those inside the Ahavas Torah synagogue had to defend themselves with chairs against the mob, which physically assaulted at least one person and smashed windows. British police later arrested six people in connection with the attack. —JNS, Breakingisraelnews.com, March 25, 2015

 

[*Netanyahu urges Jews to move to Israel after Copenhagen attacks. *]Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday urged European Jews to move to Israel after a Jewish man was killed in an attack outside Copenhagen’s main synagogue.

 

“Israel is your home. We are preparing and calling for the absorption of mass immigration from Europe,” Netanyahu said in a statement, repeating a similar call after attacks by jihadists in Paris last month when four Jews were among the dead.

 

Two police officers were also wounded in Sunday’s attack in Copenhagen, one of two fatal shootings in the normally peaceful Danish capital on the weekend. —AFP, Feb. 15, 2015

 

Photo: Hellertoon.com

 

Power, Money, and Control

Religion boils down to money, power, and control. The unenlightened are the blind followers who donate their precious time and resources to self-proclaimed representatives of god. With all the wisdom of history at our disposal, these self-proclaimed “men of god” have no legal authority and should not be trusted with power.

 

Besides, if there were a god, he would provide the needs for all of his followers, rather than have them canvass streets to recruit followers to donate to his causes.

 

“Our religion has gotten into the kitchen.” —Swami Vivekananda

 

Muslims and Jews don’t eat pigs because they’re considered dirty animals (unless killed kosher-ly), Hindus don’t eat cows because they’re considered sacred, Christians should avoid meat on Good Friday. And according to King James Version (KJV), Leviticus 11:10-12, eating shellfish (shrimps, crabs, snails, mussels, clams, oysters, lobsters, scallops) are forbidden.

 

Leviticus 11:10-12: And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you:

 

They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcasses in abomination.

 

Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you.

 

[*Religion is intrusive. *]It is on the decline as people are turning away from human-conceived gods, as they have for thousands of years; detrimentally, only to be replaced by new gods. It is only a matter of time before we, too, will abandon the god of the Jews, Christians, Muslims and every human-concocted god.

 

 

But no one told me

(No one told me)

That the gods believe in nothing

So with empty hands I pray

And from day to hopeless day

They still don’t see me

 

—Hand to Mouth, George Michael

 

CHAPTER 5

 

Terminologies and Notations

[* *]

[* “Five percent of the people think; 10% percent of the people think they think; and the other 85% would rather die than think.” —Thomas Edison*]

 

This book was a short walk through history. It was a discussion between the author and the reader, therefore subjective. It is not meant as a scholarly work. It examines how religion fits into humanity’s timeline. Therefore, an explanation of a few terminologies and notations are required to make the reading easier.

 

Notations and Nomenclatures

 

BC (B.C.). BC is the abbreviation for “Before Christ.” A number postfixed with BC denotes a year before 1, since there is no year 0 in the Gregorian (Christian/Western Calendar). The year jumps from 1 BC to 1 AD. For example, 3 000 BC denotes 3 000 years before Christ’s first birthdate (year 1). If the current year is 2020, then 3 000 BC denotes the event occurred 5 020 years ago ( 3 000 + 2020 = 5 020).

 

BCE (B.C.E.). BCE stands for “Before the Common Era.” BC and BCE are interchangeable. Christians prefer using BC (Before Christ), whereas the non-religious prefer to use BCE. The common era begins with year 1, since there is also no year 0 using the BCE postfix. This book uses the BCE notation rather than the BC one.

 

AD (A.D.) . AD is the Latin abbreviation for Anno Domini (In the year of Our Lord). The BC/AD dating system was devised in 525 and became widely used in 800. In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII introduced the Gregorian calendar to the world that eventually replaced the Julian calendar (named for Julius Caesar). The Gregorian calendar (Christian/Western calendar) corrected the 0.002% error in the Julian calendar. The Gregorian calendar is the most widely used dating system in the world today.

 

CE (C.E.). CE stands for “Common Era.” AD and CE are interchangeable. Christians prefer using AD, while the non-religious prefer using CE. The common era, like the AD notation begins with year 1, not 0. When a year is not postfixed, it is generally assumed to be after year 1. For example, 2020 is assumed to be 2020 AD or 2020 CE. This book uses the CE notation rather than the AD one.

 

Circa (ca. or c.). Circa means around, about, approximately, roughly. For example, circa 2500 BCE means 2500 years Before the Common Era. If the current year is 2020, then circa 2500 BCE denotes the event occurred roughly 4520 years ago (2020 + 2500 = 4520).

 

e.g. e.g., eg is the abbreviation for “for example.”

 

i.e. i.e., ie is the abbreviation for “that is.”

 

Terminologies

 

Religion: The belief in and worship of a supernatural controlling power, especially a personal god or gods.

 

Deity: A god or goddess; the state of being a god; divine characteristics, godhead.

 

Theist: A person who believes in the existence of a god or gods.

 

Atheist: A person who does not believe in the existence of god, one who has no religious affiliation.

 

Agnostic: A person who, in the absence of evidence, is uncertain about the existence of deities; one who needs further evidence.

 

Polytheism: The belief of the existence of many gods; eg a polytheist is someone worships multiple gods.

 

Monotheism: The belief in a single deity (one god or goddess); especially within an organized religion; i.e., a monotheist is someone who worships only one god.

 

Mythology: The collection of myths of a people, concerning the origin of the people, history, deities, ancestors and heroes; eg many religions of antiquity are now accepted as mythology.

 

Fairy tale: A folktale featuring fairies or similar fantasy characters; e.g., all religious text books contain several fairytale characters.

 

Myth: A traditional story which embodies a belief regarding some fact or phenomenon of experience, and in which often the forces of nature and of the soul are personified; a sacred narrative regarding a god, a hero, the origin of the world or of a people, etc.

 

[*Fable: *]A fictitious narrative intended to enforce some useful truth or precept, usually with animals, birds, etc., as characters; an apologue. Prototypically, Aesop’s Fables.

 

[*Pantheon: *]All the gods of a particular people or religion, particularly the ancient Greek gods residing on Olympus, considered as a group.

 

Philosophy: 1) The love of wisdom, 2) A view or outlook regarding fundamental principles underlying some domain.

 

[*Metaphysics: *]The branch of philosophy which studies fundamental principles intended to describe or explain all that is, and which are not themselves explained by anything more fundamental; the study of first principles; the study of being insofar as it was being.

 

[*Sectarian: *]Of, or relating to a sect; eg Sunni and Shia are two major sects of Islam.

 

Secular: Not specifically religious; not confined by religious rule.

 

Religious Text References

The Old Testament consists of 39 books if one is a Protestant and 46 or 47 books if one is a Catholic. The Christian Bible consists of 66 books, including those in the Old Testament.

 

The Holy Quran is a single book comprised of 114 chapters (suras) with roughly 6,236 verses (ayahs).

 

The Jewish Talmud is a single book organized into six major orders, 37 masechtas, and 63 tractates (treatises).

 

Passage: Book of Genesis, chapter 9

American Abbr.: Genesis 9

European Abbr.: Genesis 9

 

Passage: Book of Matthew, chapters 9-12

American Abbr.: Matthew 9-12

European Abbr.: Matthew 9-12

 

Passage: Book of Exodus, chapter 3, verse 2

American Abbr.: Exodus 3:2

European Abbr.: Exodus 3,2

 

Passage: Quran, chapter 5 , verse 20. The Quran was divided into suras (chapters) and ayahs (verses).

American Abbr.: Quran 5:20

European Abbr.: Quran 5,20

 

New Words

 

Lalatale, noun: Things and events that cannot be universally and empirically proven to exist but are believed to be true by certain groups of people; e.g. god, ghosts, reincarnation (past lives), Loch Ness Monster, tooth fairy, boogeyman, angels, demons, Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, Jesus Christ, etc. The Bible, Talmud, and Quran are books of lalatales.

 

2) Ideas and things, usually based on primitive myths, that should be universally rejected due to conspicuous bias and subjective perspectives.

 

3) Things and ideas that are of insular knowledge and divisive in nature, tending to cause suffering, conflict, and war, eg religion.

 

[*Lalataling; verb, adjective: *]1) The act of espousing and spreading things and events that cannot be universally and empirically proven to exist, usually for one’s personal gain. 2) Of or relating to things and events that cannot be universally and empirically proven to exist. …Christian Bible preachers, Jewish rabbis, Muslim imams and clerics spend their lives lalataling.

 

[*Lalataler, noun: *]1) A person or group who believes in things and events that cannot be universally and empirically proven to exist. 2) A person with a high degree of irrationality who tends to reject common sense, reason, and logic…Anyone who acts as a middle-person or representative of god is a lalataler. The church, synagogue, and mosque are full of lalatalers.

 

 

 

About the Author

[* *]

[*Live your life. No all-knowing, all-powerful god that created this immeasurably massive Universe would be petty enough to think what you thought about it. Don’t waste your time thinking about god. God can take care of herself/himself. *]

[* *]

If you need to believe in someone, believe in yourself.

 

I was born to Roman Catholic parents, baptized as a Roman Catholic, and remained one for most of my adult life, until 2007. I had a grand uncle who was an archbishop in the Vatican. My family, like most of South Vietnamese families at the time, was devout Roman Catholic. As a child I regular attended Sunday school.

 

In the 17th century, the Vietnamese were introduced to Catholicism by Portuguese explorers and missionaries, and again in the 18th century by the French colonists. Prior to that (Vietnam was founded in 2879 BCE), the Vietnamese had no idea who Jesus Christ was.

 

For as long as I could remember, whenever I had problems with life I was told to, “Pray to Jesus.” And I did, to no avail—I never saw Jesus and he never answered my prayers. As my problems exacerbated, I assumed that I was a damned person. God had ordained me to suffer. My life had been predetermined. There was nothing I could do.

 

Then I studied nutrition and philosophy, and a new world of knowledge opened up. It was a catharsis. My worldview changed and I have never looked at the world the same way again. I studied stoicism, buddhism; and bits of taoism, confucianism, agnosticism, atheism, and other -ISMs. All these -ISMs had one thing in common: They were attempting to explain the nature of existence (the six primary existential questions of life). Many -ISMs were similar, while others were radically different— some even wacky.

 

The three most important things I learned were:

 

1) You are what you eat—a good mind begins with a healthy diet. If it comes from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, avoid it. In other words, eat natural foods that our ancestors ate for millions of years. Avoid processed foods made in factories because they’re devoid of nutrients.

 

2) You can attain spirituality without religion. Religion is one path to spirituality. There are others, such as philosophy.

 

3) People can think or say what they want. “In the end, the only thing that matters is what you’ve done” (Alexander the Great). When you die, you leave behind your children and your work. Everything else is secondary.

 

If there were a god that created our unimaginably massive 93 billion light year (and expanding) Universe, it would not care one iota what you thought of it either way, anymore than you would care if an electron changed orbitals in a rock on Mars. A god that powerful would not need to be validated by anyone or anything. Therefore:

 

The beliefs of your parents, if they are false, should not be your beliefs.

 

The beliefs of your peers, if they are outlandish, should not be your beliefs.

 

The beliefs of society, if they are dogmatic, should not be your beliefs.

 

The beliefs of your ancestors, if they are contentious, should not be your beliefs.

 

The beliefs of your country, if they are unjust, should not be your beliefs.

 

Abandon all false, outlandish, dogmatic, contentious, and unjust belief systems.

 

Accept what is right and not who is right. This is the path to spiritual enlightenment. Through spiritual enlightenment you will know the Truth and

 

The Truth shall set your mind free…

 

If you need to believe in someone, believe in yourself.

 

You only live once. Make it count.

 


Trung Nguyen. Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. August, 2014

 

 

Copyright Information

 

 

The images and selected passages in this book are either in the public domain, used in accordance with the Fair Use Copyright law or Creative Commons License, or with the appropriate permissions. If you are the copyright holder of any image or passage used in this book and believe it was used in error, please contact us at [email protected] and it will be immediately removed.

 

The curated quotations and passages in this book are meant to analyze, critique, support, dismiss, review, or comment on particular subjects. The persons quoted in this book are not associated with Naturalopy, nor do they endorse it in anyway, nor were they contacted prior to the book’s publishing.

 

A special thanks to Wiktionary.org and Wikipedia.org and many others, too many to mention, who openly provided the content that made this book possible.

 

A special thank-you to Nasa.gov for many of the images in the book.

 

Disclaimer

This book comes with no warranty whatsoever, either implied or expressed. Its content is for educational and entertainment purposes only. No effort was made to ensure that the information is complete or accurate. The reader is solely responsible and liable for how she or he uses the content within the pages of this book, either in print or electronic format.

 

Where applicable, parts of this book are copyrighted by Trung Nguyen (Copyright @ 2015, 2016 by Trung Nguyen). However, you may use the work by the author without restriction.

 

Where applicable by international laws and treaties, the words “Naturalopy”, “Naturalopic”, and “Naturalopist” are trademarks of EnCognitive.com.

 

Written by Trung Nguyen

Compiled by Trung Nguyen

[email protected]

www.encognitive.com

April 2015, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

 

 


History of Islam

A Muslim is one who follows the teachings of Muhammad the prophet. What if Muhammad’s teachings were not the words of god? Whose teachings have the Muslims been following? Chapters include: Is There a God? The Truth Shall Set You Free George Carlin of Religion The Abrahamic Religions HISTORY OF ISLAM Reasons People Are Religious Religion: Business, Politics, and War

  • Author: Trung Nguyen
  • Published: 2017-02-18 07:20:21
  • Words: 29960
History of Islam History of Islam