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"Everyone is afraid to criticize Islam"

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Perhaps, but that isn't the point of the thread. We can create a thread for this very interesting issue elsewhere, but the stated thread topic is the fact that "Everyone is afraid to criticize Islam", which I blame on the stupidity of my fellow Muslims, especially the traditionalists.

 

I saw an interesting editorial in the Wall Street Journal the other day (yes, I read it) in which a man who seems to be a Muslim (I can't remember his name) claims that 1. there is no ban on depiction of the Prophet in the Qur'an and 2. Muslims are capable of taking a joke.

 

I will take this opportunity to present a disclaimer: I do not know whether the editorial writer's claim is true. I promised myself I would not fall into the trap of mindless memorization of Qur'anic verse. So I am waiting until I have the Arabic to understand the text in full and make my own interpretations before I attempt more than a basic reading of it. What I write below (and forgive my ignorance) is mostly acting under the assumption that the editorial writer's assertion is true.

 

I would argue that whether or not it is in the Qur'an is immaterial. While more Muslims have read the Qur'an than, say, Christians have read the Bible, they don't really study it, though they should. To quote Francis Bacon, "Some books are to be tasted; others are to be chewed; still others to be swallowed and digested." The Qur'an is definately a book to be digested, and digested slowly, so that no part of it goes unabsorbed. Unfortunately, most Muslims merely chew or even taste the Qur'an, absorbing its surface meaning only, and probably missing some details. Hence, if the author's claim is true and the Qur'an does not ban the depiction of the Prophet, the modern Muslim would not know, believing it to be either a detail he missed or a hidden point he failed to elucidate in his study in school. Nor would the modern Muslim care; even if every sheikh in the world came out and declared that there was no mention of a prohibition on representation of the Prophet in the Qur'an, it is so embedded in the culture that it might as well be.

 

The writer cites instances of Muslims criticizing their religion in the past. And that's where his argument goes wrong--it's in the past. Modern Islam is more fanatical than has ever been seen in the history of the faith. It is, fundamentally, an extreme reaction to modern realities, much like Christian fundamentalism. However, in Islamic countries, almost the whole population is united in its fear of change, for it is change directed by the former imperialists, by the friends of their enemy, by people who openly beleived themselves superior until quite recently and since then have continued to act arrogantly. Fundamentalist and even moderate traditional Muslims see that their people is portrayed as evil and their culture portrayed as inferior by the purveyors of change, and they beleive that the change that the West seeks is the total destruction of all but the vestiges of the traditional Islamic culture. Naturally, they see their faith and culture as being beseiged by outside forces, and they act with a war mentality. Criticism from within damages unity, is unpatriotic, is treason; criticism from without is an assault. And the fundamentalists are willing to use violence to acheive their aims. The Christian churches do not have that kind of ability to inspire people to violence; the concept of the Crusade is dead to all but a few. Islam has not reached that phase. Hence, it is natural for people to fear criticizing Islam--they fear retribution: riots, murders, bombings. Even though those who do it are a rediculously small minority, they are a powerful one because of their willingness to use violence. And their motives are real, strong currents in Islamic society; what they reflect is an amplified version of the simmering anger and fear of modern Muslim society.

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shortyfareed;

 

I'd be interested in seeing the actual source, not the extrapolation of "fact". Typically, I don't find metaphors to be taken as scientific facts.

1.) I'm delighted that you are interested in learning about Islam!

2.) I'm not really sure what you mean by "fact." Do you mean where in the Qur'an this is mentioned? If so, I have the verses in the parenthesis. Otherwise, I am not sure what you mean by "fact." What I provided were verses translated directly from the Qur'an that re-iterated my point. Now, not all translations of the Qur'an are 100% similar, and usually they are off by maybe a word or two. The context of the verse remains intact.

3.) Perhaps the first and most immediate impression received by a first time reader of the Quran is that the book does not conform to the normal forms, styles or structures that he/she is used to.

4.) Religion is for examination, a test and trial offered by God so that in the area of competition elevated spirits and base ones may be distinguished from each other. Since the Qur’an was sent for man to be perfected through trial in this abode of testing, in this arena of competition, for sure it will only allude to the future events pertaining to the world, which everyone will witness in due course of time, and will only open the door to reason to a degree that proves its argument. If it had mentioned them explicitly, then the purpose for testing men would have been meaningless. Simply, the truth of the Divine obligations or proposals would have been as evident as if inscribed with stars on the face of the skies. Then everyone would be left no alternative other than affirming them. There would be no competition, the testing and trial would mean nothing. A spirit like coal would remain together with, and appear to be of the same degree as, a spirit like diamond.

 

"We were created out of glorious diverse elements far far back in time by Him and with these holy parts He made everything else we know"

 

Is this a fact? Is this interpretation? Could an ordinary human being come to this conclusion thousands of years ago through guess-work? Curious in your response.

 

1.) I'm not sure what you're getting at with your use of sarcasm here. Are you questioning the fact that life did not originate from water?

2.) How could an "ordinary human being" describe the evolution of the embryo inside the uterus so accurately as we find it now recorded in modern science?

3.) What Quran teaches goes DIRECTLY against the pagan Arab culture, religion, and gods, that existed before the Quran was revealed. Quran condemns idol worshipping, but the Arabs, loved their idol gods, and worshipped them regularly. Quran raised the status of women; the Arabs treated women next to animals. The Arabs would never write something that goes against their most important belief of idol worshipping. Quran goes against most of the social habbits (such as backbiting, slandering, name calling, etc) which the Arabs were heavily indulged into.

4.) Quran has no author, and no group or individual in Arabia ever claimed to have written it, nor any group or an indvidual recited, taught, and explained Quran except the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) and his followers. The Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) was the only Arabian who first practiced, explained, and preached Quran, and ended up making a lot of Arab tribes enemies. Any historian, Muslim or non-Muslim would argue that the only possible source of Quran can be the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh), the man responsible to recite it, teach it, and expalin it to the people of Arabia.

5.) Now, you might be asking yourself if Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) might have written the Qur'an.

a) He was illiterate. Mohammad (pbuh) never went to school. No one taught him. He had no teacher of any kind in any subjects. How can he have the knowledge of all the science, astronomy, oceanography, etc that is contained in the Quran ?

B) When Quran was revealed, the Arabic language was at its peak in richness, poetic value, literature, etc. Quran came and challenged the best literature in Arabic, the best poetry in Arabic of the time. Mohammad (pbuh) being illiterate couldnt possibly have come up with something so immaculate that it even exceded the best of poetry, and literature in Arabic at the time of the language's PEAK development.

c) Quran was revealed over a period of 23 years ! A very long time! Is it possible for someone to maintain the same exact style of Arabic speech , as demonstrated in Quran, for over 23 years ?

d) Also, what the prophet Mohammad (saaw) used to say is recorded in what we call his hadeeth (sunnah). If we look at the Arabic style of the hadeeth, and compare it with the style of Quran, we can clearly see that they are clearly DIFFERENT, and DISTINGUISHABLE Arabic styles. The prophet (saaw) spoke in public. It does not make sense that a man has two UNIQUE, Distinguishable, and completely different styles of speech in

public. Yet another reason why Mohammad (saaw) couldn't possibly have written Quran.

 

 

When I was 8 I remember thinking that human beings were created by the earth in a similar fashion to plants and other elements of nature. Oh, by the way, God didn't speak to me and I had no formal education about "evolution".

 

Factually incorrect: we are not made of clay. This means clay is being interpreted as something else. At that point, human knowledge, cognition, extrapolation, and inference of fact come into play. I think one could reasonably conclude than an idiot could have thought we were made of clay before all of our nifty modern scientific discoveries.

 

Since you like more science:

http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn4307

http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn4174

http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn2100

 

I would like to add that besides besides these findings that add up to the clay metaphor, I consider this to be only a metaphor, referring to evolution, Since the Qur'an tells us in Surah 71, Verse 14 that we were made through what Abdullah Yusuf Ali's translation translates a "diverse stages" and M.H. Shakir's translation translates as "various grades."

 

Entire verse:

"Seeing that it is He that has created you in diverse stages?"

 

It seems to me that alot of religious belief comes from the idea that anything is possible and even probable to occur at some point. If I predict right now that humans will evolve into shape-shifting dopplegangers, and at some point in history they do, am I a prophet? I couldn't guess from any current scientific knowledge I'm aware of that this is possible...but if I dream it...and it comes true...well....

It seems you're making the claim that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) "predicted" the future and that is why he is a prophet...ridiculous. Look to my explanation above. They're called prophecies. And I will list some of the prophecies in the Qur'an that have come true so far:

 

Pollution

"Corruption has spread on land and sea because of what men’s hands have wrought" (30:42)

One of the interpretations of the above verse of the Holy Quran is the environmental pollution, caused by human being. And that is spread both in land and sea due to our own inventions, i.e., fumes from chimneys of factories, chemical and nuclear waste, huge traffic in the cities, noise and creation of ozone hole are manifest testimonies of the fulfillment of this prophecy.

 

Establishment of Israel

And after him We said to the Children of Israel, 'Dwell Ye in the promised land; and when the time of the promise of the Latter Days come, We shall bring you together out of various people." (17:105)

Creation of Israel and gathering of Sephardic, Ashkenazi and the Jews of many other different races in Israel proves the authenticity of this prophecy and hence Quran.

 

Genetic Engineering

"They will alter Allah's creation." (4:120)

The Quran has prophesied the plastic surgery, genetic engineering and cloning in this short and concise sentence.

 

New Transport Systems

"And when the she-camels, ten months pregnant are abandoned." (81:5)

"And He has created horses and mules and asses that you may ride them, and as a source of beauty. And He will create what you do not yet know." (16:9)

As we know people, specially those living in deserts, have now abandoned camels and other animals for travelling. But this prophecy of invention and emergence of new transport systems is on-going as we witness new and faster modes of transportation emerging all the time.

 

Zoo

"And when the wild beasts are gathered together." (81:6)

Nobody could ever imagine that one day wild beasts shall be captured, tamed and put together in closed and open parks. The establishment of zoo have fulfilled this prophecy.

 

Oceans linked

"And when the rivers are made to flow into each other." (81:7)

"He has made the two bodies of water flow. They will one day meet. Between them there is a barrier; they cannot encroach one upon the other." (55:20,21)

"And He it is Who shall merge the two seas together. This palatable and sweet, that saltish and bitter. And between them He has (presently) placed a barrier and a massive partition." (25:54)

This phenomenal prophecy is an excellent proof of truthfulness of Quran. It was beyond imagination of any one living 1400 years ago to even think of linking of oceans which we see today in Panama and Suez canals.

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i predict i will die in the year 2070.

 

if it comes true it was divine influence. (im saying this in the sense that god told me this in a dream, seriously, and i have just written it down and transcribed it to you, my followers)

 

i find it to be interesting, like a nice bedtime story, but will continue researching for my own jollies because admittedly the above debate is probably above my head, as far as knowledge of scripture goes.

 

what i'm left is:

 

if it doesnt make sense, its god

if we cant explain it, its god

if history cant account for it, its god

 

also, i think i saw god on salvia. she was made of triangles and told me to be happy.

 

take care (i'll still read all responses...just fyi)

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The Quran mentions a number of scientific facts which were unknown to the world then. Some of them are:
  • The moon has no light of its own and that what we see is the reflected light of the sun. (91:1-2),
  • The universe came about by a "big bang" or disintegration billions of years ago. (21:30),
  • Every living thing began in water. (continuation of 21:30),
  • Stages of reproduction of a life in the womb.(22:5),
  • Every living thing, including vegetable matter, is created in pairs (male and female). (36:36),
  • All celestial body (namely, moon and planets) have their own course of orbit. (7:54 and 21:33),
  • Space travel is possible. (55:33), and
  • There is also life (in whatever form) in other parts of the universe. (42:29).
  • "And thy Lord taught the Bee to build its cells in hills, on trees, and in (men's) habitations; There issues From within their bodies A drink of varying colours, Wherein is healing for men." (16"68-69) (The bee assimilates juices of various kinds of flowers and fruit and forms within its body the honey, which it stores in its cells of wax. Only a couple of centuries ago man came to know that honey comes from the belly of the bee.)
  • All these scientific facts were discovered only in the last couple of centuries whereas the Quran mentions them 14 centuries ago.

There are more but I thought these were the most interesting. If you need even deeper explanations of these let me know. I hope it helps.

 

None of this is science, i'm not seeing a hypothesis, single variable testing, repeatable procedures and results. There seems to be very little empirical knowledge here. Anyone could just think this shit up and may be right and may be wrong. Don't call these scientific facts, seeing as they weren't discovered scientifically.

 

And some of this stuff you cite, looking at my koran, is hardly scientific. Especially the shit about space, this quote is almost certainly metaphorical in nature.

 

"33. O ye assembly of Jinns and men! If it be ye can pass beyond the zones of the heavens and the earth, pass ye! not without authority shall ye be able to pass!"

 

The Big Bang quote

 

30. Do not the Unbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were joined together (as one unit of creation), before we clove them asunder? We made from water every living thing. Will they not then believe?

 

Da Womb

 

5. O mankind! if ye have a doubt about the Resurrection, (consider) that We created you out of dust, then out of sperm, then out of a leech-like clot, then out of a morsel of flesh, partly formed and partly unformed, in order that We may manifest (our power) to you; and We cause whom We will to rest in the wombs for an appointed term, then do We bring you out as babes, then (foster you) that ye may reach your age of full strength; and some of you are called to die, and some are sent back to the feeblest old age, so that they know nothing after having known (much), and (further), thou seest the earth barren and lifeless, but when We pour down rain on it, it is stirred (to life), it swells, and it puts forth every kind of beautiful growth (in pairs).

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Fareed, all these claims about prophecy fufilled in the Koran appear to be made in jest. Sometimes Astrology comes true, doesen't means in predicitive. Especially the large amount of extrapolation done. Like with the crap about the oceans, people had knowledges of floods, and how that could overcome small amounts of land (aka Suez). And the koran, hardly the first book to predict the state of israel coming back.

 

The Pollution quote is massive extrapoloation worthy of a debater.

 

The Koran is a beautiful text, not a fucking science textbook. Kierkegaard and Stephen Jay Gould are right, the mixture of science and religion is just straight up dumb, as proved by this excersice

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May I please ask, again, why the STATED TOPIC OF THE THREAD is being COMPLETELY IGNORED?

 

Because we have people claiming Allah has a leg up on Richard Feynman, it kinda begs a response. Unfortunate, but it's hard not to respond to stuff like that.

 

PS thanks to neg rep, whoever you are

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It's about time we get back to the topic at hand, so I will end this issue with saying that to me, and most Muslims, Islam is a way of life. Our belief and the way we live our lives is based on the guidelines of Islamic Law, the Qur'an, The Prophet's sayings and scholars. That being said, I am not sure why we are debating about what we are debating since obviously mczeitgiest and Met4physica won't change their stance and neither will I. I love my religion and will defend it to death. Different people interpret religion(s) in different ways. I just hope and my main goal is that I have raised awareness about Islam and steered it clear of the negative stereotype and view it is getting from the Western and European world.

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all religion is bad, lets not shy away from that point now

 

its funny how 'the topic at hand' only comes up when things get uncomfortable. my opinions on the various issues presented in this thread could change, fareed, if your posts carried even a shred of legitimacy to them. if you maintained that your beliefs are merely beliefs and speculations, then i think this would be a far easier thing to converse about. i respect that you believe what you do, but if you try to make these feelings about the universe enter the realm of rationality, you should be prepared to endure criticism.

 

i predict that someday you will understand what i am saying. then, my son, you will rise to the heavens.

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i don't feel like making long posts so i won't respond to any of the above beyond saying that in academia faith is nutty

 

i don't like religion, and while having islam force-fed to me exhaustively for the past some odd years by an islamic scholar has led me to sort of hate it, islam(without the -ic "scholars") has brought forth a couple of compelling points (in pretty outright terms).

 

-history repeats itself

-man will destroy himself (and has in the past? question mark for historical legitimacy - i'm not sure if the quran means all of man or historically dominant cultures mayans egyptians so on)

-fear nothing but god (as far as i've read the quaran only goes so far as defining god as "x instance of power")

 

it would have been interesting if people hadn't taken religion so seriously

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all religion is bad, lets not shy away from that point now

 

its funny how 'the topic at hand' only comes up when things get uncomfortable. my opinions on the various issues presented in this thread could change, fareed, if your posts carried even a shred of legitimacy to them. if you maintained that your beliefs are merely beliefs and speculations, then i think this would be a far easier thing to converse about. i respect that you believe what you do, but if you try to make these feelings about the universe enter the realm of rationality, you should be prepared to endure criticism.

 

i predict that someday you will understand what i am saying. then, my son, you will rise to the heavens.

 

 

Yea, I find it unusual that you, Lockes and Fareed, want to shy away from speaking on other topics in this thread. We know the main purpose of this thread, but what's being done right now is done in almost every single current events thread. There have been multiple instances that a thread starts out with one purpose, but then some poster twists it. I think Krebs is perfectly warranted when it comes to wanting to discuss your religion.

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topics shift its just the natural course of things

 

i've actually been reading The Holy Qur'an at work today...quite interesting.

 

don't like this line: "7. Allah hath set a seal on their hearts and on their hearing, and on their eyes is a veil; great is the penalty they (incur)."

 

sura two seems to be some sort of introduction that first and foremost scares people into believing the text and scripture that will be coming next. why are these sort of cautionary notices necessary?

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Quite honestly, the reason I don't want to talk about it is because I really don't have anything to say about this. I'm the minimum one can be and still be Muslim. I'm foulmouthed, unorthodox, and my conception of Allah is very marginal.

 

I do, however, have a lot to talk about when it comes to the attitude of modern Islam, which I why I want to change the subject.

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topics shift its just the natural course of things

 

i've actually been reading The Holy Qur'an at work today...quite interesting.

 

don't like this line: "7. Allah hath set a seal on their hearts and on their hearing, and on their eyes is a veil; great is the penalty they (incur)."

 

sura two seems to be some sort of introduction that first and foremost scares people into believing the text and scripture that will be coming next. why are these sort of cautionary notices necessary?

I'm not sure what you mean by "scares" people into what's coming next. Perhaps if you gave me specific verses I could answer your question better, since Surah Al-Baqarah (The Cow) is the largest in the Qur'an. But I'd like to comment on the Verse 7 that you pointed, since I've been asked about this verse before. The questions I've been asked about that verse have been something of this sort:

"If Allah (swt) has sealed the hearts of the kafirs (i.e. Non-muslims), then why are they to be blamed for not accepting Islam?"

 

These verses do not refer to common kafirs who reject faith. The Arabic words used are “Al-Lazina Kafaroo”, those who are bent on rejecting the truth. It will not make any difference to such people whether you warn them or not, they will not believe. Allah has set a seal on their hearts and on their hearing and on their eyes is a veil. It is not because Allah has set a seal on their hearts that these kafirs do not understand and believe, but it is the vice-versa. It is because these kafirs are bent on rejecting the truth and whether you warn them or not they will not believe, that Allah has set a seal on their hearts. Therefore Allah is not to blame, but these kafirs that are bent on rejecting the faith are responsible.

 

For example, suppose an experienced teacher, before the final exams, predicts that a particular student will fail in the exams, since the student is very mischievous, not attentive in class, does not do his homework. The teacher therefore puts a F in front of the student’s name. If after the student appears for the exam, he fails, who is to be blamed for the student failing: the teacher or the student? Just because the teacher predicted and put a F in front of his name it does not mean that the teacher is to be blamed, but the student himself is responsible. Similarly Allah (swt) knows in advance that there are some people who are bent on rejecting the faith and Allah (swt) has put a seal on their hearts. Thus these non-Muslims themselves are responsible for rejecting the faith and not Allah (swt).

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Perhaps, but that isn't the point of the thread. We can create a thread for this very interesting issue elsewhere, but the stated thread topic is the fact that "Everyone is afraid to criticize Islam", which I blame on the stupidity of my fellow Muslims, especially the traditionalists.

 

I saw an interesting editorial in the Wall Street Journal the other day (yes, I read it) in which a man who seems to be a Muslim (I can't remember his name) claims that 1. there is no ban on depiction of the Prophet in the Qur'an and 2. Muslims are capable of taking a joke.

 

I will take this opportunity to present a disclaimer: I do not know whether the editorial writer's claim is true. I promised myself I would not fall into the trap of mindless memorization of Qur'anic verse. So I am waiting until I have the Arabic to understand the text in full and make my own interpretations before I attempt more than a basic reading of it. What I write below (and forgive my ignorance) is mostly acting under the assumption that the editorial writer's assertion is true.

 

I would argue that whether or not it is in the Qur'an is immaterial. While more Muslims have read the Qur'an than, say, Christians have read the Bible, they don't really study it, though they should. To quote Francis Bacon, "Some books are to be tasted; others are to be chewed; still others to be swallowed and digested." The Qur'an is definately a book to be digested, and digested slowly, so that no part of it goes unabsorbed. Unfortunately, most Muslims merely chew or even taste the Qur'an, absorbing its surface meaning only, and probably missing some details. Hence, if the author's claim is true and the Qur'an does not ban the depiction of the Prophet, the modern Muslim would not know, believing it to be either a detail he missed or a hidden point he failed to elucidate in his study in school. Nor would the modern Muslim care; even if every sheikh in the world came out and declared that there was no mention of a prohibition on representation of the Prophet in the Qur'an, it is so embedded in the culture that it might as well be.

 

The writer cites instances of Muslims criticizing their religion in the past. And that's where his argument goes wrong--it's in the past. Modern Islam is more fanatical than has ever been seen in the history of the faith. It is, fundamentally, an extreme reaction to modern realities, much like Christian fundamentalism. However, in Islamic countries, almost the whole population is united in its fear of change, for it is change directed by the former imperialists, by the friends of their enemy, by people who openly beleived themselves superior until quite recently and since then have continued to act arrogantly. Fundamentalist and even moderate traditional Muslims see that their people is portrayed as evil and their culture portrayed as inferior by the purveyors of change, and they beleive that the change that the West seeks is the total destruction of all but the vestiges of the traditional Islamic culture. Naturally, they see their faith and culture as being beseiged by outside forces, and they act with a war mentality. Criticism from within damages unity, is unpatriotic, is treason; criticism from without is an assault. And the fundamentalists are willing to use violence to acheive their aims. The Christian churches do not have that kind of ability to inspire people to violence; the concept of the Crusade is dead to all but a few. Islam has not reached that phase. Hence, it is natural for people to fear criticizing Islam--they fear retribution: riots, murders, bombings. Even though those who do it are a rediculously small minority, they are a powerful one because of their willingness to use violence. And their motives are real, strong currents in Islamic society; what they reflect is an amplified version of the simmering anger and fear of modern Muslim society.

 

oh man. someone is watching way too much cnn.

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oh man. someone is watching way too much cnn.

Actually, I don't watch any CNN whatsoever. Remember, my grandparents live in Egypt half the year, and they talk about this stuff when they come back here.

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You should all check out Juan Cole's article on Salon.com that discusses the regional context under which the demonstrations were used. It's an interesting argument that sheds new understanding on the whole conflict.

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whoever said science and religion don't get along is stupid..

 

my religion (Baha'i Faith) is based on principles; one of which is that the two go hand in hand..

 

let me know if you want some literature on it

 

or you can just read this

 

http://www.einsteinandreligion.com/irrec.html

http://www.einsteinandreligion.com/scienceandreligion.html

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