This one will be controversial:

This morning a friend of mine on Twitter posted a Tweet, where it shows what Islamic extremists do in the name of their religion and what science does instead.Here is the picture:


To this Tweet I replied:

“Yes: How can some people not see this and how can anyone call Islam a religion of peace?”

In retrospective this might have been a little provocative but I don’t think Islam is a religion of peace. Now first of here is what I’m not saying: I’m not saying that all Muslims are violent and I’m not saying, that Muslims can’t be a contributing part of a flourishing society. I’m also not saying, that science can’t be misused or misinterpreted to meet goals, that are positively harmful to humanity.

I’m not saying them, because they aren’t true. What I am saying is, that there are verses both in the Bible and the Qu’ran, that are not in accordance with promoting human well being.

There are unambigious passages, that can lead to violent behavior when interpreted literally. Now, one might object and say “You’re taking it out of context.” but it doesn’t matter even if I do. The problem is, if I can take them out of context, then so can the believer and he can use the verses found in the respective books to meet his vile agenda.

I’d also like to see somebody give me the context for this .

Again I am not at all saying, that Muslims or Christians or whoever are bad. I am saying, that they are inherently good people and that they are A) unaware of these verses or B) Ignore them or C) can somehow interpret them in such a way to reconcile them with their moral outlook.

I’m glad in any case, that they do. The problem is, that some people don’t. Some people take it as the literal word of God and they make no excuses or interpretations, they read exactly what it says and act accordingly.

Whether we want to admit it or not: The Qu’ran is a bad moral guide. It’s a horrible book, littered with violence. We need to call a spade a spade here.

They use the Qu’ran to justify their atrocities. As peaceful loving people we need to speak out against extremists, we need to work on progress and we need to call Bullshit out for what it is.

Killing somebody for a victimless crime such as blasphemy is Bullshit.

And above all we need to get of our hard stance of “this is God’s word and every little word is true”, what we need to do instead is say “this is an ancient doument, that no doubt, has some truth in it, it can teach us some things but it needs to be interpreted.”

Allah or God may or may not exist. Extremist Ideologies that are based on religion and of political views and other things do exist and we need to fight it, irrespective of our religious views or lack thereof!

Goodbye from yours truly,

Rene von Boenninghausen @Renevelation

Theism and Free will

Christianity as well as any other form of theism heavily rely on the existence of free will. Christians and others often use free will as a “get out of jail Free card” in order to solve the problem of evil, in order to excuse God from sending people to hell and various other things.

In my opinion though, the free will card is completely futile, when it comes to the modern version of monotheism. Since I know most about Christianity, I will talk about the Christian God here.

The first obvious objection, why the free will card fails to convince me is, that it would’ve been completely possible for God to give us free will but only give us the desire not to sin and only choose between non-sinful acts, instead of sinful and non-sinful acts. This would mean, that we exercise our free will in a manner that we only get to choose between good acts and that we’re unable to do evil. As far as Christianity is concerned this evidently is possible, since Jesus is claimed to have been a man without sin. Therefore it’s possible to be a human and sin-free, unless of course Jesus didn’t have free will, which would raise even more issues.

Now even if, for whatever reason, this argument doesn’t hold up, then there is still another problem that plagues the free will excuse and this goes for all abrahamic religions. This problem comes in the form of heaven, a supposedly perfect world just like it used to be before the fall of man, when sin entered the world.

So is there or is there not free will in heaven? If the answer is Yes, then again it was evidently possible for God to create us in a way in which we have free will but we can’t sin. So why didn’t he? The only possible answer I see is because wanted to give us the free will to sin. But he doesn’t want us to have the free will to sin in heaven. The last option is clearly superior, so God intentionally put us into a sin plagued world, instead of the perfect one. This means ultimately God is responsible.

In fact, this is even backed up by scripture in Isaiah 45: 7:

I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things.

Another problem, that is I think the most devastating for Christianity at least is, that as far I am aware, nowhere in scripture does it say that we have free will.

Sure Christians may find me verses, where it says that we can make choices. Well so do all other animals and so machines. Machines make choices every day. Being able to make choices does not equal our choices being free and undetermined. Where exactly does it speak of free will? If free will isn’t mentioned anywhere, then the Christian has no basis for asserting it, since it could be an illusion.

Goodbye from yours truly,

Rene von Boenninghausen @Renevelation


Science doesn’t care about you!

This morning I had a debate with two Muslims about the existence of Allah. Rather quickly, the conversation turned to a rather difficult subject among believers of the Abrahamic religions: The theory of evolution.

It was very clear from the get go, that they had no evidence whatsoever for their faith (as usual) and that the two of them were clearly scientifically illiterate. But then one of them brought up the following point, that I will quote verbatum:

“Islamic science increased the faith of Muslims. Euro[pean] science increased euros in their disbelief. Yet both studied but diff[erent] perspectives”

Now here’s the deal: Science and religion are in essence as Stephen Jay Gould put it non-overlapping magisteria. That of course goes for religion in general. Science does have something to say about whether the world is 6000 years old, whether a global Flood occured and whether life on Earth came to be via special divine creation. The answer to these question is a resounding NO!

When he talked about European science he merely meant science the tool we use to build theories based on the evidence we observe and which are then tested repeatably with risky predictions, experiments you name it.

When he talked about Islamic science he meant Pseudoscience, which conforms to his preconceived notions in which you have to shoehorn evidence, distort evidence or outright ignore it in order to build your model which has no predictive power whatsoever and which doesn’t try to make risky predictions at all since they don’t want to falsify their model.

that is the biggest difference between science of Pseudoscience: Science seeks to disprove theories, it seeks build models with predictive power and then wants to burn those models to the ground. Pseudoscience on the other hand tries to make the evidence fit the foregone conclusion and then tries everything to keep the model alive at all costs.

Sound familar? That’s pretty much Creation science and Answers in Genesis attitude in a nutshell.

For all of you who don’t know: Science doesn’t care about your beliefs. Putting our beliefs to the test, questioning them, doing experiments and bulding models on our observations that are always subject to change should new data arise is what got us the world we have today. The fact, that I can write these words on a computer and publish them in the internet attest to the success of science.

As a rational person you don’t demand, that science conforms to your beliefs, your beliefs conform to science. I’ve got no respect for people who refuse the truth and make up their own so called science to cling to beliefs, that have been nothing but a burden to all of humanity. To quote the great late Carl Sagan: “The sacred truth of science is that there are no sacred truths.”

Goodbye from yours truly,

Rene von Boenninghausen @Renevelation

When religion becomes toxic

Before we get started let me say the following: I, by no means want to attack believers. I do want to attack ideas in religions as a whole that I find to be dangerous. I’m aware, that most believers are genuinely good people but I want to outline that some ideas that their respective religion/holy book supports are morally reprehensible ( I define right and wrong in terms of (human) well being -> right = what maximizes well being; wrong = what minimizes it)

There are some ideas with religion in general that I find to be morally reprehensible:

One of those ideas would be the condemnation of certain people groups. Not all Christians (or even most) are homophobes etc.  but the fact, that the Bible/Qu’ran supports those ideas is undeniable. I spare you the quoting of scripture but these doctrines are dangerousm because they seperate us. Those passages are extremely divisive, they alienate other people and they lead to atrocities. One such atrocity would  of course be conversion therapy where people try to cure children of their sexual orientation oftentimes with rather radical methods. Staying on the topic, in some countries being gay is illegal yet in others, people get killed for being gay. These things are the direct result of positively evil verses within the respective texts.

But of course it doesn’t stop there.  “Witches” are burned in Africa in the name of Christianity. In other Muslim countries people are hanged for the crime of Blasphemy (Ayaz Nizami).

Those of course were pretty ugly and pretty extreme cases. But I think another teaching, that far more Christians (not all) adhere to and that I also find immoral, is the concept of hell.

I think it is positively abusive, when you tell somebody he will be tortured for eternity if he doesn’t believe in a certain religious proposition. This is especially the case, when it happens to children. Yesterday in a conversation on Twitter somebody wrote the following:

“A nun held my finger over burning candle to give me experience of pain of hell!!”

It is morally evil to tell anybody to believe in anything, because if he/she doesn’t eternal torture awaits. It is a scandal, that other people traumatize children this way in the name of their religion. It is insulting, when I personally get told to go to hell or that I deserve hell, which has happened from time to time ever since I’ve been on Twitter. Can anybody here themselves say, and not feel ashamed about it? Not at least feeling a little bit embarassed , that you think a majority of the world deserve eternal torment for being born into the wrong part of the world, maybe even without ever having heard of Jesus or Allah, or staying ignorant of the right religious text?

Believing that and teaching it to other people, teaching it to children innocent and impressionable is in my mind morally reprehensible as are other aspects.

I’m not saying all religions as a whole are evil. As a good person, most people will find ways to reconcile these teachings or reject certain evil dogmas as a whole but we both Atheists and Theists need to recognize evil for what it is and fight these things and many others.

Goodbye from yours truly,

Rene von Boenninghausen @Renevelation

When your religion supports killing “Blasphemers” ( #HangAyazNizami )

Yesterday I woke up to an interesting Hashtag on Twitter: #HangAyazNizami !

The reason for this hashtag is the following: Ayaz Hizami is an outspoken Atheist blogger in Pakistan, which is of course overwhelmingly Muslim. Since blaspheming the Almighty Allah is against the law in Pakistan, he now has to face a death penalty.

This completely unjust and outrageous punishment for criticizing Islam would be bad enough on its own but the support for this on Twitter left me in shock.

In the discussion with the Muslim extremists (and yes if you want to see somebody dead just because he offended your precious fantasies you are an extremist in my eyes at least) I have encountered many ridiculous excuses such as “You are free to be an atheist, but you can’t criticize my religion” or in other words “You can lack belief in God but keep quiet about and don’t you dare tell me about your atheism or why you reject Islam or you’re gonna be dead.”

They also said that they’re fine with freedom of speech but this freedom of speech stops when it comes to their religion.

I want to make one thing very clear: I have absolutely nothing against moderate Muslims and I have in fact some friends who are Muslims but my freedom of speech allows me to criticize religion and this includes Christianity, Mor(m)onism and whether you like it or not, most definitely includes Islam and if you’re calling for for somebody to be killed because he scrutinizes your beliefs, you better believe I’m gonna be in your face about why I disagree with Islam and I’ll offend the living hell out of your Qu’ran, your Allah and your Pedo Prophet Muhammed.

Especially in times like this, it is my duty to speak out against Bullshit and the fact, that somebody will be killed for criticizing religion and that I find myself in discussion with people, who support his execution and outright demand him to be killed, is total and utter Bullshit. Every idea should be up for grabs, everyone has the right to critique and to ridicule everything but religion in general but especially Islam has been excempt for way too long from this critique.

so in honor of Ayaz Nizami here are a few reasons why I find Islam ridiculous (I don’t know too much about Islam):

  • Muhammad was a Pedophile
  • a winged fucking horse
  • you dare not draw Muhammad’s face
  • Man wasn’t made from clay (Duh)
  • whether you like it or not if Islam was a religion of peace, terrorists couldn’t use the scriptures to justify their deeds
  • When you call for the death of a “Blasphemer” your religion isn’t peaceful
  • like all other religions it’s opressive towards women
  • It’s anti gay
  • rejecting Islam for the reasons above is not grounds to kill him/her

Those were just a few reasons that came to mind right of the bat. To be clear let me say it once more: I have nothing against moderate Muslims and if you believe in Islam and are a kind, peaceful human being, then that’s completely fine. I disagree with it and might mock it on occasion (just like everybody can mock atheism or humanism) but there is no beef between us. If you’re on of those other guys, then I’ll openly call out you and your Bullshit beliefs for what they are and I’ll do it to your face. And I encourage my fellow atheists, agnostics, Christians and Muslims who find your behavior equally disgusting to join in.

Goodbye from yours truly,

Rene von Boenninghausen @Renevelation