The Literary Salon

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Location: Toronto, now Ottawa, Ont, Canada

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Religious Logic

I culled the following brilliant quote by Thomas Paine from Ibn Warraq's compelling Why I am not a Muslim:

"It is a contradiction in terms and ideas, to call anything a revelation that comes to us at second-hand, either verbally or in writing. Revelation is necessarily limited to the first communication — after this, it is only an account of something which that person says was a revelation made to him; and though he may find himself obliged to believe it, it cannot be incumbent on me to believe it in the same manner; for it was not a revelation made to me, and I have only his word for it that it was made to him."

This of course applies to all revelatory religions. Indeed, wouldn't it make more sense for God to appear at, say, a soccer stadium full of 50,000 people?

Incidentally, Ibn Warraq is an ex-Muslim who is speaking out in favour of secularism. Unlike other "reformers" of Islam, such as Irshad Manji, Warraq is a scholar with a comprehensive knowledge of the Koran and Islamic tradition as well as history. He has a book due out in October called Defending the West: A Critique of Edward Said's Orientalism. I have to read Said's book for my upcoming comprehensives, but I will most certainly support Warraq's efforts by buying the book. I have already read short pieces online where Warraq skewers Said on some very basic matters. In fact, Said is guilty of some historical inaccuracies that would make a sophomore blush! You can read the piece here

Warraq makes another point in his book that I'd never considered before. People, myself included, tend to believe that Monotheism is a natural human progression from earlier polytheistic beliefs. However, the historical record shows that Monotheism is incredibly intolerant (the track record of Christianity and Islam is not flattering). By contrast, polytheistic religions are, by their very nature, more tolerant.
One thing worth noting on this point is that the religious violence done in the name of God during the past 1500 or so years was unknown to the ancient word, i.e., ancient Greece, Rome, and Persia.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

why you not shown respect to my belief.

islam celebrates. western bias dominates your one sided view.

i respect savior Jesus Christ and you cannot give equal courtesy. this is your western centric belief in own importance.

it make me want to vomit

3:01 p.m.  
Blogger Pious Labours said...

sure buddy, whatever

3:12 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lay off of PL... it is obvious PL does not like Middle Eastern people


4:53 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yat, you suck...

Towelheads suck


6:07 p.m.  
Blogger Pious Labours said...

Yat, assume whatever you want. I think it's strange that you say I don't like middle eastern people since I have many friends who are from that region.

I suggest you work on your reading comprehension skills before you throw accusations around.

6:29 p.m.  
Blogger Pious Labours said...

...and thank you, Yat, for proving your ignorance by assuming that middle easterners=muslims. Not only are there many people from that region who are NOT muslim, but there are more Muslims in North Africa and Indonedia, the latter being the most populous Muslim nation on earth.

8:01 p.m.  

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