Beliefs Culture The 'Splainer The 'Splainer

The ‘Splainer: What the fatwa?

Sheikh Abdallah bin Bayyah in Canada in 2010.
His Eminence Shaykh Abdallah bin Bayyah in Canada in 2010.

Photo courtesy of the official website of His Eminence Shaykh Abdallah bin Bayyah

Sheikh Abdallah bin Bayyah in Canada in 2010.

(RNS) In his address to the United Nations on Wednesday (Sept. 24), President Obama singled out one Muslim cleric, Sheikh Abdullah bin Bayyah, for having the courage to issue a fatwa against the Islamic State, or ISIS, or ISIL — or, if you are French, “Daesh.”

Bin Bayyah is a member of the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies in Abu Dhabi, and Friday he and other religious leaders joined a symposium combating radicalism and extremism in Washington, D.C. Which raises a few questions:

What the heck is a fatwa anyway?

A fatwa — an Arabic word — is a legal opinion made by an Islamic judge or cleric about an area of Islamic law. It’s kind of like when the U.S. Supreme Court issues a decision. But that’s where the similarity ends.

Any Islamic cleric can issue a fatwa. But no fatwa is universally binding across Islam. If that were true with the Supreme Court, then only those Americans who agreed with Antonin Scalia — and yes, there are some — would need to worry about the Hobby Lobby ruling, and those who agree with Ruth Bader Ginsburg would go on as if the Hobby Lobby case did not exist.

Fatwas are not issued at random — a case must be brought before a cleric for a fatwa. Fatwas can be issued for very small things — like what to do if you are on a plane and can’t say your required prayers — to very large things — like what do about the Islamic State. Such petitions can be sought by individual Muslims or by Muslim communities.

So, if fatwas are not binding, then why do Muslims pay attention to them?

Because fatwas are based on a cleric’s reading of Islamic scripture and other revered texts, and because scripture bears weight with religious people. They are considered informed legal rulings, not random opinions or ideas. Generally, Muslims follow only the fatwas issued by clerics in their particular branch of Islam — Sunni Muslims heed fatwas issued by Sunni clerics, Shia Muslims adhere to fatwas issued by Shia clerics, etc. Think how while Protestants like what Pope Francis says about the Bible, they are not bound by it even though both Catholics and Protestants are Christians.

Salman Rushdie in New York City in 2008.

Photo courtesy of David Shankbone, Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Salman Rushdie in New York City in 2008.

But don’t underestimate the power of a fatwa just because it isn’t binding. Just ask Salman Rushdie. His 1988 book, “The Satanic Verses,” upset a bunch of Muslims who felt it disparaged the Prophet Muhammad — a serious offense within Islam. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, then chief cleric of Iran, issued a fatwa that called for Rushdie’s head. (In 1998, Iranian President Mohammad Khatami said Iran no longer supported Rushdie’s murder.)  A slew of other Muslim clerics, in turn, issued fatwas saying Khomeini’s fatwa was invalid. Still, Rushdie, his wife and son spent years hiding and in fear for their lives, something he recounts in the memoir “Joseph Anton.

Well, I definitely don’t like the sound of that fatwa. Can I get another one?

Yes! Muslims can go to as many clerics as they like and ask for a fatwa about anything until they get a ruling they like.

So, if fatwas are not binding and can be issued by clerics of different leanings, what is the big deal with bin Bayyah’s fatwa?

The big deal is that very few Muslim clerics have issued critical fatwas about the Islamic State, and Western leaders see attaining Muslim allies like bin Bayyah and others as critical to defeating radical Islam. In his fatwa, bin Bayyah wrote: “The means to evil ends are also evil, and noble ends can be reached only by noble means. So one cannot use genocide, murder, oppression, or vengeance to establish truth and justice.”

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Kimberly Winston

Kimberly Winston is a freelance religion reporter based in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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  • The US Constitution has the Fatwa against all Fatwas.
    “Congress shall make no law establishing a religion”

    Thank goodness
    we have the Establishment Clause!
    Too bad the rest of the world still trusts in religious madness.

  • The Church of England might be charmingly odd, and some of its clergy agnostics; but Anglicanism is the state religion and the cultural flower of civilized Englishness. Therefore it (and its Amrican version, the Episcopal Church) while occasionally eccentric, –must be exempt from your impolite and sweeping inclusion of the C of E with other sects’ “religious madness.”

  • @Aunt Raven,

    “impolite and sweeping inclusion of the C of E with other sects’ “religious madness.”

    1. “impolite” – Christianity; preaching that there is only one way to live and die. All others are wrong. That is impolite.

    2. The Church of England is not benign.
    It still recommends: Prayer, respect for a deity, avoidance of ‘sin’, bowing to an unaccountable authority, reverence for holy texts such as, “execute them in front of me” – Jesus (Luke 19:27)

    Religion is not some benign, harmless project. The rat of passionate religiosity is waiting in the sewer to re-emerge as long as these religious institutions exist.

    They need to be abandoned entirely and the churches remade into museums to an extinct cult.

  • Atheism is not benign. Every culture or political system that has atheism as one of its central cultural norms has been murderous and genocidal. Atheism has killed many more people than religion — The Terror of the French Revolution, the Communist Gulags of the USSR and the Cultural Revolution of Red China as well as the Killing Fields of Cambodia come to mind. These are all societies that espoused Atheism as a cultural norm and actively suppressed religion.

    Very likely atheism has been responsible for killing on the order of at least a quarter of a billion people since 1792 on a planet that did not reach a billion in population until circa 1800.

    Atheists perceive that there is only one way to live, without God, and actively move to suppress religion so atheists are impolite as well. As already shown, the track record of atheist societies is that they are also not benign.

    Save us from your followers Voltaire, Stalin and Mao..

    Inigo de Ona

  • Some low ball figures for executions under Atheism:

    Reign of Terror
    http://www.factmonster.com/dk/encyclopedia/french-revolution.html
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reign_of_Terror

    Communism
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_killings_under_Communist_regimes

    You can also add the genocides of the atheists Hitler and Mussolini and their political allies. In reality, of the powers that started World War II, only the Japanese Empire was overtly atheist so almost all of the death and destruction of World War II can be laid at the feet of practicing atheists.

    Atheists are very efficient, they do make the the various religions look like pikers when it comes to mass murder.

    Inigo de Ona

  • But then again in a sense atheism is a religion based on faith. Since the existence or nonexistence of God cannot be proven scientifically, the atheist must rely on the same organ that the believer relies on to inform him of the existence of God that electro-chemical wonder the human brain. Please do not tell me that you use ‘logic” to inform yourself where as other believers use “emotion”. Some of the most emotional people I know on this subject are atheists.

    So there is no real difference between atheists and other believers.

    THe people who are the most scientific and logical about the whole thing are agnostics but they have other issues.

    Inigo de Ona

  • @Inigo de ona,

    You already lost your argument. History speaks too loud.

    Your Hitler was among the most religious leaders in history.
    “Gott mitt Uns”

    You apparently don’t know what the word ‘religion’ means. Nor do you understand what a ‘god’ is.

    There are no good arguments for any gods.

  • Supposedly you as an atheist are the logical, scientific one. Refute what I say. Show me how religion of atheism, or the belief system of atheism if you prefer, and it followers are superior to any other religion or belief system and to everyone else.

    Inigo de Ona

  • @Inigo de on a,

    “Reign of Terror”

    Nonsense.
    The Reign of Terror was a faith-based mob. They raised a ‘goddess of reason’ and used faith to kill. There is nothing Atheistic about that!!!!

    What I hate about religion is the lies it tells about those who can’t believe in a god or those who discover that god is not likely to exist.

    Who do you people think you are? You have no evidence for gods yet you blow these outrageous claims at the rest of us as if you did!

    “I killed my son for you in a terrible slaughter and I did it to save you from Me!!!” – YAHWEH
    “And if you don’t believe me I’ll do worse things to you for the rest of eternity” – Yahweh

    Do you really think grown ups of the future are going to keep believing this garbage?

  • “Do not point to ‘faith-based’ dictators:like Mao, Stalin, Hitler, Hirohito, Pol Pot etc…
    That is not Atheism.”

    By that logic, yo can then say that much of what is going in Islam is not religion by simply saying that is not what I call religion?

    Of the aforementioned dictators only Hirohito did call not himself an atheist. Hirohito, according to what I have read, was a follower of Shinto. The others where all good atheists whose rhetoric sounds like yours with regard to the suppression of religions other than atheism.

    Inigo de Ona

  • @Inigo de On a

    “Show me how religion of atheism…”

    WHAT??
    Atheism isn’t a religion! it is the lack of belief in a god! It is a reaction to the claim that God exists – where is your god??

    There is no ‘religion’ in not believing. You don’t believe that Zeus is a real god and you give ZEUS ABSOLUTELY NO THOUGHT AT ALL!

    Does that constitute a religion? Your lack of belief in Zeus?
    Don’t be ridiculous.

  • “Gott mit uns” was a hold over from the German Empire and was used by the Wehrmacht, many of whom were not Nazis or ahteists The Waffen SS, the truly Nazi soldiers, wore Meine Ehre heißt Treue (‘My honour is loyalty’) on their belt buckles.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gott_mit_uns

    Religion is a world view or system of belief that may incorporate a super natural being. Atheism is such a system as it has a belief about a super natural being.

    It has a negative belief in a supernatural being whose existence or nonexistence cannot be proven.

  • The same reason that atheist worship — they just do away with the goddess appendage. Read Voltaire and Rousseau, the prime philosophers of the enlightenment upon which the French revolution was based and you will find they are best agnostic and really very atheist

    Your belief in a super natural being is just a negative belief. You cannot prove that a super natural being or beings do not exist. No different than the Jihadists who have a belief in a supernatural being that they cannot prove exists. You both blame the other for the world’s ills and want to suppress the other.

    Where is the difference?

    Atheist by its very name is negative in that it denies the existence of God without offering a replacement. There have been atheists around for a very longtime — even in antiquity — and the atheist belief system has not made much progress in attracting followers in free societies though it is at a high water mark these days. So I seriously doubt that atheism will ever mature enough to become a the majority world view any where other than a dictatorship were it is forced upon people.

    I can no more prove the existence of God than I can prove the non-existence God — of Gods for that mater. It is a matter of Belief.

    Inio de Ona

  • Lack of belief is a belief about God or in God. It is a negatives of belief in God just as -2 is two units as +2 is two units — just units in opposite directions. Also, remember in math no solution to a problem is indeed a solution. As follower of logic and reason you should see how this correlates atheism and religion. As belief that there is not God is still a belief in God.

    IF you where truly atheist you would give God absolutely no thought — you would then be truly without God. Most modern atheists are on a Jihad against God and God — through unbelief — occupies a central point in their lifes.

    As for other people’s god or gods, if you follow a religion you believe — or do not believe — in your own God not other people’s god or gods. That is common to any religion including atheism.

    The problem of defining religion is indeed a difficult one. Probably not all things that you would call a religion would completly meet all of the requirments to define a religion from this atheism site.

    atheism.about.com/od/religiondefinition/a/definition.htm

    “A better definition is:

    Belief in something sacred (for example, gods or other supernatural beings).

    Inigo: A negative belief is still a belief since the existence or nonexistence of GOd cannot be proven.

    A distinction between sacred and profane objects.

    Inigo: Science and nature and their own powers of reasoning are “sacred” — being beyond reporoach by atheists instead of religious objects.

    Ritual acts focused on sacred objects.

    Inigo: One’s own reason as the ultimate authority. Many atheist I know practice yoga and meditation to the point of being secular rituals.

    A moral code believed to have a sacred or supernatural basis.

    Inigo: A moral code based on one’s own reason above all else and revered to the point of being sacred — one’s own reason as the ultimate authority. “Do what thou wilt”

    Characteristically religious feelings (awe, sense of mystery, sense of guilt, adoration), which tend to be aroused in the presence of sacred objects and during the practice of ritual.

    Inigo: Nature does this to many of the atheists I know as does science and its findings.

    Prayer and other forms of communication with the supernatural.

    Inigo: Maybe not this one so much but many atheists revere Richard Dawkins or Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche as though they are some kind of secular saints.

    A world view, or a general picture of the world as a whole and the place of the individual therein. This picture contains some specification of an over-all purpose or point of the world and an indication of how the individual fits into it.

    Inigo: Most assuredly atheists have a world view with atheism as a central tenet.

    A more or less total organization of one’s life based on the world view.

    Inigo: Absolutely atheism permates their lifes.

    A social group bound together by the above.”

    Inigo: Google “atheist meet up” or go to reddit.

    Not an exact correlation but close enough that I would say atheism is a religion.

    Inigo de Ona

  • where is your god??

    That is good question — you apparently assume that I have one though I have not taken a position on that one way or another here.

    My God is present in all places and filling all things.

    Inigo de Ona.

  • Romans 1:18-25 is what God says! Creation is proof of God. Where there is
    a creation there is a creator. How did we get here? God created the world
    and we have Bible prophecy that came true with 100% accuracy proving the
    Messiah is Jesus/the only way to heaven plus we have our conscience and
    conscience means with knowledge. God gave us a conscience to know what
    is right and what is wrong. Jesus is the Messiah/the only way to heaven!

  • @Inigo,

    “My God is present in all places and filling all things.”

    Nonsense. I brush away your unsupported claim with the wave of my hand.
    I shall have nothing to do with it.
    Shame on you for claiming other people should bother with it. It is immoral.

  • @Inigo,

    “only Hirohito did call not himself an atheist.”

    Nonsense. Now you are being ridiculous.
    History is not optional. You can’t make up whatever you like to believe (as you do with your god).
    History has a record. It is well-known, well-worn and well studied.

    “OUR LORD JESUS IS A SOLDIER FOR GOD AND WE MUST BE AS COMMITTED TO HIS FIGHT” – HITLER

    “My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. To-day, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow my self to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice… And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly it is the distress that daily grows . For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people.”
    -Adolf Hitler, in a speech on 12 April 1922

    ANY defense of this disgraceful and immoral JESUS is 2000 years too late!

  • @Inigo,

    Go back to kindergarten. This time, listen to your teacher.

    These Straw-men are NOT examples of Atheism:

    Stalin was a self-appointed intermediary (CZAR) between God and the religion of the state. He demanded FAITH in that religion including the miracles of Lysenko, or death.
    That is not Atheism – it is FAITH.

    Pol Pot was a Theravada Buddhist who ‘divined supernatural heaven’ of which he appointed himself leader and demanded allegiance as head of the religion of the state of Cambodia. He was against all education and science. What Atheist ever did that?
    That is not Atheism – it is FAITH.

    Hitler and his SS were sworn Catholics and Christians, hailed allegiance to the Fuhrer (father) under ‘God’, demanded faith in the divinity of the Aryan Race and demanded each Nazi wore the belt buckle which read ‘God on our side’ (“Gott Mit Uns”) or God With Us. Hitler’s first peace treaty was the Vatican Koncordat in 1933 where the church swore allegiance to Hitler and Hitler would choose the Bishops for Germany.
    Hitler’s hatred of Jews was founded on the writings of Martin Luther, he declared Christ ‘his model of the great soldier’ fighting against the evil of the Jews. (Mein Kampf) His favorite words of Jesus ended the Parable of the Minas; “Execute them in front of me.” – Jesus(Luke 19:27)
    That is not Atheism – it is FAITH.

    Emperor Hirohito, was the cult of the sun god – the sacrificial Kamikazes and the holy war of ‘sacred’ Japan joining the Axis Powers against the infidel America.
    That is not Atheism – it is FAITH

    North Korea is the most religious country on earth.
    Its current leader had a supernatural birth where the birds sang in Korean. All of the subjects must worship the Dear Leader who has supernatural powers or be executed.
    That is not Atheism – it is FAITH.

    However, there is no FAITH in the United States Constitution which remains the only godless constitution in the world.

    You show me an example where the non-religious democratic ideals of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, Voltaire and Lucretius spiraled into torture, brutality and dictatorship
    and we’ll have a level playing field.

    Don’t slander Atheism.

    If you don’t know what Atheism is LEARN ABOUT IT.
    You are clearly unschooled on what ‘faith’ is and why it is a cancer to the world.

    “Slay them wherever you find them” – Surah (quran)

    Religion, God, Jesus, Allah – it is all garbage. Shame on you.

  • “Atheist by its very name is negative”

    Nonsense. Shame on the preacher who taught you that lie.
    There is no evidence of a god. Nor is there any evidence of Leprechauns.

    You cannot claim god exists if you have no evidence.
    I dismiss your claim out of hand.

  • @Inigo,

    “The same reason that atheist worship — they just do away with the goddess appendage.”

    NONSENSE!
    Are you now telling me that logic and reason have no place in civilization?
    It would not surprise me – but it disgusts me.

    Religion truly poisons all thinking and all aspects of human life.
    You have a right to believe in your superstitious garbage – but keep it far away from me!

  • Re: “Every culture or political system that has atheism as one of its central cultural norms has been murderous and genocidal.”

    You mean, like the godly genocide of the Amalekites (see 1 Sam 15) at the hands of the YHWH-worshipping Hebrews (and on his explicit orders, to boot)? Like the massacres at Verden (782), Jerusalem (1099), Beziers (1209), on Bartholomew’s Day (1572), & more recently Srebrenica (1995), all at the hands of devout Christians & carried out in Jesus’ name? Like the massacres carried out by Timur the Lame (late 14th century & early 15th), and the Armenian genocide (1915), carried out by devout Muslims in Muhammad’s and al-Lah’s names?

    You do realize, moreover, that Stalin had been a devout Orthodox Christian (including having been a seminarian) who revived and supported the Russian Orthodox Church in the 1940s and set up a collaboration between the Kremlin and the Church which survived him?

    Seems to me, history conclusively shows that genocides and other atrocities are not the sole product of atheism, as you would have us believe.. Religious folk have had their hand in a lot of terrible … and totally unjustifiable … bloodshed, as well. Stop whining, grow up, and take a little responsibility for it, for once.

    Re: “Save us from your followers Voltaire, Stalin and Mao..”

    Which atrocity, precisely, did Voltaire carry out? I’m dying to know, because I’ve never heard of one he was involved with. Then again, I’m just a cynical, cold-hearted godless agnostic heathen and am not gifted with your vaunted, sacred insights. I can only presume you have information to which my primitive and hateful mind has never been exposed because it’s so far beneath you and your deity.

  • Re: “But then again in a sense atheism is a religion based on faith.”

    That’s a flat-out lie, one you and your militant co-religionists really need to stop spewing. Atheism is not based on faith. It’s not a religion. It’s merely the denial of a deity’s existence.

    If you need help picturing this, allow me to illustrate: If atheism is a faith or a religion, then …

    … baldness is a hair color
    … “off” is a TV channel
    … health is a disease
    … silence is a sound
    … anorexia is a diet
    … “nowhere” is a place
    … unemployment is a job
    … death is a lifestyle

    I could go on, but hopefully don’t need to. By now you should get the idea. If you don’t, too bad for you, you’ll just have to remain willfully ignorant.

  • I have to note that the answer to the last question, unfortunately doesn’t actually answer it. It’s all well and good to say that anti-Islamic State fatwas are rare, so any that might come along are welcome (and they are!), but this alone does not explain how, exactly, this fundamentally changes the situation. The disposable nature of many fatwas (notwithstanding the truly dangerous ones like the one against Rushdie) really doesn’t help at all.

    As an outside observer of Islam (and of every other religion too), am I supposed to be impressed by Bin Bayyah’s fatwa? Is it enough that he merely issued it (which this article seems to suggest)? If so, I have to say, it’s not sufficient. I can’t be impressed by this fatwa … at least not until I see that it actually causes changes which truly damage ISIS/ISIL/IS’s position and status. I don’t actually expect western air-strikes to have much effect on ISIS/ISIL/IS either, however, I do think they’ll have a lot more impact than one guy’s fatwa.

  • Stalin began supporting the Orthodox church in the 1940s to help him defeat the Germans. Stalin and HItler both started out as Christians and rejected it for political atheism. Religion was still state controlled and suppressed by the atheist communists.

    I did not say Voltaire committed any atrocities, but his writings and philosophy were a major influence on the the people of the French revolution.

    What about Mao?

    “Seems to me, history conclusively shows that genocides and other atrocities are not the sole product of atheism, as you would have us believe.”

    Where did I say that? I am pointing out that in recent decades, the atheists have been catch8ing up with everyone else as their numbers grow. All of this talk about atheism being superior to religions is just not true. Atheism appear to be worse when it comes to mass murder.

    Have I said that I am a believer in God or a god or gods? You obviously possess a belief in God — a negative one but still a belief as you cannot prove that existence or non existence in God. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. So you have a faith and a religion based on a negative belief in God. If you were a true atheist you would not care either way. You, as with Mr. Max, are a anti-theist. Real atheists could care less about God and would not be carrying our a Jihad against something they do not htink about.

    I believe in dark energy and dark matter — they are present in all places and fil all things as well as in neutrinos and other things that are present in all places and filling all things..

    Inifo de Ona

  • Where do I claim God exists?

    I just say that you have no evidence that he does not exist. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Show me your proof.

    Inigo de Ona

  • “Are you now telling me that logic and reason have no place in civilization?”

    Where do I say that? Reason and logic are the basis of my profession as a scientist. Try applying strict reason, logic and rationality to your personal relationships with your wife a children and your quickly see their limits.

  • “It’s merely the denial of a deity’s existence.”

    Which, as it cannot be proven, is a belief. Mathematicians proof that things cannot exist all of the time. Such a thing is also part of any basic math course in college.

    Do disagree that the non-existence of God cannot be proven? Then show me the experiments. Not that prayer does not work or go out into my yard and ask God to levitate me or some nonsense like that but a real experiment.

    Remember that I do not claim that God exists only that it cannot be proven that he does not exist and that people who obsess over the no-existence of God are not atheist but anti-theists.

    Inigo de ona

  • There is not one reason to believe in any god.
    You offer nothing.

    So give me the proof that God does not exist or convince why I should be an anti-theist like you not become an atheist?

  • You have not even asked me what my God is and you deny that such a thing or person could exist You think you know when you know nothing.

    You deny that you are filled millions of neutrinos every second? That dark matter and dark energy fill the universe even in the vast inter galactic voids? I can prove the existence of my God.

    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CCAQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fen.wikipedia.org%2Fwiki%2FNeutrino&ei=NrEoVMzqHI_zoATZgoCQBQ&usg=AFQjCNG8bM7h5hr6Bl2yloD7d19zynGpLQ&bvm=bv.76247554,d.cGU

    These two not so much proof but the equations lead me to believe in their existence.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_matter

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_energy

    I demand that you retract your statements denying the existence of my God.

    Inigo de Ona

  • Mathematics is a much more exact, logical and elegant language than English, and in mathematics,

    (we will call this Lemma 1)

    no solution is indeed a solution.to an equation.

    Do you deny Lemma 1?

    We will call this lemma 2

    -2 units on the number line is the same distance from zero as +2 units just in a different direction. Both are two units.

    Do you deny lemma 2?

    We will call this lemma 3

    When think something is true that you cannot prove is true it is a belief, not a fact.

    Do you deny lemma 3?

    If you deny lemma 3 then you must accept that belief in God is just as valid as non belief in God and that proof is irelevant.

    Inigo de Ona

  • Please provide me with proof that God does not exist.

    Show me an experiment such as the one proving the existence of the neutrino — who used to be though by many as not existing and was unknown until very recently.

    I have faith that the existence of the Dark Energy and Dark Matter Gods will soon be proven. I will then demand that you retract your statement that they do not exist.

    Unless you can prove something does not exist, do make make statements about its non-existence or existence without qualifying such a statement with “I do not believe that so and so does not/does exist(s).”.

    Inigo de Ona

  • “I brush away your unsupported claim with the wave of my hand.”
    Are you performing magic Max the Anti-theist?

    Inigo de Ona

  • @Inigo de on a,

    Show me your demonstration of why Zeus
    is not a real God
    and I will show you why your God is not a real god either.

    There is no evidence for any God – especially coming from you!
    YOU have nothing and you have offered nothing.

    Someone may show evidence of a god exists someday.
    So far nothing is offered. Your job is to explain why you have made a boatload of nonsense claims which are unsupported.

  • “provide me with proof that God does not exist.”

    You have not presented any demonstration that we have anything to even talk about! How can I prove God does not exist when there is no sign of a god at all!?

    Show me your evidence!

  • Don’t be so impressed.
    You have offered no evidence of God. I dismiss your claims because they are unsupported and there is no evidence showing that those claims are true.

    Atheism is the lack of belief in a God.
    Show me a god and maybe I’ll change my mind. So far – you have only said you believe in something called ‘god’ and you are admitting you have no reason to believe in it.

  • @Inigo,

    AD HOMINEM ATTACKS? Me? Where? I did not!
    But according to your religion there is no problem with name calling.

    Guess who was the first Christian name caller?

    “You fool!” – JESUS (Matthew 5:22)
    “They are dogs!” – JESUS (Matthew 15:26)
    “they are swine!” – Jesus (Matthew 7:6)

  • Word games are not evidence.
    I see no reason to respect your belief in a god.
    I see no reason to believe in a god at all.
    I dismiss your claim.

    You have claimed that the most important, most amazing most all-knowing perfect being exists and you cannot find a shred of evidence so you try a little word game?

    You have no reason to believe in this god and you admit it by not providing me any reason.

  • Re: “Stalin began supporting the Orthodox church in the 1940s to help him defeat the Germans.”

    As I explained, Stalin was an Orthodox Christian and had been a seminarian.

    Re: “I did not say Voltaire committed any atrocities…”

    Yet you wanted to be “saved from” him and listed him as an architect of atrocities. Now you admit he never was involved with any. So which is it?

    Re: “What about Mao?”

    What about him? Given all the atrocities through history committed by religious believers (many of them exceedingly devout), what difference does one name of one atheist make?

    Re: “I am pointing out that in recent decades, the atheists have been catch8ing up with everyone else as their numbers grow.”

    What part of “religion has never prevented an atrocity” did you miss?

    Re: “You obviously possess a belief in God — a negative one but still a belief as you cannot prove that existence or non existence in God.”

    I do not believe in any deities because I know their existence, or lack of it, can never be known. This makes me an agnostic.

    Re: “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”

    I’m aware of that. Tell me something I hadn’t known before … and something that’s actually true (rather than, for example, blaming the French Revolution’s excesses on Voltaire).

    Re: “So you have a faith and a religion based on a negative belief in God.”

    I have no faith and no religion. Non-belief is not, itself, a religion, which you seem to think it is. It can’t be, any more than baldness is a hair color, “off” is a TV channel, silence is a sound, or unemployment is a career.

    Re: “If you were a true atheist you would not care either way.”

    I’m not an atheist. I never said I was. Why did you assume I was one?

    Re: “Real atheists could care less about God and would not be carrying our a Jihad against something they do not htink about.”

    First, I’m not an atheist. Second, no atheists I know are carrying out any “jihads” against you. Third, talking about what “‘real’ atheists” would or would not do is ridiculous, when you can’t even detect them accurately.

    Re: “I believe in dark energy and dark matter — they are present in all places and fil all things as well as in neutrinos and other things that are present in all places and filling all things..”

    I have no idea what this means, or how it’s relevant here. I suspect you don’t, either.

  • Word games are not evidence.
    I see no reason to respect your belief that a god does not exist.
    I see no reason to believe that god does not exist.
    I dismiss your claim.

    You have claimed that the most important, most amazing most all-knowing perfect being does not exist and you cannot find a shred of evidence so you try a little word game?

    You have no reason to believe that this god does not exist and you admit it by not providing me any reason God does not exist.

    Inigo de Ona

  • Max says ““provide me with proof that God does not exist.”

    You have not presented any demonstration that we have anything to even talk about! How can I prove God does not exist when there is no sign of a god at all!?

    Show me your evidence!”

    THe salient point is where admits he cannot prove that GOd does not exist — because there is no sign of that he exists!

    “How can I prove God does not exist when there is no sign of a god at all!?”

    Max, if there were signs that God existed then you could not prove that the did not exist because he would. Your proposition makes no sense.

    Where do I say God exists other than neutrinos and dark matter/dark energy.are my gods? Neutrinos absolutely exist present in all places and filling all things.

    Admit it — atheism, since the existence or non-existence of the god you hate so much cannot be proven, is just another faith based belief system, just another religion.

    Inigo de Ona

  • For the Record, I have never claimed to be able to prove the existence or non-existence of God nor have I stated that I believe in a God beyond neutrinos or Dark Matter/Dark Energy.

    Inigo de Ona

  • @Inigo,

    “the god you hate so much”

    What?? I’m so sorry.
    I simply can’t grasp how I can hate something
    which I don’t believe in.

    I don’t hate leprechauns. I just don’t believe in them.
    Is that rocket science?

    When I look in my gasoline tank in my car
    and find no gasoline in there, it is not because I HATE GAS!

    To not find gas in your gas tank
    is not the same as hating gasoline!
    If my tank is empty I go and buy more gasoline. I don’t stand by the side of the road and HATE GAS ALL DAY for not being in my gas tank!

    WHAT ON EARTH ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?

    HOW CAN I HATE GOD IF I DON’T SEE ANY GOD TO HATE?

    And you have offered no reason why you believe in your god (wherever he is) and yet you tell me that I hate that god!? What?

  • They weren’t so charming back in the 18th century or prior. In fact their obnoxiousness is what drove many civilized English people to the shores of the Americas.

    Established churches in Europe are still a major roadblock to full participation in the citizenship of various religious minorities.

  • Every church in occupied Europe except one (the Danish Lutheran Church) collaborated and openly supported the Nazis. Catholicism was a major rallying point for collaborators in Belgium, France and Croatia to join the Nazis in committing atrocities and joining their military. The last forced conversion to Catholicism was done in 1944 by Nazi allies.

    Hitler and his minions worked very well with Christianity.

  • Prove God does not exist.

    I believe in neutrinos for which I have proof that they exist. I believe that dark matter and dark energy exist, there is proof for that belief. I believe that nothing can go faster than the speed of light. Proof exists for that.

    Now you prove your belief that God does not exist.

    Inigo de Ona

  • Just say that you cannot prove that God exists. Admit that atheism is a belief system like any other religion based on bieve and supposition not fact. I do not ask that you believe in God, just admit you cannot prove he does not exist.

    Inigo de Ona

  • @Inigo,

    “just admit atheism is a belief system..”

    Nonsense.
    Why don’t you just admit Purple is a flavor !?
    Or bald is a hair color?
    Or off is a TV channel?

    Atheism – “I do not believe God is real”

    And gods are not needed. You cannot “need” a thing which cannot be known to exist.

  • @Inigo,

    “prove that god does not exist”

    That is not how this works. You said, “My God is present in all places and filling all things.”

    And you failed to back up that claim. You apparently cannot prove ‘your’ god is in anything. And you cannot even EXPLAIN A SINGLE REASON why you believe in it. And you cannot even demonstrate a single reason why anybody else should agree with you.

    Your claim ….”My God is present in all places and filling all things.”
    Appears to be nonsense.

    I would appreciate an apology from you for making a claim to me
    which you cannot defend.

  • “” Max says ““provide me with proof that God does not exist.” “”

    No. I did not say that.
    I am waiting for you to back up your claim that a god exists. You have shown no evidence.

  • Max says — “Atheism – “I do not believe God is real””

    You do not believe is real but htat is not a belief system? So me the proof that god is not real. Until you do, you are just another follower of something that cannot be proven.

    Inigo de Ona

  • Max says — “Atheism – “I do not believe God is real””

    You do not believe is God real but that is not a belief system? Something where to believe is the central verb? So show me the proof that God is not real. Until you do, you are just another follower of something that cannot be proven like believers in God. You are no different..

    Inigo de Ona

  • Re: “Which, as it cannot be proven, is a belief.”

    Is not believing in unicorns a “belief”? Is not believing the moon is made of green cheese a “belief”?

    Re: “Do disagree that the non-existence of God cannot be proven?”

    No I don’t. As I said, I’m an agnostic, not an atheist.

    Re: “Then show me the experiments.”

    Obviously you’re having trouble with the notion of agnosticism. Here’s a resource that might help:http://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/agnosticism-faq/

    Re: “Not that prayer does not work or go out into my yard and ask God to levitate me or some nonsense like that but a real experiment.”

    Where is YOUR “experiment” along these lines which demonstrates your God’s existence? Please elaborate … if you have the courage to do so. If you refuse to cough up an experiment of your own, then don’t go around ordering other people to produce theirs.

    Re: “Remember that I do not claim that God exists only that it cannot be proven that he does not exist …”

    Bully for you! But so what?

    Re: “… and that people who obsess over the no-existence of God are not atheist but anti-theists.”

    First, how are you measuring the degree to which these folk “obsess” over your deity’s non-existence? Second, even if you could measure their obsession, how exactly does this make them “anti-theists”? I think you’re just saying (without demonstrating) that people are “obsessing,” then slapping the label “anti-atheist” on them, in order to rationalize and justify your continued hatred of them.

    It’s a clever psychological tactic, to be sure … but it’s also very transparent. Nice try, but I’m still way ahead of you.

  • I cannot prove to you that Zeus does not exist. I do not believe he exists but, lacking proof, it would be a lie for me to present as fact that Zeus do not exist.

    That is one problem I have with you so called atheists — you say say something or someone does not exist and yet you cannot prove it.

    The other problem I have is that for people who claim the name atheist — meaning literally without God in Greek– you people are absolutely obsessed by God. That is all you talk about. You are on a jihad to rid the world of God. A true atheist would not even think of God much less try to rid the of something he does not think about.

    You people are properly called anti-theist. You have a BELIEF that there is no God. You cannot prove it. In that regard you are no better than those who claim there is a God with the exception that you are very negative people who by your own admission have no soul. You have all of the trappings of religious cult.

    Inigo de Ona

  • Where do I say God exists? Such a thing cannot be experimentally proven.

    Yet you claim God does not exist. Prove that God does not exist.

    Inigo de Ona

  • @Inigo,

    So you admit that the lack of belief in Zeus is not a belief system! Thanks!

    Similarly the lack of belief in a god NOT a belief system either.

    As for being an Atheist – I am not obsessed with God.
    But I would like very much if people would stop making claims about God which end up destroying civilization.

    ISLAM SAYS TO OTHERS:
    “The only true faith in God’s sight is Islam.” (Surah 3:19)
    “Fighting is obligatory for you, much as you dislike it.” (Surah 2:216)
    “Believers, take neither Jews nor Christians for your friends.” (Surah 5:51)

    JUDAISM SAYS TO OTHERS:
    “Cursed be he who does the Lords work remissly, cursed he who holds back his sword from blood.” (Jeremiah 48:10
    “Seize all the non-believers and execute them before the LORD in broad daylight…” (Numbers 25:1-9)

    CHRISTIANITY SAYS TO OTHERS:
    “To those who would not have me as their king, bring them to me and EXECUTE THEM in front of me” – JESUS (Luke 19:27)

    Meanwhile Clergy around the world are teaching dangerous garbage:

    1. They preach Hell to children.

    2. Most preach in favor of Creationism.

    3. Many preach against science; our most reliable method of proving demonstrating things to be true or not.

    4. They ALL endorse faith – the same disgusting method of ‘confirmation’ employed by Islamic and other religious terrorists. Faith is not a method of confirming anything to be true.

    5. They endorse the terrorizing, sadistic, unsupportable idea that a punishing, invisible authority is always monitoring one’s thoughts. Even when one is dreaming. There is no support for this at all.

    6. They all endorse hatred on religious grounds directly or indirectly of all the members of the out-groups: other religions, other tribes and others who are tainted with ‘sin’ of some kind. So Jews are ‘christ-killers’ and Christians are ‘infidels’ and Muslims are ‘of the devil’.

    7. They preach that members of other religions will go to hell – though there is no evidence to support any of these claims.

    Religion is not benign.

    Religion is not some peaceful, quiet private matter. It is a boatload of wild absolutist claims.

    Ask James Foley if Islam is ‘private’ or peaceful!
    Ask the Palestinians if Zionism is peaceful.
    Ask Jews in the west Bank if Islam is peaceful!!
    Ask Rwandans if Catholicism is peaceful!

    It is all dangerous, divisive and primitive it should be abandoned.

  • @Inigo,

    “You have a BELIEF that there is no God. You cannot prove it.”

    STOP THAT.
    I have no such belief!

    God may exist – I DON”T KNOW! and neither do YOU!!
    And that is the point!

    If God is real, FINE. I don’t care.
    But which one of these Gods is real?
    He appears to have filled the world with 20,000 religions! 19,999 of them MUST BE MAN MADE!

    All of them cannot be true and if God exists GOD APPEARS TO NOT CARE AT ALL! Otherwise he would wave his hand and make the wrong religions disappear!

    IN THE MEANTIME, while we wait for God to do this…
    You have NO AUTHORITY to claim that Judaism is true
    or Islam or Christianity or Hinduism or anything else!

    And since we KNOW that we CANNOT KNOW which religion is true, we should not practice ANY of these harmful religious practices in the meantime:

    Preaching Hell
    Beheading infidels
    Circumscision
    Subjugation of women’s rights
    Subjugation of gay rights
    Fighting science
    Preaching vicarious redemption

    Or any of the other abominable, primitive ideas coming out of religions.

    There is no point to practicing any of it unless or until God speaks up and helps humanity figure out which religion He would LIKE US TO FOLLOW!
    Because it is all just dangerous nonsense and wild claims UNTIL THEN!

  • So if you do not know if God exists or not your are not an atheist your are an agnostic by definition.

    Inigo de Ona

  • @Inigo,

    I am Agnostic. AND I am Atheist.

    Agnostic – “I do not know if God exists”
    Atheist – “I do not BELIEVE God exists.”

    you need to learn what these words mean.

    I do not claim God is impossible. I have said that already.
    But if you do not have any evidence for God, there is absolutely no reason to bother with it!!
    I do not claim Leprechauns are impossible. I have also said that.
    But if you do not have any evidence for leprechauns, there is absolutely no reason to bother with them either!

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