A need to learn
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03-03-2013, 10:59 AM
A need to learn
I have recently moved to Abu Dhabi, which I'm sure you're all aware is predominately islamic. Being sort of new to the whole caring-about-theists thing I don't really have many tools in my head to debate against theists with. It has a tendency to come out like "Oh I'm not really an expert but I read here that something about this and it makes this and upside down inside out over easy and backwards" and that's not really an effective way to debate anybody. So I've been researching a lot on the positions of.. atheism, I guess? It's kinda weird to say that, but it is also kind of weird to say science? Whatever.

Anyway, just about ALL of the resources I've found have focused PURELY on anti-Christian debating, because certainly, in America, Christianity is what is attempting to position itself into Governmental power again. But here in the UAE, a lot of the biblical information I have becomes useless. And it has recently come to the attention of one of the locals I work with that I am not a believer.

Judging by our conversations, I get the feeling that he is going to try "educating" me about Islam. Now he is a pretty cool guy and all, but I refuse to look like a fool (and represent us all as such) when he starts. So I have taken to reading the Qur'an. But it isn't enough.

I would like assistance in where to go and what to read, etc. I've already found refutes for the claims that Islam claimed the world was a sphere before science found out it was, and that humans had long since known about the water cycle (detailed in the Qur'an) before Islam was formed. But this is nowhere near enough "ammunition" to hold a reasonable debate with someone. So I look to you for assistance. I am sure not everyone here has the atheist islamaboner that I have come across during my net travels, and that you can help me gather more information about the topic.

I know this seems pretty broad, and vague, but it is intentional. I will likely come back asking for help researching certain points that he will bring up. And I am putting this here and not in the "Debates you've had with theists" because the conversations have been marginal at best and no real discussion has happened yet.

He did say he was going to buy a book about science for me. I'm sure it will be full of all the wonderful "scientific miracles" displayed in the Qur'an. Like how a sheep makes milk, or that a fly digests food on the outside of its body. You know, all that important stuff you've always wanted to ask the creator of the universe about.
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03-03-2013, 11:01 AM
RE: A need to learn
(03-03-2013 10:59 AM)ExAstra Wrote:  I have recently moved to Abu Dhabi, which I'm sure you're all aware is predominately islamic. Being sort of new to the whole caring-about-theists thing I don't really have many tools in my head to debate against theists with. It has a tendency to come out like "Oh I'm not really an expert but I read here that something about this and it makes this and upside down inside out over easy and backwards" and that's not really an effective way to debate anybody. So I've been researching a lot on the positions of.. atheism, I guess? It's kinda weird to say that, but it is also kind of weird to say science? Whatever.

Anyway, just about ALL of the resources I've found have focused PURELY on anti-Christian debating, because certainly, in America, Christianity is what is attempting to position itself into Governmental power again. But here in the UAE, a lot of the biblical information I have becomes useless. And it has recently come to the attention of one of the locals I work with that I am not a believer.

Judging by our conversations, I get the feeling that he is going to try "educating" me about Islam. Now he is a pretty cool guy and all, but I refuse to look like a fool (and represent us all as such) when he starts. So I have taken to reading the Qur'an. But it isn't enough.

I would like assistance in where to go and what to read, etc. I've already found refutes for the claims that Islam claimed the world was a sphere before science found out it was, and that humans had long since known about the water cycle (detailed in the Qur'an) before Islam was formed. But this is nowhere near enough "ammunition" to hold a reasonable debate with someone. So I look to you for assistance. I am sure not everyone here has the atheist islamaboner that I have come across during my net travels, and that you can help me gather more information about the topic.

I know this seems pretty broad, and vague, but it is intentional. I will likely come back asking for help researching certain points that he will bring up. And I am putting this here and not in the "Debates you've had with theists" because the conversations have been marginal at best and no real discussion has happened yet.

He did say he was going to buy a book about science for me. I'm sure it will be full of all the wonderful "scientific miracles" displayed in the Qur'an. Like how a sheep makes milk, or that a fly digests food on the outside of its body. You know, all that important stuff you've always wanted to ask the creator of the universe about.


Well, the argument starts and ends with "I don't believe in any gods as there is no credible evidence of their existence".

Do you really want to risk offending the powers that be by criticizing their sacred book?

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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03-03-2013, 11:18 AM
RE: A need to learn
(03-03-2013 11:01 AM)Chas Wrote:  
(03-03-2013 10:59 AM)ExAstra Wrote:  I have recently moved to Abu Dhabi, which I'm sure you're all aware is predominately islamic. Being sort of new to the whole caring-about-theists thing I don't really have many tools in my head to debate against theists with. It has a tendency to come out like "Oh I'm not really an expert but I read here that something about this and it makes this and upside down inside out over easy and backwards" and that's not really an effective way to debate anybody. So I've been researching a lot on the positions of.. atheism, I guess? It's kinda weird to say that, but it is also kind of weird to say science? Whatever.

Anyway, just about ALL of the resources I've found have focused PURELY on anti-Christian debating, because certainly, in America, Christianity is what is attempting to position itself into Governmental power again. But here in the UAE, a lot of the biblical information I have becomes useless. And it has recently come to the attention of one of the locals I work with that I am not a believer.

Judging by our conversations, I get the feeling that he is going to try "educating" me about Islam. Now he is a pretty cool guy and all, but I refuse to look like a fool (and represent us all as such) when he starts. So I have taken to reading the Qur'an. But it isn't enough.

I would like assistance in where to go and what to read, etc. I've already found refutes for the claims that Islam claimed the world was a sphere before science found out it was, and that humans had long since known about the water cycle (detailed in the Qur'an) before Islam was formed. But this is nowhere near enough "ammunition" to hold a reasonable debate with someone. So I look to you for assistance. I am sure not everyone here has the atheist islamaboner that I have come across during my net travels, and that you can help me gather more information about the topic.

I know this seems pretty broad, and vague, but it is intentional. I will likely come back asking for help researching certain points that he will bring up. And I am putting this here and not in the "Debates you've had with theists" because the conversations have been marginal at best and no real discussion has happened yet.

He did say he was going to buy a book about science for me. I'm sure it will be full of all the wonderful "scientific miracles" displayed in the Qur'an. Like how a sheep makes milk, or that a fly digests food on the outside of its body. You know, all that important stuff you've always wanted to ask the creator of the universe about.


Well, the argument starts and ends with "I don't believe in any gods as there is no credible evidence of their existence".

Do you really want to risk offending the powers that be by criticizing their sacred book?
I have no intention of offending or getting into a very heated debate with him. I merely want to refute his claims about science being wrong about X or Y. When he says Islam must be true because an illiterate man made a claim that the earth was round 1400 years before "science found out" or whatever, I want to be able to say "Well, actually, Eratosthenes discovered this fact even before Jesus was born. The misconception that we believed the earth was flat even at the time of Columbus comes from... etc. etc."

For example, after listening to probably an hour of his exclamations of how great the Qur'an was, and having me read certain excerpts, I told him I had no problems with others believing what they like. He said Islam agrees that people should be able to choose what they believe, so I asked him, "Then what is the punishment for apostasy?"

He sort of had to scramble around and make up history to explain it. I just smiled and nodded. After the weekend he came up to me today asking what the American punishment for treason was, and I already knew what he was getting at. But most of the other Americans around and myself pretty much agreed that capital punishment is mostly unheard of nowadays and it's usually life imprisonment.

I have no intention of starting debates with him or angering him or offending him, I just want to show him that atheism isn't a religion where we worship Darwin. And the UAE is a lot more open than some of their neighbors, ie. Saudi Arabia.

And on top of this, there is a fellow American worker who has heard the things he's been saying and is awe-struck by Islam and its knowledge. I would at least like to demonstrate to him that it is not as it seems. He's a smart guy, and I know I can help keep him from that.
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03-03-2013, 11:24 AM
RE: A need to learn
Unfortunately, with a religion like Islam, even a simple refutation can be viewed as offensive.

Then a bunch of windows get broken and vans get tipped over and a bunch of shit gets set on fire and we're all like "wut?" [Image: cross-eyed.gif]

Through profound pain comes profound knowledge.
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03-03-2013, 11:27 AM
RE: A need to learn
(03-03-2013 11:24 AM)Misanthropik Wrote:  Unfortunately, with a religion like Islam, even a simple refutation can be viewed as offensive.

Then a bunch of windows get broken and vans get tipped over and a bunch of shit gets set on fire and we're all like "wut?" [Image: cross-eyed.gif]
Let me put it this way, some of the guys I work with have said things like "Jesus was a drunk" and "Muhammed must have been seriously high when he wrote that book" and all this guy has done is shake his head and say "Have some respect."

He is not the type to suddenly declare jihad. Nobody I've met here yet has been. He has also openly expressed interest in a debate because it "forces him to think about his religion and strengthens his faith" (I know some of you have heard that one before)
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03-03-2013, 11:31 AM
RE: A need to learn
Let's just hope he doesn't tell one or two of his more passionate friends.

Better yet, let's hope he doesn't really take a good, hard look at his own level of faith by having it "strengthened".

Through profound pain comes profound knowledge.
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03-03-2013, 11:36 AM
RE: A need to learn
I don't know, I think there is a way to have a reasonal, logical, and sound debate without resorting to anything offensive. I would even go so far as to say there are Muslims who aren't insane terrorists. Far-fetched claim alert.
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03-03-2013, 11:39 AM
RE: A need to learn
No, it is true. Just like there are christians who accept Evolution.

I'm just saying; let's hope none of these people get their noses too deep into their respective holy books. It could mean a decrease in moderation and an increase in property damage. Undecided

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03-03-2013, 11:49 AM
RE: A need to learn
(03-03-2013 11:39 AM)Misanthropik Wrote:  No, it is true. Just like there are christians who accept Evolution.

I'm just saying; let's hope none of these people get their noses too deep into their respective holy books. It could mean a decrease in moderation and an increase in property damage. Undecided
I do understand the necessity to tread cautiously. Partially "because Islam" and partially just because I know how I would have reacted to certain "stimuli" back when I was theistic. Between him and I, it's all in good fun. On the internet, the gloves come off. Funny, that.
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03-03-2013, 12:50 PM
 
RE: A need to learn
I spent a lot of time in the Middle East. If I were you, honestly, over there, among Muslims, I'd shut up about being an atheist. They might tolerate you being Christian--even expect it. But I don't think there are any atheists in the Middle East. There are public stonings and beheadings, but not atheists.

In the Middle East you don't have free speech rights or freedom of religion. You should remember that.
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