Sunday, April 03, 2005

Islam is a Bad Religion - Here's How to Reform It

Letter from Muslim Leader Kamal Nawash

I recently received this from Kamal Nawash, President of Free Muslims Against Terror:

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Tuesday, March 29, 2005 1:45 AM
Subject: March Against Terror and For Freedom and Democracy

March Against Terror and For Freedom and Democracy

The Free Muslims Against Terrorism are proud to announce that on May 14th 2005, Muslims and Middle Easterners of all backgrounds will converge on our nation’s Capital for a rally against terrorism and to support freedom and democracy in the Middle East and the Muslim world. This will be the first rally of its kind in Washington DC that is lead by Muslims and Middle Easterners.

Join us in sending a message to the extremists and supporters of terrorism that we reject them and that we will do all we can to defeat them.

We also want to send a message of hope to the people of the Muslim world and the Middle East who seek freedom, democracy and who reject authoritarianism and the use of violence that we are with them and that we will do all we can to support them.

This rally is NOT limited to Muslims and Middle Easterners. All people are welcome to join us. We request anyone and everyone who supports our message to join us at the rally. We want to send a message to the extremists and terrorists that American Muslims, Christians, Jews and people of all faiths are united against terrorism and extremism.

We welcome all endorsers and we ask that you circulate and publish this message to as many groups and people as possible. Help us make history.

Free Muslims Against Terrorism

My Answer to Kamal's Letter

Here was my response to the letter:

Dear Kamal Nawash, President of Free Muslims Against Terror:

I really appreciate your work to unite Muslims against terrorism.

You and I know that, from the example set by Muhammad, Islam teaches hatred and violence against those who resist it. We also know that Islam is as much a force of social regulation and political control as it is a religion.

The Key to the Sins of Islam

You cannot eradicate the evil oppression, theft, torture, and murder from Islam until you do something effective to modify the religious documents upon which it is built. The evil in those documents simply must be excised. If that does not happen, Muslim hate mongers will continue to brew death and destruction in the name of Allah. That is exactly the opposite of what any right-thinking person should want.

So, I have a question for you: Why don't you start upstepping the religion of Islam to a truly benign religion?

Why do I ask this? Because it is obvious that if you don't work to upgrade Islam, rather than merely ignoring the brutality and iniquity in its root documents as you have been doing, you are therefore part of the problem, rather than part of the solution. Marches, and effete political statements are virtually worthless because they don't remove the cause of the problem.

The Cause of Islam's Support of Terrorism

Why are the root documents like the Qu'ran and Hadiths the problem?

1. They contain evil (encouragement to oppress, rob, torture, and murder non-Muslims who resist Islam), and

2. They tolerate the broad interpretation of both ancient and modern clerics as to meaning.

3. Most Muslims, even those who are highly intelligent, see the Qu'ran and Hadiths as being the infallible "word of God", in spite of the evil, superstition, 7th century social stupidity they contain.

Muslims are encouraged by those documents, and by their religious convictions that the documents are bona fide "word of God", to commit acts of murder, mayhem, and terror against non-Muslims.

How to Up-Step Islam

How can you up-step Islam? Well, here are some suggestions.

1. Abandon it in the trash heap of history where it belongs. Islam served a purpose of uniting desert pagans under the banner of monotheism. Now it serves as the laughing stock and object of hatred of right-thinking people all over the world, for it promotes terrorism along with belief in God.

2. Promote the excise of all elements that promote oppression, torture, murder, and holy jihad in the form of war or terrorist acts.

3. Encourage a return to the Gospel, of which Muhammad spoke so highly.

Interestingly, if you read the Qu'ran thoroughly, you do not find the points of that Gospel enumerated, even though Jesus spent his entire public ministry teaching it.

Quick Comparison of Muhammad to Jesus

If anyone had credentials to teach such a Gospel, it was Jesus. When you compare the credentials, words and deeds of Jesus to those of Muhammad, you see a huge difference.

1. Jesus - By Muhammad's own admission in the Qu'ran, and as corroborated by both the modern Urantia Book and the four gospels in the Bible's New Testament, Jesus had better credentials than any other prophet before or since.

a. Was the offspring of God (created by his spirit),
b. Was born of a virgin (Mary),
c. Was a perfect human being
d. Was a creator (made a bird from dust)
e. Was a prophet (spoke for God)
f. Was a miracle worker
g. Was the Messiah (savior)
h. Rose from the dead
i. Is a judge (will decide who goes to Heaven on judgment day)
j. Taught the Gospel (good news plan of salvation)
k. Claimed he was speaking for the Heavenly Father himself.

2. Muhammad - By contrast, Muhammad himself, according to history and his own admission, was intrinsically evil:

a. Was a thief (lead his warriors on raids)
b. Was a torturer and murderer (led his warriors to kill other tribes)
c. Was an oppressor (imposed harsh conditions on society)
d. Was an enslaver (encouraged the keeping of slaves)
e. Was a philanderer (encouraged men to cheat on wives)
f. Was a pedophile (married a 6-year-old girl, consummated the marriage at 9)
g. Was a warmonger (encouraged holy jihad)
h. Was an ignoramus (could not read or write)
i. Was chosen by Gabriel to be a prophet and pass on a revelation.

Considering the above, it is no wonder that Muhammad fomented hatred among backward people. And that makes it all the more surprising that modern, well-educated people of good will, feel it necessary to embrace his teachings while trying to explain away their gross deficiencies, such as those that spawn terrorism and social oppression.

More to the point, the brilliant credentials of Jesus, not to mention the dire warnings of Muhammad that Muslims should embrace the Gospel of Jesus, should impel truth-seeking Muslims to discover what his Gospel actually was.

As I mentioned, you cannot find an enumeration of the points of the Gospel in the Qu'ran, but you also cannot learn it from Christians because they are followers of Paul, not of Jesus. Therefore, let me summarize the Gospel for you and explain why it was such good news for the Jew and pagan religionists of 2000 years ago, as it is for the Muslims of today.

The Gospel

1. The Fatherhood of God - We should accept the fact that God exists, he is our Heavenly Father, we are his children, and he loves us.

Pagans believe in a multiplicity of gods, but Jesus taught there is only one God. Jews and Muslims do not see God as a father, but rather as a sometimes benign and sometimes revenge-seeking deity who will sometimes murder, torture, or torment his subject human beings. Jesus showed through his own behavior what a loving father is like, for he claimed to be revealing the nature of the Heavenly Father to the people around him. And he truly was a loving person.
The point here is that Muslims and Jews, while acknowledging God's love for humans, do not believe that humans can truly become like God. And yet that is what an understanding of the relationship between God and his children Jesus taught leads to. Children can grow up to become like their parents.

2. The Brotherhood of Man - We should believe that all humans are our brothers under God's fatherhood, and so we should love them and serve them unselfishly and lovingly.

Some Pagans see everything as an expression of God, and naturally conclude we have an obligation to show the nature of God to others. However, Jews and Muslims do not believe other humans are their brothers. Jews believe other Jews are their "neighbors". Muslims believe other Muslims are their "brothers."

These beliefs of estrangement from other humans leads Muslims and Jews to feel justified in cheating, oppressing, robbing, torturing, or murdering other non-Jews or non-Muslims, often in the name of God, or just because they feel superior to others. In fact, Muhammad's concept of holy jihad blatantly encourages Muslims to wage war against those they consider to be "unjust" against (resist) Islam.

Jesus, however, taught by example that we should love others, forgive them of their sins against us, and serve them unselfishly and with love in our hearts. Jesus' concept of brotherhood with all other humans forever put to rest any notions that we are entitled by superiority of birth or belief individually to lord it over our fellow humans. Instead, we were charged by Jesus to express the Father's love to them.

3. Faith in Becoming Like God - We should have faith in the effectiveness of the supreme human desire to do the Father's will, to be like God.

Christians, Jews, and Muslims do not believe we can ever be like God. In fact, Christians believe we were all born sinners and only the sacrificial blood of the crucified Jesus can atone for our sin natures. Jews and Muslims believe God can and will punish us in this life. All three groups believe God will punish the sinner or unbeliever in the afterlife by an eternity of hellfire. Many Jews do not even believe in an afterlife.

By contrast, Jesus taught that our progress in becoming like God will be rewarded in Heaven. He intimated that our progress does not end here on earth, but it continues once we get into Heaven, and that we can go on beyond his domain to stand face to face with the Father himself ("No man comes to the Father but by me."). He taught that we earn God's forgiveness by forgiving others. And he taught that we shall live forever by loving God and our fellow humans.

What is the purpose of living forever? The Urantia Book suggests many grand adventures are in store for us, commensurate with our abilities. Where do we get these abilities? By working diligently to bear the "fruits of the spirit," just as prodigiously lifting weights will enable us to lift ever greater weights, to the limit of our individual capacities.

The implication is that we ourselves may someday be sent on missions of grave universe import to the evolving worlds of outer space, in the name of God. As Jesus seems to many humans as an incarnation of God, perhaps we shall be similarly seen by outer space humans of the far away future if we are true to our trusts.

Jesus clearly indicated it is important that we seek personal perfection in our daily lives, that we show God's love to others, and that we be devoted to the Father's will. What is all this discipline of ourselves about if not to train us become more like God? And of what merit is that if not to be a more powerful and perfect expression of the nature of God to others at some future time?

Why the Gospel is So Magnificent for Muslims

Ambitions such as those embodied in the above three points of the Gospel are way beyond those enjoined in the religious texts of Jews and Muslims which tell people to be "good" so they won't be punished by God. The lure of the divine carrot is missing from those texts.

That carrot-lure is the prospect of being like God and with God in eternity, not simply to hang around Heaven and frolic with angels (as Christians and some Jews suppose), or to be waited on hand and foot by and have sex with virgins (as Muslims suppose). Rather it is to be the ambassador from and embodiment of God to future willed creatures on future worlds in the vast reaches of time and eternity. Who can imagine a grander adventure than that? Preparing us for such an adventure is the long-range purpose of our lives here on earth.

Up-stepping Islam, as well as the other religions of our planet, to such a vision is not just a good idea. It is mandatory. And that won't happen by simply ignoring the negative and bad parts of our religions. We cannot merely excise the bad parts from them, for even the good parts are largely blind and limited in scope. Even Christianity is so far from the religion of Jesus - the Gospel he lived and taught - that his religion is barely recognizable in the muck of the atonement doctrine.

In my opinion, the only right action is to abandon those archaic religions with their pagan roots and embrace a new religion based on the Gospel Jesus taught. Then we will not have to apologize or explain away inconsistent and illogical assertions that God encourages his children to oppress, rob, torture or murder one another for this or that reason, or that people should proclaim a sacrificial murder of a perfect, divine human being as an act of atonement condoned by God.

If you want to up-step Islam, the best way to do it is to read the Urantia Book, embrace the Gospel Jesus taught and lived, and encourage all your fellow Muslims to do the same. The enlightened among them will leave Muhammad's faulty seventh-century notions of religion as an instrument of social regulation and political control in the dustbin of the past.

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