People also go around and say "Islam is a very peaceful religion, you have just missunderstood the religion. Muslims will laugh at you because of your ignorance". I am fully aware of how the Quran is a plagarism and how offensive it is to women, science and basically humanity. But what I lack is enough details and exact quotes from the Quran that can strengthen my argument. I read a lot of Dawkins and Hitchens, but unfortunately, their criticize is more focused on Christianity and Judaism, than Islam itself. 


Can someone provide some valuable information from the Quran that shows how atrocious it really is. Give me some tips of writers that has analyzed the religion so I can become more educated about the scriptures.

If you have your own viewpoints on Islam do not hesitate to express them.

Also, I would like the context that they are written in.

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Sure can!  The Skeptic's Annotated Bible doesn't just limit itself to the christer's holy book.  They take on the quran and the book of mor(m)on and dissect both with the same verve and lack of consideration for believers' sensibilities.

Do yourself a favor and check it out!

Cool - thanks for the link!

That's what I was going to say Steph. Thanks Loren!

This is kind of long, but I had written this a while back:

Islam

 

          Some people like to make the claim that Islam is a “peaceful” religion, that the acts committed by a few radicals do not represent the religion in any way. In a claim to support their rhetoric, they give examples of a few isolated cases in which Christians have used their religion in the name of “god”. Such examples include Timothy McVeigh in the Oklahoma City Bombing, and Christian extremists placing bombs at abortion clinics. All this means to me is that while Christianity is still a violent religion, it is much less violent and extremist and carves the path to extreme fanaticism to the point of killing oneself to a much less and difficulty accessed path through the Christian faith.

            Then we hear the claims of the violence that Christianity has carried over throughout the years and the millions of people who have died in the name of Christianity through warfare. Again, I concur with this statement. I believe that all religion at its roots (especially the “great” three monotheistic religions – Christianity – Judaism – Islam) is pure evil. What these same people fail to leave out is that due to the evils that was propagated by the Catholic Church along the sale of indulgences to the wealthy faithful – Christianity had a period where it actually did reform and went through the Dark Ages, Reformation, and Enlightenment periods where Christianity was able to modernize and secularize to becoming a religion that has become mostly benign. Some of those who experience Christian fundamentalists (particularly in the Bible belt) claim that this is not true, that fundamentalist Christianity is actually on the rise! I like to refer to some examples of regardless of a subjective trend of slight rises and drops of religiosity among their communities the true differences between the Islamic and Christian faiths and how they incorporate their differences into modern day life and modern day world affairs.

            First, for anyone to make the claim that the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan had anything to do with Christianity or religion by our top decision makers are erroneous and should stop reading now.  Some individuals live and persist in delusions, and one cannot alter their thinking and mindset no matter how much you try. Our government and system embodied by our great constitution and rules of laws are based on secularism and have thus progressed in times with the modernity of the world which is sorely lacking throughout the Islamic world. One can have political differences, but surely you are not stoned to death for adultery are you? You can sleep with how many people you want and cheat on your spouse but the worst that can happen to you under the system of law is divorce (and some money transfer). In contrast, what does Islam demand of adulterers? Stoning. In reference to the separation of church and state and how Christianity “matured” or reformed with modern times due to the Dark Ages, Reformation, and Enlightenment periods; this unfortunately is not possible with Islam. Why would I say such a thing? The Bible simply does not state the requirement of a Christian government or jurisprudence. In contrast, the Quran requires that only states and nations be Islamic by nature and follow Shariah law. You might have read of Shariah law before, what is it exactly?? Shariah law is law based on Islamic jurisprudence and the requirement of every true believing Islamic state; they believe that all law should be based on the teachings of Muhammad and its primary sources are the Quran and Hadith. I’m sure you’ve heard of the Quran, but some may wonder what the Hadith exactly is?? The Hadith is almost as important as the Quran and the majority of Islamic law is inscribed through the Hadith. The Hadith are a set of text believed to be the written inscribing’s of Muhammad and his closest compatriots. The Hadith has two parts; the first part refers to the specific content or text of the statements and actions of Muhammad and his closest confidants. The second part is more a sort of bloodline of Muhammad descendants which is a big source of conflict between the Sunni and the Shiite. The Shiite believes that following Muhammad’s death, leadership was passed down to his cousin or son-in-law Ali (which is revered by the fanatics in Tehran) but the Sunnis believe otherwise (to put in short without going into details). Therefore, even within inter-religious disagreement, the bloodiest deaths arise over what rationalist people would consider miniscule and nonsensical issues. They share one key component: to be a true Muslim one must accept the Quran word-by-word, paragraph by paragraph as the true word of God; that “God'” spoke these words to Muhammad in a cave and later recited it to be written down. If one says “some of the Quran is true” or that we must “take it into context with modern times”, one simply is not considered a true Muslim in the eyes in the most devout believers. In contrast with Christianity, many top priests and clergy have stated that the Bible must not be taken literally word-by-word. The Pope has even recently stated that evolution “may fit in with the Bible” and that the literal inscribing’s of the resurrection should not be taken so literally by devout believers. Therefore, the Pope is trying to have his cake and eat it too; but in contrast, a fellow Muslim scientist in the United Kingdom made a statement that evolution is not incompatible with Islam, what happened?? He received death threats all over the U.K. and had to make public statements of apology and to resign to the fact that he can no longer attend that mosque out of fear for his own life. The demands Islam places upon its believers are like no other; and the requirements to what is the definition of being a Muslim and follower of Muhammad, make such a similar “reformation” quite unlikely to happen since it would mean to the true believers that those individuals are actually apostates and they must fight them until death.

            Let’s go back to a few examples before I divulge into some scripture. When an author writes a book criticizing Christianity or its major tenets, do you see outrage or violence erupt around the world? To quickly sidestep, some individuals might simply state that such “violence” that is “overblown” by the minorities of the religious do not constitute the vast majority of the religion or its teachings. While this statement is laudable, it begs to ask the question: where is the majority to speak out for the “atrocities” committed by the “minority” pretending to be of their faith?? The problem remains that the majority remain “silent” and are complacent in the actions of the minority by either refusing to take responsibility for the problems that constitute real elements of their own faith or by deflecting blame to an outside third party such as the “Zionists”, “Americans”, or the “west”. How convenient is this outcome? Then of course comes violence against innocent people by calling them the enemy which is a natural course or such mentalities. To go back to the premise of this paragraph; when Salman Rushdie wrote The Satanic Verses where were all those to condemn the Ayatollah Khomeini for offering a reward or calling it a duty of every Muslim to kill Salman Rushdie for writing a fictional book of his choosing? When Bibles are burnt and ripped apart, where are the mass demonstrations by Christians leading to burning down of buildings, embassies, and even beheadings? When cartoons are drawn making fun of Jesus Christ or of Christians, where are the demands of death marched through major cities worldwide? It doesn’t happen because Christians have become more benign, and for the most part don’t act like animals when being “offended” but rather act like human beings. There was a “museum” in Montana which exhibited various kinds of artworks. It one of the pieces was some type of “art” which depicted a homosexual act being taken place on Jesus. One Christian woman was offended and got a crowbar or hammer from her car and destroyed it into multiple pieces. What was the result? This lady was arrested and the “artwork” was repaired and sent back to the museum. One can only imagine the horrors of what would happen worldwide if such a piece was of Muhammad instead and the simple fact that such a piece existed. The reactions would surely result in murders, riots, and chaos worldwide.

            Now to the Islamic teaching itself; unfortunately the Quran is a book full of many words. It is a book that is hypocritical (like other religious books) due to the fact that it requires every single word in the Quran to be of “the word of god” while providing many scriptures that suit the hearts of the good person and bad person alike. Therefore, while not every Muslim is a bad person or a terrorist, nearly all or the vast majority of true extremists (those ready to commit violent acts in the name of their religion) are Muslim. Islam guides the path to extremism in ways that other religions simply do not. One can use the Quran and Islamic teaching to cite examples of good and evil alike; but again, the issue arises when the Quran must be taken literally word by word for the true believer. For example, as stated, women who commit adultery should be stoned to death: (Bukhari 8:6814; see also 8:6825; 8:6829) “Narrated Jabir bin Abdullah al-Ansari: A man from the tribe of Bani Aslam came to Allah’s Messenger [Muhammad] and informed him that he had committed illegal sexual intercourse; and he bore witness four times against himself. Allah’s Messenger ordered him to be stoned to death as he was a married person.”  There are other examples and Hadith writings we can use for justification of stoning but there is no doubt that stoning is a part of fundamentalist Islamic culture and believed to be just by the most hardcore believer who has a sound knowledge of both the Quran and Hadith. Remember, most of Islamic law is actually derived from the Hadith even though the Quran is a very violent and vengeful book about chaos, death, and destruction. In regards to non-believers, it is blatantly clear that those who are born Muslim are not allowed to leave their faith. In doing so, they become “Kaffars” and their punishment is death. There is no way to get around this fact. Islam allows others to convert into Muslims, but one who is born a Muslim cannot leave their faith or death shall come upon them as an apostate: (Sura 3:90) “But those who reject Faith after they accepted it, and then go on adding to their defiance of Faith, - never will their repentance be accepted; for they are those who have [of set purpose] gone astray”. (Sura 16:106) “Any one who, after accepting faith in Allah, utters Unbelief, - except under compulsion, his heart remaining firm in Faith – but such as open their breast to Unbelief, on them is Wrath from Allah, and theirs will be a dreadful Penalty.”  (Al-Bukhary #6922) Ibn Abbaas: “The Messenger of Allah said, Whoever changes his (Islamic) religion, kill him”.  (Sahih Muslim #1676) “Abd-Allah ibn Masood: The Messenger of Allah said, It is not permissible to shed the blood of a Muslim who bears a witness that there is no god except Allah and that I am the messenger of Allah, except in one of three cases: a soul (in case of murder), a married person who commits adultery, and one who leaves his religion and separates from the main body of Muslims”. Remember people, an apostate is looked upon worse as someone who is an infidel (non-Muslim who has not left his/her faith) and are punished more severely with less leniency in all cases one can imagine. For example, in Iran after the revolution the judges would ask young kids who were being taken in court for “anti-revolutionary” activities and ask if they were Muslim, and those who answered they were but their parents were not religious were sometimes spared the death penalty compared to their who said their parents were religious. There is no doubt that one is not allowed to become a non-Muslim once being born Muslim and no punishment is just other than death. In regards to women’s rights, Islam allows the hitting of your wife, the rape of your wife, and the rapes of those captured in battle referred to as “slave women” or your “right hand”. Therefore, those young sisters who have been raped by this Islamic Republic of Terror that has occupied and destroyed the once great nation of Iran were done so in accordance to the Quran. One example, (Sura 4:34) “Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more [strength] than the other, and because they support them from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient, and guard in [the part ye fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them [first], [Next], refuse to share their beds, [And last] beat them; but if they return to obedience, seek not against them Means [of annoyance]: For Allah is Most High, great [above you all]”. In regards to raping your wife, (Bukhari 4.54-4.60) Muhammad said: “If a husband calls his wife to his bed, and she refuses and causes him to sleep in anger, the angels will curse her till morning.”  (Ibn Majah 1854) Muhammad says: “By him in Whose Hand lies my life, a woman can not carry out the right of her Lord, till she carries out the right of her husband. And if he asks her to surrender herself (to him for sexual intercourse) she should not refuse him even if she is on a camel’s saddle”.  In regards to raping slave women, (Sura 4:24) “Also prohibited are] women already married, except those whom your right hands possess (referring to slave women) …”.  Remember, the term “Right hands possess” refers to slave women in Islam. In Islam, you can do whatever you require of your slave women, and they are considered “your right hand” hence property, and do not have the moral restrictions you do with married women; and can do as you wish of them like your property. So pass them along as property if you like… ; Regarding homosexuality, the Quran is full of stories of punishing homosexuality including destroying entire villages/communities including the “city of Lut” most conveniently often times through natural disasters: (Suras 26:165-175) "Of all the creatures in the world, will ye approach males, And leave those whom Allah has created for you to be your mates? Nay, ye are a people transgressing (all limits)! They said: "If thou desist not, O Lut! thou wilt assuredly be cast out!" He said: "I do detest your doings:" "O my Lord! deliver me and my family from such things as they do!" So We delivered him and his family,- all Except an old woman who lingered behind. But the rest We destroyed utterly. We rained down on them a shower (of brimstone): and evil was the shower on those who were admonished (but heeded not)! Verily in this is a Sign: but most of them do not believe. And verily thy Lord is He, the Exalted in Might, Most Merciful."  For all these examples, there are many more to be sighted in the Quran and Hadith but I just wanted to give you a little taste of what Islam demands in its teachings for those who make the claim or believe the claim that “Islam is a peaceful religion that has been hijacked from the extremists”. Again, while not all Muslims are not bad people, Islam guides the path to extremism quite easily.

            Some people also like to make the claim that Islam “embraced and advanced science”. The many individuals they cited as “Muslim Scientists” for the most part were not even practicing/fundamentalist Muslims and I will cite one example: Omar Khayyam, the great Persian scientist, poet, astronomer, mathematician who in contrast was an avowed atheist. For those who claim that Islam and modern science is not incompatible let’s look at the basic teachings of Islam: (Sura 2:65) “And well ye knew those amongst you who transgressed in the matter of the Sabbath: We said to them: “Be ye apes, despised and rejected” “ . This refers to apes having come to bring through a curse from god when they were humans working on the Sabbath. (Sura 7:189) “It is He Who created you from a single person, and made his mate of like nature, in order that he might dwell with her [in love]. When they are united, she bears a light burden and carries it about [unnoticed]. When she grows heavy, they both pray to Allah their Lord, [saying]: “If Thou givest us a goodly child, we vow we shall [ever] be graceful.”  Implies human created from a single man.  (Sura 15:26) “We created man from sounding clay, from mud moulded into shape”. Need I say more?? Continued: (Sura 15:27-29) “And the Jinn race, We had created before, from the fire of a scorching wind, Behold! Thy Lord said to the angels: “I am about to create man, from sounding clay from mud mouldered into shape; “When I have fashioned him [in due proportion] and breathed into him of my spirit, fall ye down in obeisance unto him”.  By the way, the Jinn race is a supposed invisible race of evil people that are just as abundant as humans. (Sura 2:36) “Then did Satan make them slip from the [garden], and get them out of the state [of felicity] in which they had been. We said: “Get ye down, all [ye people], with enmity between yourselves. On earth will be your dwelling-place and your means of livelihood – for a time.” (Sura 2:117) “To Him is due the primal origin of the heavens and the earth: When he decreeth a matter, He saith to it: “Be,” and it is.”  And interesting enough the Sahih Bukhari (4:55, 543) states that early humans were 90-feet tall and humans have been declining in height ever since. The problem in Islam is that one can find any verse to justify anything they like and Islam provides all of this so conveniently.

            To close, one must also move away from the literal scripture and look back at the history of the religion as well. The symbol of Jesus Christ (whether he was a real person or not) was someone of “peace” who died for “us” or “our sins”. Jesus Christ says to “love your enemy” and love your neighbor. The teachings of Jesus and the New Testament are much more benign than the teachings of the Quran. In addition, Christians adore Jesus Christ; Muslims adore Muhammad. Muhammad was a man who once had power was a fighter, a killer, and what we would call today a terrorist. Islam commands the deaths of infidels and non-believers and there is no way to get around this fact. Islam is a religion that simply will not be happy to sit in place and live their lives but is a religion that advocates death, war, and genocide in order to accomplish their longer-term goals of world control and eventual apocalypse. In addition, it is no surprise that women are under the oppressive control and terror of Islam in the ways that they are. Under Shariah law, a women’s testimony is worth half that of a man. A woman receives only ½ inheritance from her parents under Shariah law. A woman is basically worth half of a man in society. These are facts that one must not and cannot go around by giving ridiculous justifications. At its root, its founder or founder Muhammad was a child molester. He acquired Aisha when she was only 6-years old and was such a gentleman to wait until she was 9-years old and having her menstrual cycle to have vaginal intercourse sex with her. Of course other sexual acts were done in the mean-time that was not vaginal but this is the founder of the religion! I know “times were different” but at least Christians waited until the girl was 12 or 13 and formed some resemblance of a women before indulging into sexual activities. In Islamic conquest, the war is not over. The first stop is Jerusalem accorded by the Hadith, and then to the west! In doing this, 1/3rd of world population must die out through havoc, war, famine, disease and the so on to bring the return of the Hidden Imam (in Shiite ideology). Through the particular Hadiths they judge to be true for their sect of Islam, they have their own end-of-the world dreams and prophecies that they are trying to enact; but the bottom line is this: Islam is a problem that people throughout the world must not ignore. Islamic fundamentalism and violence is not the perceived result of U.S. interaction in the Middle East; the topography and forms might be different depending on the current situation that it partakes; but Islamic fundamentalists will not be happy until you or me are forced to become Muslim or die. When the religious writings and teachings so explicitly state the “destruction of entire villages or cities” that includes women and children. No one survived in the havocs of Muhammad and his men except potentially the most “beautiful virgins” which were saved for the captors as “slave booty”. (Sura 5:104-105): O ye who believe! Ask not questions about things which, if made plain to you, may cause you trouble. But if ye ask about things when the Quran is being revealed, they will be made plain to you, Allah will forgive those: for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Forbearing. Some people before you did ask such questions, and on that account lost their faith”. Basically, don’t ask questions about things which contradict the Quran (i.e. science) because those who did a little free thinking and investigation for themselves decided to become non-Muslim and leave the faith. What a great religion that encourages free thinking and scientific advancement doesn’t it? The next Surah I thought was quite comical and interesting: (Sura 5:106) “It was not Allah who instituted (superstitions like those of) a slit-eat she-camel, or a she-camel let loose for free pasture, or idol sacrifices for twin-births in animals, or stallion-camels freed from work: It is blasphemers who intent a lie against Allah; but most of them lack wisdom.” Quite further comical the Quran continues by stating others that that “those before them knew more” but isn’t it what we are saying now? Those who followed those holy books back when human intelligence was truly primitive have no relevance in the modern day 21st century? Why should we respect such primitiveness? It is also important not to forget the fact than Islam allows Taqiyya (different term for Sunni Muslims) where you can lie to advance your faith. So when you hear religious Muslims speaking on how “peaceful” Islam is or how “Islam requires no compulsion” in religion ask them how they can reconcile some of the specific Surahs and Hadith examples that I have provided for you.

            Belief without evidence, or faith, will continue as long as mankind continues to be ignorant and attempt to shield his/her fear of death. What we can do is provide education and knowledge about the beauties of science, whether on the marvels of the vast universe or the nature of life on Earth. We can look into the hundreds of billions of stars that exist in our own Milky Way Galaxy alone, or to the vast expanse of life that exists on Earth and the fact that 99% of all life that has ever existed on Earth is now extinct. If we are going to be extinct as a species is going to come down to whether we as western people and western societies advance the notions of democracy, freedom, and human rights or are we going to allow the false notion of multiculturalism allow western societies to diminish through barbaric religious teachings and practice? In our attempt to become too tolerant will we allow those who want to kill us and destroy western civilization to get their way? These are important questions that many people ignore but I will close with this fact: there are more stars in the universe than grains of sand all over the world. There are nearly 200 billion stars in our own Milky Way Galaxy with billions of planets and potentially hundreds of millions of Earthlike planets (see recent Kepler findings); in addition, there are hundreds of billions of galaxies. Interstellar space travel would be amazing but unfortunately the distances are so vast and our technology is too primitive; but we surely a grain of speck compared to the enormity of the universe. Are we going to die out just like the 99%+ of life that have? We shall see; but my hope is that reason, logic, and rationality will prevail over the suicide-cult culture that has engrained too many of blaming others for their problems (i.e. moderate Muslims blaming others for the fundamentalism that exists in their own religion) or blaming themselves for the extremism that exists throughout the Islamic world (i.e. self-hating leftist masochists). Islam has destroyed the great ancient Egyptian and Persian civilizations by infesting their hate and forceful vengeance by the sword through their belief-filled venom ever since its inceptions; it’s time for us to say enough is enough! Modernize to the 21st century or go infest yourself but leave other free people alone to advance humanity, science, and the longevity of the human species.

Ex-Muslims are not afraid to tell it like it is.

Considering that this religion considers these passages divinely inspired, why are people so incredulous that there is suspicion of people who identify as part of the religion? By which I don't mean to say all Muslims believe every word of it, but I don't think it's unreasonable to wonder if they do actually believe what the book they consider holy is saying.

Christianity does have a long history of violence.  It took three centuries for the proto-orthodox Church to determine the nature of Jesus expressed in the Nicene Creed, and those centuries were full of political maneuvering, espionage, and physical violence, not to mention assassination.  The assaults on pagan religions and heretics, which included all-out war, continued into the Renaissance.  Millions died in wars, witch hunts, and Inquisitions, which lasted 600 years, with the last public auto da fe taking place in Mexico in 1864.  Perhaps a million people died in the Crusades.

 

This long history of violence begins in the Old Testament when a jealous, vengeful god supposedly assisted his chosen people in committing genocide against all the other tribes in Canaan.  Old Testament law is as vicious and brutal as anything you can find in the Koran or the Hadith.  Most Old Testament law has been discarded because it embodies barbarism arising from ignorance and superstition, yet modern Christians still revere the Ten Commandments and American fundamentalists/evangelicals continue to nourish a smoldering hatred for homosexuals and abortionists, while they forget all the other "abominations" in the OT, such as wearing clothing made of two different materials, planting two kinds of seed in one field, and eating shellfish.  Death is prescribed for apostasy, adultery, and gay sex, as well as many other offenses.  Abortion isn't mentioned in the Bible, and gays are condemned to death in the OT.  (In contrast, the Koran allows gays to be forgiven if they "mend their ways.")  The NT tells us that gays will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

If Christians today followed OT law, they would be as violent as any Muslim extremist; when a Christian does attempt to administer OT law, as with the recent massacre in Norway or the murder of Dr. Tiller in Kansas, the killers are quickly disavowed by more mainstream Christians, who can't seem to imagine what part of the Bible or Christian faith might motivate murder.  They seem baffled.  The Muslims I know are similarly baffled by suicide bombers.  One recently told me she reads the Koran every year during Ramadan, but she can find nothing in it that justifies or even recommends the murder of non believers.  To her the suicide bombers are not Muslims. 

In all the ancient faiths, holy books contain not the word of God but the superstitions and prejudices of primitive men.  Applying a legal and/or social code written down 15 centuries ago (the Koran) or 20 centuries ago (much of the NT) or 25-30 centuries ago (the OT) is simply absurd.  We may as well legislate the Code of Hammurabi into the Constitution and be done with it.  Neither the Bible nor the Koran seems any more enlightened.  Following either text to the letter is insanity.

So what happened in the Christian world to make devout believers more prone to tolerance and less prone to sectarian violence?  Humanism happened, bringing with it greater social mobility, daring thinkers, and the strange idea that individual happiness was worthwhile goal in life.  The Reformation happened, bringing with it sectarian violence, yes, but also a plethora of new faiths.  The idea of tolerance arose, though not without violence and suppression.  IIRC (somebody help me with this if you know the quotation) Voltaire said that "a man must put a high price on his conjectures to burn another man alive."  So religion became a matter of opinion rather than a certainty, with one man's opinion as good an another's and no more need to submit to the authority of a monolithic church.  The Enlightenment happened, with science and reason pushing God into smaller and smaller gaps. 

No Enlightenment happened in the Islamic world.  Islam still clings to the idea that a 1400-year-old book, cobbled together by ignorant primitives, has all the answers.  Many Christians think their somewhat older book, also cobbled together by ignorant primitives, has the right answers.  Jews think of these two books as extraneous.  Mainstream Christians and Jews tend to read the holy books metaphorically, not literally, but there are Christians and Jews who read them literally (without fully understanding the word "literally") and believe that their readings are the only correct ones.  If the main stream read their Bible literally, we freethinkers would have much more difficult lives.

The problems in the US seem to stem from pure Christian stubbornness.  Starting with Eisenhower, presidents have thought they needed a spiritual adviser.  Billy Graham, well dressed, well spoken, and a fair golfer, took the job.   He made Billy Sunday respectable and spawned thousands of imitators, each with his own conjectures always presented as truth not to be doubted. But all these "truths" are very doubtful.  In the end, they are just interpretations of ancient books, newly revised and edited for a new generation of suckers.  A month or two ago, I re-read the Baghavad Gita for the first time in decades.  It struck me in an entirely new way.

The Gita is revered round the world for its poetic beauty.  Two great armies, one headed by Arjuna of the Pandava dynasty and the other by the leaders of the Paurava family, are drawn up, ready for battle.  Arjuna suggests to the god Krishna that they ride out between the two armies to inspect the enemy formations.  He falls to the floor of his chariot in sadness and depression when he realizes that some of his relatives, friends, former teachers, and personal heroes are prominent parts of the enemy force.  Krishna calls him a coward and argues that, since souls are immortal, mere men cannot kill them, so despite the fact that the battle to come will surely be a bloodbath, no one will really die; only their flesh (you know, the part that feels pain) will die.  Krishna tells Arjuna that there are only two certainties in life: death and rebirth.  The idea that he is only half right never seems to occur to commentators on the Gita.  Death is real, borne out by the evidence of millions, billions of corpses; rebirth is conjecture.

What really bothers me about "true believers" of any faith is their certainty.  Why do they believe that one book out of millions is true, not to be doubted?  They never have a good reason; they just "know," and they're willing to bet their lives on it.  Of course, they're willing to bet your life, too.

Craigart14

I re-read the Baghavad Gita for the first time in decades.  It struck me in an entirely new way.

Reading Hindu scriptures is a very different experiance compared to reading the Bible and the Quran. All the philosophy of the ancient ages is based on imagination, as true knowledge was lacking then, and so it is understandable. Lord Krishna himself says in the Geeta that knowledge is the most pious thing in the world.  However, the Vedic philosophy appears very sophistcated in all respects compared to the Quran or the Bible. It endeavours to answer each possible doubt. I often say that this philosophy is the result of the imagination of brilliant people let loose!

Do Hindus think the doctrines espoused  in the Gita are imaginary?  I doubt it.  The central point of the Gita  is that killing is all right, even admirable, because the soul is immortal, so only its temporary home, the body, can be killed.  Hinduism would have to reject one of its essential tenets, reincarnation, in order to reject Krishna's pronouncements on the duty of warriors to kill.  In a very real sense, all major religions would rather kill, torture, imprison or restrict real people, thereby sacrificing bodies and/or happiness and well being, in order to avoid  hurting the feelings of their imaginary friends.

Sassan K.

I am very glad to see this post as I was getting bored with constsnt Jesus and Bible bashing. Your article is also very good and I have made some similar arguments about Christianity in my post "Christianity: A brief history". Now I will be able to use parts of your article to support my arguments. A comparison between present day Christianity and Islam was also very necessary, for the benifit of those who refuse to admit change. Congrats for a good article.

Excellent explanation! Thank you very much, Sassan.

A couple of my faves here:

2:191 And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution is worse than slaughter. And fight not with them at the Inviolable Place of Worship until they first attack you there, but if they attack you (there) then slay them. Such is the reward of disbelievers.

4:91 Ye will find others who desire that they should have security from you, and security from their own folk. So often as they are returned to hostility they are plunged therein. If they keep not aloof from you nor offer you peace nor hold their hands, then take them and kill them wherever ye find them. Against such We have given you clear warrant.

Charming stuff, no? [No, I didn't think so, either...]

I was reading a new translation the other day, and the translator said in his introduction that verses in the Koran refer to specific events.  Mohammed and his followers were forced to leave Mecca when he decreed that Islam would be monotheistic, with Allah the only god.  The Meccans were infuriated.  There followed some years with numerous battles between the Muslims and the Meccans, and these instructions refer to that time of schism.  That's one interpretation.  There are many instances in the Old Testament of Yahweh ordering the Hebrews to wipe out this tribe or that tribe. 

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