Friday, July 11, 2008

Willy Wonka and the Prophet Factory: A Tale of Poor Argumentation and Moral Inconsistency


Nearly everyone is familiar with the tale of Willy Wonka, the eccentric candy maker who invites children to his factory for a delicious tour. Yet few have heard of Mr. Wonka’s claim to prophethood. It seems that his plans were nearly foiled by his love of chocolate.

With his generous gifts of confectionary delights, Wonka managed to convince Veruca Salt, Violet Beauregarde, Augustus Gloop, and Mike Teevee that he is God’s last and greatest prophet. But good old Charlie Bucket remained unconvinced. “Mr. Wonka,” he said. “Can you give me some reason to believe that you’re a prophet?”

“Of course,” replied Wonka. "Just taste my Everlasting Gobstoppers. They’re delicious. Surely the recipe could only come from God. If you don’t believe my Gobstoppers are from God, just try to create something as delicious!”

Charlie was puzzled. It didn’t make sense to him that tasty candy could be considered proof of prophethood. He tasted the Gobstoppers again and again, but he couldn't make sense of Wonka's argument.

One day Charlie went to confront Mr. Wonka about this poor argumentation, but the great candy maker was busy hanging a sign over his Wonka Bars. The sign read:

“THUS SAITH THE LORD: NO ONE SHALL EAT MORE THAN ONE CHOCOLATE BAR PER DAY.”

“Mr. Wonka,” said Charlie. “Could I ask you a question about the ‘evidence’ you gave me?”

“Of course, Charlie,” replied Wonka, gobbling up a delicious Wonka Bar. “Pardon me while I have my lunch.”

“Some people are convinced that Slugworth’s candy is tastier than yours. And I know that a few of the Oompa Loompas have apostatized because they don’t even like your candy. Do you really think that candy is the best way to determine divine truth?”

“Well, Charlie,” said Wonka, wolfing down another Wonka Bar, “if you ask the people who are still in my factory, they’ll all tell you that my candy is the best. So yes, I think that candy is an excellent way to spot a messenger of God. By the way, could you pass me a few more Wonka Bars? I want to eat at least a dozen.”

“But Mr. Wonka!” cried Charlie. “Didn’t you just put up a sign from God saying that no one is allowed to eat more than one chocolate bar per day?”

Wonka shot a suspicious look at Charlie before saying, “You’re in danger of being turned into an eternal blueberry, Charlie. Don’t question me! God will punish you. Besides, I was just about to put up my latest sign.” Here Wonka placed another sign under his original sign. The new sign read:

“BUT THIS RULE DOESN’T APPLY TO WONKA. HE GETS AS MANY CHOCOLATE BARS AS HE WANTS.”

Charlie walked away in horror. He hunted down Veruca and said, “Veruca, don’t you find it odd that Mr. Wonka tells us that we can only have one chocolate bar, while he himself gets as many as he wants?”

“Blasphemy!” cried Veruca. “How dare you challenge Mr. Wonka! You’re a rotten, mean child. I should shove you into the chocolate pond!”

Then Charlie went to Violet. “Violet, don’t you think it’s odd that Mr. Wonka gets special chocolate privileges, when he’s the one putting up the signs from God?”

“I’ll chew you up and spit you out if you keep talking like that, Charlie!” she screamed. “You know that Mr. Wonka needs to get contracts with cocoa and sugar companies! They’re not going to trust him if they don’t see him eating chocolate constantly. So he needs to eat all that chocolate! That's why God gave him special permission.”

Unconvinced, Charlie went and found Augustus. “Listen, Augustus. I know that you believe Mr. Wonka is a prophet. But all he’s given us to show for it is his candy, and if you weren’t so obsessed with candy, I don’t think you’d find his argument compelling at all. And here we see him telling us to do one thing, while he does something completely different. Doesn’t this bother you at all?”

“Nope!” rejoined Augustus, and he buried his face in a bowl of syrup.

“Mike Teevee is smart,” thought Charlie. “He’ll listen if I talk to him.” Charlie found Mike and said, “Please tell me that I’m not the only one who sees that there’s something dreadfully wrong here, Mike. Thousands of people have claimed to be prophets. Mr. Wonka has the worst argument of all in his defense, and he doesn’t practice what he preaches.”

Mike responded, “Talk to me as I try to figure out this Wonkavision Machine, Charlie. Here, just stand there while I throw this switch.”

Mike threw the switch, and Charlie vanished! Then Mike saw Charlie’s molecules dancing near the ceiling. “Sorry, Charlie. In order to put you back together, I’d have to turn on the television. But you see, Mr. Wonka told me to destroy people who criticize him, so that’s what I’m doing. I have to, he’s our prophet. He said so himself. Now . . . where can I find those apostate Oompa Loompas?”

IT’S SAFE TO SAY THAT NO ONE READING THIS STORY WILL BE IMPRESSED BY MR. WONKA’S CLAIM TO PROPHETHOOD, OR BY THE PERPLEXING DEFENSE OFFERED BY HIS UNCRITICAL FOLLOWERS. YET HOW IS MUHAMMAD’S STORY ANY DIFFERENT? IF WE SWITCH WONKA BARS WITH WOMEN, WONKA’S SIGNS WITH SURAH 4:3 AND 33:50, AND THE ARGUMENT FROM GOOD CANDY WITH THE ARGUMENT FROM GOOD POETRY, WE HAVE A ROUGH SKETCH OF THE PROPHETIC CLAIM OF THE FOUNDER OF ISLAM. SADLY, MUHAMMAD’S FOLLOWERS, LIKE WONKA’S, ABSOLUTELY REFUSE TO QUESTION HIM.

34 comments:

Nanos said...

Well, David... not a very good argument I must say. If you replace Muhammad with some of the biblical prophets, the results would be similar. It is not clear what exactly you mean by Muhammad's followers refusing to question him. Firstly, Muhammad is not alive to be questioned. Secondly, questioning about what and using which scale to measure the "correctness" of answer. Thirdly, this kind of "questioning" would also make many of the biblical prophets such as David nothing more than an adulterer and a murderer. Just think of Jesus being called as Son of David, the adulterer and murderer! I think we must raise ourselves from this petty arguments and deal with, for example, real issues such as whether or not Koran and the Bible can be proven to be from God.

David Wood said...

Nanos,

Please be more specific. What in my parody would apply to ANY of the Biblical prophets? You say that David committed adultery and murder. You are correct, and the Bible condemns these acts. King David repented. He never justified his sinful acts. This is quite different from Muhammad, who violated the rules he applied to his followers, and yet remained completely unrepentent. So, again, what in my post would apply to the Biblical prophets?

His followers, of course, refused to challenge him for his moral inconsistency, just as you, Nanos, refuse to question his prophethood today.

You say that the important issue is whether the Qur'an and the Bible can be proven to be from God. Actually, I addressed that in the parody. Muhammad's main argument for the Qur'an was the "Argument from Good Poetry," which I compared to the "Argument from Good Candy." Both arguments fail. Hence, the Qur'an's central argument fails. How could such an absurd argument come from God?

I also have to point out that Muhammad's moral inconsistency does apply to the origin of the Qur'an. If Muhammad received revelations that justify his moral inconsistency, we would have to be quite blind not to wonder whether God was the real source of these revelations.

Nanos said...

David, just as the biblical Prophet David repented and Muhammad also considered repentance to be part of Islam. As far as I know, and someone can correct me, Muhammad did not ask anyone to commit sins or justified sins. So what is your point?

As for the number of women which Muhammad marry, what needs to be investigated is when the verse for limiting the number of women in polygamy was revealed? I do not know the answer for it. So, I will leave it for now.

Can you show me the evidence for your statement Muhammad's main argument for the Qur'an was the "Argument from Good Poetry either from the Qur'an itself or the hadith? I will comment on rest of your comments after I see some evidence here.

Sunil said...

David,

There is a difference: A manufacturer of fake currency will not produce a plain paper and claim it as a 100 dollar bill. To pass off as a genuine currency, it has to imitate the original in some (superficial) sense. Willy Wonka cannot pass off as a prophet because he is different (even superficially) from the original/true prophets (though the argument given by both are similar). Where as Muhammad superficially imitated the True prophets in some ways like talking about Creator God, about prophets sent by God, repeated some popular biblical stories, talked about day of judgment etc (which are intuitively and logically powerful as they originated in OT/NT). In his religion, he removed the True God of OT/NT, person of Jesus - and replaced it with mere concept of a one god of his own making. On the top of this, he added the all too tempting pursuit of political power and political domination (as part of the religion itself). There are political parties in my country who try to bring religion as a vehicle of political domination (with subservience of the minority). Such a pursuit of political power/domination can be quite tempting and appealing but they are castigated by the country's intellectuals and the Courts for such ideology. In case of Islam, such a thing is part and parcel of religion itself.

David Wood said...

Nanos,

Surah 4:3, which commands Muslims not to marry more than four wives, is dated around 4 A.H. Muhammad married several women after this verse was revealed, and he proposed to several more who turned him down. The only possible Muslim defense of Muhammad's actions is Surah 33:50, which says that Muhammad, and only Muhammad, could marry more than four women. But that's just my point. Muhammad is the one receiving revelations, and those revelations justify his moral inconsistency. We do not find this hypocrisy among the biblical prophets.

As for Muhammad's main argument, we find it in Surah 2:23 and other places in the Qur'an: "And if you are in doubt as to that which We have revealed to Our servant, then produce a chapter like it and call on your witnesses besides Allah if you are truthful." Here Muhammad challenges unbelievers to write something like one of the Surahs we find in the Qur'an. He didn't think we could match his poetry. The only other argument we find in the Qur'an is the "Argument from Biblical Prophecy," which is just as bad.

Jay said...

then produce a chapter like it and call on your witnesses besides Allah if you are truthful

Incidentally, I've never understood how the argument from eloquence derives from this verse. How does "eloquence" come into this - the English translation just says, produce a surah like it. Maybe the Arabic says something the English translations miss?

David Wood said...

Jay,

We know historically that the battle in Mecca was over who had the best poetry. You're correct to note that this verse doesn't say that, but I can't think of anything else it could mean. It can't mean that the Surahs in the Qur'an are, say, more meaningful than anything else that could be written, because some of them have very little meaning. So what else could it be?

Nanos said...

David, your claim was that Muhammad's main argument for the Qur'an was the "Argument from Good Poetry". This has nothing to do with what you quote in sura 2:23 which says "And if you are in doubt as to that which We have revealed to Our servant, then produce a chapter like it and call on your witnesses besides Allah if you are truthful." There is no mention of poetry here at all. Furthermore, the Qur'an denies that what was taught to Muhammad is poetry in verse 36:68-69 "We have not instructed the (Prophet) in Poetry, nor is it meet for him: this is no less than a Message and a Qur'an making things clear: That it may give admonition to any (who are) alive, and that the charge may be proved against those who reject (Truth)." Clearly, your statement that Muhammad's main argument for the Qur'an was the "Argument from Good Poetry" is no longer valid.

Moreover, you have the statement from the Sirah of Ibn Ishaq who recorded the reaction of one of the most fervent opponents of Muhammad, al-Walid bin Mugira:

They said, "He is a kahin." He said, "By God, he is not that, for we have seen the kahins, and his (speech) is not unintelligible murmuring (zamzama) and rhymed prose (saj`) of a kahin." "Then he is possessed (majnun)," they said. "No, he is not that," he said. "We have seen and known the possessed state, and here is no choking, spasmodic movements, and whispering." "Then he is a poet," they said. "He is not that," he replied. "We have known poetry in all its forms and meters, and this is not poetry." "Then he is a sorcerer," they said. "No, he is not that," he said, "for we have seen sorcerers and their sorcery, and here is no spitting and no knots."

This again makes amply clear that the Makkan opponents of Muhammad saw the Qur'an not as poetry or whatever kind of speech they knew, but completely different. This breaks down the analogy that you set up between Wonka and Muhammad.

As for the marriages of Muhammad, to me it looks rather strange that he was monogamous in the prime of his youth although there were no restrictions in polygamy in pre-Islamic Arabia, i.e., a man could have had as many wives as he wanted. He had a lengthy monogamous marriage spanning over 20 years when polygamy was socially acceptable and widely practiced and before any Qur'anic revelation restricting such a practice and limiting the number of wives to a maximum of four. The question to ask is if Muhammad wished to have more than four wives that he restricted his followers to, then why did he restrict them in the first place at all? I think the reasons were more political and legislative, perhaps even social. This is the reason why your analogy with Wonka's bar with women looks rather strange.

Of course, there are exceptions mentioned in the Qur'an for Muhammad, for example, he was required to pray in the part of the night which was not compulsory for his followers (17:79) and concerning the maximum number of wives (33:50) includes also special restrictions on him and his wives from privileges available to all others. His wives as "Mothers of the Believers" were not allowed to remarry after him (33:53). So, obviously, if he divorced any of his wives, that would have been improper as they would be left marriage-less and without support. Also, Muhammad was not allowed to divorce any of his wives and marrying others (33:52) which presumably is related to the time of revelation of 4:3.

You said "Surah 4:3, which commands Muslims not to marry more than four wives, is dated around 4 A.H.". Do you have any reference in mind which I can look into to verify this date?

ben malik said...

It would be nice if Nanos stopped parroting Badawi's lame arguments and actually address the responses to them. H e can begin by reading and addressing the following:

http://answering-islam.org/Shamoun/badawi_mhd_marriages1.htm
http://answering-islam.org/Shamoun/badawi_mhd_marriages2.htm

David Wood said...

Nanos,

I think you need to examine these issues a little more deeply before you rush to defend Muhammad.

I also think you're misreading Surah 36, but this doesn't matter.

Since you want to quote Ibn Ishaq, you could easily note Muhammad's reaction to the first revelation that came to him: "Woe to me, poet or possessed." Muhammad clearly thought of this revelation as poetry.

When I call the Qur'an "poetry," I'm not trying to tell you anything about your beliefs as a Muslim. I'm referring to the definition of poetry concerning style and literary devices, and the Qur'an obviously qualifies as poetry, whether you want to call it that or not.

But if you don't want to call the Surahs of the Qur'an poetry, fine, that doesn't change my argument at all. I normally call the Muslim argument the "Argument from Literary Excellence." So if you want to say that Muhammad's Surahs fall under some other literary genre, pick one, and my analogy will still hold.

I'll also say that if you think that the Qur'an is an entirely different genre, how could it even be compared to the pagan poetry of Muhammad's time? That was, after all, Muhammad's claim. "These Surahs are better than your poetry." But if you're saying that the Qur'an is completely different, how can the two be compared? But let me make it simple for you. Please just explain to me how Surah 108 is so good that no one can produce something like it. Here it is: "Surely We have given you Kausar, Therefore pray to your Lord and make a sacrifice. Surely your enemy is the one who shall be without posterity." Please tell us why this is so vastly superior to anything written by human beings that it can only come from God. The Qur'an is supposed to be clear, isn't it? So tell us how we are to interpret Muhammad's claim in Surah 2:23.

You commented on Muhammad's wives. You said that it's surprising that Muhammad didn't marry more than one women when he was married to Khadijah. No it isn't. Khadijah was very wealthy. Muhammad was from the working class. She proposed to him. As such, Khadijah had a degree of authority. I doubt she would have taken kindly to Muhammad marrying numerous women and spending HER money on supporting them. Besides, I think that Muhammad was far more moral when he was younger. After he came to think of himself as God's last and greatest prophet, he seemed to give himself more and more special moral privileges.

Concerning Surah 4, I've seen dates saying 3-4 AH, 4-5 AH, and 3-5 AH. Here's one reference: http://www.islamicity.com/Mosque/quran/maududi/mau4.html. If you get a good Qur'an that has dates, it will confirm my claim.

So here's what we have. Muhammad receives a revelation saying that Muslims can have no more than four wives. Then he marries far more. If we take Surah 33:50 as a revelation granting Muhammad more wives than others were permitted to have, then we know that Muhammad's revelations gave him special moral privileges. If we don't take Surah 33:50 as saying this, then Muhammad simply violated the Qur'an without any justification whatsoever.

Nanos, I know you're coming to this from a Muslim perspective. You want to defend Muhammad, regardless of what the evidence says. But think about how this looks to non-Muslims. The first thing I would expect from a man who claims to be an example for all mankind is moral consistency. If I see that he doesn't practice what he preaches, how can I ignore this? So please tell me, why should this issue not bother us?

ben malik said...

David,

Just one thought which seems to support Jay's confusion concerning the challenge of the Quran to produce something like it. According to Q. 28:48-49 the challenge to the unbelievers is to produce a book which contains better guidance than either the Quran or the Torah:

But when the truth (i.e. Muhammad with his Message) has come to them from Us, they say: "Why is he not given the like of what was given to Musa (Moses)? Did they not disbelieve in that which was given to Musa (Moses) of old? They say: "Two kinds of magic [the Taurat (Torah) and the Qur'an] each helping the other!" And they say: "Verily! In both we are disbelievers." Say (to them, O Muhammad): "Then bring a Book from Allah, WHICH IS A BETTER GUIDE THAN THESE TWO [the Taurat (Torah) and the Qur'an], that I may follow it, if you are truthful."

Now this means that the challenge is not limited just to the issue of literary excellence but also to its moral teachings. Moreover, this verse also presupposes the textual veracity of the Torah, otherwise we have Muhammad confirming a corrupted version of the Torah.

It further presupposes that the guidance prescribed within the Torah is equal to the Quran, which means that the Quran's challenge cannot be directed to the Jews or Christians.

This also leads into a major dilemma for the Muslims. Often, Muslims attack the Torah for condoning so-called "genocide," and yet this Quranic verse defends the contents of the Torah as Muhammad knew it in his day. Why, then, would Muhammad defend the Torah seeing that it contains stories of how God commanded the Israelites to wipe out entire groups of people?

Perhaps Nanos can explain this dilemma for us.

David Wood said...

Ben Malik,

I've often tried to make sense of the Qur'an's claim in 2:23. I've considered other verses. It makes sense to think of the Qur'an's moral guidance when the challenge is to produce a book like the Qur'an. But when the challenge is to produce a single Surah, I don't see how this can refer to unsurpassable moral guidance, since, as I noted, many Surahs have very little guidance of any kind. Take 111, for instance: "Perdition overtake both hands of Abu Lahab, and he will perish. His wealth and what he earns will not avail him. He shall soon burn in fire that flames, and his wife, the bearer of fuel, upon her neck a halter of strongly twisted rope." So the challenge would be to produce a Surah that has the moral guidance that we find in this one. But what sort of moral guidance does it give us? We know from historical records who Abu Lahab and his wife were (and what they did), but this Surah doesn't give us a clue as to what he did or how anyone could avoid it. As far as we can tell from the context, Abu Lahab could be going to hell for being kind to strangers. This Surah teaches us precisely nothing. So if the challenge concerns instruction, the Qur'an obviously fails.

I think it's clear that Surah 2:23 can only be interpreted in light of the poetry battles of 7th century Arabia. In addition, this is the interpretation Muslims give in their apologetics texts, when they confidently say that no one has ever been able to produce a single verse that matches the Qur'an.

Nanos said...

David, I think you have made some unsubstantiated claims. For example, when you say I'm referring to the definition of poetry concerning style and literary devices, and the Qur'an obviously qualifies as poetry, whether you want to call it that or not, you are curiously silent concerning evidence.

The Arabic poetry, depending upon the meters, is divided into 16 categories. Sir Lyall discusses some of them in his book "Translations of Ancient Arabian Poetry, Chiefly Pre-Islamic". You can also see Cheikho's "Shu`ara' al-Nasraniyah" where he divides the pre-Islamic poetry into 16 meters. The Qur'an does not fall into any of these meters. This is a well-known fact. Neither does it belong to the category of Arabic prose. But it has the elements of both Arabic prose and poetry. This imparted originality and flexibility to the discourse as Gibb, an Arabist from Oxford, pointed out quite a while ago:

As a literary monument the Koran thus stands by itself, a production unique to the Arabic literature, having neither forerunners nor successors in its own idiom. Muslims of all ages are united in proclaiming the inimitability not only of its contents but also of its style..... and in forcing the High Arabic idiom into the expression of new ranges of thought the Koran develops a bold and strikingly effective rhetorical prose in which all the resources of syntactical modulation are exploited with great freedom and originality. Gibb, Arabic Literature - An Introduction, 1963, Oxford, p. 36.

And honestly, I have never comes across a Muslim or a non-Muslim scholar who ever made a statement like "Surah 2:23 can only be interpreted in light of the poetry battles of 7th century Arabia", because it lacks historical basis, just like Luxenberg claiming the Syro-Aramaic origins of the Qur'an. Not surprisingly, Luxenberg has no manuscript evidence to show either. Coming back to the issue of "poetry wars", may I suggest a more scholarly source S. Smith, "Events in Arabia in the 6th Century A.D.", Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, 1954, Volume 16? When you read this you will find nothing about the poetry wars in Arabia just before the advent of Islam. Neither did the 7th century CE began with the wars. The reason for Makkans to oppose Muhammad and his followers was that Islam came as an iconoclastic religion which they were unwilling to accept. All they wanted was status quo.

You said: "I normally call the Muslim argument the "Argument from Literary Excellence."". God sends His message with a clear and understandable instruction, without sacrificing literary quality. I do not see anything wrong with it. Perhaps you prefer a book written in bad Greek as your Word of God?

In contrast to the stylistic perfection of the Kur'an with the stylistic imperfections of the older Scriptures the Muslim theologian found himself unknowingly and on purely postulative grounds in agreement with long line of Christian thinkers whose outlook on the Biblical text is best summed up in Nietzsche's brash dictum that the Holy Ghost wrote bad Greek. von Grunebaum, Encyclopaedia of Islam (New Edition), 1971, Volume III, p. 1020.

As for Muhammad's first reaction to the revelation, he was confused as to what was happening to him. It can't be said that he believed the revelation to be poetry.

As for Surah al-Kawthar and Surah al-Masad, especially the latter, you said there is no instruction in it. Well, since you already know what Abu Lahab and his wife did to Muhammad and then read the surah in context what do you find? A man and his wife with their hardened hearts. And what kind of instructions to you get when you read in the Bible that God hardened Pharaoh's heart? Something to think about!

Sorry, I have time to deal with so much today!

Jay said...

having neither forerunners nor successors in its own idiom.

In this century alone you could say this about Joyce's Ulysses and Sartre's Being an Nothingness among many others.

What's your point?

Surah 2:23 can only be interpreted in light of the poetry battles of 7th century Arabia"

Ever heard of Taha Hussein?

Here's something from one of my favourite writers on Islam, Ali Dashti -- you know the journalist your people tortured and killed for exercising his right to free speech.

"The Qor'an contains sentences which are incomplete and not fully intelligible without the aid of commentaries; foreign words, unfamiliar Arabic words, and words used with other than the normal meaning; adjectives and verbs inflected without observance of the concords of gender and number; illogically and ungrammatically applied pronouns which sometimes have no referent; and predicates which in rhymed passages are often remote from the subjects. These and other such aberrations in the language have given scope to critics who deny the Qor'an's eloquence. The problem also occupied the minds of devout Moslems. It forced the commentators to search for explanations and was probably one of the causes of disagreement over readings." (p. 48, 49)

And as for...

Perhaps you prefer a book written in bad Greek as your Word of God?

As opposed to a book written by a confused plagiarist? Yes any day!

David Wood said...

Nanos,

I understand that you were pressed for time, but you're dodging every major issue. I'll respond briefly to your comments, then remind you of the issues you should be addressing.

As I said, I call the Qur'an "poetry" because it fits what we mean when we say "poetry." You say that the Qur'an didn't fall into any of the classifications of Arabic poetry. Great. But neither did Dr. Seuss. Does that mean "The Cat in the Hat" isn't poetry?

As I've also said, if you don't want to call it poetry, fine. Call it whatever you like. But at least answer some basic questions about what Muhammad could possibly mean in 2:23. You defended some of the shorter Surahs by saying that we can figure out the meaning based on the context. But that's just my point. If someone gets a copy of the Qur'an, but doesn't have Ibn Ishaq, al-Bukhari, etc., much of the Qur'an just doesn't make sense. 2:23 claims that no one could write anything better than the Surahs of the Qur'an. But it's clear that the context-empty passages of the Qur'an could be improved by explaining what in the world they mean.

You said that Allah sends his message without sacrificing literary quality. But here you've completely missed the point (again). Is 2:23 referring to literary quality, as I've claimed? If you say 'no,' then what is it referring to? If you say 'yes,' then how can you possibly deny the validity of my analogy? (I.e. how can you say that the "Argument from Literary Excellence" would be any better than an "Argument from Confectionary Excellence"?)

Please go back through the comments we've made. People have asked you to address several important issues, and you continue to ignore them. Instead, you jump on largely irrelevant issues and spend all of your time on them. The major issues now are: (1) Please explain the argument in 2:23 and why we shouldn't find it absurd, and (2) please explain why we shouldn't find it problematic that Muhammad delivered revelations to his followers and then went on to violate those revelations. If you can answer these issues, I'll be very impressed, and you will have eliminated two important objections to your religion.

Nakdimon said...

David, this story is hilarious! Do you mind me translating it into Dutch and then publish it on my website http://www.geocities.com/nakdimonspage/? Of course I will make reference to this blog.

Thanks.
Nakdimon

km said...

Your story is illogical, to say the least David. To start with, women are not chocolate bars to be enjoyed, except in some media perhaps. What was revealed by God and transmitted through Mohammed are the verses of the Koran. The Book is available to all human beings. Hence, the Prophet Factory ‘product’ is actually available and free to everyone without limit or restrictions. Even after the death of the prophet, Allah’s words to the people of Arabia more than 1400 years ago are kept in safe record the Koran for all mankind so that similar arguments and FAQ brought up throughout the years are answered by the one source, and so any challenge mounted against it according to the knowledge and science of the time could be carried out no problem. This is the miracle that is available to everyone until the end of time. People could dispute that Jesus ever existed or that a brother of his, another son of God might show up sometime or perhaps laugh at what might be considered a silly story of a carpenter table with fast food descending from a sky kitchen to some few privileged people. A miracle of the final version of the True Religion Islam which is to all mankind should logically be available to all the people in all the times.
Needless to say some verses in the Koran are to be considered specifically related to the situation in the beginning of the Risala so they are to be placed in this context only, since they relate to specific situations and are meant to construct a safe launch of the Daawa. To access their meaning, one would need a reference to aid his understanding of the historical context but that does not interfere with ones faith or Hidaya as such. the treasure verses, Um il Kitab, which speak directly to human beings, all of them, revealing the eternal message of the Lord: that there are non but one creator to whom the universe belong, who is merciful and companionate, and who reveal himself in this world only through his creation and signs, Ayat, in the skies, the earth, what is on and in it, and ourselves." Say: the signs are with God I am only a plain warner"(29, 50)
David, I honestly wish that you read some books on modern science, cosmology, physiology and quantum mechanics and then the Koran, or to make it easier, you can begin by reading The Quran: unchallengeable miracle by Caner Taslaman, and Islam Between the East and the West by Ali Izzat Bigophitsh.
I totally agree with you David that everyone needs answers. However, one has to be an honest seeker if finding the eternal truth is his intention.

Nakdimon said...

km,

Obviously you are missing the entire point David is trying to make. David is not saying that women are chocolate bars. He means that we are to replace the WORD chocolate bars with the WORD women.

By the way, even if David were saying that women are chocolate bars, he is less offensive than your ahadith, which say that women are like domesticated animals. No need to deny that.

What I would recommend to you is to actually read books on science and cosmology that are neither written by muslims or by anti-islamicists but are completely neuter and you will see that the Quranic claims are absolutely false on these issues. There is no "truth" to these claims.

However, Muhammads claims as a prophet stands or falls with the claim that he is to be found in the Bible. I have issued challenges to both Osama Abdallah from "Answering-christianity" and Sami Zaatari of "muslim-answers". several months ago I sent Osama a rebuttal, analysing his claims from the Hebrew text [Deut 18:18, Song of songs 5:16, Isaiah 42:1-6, Isaiah 29:15] and John 14, about the claims on his website that Muhammad was to be found in the Bible and never heard anything from him. Sami backed down and didn't even want to meet that challenge since he knows he has no leg to stand on.

Face it, Muhammad was a false prophet, spoke in the name of another god and is nowhere found in the Taurat and the Injil, as the Quran claims. No need to belabour this any further.

Nakdimon

km said...

Nakdimon.. Better not waste your time and hurry now to the nearest bookstore to buy The Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene, as it fits your criterion 'neither written by Muslims or by anti-Islamicists but are completely neuter’. I chose it because I am sure you will enjoy it as it will introduce you in its everyday language to the fundamental nature of the universe. Take your time and be generous to your intellect and heart. Don’t worry about preparing your next counterargument. The Times described the writer as 'the new Hawking, only better'. Afterwards you can read the Koran and see if you can still honestly believe that 'Quranic claims are absolutely false on these issues. There is no truth to these claims'.

As regards what you stated about Mohammed's falsehood... Well Moses and Jesus have been labeled worse and Mohammed's case is no exception.

Concerning Mohammed’s prophethood being found as a Bishara in the Bible, I refer you to Jeremiah 28, 9 Haggai 2,6-9 and Deuteronomy 33,1-2/18,18-19. Of course there will always be the problem of “bad Greek” translation.

If you have time you can also visit the local library and skip through Islam Past, Present & Future by Hans Kung, described as the "greatest living theologian". You can see for yourself how Christianity and Judaism treated women as compared to Islam (P.562-570).

Do yourself a favor and spend more time with this book. You will gain some insight about the authentic figure of Jesus and the original Christianity as opposed to the Christology of the Hellenistic councils. You can then read the Koran again, perhaps with less noise in the back of your mind.

Nakdimon said...

“Nakdimon.. Better not waste your time and hurry now to the nearest bookstore to buy The Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene, as it fits your criterion 'neither written by Muslims or by anti-Islamicists but are completely neuter’. I chose it because I am sure you will enjoy it as it will introduce you in its everyday language to the fundamental nature of the universe. Take your time and be generous to your intellect and heart. Don’t worry about preparing your next counterargument. The Times described the writer as 'the new Hawking, only better'. Afterwards you can read the Koran and see if you can still honestly believe that 'Quranic claims are absolutely false on these issues. There is no truth to these claims'. “


Don’t worry, km, I wont waste my time on that. I wont rush to the library for things I already know to be false. If you need library books to know that mountains aren’t thrown down on the earth to prevent it from shaking, as is claimed in Surah 16:15; 21:31; 31:10; 78:6; 88:19, then the joke is on you pal. An illiterate man and his blind followers might fall for it, but living in times like you are in now you should really know better. You should know that mountains are the RESULT of instability and not to prevent it.

If you think that cow’s milk comes from the excrement and the blood of the cows abdomen, as your god claims in Surah 16:66, then no one will accuse you for being smart either.

If you think that ALL living creatures, including flying things, form communities as claimed in surah 6:38, then you might want to educate locusts not to eat their male members after or during the mating. And school the tiger, the polar bear and the leopard, etc. not to abandon their offspring after they finish nurturing them to live a solitary life.

And I can’t figure Surah 16:68-69 out. What drink comes from the body of the bee that is healing for man? Can you explain that for me?

Now, I could go on with the ridiculous claims of the Qur’an. These claims are just preposterous and blatantly untrue. And I’m not even touching the Hadith! Or the historical falsehoods and the blatant plagiarism from fabricated Jewish and Christian apocryphal sources and pagan sources about embryology.


”As regards what you stated about Mohammed's falsehood... Well Moses and Jesus have been labeled worse and Mohammed's case is no exception.

Concerning Mohammed’s prophethood being found as a Bishara in the Bible, I refer you to Jeremiah 28, 9 Haggai 2,6-9 and Deuteronomy 33,1-2/18,18-19. Of course there will always be the problem of “bad Greek” translation. “

What do texts from the HEBREW Bible have to do with “bad GREEK”? Jeremiah 28 has nothing to do with Muhammad. He wasn’t a prophet. If he ever was one, then he stopped being one when he uttered the words of Satan. He claimed to have spoken for God, and uttered things he was not told to utter. Deut 18:20 completely destroys any credibility he might have ever had.

How on earth does Haggai 2:6-9 have anything to do with Muhammad? How does Gods Temple relate to Muhammad in any way shape or form? Unless you are talking about the imaginary flight by night to the imaginary Temple that was completely destroyed 550 years before Muhammad supposed to have visited it? LOL

Deuteronomy 33:1-2 has anything to do with the journey of Israel through the deserts of Sinai. Paran is not a place in Arabia, but a mountain in the Sinai desert. You take a map, for instance here http://www.jtf.org/israel/ooo.exodus.map.large.jpg , and you will see that this is not a reference to any place in Arabia. For other references, see Numbers 10:12 en 12:16 en 13:3 en 13:26 en Deuteronomy 1:1.

Deuteronomy 18:18 has nothing to do with any Arab prophet or any prophet outside of the Jewish nation. Considering that Deut 18:18 is a repetition of Deut 18:15 which says in Hebrew:

Navi MIQIR’BECHA me’acheicha camoni yaqim l’cha Yahweh Eloheicha, elaaw tish’ma’un.
Which literally means:
A prophet FROM YOUR MIDST from your brothers like me will Yahweh, your God raise for you, to him you will listen.

Notice what verse 15 says? Speaking to the Jewish people, Moshe said that this prophet was to come FROM THE MIDST OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE, JUST LIKE HIM! Was Muhammad from the midst of the Jewish people? NO! He was an Arab, wasn’t he? Which means that there is no chance in a million light-years that this prophecy is about Muhammad. And the moment he lived in their midst he terrorized them, robbed them, murdered them and sold them into slavery. Sorry, but he did NOT fit any description of any prophesised prophet from the Bible. So all those fairy tales in the Quran and the Hadith about Muhammad being recognized by the people of the Book are nothing but wishful thinking and hot air.

Ever wondered why your god never bothered to point us to where to look to recognize him?

”If you have time you can also visit the local library and skip through Islam Past, Present & Future by Hans Kung, described as the "greatest living theologian". You can see for yourself how Christianity and Judaism treated women as compared to Islam (P.562-570).

Do yourself a favor and spend more time with this book. You will gain some insight about the authentic figure of Jesus and the original Christianity as opposed to the Christology of the Hellenistic councils. You can then read the Koran again, perhaps with less noise in the back of your mind.”

After all this, I really think it might be time for you to reconsider your position on the very shakey prophethood of your "prophet".

Nakdimon

km said...

Well Nakdimon... You can run to the park now as you have too much “concrete burden” of knowledge on your shoulder, but none of it seems to do you any good.

It is the story of the One Al Aad, Alsamad God. The falsehood is in any claim for the contrary. I know that Mohammed is a true prophet of God because his message preached that. The new science arrived to this same conclusion, the oneness of the intelligent design and the connectedness in light.

The unshaken belief I got through Mohammed is that my greatx grand father Adam was created without father and without a mother in this universe because God is all Capable.

I am here right now, waiting for the call of Magrib prayer to break my Ramadan fast, which I am doing for the love and obedience of the one God, who created father Adam, loved him, and forgave his sin from the start, and is always willing and able to take the decision of Tawba and forgiveness as regards our sins as he did our father, the soonest, without complex and fabricated shaky scenarios of Hellenistic Councils, because He is truly the Compassionate and Merciful.

From the Koran, I learned that Adam was made of Torab and from the Spirt of God in His presence, and that God cared for us to know that if Adam sinned in the early days of his creation, despite being the original and having been directly warned by the Almighty, then we must not panic because we are of the same nature and subject to bouts of weakness and ready to be tempted, but that no matter how far we go, we will be forgiven if we seek His pardon directly, and followed with good deeds.

I also learnt that any institution claiming to be in between us and our creator is but a profit oriented entity. What more concrete ground could I stand on or hope for, having followed the straight path of Mohammed?

Nakdimon... Through the grace of God, I was given this message of Altawheed and of the nearness of Alla, and the absolute certainty that no religious powerhouse could falsify to me this direct link or could terrify me of a sin I have not commited, with a claim that a coat of guilt had covered me as a baby had it not been for their cleansing wash.Especially being the daughter of eve.

Nakdimon.. I read (Psalm. 22) “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning?” I think: could a Merciful God do that as the path of choice for the forgiveness of mankind? I worry. How anybody could gladly accept to enter heaven against this background of murderous torture to his Lord. Isn’t that more worthy of a conscientious objection or a revision of creed? Isn’t it more worthy of consideration than claiming victory over the bees in the Koran?

Good luck and watch your steps to the park.

Nakdimon said...

Km,

I see no response to my post. I take it that you simply have none.

I don’t “claim victory” over bees. You are the one who boastsed about the Koran being a scientific miracle, but fail to address the scientific stupidities it contains. Now you get smoked on that, you have no answers and say “God is All Capable”. That way, you can’t ever use the argument from scientific brilliance again.

There is no response to the Biblical “prophecies” either. I have shown that Muhammad is nowhere to be found. Not in Jeremiah 28, not in Haggai 2:6-9 and certainly not in Deut 18:18.

Now you got to ask yourself this question sincerely: If the claim that Muhammad is to be found in the Bible is false and theclaims of scientific excellence is totally baseless, then why do you still believe the Qur’an to be true? You claim that you believe that Muhammad was a true prophet because “his message preached that”. But anyone can preach that he is a true prophet. Does that mean that their claims are true? Was Joseph Smith of the Mormons a true prophet since he claims that he was, although the evidence pointed to the contrary?

As for the question about the sactificial death of the Messiah:
Why do Muslims always use humanitarian standards to judge weither biblical truths are moral or not? Because the sacrificial death of the Messiah is based on the sacrificial system in the Temple, which Yahweh has ordained. Without the sacrificial system the sacrificial death of the Messiah makes no sense. What is the sacrificial system?

The sacrificial system is basically this: a life for a life. Because Yahweh is infinitely holyand has no affiliation with sin, he must judge sin and because we all have sinned, we all fall under Gods Judgement. If Yahweh would judge us all after the very first sin, we would all be lost and there wouldn’t be any human beings left. Sin creates seperation between the sinner (you and I) and the Holy One, blessed be He. The sacrificial system was installed to communicate this truth: to pay for our sins we were to die and be seperated from Yahweh eternally. Therefore, Yahweh used the sacrificial system as a teaching tool: The sinner puts his hand on the sacrifice and confesses his sins with the words “this should have been me”. The life of the sacrifice is a substitute for the life of the sinner.

In this light there is NO “murderous torture”, but infinite mercy and justice. Yahweh’s judgement is averted by the Messiah, who put His life down to save many. Nobody took it, He laid it down Himself. After that, He reclaimed it. As the letter of Hebrews put it, Messiah went into the heavenly Temple and offered his blood on the altar of the holy of holies and cleansed all people, as exlpained in Leviticus 16. In other words: Just as the life of the innocent animal is a substitute for the life of the guilty sinner and by the blood of the sacrifice the sinner is justified in Yahwehs eyes, likewise, the vicarious atonement of the Messiah is to the justification of the sinners. That was Yahweh’s plan of salvation all along. Paul didn’t “invent” this, as claimed by Muslims. This teaching flows from the Torah, throught the Prophets and Writings to the New Testament. As Paul wrote:

Messiah is the goal of the Torah, to righteousness for anyone that believes. (Romans 10:4)

The Torah culminates in and comes to full meaning through the Messiah.

km said...

Nakdimon

You have misconstrued my shift of emphasis. You have written “Don’t worry, km, I wont waste my time on that. I won’t rush to the library for things I already know to be false.”. I thought fine.. He knows… I better answer why I thought I have no need to “reconsider my position” regarding Mohammed

But then you say:” You are the one who boasted about the Koran being a scientific miracle, but fail to address the scientific stupidities it contains. Now you get smoked on that, you have no answers and say “God is All Capable”. That way, you can’t ever use the argument from scientific brilliance again.”

“If you need library books to know that mountains aren’t thrown down on the earth to prevent it from shaking, as is claimed in Surah 16:15; 21:31; 31:10; 78:6; 88:19, then the joke is on you pal. An illiterate man and his blind followers might fall for it, but living in times like you are in now you should really know better. You should know that mountains are the RESULT of instability and not to prevent it.”

Well, thanks to living in times like I am in now, I can cut and pasted the following:

Britannica Concise Encyclopedia: isostasy

Theory describing the mass balance in the Earth's crust, which treats all large portions of the crust as though they were floating on a denser underlying layer, about 70 mi (110 km) below the surface. In this theory, a mass above sea level is supported below sea level, so high mountains must be regions where the crust is very thick, with deep roots extending into the mantle. This is analogous to an iceberg floating on water, in which the greater part of the iceberg is under water.

Wikipedia: isostasy
Isostasy is a term used in Geology to refer to the state of gravitational equilibrium between the Earth's lithosphere and asthenosphere such that the tectonic plates "float" at an elevation which depends on their thickness and density. It is invoked to explain how different topographic heights can exist at the Earth's surface. When a certain area of lithosphere reaches the state of isostasy, it is said to be in isostatic equilibrium. It is important to note that isostasy is not a process that upsets equilibrium, but rather one which restores it. It is generally accepted that the earth is a dynamic system that responds to loads in many different ways, however isostasy provides an important 'view' of the processes that are actually happening


Well Nakdimon... You can run to the park for now I will read my Koran.

Nakdimon said...

KM,

Where in any of your quotes on mountains does it say that they create stability? Where does it say that they are thrown down? Maybe we have to explain this to you at the level of kindergarten. Here is a third grade explanation of how mountains are formed. Compair this to your Koranic explanation and see how ignorant your god and your prophet are. If you will still stick to your Koran, then you are beyond hope:

How are mountains formed?
Mountains are created over long periods of time by tremendous forces in the earth Mountains are formed by volcanism, erosion, and disturbances or an uplift in the earth's crust.
The Earth's crust is made up of 6 huge slabs called plates, which fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. When two slabs of the Earth's crust smash into each other the land can be pushed upwards, forming mountains. Many of the greatest mountain ranges of the world have formed because of enormous collisions between continents.

What different types of Mountains are there?
There are five basic kinds of mountains:
1. dome,
2. fold,
3. fault-block,
4. volcanic, and
5. plateau mountains.
These different types of mountain names not only distinguish the physical characteristics of the mountains, but also how they were formed.

Dome Mountains
Dome mountains are the result of a great amount of melted rock pushing its way up under the earth without folding or faulting resulting in a rounded dome. As the dome is raised above its surroundings erosion occurs, and as a result of erosion, peaks and valleys are formed.

Fold Mountains
Fold mountains are formed when two plates collided head on, and their edges crumbled, much the same way as a piece of paper folds when pushed together.
Examples of fold mountains include Himalayas in Asia, the Alps in Europe and the Andes in South America

Fault-block Mountains
These mountains form when faults or cracks in the earth's crust force some materials or blocks of rock up and others down.
Instead of the earth folding over, the earth fractures and blocks are stacked. Examples include the Sierra Nevada mountains in North America and the Harz Mountains in Germany.

Volcanic Mountains
Volcanic Mountains are formed when molten rock, or magma deep within the earth, erupts, and piles upon the surface. Examples of Volcanic Mountains include Mount St. Helens in North America and Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines.

Plateau Mountains (Erosion Mountains)
These are mountains that are really plateaus that have worn down from erosion. The dictionary describes these as large areas of ‘high levels’ of flat land.

Nakdimon said...

km,

See how mountains are BUILD UP and not THROWN DOWN? See how they are a RESULT OF INSTABILITY and not to CREATE STABILITY?

The Qur'an is erroneous!

km said...

Nakdimon

If there was a mountain in Antarctica named for you like Dr. Frank Press, or have authored a unique book such as Earth, I would not have been surprised for such assuredness such as you have put on. Since you have not yet a mountain in your name ( I honestly hope you all the best), nor are you willing to visit a library or rush to a bookstore, then I refer you again to Wikipedia where you will find the following under Mountain:

“The compressional forces in continental collisions may cause the compressed region to thicken, so the upper surface is forced upwards. In order to balance the weight of the earth surface, much of the compressed rock is forced downwards, producing deep "mountain roots"[see the Book of "Earth", Press and Siever page.413]. These roots are deeply embedded in the ground, thus, a mountain have a shape like peg [See Anatomy of the Earth, Cailleus page.220]. Mountains therefore form downwards as well as upwards (see isostasy).”

so you see Nakdimon,The mountains on the surface of the earth have a continuation of underlain horizontal layers, several kilometers thick, made of younger sedimentary or sedimentary-like material. These may be ten to fifteen times as the portion prominent on the surface in terms of vertical depth. The crust of the earth is only 5 km from the surface and it floats on liquid.

For a peg to fulfill its function, the length of the portion in the ground is very important. People of Arabia know how far down they need to go with their pegs to hold their tents fast. However, there is no way anyone of them would have known the geological structure of mountains or that the elevated mass has this depth going far beyond the thickness of the crust in order to balance the weight of the earth surface.

This is not to say that the Koran is science book. “To the contrary, these are signs in the hearts of those who are granted knowledge. None deny our messages except the unjust”. 29, 49

The passages I posted yesterday already mention the mass balance in the earths crust and gravitational equilibrium as regards different topographic heights existing at the Earth's surface.

Nakdimon said...

KM,

For the life of me, we can keep going back and forth all the time, but what scientific source would back you and your Quran up and declare that mountains are PUT ON the earth to CREATE STABILITY.

ALL scientific sources say the exact oposite: they are THE RESULT OF INSTABILITY and BUILD UP FROM THE EARTH SURFACE.

How much cleareer can it get to make you see that the Quran is erroneous. Isostacy has nothing whatsoever to do with throwing things down to create stability either. This is just a smoke screen you use to divert the attention to something else than the question at hand.

km said...

Nakdimon

God does not “throw things down to create instability” and then claim the opposite. What you are talking about is a stage in the process of creating the topography of earth. Yes, what you mention happened at a certain period in the geological history of this planet. Mountains are the result of instability but what is the end result? You ask yourself.

The result, the intended outcome of the initial chaos is a stabilized structure by virtue of the ultimate design to which Almighty draws our attention to. God has created all this diversity in the topography for the benefit of mankind with the directives that his Ayas are to be contemplated for our physical, mental and spiritual benefit.

I explained what pegs are for and how the part above should be shorter than the one down for the peg to perform its function. They are mentioned in the reference I gave, which quotes an authority on the subject, likening the mountains to pegs. The exact word is mentioned in the Koran: “But they shall know the truth; before long they shall know it. Did not we spread the earth like a bed and the mountains like AWTAD (pegs)”, 78,4-7

How simpler can I put it. If you wish to deny the revelations of Allah, or scoff at it, it’s up to you. Veritable proofs had been given. “..We have made plain to you our revelation. Strive to understand them”3,118

Majid said...

IGORANCE IS BLISS RATHER THAN HALF AND UNBAKED KNOWLEDGE ... suits DAVID....

You are already and always biased .. what ever reason given u will not find light unless you really want to find light (answers) and unbias urself.

PLEASE LEAVE HIM ALONE.. He will n ot find the answers.

Ripon said...

david, a little knowledge is too dangerous,.......

William Wallace said...

Interesting.

Zub said...

The circular logic Muslims use to justify their claims is nothing short of amazing. Of course what can you expect when they never look beyond their badly written holy books as source material. I firmly believe that circular logic reasoning is the sublime "instrument of obedience" for Islam to justify itself.
The suppression of critical thinking skills is paramount to keep the ardent followers in line. Keep up the good work David, perhaps someday this cycle will be broken and a full scale revolution toward the truth will befall the Muslims of the world.

Pauline Puritan said...

I’ve been watching your debate with Ali Ataie, and after reading this, the truth is even more clear to me. The simple fact is that all people who reject Christ are controlled by Satan. Ephesians 2:1,2:

1 ¶ And you he made alive, when you were dead through the trespasses and sins
2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience.

Rational argumentation is important, but we must remember Matthew 10:14,15:

14 And if any one will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town.
15 Truly, I say to you, it shall be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town.

The word of God is more powerful than human arguments, if they won’t listen to Jesus, how much more will they refuse to listen to you? Apologetics is for those who already know Christ, because it encourages them. And apologetics is for those sincerely seeking Christ, because it helps them also. But those who do not want Christ will ignore all rational argumentation.

Mike Williams said...

i dont think the condition is to write eloquently but more to write chapter or verse that hold up to the test of time and holiness....correctness....although not many could write firstly grammatically arabic but theological correct.....but a scribe from the sanhedrin could....early christian abbey monk could...if they copied or plagiarized and copy pasted elements of other holy books that existed from the celts to the hindus to the shintu...out of all these could a balance of truths be compiled.