I am sorry that my post is a bit long. I hope you will manage to get to the end. :)
I've also rearranged some points to try and avoid repetition and take things in order.
Originally Posted by Pygoscelis
There is no consensus on the issue of when killing is appropriate or not. Different people have different perspectives or agreed ideas regarding empathy and mutual interest. Different authorities handle it in different ways. This applies to many issues. So that goes back to the question of how to determine who is right and who is wrong. A Muslim would argue that God is the one who decides and whose decision will be best. And that is the basis for the rest of our discussion.
You avoided my question. Would you or would you not have them killed? I hope not, which would make you one of the muslims I could support, along with the man in this news article and all the muslims I know in my personal life.
It seems there is some disagreement among scholars concerning the validity of Islam embraced by a discriminating child and the ruling on his apostasy. What seems to be clear is that he would not be killed until he becomes an adult, when he would be asked to repent and given respite to do so. And of course this would be done by the rightful people in authority, not any Muslim of their own accord. But the underlying point here is not about the specific ruling. You are arguing that the major factor at work is not rational reasoning to believe in Islam, and that is why you raise this issue. But we should note that in non-Islamic lands, prescribed punishments would not be carried out. Even in an Arab country as in the article of this thread, Islamic law is not practised in entirety. So there are many points, such as the number of people converting to Islam all over the world, and many youth in particular who are turning to Islam, which all suggest that there is far more to Islam than mere brainwashing or coercion.
You have to be a believer to see this unquestionable historical authenticity, numerous miracles, etc. From an outsider point of view, the Qur'an does no better than competing religious texts, or Nostradamus type stuff.
This is not true. The Qur’an is a message and miracle for the whole of humanity, a sign that God has given to prove that Islam is true. It is visible to anyone who wishes to investigate. It is also not true that it does no better than competing texts. For example, on the issue of authenticity, there can be no doubt that the authenticity of the Qur’an is far more established and credible than that of the Bible. The Qur’an is one area of evidences. But there are others too – the life of the Prophet Muhammad (may peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is a big evidence too. It would be beyond the scope of this thread to discuss this at length, but I hope you will appreciate the point that Islam does not expect us to believe in it without any evidences for doing so.
No. As I said above, that does not follow at all. Why do people so quickly jump from "God exists" to "It is this particular God" to "We should worship him" without feeling any need to explain these jumps?
Innate nature, common sense and external evidences will point to the fact that God is One. As to why we should worship Him: It is through His benevolence that God has bestowed countless favours on mankind, even to those who do not believe in Him. Even to those who seek to mock His religion. It is God who gifted us with the abilities we have, it is He who provided us with all we need to survive, and it is He who nurtured us and taught us everything we know. It follows that the one who has created us, guided us and sustained us in every way is deserving of us following His commands and purposes for which He created us. That is to say, recognition of the Lordship of God leads to His worship. This concept is explained in the Qur’an – again a demonstration that God provides reasons and evidences – God highlights aspects of His Lordship to explain why we should worship Him:
O mankind! Worship your Lord, Who created you and those who were before you so that you may become righteous. Who has made the earth a resting place for you, and the sky as a canopy, and sent down water from the sky and brought forth therewith fruits as a provision for you. Then do not set up rivals unto Allah (in worship) while you know (that He Alone has the right to be worshipped). [Qur’an 2: 21-22]
Say (O Muhammad) to My slaves who have believed, that they should establish prayer and spend in charity out of the sustenance We have given them, secretly and openly, before the coming of a Day on which there will be neither mutual bargaining nor befriending.
Allah is He Who has created the heavens and the earth and sends down water (rain) from the sky, and thereby brought forth fruits as provision for you; and He has made the ships to be of service to you, that they may sail through the sea by His Command; and He has made rivers (also) to be of service to you.
And He has made the sun and the moon, both constantly pursuing their courses, to be of service to you; and He has made the night and the day, to be of service to you.
And He gave you of all that you asked for, and if you count the Blessings of Allah, never will you be able to count them. Verily, man is indeed an extreme wrong-doer, a disbeliever (an extreme ingrate who denies Allah's Blessings by disbelief, and by worshipping others besides Allah, and by disobeying Allah and His Prophet Muhammad). [14: 31-34]
And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me. [51:56]
I see no reason to believe that if there is a God, he/she/it would hold humans as important or be beholden to our well being. Gods could just as easily see us as tools for their own amusement or to use towards ends entirely harmful to humanity. Just because something is all powerful, and all knowing, and perfect, doesn't mean it will be benevolent towards us.
Benevolence is one of the attributes of God highly emphasised in Islam, and I mentioned it above in terms of how God provides for humans, animals and the rest of His creation which is a magnificent proof of His kindness and concern. But His mercy is not only in providing sustenance to meet our physical needs, but spiritual too. God sent thousands of messengers and prophets with scriptures and various miracles to guide people to the truth and teach them the religion. Does this not illustrate an immense concern for our welfare? There is a very beautiful hadeeth that I would also like to share here:
Abu Dharr narrated: The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, said, “O My servants, I have forbidden oppression for Myself and have made it forbidden amongst you, so do not oppress one another. O My servants, all of you are astray except for those I have guided, so seek guidance of Me and I shall guide you. O My servants, all of you are hungry except for those I have fed, so seek food of Me and I shall feed you. O My servants, all of you are naked except for those I have clothed, so seek clothing of Me and I shall clothe you. O My servants, you sin by night and by day, and I forgive all sins, so seek forgiveness of Me and I shall forgive you. O My servants, you will not attain harming Me so as to harm Me, and you will not attain benefiting Me so as to benefit Me. O my servants, were the first of you and the last of you, the human of you and the jinn of you to become as pious as the most pious heart of any one man of you, that would not increase My kingdom in anything. O My servants, were the first of you and the last of you, the human of you and the jinn of you to be as wicked as the most wicked heart of any one man of you, that would not decrease My kingdom in anything. O My servants, were the first of you and the last of you, the human of you and the jinn of you to rise up in one place and make a request of Me, and were I to give everyone what he requested, that would not decrease what I have, any more than a needle decreases the sea if put into it. O My servants, it is but your deeds that I reckon up for you and then recompense you for, so let him who finds good praise Allah, and let him who finds other than that blame no one but himself.” Sa’id said that when Abu Idris narrated this hadith he would kneel down upon his knees.
[Sahih Muslim, Book 32, Number 6246]
God has taught us much about Himself in the Qur’an and Hadith, and from this we have learnt that He loves us very much, He wants good for us hence He has taught us how to attain it and encouraged us towards it, He wants for us ease not hardship, He never wrongs or oppresses any of His servants and His mercy is so much so that it overcomes His wrath. He has made salvation easy for us and even in the laws He has commanded us to follow, there are clear indications of mercy and compassion towards us. Prayers can be shortened when travelling, combined due to hardship, earth can be used when water is not available for ablution, the sick person can pray sitting down instead of standing, the obligation of fasting takes into consideration the sick, the travellers and elderly, alms-giving is only due on those who obtain a minimum amount of wealth and pilgrimage only for those who are able. Likewise the prescribed punishments in Islam stem from God’s mercy to all creatures and doing what is best for them – as discussed earlier, in them is deterrent, restraint, purification from sins, and they establish security, stability and welfare in society.
Care to address Euthyphro Dilemma I noted above? I would like to see a Muslim take on it. I have seen the Christian "command theory" line of argument against it (which I don't find convincing) but never one from muslims.
I’ve given it some thought, but it is quite a confusing question and I am wondering if it is even valid. On one hand, it seems only one option is true, but from a different perspective it seems both can be true. If we say that God commands an action because it is good, this could imply that morality is no longer dependent on God, that God is subject to an external law and therefore is not omnipotent, which challenges the orthodox view of God. But if we say God is the creator of all things, He created good and He created evil both with wisdom and purpose, then He knew where the goodness lies and commanded accordingly. I think the end message is what is important, which is that whatever God commands us is for our benefit, based on His wisdom and knowledge. And this leads to the next point:
I agree. But they are not synonymous, which too often they seem to be presented as in organized religion. And Blind unquestioning obedience IS mutually exclusive from morality in my view, so hopefully obedience isn't unconditional. Unconditional obedience turns off one's moral sense and makes them into a tool for the bidding of whoever they are obeying or whoever is making them think they are obeying a higher power.
What is implied here is that it is possible for God to command something which is wrong, and that our understanding of right and wrong is better than God’s, hence we need to check what He says against our understanding and only follow what we think is right. I hope you can appreciate that this is a very arrogant way of thinking from a believer’s point of view. If you went to a doctor and he advised you of a cure, would you apply this same standard and give precedence to your own knowledge over his clinical expertise? The example is greater with God. God is the one who created us and gave us the ability to think. He is the one who taught us what we know. After recognising that none is more knowledgeable or full of wisdom and justice than Him, how can we do anything other than unconditionally obey?
Has there not been over man a period of time, when he was nothing to be mentioned? Verily, We have created man from Nutfah drops of mixed semen (discharge of man and woman), in order to try him, so We made him hearer, seer. Verily, We showed him the way, whether he be grateful or ungrateful. [76: 1-3]
Say: "Do you inform Allah of that which He knows not in the heavens and on the earth?" Glorified and Exalted is He above all that which they associate as partners (with Him)! [10: 18]
One can also argue that it is turning away from God’s guidance that turns off one’s moral sense. As mentioned before, man does not possess perfect knowledge and wisdom of right and wrong. He does not always know wherein lies his benefit. He is prey to his own desires and misguidance. One day he views something as an abominable crime. Some time later it becomes acceptable. Later still it becomes a fashion. In contrast to this, obedience to God is a safeguard against bringing our destruction with our own hands.
Over other people? Reminds me of the hebrew stories in the bible where one tribe is favoured by the God and commanded to do genocide and slaughter other tribes. Not exactly peace and love is it?
Sometimes to achieve a greater purpose, there will be fighting and struggle. Nobody said there would be peace always. Though even in the story you mention, it was a people who committed a very great crime who were commanded to be killed. It was not killing without purpose.