This man comes up to you and says, “I am Phil, the latest prophet of God.”
And you say, “Really? How do you know that?”
He says, “I have this book that says so. Look.”
And he hands you a folded piece of paper, which you open up, and it says, …
This book was written by a truthful person and not a liar, honest. I your God commanded him to write it.
Believe anything the author of this book tells you about me, your God. When he appears to be making up convenient stories to solve a problem, he’s really getting a message from me, on the invisible hotline. Honest. It’s true.
When your belief is challenged by someone using reason and evidence, that is the work of a liar tempting you, so beware, and maintain your faith in this book and its bearer, Phil, my messenger.
Does that sound credible?
How about if it was just a little more ‘religious’ sounding?
This is the Book about which there is no doubt, a guidance for those conscious of God.
Who believe in the unseen, establish prayer, and spend out of what We have provided for them, and who believe in what has been revealed to you, [O Phil], and what was revealed before you, and of the Hereafter they are certain [in faith]. Those are upon right guidance from their Lord, and it is those who are the successful.
Indeed, those who disbelieve – it is all the same for them whether you warn them or do not warn them – they will not believe. God has set a seal upon their hearts and upon their hearing, and over their vision is a veil. And for them is a great punishment.
Are you convinced yet, about the authenticity of Phil’s message?
Only that’s what happened with a bunch of people, who listened to a guy like Phil, and believed him, way back, in the early 600CE. Maybe they weren’t such fools. Maybe their Phil came up with a plan, inventing a religion – so maybe those guys, and Phil, were liars. Or maybe just deluded men. Personally, I’d guess their religion was invented, with the purpose of making stuff up in order to impress and control people. Like old Joe Smith with his ‘golden tablets’, or L. Ron Hubbard and his Scientology.
Stories like this shouldn’t be the least bit convincing to any intelligent person with an ounce of reason – and of course most such stories are not believed, though one often is, especially if the believer is indoctrinated from infancy.
Here’s some more:
And say, “The truth is from your Lord, so whoever wills – let him believe; and whoever wills – let him disbelieve.” Indeed, We have prepared for the wrongdoers a fire whose walls will surround them. And if they call for relief, they will be relieved with water like murky oil, which scalds [their] faces. Wretched is the drink, and evil is the resting place.
The only difference between Phil’s bit of paper and this other stuff is that a bit more effort was put into it, over decades and centuries, … over millennia by some religions that continue to try to find ways to justify the beliefs.
And to be fair to believers from the distant past, with very limited technology and hardly any science to speak of, making up stories and believing them was par for the course. Everyone did it.
And to be fair to children, they seem to be built to believe their parents – a survival imperative in early and pre-human evolutionary times. But we make kids believe in and then disbelieve in Santa, and the tooth fairy, so why not gods and prophets? Why don’t we outgrow them? Religion has momentum on its side, not truth, or evidence.
That’s why Islam is so successful: like a runaway wagon, lots of momentum and no brakes. What brakes might work are tampered with: apostasy and blasphemy rules.
And it all stems from a hopelessly naive act of believing what someone says, and then accepting what he says when he tells you he was told and what he was told is true, because it came from God.
There have been lots of liars like Phil with their holy books. Believers tend to accept no more than one at a time.
Two of the passages quoted above are from a holy book. So is the other. One of them is bullshit. So are the other two.
If you’re a believer, just think about it. Your whole belief, that there is actually a god, is based on a stream of holy books up to and including the one you have settled on. Does that really sound credible to you?
Even in Mohammed’s time there were people that saw right through the claims he was making. And when they called him out on it, he said …
Quran 16:101 – And when We substitute a verse in place of a verse – and Allah is most knowing of what He sends down – they say, “You, [O Muhammad], are but an inventor [of lies].” But most of them do not know.
So, Mohammed admits to making this stuff up as he goes along, and his answer to being called out on it? “What do they know.”
Anyone with an ounce of sense, and without mind controlling indoctrination, can see right through this nonsense. Mohammed made it all up as he went along. At best, this is the work of a seriously deluded person, or Mohammed is a liar that produced a holy book, and he used it for his imperialist expansionist purposes (which may not have been his original intent, but became a sudden opportunity not to be missed). His later followers continued to use this book, this imagined deity, as the ultimate authority upon which to justify their conquests.
If Islam were truly a religion of peace it would be in decline, like many truly peaceful religions. Christianity didn’t get where it is today without persuading people by the sword, the rack, the burning stake. But the ‘nice’ bits of Christianity are in decline.
Some people seem highly susceptible to spirituality to such an extent they seem to want and need something beyond the world in which we find ourselves.
But if you don’t indoctrinate children, and if you don’t threaten or actually kill people that don’t believe, if you present only a ‘nice’ religion, you end up with a plethora of fantasies where a few people invent their own manual for life, where a hippy guru can con tens, hundreds or even thousands of people they have discovered true meaning – just look at West coast America throughout the hippy years.
Jesus, Mohammed, they were the hippies of their time. They made up religions – and their followers built religions around them.
Surely nobody is stupid enough to believe our guy Phil, here, … now, … today? Why are people still clinging to the words of the Phils of the past? Why do so many very smart people cling on to unevidenced beliefs that clearly conflict with similar equally unevidenced beliefs?