“A God Who Hates” by Wafa Sultan
Posted: 14 November 2009 05:12 AM   [ Ignore ]  
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I presume this is on the short list of almost everyone reading this forum.

Wafa Sultan, who became a YouTube superstar for telling off a Muslim cleric an Al Jazeera, interleaves her personal story with commentary on what’s wrong with Muslim society.  She describes her family history born to a young second wife her father took after his first wife’s sons all died in an epidemic.  After some family deaths, she lives her later childhood in her liberal uncle’s house and attends the university to become a gynecologist.  While residenting in a gynecological office, most of her patients are accidental pregnancies who want an abortion and restoration of their virginity (traditionally tested in the Arab world by putting a cloth under the betrothed and observing blood after the marriage is consummated).  To her employer, this is an opportunity to demand high fees.

Because of her educated, liberal, family, her husband visits Britain for a three-month assignment and decides the family must emigrate.  They move to Los Angeles, where Wafa begins writing essays on Western life that are circulated in the Arab world.  This launches her celebrity career that eventually puts her on Al Jazeera.

Her view of Islam is that it is a codified extension of the pre-Islamic Arab culture.  In that land, water and food were scarce (hence the view of paradise and full of rivers and fruit) and raid and plunder an accepted part of tribal existence.  Muhammed’s story is a series of raids, and most Islamic law regards the division of spoils and the justifications for raiding another tribe.  Women of course were part of the booty and hence their status as property. 

Sultan does not believe that Islam within its traditional Arab boundaries contains the motivation for improvement.  Their is no real ethical system or even a concept of responsibility for moral failing or societal betterment.  Outside the Arab lands, where the people do not speak Arabic, they mouth empty phrases they do not understand and praise Allah without considering what that means.  She thinks there might be more hope to reform those places that have contact with outside influences.

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Posted: 18 August 2010 11:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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I have finished reading this in March of this year, and I agree that this is a must-read book.  I must say that I was surprise that Wafa Sultan actually came off as a passionate lover of Muslims but she does seek their enlightenment and release from Islamic dogma.

I’m currently reading Gareth Wilson’s The Plain Truths of Religion, and I must say that it’s also a great book on what’s wrong with religion, not just Islam.

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Posted: 30 September 2010 12:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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How do you find Gareth Wilson’s “The Plain Truths of Religion” Julioet?

I personally find that it’s more than just an interesting read… it offers a lot of insights and some very good arguments that even the staunchest religious leader would find difficult to refute or debate against, except than to cite their standard reply “Because god says so.”

One particular point that Wilson so elaborates on with his book is the fact that religion really is the root of the world’s greatest evils, that it becomes a justification to do evil and horrible acts.  I so loved his exposition of how various religions became the springboard for evil and immorality.

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Posted: 30 September 2010 05:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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Julioet - 19 August 2010 03:07 AM

I must say that I was surprise that Wafa Sultan actually came off as a passionate lover of Muslims but she does seek their enlightenment and release from Islamic dogma.


That’s very interesting in light of this review on Amazon:

Excerpt:
“This unfortunate book was written by a woman who was apparently badly mistreated growing up in Syria, by men who call themselves Muslims. The problem is that she attributes the bad treatment to all Muslims everywhere. She misquotes the Koran for her purposes and appears to be unable to distinguish between what people do in the (false) name of religion, and what the religion actually is. By her standard, no religion would be good, because all have nominal adherents who do evil things, often in the name of their religion.”

There we have the standard issue formula that allows religious apologists to simply side-step any and all criticism of their particular religious franchise (obviously you just replace “Islam” and “Muslim” with whatever religion is being illuminated under the spotlight).

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“We say, ‘Love your brother…’ We don’t say it really, but… Well we don’t literally say it. We don’t really, literally mean it. No, we don’t believe it either, but… But that message should be clear.”—David St. Hubbins

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Posted: 03 October 2010 04:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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yogyakarta - 30 September 2010 04:16 AM

How do you find Gareth Wilson’s “The Plain Truths of Religion” Julioet?

I personally find that it’s more than just an interesting read… it offers a lot of insights and some very good arguments that even the staunchest religious leader would find difficult to refute or debate against, except than to cite their standard reply “Because god says so.”

One particular point that Wilson so elaborates on with his book is the fact that religion really is the root of the world’s greatest evils, that it becomes a justification to do evil and horrible acts.  I so loved his exposition of how various religions became the springboard for evil and immorality.

I’ve always said that I find the book a real good one as it eloquently debates the issues on what make religion very dangerous.  The fact that the book puts forth the arguments so vividly that you really can sense that Wilson knows what he’s talking about and that you really can’t refute his arguments without resorting to dogmatism. I even think that it will convert a lot of theists to atheism.

I’d certainly recommend it to any atheist.

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Posted: 03 October 2010 04:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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SkepticX - 30 September 2010 09:41 AM
Julioet - 19 August 2010 03:07 AM

I must say that I was surprise that Wafa Sultan actually came off as a passionate lover of Muslims but she does seek their enlightenment and release from Islamic dogma.


That’s very interesting in light of this review on Amazon:

Excerpt:
“This unfortunate book was written by a woman who was apparently badly mistreated growing up in Syria, by men who call themselves Muslims. The problem is that she attributes the bad treatment to all Muslims everywhere. She misquotes the Koran for her purposes and appears to be unable to distinguish between what people do in the (false) name of religion, and what the religion actually is. By her standard, no religion would be good, because all have nominal adherents who do evil things, often in the name of their religion.”

There we have the standard issue formula that allows religious apologists to simply side-step any and all criticism of their particular religious franchise (obviously you just replace “Islam” and “Muslim” with whatever religion is being illuminated under the spotlight).

I would think that the reviewer did not read the book at all.  I wouldn’t really be surprised because as you’ve said that it’s standard response.  You give a theist the challenge to examine their faiths, and they sidestep everything.

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