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Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Parable of Santa's Believers



Isn't it funny how we never grow up? Growing up is only a transitional phase where we do, like, and want more complicated and "mature" things. Lemme give you an example; as kids we often craved for toys, whether it was an action figure or a dolly baby, then we grow up and crave for more complex toys like the new iPad, or an Xbox 360. Or as babies when we needed a pacifier to stop crying, and then we replaced it with a cigarette to calm our nerves. But perhaps the most relevant replacement to this topic is the Santa/God replacement; as kids we often looked up to Santa for something we wanted on Xmas day, and then adults we replaced him with God, and maybe that's why God's Son's Bday is celebrated with Santa's day. But seriously, Santa and God have so much in common you'd think they're family members. Look at all they have in common:


Gender: They're both men.

Age: God, as we all heard is eternal, and has been there since the beginning of time. Santa is also pretty old, as a matter of he was been old for centuries and doesn't seem to have any indications of dying soon. So I think it's fair to say Santa Claus is eternal.


Mysterious Location: God is said to be somewhere in the clouds and sky, but yet no satellite, telescope, astronaut, or even sky-diver has ever seen him there. Santa Claus is said to be in North Pole, yet no one has ever discovered him there. Even the British natural documentary narrator, David Attemborough, has documentaries about animals in the North Pole and Antarctica but has never captured this mythical man.

Omnipresent/Omniscient: God is said to be everywhere, and that you can't hide from Him because He sees all and knows all. Santa who lives in North Pole somehow knows who all the "good kids" in the world are, the only explanation for that is that he must be omnipresent and/or omniscient.

Giving: As long as you're good and join the right religion, God will give you anything you pray for, even eternal enjoyment. As long as you're good, Santa will give you anything, you request for on your X-mas list.

Arch Nemesis: God has Satan. Santa has the Grinch.

As much as they have in common, perhaps the biggest difference is their believers and how they believe. Kids just believe in Santa for gifts, they aren't willing to kill, die, donate money, start organizations or movements, or even claim to talk to and hear him, but we adults (and some kids in Jesus Camp) do. So I thought it would be interesting to create a satirical story where kids believe Santa the same way adults believe God. I called it "The Parable of Santa's Believers." Enjoy.

The Parable of Santa's Believers
In a remote land where kids remain kids and never grow up, a strange religious belief system is held. The children believe Santa Claus is God, and follow him in a spiritual way. T
hey also have a set of commandments which they believe Santa gave to one of his subjects in the Himalayan Mountains that read as follows:
1. Thou shall not eat too much candy, except on the 25th of December.
2. Thou shall not believe in any other Claus but Santa.
3. Thou shall donate 10% of pocket money to the nearest Santa temple as offering.
4. Thou shall love Santa with all your heart, mind, and soul.
5. Thou shall not take what is not yours without asking.
6. Thou shall be respectful at all time, especially to higher authority.
7. Thou shall not do any kind of labor on the 25th of December.
8. Thou shall go to bed before 9PM.
9. Thou shall not cheat.
10. Thou shall drink eggnog and make merry on the 25th of December.
11. Thou shall be asleep by 7pm on the 24th of December.
12. Thou shall do whatever I tell you to without questioning.

There are many types of denominations of Santa Believers, among which are the two most powerful, the Santanians and the Palmers. The Santanians believe in the conventional Santa Claus that fulfills the requests of those who were good, made great X-mas trees, and wrote their request on a piece of paper called the X-mas list. So the real test of who has been good is simply a matter of checking the list of the commandments you've kept and if you've kept them well, Santa will reward you. However, the Palmers believe in an unorthodox Santa; they believe Santa Claus is a tree-hugger and doesn't appreciate the X-mas tree or writing the X-mas list on a piece of paper, instead they write their list on the palm of their hands, hence explaining their name. There are also minor denominations like the Sitters who request to Santa by sitting on the lap of a carved image of Santa and whispering in the image's ear what they want; then there are the Elvants who request to the elves to interceed for them. Although there are many denominations, they all seem to have many similiarities in their belief in Santa; the 12 commandments, the power of the X-mas list etc, but the little differences in their mode of worship is what makes them hate each other to the point of killing and dying for their beliefs. Each denomination believes that they're Santa's chosen and their oppositions are of the devilish Grinch. They even share a Christmas apocalyptic story, wherein they believe that on December 25th, 2012, Santa will descend upon Earth riding his magical reindeers, but not to give gift, instead to judge. On this day he will punish those who didn't follow the right worship technique by sending them to the Grinch's chimney (a Santa believing version of hell), while his chosen will merry and that epic Christmas day will last forever.

43 comments:

EDJ said...

FIRST!! Haha, haven't been able to say that in a while. Now I'm gonna go read this.

CerebrallyBusy said...

boy this is so long
'i cannot read all this right now

i'll be back tho

Enoch said...

nice1.

Side note. Always been amused that Santa is an anagram for Satan.

Enoch said...

@messiah
What do you have for breakfast? Molotov cocktail? U on fire bro.

Realist said...

*Deleting my first topic already typed up* Messiah is totally messing me up mehn, none of my topics will be this interesting...lol

Azazel said...

Lol he really is that good..
Lmao @ molotov cocktail...
The jewish people really need to come find their real messiah lol

Verbally Rebellious said...

Okay, first post. Eshe recruited me from one of the wastelands of the blogosphere. Here goes...

This is a great effort, Messiah. I understand completely how the comparisons you draw hold true for many cases. Even some in my religion (Islam) are more like Santa believers than mature believers, and putting it in this very well-written parable provides a sense of awareness akin to the shocking, cold feeling you get when you're wrapped up in bed on a cold, lazy weekend and someone suddenly pulls the blanket away.

A few misunderstandings about the concept of God though;

1. Age; It is a common belief by some muslim philosophers and even those from other faiths that God, who is not encapsulated in this 4-Dimensional Universe we all live in, is unaffected by the concept of time. To understand this, we must understand what time is itself; the period between events. We believe that God did create this dimension to our nature and God Himself, events have happened, do happen and will happen. He knows the past and the future... He is not trapped in the present. To understand this, we can imagine a universe of Two dimensional beings. To these beings , the shadow of a thumb of a 3D being like ourselves is only a large, round dot. A pen shall be a miraculous thing to them for they shall not perceive the mechanisms that allow for the wonderful lines they perceive before them to be drawn. God is far above being a 4D being. God is not human, and God does not age.

To further put this in context, I can point out how humans have very limited visual perception, for instance, and cannot perceive alpha rays, gamma rays, or even infra-red lights. We are presented through our sensory organs only a small window to view the world.

And so the comparison to Santa Claus is invalid.

2. Location; God is described using 99 beautiful names in Islam each describing one of his properties (Ar Rahman the Beneficient, Al Malik The King, etc). We believe that he is not confined to a single physical location, like us humans are, but that he is indeed everywhere. Clouds are just formations of masses of gas, how can God, in all of his power and might, reside in masses of gas? He is the All-Knower, the All-Seer and All-Powerful. We believe he is indeed everywhere, and that his ayat (words, signs, proof) are said to be everywhere, in fact God has told us in the Qur'an that he is closer to us than our own jugular. Yes, our own jugular. He also says these signs of his presence are very noticeable for those that reflect.

3. Arch Nemesis: Satan is not God's arch-nemesis but Man's. This 'relationship' started since Adam's creation. Satan was actually a very knowledgeable jinn (spiritual creations) that used to serve God along with the mala'ik (Angels, spiritual beings of light that only serve God). He only disobeyed God because of pride; he believed he was much better than Man, and refused to bow to Adam alongside the other beings God ordered. God had taught Adam what he had not taught the other beings and Satan believed he deserved a higher ranking than Man. God cursed him for his pride. Satan, in an act of vindictiveness, promised to lead as many of Adam's offspring astray as he can. God gave him permission, safe in the knowledge that only the lost shall follow him.

God has said in the Qur'an that he prefers a world where everyone sins and repents than a world where everyone was perfect. Surely he is far above Satan's might and power.

I would love to point some other percieved misconceptions out but I'm rambling.

Great post, Messiah.

Suru said...

lol personally there's nothing wrong with what you said. But as you mentioned we're like babies and as adults for some God is their comfort and hope. I don't know if you think that makes them weak or if you're trying to say it's wrong or neither. Whatever your point is the fact is for some it's better to have faith even if it's all just an illusion.

Azazel said...

Huh @ suru? So it is better to have a faith that is based on lies/illusions? Is that what ur saying? Smh don't u know that it is those very illusions that breed all this religious extremism?

Enoch said...

verbally abusive

Salam alaykum [hope i got that right]

Nice to see "jinn" used in a sentence. I rarely see it outside a scrabble board.

If you hear the screeching of a 747 over your head, be rest assured it's not a plane. It's the point of Messiah's post flying over you as you seemed to have missed it wholesale. The parallels he drew are not meant to be exact.

What you did is akin to taking a chainsaw to Shakespeare's jugular for writing in Romeo&Juliet, and I quote, "Juliet is the sun." Lambasting William because Juliet is no where as luminous as our sun.

Anyways, it's interesting to see that you hold such strong convictions about a >4 dimensional being when all you have as proof are stories written by other 3-dimensionals such as yourself.

Chuk said...

Azazel and Enoch, Chrstmas has become a tale of Santa and toys and people have strayed from the real truth about His birth. Funnily, this is not only for Christmas. In America, we have Easter where (bunnies and decorated eggs).
JESUS IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON! People want to remove the 'Christ' from Christmas and make it Xmas. And then we have Thanksgiving which is another day founded by the early Pilgrims to thank God for keeping them through the harsh and brutal weather.
Isn't it funny how those who deny God and his existence are so much affected by Him. Let's take a look at the traditions of Christmas celebrated by all and how they have a Christian origin. Bells are played to ring out the joyous news of His birth, candles are lit to remind us that Christ is the Light of the world (John 1:4-9), a star is placed on the top of a Christmas tree to remember the Star of Bethlehem, and gifts are exchanged to remind us of the gifts(gold, frankincense,and myrrh) of the three wise men to the baby Jesus, the greatest gift of God to mankind.
The birth of the Savior is lost behind the silly myth of Santa Claus. So many are substituting fantasy in place of Christian truth (2 Timothy 4:4). The Bible saw it coming.

Verbally Rebellious said...

Enoch, Enoch...

I had the idea this is an open forum? I read the post, I liked the concept, I thought some of the pillars the concept where based on were not entirely accurate. 'Juliet is the sun' is a metaphor based on the overtly passionate mind of a lover used by a writer to paint a picture.

Verbally Abusive? Really? The blend of Verbal and Jim Starks has gone over your head then?

I loved Messiah's use of parables. Parables are used everywhere by the insightful to promote a sense of awareness in other people and I have actually learned from this. Is it wrong for me to try and pose different (and if I do have to admit) more accurate pillars upon which his parable was built? I have no issue with the Santa as God metaphor, just the points at the beginning.

I am amazed that just because you don't accept what I said that you would snipe at my Holy Book. After all, you have not read it, or put it under scrutiny yourself.

You are just like the 99.99% of people that scorn at me for 'thinking too hard' or 'complicating things'. I am surprised. The floor is open, your views are welcome. I am all for reflection, perhaps I shall learn from you.

But please, things like 'Verbally Abusive' puts me under the impression that this is a personal spat.

Daniel said...

unfortunatly, that is how a lot of people use their christianity. as an escape mechanism so ur point is taken. but just as verbally rebellious pointed out, that is not d whole picture. but it was a fun read...and even good things cn b parodied so i cnt even criticise.

Azazel said...

Verbally abuse.
@ God has said in the Qur'an that he prefers a world where everyone sins and repents than a world where everyone was perfect. Surely he is far above Satan's might and power

did God write the Quran? No.
Now it is claimed that he inspired men to write them right? For all we know it is heresay right? I do not know the men who wrote the quran, but would it be presumptious for me to assume that they were 'Arabs'??

Azazel said...

@ Verbally Abuse

The point I made is reflected by the one just made by Enoch - Anyways, it's interesting to see that you hold such strong convictions about a >4 dimensional being when all you have as proof are stories written by other 3-dimensionals such as yourself..

And I need to correct u about one thing verbally abusive..
In this blog as in all other things in life, we respect your 'right'/entitlement to have views/opinions.. And as we respect your right to have your opinion, surely u should respect the fact that your opinion/views are not entitled to our respect?
What would happen if we went around respecting people's views? Imagine if we had respected Hitler's views? Or Saddam's views? I can give u countless examples...
So please I just wanted to make that know. U are entitled to have an opinion, but ur opinion is not entitled to anybody's respect.

Enoch said...

@Verbally rebellious

This is an open forum. You are welcomed to air your views as respectfully or disrespectfully as you wish. Freedom of speech gets serious mileage on this blog.

You are probably not going to believe me, but the "verbally abusive" thing was done in error. It was a lapse in my working memory. Somehow, 'rebellious' got swapped for 'abusive' between reading and replying your comment.

But, the 'swipe' at your holy book was entirely purposeful. I hope that wouldn't keep you from returning to this blog. You see, I believe most holy books are works of fiction and I have as much right to pee on them as much as the next man chooses to take them as fact. Bible, Torah or the Quaran.

My attitude might offend you, but that's not the intent. My 'snipes' are logical and make sense to me.

However, I am amused you would call it a snipe/swipe when all I pointed out was that it was written by men. That's a fact you wouldn't dispute. Surely, you can't be referring to my 'jinn' reference.

Now what would be considered a swipe is my saying something along he lines of "If I run out of toilet paper, it could come in real handy." Now that would be a swipe. Metaphorically and coincidentally also literally.

Please don't let my words bother you. They are just words. They are true as far as I know.

EDJ said...

As I have mentioned before, christian bashing is getting really old on this blog. There are other religions...why hasn't anyone taken a stab at them? Where is the post criticizing Islam for its sexism? Where is the post asking why Buddha is fat and yet spent much of his life promoting a healthy lifestyle?

Santa is to children as God is to adults...and so we should all...?

I give you A1 for effort, clearly you have put a lot of thought into this. Originality (especially since you published on THIS blog) D7.

Verbally Rebellious said...

Sigh.

Azazel, why think like that? Why lean to one extreme? Why not think the opposite; What would the world be like if no-one respected each other's opinions? I present to you... The World.

It is easy to sit at a distance and to disparage something without a fair trial. Believe it or not, I have read the bible, I know it's history. I know about Judaism, Budhism, Hinduism and even Rastafarianism. I admit though, apart from the Abrahamic religions (Islam, Christianity and Judaism) the rest are knowledge I got, and anyone can get, on Google. I find the similarities between the Abrahamic religions astounding, and I investigated each for myself to widen my scope.

So I'll not avoid the Qur'an question. Brace yourself for another long post.

We believe the Qur'an was revealed to Muhammad over the duration of 23 years, starting when he was 40 until the year of his death. The first five verses were about God instructing Muhammad and everyone in general to seek knowledge, and also mention Man's 'vincibility' and God's Divine Wisdom. 'Read!' goes the first verse, to which Muhammad replied 'I cannot read'.

Yes, Muhammad could not read or write and has never done so. He had instructed his companions not to write any of it down during his lifetime, but instead they wrote down the Prophetic Traditions, which were Muhammad's words (this is what we believe is the equivalent of the Bible). The Qur'an was written after two years of his death and was standardised in a single dialect a year or two after.

Several Western scholars have questioned the validity of this scripture. Some claimed Muhammad wrote it, but Muhammad could not read or write. Others claimed Muhammad was a very wise man who used it to inspire a lost nation and empower them, but the book included things Muhammad could not possibly know of, as an illiterate Arab. Yet others claimed Muhammad was a madman, because he believed strongly in his words, but Muhammad had a sound reputation as a family man and a noble member of his tribe. The last argument was supposedly backed up by the fact that Muhammad had convulsions whenever he had revelation; they claimed he was actually epileptic. Several theories abind, including one that Muhammad was actually a very knowledgeable Christian who started his own religion. I don't have to point out how ridiculous these suggestions are.

You don't even have to take my word for it. Read it on your own if you want, God has asked us in the Qur'an to scrutinise it and test it if we want. I have read bibles myself.

Verbally Rebellious said...

And yes, what's wrong with the fact that it was revealed to the Arabs? The Arabs are one of the semitic peoples that descended from Abraham, along with the Jews and we believe Moses and Jesus had holy scriptures. The truth is the semitic languages provide a better representation of nature through language, and moreso Arabic. Especially Arabic at the time of Muhammad, who were gifted in literature just like the Jews were gifted in medicine at the time of Jesus. English is an interesting language, but it has got so many sources and pointless words (research the origin of the word colonel and you'll agree) that it does not provide much depth or insight to the speaker. Arabic is so deep that you get an understanding of words and nature just by analysis of the words.

Case in point, the word 'Islam' which means submissiveness, shares a root with the word 'salaam', for peace. The word 'daras' means lesson, it has the same root (basic consonants) with the word 'dars' meaning to scrape off dirt. By learning you are cleaning your mind like someone uses forces to scrape dirt off something. I can give other examples, but I have to be sure of the limited words I use because I understand only very basic Arabic. But the point is, Arabic is a very deep language and several beautiful poems are written in the language (Florence Nightingale herself, was said to be very impressed with a certain muslim poet she met and regarded him as much better than herself). Yet, it is noteworthy that despite their brilliance, none of them, and believe me, they tried, could write verses of poetry or prose that are regarded as better than the Qur'an.

You don't have to take my word, but if I avoid the question, it might appear as if I was dodging it.

And please, for the sake of maturity, stop referring to me as Verbally Abusive. It does not make me regard you any higher.

The Messiah said...

wow Verbally Rebellious just created a very compelling argument and I have to applaud you for that my dear brother/sister. However, I also have to correct some very flawed arguments.

Your arguments seem to be based on only your religion rather than the generalized concept of God. You're only specific to your God, Allah. I'm not arguing Islam or Allah, I'm arguing religion Deity without any specifics.

My comparison of location, saying God lives in the sky is, again, generalized. It's easy to understand where I get that concept from: My favourite political rapper, Immortal Technique rhymed, "This is the last time that I'll ever pray to the sky, 'cause almost everything that I was ever taught was a lie." Or when the same rapper said, "..Curse the Heavens and laugh when the sky electrocutes me." You see athletes beat their chest and point to the sky as a form of thankful celebration to God. When you watch or even read religious stories, a voice that usually comes from the sky is portrayed as God. So that's why I generalized my location. A mormon can argue with me just like you did and say that God lives in planet Kolob not the sky.

And I was kinda confused when you brought the 4-dimensional world we live in as part of God's creation. That's like a Christian telling me God created the solar system. Of course for that to be fact, there must be some kind of evidence in the Bible that God created Mercury, Mars, Jupiter and it's nine moons, and also what day did He do it. Same with your claim, for God to have created the 4 dimensional universe we live in, then there must be some form of evidence in your Qu'ran where God created the 4th Dimension; time.

You also say He knows the past and the future..and He is not trapped in the present. Truth is so are you. See the present is really a thin line between the future and the past. However, it's so thin that it doesn't exists. The moment you even think you're in the present, that thought actually becomes past. There is no present, you're constantly going into the future every minute, second, nanosecond or any measurement of time. To be in the present is to stop the progression of time (like Adam Sandler in the movie "Click"), the moment that happens is when you're REALLY in the present. Apart from that, the present is a non-existent form of time which we use to identify a very very very recent past and/or a very very very close future that's rapidly unfolding into the past.

As for the age argument, it's not God who doesn't age, it's the idea of God. Just like it's not Santa who doesn't age, it's the idea of Santa that overcomes the 4th dimension of time. They're just unproven abstract ideas, because they're not concrete.

For the arch-nemesis argument, I truly believe it's Satan or Jinn who is the absolute rival, because God epitomizes good while Satan/Jinn epitomizes evil. And we all know evil is the arch-nemesis of good, so if we use the transitive property of geometry to solve this equation I think it is correct to say that Satan/Jinn is the arch-nemesis of God.

Verbally Rebellious said...

Ah, Enoch, I understand now. I believe you when you say you didn't refer to me as 'Abusive' on purpose, but believe me when I said that what I perceived as immature name-calling was what made me think you were trying to be offensive on purpose. Your views are your views, a lot of people have them, and I get along with them fine.

As long as they's no name-calling, I'm good. lol.

Verbally Rebellious said...

Oh, and yeah, my use of 'snipe' was also an intended pun to go along with Verbal. Now I'm just flooding with my posts.

Sorry for hijacking Messiah's post!

Verbally Rebellious said...

Before I go into your post, Messiah, I have to agree with you that Immortal Technique -is- one of the dopest rappers around. Dude speaks the truth, fact.

You present very valid points yourself. I actually only give the Islamic view because I believe there are very varied voices of reason around here and I shall pop up with the Islamic one for the sake of balance.

About God creating the solar system... well, I shall not worship a deity that is very limited in his power. I do not have direct references to the solar system at the moment but I shall try and present you with some. Of course, there are some Qur'anic references like when Allah referred to mountains as pillars of the Earth over water which are said to be proved by science. And also another one when Allah said he is the Lord of the Easts and the Wests, not the east and west but in plural. Some people point to that as an indication that the Qur'an proposed that the earth was round. I'll do my research.

I completely agree with your notion of the presence (I learn something philosophic from Adam Sandler... Fail). The point I am making is that our perception of occurrences are only limited to perceiving occurrences as they occur at a certain time. There was an interesting philosopher that proposed that if all of the occurrences in this world were suddenly set to run backwards, our brains would function backwards as well and we shall continue to perceive the world exactly as we are now. What I was suggesting is that God is not bound by this same principle of time as we are.

The Nemesis issue is one where we shall have to agree to disagree. In the Qur'an, Allah has said 'Shaytan (Satan) is your enemy'. Satan knows where he stands with God, he shall go to hell. The true Good vs Evil battle that goes on here is Man's battle alone. When Satan 'whispers' (as used in the Qur'an) to us, he does it so subtly that we percieve it as our thoughts. He uses suggestion, and we carry on. Our true enemies are ourselves really, and as we have the devils helping our 'evil' side, so God protects us with the angels on our 'good' side.

I concede that, for the sake of symmetry, your presumption could be valid. That is God the Good versus Satan the Evil. Not Satan, God's enemy.

Immortal Technique kicks ass though.

The Messiah said...

ah Verbally Rebellious, you have already earned my respect by agreeing with me on Immortal Technique. His independent spirit and hunger to not only seek but speak the truth is what makes him thee best rapper alive.

Anyways back to our debate, my allusion to the solar system is actually a test of religious validity. Most ppl believe Moses was inspired by God and that's how he knew the "beginning." Of course I think that's bullshit, because if Moses was truly inspired by God, he'll reveal things which he physically couldn't at that time. Like the other planets. I personally believe if Moses wrote Genesis today, he would have included the other eight planets, the 100 billion galaxies like ours, and even blackholes (if he revealed these things which he couldn't have, then I'll truly believe it was a divine inspiration). But he instead he only reveal what he could know, like stars, the moon, seas, the sun etc. Which leads me to my point; those holy books claimed to have been inspired by God are fables made by men. It's like they took a fictional book and said it was based on true events. And God is a myth just like Santa. Keep in mind these are my views, you don't have to agree with me, these are just my conclusions.

Most ppl back then in the Biblical Ages never even knew how small we are in comparison to the universe. They once thought the Sun revolves around the Earth. Now we know better, now we know that Earth is just a grain of sand in this gigantic desert known as the universe. Yet we still think like the ppl back in the Biblical Ages regardless of what we know.

You know, it's ok to believe anything you want to. That's why I really don't have a problem with kids believing in Santa except for the fact that it's a lie. To me God is a man-made lie just like Santa, but used to scare and give false hope for others in order to gain control.

The Messiah said...

That's what makes me anti-religious and not anti-spiritual. Religion politicizes pure spirituality and corrupts it to huge fuckerey beyond regular bounds of fuckerey.

Azazel said...

Verbally abusive my apologies bro. I swear I saw enoch refer to u as vervally rebellious and I took that as ur name. My mind totally failed me, I meant no offence.

Verbally Rebellious said...

Ah, Messiah, you have also succumbed to usage of the 'best rapper alive' phrase. As good as I think Technique is, that title has to go to Lupe Fiasco. Far ahead of everyone else by a country mile.

Ah, religious validity. I visited my good friend today, a pharmacist who has memorised the whole Qur'an and asked him for verses referring to space, the solar system or the universe at large. He assured me there were several verses that referred to those and also the origin of the Universe (the big bang) and also the expansion of the universe (something that us as humans only realized in the beginning of the 20th century alongside the development of the theory of relativity). Unfortunately, I only met him after his usual 10 hour plus of lab work (he's doing a PhD) and was about to watch his anime. I did ask him to write down the verse and chapter numbers for me and I shall send them to you as soon as I get them. I have read some myself, but I do not want to make a mistake and I am afraid of putting misleading information about the Qur'an out there. Apart from references to space, the Qur'an also mentions other scientific phenomena that Muhammad or his companions could not possibly know or fabricate 1400 years ago; an example is the mention of the human fetus in the womb. I shall gather my verses and chapters. Still, if you are indeed searching for knowledge and spiritual growth, I urge you to read the book yourself.

Something else my friend discussed with me is that the vast nature of the universe is actually another sign of divine wisdom. It is a sign of human limit and weakness in relation to Allah that we are this small in this vast universe, but also a sign of our significance and special nature that we are the only intelligent, civilised beings in it, and look at the amount of life earth alone has. So so diverse..

In fact, my friend even suggested that there is a verse that suggests that space is not actually empty, which is proved by the relatively recent discovery of the 'dark particle' in space.

Something we have to understand is that the Qur'an is meant as a book for all people of all ages and time periods. It is supposed to be read and understood by all people of different disciplines and different levels of intellect, and yet it still contains scientific references, history, matters of jurisprudence, our daily lives and prophecies.

Moses did wonderful things in his time. He liberated a people opressed for ages and led them successfully across the desert in pursuit of the promised land. That in itself is miraculous.

I don't think religion corrupts anything in itself. People corrupt things, it is part of human nature. The comparisons of humans to viruses (viri?) by Agent Smith is very valid. When people stray from the true teachings of pure religion, when people use religion as an excuse for their treachery, when people hide behind religion when carrying out atrocious tasks, it is easy to say religion itself is to blame, but we can say that of almosy about everything. It is like saying football is a bad sport because it creates intense rivalries and makes people ight and therefore we should all go back to sprinting or throwing and catching balls.

I want to type on about one of my favourite inventors and philosophers being Galileo and how the church was a very ignorant and tyrannous political system during his time and also point out that he was indeed influenced by the work of earlier philosopher Copernicus who was in turn influenced by Islamic philosopher Omar Al Khayyam (he proposed that the earth revolved on its axis and such occurence provides us different views of the constellation, his star map was lost, possibly alongside the destruction of Islamic books by King Ferdinand and Isabella after their invasion of Andalusia) but I'm sleepy.

Peace.

Myne Whitman said...

@Enoch, Santa is Anagram for Satan; isn't that strange?

BTW, who is Verbally Rebellious. Please let him write a post.

The Messiah said...

You make very valid points in your argument, and you still have some that you have to validate (like the scriptural references to recent scientific discoveries). But your point that religion isn't political in itself isn't valid. Here's why:

Most religious books seem to have a bias for their people. Like the Bible written by Jewish people, therefore they claimed that their God, Jehovah/Yahweh, is the Almighty God. Just like the Falashas believed their Almighty God was Ethopian, and the Arabs believed Allah, their Arabian God, is Almighty. They also preach in an emperor's; spread the ONLY religion handed to you to all four corners of earth. In the Bible, Deuteronomy 13:7-11 to be exact, Yahweh commands killing anyone who tries to convert you to believe in another God. So if you try to convert a Yahweh believing Jew/Christian to Allah, it is Biblically recommended for that Jew/Christian to kill you. There are scriptures in the Qu'ran that suggests the same thing, although I'm not so sure where exactly they are. [Keep in mind this was part of the non-political/pure religion you imply]

If it is one thing I learned from politics, it is that the best way to control people is to manipulate them by fear and/or hope. People will do anything for those two emotions. And religion offers both. The fear: Eternal suffering or even a death sentence from the religious pundits. The hope: Eternal bliss. It's because of these people blow up buildings hoping to have a gigantic orgy with 72 virgins in paradise. It's because of these, Jim Jones was able to influence dozens of people to commit a mass suicide. Now you argument is that people corrupted religion, but I just showed you a Biblical verse, (not something Pat Robertson said)that highlights the corrupt human nature, and OK's it.
My point is simple: Religion is holy political corruption that is gained/controlled by feeding unnecessary fear and false hope to people who don't know better.


These are things RELIGION offers, not spirituality. However, spirituality is very evident in religious books. As a matter of fact, it's the only reason I still read the Bible; for it's rich spirituality and wisdom. But that doesn't erase it's corruptness. The spirituality is thrown in there for more political gain, just like the truth is sprinkled in a lie to make it more believable.

The Messiah said...

Oh and Lupe over Immortal, c'mon now. hahah

Azazel said...

I like Verbally Rebellious
I like how he's able to actually support his argument sometimes..

Azazel said...

Myne he is going to write a post in the near future

Miss Loré said...

lol i'm to weak to write a reply...enoch has to be my fave comment leaver if thats a word or whatever lol

Azazel said...

Lol miss lore

Aradi said...

Messiah, you assign several things to religion that simply is not there. Arabian God? Do you think, I, as a self-respecting, black man worship an Arabian God? As I have said above, Allah has 99 other beautiful names (Asma'ul Husnah). Allah is the name we believe God chose for himself. It shares the same root with the word 'Ilah' which is Arabic for 'deity'. In Jewish and Aramaic, the word is 'Eloh'. It is the same thing! 'Elohim' which is used to mean God actually literally means 'deity' in plural, same as if you would say 'Ilaihin' in Arabic. We all worship the same universal God. I will not go into religions that claim God is of a single nationality.

Muhammad (pbuh) never asked anyone to worship an Arabian God. Among his companions were Salman Al Farisi, the original Prince of Persia, who left his comfortable life in search of religion. Salman actually tried 13 religions, and at certain points was a Magi and a Christian. He was a slave for most of that time and Muhammad actually worked on a huge scale of land to free him (he had no wealth to buy him off, the figure was 3000, but I forget the unit). Another of Muhammad's companions was Bilal bin Ribah, the black Ethiopian slave who Muhammad appointed as the mu'adhin (one who calls for prayer) because of his beautiful voice. Muhammad never discriminated against anyone or called anyone to worship an 'Arabian God'.

The truth is, we believe in the message of Moses, Jesus, Jacob, David, Joseph and Isaac (what's the common denominator here? They were all Jews). But we believe they were all prophets sent to their own people. Their message wasn't universal, they were sent to the Jews. The early Christians were a growing force at one point, but (and this is a matter of interest since the fame of the Da Vinci Code), we all know about how the Emperor Constantine diluted the message with the titans, olympian and even Egyptian gods that allowed for Zeus, Hades and Horus to find a place in the new universal religion.

We believe only the message of Muhammad is universal. Several of our early philosophers and scientists were Persians, several of our greatest works of architecture were based in Spain, the Islamic capital shifted from Madinah to Baghdad and at the moment, some of our greatest scholars are American (Sheikh Khalid Yasin, Hamza Yusuf), Indian and even the scholar that was recently murdered for his outspoken critism of politicians in Northern Nigeria, Sheikh Mahmud Ja'far, was, and still is, well respected globally and in Saudi Arabia. We do not worship an 'Arabian God'.

Aradi said...

Now, I realize I have not informed you that I am Verbally Rebellious and have just signed up.

You raise another interesting topic, Messiah. The execution of apostates.

Capital Punishment is a topic that sparks discussions and arguments all the time. It is a very sensitive topic; human life. I won't deny, I'm not against it. I actually believe it is better to execute someone than to condemn to an eternity of hell, rape and hopelessness in prison. Something that would only make them lose their sanity or 'humanness'.

Also, it is important to understand that as humans, we have a responsibility to ourselves and the society. As humans, we interact and socialise with the society and so in Islam it is ordered to pray at least once a week, congregated as a society, on fridays. We are expected to strengthen our bond. There are levels of enlightenment we attain by ourselves, from inner sources, but there are also levels of human satisfaction that can only be attained from outer sources; our families, our friends, our neighbours, the society. When we pray in congregation for example (two or more) we believe we get 27 times more blessings than we do praying alone.

I will not deny it, there is indeed a Prophetic Saying that confirms the killing of apostates. The wisdom here is that apostates know the Divine Truth and they chose not to abide by it and live an aimless life. That is why I shall disregard the same order in the bible, I believe the divine truth is tampered with human fantasies and whims (the council of Constantine's, to be exact). If it weren't for those 'tamperings' we would have the same message as each other.

Exceptions are made for minors and people that did not recieve the message in its true forms or forms which make Islam undesirable for them (thank you, CNN!). Apostates are also given a three day period to revert.

See, we believe in Islam that everyone is born with the belief of God (fitrah) and that upbringing takes that away for some. Therefore when presented with Divine Truth, we believe it is unmistakable in its purity, especially for those that have been living with those truths and doctrines for a long time. By their very nature, the wisdom is that apostates are suppressing something that is their very nature and are, often times, trouble makers. I can give you an example of Salman Rushdie, unanimously agreed to be a very intelligent man, Mr Rushdie said something about religion being untrue because he ate a hamburger (pork is forbidden in Islam, and indeed, Judaism) and that nothing happened. No lightning struck him. Mr Rushdie, in all his intellect, should be the first to realize that no muslim (not even my 5 year old sister) believes that lightning strikes sinners on the spot. It is against the very nature of the religion, yet Mr Rushdie, an apostate, was very happy to create the impression otherwise. (Bear in mind, this is not a personal spat at Rushdie).

This is usually one of the first topics presented to scare people off religion, as it would make people stop searching for the countless other beautiful things about it because of fear of this one thing. You mentioned fear as a weapon, Messiah, surely fear is used as a weapon here against religion as well?

As for hope, well, without hope as humans we are nothing. If I didn't have hope, I would have committed suicide years ago. Anything except hopelessness! Hopelessness is agony.

Aradi said...

You mention something about suicide bombers and the promise of 72 virgins. Disregarding the played out stereotype regarding the 72 virgins thing as if it were our motivation to be religious, I would have to say that that is another example of people corrupting and hiding behind religion, unless you are stating that it states in the Qur'an that people do suicide bombing. Well, it's not.

Suicide is prohibited in islam, and suicide commiters are believed to be bound to hell. Also, whenever the Prophet Muhammad led expeditions, or conquests or war, he always ordered against the killing of women and children, and even the destruction of the vegetation. He ordered them not to destroy trees! Talk about saving the planet!

Everything about suicide bombing is against Islam. I never use terrorists like Saddam's old buddy Mr Bush, or renowned terrorist George W Bush as examples against others. They do not represent the people. Likewise, suicide bombers are not acting on religion, it's just a lame excuse.

Aradi said...

Thanks, Azazel and Myne. Hopefully, I'ma write a piece real soon.

Aradi said...

Well, you have asked for references Messiah, and rather than disturb my pharmacy friend's lab or anime time again, I have contacted my other friend who is kind of a genius (learned Arabic, memorised the Qur'an in the space of three years, gave lectures and wrote articles about Islam since he was like 17). This was what he replied;

"Regarding apostates killing them according to some Ulamah in this troubled times is not worth it. They argue that its done in an established Muslim society by Muslims or else not. iBN aL Arabi had the opinion that Hadd or capital punishment though the rule of Allah states it can be forgiven. If the punishment for espionage is death and so on as Muslims we believe leaving the faith of the creator after knwing and practising it is mockery and should be dealt with swiftly.
Though 3 days is given,,note that it's applicable for the practising Muslim and many Scholars are of the opinion that unserious muslims should be left alone and the misinformed should be given respite( Ibn Rushd). This aspect according to Imam Ghazzali is only understood by people that are already in the religion.
Regarding the Universe refer to (51:47). Regarding the creation of the Universe refer to Surah Anbiya(21:30) how there was a forceful separation and errthng. Allah spoke about the Embryology of human beings in surah Mu'minin (23:12-14) It spoke about the congealed blood which wasn't discovered until they had microscopes. Then also Alaqa (the leach like substance) is mentioned when Allah said " Khalaqal insana min Alaq [second ever revealed verse of the Qur'an]"He created man from a leach like substance". see this for another explanation by one of the top world doctors regarding surah Zumar (39:6)."

I have not edited it or copy/pasted the verses because I'm kinda tired right now. But we shall discuss it if you want.

Aradi said...

http://www.quran.com/23/14 for Human Embryology.

http://www.quran.com/39/6 suggests placentas and wombs.

http://www.quran.com/51/47 Expansion of the universe

http://www.quran.com/21/30 Separation of the heaven and the earth; every living thing originated from water.

If you wish, you can read on.

The Messiah said...

Well written Aradi, I must compliment you for your intellect. However, you seem to state certain things that aren't facts: You claim that the message of Jesus was for the Jews only. That's a huge error. It's evident in 1 Corinthians 10:32. Jesus gladly accepted everyone and His last command to his disciples was to spread the gospel to all four corners of earth (not just Israel). Furthermore, you claim Allah has many names (which is true), but so does Jehovah; The Great I Am, Yahweh, Jehovah Jireh, Jehovah Nissi, Jehovah Rapha, and some who portray Jesus as the same as Jehovah have many names for Jesus too; Emmanuel, Noel, Lamb of God, Light of the World, The Word, and so on. The numerous names are unnecessary in my argument, it's the God and it's origin. Jehovah, as I said is a Jewish God because that's where He originated from, and Allah originated from the Arabs. It could be the same concept of the same God, just like the Norse's God of thunder is Thor, but in Igbo land he is better known as Amadioha. So therefore, it is fair to say that Thor is a Norse God, Amadioha is an Igbo God, Jehovah is a Jewish God, and Allah is an Arabian God. It's ironic because I satirize this in my Parable of Santa's Believers: They worship the same Santa delusion, but say "their" Santa is different. For example, the Santanian might argue that his Santa isn't a tree-hugger like the ones the Palmers believe in.

You also made a paradoxical notion, by supporting capital punishment and claiming it is better to kill someone than to send them to Hell. Don't you believe that when you do kill a criminal (that hasn't repented) that you are sending him to Hell. Anyways that made me chuckle.

For the suicide bombing allusion I made, I'm sure your religion doesn't preach so and that isn't my point. My point is that the God delusion and inferences of holy war in the Qu'ran is what sparks ppl's incentives for doing such fuckerey. I'm saying without the God excuse, these ppl will show 100% self-accountability for their crimes, instead of saying their imaginary friend told them to do so.

Anyways, we can argue forever about this, but I can agree to disagree with you as long as you keep whatever you believe in as yours and not try to force it (you can preach not force) to others, or harm others because of your belief. If you keep that promise, then I could care less what you believe in. This is why I'm A LOT more comfortable with little people believing in Santa than grown people believing in God.

Aradi said...

First of all, I apologise if I have caused offence or harm to anyone by putting forth my claims. I am also aware that I am perhaps over-zealous in my approach. I'm new. I have never been in a forum such as this where we can openly discuss what people are afraid to touch upon in public.

Second, taking nothing away from your wonderfully written parable, I must say that I find the off-hand dismissal of our 'Imaginary Friend' to be harsh, especially a religion such as mine that has several branches of knowledge and fields of study and also practices of bettering oneself and the people at large. You think I have intellect? I am not even a scholar or regarded as knowledgeable at all; anyone with a basic understanding of the religion could tell you what I told you now. And there also is the inevitability that occurs whenever you say something about it. That is, that it is spoken out of a misconception.

Take for example the concept of Holy War. (before I go into this, I shall say that in the last year apart from Abdal Matallab's attempt at terrorism, a Jew and a Korean man were guilty of terrorist acts, make of that what you will). The Arabic word for holy war is Jihad, meaning 'to strive'. Jihad is actually of three kinds; there is the jihad of helping the community. When I give charity, it is Jihad. Then there is also the Jihad of the sword, which is done under certain situations, but that which requires that people oppress you to the point of which you cannot practice your own religion. The most important Jihad, or it's CNN translation, Holy War, is Jihad'in Nafs, that is the war against ourselves. Fighting against our temptations and desires. Muhammad regarded this as the most important 'Holy War'.

The two world wars, Vietnam, North Korea... these are all wars the USA has been involved in, no religious motive. I do not support terrorism of any kind, but believe me when I say those people know absolutely nothing about the religion they claim they are fighting for. We used to say in Kano, where I'm from, that those fighting Jihad cannot even recite the most basic verses in the Qur'an.

And then you say I presented a paradoxical notion. Well, perhaps from your perspective. Before someone is executed they are given a chance to repent, and sometimes they even give advice to the society and perhaps reclaim a little of all the honour they lost. They are not shamed in death. When they die, only Allah deals with them; he might very well forgive them and make them of the people of paradise for all we know. It is not in our place.

Aradi said...

Allah says in the Qur'an 'There is no compulsion in religion'. I hope I do not come off as trying to force anyone to believe in anything. We are all adults here, and I hope I am presenting adult opinions here. See, Islam does not get a fair trial anywhere, so forgive my approach in trying to present an unbiased view from the inside.

Jehovah, Yahweh, I Am... same thing. The philosophical aspect of the name itself is very interesting. Reminds me of the Qur'anic '[He says] Be and it is.' But I shall not go into that.

The 99 names I speak of are nothing like that; think of them as the 99 dimensions to God's nature. Each of them is a unique name that describes God to us; Ar Rahman, Ar Rahim, Al Malik, Al Quddus, As Salam, Al Mu'min, Al Mu'ayminun, Al Aziz, Al Jabbar, Al Mutakabbir. The Beneficient, The Merciful, The King, The Pure, The [bringer of] Peace, The Guardian and so on. Ninety nine of them. When we are praying, we pray to God using these names.

Hm, yup. We shall disagree on Jewish God vs Arabian God. As far as I'm concerned, same God, same message, people corrupted the messages from the past, Prophet Muhammad reminded us of such message. It does not have to be anyone versus anyone. Indeed, it is said in the Qur'an that the jealousy of the Jews prevented them from accepting that the seal of the prophets was from the Arabs not among them.

Whatever you think of religion, you have to respect Muhammad, the way he took a people so uncivilised and lost and turned them into world leaders at one point. This is a man who could not read or write but was a successful Businessman, War Tactician, Teacher, Leader, Family Man, and Judge without receiving lessons from other men.

I respect you, Messiah. And I am not forcing you to do anything you do not want. Christian men, Jehovah's Witness, have stopped me on the road several times to spread their message; I have each time politely replied that I am indeed Muslim but that their message is welcome, wisdom from all sources.

Peace (or salaam, or shalom... same thing)