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Interfaith Dialogue
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Message Icon Topic: Polytheism: Between Fantasy and Reality Post Reply Post New Topic
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Ron Webb
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Quote Ron Webb Replybullet Posted: 19 August 2014 at 7:00pm
Originally posted by islamispeace

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"?

Well, I'm no expert on Greek mythology, but I suppose it's like any other power structure.  For the most part, Ares would be in charge of matters related to war, and Zeus would not be involved.  However, I think it's fair to assume that Ares might hesitate to start a war that might anger his "boss".

If you're really interested, why ask me?  I'm sure there are plenty of resources available online.

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

Just like you.  The difference is that I know they are only theories, whereas you think you have absolute truth because you read it in the Quran.

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.

As I said, citing specific cases, even numerous such cases, on either side does not show in general that one side is more tolerant than the other.  I could easily come up with numerous cases where monotheists engaged in brutal violence.  I could probably cite enough examples against Islam alone to get me kicked off this board.  What would that 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"?

I am referring to Satan, "the chief evil spirit; the great adversary of humanity; the devil."  It is a hypothetical concept.  IMHO it does not refer to any real being, so discussions of which evil spirit is which would be purely academic.  You will naturally identify him with the being "Shaitan" described in the Quran; but to rely on that description to justify your belief in the source of the description (and hence its reliability) is a circular argument.

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.

First, prove that the Quran is not from Satan/Shaitan or whatever evil spirit might be motivated to mislead humankind.  Then you can rely on its contents.  Not before.
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Quote islamispeace Replybullet Posted: 19 August 2014 at 8:46pm
Originally posted by Ron Webb

Well, I'm no expert on Greek mythology, but I suppose it's like any other power structure.  For the most part, Ares would be in charge of matters related to war, and Zeus would not be involved.  However, I think it's fair to assume that Ares might hesitate to start a war that might anger his "boss".

If you're really interested, why ask me?  I'm sure there are plenty of resources available online.


LOL You're not much of an expert on anything, which is why it's so funny reading your ignorant opinions. 

You brought the Greek gods into the discussion.  I wasn't asking you a question.  I was refuting your inept claims.

You claimed that each Greek god was "supreme" in some regard, but I pointed out that if Ares was the "god of war", then by your definition, he would be superior even to Zeus in war.  But that was clearly not the case, because the Greeks believed that Zeus was the mightiest of the gods. 

Originally posted by Ron Webb

Just like you.  The difference is that I know they are only theories, whereas you think you have absolute truth because you read it in the Quran.
 

Again, don't drag me down to your level.  I have provided proof for my claims.  You have provided nothing but crackpot theories and your personal opinions.

Originally posted by Ron Webb

As I said, citing specific cases, even numerous such cases, on either side does not show in general that one side is more tolerant than the other.  I could easily come up with numerous cases where monotheists engaged in brutal violence.  I could probably cite enough examples against Islam alone to get me kicked off this board.  What would that prove?


You're the one who claimed that polytheists are more tolerant, you dummy!  I never said such a thing about monotheists.  I have said that both are just as capable as the other of showing intolerance, and history proves it.  You simply posited yet another *****ic theory which I disproved through realistic examples.  Theory is your game.  Mine is reality.

Originally posted by Ron Webb

I am referring to Satan, "the chief evil spirit; the great adversary of humanity; the devil."  It is a hypothetical concept.  IMHO it does not refer to any real being, so discussions of which evil spirit is which would be purely academic.  You will naturally identify him with the being "Shaitan" described in the Quran; but to rely on that description to justify your belief in the source of the description (and hence its reliability) is a circular argument.
  

LOL Maybe you should have read the whole page, before making a fool out of yourself again.  Further down, under "Word Origin and History of Satan", it states:

"...proper name of the supreme evil spirit in Christianity..."

And even further down, under "Satan in Culture", it states:

"The devil. In the Bible, Satan is identified with the tempter who encourages the fall of Adam and Eve; he is the accuser who torments Job in the hope that he will curse God; the one who offers Jesus all the kingdoms of the world if Jesus will worship him ( see Get thee behind me, Satan ); and the evil one who puts betrayal in the heart of Judas. Satan will one day be confined in hell, but until then he is free to roam the Earth."

So, like I said, when you refer to "Satan", you are referring to the being mentioned in monotheistic sources, and more specifically, the Abrahamic religions. 

Originally posted by Ron Webb

First, prove that the Quran is not from Satan/Shaitan or whatever evil spirit might be motivated to mislead humankind.  Then you can rely on its contents.  Not before.


I already did prove it many times.  You simply ignore it by resorting to more theory.  I asked why Satan would go through the trouble of starting a monotheistic religion in a pagan land, and outlaw things like female infanticide and tribal warfare etc.  You responded by claiming that perhaps he wanted to spread intolerance because allegedly, monotheistic religions are more intolerant than polytheistic ones, a claim that I thoroughly refuted by showing that polytheists are also capable of intolerance.  Hence, Satan could have just as easily used polytheism to start religious wars.  In fact, in Arabia, he didn't even need to start a new religion.  He could have just further exploited the tribal culture to spread more violence.

I also proved that polytheism is logically false and since Satan is the agent of falsehood, he would naturally want to spread polytheistic beliefs. 

By the way, will you be reading the book I suggested?  You've got quite a reading list already! 
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: 21 August 2014 at 2:40pm
Originally posted by islamispeace

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"?
If you're really interested, why ask me?  I'm sure there are plenty of resources available online.
You brought the Greek gods into the discussion.  I wasn't asking you a question.  I was refuting your inept claims.

No, you were asking a question.  Notice the question mark above?

And therein is probably the reason why you seem to think you have refuted all sorts of things when you actually haven't.  You think that merely by asking a question, you are refuting or proving something.  Same goes for all of your unsupported opinions which you regard as facts, or which you attempt to support by appeals to non-authorities.

You claimed that each Greek god was "supreme" in some regard, but I pointed out that if Ares was the "god of war", then by your definition, he would be superior even to Zeus in war.  But that was clearly not the case, because the Greeks believed that Zeus was the mightiest of the gods.

I'm not sure what you mean by "mightiest", but Zeus was the king of the gods.  He wasn't necessarily the mightiest warrior or anything like that.

You're the one who claimed that polytheists are more tolerant, you dummy!

No, I claimed that polytheism was more tolerant than monotheism.  Nuance, I know; but nuance is important.  It's the difference between claiming that Islam is a peaceful religion (which is at least arguable), versus claiming that Muslims are more peaceful than non-Muslims (for which I could provide an endless list of counterexamples).

I never said such a thing about monotheists.  I have said that both are just as capable as the other of showing intolerance, and history proves it.

"Just as capable" is not the same as just as likely.  More nuance.

You simply posited yet another *****ic theory which I disproved through realistic examples.

You can prove their capability through examples.  You can't prove likelihood -- except maybe by statistics, but good luck with that.

Maybe you should have read the whole page, before making a fool out of yourself again.  Further down, under "Word Origin and History of Satan", it states: ...
And even further down, under "Satan in Culture", it states:

Word origin, history and culture are all fascinating subjects, but that's not the definition.

I already did prove it many times.  You simply ignore it by resorting to more theory.  I asked why Satan would go through the trouble of starting a monotheistic religion in a pagan land, and outlaw things like female infanticide and tribal warfare etc.  You responded by claiming that perhaps he wanted to spread intolerance because allegedly, monotheistic religions are more intolerant than polytheistic ones, a claim that I thoroughly refuted by showing that polytheists are also capable of intolerance.  Hence, Satan could have just as easily used polytheism to start religious wars.  In fact, in Arabia, he didn't even need to start a new religion.  He could have just further exploited the tribal culture to spread more violence.

I know you think you've proven things; but then, as I said, you think that asking a question is equivalent to proof.
You may think that Satan would have promoted stuff like female infanticide and tribal warfare if he had written the Quran, but perhaps Satan is smart enough to realize that a totally immoral message would never have been accepted.
You may be right that polytheists are just as capable of intolerance as monotheists; but as I said, that's not the same as showing that they are just as likely.
You may be of the opinion that Satan could have just as easily used polytheism, but perhaps Satan doesn't agree with you.
You may think that Satan could have got the same results by exploiting tribal culture, but maybe he wanted his message to spread beyond a single tribe.
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Quote islamispeace Replybullet Posted: 21 August 2014 at 3:23pm
Originally posted by Ron Webb

No, you were asking a question.  Notice the question mark above?

And therein is probably the reason why you seem to think you have refuted all sorts of things when you actually haven't.  You think that merely by asking a question, you are refuting or proving something.  Same goes for all of your unsupported opinions which you regard as facts, or which you attempt to support by appeals to non-authorities.


You're right.  When I asked the "question", I was assuming that I was talking to someone who actually knows something.  LOL

Irregardless, the point still stands in spite of your special pleading and attacks on the so-called "non-authorities".  The only "non-authority" here is you, with your crackpot theories and personal opinions.

Originally posted by Ron Webb

I'm not sure what you mean by "mightiest", but Zeus was the king of the gods.  He wasn't necessarily the mightiest warrior or anything like that.


LOL Zeus had overthrown the Titans and freed his brothers and sisters from Chronos' stomach.  I am pretty sure he was a mighty warrior.  And with his thunderbolt, he was unchallenged as king of Olympus. 

Originally posted by Ron Webb

No, I claimed that polytheism was more tolerant than monotheism.  Nuance, I know; but nuance is important.  It's the difference between claiming that Islam is a peaceful religion (which is at least arguable), versus claiming that Muslims are more peaceful than non-Muslims (for which I could provide an endless list of counterexamples).


LOL Your claim was just another theory, which has no basis in reality.

Originally posted by Ron Webb

"Just as capable" is not the same as just as likely.  More nuance.
 

Actually, more semantics.  We have seen that polytheists have and do persecute others, despite your theory that polytheism is more tolerant by "definition".

Originally posted by Ron Webb

You can prove their capability through examples.  You can't prove likelihood -- except maybe by statistics, but good luck with that.


The burden of proof is on you, you ninny.  You were the one who claimed that polytheists (or polytheism) is more tolerant than monotheists (or monotheism).

Originally posted by Ron Webb

Word origin, history and culture are all fascinating subjects, but that's not the definition.
 

LOL Sure, sure.  Keep making a fool of yourself!

Originally posted by Ron Webb

I know you think you've proven things; but then, as I said, you think that asking a question is equivalent to proof.
You may think that Satan would have promoted stuff like female infanticide and tribal warfare if he had written the Quran, but perhaps Satan is smart enough to realize that a totally immoral message would never have been accepted.


Oh, what a shock!  The atheist clown resorts to yet another "damned if you do, damned if you don't" argument, not to mention yet more mindless theorizing. LOL

The "immoral message" was already "accepted".  Are you so full of yourself that you cannot even realize that Satan had already made things like female infanticide accepted?  It was a common occurrence in Arabia.  Clearly, immorality can and is accepted.  Why would Satan want to change that? Do tell, since you apparently seem to know a lot about Satan's plans! Wink

Originally posted by Ron Webb

You may be right that polytheists are just as capable of intolerance as monotheists; but as I said, that's not the same as showing that they are just as likely.
You may be of the opinion that Satan could have just as easily used polytheism, but perhaps Satan doesn't agree with you.
You may think that Satan could have got the same results by exploiting tribal culture, but maybe he wanted his message to spread beyond a single tribe.


Riiight, because apparently you are in on Satan's plans...LOL


Edited by islamispeace - 22 August 2014 at 6:21am
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: 22 August 2014 at 11:36am
Originally posted by islamispeace

Irregardless, the point still stands in spite of your special pleading and attacks on the so-called "non-authorities".  The only "non-authority" here is you, with your crackpot theories and personal opinions.

Why are the opinions of Cory Campbell and Harry Callahan any more authoritative than yours or mine, or my uncle Fred's?

Originally posted by Ron Webb

"Just as capable" is not the same as just as likely.  More nuance.
Actually, more semantics.  We have seen that polytheists have and do persecute others, despite your theory that polytheism is more tolerant by "definition".

Of course, but that doesn't answer the question: are polytheists just as likely to be intolerant of foreign gods as monotheists?  We don't know and can't know for sure.  All we know is that monotheism is by definition intolerant, whereas polytheism is not.

The burden of proof is on you, you ninny.  You were the one who claimed that polytheists (or polytheism) is more tolerant than monotheists (or monotheism).

I have to keep reminding you that I am not making a claim.  It is your claim that the Quran could only have come from God.  I am simply pointing out that it could have come from many other sources, one of which could be Satan.

You rebutted (in part) that Satan would not have replaced a polytheist religion with a monotheism, because the polytheists were at least as violent as monotheists.  If you want to support that claim, the burden of proof is with you.  All I need to show is that your claim is not well-founded -- that monotheism could be more violent, which could be a reason for Satan to have promoted it.

Remember, I don't actually believe in either source, so don't expect me to prove it.  I'm just saying that we don't know the source of the Quran, but that there are many possibilities.  You can't just assume one possibility because you like it better.

The "immoral message" was already "accepted".  Are you so full of yourself that you cannot even realize that Satan had already made things like female infanticide accepted?  It was a common occurrence in Arabia.  Clearly, immorality can and is accepted.  Why would Satan want to change that? Do tell, since you apparently seem to know a lot about Satan's plans!

Would female infanticide be acceptable today?  Remember, Satan is playing a long game here.  A religion that included infanticide may have lasted a few hundred years, but it would be outright illegal (let alone socially unacceptable) in most modern countries.

Riiight, because apparently you are in on Satan's plans...

No, I don't know anything about Satan's plans.  I'm just speculating.  You apparently think you do, though, because you are claiming that Satan would not have done this or that if he were creating a new religion.  That is how you know (or think you know) that the Quran is not from Satan.
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Quote islamispeace Replybullet Posted: 22 August 2014 at 1:10pm
Originally posted by Ron Webb

Why are the opinions of Cory Campbell and Harry Callahan any more authoritative than yours or mine, or my uncle Fred's?


As soon as you or your Uncle Fred get an article about Pol Pot published by the Haing S. Ngor Foundation, I will retract my objection to your "authority". LOL

Originally posted by Ron Webb

Of course, but that doesn't answer the question: are polytheists just as likely to be intolerant of foreign gods as monotheists?  We don't know and can't know for sure.  All we know is that monotheism is by definition intolerant, whereas polytheism is not.


Which means nothing...What a shock. 

Originally posted by Ron Webb

I have to keep reminding you that I am not making a claim.  It is your claim that the Quran could only have come from God.  I am simply pointing out that it could have come from many other sources, one of which could be Satan.

You rebutted (in part) that Satan would not have replaced a polytheist religion with a monotheism, because the polytheists were at least as violent as monotheists.  If you want to support that claim, the burden of proof is with you.  All I need to show is that your claim is not well-founded -- that monotheism could be more violent, which could be a reason for Satan to have promoted it.

Remember, I don't actually believe in either source, so don't expect me to prove it.  I'm just saying that we don't know the source of the Quran, but that there are many possibilities.  You can't just assume one possibility because you like it better.


I already did show that your Satan analogy makes little sense.  For Satan to have started a monotheistic religion because monotheism "could be more violent" is absurd.  Polytheism can and is at least as violent, and it is a logically false ideology, so Satan had no reason to undermine it in favor of monotheism. 

Originally posted by Ron Webb

Would female infanticide be acceptable today?  Remember, Satan is playing a long game here.  A religion that included infanticide may have lasted a few hundred years, but it would be outright illegal (let alone socially unacceptable) in most modern countries.


How is that even relevant?  The point is that it was acceptable at the time.  Why would Satan have decided to undermine it when it already had widespread acceptance?  That's like if a drug dealer wanted to expand his business, but then urges people not to buy his product! LOL

By the way, you could argue that the laws of most western countries making abortion legal is part of Satan's "long game".  You could say he has adjusted his strategy and repackaged infanticide as "pro-choice" abortion.

Originally posted by Ron Webb

No, I don't know anything about Satan's plans.  I'm just speculating.  You apparently think you do, though, because you are claiming that Satan would not have done this or that if he were creating a new religion.  That is how you know (or think you know) that the Quran is not from Satan.


I have provided my reasons.  You have responded with speculations with no logical support.  And as I said, "Satan" is a figure mentioned in monotheistic sources, so naturally, any claims about him will have be base on those sources.  Even the source you quoted made that clear. 


Edited by islamispeace - 22 August 2014 at 1:24pm
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: 25 August 2014 at 6:12pm
Originally posted by islamispeace

As soon as you or your Uncle Fred get an article about Pol Pot published by the Haing S. Ngor Foundation, I will retract my objection to your "authority".

As easy as that, eh?  Can it be any Web site, or does it have to have the word "Foundation" in the name? Smile

I already did show that your Satan analogy makes little sense.  For Satan to have started a monotheistic religion because monotheism "could be more violent" is absurd.  Polytheism can and is at least as violent, and it is a logically false ideology, so Satan had no reason to undermine it in favor of monotheism.

"Can [be]" and "is" are not the same thing, no matter how hard you try to conflate them.  Yes, polytheism can be violent.  Particular polytheists can be just as violent as particular monotheists.  But what you haven't proven, and cannot prove, is that polytheism is as likely as monotheism to lead to violence.  In other words, you haven't shown and cannot show that Satan might not have increased the global level of violence of replacing polytheism with monotheism.

How is that even relevant?  The point is that it was acceptable at the time.  Why would Satan have decided to undermine it when it already had widespread acceptance?  That's like if a drug dealer wanted to expand his business, but then urges people not to buy his product!

It's more like a drug dealer urging his customers not to overdose.  As I said, a religion that included stuff like infanticide would not have been sustainable in the long term.  There is a limit to how much harm you can do before people realize that you're a bad guy and just stop listening to you.

By the way, you could argue that the laws of most western countries making abortion legal is part of Satan's "long game".  You could say he has adjusted his strategy and repackaged infanticide as "pro-choice" abortion.

Perhaps.

I have provided my reasons.  You have responded with speculations with no logical support.

You have supported your reasons with speculations about what Satan might or might not do; and I have supported my speculations with reasons why he might or might not do them.  But the bottom line is that neither your "reasons" nor my "speculations" have any logical support.  We just don't know, neither of us.  The only difference is that I know that I don't know.

And as I said, "Satan" is a figure mentioned in monotheistic sources, so naturally, any claims about him will have be base on those sources.  Even the source you quoted made that clear.

Just go through my posts and substitute "evil supernatural being" wherever I typed "Satan", and that should help. Wink
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Quote islamispeace Replybullet Posted: 25 August 2014 at 7:52pm
Originally posted by Ron Webb

As easy as that, eh?  Can it be any Web site, or does it have to have the word "Foundation" in the name? Smile


LOL If it's so easy, then you shouldn't have any trouble.  Let me know when you do it! Wink

As I said, the "Haing S. Ngor Foundation" was founded by a survivor of the Cambodian genocide.  So, it is not just "any web site". 

Originally posted by Ron Webb

"Can [be]" and "is" are not the same thing, no matter how hard you try to conflate them.  Yes, polytheism can be violent.  Particular polytheists can be just as violent as particular monotheists.  But what you haven't proven, and cannot prove, is that polytheism is as likely as monotheism to lead to violence.  In other words, you haven't shown and cannot show that Satan might not have increased the global level of violence of replacing polytheism with monotheism.


What I have shown is that Satan had no reason to switch one for the other when it was possible to encourage violence either way.  Nor would it have made sense to deliberately preach against polytheism and a tribal culture, neither of which had nurtured a peaceful time. 

Originally posted by Ron Webb

It's more like a drug dealer urging his customers not to overdose.  As I said, a religion that included stuff like infanticide would not have been sustainable in the long term.  There is a limit to how much harm you can do before people realize that you're a bad guy and just stop listening to you.


Except that no one was saying that female infanticide was a bad thing!  It was only until Islam came that people started preaching against it.  And it was only when Islam succeeded in defeating the polytheists that the practice was finally abolished.  Why on earth would Satan have deliberately wanted to stop it if all was going well?  That is like a drug dealer whose business is booming but who then decides to stop selling his harmful product.

Originally posted by Ron Webb

Perhaps.


Shocked Really?  That's all you can say: "perhaps"?  That word seems to be at the top of your dictionary!

Can a person rationally be against female infanticide but be supportive of "pro-choice" abortion?  Are they not really the same thing, except for the fact that abortion laws do not discriminate between the fetal genders?

By the way, can a "humanist" be supportive of "pro-choice" abortion or does that run against the "greater good of humanity"? 

Originally posted by Ron Webb

You have supported your reasons with speculations about what Satan might or might not do; and I have supported my speculations with reasons why he might or might not do them.  But the bottom line is that neither your "reasons" nor my "speculations" have any logical support.  We just don't know, neither of us.  The only difference is that I know that I don't know.


I have supported my reasons with logic and facts, which you have been struggling to refute.  Speculation is all you can do.

By the way, have you read Dr. Peck's book yet?  The testimony of a respected psychiatrist is pretty darn impressive, don't you think?  Here is an excerpt in case you are too lazy to actually read the book:

"I wrote around and let it be known that I was interested in observing cases of purported possession for evaluation.  Referrals trickled in.  The first two cases turned out to be suffering from standard psychiatric disorders, as I suspected, and I began making marks on my scientific pistol. 

The third case turned out be to the real thing. 

Since then I have also been deeply involved with another case of genuine possession.  In both cases I was privileged to be present at their successful exorcisms.  The vast majority of cases described in the literature are those of possession by minor demons.  These two were highly unusual in that both were cases of Satanic possession.  I now know Satan is real.  I have met it." ("The People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil, p. 183).


Originally posted by Ron Webb

Just go through my posts and substitute "evil supernatural being" wherever I typed "Satan", and that should help. Wink


Backtracking on your own st**idity and foolishness is not going to save you!  Wink


Edited by islamispeace - 26 August 2014 at 12:03pm
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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