Hawking’s threat!

Stephen Hawking has passed away. I was in the middle of class, teaching, when a student of mine read the news. I was sad but I continued teaching with a stronger desire. We have this one life to appreciate and flourish, and he certainly did! All of his struggles and all of his accomplishments. And now… after his passing, the whole world is paying tribute to an atheist, except for some believers!!

I have been surfing around religious blogs here and it is not fun! All the hate speech and anger towards Stephen Hawking! Why? Has he threatened your charlatan prophets and gods? Has he questioned your false beliefs? Has he told you that you’re quite insignificant in a universe so vast with high probability of alien life existence? Has he shattered your dreams of going to a utopia with free food and sex slaves?

Stephen Hawking has indeed denied the very existence of God, not your God only, any God, automatically disproving any religion and afterlife! I understand your anger! He has threatened all of your dogmatic beliefs and now the whole world is praising him! You are not used to this, I know! Well… get used to it! Your gods and prophets are losing their significance! And please at least read a book about Stephen Hawking or just google him before writing against him!

https://youtu.be/7L7VTdzuY7Y

Morality of religion… NO! Thank you!

It is believed that religion is the ultimate model of morality, and whoever follows a religion is considered as a moral person within that specific religion.
Religion texts are ancient, and they reflect the values of the times when they were written”. Humans live and thrive on a corrective feedback system. We improve ourselves everyday. Thirty years ago, we used to smoke every where, now we can’t smoke even outside a restaurant in Melbourne. This is corrective feedback system. Now, do you think the values and morality of the past three milleniums have stayed exactly like how they used to be? The answer is an obvious no! You may argue that the Bible or Quran is God’s words and it is never-ending and it’s always true. In this case, I would offer you my counter-arguments with examples of both texts. As follows, the examples given are instances of social issues or behaviours which were believed to be moral or ethical, but in the modern world we consider them irrational and preposterous.
1- Slavery: Bible has numerous references to slavery. Not condemning it but basically giving instructions and guidlines as how to own slaves. For more info you can read Leviticus 25:44-46 where the guidlines of ownership are explained and Exodus 21:20-21 where how to behave with slaves is explained. Quran has the same situation. If you look at Quran 8:69, 24:32, 2:178, 16:75 and 30:50, you can see that Quran doesn’t condemn slavery, but appraise it. According to Quran, muslims are more than welcome to take war booty (women as sex slaves and men as slaves). Also, muslims can have sex with their slaves. They can also have unlimited supply of sex if they temprorarily marry them. Temporary marriages (Nikah mut’ah) are a dark side of Islam which I will discuss in another post. Also, there are numerous hadiths about slavery. Here I quote one of them: Sahih Bukhari (80:753) – “The Prophet said, ‘The freed slave belongs to the people who have freed him.'”
2- Homosexuality: According to the Bible, homosexuality is punishable by death (Leviticus 20:13). Quran 7:80-84 explains how God rained stone on ‘the people of Lut’ who were the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, because of their sexual practices. As they died by rain of brimstones, islamic clerics have interpreted that as a punishment for homosexuality. Thus, the punishment is stoning!
3- Adultery: According to the Bible, adultery must be punished by death (Leviticus 20:10). In Islam too, according to Sahih al-Bukhari, v.9,book 83, Hadith 17 the blood of a Muslim can be shed if a married person commits illegal sexual intercourse. In Quran, there’s no reference to capital punishment for adultrey, however, there are lots of hadiths that affirm such punishment.
4-Deconversion: In Islam, deconversion from Islam is punishable by death. According to Sahih al-Bukhari, v.9,book 83, Hadith 17, the blood of a Muslim can be shed if one leaves Islam.
5- Wife-beating: It is clearly stated in Quran that a Muslim man must beat his wife if she is disobidient. Quran 4:34 advises that if a wife is arrogant and disobedient you must first advise her, then forsake her in bed and then strike her.
Out-of-context argument: Many believers would argue that the mentioned texts above have been misinterpreted out of context. As a linguist, who has worked decoding and understanding layers of language in morphology, semantics and pragmatics, I have to say that the texts whether in context or out of context have the same meaning. They are stand alone sentences, following the grammar rules of their written language. The texts above are not phrases or clauses, they are complete sentences. Also, by pragmatics of language, they are prefectly meaningful. So the agument of out-of-context is a total fallacy.
Morality can perfectly exist outside of religion. As it does in animals. Moral standards are social constructs that change overtime. Morality by religion is argument ad populum. Since, many people believe in it and practise it, does not make it true! People believed that the Earth was flat. Did it make it flat? No!

Why is God so angry?

Growing up in Iran, I had been exposed to constant Islamic indoctrination, and I had questions, lots of them. Mostly simple ones. What has always fascinated me was the questions of Why god is so angry at us? If he loves us (which I found that he doesn’t love anyone but himself in the most egocentric way possible), why he threatens us? What kind of sick game was this? Why would my uncle go to hell for drinking wine if wine is offered in heaven in abundant (actually in rivers!!)? Why shouldn’t I read the translation of Quran in Farsi so I can understand? If this god is so omnipotent, eternal and ever-present and immaterial, why does he bother himself with a man biting an apple, or drinking wine or? Half of my childhood was filled with fear and questions. But, I finally have the answer! and no fear of course!!

First of all, let’s see who created our God. The answer is a man. I particularly discuss about the Abrahamic god who is a man himself. He is anthropomorphized as a man or a father figure, and is referred to by masculine pronouns in the “holy books”. In my mind, when I was a child he was a man too, someone like Zeus, powerful and dominant, sitting on a bed of clouds. Abrahamic god is indeed a dominant despotic male god, and it roots from our nature.

Humans just like some other animals, particularly primates, live in groups, and instinctively a group requires an alpha to lead the group, to help them survive. Following the alpha and submitting to him has been in our nature, as it was a way of survival. Humans wouldn’t have survived without this way of life. Submission is in our nature! I know it sounds harsh because we want to be unique, rogue and free, but well… we are not! Throughout the history of man, the alpha have always had the power of food, sex and territory. As our cognitive abilities evolved, men in power such as kings secured more power for themselves by calling themselves gods. Then, they had the ability to authorize violence and oppression. Take ancient Egypt for example. These man-based gods, as they were the dominant male of their tribes, concerned themselves only with food, sex and territory. The three main requirements of survival. To ensure security of them, aggression, intimidation, territorial acquisition, sexual control and violence have been practised by all gods since then incontrovertibly!

When societies developed and moved forward, from nomadic to agrarian and to more complex societies, the role of the gods changed to reflect new life styles and concerns. The power of the gods grew to control greater masses of people (I highly recommend you to study the history of Israel, from polytheism to the Crusades.You will find rich examples on this matter). Just like Greek or Nordic gods, the Abrahamic god started with scaring people of natural forces, punishment and offering some sort of vague prize and then it evolved to a pervert but smart businessman in Islam. The god of Islam, Allah, monopolized sex, food, territory, commerce and money flow for one dominant male in the Arabia, Mohammed! I think we all know how he became dominant by presenting one dominant god! After Mohammed, the story continued, Muslims captured territories, women, food and wealth.

Religions have been created and empowered by monarchs throughout the history to ensure survival, from Stone Age untill now, particularly by likes of David, Constantine, Mohammad, Suleiman, Ismael I, etc.

So, next time you wanted to say prayer, go to church or keep the sabbath, just think who’s controlling you, who’s the alpha? Is it really about morality and salvation or is it about power and survival? Are you a pure soul in the eye of God or are you just a pawn in a game of power?