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Can Islam be modified to be more compatible with the modern world?

Let’s take a trip. Let’s say around 2,000 years ago.

The Roman Empire rules the known (Western) world. Its military superiority in the West is without equal. As the Borg would say, “Resistance is futile”.

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Part of the Western world under the boot of Roman rule was Judea. The area promised to the Jews by their god, Yahweh. Many Jews were sickened and disgusted by the rule of sacred Jewish lands by the Romans. Many Jews felt betrayed by their priests and scribes that they would kowtow to Roman hegemony.

What happened to the glory days of the Maccabees or even Joshua, kicking the asses of foreign powers and ensuring the sacred land promised to the Jews was theirs?

Some Jews even used sacred scripture, like the book of Daniel, to predict that a new Joshua would arrive in the 1st century and kick ass and return Judea to its rightful heirs. As the Jewish historian Josephus wrote in the late 1st century:

But now, what did the most elevate them in undertaking this war, was an ambiguous oracle that was also found in their sacred writings, how,” about that time, one from their country should become governor of the habitable earth.” The Jews took this prediction to belong to themselves in particular, and many of the wise men were thereby deceived in their determination.[1]

And so, this began a 100 year period of many Jews attempting to be the new Joshua[2], of kicking the Romans out of the area and restoring rightful rule to the Jews. The Jews went to war with the Romans three times in this 100 year span.

The first time, beginning under the reign of Nero[3] , led to the destruction of the Jewish temple in 70 CE and changed Judaism forever by eliminating the temple cult portion of Jewish religious practice to this day. The destroyed temple was raided by the Romans and they used the funds they plundered from said Jewish temple to build the Roman Colosseum[4].

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The second time, around a generation after the first war[5], Jews went to war with the Romans again. And again, were sent packing.

The third and final time, in the early 30s of the second century, Jews actually won, albeit for a short time. This was the short-lived reign of the last Jewish kingdom under the rule of Simon Bar-Kokhba[6]. But after about three years of Jewish rule in Judea, the Romans used the 2nd century version of the nuclear option and subsequently kicked the Jews out of the area forever, and renamed what was once called Judea as “Palestine”. What we call it to this day. Well, at least until after WWII when we chopped up Palestine and set apart a portion for what’s now Israel.

Interspersed between these wars were what one might call “terrorist attacks”.[7][8] Though nothing remotely like the suicide bombings we get today, they were still thorns in the side of the Romans. Though the Romans had no qualms about swift and brutal reprisals.

Where are all of these Jewish terrorist attacks today? Nowhere. Because the religion that could probably be seen as inherently violent at one point in history had a reformation. One branch became what’s now called Rabbinic Judaism. The other branch began worshiping a spiritual Joshua[9] who did his conquering in the spiritual realm, and returned the spiritual Jewish kingdom to the Jews and thus had no need for violence against material Romans.

Footnotes

[1] The Wars of the Jews

[2] Biblical Criticism & History Forum – earlywritings.com

[3] Number of the Beast – Wikipedia

[4] Colosseum – Wikipedia

[5] Kitos War – Wikipedia

[6] Simon bar Kokhba – Wikipedia

[7] Zealots (Judea) – Wikipedia

[8] The Jewish War – Wikipedia

[9] J. Quinton’s answer to Do atheists believe that Jesus was crucified?

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Ex-Muslim Atheists

 
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Posted by on November 9, 2017 in religion

 

I Answer Quora Questions

I thought I would repost the intermittent Quora questions that I answer here. 

So… yeah:

——————————-

Where did the “devil sign” 666 come from? For that, we have to learn a bit about the history of written language.

I II III IV V VI VII VIII IX X
You probably recognize the above as Roman Numerals.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
You recognize the above, but do you know what they’re called? Arabic Numerals[1]. Yes, our number lettering system comes from Arabs. This is why Romans used Roman Numerals: They just used the letters of their own alphabet to double as numbers.
Greeks civilization peaked before Roman civilization, so the Greeks did not use Roman Numerals. They used their own letters for numbers[2]:
Α B Γ Δ E ΣΤ Z H Θ I
And Jews used their own letters for numbers as well[3][4] (note– Hebrew is read from right to left):

א ב ג ד ה ו ז ח ט י

So this means that spelling someone’s name out has a numeric equivalent. If, for example that makes sense, you know someone named “Vix”, this is 5 + 9 (V + IX) or 5 + 1 + 10 (V + I + X). You could talk in code about “fourteen” or about “sixteen” and people could infer that you’re talking about Vix.
So the “devil sign” isn’t actually 6–6–6, or three sixes. It is really six hundred and sixty six. Moreover, that isn’t the only “devil sign”; there are some manuscripts of Revelation that have six hundred and sixteen instead of six hundred sixty six[5]. Just like in the person named “Vix” example above, adding up someone’s name might result in different totals depending on how you parse the letters of their name.

 
With that being said, the name of god in Hebrew is YHWH or יְהוָה. Y is the number 10, H is the number 5, and W is the number 6. This adds up to 10 + 5 + 6 + 5, or 26[6].
Footnotes
[1] Arabic numerals – Wikipedia

[2] Greek numerals – Wikipedia

[3] Genesis 1 / Hebrew

[4] Hebrew numerals – Wikipedia

[5] The Other Number of the Beast

[6] 26 (number) – Wikipedia

 
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Posted by on November 3, 2017 in Quora answers, religion

 

Trait Sensitivity to Contamination Promotes a Preference for Order, Hierarchy, and Rule-Based Moral Judgment

Abstract

Models of moral judgment have linked generalized emotionality with deontological moral judgment. The evidence, however, is mixed. Other research has linked the specific emotion of disgust with generalized moral condemnation. Here too, the evidence is mixed. We suggest that a synthesis of these two literatures points to one specific emotion (disgust) that reliably predicts one specific type of moral judgment (deontological). In all three studies, we found that trait disgust sensitivity predicted more extreme deontological judgment. In Study 3, with deontological endorsement and consequentialist endorsement operationalized as independent constructs, we found that disgust was positively associated with deontological endorsement but was unrelated to consequentialist endorsement. Across studies, the disgust–deontology link was mediated by individual difference variables related to preference for order (right-wing authoritarianism and intolerance for ambiguity). These data suggest a more precise model of emotion and moral judgment that identifies specific emotions, specific types of moral judgment, and specific motivational pathways.

Jeffrey S. Robinson, Xiaowen Xu, Jason E. Plaks

Social Psychological and Personality Science https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1948550617732609

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2017 in religion

 

Epistemic beliefs’ role in promoting misperceptions and conspiracist ideation

Abstract

The present study uses a series of large, nationally representative surveys of the U.S. population to produce valid and reliable measures of three aspects of epistemic beliefs: reliance on intuition for factual beliefs (Faith in Intuition for facts), importance of consistency between empirical evidence and beliefs (Need for evidence), and conviction that “facts” are politically constructed (Truth is political). Analyses confirm that these factors complement established predictors of misperception [my emph.], substantively increasing our ability to explain both individuals’ propensity to engage in conspiracist ideation, and their willingness to embrace falsehoods about high-profile scientific and political issues. Individuals who view reality as a political construct are significantly more likely to embrace falsehoods, whereas those who believe that their conclusions must hew to available evidence tend to hold more accurate beliefs.

Garrett RK, Weeks BE (2017) Epistemic beliefs’ role in promoting misperceptions and conspiracist ideation. PLoS ONE 12(9): e0184733. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0184733

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2017 in cognitive science, religion

 

Probability Only Exists In Your Head

I’ve already written about this before but I’ve thought of another way of explaining this.

As I wrote in that post that I linked to above, probabilities aren’t facts about objects or phenomena that we look at or experience. If you flip a coin and it lands heads twice, the probability of it landing tails on the third flip is the same as the probability of it landing heads on that third flip.

But people who think that probability is an aspect of the coin similar to its weight or its color will think that 50% probability is physically tied to the coin, so it *must* account for the lack of landing tails on the next flip. As though there is a god of coin flips who has to make sure that the books are accounted for.

Again, this is wrong. And this next scenario I think explains why.

In a standard deck of cards, there’s a 1/52 chance of pulling any specific card, right? What if we have two people, Alice and Bob, who want to pull from the deck. Except, Alice has memorized the order of the cards in the deck and Bob hasn’t.

What is the probability of Bob drawing an Ace of Spades on the first draw? For us and Bob, it’s 1/52. But for Alice — because she’s memorized the order of the cards — it’s virtually certain (e.g., 99.99% or 0.000…1%) to her which card Bob will draw.

If 1/52 was some intrinsic aspect of the deck of cards, then how can there be two different probabilities? Obviously, because probability is a description of our uncertainty. It only exists in our minds. The reader of that thought experiment and Bob are operating under uncertainty. Alice, on the other hand, is not because she’s memorized the order of the cards.

Furthermore, Bayes is all about updating on new evidence. What if there was some third actor, Chad, who mixed up the deck of cards outside of Alice’s knowledge? Now, Alice may think that the next card’s probability is either 100% or 0%, but this is not true either. Now Chad has the certainty.

If Bob draws a card that Alice doesn’t think he should draw, how can she possibly do a Bayesian update on either 0% or 100%? She has to do the equivalent of moving faster than the speed of light in order to update; it literally takes infinite bits of data in order to update from 0% or 100% to some other number. Try it:

P(H | E) = P(E | H) * P(H) / P(E)
50% = ??? * 0% / 1.9% or

50% = ??? * 100% / 1.9%

This situation can be repeated over and over again, introducing new characters manipulating the deck outside of other people’s knowledge. And this demonstrates that not only is probability subjective and in your head, but that a Bayesian probability of 0% or 100% is not a probability at all because those numbers cannot be updated.

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2017 in Bayes

 

Study: Atheists behave more fairly toward Christians than Christians behave toward atheists

Psychologists have long known that people tend to favor their own group over others, a social phenomenon known as ingroup bias. But new research provides evidence that atheists are motivated to buck this trend in an attempt to override the stereotype that they are immoral.

Psychology researchers from Ohio University found that Christians demonstrated an ingroup bias towards other Christians in an economic game but atheists did not have an ingroup bias towards other atheists. The study was published online July 10 in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.

Read More at PsyPost

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2017 in religion

 
 
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