Aug 6, 2010

some tips for n00bs

heya guys; here's some tips, some general advice - for the most part they're pretty basic - collected from experience over the past week and one a little earlier:

If you're a Muslim:

*Don't come up to me with "two questions" and procede to tell me repeatedly how basically everyone's converting to Islam.
*Don't expect me to be impressed by a handful of movie stars (who you can't name) converting to Islam.
*Don't even expect me to be impressed by many nameless scientists converting. I've seen these lists on Muslim sites. They tend in my experience to be of quotes saying something nice about Islam / the Qu'ran rather than actual convertees, but more relevantly why should I care if some scientists who have (e.g.) attended Muslim conferences in Saudi Arabia (perhaps some of you can see the $ubtext here) have converted? Can't you just give me a decent line of reasoning please?
*Don't expect me to be impressed when the only "Christian scholar" who's converted that you can name is a former (minor) American preacher I happen to already know something about because he's all over Islamic TV etc. Apparently there are lots of them, but only poor Muslims convert to Christianity - oh, don't expect me to buy that either. (When I name a genuine Islamic scholar who converted and claim there are a few Imam-types who have, of course it's ignored. Stating the fact that people living in poor Muslim countries who convert tend not to get the claimed "benefits" prompted the general spiel on how most Muslims aren't really Muslim or something like that. Doesn't stop you saying how many Muslims there are though..)
*Don't tell me that Mohammed was (like Jesus) sinless (this is perhaps more controversial, I admit)
*Don't tell me the Qu'ran has no contradictions but the Bible has many and then deny any knowledge of the Islamic doctrine of abrogation. Maybe you know nothing about it, but in that case why are you coming up to argue with me and assuring me that I know nothing about Islam?

*Do: read the New Testament.

If you're an atheist:

*Don't claim that any mention of Jesus in Josephus was invented by Christians.
*Don't assume that Jesus was crucified in 0 AD (that was probs just a slip).
*Don't imply that the only people who matter in/to Christianity are men.
*Don't confuse Tacitus with Suetonius.
*Don't assert in front of 400 people that Jesus never existed and the Christians burned books (presumably in reference to the secular myths around the library of Alexandria)
*Don't tell me that the Anthropic Principle explains the facts I've listed as being best explained by their theistic consilience (order/coherency of universe, rational beings, moral facts, consciousness & free will)
*Don't assume that science - and therefore finding the truth about things - is all about falsifiability
*Do: read the New Testament.

Otherwise, I will be sad.

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