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islamispeace
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Quote islamispeace Replybullet Posted: 11 August 2014 at 3:14pm
Originally posted by Ron Webb

It was relevant in the context of the original discussion in which I made the comment.  We were discussing why a malevolent supernatural being (i.e., Satan) might want to supplant a polytheistic religion with a monotheistic one.  There are theoretical advantages to a monotheism if intolerance and conflict is your goal.


And I refuted this absurd argument with the facts mentioned on this thread.  You are still stuck on theory.  I am referring to reality! LOL

Originally posted by Ron Webb

I disagree that polytheists are just as likely to be intolerant in practice, but I think we'll just have to agree to disagree on that point.  Anecdotal evidence is not going to convince either of us.  If you look around the world at all the religious conflicts, it seems to me that the vast majority of them involve monotheism (and most of those involve Islam), but I admit that at least part of it may be due to the prevalence of monotheism in general.


What I have shown is evidence that polytheists can and do persecute people of other religions, even co-religionists and other polytheists.  Therefore, I conclude that polytheists are just as like as monotheists to persecute people of other religions.  If you want a more modern example, just look into Hindutva organizations in India like the RSS and Bajrang Dal. 

Originally posted by Ron Webb

The recognition of one particular god in a pantheon as supreme among the gods does not make it a monotheism.  (My goodness, do I need to explain this to a Muslim?)


LOL Once again, your idiocy overwhelms your reason.  I didn't say that it was "monotheism".  I said that it was a "sort of monotheistic outlook".  Think about it.  Why would there be a "supreme" god and what does that mean?  A "god", as I understand the definition, is a supreme and all-powerful being.  Therefore, if a being is characterized as a "god", then it should already be "supreme".  To say that a particular god is a "supreme god" would be like saying that this god is a "supreme, supreme being".  That makes no sense.  That is why polytheism in general makes no sense.  If a deity is not all-powerful when compared to another deity, then it is not a deity and it is not worthy of worship.  This is the folly of polytheism.  That is why polytheistic religions shoot themselves in the foot when they acknowledge the existence of "supreme" gods, who are "higher" than other deities.  Therefore, it reflects a monotheistic outlook.  It is one of the great ironies of polytheism.  Get it? Wink  
Say: "Truly, my prayer and my service of sacrifice, my life and my death, are (all) for Allah, the Cherisher of the Worlds. (Surat al-Anaam: 162)

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Quote Ron Webb Replybullet Posted: 12 August 2014 at 1:49pm
Originally posted by islamispeace

What I have shown is evidence that polytheists can and do persecute people of other religions, even co-religionists and other polytheists.  Therefore, I conclude that polytheists are just as like as monotheists to persecute people of other religions.  If you want a more modern example, just look into Hindutva organizations in India like the RSS and Bajrang Dal.

The logical leap from your first sentence to your second is an unjustified generalization.  Just because some polytheists persecute other religions, does not mean that polytheists in general are just as likely as monotheists to do so.

Of course, you can always find examples of intolerant polytheists, as I have acknowledged several times.  However, if we want to start trading anecdotal examples of religious intolerance, I could easily overwhelm this discussion with examples of Muslim (or those claiming to be Muslim) intolerance, without even mentioning Judaism or Christianity.  I'm not going to go there, for obvous reasons, but you know it's true.

Originally posted by Ron Webb

The recognition of one particular god in a pantheon as supreme among the gods does not make it a monotheism.  (My goodness, do I need to explain this to a Muslim?)

Once again, your idiocy overwhelms your reason.  I didn't say that it was "monotheism".  I said that it was a "sort of monotheistic outlook".  Think about it.  Why would there be a "supreme" god and what does that mean?  A "god", as I understand the definition, is a supreme and all-powerful being.  Therefore, if a being is characterized as a "god", then it should already be "supreme".

I'm sorry, but your understanding of the definition is wrong.  The word "god", in lowercase, refers to "a supernatural being, who is worshipped as the controller of some part of the universe or some aspect of life in the world or is the personification of some force."  Polytheist religions often have a hierarchy of gods, but even the one at the top of the hierarchy is not necessarily all-powerful.
Addeenul Aql Religion is intellect.
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Quote islamispeace Replybullet Posted: 12 August 2014 at 8:43pm
Originally posted by Ron Webb

The logical leap from your first sentence to your second is an unjustified generalization.  Just because some polytheists persecute other religions, does not mean that polytheists in general are just as likely as monotheists to do so.

Of course, you can always find examples of intolerant polytheists, as I have acknowledged several times.  However, if we want to start trading anecdotal examples of religious intolerance, I could easily overwhelm this discussion with examples of Muslim (or those claiming to be Muslim) intolerance, without even mentioning Judaism or Christianity.  I'm not going to go there, for obvous reasons, but you know it's true.


Still not getting it, huh?  Polytheists can and do commit persecution of others, so it is absurd to claim that Satan would have tried to start a monotheistic religion (and discourage polytheism) because he wanted to promote "intolerance".  Polytheists can also be intolerant.  I am sure Satan would have known that.  LOL 

Originally posted by Ron Webb

I'm sorry, but your understanding of the definition is wrong.  The word "god", in lowercase, refers to "a supernatural being, who is worshipped as the controller of some part of the universe or some aspect of life in the world or is the personification of some force."  Polytheist religions often have a hierarchy of gods, but even the one at the top of the hierarchy is not necessarily all-powerful.


LOL Oh the hilarity!  The same source also states:

"1. the one Supreme Being, the creator and ruler of the universe.
2. the Supreme Being considered with reference to a particular attribute: the God of Islam.
3. ( lowercase ) one of several deities, especially a male deity, presiding over some portion of worldly affairs.
4. ( often lowercase ) a supreme being according to some particular conception: the god of mercy.
5. Christian Science. the Supreme Being, understood as Life, Truth, love, Mind, Soul, Spirit, Principle."

Here is another definition:

"(god) (In certain other religions) a superhuman being or spirit worshiped as having power over nature or human fortunes; a deity: a moon god an incarnation of the god Vishnu" (http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/God)

So, by definition, a "god" is "superhuman" and has "power over nature".   

In any case, I have provided examples of polytheistic religions which nevertheless believe in a "supreme" deity, who is superior to all others.  Shang-di in the Chinese religion is a perfect example.  Even among some Hindus, Krishna is the supreme deity, and all the others (Shiva, Vishnu etc.) are "lesser" gods or "demi-gods".  And of course, for Vaishnavites, Vishnu is superior to Shiva.  For Shivaites, Shiva is superior to Vishnu.  So we can see the tendency, even among polytheists, to look toward a monotheistic hierarchy.  Some literally believe in a "supreme" deity, while others tend to emphasize the superiority of one particular god over another.  It is all too common for a polytheistic religion to still believe in a "supreme" deity, who rules over all other deities.       


Edited by islamispeace - 12 August 2014 at 8:56pm
Say: "Truly, my prayer and my service of sacrifice, my life and my death, are (all) for Allah, the Cherisher of the Worlds. (Surat al-Anaam: 162)

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Quote islamispeace Replybullet Posted: 17 August 2014 at 2:38pm
Some more facts for the enlightenment of ignorant atheists and their crackpot theories:

I previously mentioned how Hindus have been known to persecute Jains.  According to JAINA (Federation of Jain Associations in North America):

"As long as Jainism was clubbed with Hinduism, it got a raw deal having no separate recognition amongst the scholars. Also despite of general doctrinal tolerance in the Hindu tradition, history shows instances of persecution against Jains such as in Tamil Nadu in the 7th century, AD when Hindu Shaiva poets and teachers popularized the notion of Jains (or Samanars in Tamil) as villains opposed to the Shaiva creed. Hindu Saints like Adi Shankaracharya and Swami Dyayanand Saraswati led vitriolic attacks against Jain philosophy. Many Jain temples were destroyed and Jains killed.

Today, a concern of modern Jains in post-independence India has been the preservation of ancient pilgrimage sites and holy shrines which in recent decades have come under pressure from certain fundamentalist groups - in the case of Girnarji, Hindu devotees of the deity Dattatreya. Bhagavan Neminatha's charana were established at Girnarji for many thousands of years. Now, Hindus have taken over the 5th and the 3rd hill, thus wiping out extremely important Jain heritage from Gujarat
."

Also, as I have stated, there is a difference between the practice of polytheism in "theory" and in "reality".  Hence, even though by "definition", polytheists believe in multiple gods and allegedly would be more "tolerant" of "other" gods, this simply is not the case in reality.  We can see this once again in Jainism, which is a polytheistic religion. 

Contrary to popular misconceptions, Jains do not worship the same gods as Hindus.  According to JAINA:

"The Worship is just a small part of Jaina philosophy. It is much more than way of worship, namely :-

    *      it has its own Gods worthy of worship - Tirthankars,
    *      separate set of rituals different from Hindus for e.g. Jains dont believe in ritual of shraddh for ancestors,
    *      it has a totally different shastras and agamas. 

The philosophy of worship i.e. bhakti is also different. Bhakti in Hinduism believes in surrender to some higher entity, while bhakti in Jainism is merely instrumental in self-realisation. Emphasis is more on securing samyaktva i.e. rationality rather than ritualistic worship.
"

In fact, JAINA notes that from a Jain perspective, the Hindu "gods" are not worthy of worship at all:

"Concept of Kuldevis and praying to Gods like Ganesha who are not vitraag is not in conformity of Jain Philosophy. According to Jainism these deities have attachment and passions."

It also notes that even though Jain scriptures mention characters like Rama (who are mentioned in Hindu books), this is not indicative of some link between Jainism and Hinduism:

" Jain have their own version of Ramayana and Mahabharata based on Jain philosophy. According to Jain puranas, Rama and Lakshmana were the 8th Baldev (or Balbhadra) and Vasudev(or Narayana) and Balarama and Krishna were 9th Baldev and Vasudev. Rama and Krishna are not Avatars of Vishnu as per Jainism. Just as Hindus believe their version, Jains believe this version to be true."

So, it is beyond conclusive that there exist realistic differences between various polytheistic religions, and that these differences have often times led to physical violence and hatred.  Hence, for some ignorant buffoon to suggest that Satan would have chosen a monotheistic religion to spread "intolerance" because polytheism is somehow less likely to promote intolerance is patently absurd.  The fact is that Satan could just as easily have created hatred and intolerance between various polytheistic religions.  Moreover, to promote a monotheistic religion in favor of polytheistic and idolatrous religions would run counter to Satan's ultimate goal of leading mankind astray with deviant and false beliefs.  What is more deviant than worshiping idols and false gods? 
Say: "Truly, my prayer and my service of sacrifice, my life and my death, are (all) for Allah, the Cherisher of the Worlds. (Surat al-Anaam: 162)

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Quote Ron Webb Replybullet Posted: 18 August 2014 at 7:54am
Originally posted by islamispeace

So, by definition, a "god" is "superhuman" and has "power over nature".

Exactly.  So what point are you trying to make?

---
Originally posted by islamispeace

So, it is beyond conclusive that there exist realistic differences between various polytheistic religions, and that these differences have often times led to physical violence and hatred.

True; but

Hence, for some ignorant buffoon to suggest that Satan would have chosen a monotheistic religion to spread "intolerance" because polytheism is somehow less likely to promote intolerance is patently absurd.

The conclusion does not follow from the premise.  You have shown that polytheism can be violent and intolerant (a fact which I have acknowledged from the beginning).  You have not shown that it is more likely to be violent and intolerant than monotheism.  In other words, you have not addressed my theoretical claim that it is less likely to be so.

The fact is that Satan could just as easily have created hatred and intolerance between various polytheistic religions.

And yet, looking at the many instances of hatred and intolerance that you see in the news today, how many are due to polytheism?  And how many to monotheism?


Moreover, to promote a monotheistic religion in favor of polytheistic and idolatrous religions would run counter to Satan's ultimate goal of leading mankind astray with deviant and false beliefs.  What is more deviant than worshiping idols and false gods?

Circular argument.  How do you know this, without assuming your conclusion?
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Quote islamispeace Replybullet Posted: 18 August 2014 at 9:47am
Originally posted by Ron Webb

Exactly.  So what point are you trying to make?


1.  That your "definition" was deliberately simplified and deceptive.

2.  That by "definition", a "god" is a "supreme being" with "superhuman" powers. 

Hence polytheism, with its multitude of "supreme beings" simply makes no logical sense, because all "gods" cannot be "supreme" when compared to the other "gods".  There can only be one "supreme" being, by definition.  You can't have two "supreme courts", can you?

Originally posted by Ron Webb

The conclusion does not follow from the premise.  You have shown that polytheism can be violent and intolerant (a fact which I have acknowledged from the beginning).  You have not shown that it is more likely to be violent and intolerant than monotheism.  In other words, you have not addressed my theoretical claim that it is less likely to be so.


LOL All you have been doing is positing "theoretical" claims, with no proof, and yet you ask me for proof?  The burden of proof is on you to prove that polytheism is "less likely" to be "violent and intolerant" than monotheism.  I have shown that polytheists are also capable of violence and intolerance, so your argument that Satan would have preferred to start Islam (at the expense of polytheism and idolatry)  in order to spread "intolerance" is absurd, because he could have just as easily done that with polytheism, given that polytheism also has a history of intolerance.  Moreover, Satan could have simply further exploited Arab tribal rivalries, yet with the coming of Islam, tribalism was abolished.  Satan would have also refrained from forbidding things like female infanticide, rape (which was a common tactic used by victorious tribes to humiliate the losing tribe), killing of civilians and non-combatants etc. 

Originally posted by Ron Webb

And yet, looking at the many instances of hatred and intolerance that you see in the news today, how many are due to polytheism?  And how many to monotheism?


LOL We already know that you are not exactly in touch with reality, so your reference to what we "see in the new today" is not particularly impressive. 

I already told you about Hindutva organizations like the RSS and Bajrang Dal.  Also, polytheism is not as prominent as monotheism.  While it tended to dominate the global religious landscape in the ancient world, that is no longer the case.  But, given the numerous precedents in history, it is not hard to imagine that if polytheism was as dominant as it once was, that it would be just as likely as monotheism to exhibit hatred and intolerance. 

Originally posted by Ron Webb

Circular argument.  How do you know this, without assuming your conclusion?


Ummm, because Satan is a figure found in monotheistic texts, not polytheistic ones? So naturally, all that we know about him comes from the former, not the latter.  Which Satan are you referring to? Wink

Given the logical absurdity of polytheism, as well as the obvious human characteristics of many so-called "gods", it is obvious to me that polytheism is the work of Satan.  Monotheism, on the other hand, would not be of Satanic origin, although the different religions with their deviant beliefs may be (for example, Christianity and the belief in the trinity and the divinity of Jesus).
Say: "Truly, my prayer and my service of sacrifice, my life and my death, are (all) for Allah, the Cherisher of the Worlds. (Surat al-Anaam: 162)

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Quote Ron Webb Replybullet Posted: 19 August 2014 at 8:37am
Originally posted by islamispeace

Originally posted by Ron Webb

Exactly.  So what point are you trying to make?

1.  That your "definition" was deliberately simplified and deceptive.
2.  That by "definition", a "god" is a "supreme being" with "superhuman" powers.

Hence polytheism, with its multitude of "supreme beings" simply makes no logical sense, because all "gods" cannot be "supreme" when compared to the other "gods".  There can only be one "supreme" being, by definition.  You can't have two "supreme courts", can you?

On the contrary, defining a (lowercase) god as a "supreme being" is deliberately simplified and deceptive.  The definition says "a supreme being according to some particular conception: the god of mercy."  Thus, for example, Athena is supreme in matters of wisdom, while Aphrodite is supreme in matters of love.  It doesn't say that a (lowercase) god is supreme in all matters, as you imply.

All you have been doing is positing "theoretical" claims, with no proof, and yet you ask me for proof?  The burden of proof is on you to prove that polytheism is "less likely" to be "violent and intolerant" than monotheism.

I'm not saying that it is.  I'm saying that it could be.  In theory it looks likely.  Whether it is in practice is difficult to assess.  Just looking at modern day conflicts it certainly seems that way to me; but I don't know for sure, and I have no way of proving it one way or another.  If you claim that you do know for sure, then it's up to you prove it.

One thing is for sure, though: trotting out specific examples of violence and intolerance is not going to help.  We both acknowledge that such examples exist on both sides, i.e. that some people on both sides are intolerant and violent.  If you want to prove that polytheism is more likely than monotheism to be violent and intolerant, then you need to find a way to count or estimate the total number of violent and intolerant people on either side, divide that by the respective populations, and compare the ratios.  Good luck with that. Wink

Originally posted by Ron Webb

Circular argument.  How do you know this, without assuming your conclusion?

Ummm, because Satan is a figure found in monotheistic texts, not polytheistic ones? So naturally, all that we know about him comes from the former, not the latter.  Which Satan are you referring to?

I was referring to a hypothetical "malevolent supernatural being", which is commonly called Satan today, but which has gone by other names at other times.  The fact is that we know nothing at all about him, including whether he actually exists.  If you are relying on scripture for information about Satan, then you are assuming that scripture is from God and not from Satan.  Isn't that what you're trying to prove?
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Quote islamispeace Replybullet Posted: 19 August 2014 at 9:09am
Originally posted by Ron Webb

On the contrary, defining a (lowercase) god as a "supreme being" is deliberately simplified and deceptive.  The definition says "a supreme being according to some particular conception: the god of mercy."  Thus, for example, Athena is supreme in matters of wisdom, while Aphrodite is supreme in matters of love.  It doesn't say that a (lowercase) god is supreme in all matters, as you imply.


LOL Your petty semantics will not save you.  Ares was the "god of war" in Greek mythology.  Does that mean that he was "supreme" in war even when compared to Zeus, who was the "king of Olympus"?  Or was Zeus "supreme" when compared to any of the other "gods"?  By the way, Aphrodite may have been the "goddess of love" but Zeus was also known for his sexual escapades! Shocked 

Originally posted by Ron Webb

I'm not saying that it is.  I'm saying that it could be.  In theory it looks likely.  Whether it is in practice is difficult to assess.  Just looking at modern day conflicts it certainly seems that way to me; but I don't know for sure, and I have no way of proving it one way or another.  If you claim that you do know for sure, then it's up to you prove it.


That's what I said!  You have only theories, nothing realistic.

Originally posted by Ron Webb

One thing is for sure, though: trotting out specific examples of violence and intolerance is not going to help.  We both acknowledge that such examples exist on both sides, i.e. that some people on both sides are intolerant and violent.  If you want to prove that polytheism is more likely than monotheism to be violent and intolerant, then you need to find a way to count or estimate the total number of violent and intolerant people on either side, divide that by the respective populations, and compare the ratios.  Good luck with that. Wink


When did I say that polytheism was "more likely" to promote intolerance?  I said that it is just as likely as monotheism to promote intolerance.  You were the one who claimed that polytheism by "definition" is more tolerant.  I shot down that absurd theoretical argument by providing numerous cases where polytheists engaged in brutal violence against people of other religions.  In response, all you could do was appeal to your theory, as usual.  LOL

Originally posted by Ron Webb

I was referring to a hypothetical "malevolent supernatural being", which is commonly called Satan today, but which has gone by other names at other times.  The fact is that we know nothing at all about him, including whether he actually exists.  If you are relying on scripture for information about Satan, then you are assuming that scripture is from God and not from Satan.  Isn't that what you're trying to prove?
 

When you refer to "Satan", you are referring to the being mentioned in monotheistic scriptures.  Why would I assume you are referring to some other "malevolent supernatural being" when you specifically mentioned "Satan"?  Confused

And as I already said, given the obvious falsehood of polytheism, it is easy to conclude that Satan would be responsible for spreading polytheistic religions.  He spreads falsehood in order to deceive mankind.  And your atheism/humanism is just one more false ideology that he has spread. Wink

By the way, if you want to learn more about the existence of the supernatural, I recommend reading the late Dr. M. Scott Peck's book "The People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil".  Near the end of the book, Dr. Peck discussed the issue of possession.  Dr. Peck was a respected psychiatrist who studied cases of possession and was even present at some exorcisms.  In his view, possession is a very real phenomenon and he was convinced that Satan is real. 


Edited by islamispeace - 19 August 2014 at 9:11am
Say: "Truly, my prayer and my service of sacrifice, my life and my death, are (all) for Allah, the Cherisher of the Worlds. (Surat al-Anaam: 162)

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