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!

Religious fundamentalism and the man behind it

It is quite bold to say that there was ONE man behind Islamic fundementalism, however it is true. Abu Hamid Al Ghazali was a Persian theologist who put an end to the Golden Age of Arabic/Persian science. Lived between 1055 to 1111 AD, he took the Islamic world back to the dark ages with the help of the vizier of Seljuq dynasy of Persia, Nizam Al Mulk. Nizam Al Mulk ,who established religious colleges, institutionalised religious studies and laws and created lucrative career for Mullahs and preachers, which has prolonged until today.

Al Ghazali started bashing science, blaming it to be harful to Muslims’ faith. As the brain of Nizamiye, Ghazali knew that religion wouldn’t stand a chance against logic and science, and its weakness would lead to Saljuq’s dawn. Thus, he criticized Avicenna, Al Farabi and Aristotle’s philosophy and wrote a book on the incoherence of philosophy and science, claiming that religion was the ultimate answer. (As you might know, Avicenna is the most influential physician of the Islamic Golden Age and the father of the early modern medicine, and Al Farabi was a philosopher and mathematician.)

Al Ghazali’s fear and hatred toward logic and science was so fierce that he accused mathematics of being the Satan’s work! Al Ghazali , in his effort to bash science, claimed that everything happened becuase of God’s will and nothing would happen if God didn’t will it to. As an example, he explained that cotton burned near fire had not happened because of a natural law or an independent law of cause, but it only happened because God willed it to!

His numerous publications and claims led to the end of the Islamic Golden Age, an era which had not started because of the religion ,despite its name, but ended because of the religion.

Al Ghazali and Nizam Al Mulk can be considered as the most influential people in shaping today’s Islam world, particularly Iran. The establishment of religious studies, creating the career of muslim clergies and the shaming of science have all led to what we have today as Islam. Iran as an Islamic country respects Al Ghazali by calling him Imam Ghazali and considers him as a renewer of the faith. It’s not surprising as Mullahs and Ayatollahs rule the theocracy of Iran.