Thursday, July 30, 2015


In response to the following statement about the Hereafter: 'If we do not make the necessary effort, we will end up in the Fire due to our own negligence.', L objected thus: That is known as "victim blaming". It's the psychology of a sadist - the same as the rapist's "she was asking for it". 

My response: That's a horrible analogy! 
Consider the following verses: O children of Adam, if there come to you messengers from among you relating to you My verses, then whoever fears Allah and reforms - there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve. But the ones who deny Our verses and are arrogant toward them - those are the companions of the Fire; they will abide therein eternally. And [mention] when your Lord took from the children of Adam - from their loins - their descendants and made them testify of themselves, [saying to them], "Am I not your Lord?" They said, "Yes, we have testified." [This] - lest you should say on the day of Resurrection, "Indeed, we were of this unaware." Or [lest] you say, "It was only that our fathers associated [others in worship] with Allah before, and we were but descendants after them. Then would You destroy us for what the falsifiers have done?" And thus do We [explain in] detail the verses, and perhaps they will return. And Allah created you; then He will take you in death. And among you is he who is reversed to the most decrepit [old] age so that he will not know, after [having had] knowledge, a thing. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Competent. And Allah has favored some of you over others in provision. But those who were favored would not hand over their provision to those whom their right hands possess so they would be equal to them therein. Then is it the favor of Allah they reject? And Allah has made for you from yourselves mates and has made for you from your mates sons and grandchildren and has provided for you from the good things. Then in falsehood do they believe and in the favor of Allah they disbelieve? And they worship besides Allah that which does not possess for them [the power of] provision from the heavens and the earth at all, and [in fact], they are unable. So do not assert similarities to Allah . Indeed, Allah knows and you do not know. Allah presents an example: a slave [who is] owned and unable to do a thing and he to whom We have provided from Us good provision, so he spends from it secretly and publicly. Can they be equal? Praise to Allah ! But most of them do not know. And Allah presents an example of two men, one of them dumb and unable to do a thing, while he is a burden to his guardian. Wherever he directs him, he brings no good. Is he equal to one who commands justice, while he is on a straight path? And to Allah belongs the unseen [aspects] of the heavens and the earth. And the command for the Hour is not but as a glance of the eye or even nearer. Indeed, Allah is over all things competent. 

L responded: It isn't an analogy, it's a fact of human psychology. Clearly people have projected their own nature onto a supposed supreme being, making the supreme being out to be some sort of emotionally crippled sadist. I refuse to give credence to a God that intends to torture anyone who doesn't believe in it for eternity, and I suggest you consider that with an open mind yourself. Clearly people wrote those particular lines from your allegedly divine text in order to control other people, and the same is true of the Bible and any other holy writ that uses crude threats to force other people to obey an elite group (such as priests).  

S asked: Morally, how do you justify punishment for not believing something? You may be foolish if you believe the wrong thing, but not bad. In this respect, God's morals seem inferior to humans'.

My response: If you read the verses 7/172-174 quoted below in my previous email, it states that God made us testify that He is our Lord. I think this can probably be understood in terms of the consciousness discussion that has been going on in other threads. Though we do not remember this, however according to these verses, we did at one time testify to it -- much before being sent to this world. At another place in the Quran, God states that He has created us as His 'ibaad' meaning slaves. That means that we submit only to God and to nothing else, that we serve Him alone. And at another place, it states that there is no compulsion in religion, hence whoever wishes can strive for a beautiful future, and whoever rejects is forewarned. I see life in this world some thing like a quality control, of being plugged into the Matrix, and striving to improve our reality. 

L objected: "No compulsion" when the choice is between Heaven and Hell - and on the basis of something we can't remember having done...? Let's try that in a non-religious context. "But, m'lud, I warned the victim that I was going to murder him if he went through with his planned visit to Midsomer - and then I erased his memory of our meeting. So clearly his murder is all his fault, and not mine." I'm not sure the defence would get very far on that basis.

If it was proved beyond reasonable doubt that God and Heaven and Hell really do exist, then no rational agent would choose NOT to worship God, as Pascal pointed out. But the idea that despite having no sensible knowledge on which to base his or her decisions, it's still the victim's fault if he fails to avoid Hell, is the logic of a psychopath. "Now look what you made me do!" he says as he tortures you.

My response: God created humans and knows everything about us and within us. I'm sure there will be no injustice done to anybody. 
The analogies you give are between humans. We do not know our own selves: subconscious, composition details, thoughts, mind, etc. , let alone claiming to know another human. We cannot apply that reasoning to the One who created us, sustains us and is aware of everything manifest and hidden throughout the heavens and earth. 

S stated: The point is, if there's not enough evidence for a rational, impartial person to believe something, it is morally wrong to punish them for not believing it. For example, if the government passes a law and keeps it secret, allowing only easily dismissed rumours of it to get out, it is morally wrong to then reveal the law and punish people who didn't obey it. Note that this has nothing to do with whether the belief is good or bad - only if it is true. I could say that the Quran is a wonderful document, but unfortunately there is insufficient evidence that it is true; or alternatively, that it is an evil document, but unfortunately the evidence suggests that it is true.

My response: Which is why I suggest that those who understand science should evaluate the Quranic statements about nature to examine if the author knows what he is talking about. 
As per my understanding, nobody is being asked for irrational belief. There is enough evidence in nature for any keen mind to know that their must be a creator behind all this, enough evidence from history to know that there cannot be more than one master-king, otherwise everything would be in chaos, and multiple messengers, prophets and scriptures have been sent for guidance. 
Irrespective of the behaviour and actions of Jews, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, people of any faith or the lack of it, we must remember that each one of us will be judged individually and rewarded according to our beliefs and actions, taking into account all our limitations and all our efforts. There will be no injustice!   

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