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Old 19th February 2018, 11:15 PM   #1
winter salt
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The reason muslims (and maybe christians) assume that atheists have to be nihilists.

The claim that the "muslim (maybe even the christian?) god" is ultimately benevolent is very necessary for their belief in the afterlife, since it fixes all the deficiencies and injustices in this life in this universe, and leans on the assumption that to be in existence is better than not to be.

All the theology of the muslim comes down to this.

In the famous Quranic key sentence that is at the head of chapters and which muslims utter on every permissible deed the first attribute of the muslim god is "the all compassionate" and muslim scholars use this to claim that this first attribute of mercy and compassion in contrast to the second one in the same sentence applies to all conscious-living beings, by "God" having endowed them with conscious existence. And this benevolence and compassion does not come to an end in Hell, since the "gift" of conscious existence is not taken back from the people of Hell.

To prove the incompatibility of this claim with the Quranic messages is not so difficult. In the Quran there are verses that tells us that the people of Hell will be calling for death to escape from fire but it will be denied to them. It is obvious that they ask for their consciousness to be turned off. It is no different than not existing anymore. So the claims of muslim scholars on this issue don't agree with Allah's message in the Quran.

According to muslims as an atheist I still benefit from God's gift (to be in existence) while in Hell (and that is as a result of his all-encompassing mercy), yet I am at the same time being punished for not having acknowledged this gift in a past life !
(And yet the Quran says I will be calling death to the rescue from Hell.)

Now, what I would like to find out here is if the christian theology about existence and God's mercy is similar to the one of muslims ? Do they share the idea that to be in existence is better than not to be, so they can make an eternal Hell look like it's ultimately not the worst case scenario?

If they do, isn't it better for the debating atheist to skip all other theological crop and cut to the chase?
By first, showing that that claim contradicts their scriptures,
and
second, calling them to explain and prove that to be in conscious existence is better than not to be, for everyone, while many people do commit suicide and many Budists view eternal life as a curse, not as a benefit.
So how do they come to that generalization?

If this claim of theirs shatters so easily (at least for the audience) won't all the rest of them that depends strongly on this one fall also?

Another question I have is, is this theology the reason that believers claim atheists to be nihilists ?
And what's wrong if I am nihilistic if that's the feeling I am developing by watching the universe as objectively as I can ? (Not focusing only on the "good" stuff.)
Do I have to make my worldview as an atheist an appealing and optimistic one to the religionist to prove his claims wrong? Why is it in debates that I watch atheists try to remove themselves from this philosophy?

I want to add a side note about the believers' defense for Hell, or their claim of it being necessitated by the obvious injustices in "this life".
According to the Quranic message the eternal Hell fire is prepared for the unbelievers and those who call other gods' names with Allah's. It scarcely mentions -if at all- that the Hell fire is waiting for the rapists, murderers, thieves etc. The main purpose of Hell is to punish the unbelievers. Anyone who read Quran knows this.
So the modern muslim's usage of today's injustices for tomorrow's justice i.e. Hell, as proof, is a bogus one. Hell is for blasphemy. "Sins" can be forgiven, blasphemy "requires" Hell.

Last edited by winter salt; 19th February 2018 at 11:34 PM.
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Old 20th February 2018, 09:30 AM   #2
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You make a number of different points in your post; I'm going to split them apart individually.

Originally Posted by winter salt View Post
Now, what I would like to find out here is if the christian theology about existence and God's mercy is similar to the one of muslims ? Do they share the idea that to be in existence is better than not to be, so they can make an eternal Hell look like it's ultimately not the worst case scenario?
I've only really seen it in apologetics. Stuff like "it's better to exist than not exist, and God is by definition the best at everything, so we can assume he exists, and since he exists..."

Christian Hell is the theological equivalent of the dark basement an abusive father locks his kids in. "You gotta be good or Dad'll find out and he'll lock you in the basement!" kind of thing. Contrariwise, salvation doesn't rely on anything you do or don't do, but on whether God's been drinking long enough not to notice you sneaking past him into heaven.

Quote:
If this claim of theirs shatters so easily (at least for the audience) won't all the rest of them that depends strongly on this one fall also?
No. Cognitive dissonance is powerful stuff. You have to remember that theology isn't built up from first principles, but reverse-engineered from from a set of predetermined conclusions. The first argument that makes the foundation for all the rest was actually the last to arrive and is the easiest to replace.

Quote:
Another question I have is, is this theology the reason that believers claim atheists to be nihilists ?
I don't think so. I don't know about Islam, but Christianity (especially the lay variety) has some elements of pantheism to it. God is everywhere, under every rock and in the smile of every child. When you look up in the sky, there's a smiling beard up there, beaming back down on you. Everything good and right with the world, every element of beauty, that's the God bits (the bad bits are the ones that are not the God bits. Easy theology). Since atheists don't believe in the god stuff, how could they possibly appreciate the rest of it? They must be grumpy nihilists, because we would be if we couldn't see any good in the world either.

Douglas Adams said it best: "Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?"

Quote:
Do I have to make my worldview as an atheist an appealing and optimistic one to the religionist to prove his claims wrong?
You're never going to prove his claims wrong, but being optimistic is one of the generally better approaches. People are more likely to want to engage with you than if you were all pissy, and not fitting their stereotype makes you harder to dismiss out of hand.
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Old 22nd February 2018, 04:36 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by winter salt View Post
(*snip*) "Sins" can be forgiven, blasphemy "requires" Hell.
You present a lot of theological food for thought, so to speak, and focus on differing beliefs regarding the now and hereafter. Online video shows Salman Rushdie explaining his understanding of the differences between the Christian concept of original sin and the Muslim concept of honor/dishonor.
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Old 2nd March 2018, 04:49 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by winter salt View Post
...

Now, what I would like to find out here is if the christian theology about existence and God's mercy is similar to the one of muslims ? Do they share the idea that to be in existence is better than not to be, so they can make an eternal Hell look like it's ultimately not the worst case scenario?
I wouldn't know. All of that is so alien to me.

But I'd like to thank you for your posts. I always learn something valuable by reading them. Keep 'em coming!
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Old 2nd March 2018, 08:39 AM   #5
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Thanks. It's encouraging.
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Old 6th March 2018, 03:44 AM   #6
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"There is no original sin in Islam. There is no idea of original sin. So the question of sin and redemption doesn't exist. What exists instead at the opposite poles are honour and shame." Excerpt from the first 20 seconds of this video.
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Old 6th March 2018, 08:36 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by dellarte View Post
"There is no original sin in Islam. There is no idea of original sin. So the question of sin and redemption doesn't exist. What exists instead at the opposite poles are honour and shame." Excerpt from the first 20 seconds of this video.
Islam is almost a combination of Judism and Christianity (plagiarized). You can find a lot of them in Islam. Muslims also believe in the fault of Eve as the cause of their fall from Heaven. But I don't remember being a sinner because of it when I was a devout muslim. In that sense Islam teaches differeantly.

The idea of sin and redemption consumes the muslim psyce every moment of their life. I don't know what you mean by saying it doesn't exists.
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Old 6th March 2018, 05:51 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by winter salt View Post
Islam is almost a combination of Judism and Christianity (plagiarized). You can find a lot of them in Islam. Muslims also believe in the fault of Eve as the cause of their fall from Heaven. But I don't remember being a sinner because of it when I was a devout muslim. In that sense Islam teaches differeantly.

The idea of sin and redemption consumes the muslim psyce every moment of their life. I don't know what you mean by saying it doesn't exists.
Interesting.

By the way... the quote isn't mine.

The quote comes from the first 20 seconds of the video which should play if you click the underlined words in my previous post.
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Old 7th March 2018, 02:48 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by dellarte View Post
... the video which should play if you click the underlined words in my previous post.
Can you sound even more patronizing?

I've always thought Rushdie knows "his" branch of Islam as deeply as I know "my" Catholicism, that is, zilch.
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Old 7th March 2018, 07:34 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by aleCcowaN View Post
Can you sound even more patronizing?

I've always thought Rushdie knows "his" branch of Islam as deeply as I know "my" Catholicism, that is, zilch.

I indicated a link given the prior response.
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Old 8th March 2018, 06:05 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by dellarte View Post
Interesting.

By the way... the quote isn't mine.

The quote comes from the first 20 seconds of the video which should play if you click the underlined words in my previous post.
The reason i didn't respond to the video segment is that I didn't knot what to make of it. I am not sure of what he is saying. I am not able to compare islamic concepts to their christian counterparts. I just said what I knew about sin and redemption in islam. But when someone wants to speak of a religion they should really stick to the cannons of it and the earliest interpretations and applications of it. An Indian muslim can be very different than a European muslim in their understanding and application of islam.
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Old 9th March 2018, 06:51 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by winter salt View Post
But when someone wants to speak of a religion they should really stick to the cannons of it and the earliest interpretations and applications of it. An Indian muslim can be very different than a European muslim in their understanding and application of islam.
But is no less important, and importantly no less muslim, for having come along later. It is religion as it is currently practised which influences peoples' lives, not how it used to be done or is done by other people elsewhere.
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Old 9th March 2018, 09:17 AM   #13
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More patronizing? What winter salt said loud and clear is that the video (Rushdie) doesn't correspond with Islam as it is widely felt and practised today.

I've always doubted Rushdie knows "his" muslims well.
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Old 9th March 2018, 12:35 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Beelzebuddy View Post
But is no less important, and importantly no less muslim, for having come along later. It is religion as it is currently practised which influences peoples' lives, not how it used to be done or is done by other people elsewhere.
i think it's at atmost importance to refer every religion to its primitive origins in debates and in trying to help someone who is deconverting from it.
Also it's quite necessary to be able to carry on a debate. You can't possibly know every denomination of every religion but you can find out tenets shared by all of them.
Also the earliest practice of Islam contains slavery, internal political fights, savage conquests, death for apostasy, stoning of "adulterers" etc that no Muslim can deny. Why not bring them up right of the bat and show the modernist muslims how dishonestly they ignore them. It'll go against their claim that Allah gave them the "perfect and completed" system.
I love to tell them every time that the people that thought them about the heavens didn't even know about the continent's of the world they lived in.

But for this post,
i wish people cared to get into the main topic I'm interested in discussing.

Last edited by winter salt; 9th March 2018 at 12:36 PM.
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Old 9th March 2018, 01:01 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Beelzebuddy View Post
But is no less important, and importantly no less muslim, for having come along later. It is religion as it is currently practised which influences peoples' lives, not how it used to be done or is done by other people elsewhere.
i think it's at atmost importance to refer every religion to its primitive origins in debates and in trying to help someone who is deconverting from it.
Also it's quite necessary to be able to carry on a debate. You can't possibly know every denomination of every religion but you can find out tenets shared by all of them.
Also the earliest practice of Islam contains slavery, internal fights, savage conquests, death for apostasy, stoning of "adulterers" etc that no Muslim can deny. Why not bring them up right of the bat and show the modernist muslims how dishonestly they ignore them. It'll go against their claim that Allah gave them the "perfect and completed" system.
I love to tell them every time that the people that thought them about the heavens didn't even know about the continent's of the world they lived in.

But for this post,
i wish people cared to get into the main topic I'm interested in discussing.
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