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Theme Changer

 Topic: CEMB Greatest Hits - posts you may have missed

 (Read 141762 times)
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  • CEMB Greatest Hits - posts you may have missed
     Reply #420 - March 31, 2016, 11:35 AM

    Yes it is in fact, which isn't Christianity is it? But that's the topic for another thread.

    No free mixing of the sexes is permitted on these forums or via PM or the various chat groups that are operating.

    Women must write modestly and all men must lower their case.!
  • CEMB Greatest Hits - posts you may have missed
     Reply #421 - March 31, 2016, 12:14 PM

    Such a salafi.  Tongue
  • CEMB Greatest Hits - posts you may have missed
     Reply #422 - March 31, 2016, 12:42 PM

    Yes it is in fact, which isn't Christianity is it? But that's the topic for another thread.

    On that basis you could say I was never a Christian even though I thought I was. I think the same would go for most of my RE teachers.
  • CEMB Greatest Hits - posts you may have missed
     Reply #423 - March 31, 2016, 03:06 PM

    Such a salafi.  Tongue

    That's biddah!  Tongue

    No free mixing of the sexes is permitted on these forums or via PM or the various chat groups that are operating.

    Women must write modestly and all men must lower their case.!
  • CEMB Greatest Hits - posts you may have missed
     Reply #424 - March 31, 2016, 10:38 PM

    So is post modern Christianity essentially just treating the Bible as if it was a piece of literature like Shakespeare or Animal Farm that is to be read and analyzed as fiction to get moral lessons out of it ?

    Not quite. Jesus is still seen as a historical figure. The focus is on what he taught not the miracles of his life. The parables not the magic show. Miracles are superstitions and cause major issues with benevolence. It is inter-subjective, idealist and about the individual. Orthodoxy is about structure, authority, objectivity and the group.

    Let be honest, no religion has show itself to be objective fact. So why bother with the claim at all? So many focus on the "True Religion" rhetoric they ignore some of the major points of every religion.
  • CEMB Greatest Hits - posts you may have missed
     Reply #425 - April 08, 2016, 01:23 PM

    Hi A Muslim. Like you, I used to be a Muslim. More than that, I lead the prayer because I was and am a Hafiz and people had sought my opinion in matters of figh, Aquidah and tafsir alike. One of the things that made me doubt the deity of Allah was the concept "this life is a test".

    I wanted to know who the examiner or tester was. Then I found it was Allah, the all knowing God. But I found this to be inconsistent; the basic meaning of <test> in any authoritative dictionary of Arabic or English is "carrying out activities and or asking questions in order to establish the veracity or the truthfulness of things which have not previously been known to the examiner".

    Thus, I ended up between two positions:

    A - That Allah was examining us as it is mentioned in [67:2] in order to establish things which have not been previously known to Him. Therefore, Allah has been telling us an untruthful thing when He claims to know everything. Everything in this case includes that which had happened, and that which is happening and that which will happen and which did never happen if it were to happen, when, where and how it would have happened. This is me breaking down the meaning of omniscient. Therefore, this lying Allah cannot be the True God, because a true god does not need to lie.

    B -  That Allah knows everything beforehand and thus, His act of examining us is Him wasting His time because for Him to witness the coding or witnessing what he's written put in motion, which He knows to go according to plan, is nothing new and does not add anything to His never changing knowledge.

    Thus, if He knows then why is He examining us, and if He does not know the outcome of the test, then why did He say He knows? Allah is either lying when He says he knows everything beforehand or He is being frivolous by having nothing better to do but witness mechanically what He has ordained to happen 50 thousand years before He created the heavens and earth.

    The second position, that Allah is just witnessing His well-known plan coming to action by creating us, is inconsistent with things like His angry reaction to what we or other people do such as found in [43:55].

    Anger is an emotional reaction to something unexpected. There should have been nothing unexpected to all-knowing Allah. Thus, if Allah gets angered or disappointed then He more likely hopes and wishes rather than He knows the outcome of everything; Allah could not know for a cert how anyone of us responds to anything of His wants (الإرادة الشرعية) if He at the same time gets disappointed and angered by the outcome. Therefore, 'disappointable' Allah simply lied by claiming He knows everything. (If in principle we risked angering Him, why did Allah create us in the first place?)

    Allah has either lied by claiming complete knowledge of everything or He factually knows everything because He's written it thereby He preordained everything. If so, then nothing escapes His predestination and therefore, we sin because Allah has willed us to sin and we do not have any agency away from whatever He has written and planned for us.

    This practically means Allah is unjust which is inconsistent with a god that says He is, as well as a god that needs to lie to us by telling us we have freewill when He had written everything and every possibility down before He created us. By telling us we are free agents for which we individually must earn our places when the examination is over in either Jannah or Jahannam, Allah is claiming to be allowing us to choose whatever our reason and desires may lead us to. Thus, Allah should have been emotionally ready and Allah should have been respectful of the outcome of giving us individual agency i.e. freewill. Allah cannot give us freewill and then when we act on it in ways which He does not like He angrily cries foul.

    Square this circle convincingly for me and I promise to lead you in the Taraweeh of this year's Ramadan in London.
    Updated and proofread.

  • CEMB Greatest Hits - posts you may have missed
     Reply #426 - April 09, 2016, 01:59 PM

    Still, during this time [while one is closeted Ex Muslim and living at one's parents] there will be want unfulfilled, curiosity unexplored, mistakes unventured. No one really knows when or even if they'll ever get the opportunity to live their own life. And it's easy for those who can do so now with ease to devalue or forget what it is like to live in someone else's life instead of one's own. There are countless experiences that cannot be shared, taboos that cannot be broken, sensitivities that must be guarded. All the while prevarication becomes one's habit, as what is genuine is sacrificed for what is convenient. For those of great discipline and resilience this is something that can be done, but never without leaving its mark I don't think.

    This tearful paragraph is an immeasurably soulful howl.

    Time gets its full due in it as it arches our backs over the deep river of our unrealised dreams. Unshed dreams, if you like. There is suddenness to the cruelty of folded time; all the lives one can live, away from family interference, are laid bare to the ongoing diminished life.

    Words won't do when one cultivates and focuses too much reflective sensitivity of this sort, for one is going to escape rational existence every time.
  • CEMB Greatest Hits - posts you may have missed
     Reply #427 - April 09, 2016, 03:26 PM

    Thanks Wahhabist. Your thoughtfulness once again exceeds itself.  Smiley

    how fuck works without shit??

    Let's Play Chess!

    harakaat, friend, RIP
  • CEMB Greatest Hits - posts you may have missed
     Reply #428 - April 11, 2016, 12:26 PM

    Thanks Wahhabist. Your thoughtfulness once again exceeds itself.  Smiley

     No, thank you my dear for aligning and levelling a beautiful layer of non-parti pris decay over another. The paragraph is, as your countrymen would aver and say, it. We begin frail and march to fragility knowing we could easily have not existed. You really did make me cry a little which I quickly medicined by seeking out another self-contained miracle of reflective prose in the economy of a paragraph:

    “A warm flow of pain was gradually replacing the ice and wood of the anaesthetic in his thawing, still half-dead, abominably martyred mouth. After that, during a few days he was in mourning for an intimate part of himself. It surprised him to realise how fond he had been of his teeth. His tongue, a fat sleek seal, used to flop and slide so happily among the familiar rocks, checking the contours of a battered but still secure kingdom, plunging from cave to cove, climbing this jag, nuzzling that notch, finding a shred of sweet seaweed in the same old cleft; but now not a landmark remained, and all there existed was a great dark wound, a terra incognita of gums which dread and disgust forbade one to investigate. And when the plates were thrust in, it was like a poor fossil skull being fitted with the grinning jaws of a perfect stranger.” Vladimir Nabokov, Pnin
  • CEMB Greatest Hits - posts you may have missed
     Reply #429 - April 12, 2016, 12:27 AM

    I hope it was a welcomed cry, rather than an unwelcome one, in which case instead of apologizing, I would say your welcome.

    how fuck works without shit??

    Let's Play Chess!

    harakaat, friend, RIP
  • CEMB Greatest Hits - posts you may have missed
     Reply #430 - April 27, 2016, 09:48 AM

    I think highly enough of the people on this forum to hope and trust they can walk the tightrope between rightfully caricaturing Islam and wrongfully demonising Muslims. Equally, I do get the restrictive psychological pressure of trying not to offend through one's style of discourse, probably because when I write, I try to write like an angel while thinking like the Devil.

  • CEMB Greatest Hits - posts you may have missed
     Reply #431 - May 18, 2016, 10:01 PM

    On speaking to Jehovah's Witnesses:

    I was home from work sick about a month ago and a group of them came through, an older lady and a guy that looked to be about 25. Both of them were African American.

    We actually had a pretty fun conversation. At least I did.

    They started off by asking me about my “favorite piece of scripture,” so I asked them to clarify which “scripture” they were referring to. It took them a while to grasp that their bible was not the only holy book in existence, but once we established that they were restricting me to the Old and New Testaments, I quoted Ecclesiastes. “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.”

    “Oh, that’s an interesting one,” the older lady said, moving on to make the point that things were only meaningless without God.

    “Which God?”  I asked. “Well, God doesn’t change.” She said.

    “Sure he does!” I replied, as I went on to describe the schizophrenic differences between God in the Old and New testaments.

    I then went on to talk about how I was most impressed with the Sikh concept of God, as monotheistic gods go however, and picked their knowledge on Sikh theology. They expectedly did not know much, so I offered to take one of their pamphlets and read it if they would agree to research Waheguru and the Guru Granth Sahib, and honestly consider with all of their hearts why they don’t accept Waheguru as lord. The lady actually took notes! I had to spell Sikh for her!

    The guy then chimes in, saying that it was an Arab religion like Islam! “No, no, no! Islam is something quite different!” I said. We spoke about Islam for a while, with me never revealing that I’d once practiced it, until I drew the lesson of the dangers of certainty in one’s faith by asking them where they happened to be on the morning of 9/11. Those 19 guys were just as sure in their god, I commented.

    I then went on to ask if any of them were Bob Marley fans, to which they both replied, “a little.” I asked why, as children of Africa, they refused to believe in an African Messiah manifested in the form of Haile Selassie. We spoke a bit about the expected role of the Messiah – that he would be from the line of Solomon, crowned King of Kings, Conquering Lion of Judah, and that he would defend the house of Israel from its enemies. And how, well, historically at least, that is precisely what Ras Tafari did. That it happened to have occurred in Ethiopia rather than in the eastern Mediterranean should not matter much. After all, Ethiopia was considered “New Jerusalem” after the Muslim conquests of the Middle Ages, just as Byzantium was considered “New Rome” after the sack of Rome.

    They weren’t really following along with the connections there. It was way above their heads.

    "But Bob Marley pursued a musical career, not a religious career," the older one quipped. "Music and spirituality have always been linked!" I said. Consider the role that music still plays for us as African Americans in our church services!"

    She conceded, but insisted on taking me back to this idea that God never changes.  “Of course he does,” I said again, “but go on and finish your point.”

    “Humans change,” said the younger one, “so God's laws might change for us in accordance with our own changes. But God does not change because God is good.”

    I started trying to help them understand the ties between what we consider to be “morality” and what makes a functioning human society. “Show me one culture where murder was tolerated within the group. Show me one culture where theft was tolerated within the group. Murder of the other has of course been tolerated, just as it is in the Bible. But you can’t have a functioning human community based on the routine and accepted murder of group members. It’s bound to cause some problems eventually. Banning it would be a pretty logical thing, with or without a “god.”

    They still weren’t following.

    I asked them to consider what “morality” might look like from the perspective of a lions’ pride. If they could establish norms, what might lions consider to be “moral,” and in what ways would that differ from what lions were naturally going to do anyhow. As I began describing lion behavior that for us might be considered “immoral” but works for a pride of lions – things like killing off babies that might pose a challenge to the dominant male when mating season comes, or singling out the weakest and most vulnerable prey to hunt and kill – the older one got frustrated and said they had somewhere else they needed to be.

    I welcomed them to stop back by any time they wanted to chat. The older one confirmed that she probably would not. The younger one, looking a bit perplexed, said that he might.

    Before they left, I asked for just one more word with them. I said that this is the beauty of our secular democracy. People are free to believe whatever of these outlandish convictions I exposed them to today, but not to impose their views on anyone or force legislation to support their particular beliefs. That, I said, should be our goal as Americans. I also reminded them to read up on Waheguru.

    how fuck works without shit??

    Let's Play Chess!

    harakaat, friend, RIP
  • CEMB Greatest Hits - posts you may have missed
     Reply #432 - May 25, 2016, 02:21 AM

    Hmm.. these tubes shows evolution of   a Baboon  ., Well no one can escape that...  Life evolves..baboons are  also life.,

    "Life is not a matter of holding good cards, but of playing a poor hand well."
    - Robert Louis Stevenson
  • CEMB Greatest Hits - posts you may have missed
     Reply #433 - May 25, 2016, 06:58 PM

    Today was finally the first time I broke my fast by eating. Felt good. dance

    by eating?

    so what about the other times u broke ur fast Tongue?


    By having gay anal intercourse.

    "Life is not a matter of holding good cards, but of playing a poor hand well."
    - Robert Louis Stevenson
  • CEMB Greatest Hits - posts you may have missed
     Reply #434 - June 01, 2016, 02:05 AM

    I don't believe in identity politics and as such don't believe in dichotomous identities such as Muslim vs. ex-Muslim. I know it sounds weird to a lot of people, but to me the opposite (i.e. the need to identify as one or the other) is just as weird. To me the question isn't whether it's to be a Muslim and change the religion from within or leave the religion altogether, but rather if it's possible to be both simultaneously. And the answer as I see it is yes. I feel I belong in Muslim spaces just as much as I belong in ex-Muslim spaces, and I feel I don't belong in Muslim spaces just as much as I don't belong in ex-Muslim spaces.

    I'm a Muslim or an ex-Muslim depending on what definition you use. Most ex-Muslims use the definition prescribed by conservative Muslims, but I think that gives conservative Muslims too much power and reinforces their position.

    Don't let Hitler have the street.
  • CEMB Greatest Hits - posts you may have missed
     Reply #435 - June 13, 2016, 12:53 AM

    I don't feel like I'm really back yet until I've moved one of ibn Bilal's posts to the thread they belong in.

    Religions are a lot like food. All have some form of nutrition. Some do more harm than others. And your preferences will largely depend on what you were exposed to and grew a taste for.

  • CEMB Greatest Hits - posts you may have missed
     Reply #436 - June 13, 2016, 12:56 AM

    Aww, you're such a tease. But I'll fall for it anyway. 001_wub

    Welcome back!
  • CEMB Greatest Hits - posts you may have missed
     Reply #437 - June 13, 2016, 12:57 AM

    I never tease! Many thanks. 001_wub
  • CEMB Greatest Hits - posts you may have missed
     Reply #438 - June 13, 2016, 02:31 PM

    Most people here know me as the guy who made videos criticising Islam and who helped found this forum with Berbs and Oz and so perhaps regard me as fundamentally an ExMuslim.

    But the truth is I'm not. I am a Muslim.

    I am a Muslim whose journey involved 5 years loss of faith & identifying as an ExMuslim (from 2007 to 2012 - ie from the age of 48 to 53)

    I was not unique nor different from other Muslims. I really was a pretty orthodox Muslim who had been active all my life within the UK Muslim community. I devoted my life to Islam. I studied it, taught it at an Islamic School, wrote books for Muslim children and was actively involved with a Dawa society.

    I remember Maryam Namazie once saying to me when we were at a social event - drinks in our hands - that she couldn't imagine me as a practising Muslim. I told her actually I was pretty much the same person I am now. If you met me then you would find little difference apart from my drink would be orange juice. I was a peaceful, tolerant Muslim who did his best to impose his own humanity onto his faith.

    I wasn't a freak. I wasn't unique. Most of the Muslims around me were like that. Maybe I was fortunate to be in a Muslim community in the UK that was like that. Coming from Anglo-Egyptian parents meant I was spared the closed and insular mentality of communities found amongst Asians in parts of the UK or North Africans in France & Belgium or Turks and Kurds in Germany etc…

    Perhaps that meant I was amongst less culturally tied Muslims and the fact I was a teacher it may have meant I mixed more with educated Muslims too.

    I don't know, I'm just trying to guess why I have been fortunate to have a good experience amongst Muslims. My Egyptian father and convert mother taught me as a child that Islam is just about being a good person. They didn't bother with anything else - apart from reading Al-Fatiha before bed.

    But from what I saw throughout my life - I was not unique nor different. Most Muslims I knew were like me. They believed Islam was about being a good person, about love, charity, prayer, honesty, being upright, good character etc…

    Yes there were issues that troubled me and I know they troubled my friends and colleagues too. But we skipped around them, we resorted to apologetics or just avoided them, telling ourselves “there must be an explanation” it's just that we don't know it yet.

    For the most part it wasn't a problem.

    But when I went through a personal crisis which coincided with the events like 911 - I was forced to take stock. My journey then took me through a loss of faith and although I have now regained it - it nevertheless left me with different views and a changed perspective.

    But I'm not a different person. I'm the same person I've always been. Seeking nothing more than peace, love, harmony, and trying to be the good person my mum and dad wanted me to be.

    And I know I'm not alone and I'm not unique. Most Muslims that I have been fortunate two know in my life - family, friends & colleagues - are like that.

    But I also know it's a very, very, difficult and painful journey that I probably would not have gone on if life hadn't dealt me some hard slaps in the face.

    But it's a journey others are on and so if those of us who have made that journey can't empathise and lend a kind friendly hand then who can?

    What prompted this stream of consciousness are the horrible events yesterday at a Gay nightclub in the US.

    When I read about it I posted my shock and condolences on my Facebook timeline. This was before it was known he was a Muslim inspired by ISIS. At the time it seemed he was a far-right bigot.

    That didn't and doesn't make a difference to me.

    l felt a deep sense of sadness, empathy, pain and heartache.

    I would have felt the same when I was a more orthodox Muslim too.

    But there was one difference and I'll be totally open and honest about it.

    I no longer felt afraid to openly and unequivocally stand with the gay community. To say loud and clear that anyone who thinks God disapproves of who you choose to love is part of the problem.

    What my journey has done is not so much change me but free me from fear of saying what my head and heart thinks and feels, rather than having to pass it by holy texts or scholars.

    how fuck works without shit??

    Let's Play Chess!

    harakaat, friend, RIP
  • CEMB Greatest Hits - posts you may have missed
     Reply #439 - June 13, 2016, 03:36 PM

    Thank you asbie x
  • CEMB Greatest Hits - posts you may have missed
     Reply #440 - June 16, 2016, 10:14 PM

    I would encourage any Muslim who views Muhammad Ali as an inspiration to actually visit his hometown. Go to his grave and pray over his body. But, before you do, also stop by the graves of the Confederate soldiers and generals who were once hailed as heroes in his home state for defending the “Old Way” of slavery.

    Come out of the cemetery and drive around the Highlands area. Grab a meal at one of the fantastic restaurants on Bardstown Road. Consider that as he was growing up, Muhammad Ali would not even have been able to enjoy a cup of water at any of those seats.

    Drive around the homes of the area. Cruise down Castlewood Avenue and Valley Road. Check out the amazing houses and tree-lined roads. Consider that 12 year old Muhammad Ali would have known that no matter what he achieved in life, the racism that plagued his hometown meant that he would never have been able to live there.

    Head over to the west side of town and cruise down Grand Avenue, the street on which he grew up. Stop at his childhood home, but before you do, take a drive around the neighborhood. His childhood home is freshly remodeled, but the rest of the neighborhood looks like any other black, segregated neighborhood in the south. Ponder over the fact that, regardless of their profession or proficiency, a black man at the time would have known that this was all they could ever aspire towards in segregated Louisville.

    Then consider what the (racist) black nationalist teachings of the Nation of Islam might have sparked inside of him. Consider the sense of pride, the sense of personhood, the sense of self those teachings must have given him. Think of what it must have done to his dignity as a human being.

    Then consider the courage it must have taken to disavow those racist ideas and become a sunni Muslim.

    Visit the Ali center and consider the millions of human beings that Muhammad Ali inspired. Buy your tickets from the young white girls behind the counter. Take a picture of all the people, from all backgrounds and religions, that Muhammad touched with his life. Go upstairs and sit through his talk on spirituality. Hear him say that there is truth in Hinduism, truth in Islam, truth in Christianity. Accept that had close Jewish friends, close Christian friends, and that he viewed humanity as one. See past the dogma of your particular world view and embrace the human ideals of love and equality that the man came to embrace, even as he personally identified as a Muslim.

    Accept that he was as flawed as they come, and that many conservative versions of Islam would have seen him stoned, flogged, or gruesomely executed ages ago. Accept that he was a human being. Appreciate all the bigotry he was able to overcome, just as you appreciate the many flaws the man displayed. The fact that he did not die a racist, a fundamentalist, or a Jihadist - appreciate that.

    Appreciate the journey that the man embarked upon and truly see what he did with his religion and with his life. Do that, and you just might be worthy of using his name and life to promote your particular view. If you don’t, I fear you might miss what Muhammad Ali was really all about.  

    The only thing we have to fear is fear itself
    - 32nd United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt
  • CEMB Greatest Hits - posts you may have missed
     Reply #441 - June 16, 2016, 10:29 PM

    Wonderful post ibn Bilal
  • CEMB Greatest Hits - posts you may have missed
     Reply #442 - June 16, 2016, 11:06 PM

    Thank you, guys.
  • CEMB Greatest Hits - posts you may have missed
     Reply #443 - June 18, 2016, 03:06 PM

    The key is to realize that there's no void to fill. The"void" is a myth created by religion—especially Abrahamic religions—to make us believe that we can't survive without religion. We don't need a higher meaning for existence. Life is full of spirituality.

    To be honest, I don't know how to explain it. But I know that I have been where you are, and I became much happier once I unlearned the religious teaching of needing to fill some kind of void. What you are going through is a remnant of religious teachings. You need to let go of it. It's really fucking difficult and can take years and years, but it's possible, and you'll be really, really happy once you get rid of it. Believe me, you think you were happy with religion, but religious happiness is fake. Religious spirituality is fake. Real spirituality is in the present. You will experience life in all its vibrancy and richness. You will experience life without blinds or shutters, without anything or anyone telling you how to experience it. It will be so personal. It will be all yours.

    Imagine life as the most beautiful painting in existence. Religion is like someone who comes in, shuts you out of the room that has the painting inside and describes to you what the painting looks like while you're outside. Religion prevents you from actually experiencing the painting. You can only ask questions about the painting, and maybe religion will answer them for you, if the person feels like answering them. But eventually you can kick out the guard of this painting and go into the room and sit in front of the painting and experience it with your own eyes. And somehow, one day, you will realize that you're actually in the painting. The most beautiful painting in the world, and you're in it. And you will think back and wonder why you were so satisfied with someone merely telling you what the painting looks like, why you thought merely being told about the painting made you happy.

    If you want my advice, go to a quiet natural place, sit down, and take a few deep breaths. Turn your attention to your breathing. Then turn it outwards towards the sounds around you. Really listen to everything. Just sit and listen. And if your attention wanes, turn your attention back into your breathing, then back out. What you will experience is life. This is true spirituality.

  • CEMB Greatest Hits - posts you may have missed
     Reply #444 - June 18, 2016, 04:58 PM

    Well said Absurdist  x
  • CEMB Greatest Hits - posts you may have missed
     Reply #445 - June 18, 2016, 08:23 PM

    Quote from: gal_from_usa
    A lot of people fear hell when they're leaving religion, but by studying the history of hell, that fear can be reduced. Islam took ideas about hell from other local religions, including the Zoroastrian, Christians and to a lesser extent, Jews, and the Arabic word Jahannam is directly transliterated from the Hebrew Geh-Hinnom.
    Geh-Hinnom is a real place that exists, but it isn't anything like its descriptions in Muslim texts, and therefore the people who wrote those texts probably didn't know anything about the real Geh-Hinnom and were just copying and pasting directly from other texts, and just adding embellishments to existing myths. Geh-Hinnom means "valley of Hinnom", and it is located outside what would have been, in ancient times, the walls protecting Jerusalem. Hinnom was a guy who is purported to have owned the land millennia ago, although to my knowledge, there is no real evidence that he existed.
    The badness of Geh-Hinnom was in its being a burning landfill. It was used as a landfill because of its convenient location outside the city, but without a good way to bury the trash to keep it from smelling, it was set on fire. This was before electronics were invented and metal would have been too precious to throw away, so the stuff in the trash would have been organic in nature, easily flammable without expelling toxic fumes. The thing that originally made it seem like a threat as a place of repose after death is that no one wants to have their dead body thrown in a dumpster and set on fire; this wasn't meant to be a threat of eternal judgement at first, just a really unpleasant thing that could happen if you were a public nuisance.
    It was especially strong as a threat when you consider that there was, at least on some level, ancestor worship and a belief that the dead were in some way alive in their graves and able to effect the living. This is especially evident in the things they wrote about their patriarchs, people like Samuel, David, and Abraham. They believed that these people were not fully dead, they were "resting with their fathers", and able to, by acts of their own will, effect the world of the living. They could be consulted and could curse or bless you, leading to good or evil happening in your life.
    The earliest texts to mention Geh-Hinnom as a place of repose after death do not consider it eternal. They state that the maximum amount of time a person can stay there is about a year. To them, this was probably not about the soul in the modern sense of the word; it was probably about how quickly the body would decompose sufficiently to leave the landfill completely and return to the cycle of nature. They probably meant that within a year, the body would be absorbed back into the ground or life cycle of nature, freeing the ancestor spirit associated with it from any suffering it may be experiencing in its living death. But it was not a place of torment of an eternal soul, at least not in the same way that Plato would have thought of the soul.
    A legend began circulating at some point that there was, at one time, child sacrifice that Hinnom or his sons allowed to happen on their land, which was why it was used as a landfill by later peoples. This is more than likely a legend, for several reasons. First, there is no archaeological evidence of this ever happening, either in the valley or in the nearby areas. Second, the accounts of this were written by enemies of the people who are purported to have done it; enemies of people are, in general, a bad place to go to get information about the people in question, as stories tend to be exaggerated and sometimes even made up, even in the modern era (such as weapons of mass destruction purported to be in places where they weren't). Third, the accounts don't appear to be from the same time as the events they describe; they seem to come centuries later, increasing the probability that it wasn't true.
    The idea of Geh-Hinnom continued to metamorphose. The epistle of James, possibly written before the canonical gospels, mentions Gehenna (Greek for Geh-Hinnom) as a place from which evil comes. By the time the Christian gospel writers were putting down their ideas, they wanted to make clear that their ideas of Gehenna were different. The earliest of the canonical gospels, Mark, definitely believes that the punishment is eternal:
    Mark9:47 "If your eye causes you to stumble, throw it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, than, having two eyes, to be cast into geh-hinnom 48 where their worm does not die, and their fire is not quenched." Matthew and Luke, which both probably used Mark as a source material in their works, refer to Gehenna as well. Matthew promises doom of Gehenna liberally. Luke only refers to it once, warning that God has the authority to throw you there, and so you should be careful not to cross him.
    Christian ideas changed in the next few centuries, and soon had adopted a very Platonist view of body/mind duality and the separation of an ethereal soul from a physical body. This is a topic that can be covered at length, and I'm not going to really get into it, but the idea is that the body is a part of the physical world, the physical world is evil, and only by shunning the physical world can the ethereal soul be freed to enter a more pure realm.
    Islam incorporated many of the ideas of the version of Christianity local to its thinkers. It also enveloped the Persian empire within a hundred years of being founded and incorporated ideas from Zoroastrianism, such as the resurrection of the dead before a final judgment of individual souls, each standing and accounting before God, and of the sun and moon darkening before the final judgment; as well as ideas about hell specifically, such as that hell is full of foul smells and vile food, and souls being tightly packed together but each believing themselves to be in total isolation. What is most interesting about this is that the conquest of the ancient Persian empire (completed by the end of the reign of Umar, the second caliph) occurred prior to the commitment to writing of any of the Islamic texts, including the Quran (begun during the reign of the third caliph, Uthman). Also from Zoroastrianism came the idea that the punishments of hell fit the crimes of the punished, and that there were individualized punishments for individual punishments for individual crimes. This idea found its way into the Christian world via Dante’s Divine Comedy and in particular Inferno, written between 1308-1320, although it does not appear within the Christian doctrinal texts. Dante more than likely got the ideas from Islam, which in turn got them from Zoroastrianism; but Zoroastrianism is a non-Abrahamic faith, and is not considered to be part of the “Judeo-Christian tradition”, whatever that phrase means.
    But what about Jahannam? It still exists as a place in the real world, and none of these tortures are happening there. Today the landfill is gone and there's no fire, and there are no eternal worms. One can go to Jahannam and see that none of the insane tortures from the Muslim texts are happening there. No one is being hung from their hair or flayed alive. The fire that was deemed unquenchable by the Christian texts was put out. There are no “living dead” ancestors walking around cursing you. So apostates shouldn't be afraid of jahannam when they're told by their friends and family that that is their future destination, because it's really not all that bad. In fact, there's even a water park and a swimming pool.

  • CEMB Greatest Hits - posts you may have missed
     Reply #446 - June 18, 2016, 08:51 PM

    ibn Bilal got there before me. Absurdist's post about filling the void that religion leaves is, to use Absurdist's metaphor, the painting of posts. Beautiful, inspiring and full of hope for what lies ahead without Islam.
  • CEMB Greatest Hits - posts you may have missed
     Reply #447 - June 18, 2016, 09:20 PM

    Aww, shucks. Thanks.
  • CEMB Greatest Hits - posts you may have missed
     Reply #448 - July 02, 2016, 10:28 PM

    If you are raised with a certain belief in how things are supposed to be, and everyone around you constantly confirm it, then it will be really hard to think differently.
    You hear the very same Americans who would benefit immensely from a better health care system fight the very idea tooth and claw. Because the have been told over and over again (by the people who make big money on the present disaster) that it will be a horrible communist mayhem to change anything.

    Contact with other people who have different ways and views, not to mention education, can open your eyes and mind to the alternatives.
    Totalitarian religions and cults are well aware of this, and tend to demonize outsiders and avoid contact and education.

    Here is a nice one:By a JW governing body member:

    how fuck works without shit??

    Let's Play Chess!

    harakaat, friend, RIP
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     Reply #449 - July 13, 2016, 11:00 AM

     ....If you acknowledge that Islam is a man-made religion, then whoever invented it is dead and their opinion and intentions are irrelevant. And if people are gonna keep believing in it, we might as well hijack the religion to make sure they believe in decent, humane things, rather than fucked up oppressive shit. Fighting against that is absurd and harmful.....  ...... Absurdist 

    Do not let silence become your legacy.. Question everything   
    I renounced my faith to become a kafir, 
    the beloved betrayed me and turned in to  a Muslim
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