Friday, 3 October 2008

YouTube, Islam and freedom of expression

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YouTube regularly gets accused of giving in to censorship requests from religious organisations, from Scientology to Catholicism. The latest controversy has been generated by the website seemingly acquiescing in a request to remove a video by Pat Condell, "Welcome to Saudi Britain". In doing so, they also suspended his account.

Condell's short, ranting monologues criticising organised religions and their adherents in no uncertain terms have achieved great popularity among atheists around the world (though I must admit, I'm not a fan), and this latest video focusses on the news that Sharia courts are operating in the UK and urges people to sign a petition calling for the banning of Sharia. He is critical of Saudi Arabia and its form of Islam, saying "we all know that that entire country is mentally ill", and it is thought this might be the reason for YouTube removing the clip.

Funnily enough, this coincides with a story I spotted online, which says the chairman of the Kuwaiti Human Rights Society has called on YouTube "to delete all derogatory statements about Islam and Muslims from the site".


Joe Morreale said...

To all you who are complaining about so-called 'free-speech'

When Muslims are allowed to defend their religion by clearing up misconceptions like womens rights, jihad, terrorism etc (also talk about factual history on Islam like human rights/scientific achievements, Qu'ran and established Science) ON MAINSTREAM TELEVISION which would go a long way in decreasing islamophobia which the secular agenda-driven media with their objective to constantly undermine religion and admittedly the behaviour of some bad Muslims (which fortunately though are a minority) in helping that along, THEN we can say that free-speech really and truly exists in the West or anywhere in the world(including Muslim world) for that matter.

If someone wants to write a novel or article which is insulting, offensive etc to Muslims, then the Muslims should expect and have the right to defend and refute false claims about Islam on the Mainstream which would be true free speech and democracy.
This is not allowed to happen which means that free-speech like many other false images that the West likes to portray is deceiving and illusory.

Joe Morreale said...


Muslims have over a thousand years of scientific and intellectual progress. When Europe was in the ‘Dark Ages the Islamic society produced scholars that were to become the reference points for medicine, chemistry, mathematics, architecture and many other fields of science and engineering. According to historians of science, the Muslims were the cause for bringing Europe out of the darkness of ignorance. Robert Briffault in the "Making of Humanity" states the following:

"For Although there is not a single aspect of European growth in which the decisive influence of Islamic Culture is not traceable, nowhere is it so clear and momentous as in the genesis of that power which constitutes the permanent distinctive force of the modern world, and the supreme source of its victory, natural science and the scientific spirit.

"The debt of our science to that of the Arabs does not consist in startling discoveries or revolutionary theories, science owes a great deal more to Arab culture, it owes its existence.

Muslims are all for progress and development. Freedom of speech, however, is not a necessity for progress and development. This is an assumption based upon Europes historical struggle against the Church that prevented progress and investigation. Muslims do not have the same historical baggage.

Muslims reject freedom of speech in its pure meaning. This is not due to a backward mentality or a stubborn opposition to all things Western. Freedom of speech means the unrestricted expression of oneself. This however does not exist, can not exist and should not be imagined to exist.

Looking at freedom of speech in Western secular states the same is also true. There are many restrictions; for example there are hate speech laws, defamation laws, libel laws etc. In reality people can express themselves within the context of the law, and not with unrestricted freedom.

Furthermore, when Islam and Muslims are attacked under the banner of freedom of speech, a contradiction is highlighted. There are laws in place to prevent offending religious minorities such as the Jews. Taking the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad as an example, if the cartoons where of holocaust denial it would be against the law, or viewed as incisive. When it came to the Muslims it was a different story.

Even if one where to ignore the apparent contradictions, it can be argued that civilised society cannot engage with one another positively if one can say whatever they want. Initiating dialogue by abusing one another will not produce positive results!

Muslims and the book of the Muslims, the Quran, encourage thinking and debate. This is reflected in our history and scholarship. However, abuse and unrestricted forms of expression creates hatred and discourages true dialogue. This is aptly put by the Quran itself:

Invite to the Way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful speech; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious. For your Lord knows best who have strayed from His Path and who receive guidance.(Qur'an chapter 16, verses 25)

And insult not those whom they (disbelievers) worship besides Allah, lest they insult Allah wrongfully without knowledge. Thus We have made fair-seeming to each people its own doings; then to their Lord is their return and He shall then inform them of all that they used to do. (Qur'an chapter 6, verses 108)

George Jelliss said...

Melvin Bragg's "In Our Time" programme this week was about the period of the Abbasid Cailiphs who promoted translations from the Greek and advanced knowledge in many fields, as joe morreale correctly claims.

But this progress ceased around 1200 following the death of Averroes. Since then the Islamic world has been dominated by theocracy at the expense of science.

The freedom to make fun of daft and dangerous beliefs is an essential requirement for a society to arrive at objective truth.

Joe Morreale said...

The Muslims recovered and translated plenty of Greek works BUT not only were they mostly theories but were also mostly refuted and disproven then as Modern Science has also today.
THE MUSLIMS GAVE THE WORLD THE EXPERIMENTAL METHOD which was virtually unknown to the Greeks as western scholars like Bernard Lewis, Sarton, Briffault etc have shown.
The Muslims made plenty of ORIGINAL DISCOVERIES.


- whether the Muslims stopped in 1200 or mid 1600's (the beginning of Ottoman decline) which is more correct is irrelevant.
The Muslims took Europe/westerners out of THEIR dark age into renaissance and eventually the 'enlightenment'


The role of Islam in the creation of civilization is perhaps the most readily appreciated by paying special tribute to one of its grandest eras: Islamic Spain. In fact, this was its Western civilization. The Muslims entered Spain in the 8th century. Previously, Spain was a colony of Rome, which fully repressed intellectual achievements. Thus, prior to Islam Spain boasted no such cultural or intellectual centers. Islam was exclusively responsible for the creation of Spain’s first true civilization. While Rome consumed Spain’s strength, Islam infused with such power, wealth, and strength that it became one of that it became one of the most sophisticated, elegant, and wealthy cultures ever known. Their arrival was welcomed by the populace, which was suffering direly under repressive rule. Within 30 years they noticeably renovated the society. Within a century they transformed it into one of the most grand, advanced civilizations ever to inhabit the earth. Its great cities, Cordoba, Seville, Toledo, and Granada, became the centers for the dissemination of knowledge and the advancement of civilization for five complete centuries.

The cities of Islamic Spain were international centers for cultural advancement and enterprise. What’s more, they were the models for the urbanization of Europe, which was archaic. According to Goldstein the Islamic cities were ‘urban, commercial, sophisticated, exotic, and cosmopolitan”. The fact is the Muslims created the world’s first sophisticated, advanced civilization.

Tenth century Muslim Cordova was an enormous city with nearly one million inhabitants. With its paved streets complete with street lamps, 70 public libraries, numerous universities, and 800 public baths it was according to Peter Mansfield, “the most splendid city on the continent.” The significance of this in respect to the development of human civilization of underscored by the fact that during that same period major cities in Europe were mere towns, inhabiting no more than 30,000 to 50,000 people at the best estimates.

As Europe’s first metropolis Cordova quickly became the center of culture and learning in the West. People of all faiths gathered there. Scholars and clergymen came from all over Europe- Italy, France, Germany, Denmark, Holland, Switzerland, and England- to learn from the immense Islamic output. This environment is aptly described by Renan, who says there were “no barriers of race, culture, or nationality at the Muslim institutions. Muslims, Christians, and Jews studied on the same level with complete racial tolerance.” The fact is the Jews, who were tormented unmercifully by their former Christian rulers, flourished in tolerant Islamic Spain. Their glory under Islam was so great that this era is known as the Golden Years of Jewish science. It was Islamic Spain which produced Musa ibn Maymun, known in latin as Maimonides, the internationally renowned Jewish scientist. Ibn Maymun was the greatest Jewish philosopher and physician of all times.

As early as the 9th century Islamic Spain produced the original Western universities. Here, Islamic scholars and rulers organized and implemented elementary education as we know it today. In the rest of Europe organized education for the populace was unknown. In fact, it was never in place, not even in ancient Greece. Thus, the modern educational process owes its existence to the Muslims, who clearly initiated institutionalized learning. Preschools, grade schools, high schools, and universities were all their innovations. In Cordova alone 800 public schools operated, serving some 200,000 families. Within these schools and in the universities the modern concepts of varied curriculum, diplomas, licensure for professionals, and degrees were developed. According to S. P. Scott education was so widespread that “it was difficult to find a…peasant who could not read of write.” At a time when the Kings of Europe were illiterate and could only sign their names with an “X,” a Muslim ruler in Spain maintained a private library of some 600,000 books.

Historically, the madrasa (Arabic for school) was the premier institution in Islam. Since the Prophet placed great emphasis upon religious and scientific studies, Islam’s conquerors, rulers, and rapidly established the madrasa scholastic system in whatever land they controlled. This was the first institution installed after Salahideen’s re-conquest of Jerusalem. He regarded it as greater import than the mosques. Without the madrasas, Salahideen realized, Islam would failed to be revived. During the 7th century Caliph ‘Umar ordered the construction of madrasas throughout the Islamic Empire. Incredibly, this is the same Caliph who has been wrongfully accused of instigating the burning of the library of Alexandria. Selwyn- Brown has categorically shown that this claim against the Caliph ‘Umar is false. The fact is ‘Umar had a highly progressive attitude towards learning. This very early Islamic Caliph never inhibited or detracted from the outset Islam promoted, in fact, created, the learning process. Yet, unfortunately, the madrasa system has yet to be reestablished in the Middle East since the 12th through 16th centuries, when invaders burned the majority of these schools to the ground. This is why Westerners, who have free access to a broad education, often develop a more profound understanding of Islam than people living in the so-called Islamic countries.

During the Middle Ages Spain was the only country in the European peninsula that disseminated knowledge. While Islamic Spain illuminated the world with wisdom, scientific achievement, and social sophistication, the rest of Europe systematically extinguished knowledge of any kind. There certainly existed “Dark Ages” but only in Europe east of its border with Spain and also extending throughout Asia all the way to the sea of Japan.

Indeed this was Europe’s darkest era. Atrocities beyond comprehension were committed against the common man and scholar alike. If books of wisdom, science, or medicine were found, they were burned. Those who studied the sciences were forced to do so under the utmost secrecy. While the rulers of Britain burned at the stake anyone who claimed the sphericity of the earth, Muslim professors at the Spanish schools were teaching Christian and Jews geography by the globe. Evidence exists that Columbus himself was a graduate of the Muslim institutions, where he reportedly received notions of the roundness of the earth.

The Muslim rule in Spain was truly one of the greatest eras of civilization and science ever to occur in history. In contrast to the demagoguery in medieval Europe Islamic Spain was governed by “justice, liberality, and refinement.” This sophisticated civilization produced such modern refinements as public education. The public library system (complete with branch libraries), hot and cold running water, paper money, the concept of triple coinage, that is copper, silver, and gold coins, the police force, the banking system, high rise buildings, air conditioning, and the postal system, complete with air mail.

There is compelling reason for this tremendous improvement in civilization, considering that the rest of the world was immersed in barbarism. For the first time in history individuals of all faiths and cultures were treated with tolerance. Thus, under Islam the talents of dozens of civilizations were integrated. As a result, humanity worked in unison to create a civilization of such grandeur, of such heights that it has never been duplicated even in modern times. The glorious Islamic rule lasted from the 8th to 15th centuries, a period of over 700 years. That is more than three times the period of time that United States has been in existence.

Prior to Islamic rule Spain was suffocating in a state of ignorance like the rest of Europe. The Christian Kings had fully repressed intellectual and religious freedom. The fact is pre- Islamic Spain produced no science, not even a single reputable scholar. At the hands of the Muslims Spain was rapidly transformed into one of the most spectacular societies of its time, with possibly only the glory of Baghdad exceeding it. In Islamic Spain thousands of scientists operated freely, in fact, their efforts were vigorously encouraged by the State. In Europe scientists were tortured, imprisoned, and killed.

The fact is it was through its contact with Islamic Spain that Europe first learned democracy, that is freedom of government, press, speech, and religion. Yet, Europe’s, as well as America’s, greatest debt is owed to Muhammad, may God rest his soul. This one man initiated each of the revolutionary social advances which are the very crux of modern civilization and which were unknown before his time. There was no freedom on expression, democracy, or religion in any previous ancient society, not in Egypt, Greece, Persia, China, and certainly not in Rome. After Islam the 15th through 17th Spaniards, as well as the Portuguese, British, and Dutch, completely repressed freedom of religion and speech. There is no evidence of democracy arising from European civilization. Had it not been for Muhammad, who prevailed in establishing these principles against enormous obstacles, it is reasonable to presume that democratic civilization as we know it today would fail to exist. Yet, the civilization initiated by this man was in many respects even grander than the so-called democratic societies of today, because in an Islamic civilization the races are treated equally, that is racism of any sort is abolished. In other words, no one is a “foreigner”.

Muslim Spain was the conduit through which knowledge from the Islamic Empire spread throughout the Eurasian continent. Seville, Cordova, Toledo, and Granada all were centers of Islamic learning and culture. These cities were the models for Europe’s democratization. Christian and Jews came to these centers to learn civilization and science, mastering the Arabic language to do so. They attended the Muslim constructed universities, learning medicine, pharmacology, botany, geology, geography, sociology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, astronomy, literature, and philosophy. Few people realize that for fully five centuries Arabic was the language to master for anyone who wished to learn the sciences.

Here is an interesting note. During the Middle Ages Pope Syllvester II (9th -10th centuries) was one of few literate clergy. He received education prior to his commissioning and that, of course, was at the Islamic universities in Spain. After his appointment he maintained an interest in pursuing the science of medicine and so fell under the suspicion of sorcery. He escaped the witch-burners and lynchers during that precarious time only because of his high office.

With time Europe desired more direct contact with Islamic learning. Under the direction of the Muslims Constantine built Europe’s first medical school, and a Muslim scholar was hired as its director. The Europeans contracted with Islamic scholars in order to institute public education within their countries. The establishment of the West’s first astronomical observatory and public university is to Muslims’ credit. During the 10th century in Italy Muslim scholars helped organize and modernize the University of Salerno, which became Europe’s premier medical school. Its textbooks and curriculum were primarily Islamic creations. F. H. Garrison claims that this school was the key for propelling Europe’s barbaric and archaic medical practice into true science.

Taken from “Science In The Name Of God: How Men Of God Originated The Sciences” by Kasem, Dr. Khaleel, Knowledge House Publishers (July 1, 2003).

Joe Morreale said...

Quotations from famous historians of science

Western writers have often used the word Arabs or Muhammadans for Muslims and Arabic civilization for Islamic Civilization. In other instances, the words Saracen(ic) and Moor(ish) are also used for Muslims (Arabs and non-Arabs) from various parts of Europe, Africa, Arabia and Asia. According to a tradition of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) anyone whose primary language is Arabic is an Arab despite his ethnic origin, place of birth, or national origin. Arabic was the medium of communication throughout the Muslim world until a couple of centuries ago, regardless of the type of activity whether religious, social or scientific. During 800-1500 C.E. essentially all scientific works were written in Arabic. It is only after colonization of Muslim lands that this practice became less prevalent and in many instances was eliminated.

George Sarton's Tribute to Muslim Scientists in the "Introduction to the History of Science"

"It will suffice here to evoke a few glorious names without contemporary equivalents in the West: Jabir ibn Haiyan, al-Kindi, al-Khwarizmi, al-Fargani, al-Razi, Thabit ibn Qurra, al-Battani, Hunain ibn Ishaq, al-Farabi, Ibrahim ibn Sinan, al-Masudi, al-Tabari, Abul Wafa, 'Ali ibn Abbas, Abul Qasim, Ibn al-Jazzar, al-Biruni, Ibn Sina, Ibn Yunus, al-Kashi, Ibn al-Haitham, 'Ali Ibn 'Isa al-Ghazali, al-zarqab, Omar Khayyam. A magnificent array of names which it would not be difficult to extend. If anyone tells you that the Middle Ages were scientifically sterile, just quote these men to him, all of whom flourished within a short period, 750 to 1100 A.D."

John William Draper in the "Intellectual Development of Europe"

"I have to deplore the systematic manner in which the literature of Europe has continued to put out of sight our obligations to the Muhammadans. Surely they cannot be much longer hidden. Injustice founded on religious rancour and national conceit cannot be perpetuated forever. The Arab has left his intellectual impress on Europe. He has indelibly written it on the heavens as any one may see who reads the names of the stars on a common celestial globe."

Robert Briffault in the "Making of Humanity"

"It was under the influence of the Arabs and Moorish revival of culture and not in the 15th century, that a real renaissance took place. Spain, not Italy, was the cradle of the rebirth of Europe. After steadily sinking lower and lower into barbarism, it had reached the darkest depths of ignorance and degradation when cities of the Saracenic world, Baghdad, Cairo, Cordova, and Toledo, were growing centres of civilization and intellectual activity. It was there that the new life arose which was to grow into new phase of human evolution. From the time when the influence of their culture made itself felt, began the stirring of new life.

"It was under their successors at Oxford School (that is, successors to the Muslims of Spain) that Roger Bacon learned Arabic and Arabic Sciences. Neither Roger Bacon nor later namesake has any title to be credited with having introduced the experimental method. Roger Bacon was no more than one of apostles of Muslim Science and Method to Christian Europe; and he never wearied of declaring that knowledge of Arabic and Arabic Sciences was for his contemporaries the only way to true knowledge. Discussion as to who was the originator of the experimental method....are part of the colossal misinterpretation of the origins of European civilization. The experimental method of Arabs was by Bacon's time widespread and eagerly cultivated throughout Europe.

"Science is the most momentous contribution of Arab civilization to the modern world; but its fruits were slow in ripening. Not until long after Moorish culture had sunk back into darkness did the giant, which it had given birth to, rise in his might. It was not science only which brought Europe back to life. Other and manifold influence from the civilization of Islam communicated its first glow to European Life.

"For Although there is not a single aspect of European growth in which the decisive influence of Islamic Culture is not traceable, nowhere is it so clear and momentous as in the genesis of that power which constitutes the permanent distinctive force of the modern world, and the supreme source of its victory, natural science and the scientific spirit.

"The debt of our science to that of the Arabs does not consist in startling discoveries or revolutionary theories, science owes a great deal more to Arab culture, it owes its existence. The Astronomy and Mathematics of the Greeks were a foreign importation never thoroughly acclimatized in Greek culture. The Greeks systematized, generalized and theorized, but the patient ways of investigation, the accumulation of positive knowledge, the minute method of science, detailed and prolonged observation and experimental inquiry were altogether alien to the Greek temperament. Only in Hellenistic Alexandria was any approach to scientific work conducted in the ancient classical world. What we call science arose in Europe as a result of new spirit of enquiry, of new methods of experiment, observation, measurement, of the development of mathematics, in a form unknown to the Greeks. That spirit and those methods were introduced into the European world by the Arabs.

"It is highly probable that but for the Arabs, modern European civilization would never have arisen at all; it is absolutely certain that but for them, it would not have assumed that character which has enabled it to transcend all previous phases of evolution."

Arnold and Guillaume in "Legacy of Islam" on Islamic science and medicine

"Looking back we may say that Islamic medicine and science reflected the light of the Hellenic sun, when its day had fled, and that they shone like a moon, illuminating the darkest night of the European middle Ages; that some bright stars lent their own light, and that moon and stars alike faded at the dawn of a new day - the Renaissance. Since they had their share in the direction and introduction of that great movement, it may reasonably be claimed that they are with us yet."

George Sarton in the "Introduction to the History of Science"

"During the reign of Caliph Al-Mamun (813-33 A.D.), the new learning reached its climax. The monarch created in Baghdad a regular school for translation. It was equipped with a library, one of the translators there was Hunayn Ibn Ishaq (809-77) a particularly gifted philosopher and physician of wide erudition, the dominating figure of this century of translators. We know from his own recently published Memoir that he translated practically the whole immense corpus of Galenic writings."

"Besides the translation of Greek works and their extracts, the translators made manuals of which one form, that of the 'pandects,' is typical of the period of Arabic learning. These are recapitulations of the whole medicine, discussing the affections of the body, systematically beginning at the head and working down to the feet."

"The Muslim ideal was, it goes without saying, not visual beauty but God in His plentitude; that is God with all his manifestations, the stars and the heavens, the earth and all nature. The Muslim ideal is thus infinite. But in dealing with the infinite as conceived by the Muslims, we cannot limit ourselves to the space alone, but must equally consider time.

"The first mathematical step from the Greek conception of a static universe to the Islamic one of a dynamic universe was made by Al-Khwarizmi (780-850), the founder of modern Algebra. He enhanced the purely arithmetical character of numbers as finite magnitudes by demonstrating their possibilities as elements of infinite manipulations and investigations of properties and relations.

"In Greek mathematics, the numbers could expand only by the laborious process of addition and multiplication. Khwarizmi's algebraic symbols for numbers contain within themselves the potentialities of the infinite. So we might say that the advance from arithmetic to algebra implies a step from being to 'becoming' from the Greek universe to the living universe of Islam. The importance of Khwarizmi's algebra was recognized, in the twelfth century, by the West, - when Girard of Cremona translated his theses into Latin. Until the sixteenth century this version was used in European universities as the principal mathematical text book. But Khwarizmi's influence reached far beyond the universities. We find it reflected in the mathematical works of Leonardo Fibinacci of Pissa, Master Jacob of Florence, and even of Leonardo da Vinci."

"Through their medical investigations they not merely widened the horizons of medicine, but enlarged humanistic concepts generally. And once again they brought this about because of their over riding spiritual convictions. Thus it can hardly have been accidental that those researches should have led them that were inevitably beyond the reach of Greek masters. If it is regarded as symbolic that the most spectacular achievement of the mid-twentieth century is atomic fission and the nuclear bomb, likewise it would not seem fortuitous that the early Muslim's medical endeavor should have led to a discovery that was quite as revolutionary though possibly more beneficent."

"A philosophy of self-centredness, under whatever disguise, would be both incomprehensible and reprehensible to the Muslim mind. That mind was incapable of viewing man, whether in health or sickness as isolated from God, from fellow men, and from the world around him. It was probably inevitable that the Muslims should have discovered that disease need not be born within the patient himself but may reach from outside, in other words, that they should have been the first to establish clearly the existence of contagion."

"One of the most famous exponents of Muslim universalism and an eminent figure in Islamic learning was Ibn Sina , known in the West as Avicenna (981-1037). For a thousand years he has retained his original renown as one of the greatest thinkers and medical scholars in history. His most important medical works are the Qanun (Canon) and a treatise on Cardiac drugs. The 'Qanun fi-l-Tibb' is an immense encyclopedia of medicine. It contains some of the most illuminating thoughts pertaining to distinction of mediastinitis from pleurisy; contagious nature of phthisis; distribution of diseases by water and soil; careful description of skin troubles; of sexual diseases and perversions; of nervous ailments."

"We have reason to believe that when, during the crusades, Europe at last began to establish hospitals, they were inspired by the Arabs of near East....The first hospital in Paris, Les Quinze-vingt, was founded by Louis IX after his return from the crusade 1254-1260."

"We find in his (Jabir, Geber ) writings remarkably sound views on methods of chemical research, a theory on the geologic formation of metals (the six metals differ essentially because of different proportions of sulphur and mercury in them); preparation of various substances (e.g., basic lead carbonatic, arsenic and antimony from their sulphides)."

Ibn Haytham's writings reveal his fine development of the experimental faculty. His tables of corresponding angles of incidence and refraction of light passing from one medium to another show how closely he had approached discovering the law of constancy of ratio of sines, later attributed to snell. He accounted correctly for twilight as due to atmospheric refraction, estimating the sun's depression to be 19 degrees below the horizon, at the commencement of the phenomenon in the mornings or at its termination in the evenings."

"A great deal of geographical as well as historical and scientific knowledge is contained in the thirty volume meadows of Gold and Mines of Gems by one of the leading Muslim Historians, the tenth century al Mas'udi. A more strictly geographical work is the dictionary 'Mujam al-Buldan' by al-Hamami (1179-1229). This is a veritable encyclopedia that, in going far beyond the confines of geography, incorporates also a great deal of scientific lore."

"They studied, collected and described plants that might have some utilitarian purpose, whether in agriculture or in medicine. These excellent tendencies, without equivalent in Christendom, were continued during the first half of the thirteenth century by an admirable group of four botanists. One of these Ibn al-Baitar compiled the most elaborate Arabic work on the subject (Botany), in fact the most important for the whole period extending from Dioscorides down to the sixteenth century. It was a true encyclopedia on the subject, incorporating the whole Greek and Arabic experience."

"Abd al-Malik ibn Quraib al-Asmai (739-831) was a pious Arab who wrote some valuable books on human anatomy. Al-Jawaliqi who flourished in the first half of the twelfth century and 'Abd al-Mumin who flourished in the second half of the thirteenth century in Egypt, wrote treatises on horses. The greatest zoologist amongst the Arabs was al-Damiri (1405) of Egypt whose book on animal life, 'Hayat al-Hayawan' has been translated into English by A.S.G. Jayakar (London 1906, 1908)."

"The weight of venerable authority, for example that of Ptolemy, seldom intimidated them. They were always eager to put a theory to tests, and they never tired of experimentation. Though motivated and permeated by the spirit of their religion, they would not allow dogma as interpreted by the orthodox to stand in the way of their scientific research."


George Sarton, "Introduction to the History of Science, Vol. I-IV," Carnegie Institute of Washington, Baltimore, 1927-31; Williams and Wilkins, Baltimore, 1950-53.

Robert Briffault, "The Making of Humanity," London, 1938.

T. Arnold and A. Guillaume, "The Legacy of Islam," Oxford University Press, 1931.

E. Gibbon, "Decline and Fall of Roman Empire," London, 1900.

akhter said...

The Miracle of Islamic Science

The concept that the sciences are exclusively the products of Western minds remains unquestioned by most individuals. A review of any of the standard texts or encyclopedias regarding the history of science would support this view. As these books are perused, it becomes evident that the only contributors given significant mention are Europeans and/or Americans. It is hardly necessary to repeat the oft-mentioned names: Galileo, Copernicus, Kepler, Bacon, Newton, Da Vinci, Benjamin Franklin, etc. The unavoidable conclusion is that major contributions to the development of the modern sciences by other cultures is minimal. Most texts give little or no mention of the advancements made by ancient Indian, Chinese or, particularly, Muslim scholars.

Western civilization has made invaluable contributions to the development of the sciences. However, so have numerous other cultures. Unfortunately, Westerners have long been credited with discoveries made many centuries before by Islamic scholars. Thus, many of the basic sciences were invented by non-Europeans. For instance, George Sarton states that modern Western medicine did not originate from Europe and that it actually arose from the (Islamic) orient.

The data in this section concerning dates, names and topics of Western advances has been derived from three main sources: World Book Encyclopedia, Encyclopedia Britannica and Isaac Asimov's 700 page book, Chronology of Science and Discovery. Supportive data for the accomplishments of Islamic scholars is derived from the miscellaneous references listed in the bibliography of this book.

What is Taught: The first mention of man in flight was by Roger Bacon, who drew a flying apparatus. Leonardo da Vinci also conceived of airborne transport and drew several prototypes.

What Should be Taught: Ibn Firnas of Islamic Spain invented, constructed and tested a flying machine in the 800's A.D. Roger Bacon learned of flying machines from Arabic references to Ibn Firnas' machine. The latter's invention antedates Bacon by 500 years and Da Vinci by some 700 years.

What is Taught: Glass mirrors were first produced in 1291 in Venice.

What Should be Taught: Glass mirrors were in use in Islamic Spain as early as the 11th century. The Venetians learned of the art of fine glass production from Syrian artisans during the 9th and 10th centuries.

What is Taught: Until the 14th century, the only type of clock available was the water clock. In 1335, a large mechanical clock was erected in Milan, Italy. This was possibly the first weight-driven clock.

What Should be Taught: A variety of mechanical clocks were produced by Spanish Muslim engineers, both large and small, and this knowledge was transmitted to Europe through Latin translations of Islamic books on mechanics. These clocks were weight-driven. Designs and illustrations of epi-cyclic and segmental gears were provided. One such clock included a mercury escapement. The latter type was directly copied by Europeans during the 15th century. In addition, during the 9th century, Ibn Firnas of Islamic Spain, according to Will Durant, invented a watch-like device, which kept accurate time. The Muslims also constructed a variety of highly accurate astronomical clocks for use in their observatories.

What is Taught: in the 17th century, Galileo developed the pendulum during his teenage years. He noticed a chandelier swaying as it was being blown by the wind. As a result, he went home and invented the pendulum.

What Should be Taught: The pendulum was discovered by Ibn Yunus al-Masri during the 10th century, who was the first to study and document its oscillatory motion. Its value for use in clocks was introduced by Muslim physicists during the 15th century.

What is Taught: Movable type and the printing press was invented in the West by Johannes Gutenberg of Germany during the 15th century.

What Should be Taught: In 1454, Gutenberg developed the most sophisticated printing press of the Middle Ages. However, movable brass type was in use in Islamic Spain 100 years prior, and that is where the West's first printing devices were made.

What is Taught: Isaac Newton's 17th century study of lenses, light and prisms forms the foundation of the modern science of optics.

What Should be Taught: In the 1lth century al-Haytham determined virtually everything that Newton advanced regarding optics centuries prior and is regarded by numerous authorities as the "founder of optics.” There is little doubt that Newton was influenced by him. Al-Haytham was the most quoted physicist of the Middle Ages. His works were utilized and quoted by a greater number of European scholars during the 16th and 17th centuries than those of Newton and Galileo combined.

What is Taught: Isaac Newton, during the 17th century, discovered that white light consists of various rays of colored light.

What Should be Taught: This discovery was made in its entirety by al-Haytham (1lth century) and Kamal ad-Din (14th century). Newton did make original discoveries, but this was not one of them.

What is Taught: The concept of the finite nature of matter was first introduced by Antione Lavoisier during the 18th century. He discovered that, although matter may change its form or shape, its mass always remains the same. Thus, for instance, if water is heated to steam, if salt is dissolved in water or if a piece of wood is burned to ashes, the total mass remains unchanged.

What Should be Taught: The principles of this discovery were elaborated centuries before by Islamic Persia's great scholar, al-Biruni (d. 1050). Lavoisier was a disciple of the Muslim chemists and physicists and referred to their books frequently.

What is Taught: The Greeks were the developers of trigonometry.

What Should be Taught: Trigonometry remained largely a theoretical science among the Greeks. It was developed to a level of modern perfection by Muslim scholars, although the weight of the credit must be given to al-Battani. The words describing the basic functions of this science, sine, cosine and tangent, are all derived from Arabic terms. Thus, original contributions by the Greeks in trigonometry were minimal.

What is Taught: The use of decimal fractions in mathematics was first developed by a Dutchman, Simon Stevin, in 1589. He helped advance the mathematical sciences by replacing the cumbersome fractions, for instance, 1/2, with decimal fractions, for example, 0.5.

What Should be Taught: Muslim mathematicians were the first to utilize decimals instead of fractions on a large scale. Al-Kashi's book, Key to Arithmetic, was written at the beginning of the 15th century and was the stimulus for the systematic application of decimals to whole numbers and fractions thereof. It is highly probably that Stevin imported the idea to Europe from al-Kashi's work.

What is Taught: The first man to utilize algebraic symbols was the French mathematician, Francois Vieta. In 1591, he wrote an algebra book describing equations with letters such as the now familiar x and y's. Asimov says that this discovery had an impact similar to the progression from Roman numerals to Arabic numbers.

What Should be Taught: Muslim mathematicians, the inventors of algebra, introduced the concept of using letters for unknown variables in equations as early as the 9th century CE. Through this system, they solved a variety of complex equations, including quadratic and cubic equations. They used symbols to develop and perfect the binomial theorem.

What is Taught: The difficult cubic equations (x to the third power) remained unsolved until the 16th century when Niccolo Tartaglia, an Italian mathematician, solved them.

What Should be Taught: Cubic equations as well as numerous equations of even higher degrees were solved with ease by Muslim mathematicians as early as the 10th century.

What is Taught: The concept that numbers could be less than zero, that is negative numbers, was unknown until 1545 when Geronimo Cardano introduced the idea.

What Should he Taught: Muslim mathematicians introduced negative numbers for use in a variety of arithmetic functions at least 400 years prior to Cardano.

What is Taught: In 1614, John Napier invented logarithms and logarithmic tables.

What Should be Taught: Muslim mathematicians invented logarithms and produced logarithmic tables several centuries prior. Such tables were common in the Islamic world as early as the 13th century.

What is Taught: During the 17th century Rene Descartes made the discovery that algebra could be used to solve geometrical problems. By this, he greatly advanced the science of geometry.

What Should be Taught: Mathematicians of the Islamic Empire accomplished precisely this as early as the 9th century A.D. Thabit bin Qurrah was the first to do so, and he was followed by Abu'l Wafa, whose 10th century book utilized algebra to advance geometry into an exact and simplified science.

What is Taught: Isaac Newton, during the 17th century, developed the binomial theorem, which is a crucial component for the study of algebra.

What Should be Taught: Hundreds of Muslim mathematicians utilized and perfected the binomial theorem. They initiated its use for the systematic solution of algebraic problems during the 10th century (or prior).

What is Taught: No improvement had been made in the astronomy of the ancients during the Middle Ages regarding the motion of planets until the 13th century. Then Alphonso the Wise of Castile (Middle Spain) invented the Aphonsine Tables, which were more accurate than Ptolemy's.

What Should be Taught: Muslim astronomers made numerous improvements upon Ptolemy's findings as early as the 9th century. They were the first astronomers to dispute his archaic ideas. In their critic of the Greeks, they synthesized proof that the sun is the center of the solar system and that the orbits of the earth and other planets might be elliptical. They produced hundreds of highly accurate astronomical tables and star charts. Many of their calculations are so precise that they are regarded as contemporary. The AlphonsineTables are little more than copies of works on astronomy transmitted to Europe via Islamic Spain, i.e. the Toledo Tables.

What is Taught: The English scholar Roger Bacon (d. 1292) first mentioned glass lenses for improving vision. At nearly the same time, eyeglasses could be found in use both in China and Europe.

What Should be Taught: Ibn Firnas of Islamic Spain invented eyeglasses during the 9th century, and they were manufactured and sold throughout Spain for over two centuries. Any mention of eyeglasses by Roger Bacon was simply a regurgitation of the work of al-Haytham (d. 1039), whose research Bacon frequently referred to.

What is Taught: Gunpowder was developed in the Western world as a result of Roger Bacon's work in 1242. The first usage of gunpowder in weapons was when the Chinese fired it from bamboo shoots in attempt to frighten Mongol conquerors. They produced it by adding sulfur and charcoal to saltpeter.

What Should be Taught: The Chinese developed saltpeter for use in fireworks and knew of no tactical military use for gunpowder, nor did they invent its formula. Research by Reinuad and Fave have clearly shown that gunpowder was formulated initially by Muslim chemists. Further, these historians claim that the Muslims developed the first fire-arms. Notably, Muslim armies used grenades and other weapons in their defense of Algericus against the Franks during the 14th century. Jean Mathes indicates that the Muslim rulers had stock-piles of grenades, rifles, crude cannons, incendiary devices, sulfur bombs and pistols decades before such devices were used in Europe. The first mention of a cannon was in an Arabic text around 1300 A.D. Roger Bacon learned of the formula for gunpowder from Latin translations of Arabic books. He brought forth nothing original in this regard.

What is Taught: The compass was invented by the Chinese who may have been the first to use it for navigational purposes sometime between 1000 and 1100 A.D. The earliest reference to its use in navigation was by the Englishman, Alexander Neckam (1157-1217).

What Should be Taught: Muslim geographers and navigators learned of the magnetic needle, possibly from the Chinese, and were the first to use magnetic needles in navigation. They invented the compass and passed the knowledge of its use in navigation to the West. European navigators relied on Muslim pilots and their instruments when exploring unknown territories. Gustav Le Bon claims that the magnetic needle and compass were entirely invented by the Muslims and that the Chinese had little to do with it. Neckam, as well as the Chinese, probably learned of it from Muslim traders. It is noteworthy that the Chinese improved their navigational expertise after they began interacting with the Muslims during the 8th century.

What is Taught: The first man to classify the races was the German Johann F. Blumenbach, who divided mankind into white, yellow, brown, black and red peoples.

What Should be Taught: Muslim scholars of the 9th through 14th centuries invented the science of ethnography. A number of Muslim geographers classified the races, writing detailed explanations of their unique cultural habits and physical appearances. They wrote thousands of pages on this subject. Blumenbach's works were insignificant in comparison.

What is Taught: The science of geography was revived during the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries when the ancient works of Ptolemy were discovered. The Crusades and the Portuguese/Spanish expeditions also contributed to this reawakening. The first scientifically-based treatise on geography were produced during this period by Europe's scholars.

What Should be Taught: Muslim geographers produced untold volumes of books on the geography of Africa, Asia, India, China and the Indies during the 8th through 15th centuries. These writings included the world's first geographical encyclopedias, almanacs and road maps. Ibn Battutah's 14th century masterpieces provide a detailed view of the geography of the ancient world. The Muslim geographers of the 10th through 15th centuries far exceeded the output by Europeans regarding the geography of these regions well into the 18th century. The Crusades led to the destruction of educational institutions, their scholars and books. They brought nothing substantive regarding geography to the Western world.

What is Taught: Robert Boyle, in the 17th century, originated the science of chemistry.

What Should be Taught: A variety of Muslim chemists, including ar-Razi, al-Jabr, al-Biruni and al-Kindi, performed scientific experiments in chemistry some 700 years prior to Boyle. Durant writes that the Muslims introduced the experimental method to this science. Humboldt regards the Muslims as the founders of chemistry.

What is Taught: Leonardo da Vinci (16th century) fathered the science of geology when he noted that fossils found on mountains indicated a watery origin of the earth.

What Should be Taught: Al-Biruni (1lth century) made precisely this observation and added much to it, including a huge book on geology, hundreds of years before Da Vinci was born. Ibn Sina noted this as well (see pages 100-101). It is probable that Da Vinci first learned of this concept from Latin translations of Islamic books. He added nothing original to their findings.

What is Taught: The first mention of the geological formation of valleys was in 1756, when Nicolas Desmarest proposed that they were formed over a long periods of time by streams.

What Should be Taught: Ibn Sina and al-Biruni made precisely this discovery during the 11th century (see pages 102 and 103), fully 700 years prior to Desmarest.

What is Taught: Galileo (17th century) was the world's first great experimenter.

What Should be Taught: Al-Biruni (d. 1050) was the world's first great experimenter. He wrote over 200 books, many of which discuss his precise experiments. His literary output in the sciences amounts to some 13,000 pages, far exceeding that written by Galileo or, for that matter, Galileo and Newton combined.

What is Taught: The Italian Giovanni Morgagni is regarded as the father of pathology because he was the first to correctly describe the nature of disease.

What Should be Taught: Islam's surgeons were the first pathologists. They fully realized the nature of disease and described a variety of diseases to modern detail. Ibn Zuhr correctly described the nature of pleurisy, tuberculosis and pericarditis. Az-Zahrawi accurately documented the pathology of hydrocephalus (water on the brain) and other congenital diseases. Ibn al-Quff and Ibn an-Nafs gave perfect descriptions of the diseases of circulation. Other Muslim surgeons gave the first accurate descriptions of certain malignancies, including cancer of the stomach, bowel and esophagus. These surgeons were the originators of pathology, not Giovanni Morgagni.

What is Taught: Paul Ehrlich (19th century) is the originator of drug chemotherapy, that is the use of specific drugs to kill microbes.

What Should be Taught: Muslim physicians used a variety of specific substances to destroy microbes. They applied sulfur topically specifically to kill the scabies mite. Ar-Razi (10th century) used mercurial compounds as topical antiseptics.

What is Taught: Purified alcohol, made through distillation, was first produced by Arnau de Villanova, a Spanish alchemist, in 1300 A.D.

What Should be Taught: Numerous Muslim chemists produced medicinal-grade alcohol through distillation as early as the 10th century and manufactured on a large scale the first distillation devices for use in chemistry. They used alcohol as a solvent and antiseptic.

What is Taught: The first surgery performed under inhalation anesthesia was conducted by C.W. Long, an American, in 1845.

What Should be Taught: Six hundred years prior to Long, Islamic Spain's Az-Zahrawi and Ibn Zuhr, among other Muslim surgeons, performed hundreds of surgeries under inhalation anesthesia with the use of narcotic-soaked sponges which were placed over the face.

What is Taught: During the 16th century Paracelsus invented the use of opium extracts for anesthesia.

What Should be Taught: Muslim physicians introduced the anesthetic value of opium derivatives during the Middle Ages. Opium was originally used as an anesthetic agent by the Greeks. Paracelus was a student of Ibn Sina's works from which it is almost assured that he derived this idea.

What is Taught: Modern anesthesia was invented in the 19th century by Humphrey Davy and Horace Wells.

What Should be Taught: Modern anesthesia was discovered, mastered and perfected by Muslim anesthetists 900 years before the advent of Davy and Wells. They utilized oral as well as inhalant anesthetics.

What is Taught: The concept of quarantine was first developed in 1403. In Venice, a law was passed preventing strangers from entering the city until a certain waiting period had passed. If, by then, no sign of illness could be found, they were allowed in.

What Should be Taught: The concept of quarantine was first introduced in the 7th century A.D. by the prophet Muhammad, who wisely warned against entering or leaving a region suffering from plague. As early as the 10th century, Muslim physicians innovated the use of isolation wards for individuals suffering with communicable diseases.

What is Taught: The scientific use of antiseptics in surgery was discovered by the British surgeon Joseph Lister in 1865.

What Should be Taught: As early as the 10th century, Muslim physicians and surgeons were applying purified alcohol to wounds as an antiseptic agent. Surgeons in Islamic Spain utilized special methods for maintaining antisepsis prior to and during surgery. They also originated specific protocols for maintaining hygiene during the post-operative period. Their success rate was so high that dignitaries throughout Europe came to Cordova, Spain, to be treated at what was comparably the "Mayo Clinic" of the Middle Ages.

What is Taught: In 1545, the scientific use of surgery was advanced by the French surgeon Ambroise Pare. Prior to him, surgeons attempted to stop bleeding through the gruesome procedure of searing the wound with boiling oil. Pare stopped the use of boiling oils and began ligating arteries. He is considered the "father of rational surgery." Pare was also one of the first Europeans to condemn such grotesque "surgical" procedures as trepanning (see reference #6, pg. 110).

What Should be Taught: Islamic Spain's illustrious surgeon, az-Zahrawi (d. 1013), began ligating arteries with fine sutures over 500 years prior to Pare. He perfected the use of Catgut, that is suture made from animal intestines. Additionally, he instituted the use of cotton plus wax to plug bleeding wounds. The full details of his works were made available to Europeans through Latin translations.

Despite this, barbers and herdsmen continued be the primary individuals practicing the "art" of surgery for nearly six centuries after az-Zahrawi's death. Pare himself was a barber, albeit more skilled and conscientious than the average ones.

Included in az-Zahrawi's legacy are dozens of books. His most famous work is a 30 volume treatise on medicine and surgery. His books contain sections on preventive medicine, nutrition, cosmetics, drug therapy, surgical technique, anesthesia, pre and post-operative care as well as drawings of some 200 surgical devices, many of which he invented. The refined and scholarly az-Zahrawi must be regarded as the father and founder of rational surgery, not the uneducated Pare.

What is Taught: William Harvey, during the early 17th century, discovered that blood circulates. He was the first to correctly describe the function of the heart, arteries and veins. Rome's Galen had presented erroneous ideas regarding the circulatory system, and Harvey was the first to determine that blood is pumped throughout the body via the action of the heart and the venous valves. Therefore, he is regarded as the founder of human physiology.

What Should be Taught: In the 10th century, Islam's ar-Razi wrote an in-depth treatise on the venous system, accurately describing the function of the veins and their valves. Ibn an-Nafs and Ibn al-Quff (13th century) provided full documentation that the blood circulates and correctly described the physiology of the heart and the function of its valves 300 years before Harvey. William Harvey was a graduate of Italy's famous Padua University at a time when the majority of its curriculum was based upon Ibn Sina's and ar-Razi's textbooks.

What is Taught: The first pharmacopeia (book of medicines) was published by a German scholar in 1542. According to World Book Encyclopedia, the science of pharmacology was begun in the 1900's as an off-shoot of chemistry due to the analysis of crude plant materials. Chemists, after isolating the active ingredients from plants, realized their medicinal value.

What Should be Taught: According to the eminent scholar of Arab history, Phillip Hitti, the Muslims, not the Greeks or Europeans, wrote the first "modern" pharmacopeia. The science of pharmacology was originated by Muslim physicians during the 9th century. They developed it into a highly refined and exact science. Muslim chemists, pharmacists and physicians produced thousands of drugs and/or crude herbal extracts one thousand years prior to the supposed birth of pharmacology. During the 14th century Ibn Baytar wrote a monumental pharmacopeia listing some 1400 different drugs. Hundreds of other pharmacopeias were published during the Islamic Era. It is likely that the German work is an offshoot of that by Ibn Baytar, which was widely circulated in Europe.

What is Taught: The discovery of the scientific use of drugs in the treatment of specific diseases was made by Paracelsus, the Swiss-born physician, during the 16th century. He is also credited with being the first to use practical experience as a determining factor in the treatment of patients rather than relying exclusively on the works of the ancients.

What Should be Taught: Ar-Razi, Ibn Sina, al-Kindi, Ibn Rushd, az-Zahrawi, Ibn Zuhr, Ibn Baytar, Ibn al-Jazzar, Ibn Juljul, Ibn al-Quff, Ibn an-Nafs, al-Biruni, Ibn Sahl and hundreds of other Muslim physicians mastered the science of drug therapy for the treatment of specific symptoms and diseases. In fact, this concept was entirely their invention. The word "drug" is derived from Arabic. Their use of practical experience and careful observation was extensive.

Muslim physicians were the first to criticize ancient medical theories and practices. Ar-Razi devoted an entire book as a critique of Galen's anatomy. The works of Paracelsus are insignificant compared to the vast volumes of medical writings and original findings accomplished by the medical giants of Islam.

What is Taught: The first sound approach to the treatment of disease was made by a German, Johann Weger, in the 1500's.

What Should be Taught: Harvard's George Sarton says that modern medicine is entirely an Islamic development and that Setting the Record Straight the Muslim physicians of the 9th through 12th centuries were precise, scientific, rational and sound in their approach. Johann Weger was among thousands of Europeans physicians during the 15th through 17th centuries who were taught the medicine of ar-Razi and Ibn Sina. He contributed nothing original.

What is Taught: Medical treatment for the insane was modernized by Philippe Pinel when in 1793 he operated France's first insane asylum.

What Should be Taught: As early as the 1lth century, Islamic hospitals maintained special wards for the insane. They treated them kindly and presumed their disease was real at a time when the insane were routinely burned alive in Europe as witches and sorcerers. A curative approach was taken for mental illness and, for the first time in history, the mentally ill were treated with supportive care, drugs and psychotherapy. Every major Islamic city maintained an insane asylum where patients were treated at no charge. In fact, the Islamic system for the treatment of the insane excels in comparison to the current model, as it was more humane and was highly effective as well.

What is Taught: Kerosine was first produced by the an Englishman, Abraham Gesner, in 1853. He distilled it from asphalt.

What Should be Taught: Muslim chemists produced kerosene as a distillate from petroleum products over 1,000 years prior to Gesner (see Encyclopedia Britannica under the heading, Petroleum).

InGodWeRust said...

I see that wishful thinking by religious groups isn't limited to only Christians. What a load of bollocks I have just had the pleasure of skimming-through. Either provide some sources for all of these 'achievements' - and not the plagiarised bullshit of the Koran, or shut-up and spare us your copy and paste propaganda nonsense.

akhter said...

so in God you trust, and is this the best you could do?Who is really bullshitting?

InGodWeRust said...

There can be no doubt where the bullshit comes from - if only you took the time to get off your knees.

Anonymous said...

Is English law related to Muslim law?

Old Bailey
One of the mainstays of English justice

By Mukul Devichand

In London's historic "Inns of Court", barristers practise law in the shadow of the distinctive medieval Temple Church. But does English law really owe a debt to Muslim law?

For some scholars, a historical connection to Islam is a "missing link" that explains why English common law is so different from classical Roman legal systems that hold sway across much of the rest of Europe.

It's a controversial idea. Common law has inspired legal systems across the world. What's more, calls for the UK to accommodate Islamic Sharia law have caused public outcry.

The first port of call when looking for an eastern link in the common law is London's Inns of Court.

"You are now leaving London, and entering Jerusalem," says Robin Griffith-Jones, the Master of the Temple Church, as he walks around its spectacular rotunda.

The church stands in the heart of the legal district and was built by the Knights Templar, the fierce order of monks-turned-warriors who fought Muslim armies in the Crusades.

London's historic legal district, with its professional class of independent lawyers, has parallels with the way medieval Islamic law was organised.

In Sunni Islam there were four great schools of legal theory, which were often housed in "madrassas" around mosques. Scholars debated each other on obscure points of law, in much the same way as English barristers do.

There is a theory that the Templars modelled the Inns of Court on Muslim ideas. But Mr Griffith-Jones suggests it is pretty unlikely the Templars imported the madrassa system to England. They were suppressed after 1314 - yet lawyers only started congregating in the Inns of Court after the 1360s.

Perpetual endowment

This doesn't necessarily rule out the Templars' role altogether. Medieval Muslim centres of learning were governed under a special legal device called the "waqf" under which trustees guaranteed their independence.

In an oak-panelled room in Oxford, historian Dr Paul Brand explains the significance of the 1264 statute that Walter De Merton used to establish Merton College. He was a businessman with connections to the Knights Templar.
Graves in Temple Church
The Templar link to Islamic law seems unlikely

The original 1264 document that established Merton has parallels with the waqf because it is a "perpetual endowment" - a system where trustees keep the college running through the ages. It's been used as a template across the Western world.

Dr Brand says many branches of Western learning, from mathematics to philosophy, owe a debt of gratitude to Islamic influence.

Advanced Arabic texts were translated into European languages in the Middle Ages. But there's no record of Islamic legal texts being among those influencing English lawyers.

And Dr Brand pointed out the Knights Templar were, after all, crusaders. They wanted to fight Muslims, not to learn from them, and they were rarely close enough to observe their institutions at work.

But the fact remains that England in the Middle Ages had very distinct legal principles, like jury trial and the notion that "possession is nine tenths of the law". And there was one other place in Europe that had similar legal principles on the books in the 12th Century.

Jury trial

From the end of the 9th to the middle of the 11th Century, Sicily had Muslim rulers. Many Sicilians were Muslims and followed the Maliki school of legal thought in Sunni Islam.

Maliki law has certain provisions which resemble English legal principles, such as jury trial and land possession. Sicily represented a gateway into western Europe for Islamic ideas but it's unclear how these ideas are meant to have travelled to England.

Norman barons first invaded Sicily in 1061 - five years before William the Conqueror invaded England. The Norman leaders in Sicily went on to develop close cultural affinities with the Arabs, and these Normans were blood relations of Henry II, the English king credited with founding the common law.

But does that mean medieval England somehow adopted Muslim legal ideas?
Merton College
Merton College was founded on principles similar to Islamic law

There is no definitive proof, because very few documents survive from the period. All we have is the stories of people like Thomas Brown - an Englishman who was part of the Sicilian government, where he was known in Arabic as "Qaid Brun".

He later returned to England and worked for the king during the period when common law came into being.

There is proof he brought Islamic knowledge back to England, especially in mathematics. But no particular proof he brought legal concepts.

There are clear parallels between Islamic legal history and English law, but unless new historical evidence comes to light, the link remains unproven.

Below is a selection of your comments.

I thought British law and juries came from Saxon law, while continental law came from Napoleonic law, which derived from Roman law. That's why they are so different.
Martin, Plymouth UK

There must be some degree of compatibility between British and Islamic civil law, otherwise British companies doing business in Islamic countries would not be able to sign contracts based on the local laws. The banning of any element of gambling in financial dealings, looks like an area where we in the West might possibly have something to learn from Islamic finance. Also, large numbers of Westerners visiting and living in Islamic countries submit themselves voluntarily to Islamic law every year, so it can't be totally incompatible with "our way of life".
Paul , Crawley, UK

Even if we did take some ideas from Islamic schools of thought, Sharia law as it stands today is absolutely not compatible with the laws of any EU country.
Franchesca Mullin, Belfast, Northern Ireland

Strangely the article neglects the (surely?) most obvious possible line of influence. That is the huge influence of the Arabic philosophers (like Averroes, Al Farabi, Avicenna) on the dominant Medieval thinkers in the western tradition, like Aquinas. They even were the ones to provide Aquinas and co. with their access to Aristotle. Legal theory and jurisprudence was a big area of medieval academic interest. So, I'd have thought this would be the obvious route.
Eudemus, West Yorkshire

A real thought provoking article. If we go into more detail, I am sure we can find more closeness, like our "welfare system" was introduced only after detail study of welfare system used by Muslim's second caliph - Umar. Like it or not, its history.
Daniel, Manchester

The middle east in the dark ages was a multi-layered melting pot of cultures, fresh ideas, laws and design. I think it's inevitable that during differing periods of occupation by opposing armies it is inevitable that some echoes of previous regimes remained either through the practical obstacles of obliterating all trace of their predecessors or just simply because something actually sounded like a good idea so remained. I think Dr Brand is a touch short sighted to think "they wanted to fight Muslims, not to learn from them". A good idea is a good idea after all and social order is a pre-requisite of any prolonged occupation. Sharia Law is something evolved from those ages in a different direction to our own. I know many liberal Muslims who laugh at it in the same way as I laugh when I see American Evangelicals healing the sick on prime time while sitting on a million bucks.
Keatzey, Turkey

It is true that many "Advanced Arabic texts were translated into European languages in the Middle Ages." However, as Bernard Lewis argues in his history of the Middle East, most of these translations were carried out by Christians rather than Muslims.
Dan, Oxford

My guess is that most similarities would come from both systems drawing from Judaic law.
Daniel, Guildford

Possibly more relevant was that the Normans were descended from Danish Vikings that conquered both Normandy and Sicily. Viking legal custom involved the choice for a trial by community elders, useful when settling feuds or inheritance disputes. Sicily had been Islamic, many Muslims remained and Sicily continued using Islamic law; this included the right to be judged by a group from the community. The Vikings would have been used to the concept of group judgment and not found this strange. It's also argued the idea of juries was emerging in Saxon Britain prior to the Norman invasion, a Danish influence, from Canute onwards, may again have played a part.
Tim Dennell, UK

It is a fact that Islamic history and civilisation lead to centuries of advanced knowledge in so many different spheres; mathematics, physics, chemistry, astronomy to name but a few. The Arabs pursued and encouraged knowledge as ordained to by the principles of their faith. Europe did indeed learn much from their knowledge and it is a shame most people are ignorant of the richness and depth of Islamic learning.
James Kingsley, Cambridge

InGodWeRust said...

I can copy and paste as well. I am too lazy to dig up some stinging retort of Islam, but all religion is the same old fairy-tail anyway - so here is what the great Ingersoll has to say about religion and it's 'sacred scripture'...

Somebody ought to tell the truth about the Bible. The preachers dare not, because they would be driven from their pulpits. Professors in colleges dare not, because they would lose their salaries. Politicians dare not. They would be defeated. Editors dare not. They would lose subscribers. Merchants dare not, because they might lose customers. Men of fashion dare not, fearing that they would lose caste. Even clerks dare not, because they might be discharged. And so I thought I would do it myself.

There are many millions of people who believe the Bible to be the inspired word of God -- millions who think that this book is staff and guide, counselor and consoler; that it fills the present with peace and the future with hope -- millions who believe that it is the fountain of law, Justice and mercy, and that to its wise and benign teachings the world is indebted for its liberty, wealth and civilization -- millions who imagine that this book is a revelation from the wisdom and love of God to the brain and heart of man -- millions who regard this book as a torch that conquers the darkness of death, and pours its radiance on another world -- a world without a tear.

They forget its ignorance and savagery, its hatred of liberty, its religious persecution; they remember heaven, but they forget the dungeon of eternal pain. They forget that it imprisons the brain and corrupts the heart. They forget that it is the enemy of intellectual freedom. Liberty is my religion. Liberty of hand and brain -- of thought and labor, liberty is a word hated by kings -- loathed by popes. It is a word that shatters thrones and altars -- that leaves the crowned without subjects, and the outstretched hand of superstition without alms. Liberty is the blossom and fruit of justice -- the perfume of mercy. Liberty is the seed and soil, the air and light, the dew and rain of progress, love and joy.



A few wandering families -- poor, wretched, without education, art or power; descendants of those who had been enslaved for four hundred years; ignorant as the inhabitants of Central Africa, had just escaped from their masters to the desert of Sinai. Their leader was Moses, a man who had been raised in the family of Pharaoh and had been taught the law and mythology of Egypt. For the purpose of controlling his followers he pretended that he was instructed and assisted by Jehovah, the God of these wanderers.

Everything that happened was attributed to the interference of this God. Moses declared that he met this God face to face; that on Sinai's top from the hands of this God he had received the tables of stone on which, by the finger of this God, the Ten Commandments had been written, and that, in addition to this, Jehovah had made known the sacrifices and ceremonies that were pleasing to him and the laws by which the people should be governed.

In this way the Jewish religion and the Mosaic Code were established.

It is now claimed that this religion and these laws were and are revealed and established for all mankind.

At that time these wanderers had no commerce with other nations, they had no written language, they could neither read nor write. They had no means by which they could make this revelation known to other nations, and so it remained buried in the jargon of a few ignorant, impoverished and unknown tribes for more than two thousand year's.

Many centuries after Moses, the leader, was dead many centuries after all his followers had passed away -- the Pentateuch was written, the work of many writers, and to give it force and authority it was claimed that Moses was the author.

We now know that the Pentateuch was not written by Moses.

Towns are mentioned that were not in existence when Moses lived.

Money, not coined until centuries after his death, is mentioned.

So, many of the laws were not applicable to wanderers on the desert -- laws about agriculture, about the sacrifice of oxen, sheep and doves, about the weaving of cloth, about ornaments of gold and silver, about the cultivation of land, about harvest, about the threshing of grain, about houses and temples, about cities of refuge, and about many other subjects of no possible application to a few starving wanderers over the sands and rocks.

It is now not only admitted by intelligent and honest theologians that Moses was not the author of the Pentateuch, but they all admit that no one knows who the authors were, or who wrote any one of these books, or a chapter or a line. We know that the books were not written in the same generation; that they were not all written by one person; that they are filled with mistakes and contradictions. It is also admitted that Joshua did not write the book that bears his name, because it refers to events that did not happen until long after his death.

No one knows, or pretends to know, the author of Judges; all we know is that it was written centuries after all the judges had ceased to exist. No one knows the author of Ruth, nor of First and Second Samuel; all we know is that Samuel did not write the books that bear his name. In the 25th chapter of First Samuel is an account of the raising of Samuel by the Witch of Endor.

No one knows the author of First and Second Kings or First and Second Chronicles; all we know is that these books are of no value.

We know that the Psalms were not written by David. In the Psalms the Captivity is spoken of, and that did not happen until about five hundred years after David slept with his fathers.

We know that Solomon did not write the Proverbs or the Song; that Isaiah was not the author of the book that bears his name; that no one knows the author of Job, Ecclesiastes, or Esther, or of any book in the Old Testament, with the exception of Ezra.

We know that God is not mentioned or in any way referred to in the book of Esther. We know, too, that the book is cruel, absurd and impossible.

God is not mentioned in the Song of Solomon, the best book in the Old Testament.

And we know that Ecclesiastes was written by an unbeliever.

We know, too, that the Jews themselves had not decided as to what books were inspired -- were authentic -- until the second century after Christ.

We know that the idea of inspiration was of slow growth, and that the inspiration was determined by those who had certain ends to accomplish.



If it is, it should be a book that no man -- no number of men -- could produce.

It should contain the perfection of philosophy.

It should perfectly accord with every fact in nature.

There should be no mistakes in astronomy, geology, or as to any subject or science.

Its morality should be the highest, the purest.

Its laws and regulations for the control of conduct should be just, wise, perfect, and perfectly adapted to the accomplishment of the ends desired.

It should contain nothing calculated to make man cruel, revengeful, vindictive or infamous.

It should be filled with intelligence, justice, purity, honesty, mercy and the spirit of liberty.

It should be opposed to strife and war, to slavery and lust, to ignorance, credulity and superstition.

It should develop the brain and civilize the heart.

It should satisfy the heart and brain of the best and wisest.

It should be true.

Does the Old Testament satisfy this standard?

Is there anything in the Old Testament -- in history, in theory, in law, in government, in morality, in science -- above and beyond the ideas, the beliefs, the customs and prejudices of its authors and the people among whom they lived?

Is there one ray of light from any supernatural source?

The ancient Hebrews believed that this earth was the center of the universe, and that the sun, moon and stars were specks in the sky.

With this the Bible agrees.

They thought the earth was flat, with four corners; that the sky, the firmament, was solid -- the floor of Jehovah's house.

The Bible teaches the same.

They imagined that the sun journeyed about the earth, and that by stopping the sun the day could be lengthened.

The Bible agrees with this.

They believed that Adam and Eve were the first man and woman; that they had been created but a few years before, and that they, the Hebrews, were their direct descendants.

This the Bible teaches.

If anything is, or can be, certain, the writers of the Bible were mistaken about creation, astronomy, geology; about the causes of phenomena, the origin of evil and the cause of death.

Now, it must be admitted that if an infinite Being is the author of the Bible, he knew all sciences, all facts, and could not have made a mistake.

If, then, there are mistakes, misconceptions, false theories, ignorant myths and blunders in the Bible, it must have been written by finite beings; that is to say, by ignorant and mistaken men.

Nothing can be clearer than this.

For centuries the church insisted that the Bible was absolutely true; that it contained no mistakes; that the story of creation was true; that its astronomy and geology were in accord with the facts; that the scientists who differed with the Old Testament were infidels and atheists.

Now this has changed. The educated Christians admit that the writers of the Bible were not inspired as to any science. They now say that God, or Jehovah, did not inspire the writers of his book for the purpose of instructing the world about astronomy, geology, or any science. They now admit that the inspired men who wrote the Old Testament knew nothing about any science, and that they wrote about the earth and stars, the sun and moon, in accordance with the general ignorance of the time.

It required many centuries to force the theologians to this admission. Reluctantly, full of malice and hatred, the priests retired from the field, leaving the victory with science.

They took another position;

They declared that the authors, or rather the writers, of the Bible were inspired in spiritual and moral things; that Jehovah wanted to make known to his children his will and his infinite love for his children; that Jehovah, seeing his people wicked, ignorant and depraved, wished to make them merciful and just, wise and spiritual, and that the Bible is inspired in its laws, in the religion it teaches and in its ideas of government.

This is the issue now. Is the Bible any nearer right in its ideas of justice, of mercy, of morality or of religion than in its conception of the sciences? Is it moral?

It upholds slavery -- it sanctions polygamy.

Could a devil have done worse?

Is it merciful?

In war it raised the black flag; it commanded the destruction, the massacre, of all -- of the old, infirm. and helpless -- of wives and babes.

Were its laws inspired?

Hundreds of offenses were punished with death. To pick up sticks on Sunday, to murder your father on Monday, were equal crimes. There is in the literature of the world no bloodier code. The law of revenge -- of retaliation -- was the law of Jehovah. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a limb for a limb.

This is savagery -- not philosophy.

Is it just and reasonable?

The Bible is opposed to religious toleration -- to religious liberty. Whoever differed with the majority was stoned to death. Investigation was a crime. Husbands were ordered to denounce and to assist in killing their unbelieving wives.

It is the enemy of Art. "Thou shalt make no graven image." This was the death of Art.

Palestine never produced a painter or a sculptor.

Is the Bible civilized?

It upholds lying, larceny, robbery, murder, the selling of diseased meat to strangers, and even the sacrifice of human beings to Jehovah.

Is it philosophical?

It teaches that the sins of a people can be transferred to an animal -- to a goat. It makes maternity an offence for which a sin offering had to be made.

It was wicked to give birth to a boy, and twice as wicked to give birth to a girl.

To make hair-oil like that used by the priests was an offence punishable with death.

The blood of a bird killed over running water was regarded as medicine.

Would a civilized God daub his altars with the blood of oxen, lambs and doves? Would he make all his priests butchers? Would he delight in the smell of burning flesh?



Some Christian lawyers -- some eminent and stupid judges -- have said and still say, that the Ten Commandments are the foundation of all law.

Nothing could be more absurd. Long before these commandments were given there were codes of laws in India and Egypt -- laws against murder, perjury, larceny, adultery and fraud. Such laws are as old as human society; as old as the love of life; as old as industry; as the idea of prosperity; as old as human love.

All of the Ten Commandments that are good were old; all that were new art foolish. If Jehovah had been civilized he would have left out the commandment about keeping the Sabbath, and in its place would have said: "Thou shalt not enslave thy fellow-men." He would have omitted the one about swearing, and said: "The man shall have but one wife, and the woman but one husband." He would have left out the one about graven images, and in its stead would have said: "Thou shalt not wage wars of extermination, and thou shalt not unsheathe the sword except in self-defence."

If Jehovah had been civilized, how much grander the Ten Commandments would have been.

All that we call progress -- the enfranchisement of man, of labor, the substitution of imprisonment for death, of fine for imprisonment, the destruction of polygamy, the establishing of free speech, of the rights of conscience; in short, all that has tended to the development and civilization of man; all the results of investigation, observation, experience and free thought; all that man has accomplished for the benefit of man since the close of the Dark Ages -- has been done in spite of the Old Testament.

Let me further illustrate the morality, the mercy, the philosophy and goodness of the Old Testament:


Joshua took the City of Jericho. Before the fall of the city he declared that all the spoil taken should be given to the Lord.

In spite of this order Achan secreted a garment, some silver and gold.

Afterward Joshua tried to take the city of Ai. He failed and many of his soldiers were slain. Joshua sought for the cause of his defeat and he found that Achan had secreted a garment, two hundred shekels of silver and a wedge of gold. To this Achan confessed.

And thereupon Joshua took Achan, his sons and his daughters, his oxen and his sheep -- stoned them all to death and burned their bodies.

There is nothing to show that the sons and daughters had committed any crime. Certainly, the oxen and sheep should not have been stoned to death for the crime of their owner. This was the justice, the mercy, of Jehovah!

After Joshua had committed this crime, with the help of Jehovah he captured the city of Ai.


"And he went up thence unto Bethel, and as he was going up by the way there came forth little children out of the city and mocked him, and said unto him, 'Go up, thou baldhead.'

"And he turned back and looked at them, and cursed them in the name of the Lord. And there came forth two she-bears out of the wood and tore forty and two children of them."

This was the work of the good God -- the merciful Jehovah!


King Darius had honored and exalted Daniel, and the native princes were jealous. So they induced the king to sign a decree to the effect that any man who should make a petition to any god or man except to King Darius, for thirty days, should be cast into the den of lions.

Afterward these men found that Daniel, with his face toward Jerusalem, prayed three times a day to Jehovah.

Thereupon Daniel was cast into the den of lions; a stone was placed at the mouth of the den and sealed with the king's seal.

The king passed a bad night. The next morning he went to the den and cried out to Daniel. Daniel answered and told the king that God had sent his angel and shut the mouths of the lions.

Daniel was taken out alive and well, and the king was converted and believed in Daniel's God.

Darius, being then a believer in the true God, sent for the men who had accused Daniel, and for their wives and their children, and cast them all into the lions' den.

"And the lions had the mastery of them, and brake all their bones in pieces, or ever they came at the bottom of the pit."

What had the wives and little children done? How had they offended King Darius, the believer in Jehovah? Who protected Daniel? Jehovah! Who failed to protect the innocent wives and children? Jehovah!


Pharaoh had a dream, and this dream was interpreted by Joseph.

According to this interpretation there was to be in Egypt seven years of plenty, followed by seven years of famine. Joseph advised Pharaoh to buy all the surplus of the seven plentiful years and store it up against the years of famine.

Pharaoh appointed Joseph as his minister or agent, and ordered him to buy the grain of the plentiful years.

Then came the famine. The people came to the king for help. He told them to go to Joseph and do as he said.

Joseph sold corn to the Egyptians until all their money was gone -- until he had it all.

When the money was gone the people said: "Give us corn and we will give you our cattle."

Joseph let them have corn until all their cattle, their horses and their flocks had been given to him.

Then the people said: "Give us corn and we will give you our lands."

So Joseph let them have corn until all their lands were gone.

But the famine continued, and so the poor wretches sold themselves, and they became the servants of Pharaoh.

Then Joseph gave them seed, and made an agreement with them that they should forever give one fifth of all they raised to Pharaoh.

Who enabled Joseph to interpret the dream of Pharaoh? Jehovah! Did he know at the time that Joseph would use the information thus given to rob and enslave the people of Egypt? Yes. Who produced the famine? Jehovah!

It is perfectly apparent that the Jews did not think of Jehovah as the God of Egypt -- the God of all the world. He was their God, and theirs alone. Other nations had gods, but Jehovah was the greatest of all. Be hated other nations and other gods, and abhorred all religions except the worship of himself.



Will some Christian scholar tell us the value of Genesis?

We know that it is not true -- that it contradicts itself. There are two accounts of the creation in the first and second chapters. In the first account birds and beasts were created before man.

In the second, man was created before the birds and beasts.

In the first, fowls are made out of the water.

In the second, fowls are made out of the ground.

In the first, Adam and Eve are created together.

In the second, Adam is made; then the beasts and birds, and then Eve is created from one of Adam's ribs.

These stories are far older than the Pentateuch.

Persian: God created the world in six days, a man called Adama, a woman called Evah, and then rested.

The Etruscan, Babylonian, Phoenician, Chaldean and the Egyptian stories are much the same.

The Persians, Greeks, Egyptians, Chinese and Hindus have their Garden of Eden and the Tree of Life.

So the Persians, the Babylonians, the Nubians, the people of Southern India, all had the story of the fall of man and the subtle serpent.

The Chinese say that sin came into the world by the disobedience of woman. And even the Tahitians tell us that man was created from the earth, and the first woman from one of his bones.

All these stories are equally authentic and of equal value to the world, and all the authors were equally inspired.

We know also that the story of the flood is much older than the book of Genesis, and we know besides that it is not true.

We know that this story in Genesis was copied from the Chaldean. There you find all about the rain, the ark, the animals, the dove that was sent out three times, and the mountain on which the ark rested.

So the Hindus, Chinese, Parsees, Persians, Greeks, Mexicans and Scandinavians have substantially the same story.

We also know that the account of the Tower of Babel is an ignorant and childish fable.

What then is left in this inspired book of Genesis? Is there a word calculated to develop the heart or brain? Is there an elevated thought -- any great principle -- anything poetic -- any word that bursts into blossom?

Is there anything except a dreary and detailed statement of things that never happened?

Is there anything in Exodus calculated to make men generous, loving and noble?

Is it well to teach children that God tortured the innocent cattle of the Egyptians -- bruised them to death with hailstones -- on account of the sins of Pharaoh?

Does it make us merciful to believe that God killed the firstborn of the Egyptians -- the firstborn of the poor and suffering people -- of the poor girl working at the mill -- because of the wickedness of the king?

Can we believe that the gods of Egypt worked miracles? Did they change water into blood, and sticks into serpents?

In Exodus there is not one original thought or line of value.

We know, if we know anything, that this book was written by savages -- savages who believed in slavery, polygamy and wars of extermination. We know that the story told is impossible, and that the miracles were never performed. This book admits that there are other gods besides Jehovah. In the 17th chapter is this verse: "Now I know that the Lord is greater than all gods, for, in the thing wherein they dealt proudly, he was above them."

So, in this blessed book is taught the duty of human sacrifice -- the sacrifice of babes.

In the 22d chapter is this command: "Thou shalt not delay to offer the first of thy ripe fruits and of thy liquors: the first- born of thy sons thou shalt give unto me."

Has Exodus been a help or a hindrance to the human race?

Take from Exodus the laws common to all nations, and is there anything of value left?

Is there anything in Leviticus of importance? Is there a chapter worth reading? What interest have we in the clothes of priests, the curtains and candles of the tabernacle, the tongs and shovels of the altar or the hair-oil used by the Levities?

Of what use the cruel code, the frightful punishments, the curses, the falsehoods and the miracles of this ignorant and infamous book?

And what is there in the book of Numbers -- with its sacrifices and water of jealousy, with its shewbread and spoons, its kids and fine flour, its oil and candlesticks, its cucumbers, onions and manna -- to assist and instruct mankind? What interest have we in the rebellion of Korah, the water of separation, the ashes of a red heifer, the brazen serpent, the water that followed the people uphill and down for forty years, and the inspired donkey of the prophet Balaam? Have these absurdities and cruelties -- these childish, savage superstitions -- helped to civilize the world?

Is there anything in Joshua -- with its wars, its murders and massacres, its swords dripping with the blood of mothers and babes, its tortures, maimings and mutilations, its fraud and fury, its hatred and revenge -- calculated to improve the world?

Does not every chapter shock the heart of a good man? Is it a book to be read by children?

The book of Joshua is as merciless as famine, as ferocious as the heart of a wild beast. It is a history -- a justification -- a sanctification of nearly every crime.

The book of Judges is about the same, nothing but war and bloodshed; the horrible story of Jael and Sisera; of Gideon and his trumpets and pitchers; of Jephtha and his daughter, whom he murdered to please Jehovah.

Here we find the story of Samson, in which a sun-god is changed to a Hebrew giant.

Read this book of Joshua -- read of the slaughter of women, of wives, of mothers and babes -- read its impossible miracles, its ruthless crimes, and all done according to the commands of Jehovah, and tell me whether this book is calculated to make us forgiving, generous and loving.

I admit that the history of Ruth is in some respects a beautiful and touching story; that it is naturally told, and that her love for Naomi was deep and pure. But in the matter of courtship we would hardly advise our daughters to follow the example of Ruth. Still, we must remember that Ruth was a widow.

Is there anything worth reading in the first and second books of Samuel? Ought a prophet of God to hew a captured king in pieces? Is the story of the ark, its capture and return of importance to us? Is it possible that it was right, just and merciful to kill fifty thousand men because they had looked into a box? Of what use to us are the wars of Saul and David, the stories of Goliath and the Witch of Endor? Why should Jehovah have killed Uzzah for putting forth his hand to steady the ark, and forgiven David for murdering Uriah and stealing his wife?

According to "Samuel," David took a census of the people. This excited the wrath of Jehovah, and as a punishment he allowed David to choose seven years of famine, a flight of three months from pursuing enemies, or three days of pestilence. David, having confidence in God, chose the three days of pestilence; and. thereupon, God, the compassionate, on account of the sin of David, killed seventy thousand innocent men.

Under the same circumstances, what would a devil have done?

Is there anything in first and Second Kings that suggests the idea of inspiration?

When David is dying he tells his son Solomon to murder Joab -- not to let his hoar head go down to the grave in peace. With his last breath he commands his son to bring down the hoar head of Shimei to the grave with blood. Having uttered these merciful words, the good David, the man after God's heart, slept with his fathers.

Was it necessary to inspire the man who wrote the history of the building of the temple, the story of the visit of the Queen of Sheba, or to tell the number of Solomon's wives?

What care we for the withering of Jeroboam's hand, the prophecy of Jehu, or the story of Elijah and the ravens?

Can we believe that Elijah brought flames from heaven, or that he went at last to Paradise in a chariot of fire?

Can we believe in the multiplication of the widow's oil by Elisha, that an army was smitten with blindness, or that an axe floated in the water?

Does it civilize us to read about the beheading of the seventy sons of Ahab, the putting out of the eyes of Zedekiah and the murder of his sons? Is there one word in First and Second Kings calculated to make men better?

First and Second Chronicles is but a re-telling of what is told in First and Second Kings. The same old stories -- a little left out, a little added, but in no respect made better or worse.

The book of Ezra is of no importance. He tells us that Cyrus, King of Persia, issued a proclamation for building a temple at Jerusalem, and that he declared Jehovah to be the real and only God.

Nothing could be more absurd. Ezra tells us about the return from captivity, the building of the Temple, the dedication, a few prayers, and this is all. This book is of no importance, of no use.

Nehemiah is about the same, only it tells of the building of the wall, the complaints of the people about taxes, a list of those who returned from Babylon, a catalogue of those who dwelt at Jerusalem, and the dedication of the walls.

Not a word in Nehemiah worth reading.

Then comes the book of Esther: In this we are told that King Ahasueras was intoxicated; that he sent for his Queen, Vashti, to come and show herself to him and his guests. Vashti refused to appear.

This maddened the king, and he ordered that from every province the most beautiful girls should be brought before him that he might choose one in place of Vashti.

Among others was brought Esther, a Jewess. She was chosen and became the wife of the king. Then a gentleman by the name of Haman wanted to have all the Jews killed, and the king, not knowing that Esther was of that race, signed a decree that all the Jews should be killed.

Through the efforts of Mordecai and Esther the decree was annulled and the Jews were saved.

Haman prepared a gallows on which to have Mordecai hanged, but the good Esther so managed matters that Haman and his ten sons were hanged on the gallows that Haman had built, and the Jews were allowed to murder more than seventy-five thousand of the king's subjects.

This is the inspired story of Esther.

In the book of Job we find some elevated sentiments, some sublime and foolish thoughts, something of the wonder and sublimity of nature, the joys and sorrows of life; but the story is infamous.

Some of the Psalms are good, many are indifferent, a few are infamous. In them are mingled the vices and virtues. There are verses that elevate, verses that degrade. There are prayers for forgiveness and revenge. In the literature of the world there is nothing more heartless, more infamous, than the 109th Psalm.

In the Proverbs there is much shrewdness, many pithy and prudent maxims, many wise sayings. The same ideas are expressed in many ways -- the wisdom of economy and silence, the dangers of vanity and idleness. Some are trivial, some are foolish, and many are wise. These proverbs are not generous -- not altruistic. Sayings to the same effect are found among all nations.

Ecclesiastes is the most thoughtful book in the Bible. It was written by an unbeliever -- a philosopher -- an agnostic. Take out the interpolations, and it is in accordance with the thought of the nineteenth century. In this book are found the most philosophic and poetic passages in the Bible.

After crossing the desert of death and crime, after reading the Pentateuch, Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings and Chronicles -- it is delightful to reach this grove of palms, called the "Song of Solomon." A drama of love -- of human low; a poem without Jehovah -- a poem born of the heart and true to the divine instincts of the soul.

"I sleep, but my heart waketh."

Isaiah is the work of several. Its swollen words, its vague imagery, its prophecies and curses, its ravings against kings and nations, its laughter at the wisdom of man, its hatred of joy, have not the slightest tendency to increase the well-being of man.

In this book is recorded the absurdist of all miracles. The shadow on the dial is turned back ten degrees, in order to satisfy Hezekiah that Jehovah will add fifteen years to his life.

In this miracle the world, turning from west to east at the rate of more than a thousand miles an hour, is not only stopped, but made to turn the other way until the shadow on the dial went back ten degrees! Is there in the whole world an intelligent man or woman who believes this impossible falsehood?

Jeremiah contains nothing of importance -- no facts of value; nothing but fault-finding, lamentations, croakings, wailings, curses and promises; nothing but famine and prayer, the prosperity of the wicked, the ruin of the Jews, the captivity and return, and at last Jeremiah, the traitor, in the stocks and in prison.

And Lamentations is simply a continuance of the ravings of the same insane pessimist; nothing but dust and sackcloth and ashes, tears and howls, railings and revilings.

And Ezekiel -- eating manuscripts, prophesying siege and desolation, with visions of coals of fire, and cherubim, and wheels with eyes, and the type and figure of the boiling pot, and the resurrection of dry bones -- is of no use, of no possible value.

With Voltaire, I say that any one who admires Ezekiel should be compelled to dine with him.

Daniel is a disordered dream -- a nightmare.

What can be made of this book with its image with a golden head, with breast and arms of silver, with belly and thighs of brass, with legs of iron, and with feet of iron and clay; with its writing on the wall, its den of lions, and its vision of the ram and goat?

Is there anything to be learned from Hosea and his wife? Is there anything of use in Joel, in Amos, in Obadiah? Can we get any good from Jonah and his gourd? Is it possible that God is the real author of Micah and Nahum, of Habakkuk and Zephaniah, of Haggai and Malachi and Zechariah, with his red horses, his four horns, his four carpenters, his flying roll, his mountains of brass and the stone with four eyes?

Is there anything in these "inspired" books that has been of benefit to man?

Have they taught us how to cultivate the earth, to build houses, to weave cloth, to prepare food?

Have they taught us to paint pictures, to chisel statues, to build bridges, or ships, or anything of beauty or of use? Did we get our ideas of government, of religious freedom, of the liberty of thought, from the Old Testament? Did we get from any of these books a hint of any science? Is there in the "sacred volume" a word, a line, that has added to the wealth, the intelligence and the happiness of mankind? Is there one of the books of the Old Testament as entertaining as "Robinson Crusoe," "The Travels of Gulliver," or "Peter Wilkins and his Flying Wife"? Did the author of Genesis know as much about nature as Humboldt, or Darwin, or Haeckel? Is what is called the Mosaic Code as wise or as merciful as the code of any civilized nation? Were the writers of Kings and Chronicles as great historians, as great writers, as Gibbon and Draper? Is Jeremiah or Habakkuk equal to Dickens or Thackeray? Can the authors of Job and the Psalms be compared with Shakespeare? Why should we attribute the best to man and the worst to God?



Did these words come from the heart of love? -- "When the Lord thy God shall drive them before thee, thou shalt smite them and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, or show mercy unto them."

"I will heap mischief upon them. I will send mine arrows upon them; they shall be burned with hunger and devoured with burning heat and with bitter destruction."

"I will send the tooth of beasts upon them, with the poison of serpents of the dust."

"The sword without, and terror within, shall destroy both the young man and the virgin; the suckling also with the man of gray hairs."

"Let his children be fatherless and his wife a widow; let his children be continually vagabonds and beg; let them seek their bread also out of their desolate places; let the extortioner catch all that he hath, and let the stranger spoil his labor; let there be none to extend mercy unto him, neither let there be any to favor his fatherless children."

"And thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body -- the flesh of thy sons and daughters."

"And the heaven that is over thee shall be brass, and the earth that is under thee shall be iron."

"Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field."

"I will make my arrows drunk with blood."

"I will laugh at their calamity."

Did these curses, these threats, come from the heart of love or from the mouth of savagery?

Was Jehovah god or devil?

Why should we place Jehovah above all the gods?

Has man in his ignorance and fear ever imagined a greater monster?

Have the barbarians of any land, in any time, worshiped a more heartless god?

Brahma was a thousand times nobler, and so was Osiris and Zeus and Jupiter. So was the supreme god of the Aztecs, to whom they offered only the perfume of flowers. The worst god of the Hindus, with his necklace of skulls and his bracelets of living snakes, was kind and merciful compared with Jehovah.

Compared with Marcus Aurelius, how small Jehovah seems. Compared with Abraham Lincoln, how cruel, how contemptible, is this god.



He created the world, the hosts of heaven, a man and woman -- placed them in a garden. Then the serpent deceived them, and they were cast out and made to earn their bread.

Jehovah had been thwarted.

Then he tried again. He went on for about sixteen hundred years trying to civilize the people.

No schools, no churches, no Bible, no tracts -- nobody taught to read or write. No Ten Commandments. The people grew worse and worse, until the merciful Jehovah sent the flood and drowned all the people except Noah and his family, eight in all.

Then he started again, and changed their diet. At first Adam and Eve were vegetarians. After the flood Jehovah said: "Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you" -- snakes and buzzards.

Then he failed again, and at the Tower of Babel he dispersed and scattered the people.

Finding that he could not succeed with all the people, he thought he would try a few, so he selected Abraham and his descendants. Again he failed, and his chosen people were captured by the Egyptians and enslaved for four hundred years.

Then he tried again -- rescued them from Pharaoh and started for Palestine.

Then he changed their diet, allowing them to eat only the beasts that parted the hoof and chewed the cud. Again he failed. The people hated him, and preferred the slavery of Egypt to the freedom of Jehovah. So he kept them wandering until nearly all who came from Egypt had died. Then he tried again -- took them into Palestine and had them governed by Judges.

This, too, was a failure -- no schools, no Bible. Then he tried kings, and the kings were mostly idolaters.

Then the chosen people were conquered and carried into captivity by the Babylonians.

Another failure.

Then they returned, and Jehovah tried prophets -- howlers and wailers -- but the people grew worse and worse. No schools, no sciences, no arts, no commerce. Then Jehovah took upon himself flesh, was born of a woman, and lived among the people that he had been trying to civilize for several thousand years. Then these people, following the law that Jehovah had given them in the wilderness, charged this Jehovah-man -- this Christ -- with blasphemy; tried, convicted and killed him.

Jehovah had failed again.

Then he deserted the Jews and turned his attention to the rest of the world.

And now the Jews, deserted by Jehovah, persecuted by Christians, are the most prosperous people on the earth. Again has Jehovah failed.

What an administration!



Who wrote the New Testament?

Christian scholars admit that they do not know. They admit that, if the four gospels were written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, they must have been written in Hebrew. And yet a Hebrew manuscript of any one of these gospels has never been found. All have been and are in Greek. So, educated theologians admit that the Epistles, James and Jude, were written by persons who had never seen one of the four gospels. In these Epistles -- in James and Jude -- no reference is made to any of the gospels, nor to any miracle recorded in them.

The first mention that has been found of one of our gospels was made about one hundred and eight years after the birth of Christ, and the four gospels were first named and quoted from at the beginning of the third century, about one hundred an seventy years after the death of Christ.

We now know that there were many other gospels besides our four, some of which have been lost. There were the gospels of Paul, of the Egyptians, of the Hebrews, of Perfection, of Judas, of Thaddeus, of the Infancy, of Thomas, of Mary, of Andrew, of Nicodemus, of Marcion and several others.

So there were the Acts of Pilate, of Andrew, of Mary, of Paul and Thecla and of many others; also a book called the Shepherd of Hermas.

At first not one of all the books was considered as inspired. The Old Testament was regarded as divine; but the books that now constitute the New Testament were regarded as human productions. We now know that we do not know who wrote the four gospels.

The question is, Were the authors of these four gospels inspired?

If they were inspired, then the four gospels mast be true. If they are true, they mast agree.

The four gospels do not agree.

Matthew, Mark and Luke knew nothing of the atonement, nothing of salvation by faith. They knew only the gospel of good deeds -- of charity. They teach that if we forgive others God will forgive us.

With this the gospel of John does not agree.

In that gospel we are taught that we must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ; that we must be born again; that we must drink the blood and eat the flesh of Christ. In this gospel we find the doctrine of the atonement and that Christ died for us and suffered in our place.

This gospel is utterly at variance with the other three. If the other three are true, the gospel of John is false. If the gospel of John was written by an inspired man, the writers of the other three were uninspired. From this there is no possible escape. The four cannot be true.

It is evident that there are many interpolations in the four gospels.

For instance, in the 28th chapter of Matthew is an account to the effect that the soldiers at the tomb of Christ were bribed to say that the disciples of Jesus stole away his body while they, the soldiers, slept.

This is clearly an interpolation. It is a break in the narrative.

The 10th verse should be followed by the 16th. The 10th verse is as follows:

"Then Jesus said unto them, 'Be not afraid; go tell my brethren that they go unto Galilee and there shall they see me.'"

The 16th verse:

"Then the eleven disciples went away unto Galilee into a mountain, where Jesus had appointed them."

The story about the soldiers contained in the 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th verses is an interpolation -- an afterthought -- long after. The 15th verse demonstrates this.

Fifteenth verse: "So they took the money and did as they were taught. And this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day."

Certainly this account was not in the original gospel, and certainly the 15th verse was not written by a Jew. No Jew could have written this: "And this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day."

Mark, John and Luke never heard that the soldiers had been bribed by the priests; or, if they had, did not think it worth while recording. So the accounts of the Ascension of Jesus Christ in Mark and Luke are interpolations. Matthew says nothing about the Ascension.

Certainly there never was a greater miracle, and yet Matthew, who was present -- who saw the Lord rise, ascend and disappear -- did not think it worth mentioning.

On the other hand, the last words of Christ, according to Matthew, contradict the Ascension: "Lo I am with you always, even unto the end of the world."

John, who was present, if Christ really ascended, says not one word on the subject.

As to the Ascension, the gospels do not agree.

Mark gives the last conversation that Christ had with his disciples, as follows:

"Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe: In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues. They shall take up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover. So, then, after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven and sat on the right hand of God."

Is it possible that this description was written by one who witnessed this miracle?

This miracle is described by Luke as follows.

"And it came to pass while he blessed them he was parted from them and carried up into heaven."

"Brevity is the soul of wit."

In the Acts we are told that: "When he had spoken, while they beheld, he was taken up, and a cloud received him out of their sight."

Neither Luke, nor Matthew, nor John, nor the writer of the Acts, heard one word of the conversation attributed to Christ by Mark. The fact is that the Ascension of Christ was not claimed by his disciples.

At first Christ was a man -- nothing more. Mary was his mother, Joseph his father. The genealogy of his father, Joseph, was given to show that he was of the blood of David.

Then the claim was made that he was the son of God, and that his mother was a virgin, and that she remained a virgin until her death.

Then the claim was made that Christ rose from the dead and ascended bodily to heaven.

It required many years for these absurdities to take possession of the minds of men.

If Christ rose from the dead, why did he not appear to his enemies? Why did he not call on Caiaphas, the high priest? Why did he not make another triumphal entry into Jerusalem?

If he really ascended, why did he not do so in public, in the presence of his persecutors? Why should this, the greatest of miracles, be done in secret. in a corner?

It was a miracle that could have been seen by a vast multitude -- a miracle that could not be simulated -- one that would have convinced hundreds of thousands.

After the story of the Resurrection, the Ascension became a necessity. They had to dispose of the body.

So there are many other interpolations in the gospels and epistles.

Again I ask: Is the New Testament true? Does anybody now believe that at the birth of Christ there was a celestial greeting; that a star led the Wise Men of the East; that Herod slew the babes of Bethlehem of two years old and under?

The gospels are filled with accounts of miracles. Were they ever performed?

Matthew gives the particulars of about twenty-two miracles, Mark of about nineteen, Luke of about eighteen and John of about seven.

According to the gospels, Christ healed diseases, cast out devils, rebuked the sea, cured the blind, fed multitudes with five loaves and two fishes, walked on the sea, cursed a fig tree, turned water into wine and raised the dead.

Matthew is the only one that tells about the Star and the Wise Men -- the only one that tells about the murder of babes.

John is the only one who says anything about the resurrection of Lazarus, and Luke is the only one giving an account of the rising from the dead the widow of Nain's son.

How is it possible to substantiate these miracles?

The Jews, among whom they were said to have been performed, did not believe them. The diseased, the palsied, the leprous, the blind who were cured, did not become followers of Christ. Those that were raised from the dead were never heard of again.

Does any intelligent man believe in the existence of devils? The writer of three of the gospels certainly did. John says nothing about Christ having cast out devils, but Matthew, Mark and Luke give many instances.

Does any natural man now believe that Christ cast out devils? If his disciples said he did, they were mistaken. If Christ said he did, he was insane or an impostor.

If the accounts of casting out devils are false, then the writers were ignorant or dishonest. If they wrote through ignorance, then they were not inspired. If they wrote what they knew to be false, they were not inspired. If what they wrote is untrue, whether they knew it or not, they were not inspired.

At that time it was believed that palsy, epilepsy, deafness, insanity and many other diseases were caused by devils; that devils took possession of and lived in the bodies of men and women. Christ believed this, taught this belief to others, and pretended to cure diseases by casting devils out of the sick and insane. We know now, if we know anything, that diseases are not caused by the presence of devils. We know, if we know anything, that devils do not reside in the bodies of men.

If Christ said and did what the writers of the three gospels say he said and did, then Christ was mistaken. If he was mistaken, certainly he was not God. And if he was mistaken, certainly he was not inspired.

Is it a fact that the Devil tried to bribe Christ?

Is it a fact that the Devil carried Christ to the top of the temple and tried to induce him to leap to the ground?

How can these miracles be established?

The principals have written nothing, Christ has written nothing, and the Devil has remained silent.

How can we know that the Devil tried to bribe Christ? Who wrote the account? We do not know. How did the writer get his information? We do not know.

Somebody, some seventeen hundred years ago, said that the Devil tried to bribe God; that the Devil carried God to the top of the temple and tried to induce him to leap to the earth and that God was intellectually too keen for the Devil.

This is all the evidence we have.

Is there anything in the literature, of the world more perfectly idiotic?

Intelligent people no longer believe in witches, wizards, spooks and devils, and they are perfectly satisfied that every word in the New Testament about casting out devils is utterly false.

Can we believe that Christ raised the dead?

A widow living in Nain is following the body of her son to the tomb. Christ halts the funeral procession and raises the young man from the dead and gives him back to the arms of his mother.

This young man disappears. He is never heard of again. No one takes the slightest interest in the man who returned from the realm of death. Luke is the only one who tells the story. Maybe Matthew, Mark and John never heard of it, or did not believe it and so failed to record it.

John says that Lazarus was raised from the dead; Matthew, Mark and Luke say nothing about it.

It was more wonderful than the raising of the widow's son. He had not been laid in the tomb for days. He was only on his way to the grave, but Lazarus was actually dead. He had begun to decay.

Lazarus did not excite the least interest. No one asked him about the other world. No one inquired of him about their dead friends. When he died the second time no one said: "He is not afraid. He has traveled that road twice and knows just where he is going."

We do not believe in the miracles of Mohammed, and yet they are as well attested as this. We have no confidence in the miracles performed by Joseph Smith, and yet the evidence is far greater, far better.

If a man should go about now pretending to raise the dead, pretending to cast out devils, we would regard him as insane. What, then, can we say of Christ? If we wish to save his reputation we are compelled to say that he never pretended to raise the dead; that he never claimed to have cast out devils.

We must take the ground that these ignorant and impossible things were invented by zealous disciples, who sought to deify their leader.

In those ignorant days these falsehoods added to the fame of Christ. But now they put his character in peril and belittle the authors of the gospels.

Can we now believe that water was changed into wine? John tells of this childish miracle, and says that the other disciples were present, yet Matthew, Mark and Luke say nothing about it.

Take the miracle of the man cured by the pool of Bethseda. John says that an angel troubled the waters of the pool of Bethseda, and that whoever got into the pool first after the waters were troubled was healed.

Does anybody now believe that an angel went into the pool and troubled the waters? Does anybody now think that the poor wretch who got in first was healed? Yet the author of the gospel according to John believed and asserted these absurdities. If he was mistaken about that he may have been about all the miracles he records.

John is the only one who tells about this pool of Bethseda. Possibly the other disciples did not believe the story.

How can we account for these pretended miracles?

In the days of the disciples, and for many centuries after, the world was filled with the supernatural. Nearly everything that happened was regarded as miraculous. God was the immediate governor of the world. If the people were good, God sent seed time and harvest; but if they were bad he sent flood and hail, frost and famine. If anything wonderful happened it was exaggerated until it became a miracle.

Of the order of events -- of the unbroken and the unbreakable chain of causes and effects -- the people had no knowledge and no thought.

A miracle is the badge and brand of fraud. No miracle ever was performed. No intelligent, honest man ever pretended to perform a miracle, and never will.

If Christ had wrought the miracles attributed to him; if he had cured the palsied and insane; if he had given hearing to the deaf, vision to the blind; if he had cleansed the leper with a word, and with a touch had given life and feeling to the withered limb; if he had given pulse and motion, warmth and thought, to cold and breathless clay; if he had conquered death and rescued from the grave its pallid prey -- no word would have been uttered, no hand raised, except in praise and honor. In his presence all heads would have been uncovered -- all knees upon the ground.

Is it not strange that at the trial of Christ no one was found to say a word in his favor? No man stood forth and said: "I was a leper, and this man cured me with a touch." No woman said: "I am the widow of Nain and this is my son whom this man raised from the dead."

No man said: "I was blind, and this man gave me sight."

All silent.



Millions assert that the philosophy of Christ is perfect -- that he was the wisest that ever uttered speech.

Let us see:

Resist not evil. If smitten on one cheek turn the other.

Is there any philosophy, any wisdom in this? Christ takes from goodness, from virtue, from the truth, the right of self-defence. Vice becomes the master of the world, and the good become the victims of the infamous.

No man has the right to protect himself, his property, his wife and children. Government becomes impossible, and the world is at the mercy of criminals. Is there any absurdity beyond this?

Love your enemies.

Is this possible? Did any human being ever love his enemies? Did Christ love his, when he denounced them as whited sepulchers, hypocrites and vipers?

We cannot love those who hate us. Hatred in the hearts of others does not breed love in ours. Not to resist evil is absurd; to love your enemies is impossible.

Take no thought for the morrow.

The idea was that God would take care of us as he did of sparrows and lilies. Is there the least sense in that belief?

Does God take care of anybody?

Can we live without taking thought for the morrow? To plow, to sow, to cultivate, to harvest, is to take thought for the morrow. We plan and work for the future, for our children, for the unborn generations to come. Without this forethought there could be no progress, no civilization. The world would go back to the caves and dens of savagery.

If thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out. If thy right hand offend thee, cut it off.

Why? Because it is better that one of our members should perish than that the whole body should be cast into hell.

Is there any wisdom in putting out your eyes or cutting off your hands? Is it possible to extract from these extravagant sayings the smallest grain of common sense?

Swear not at all; neither by Heaven, for it is God's throne; nor by the Earth, for it is his footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is his holy city.

Here we find the astronomy and geology of Christ. Heaven is the throne of God, the monarch; the earth is his footstool. A footstool that turns over at the rate of a thousand miles an hour, and sweeps through space at the rate of over a thousand miles a minute!

Where did Christ think heaven was? Why was Jerusalem a holy city? Was it because the inhabitants were ignorant, crud and superstitious?

If any man will sue thee at the law and take away thy coat let him have thy cloak also.

Is there any philosophy, any good sense, in that commandment? Would it not be just as sensible to say: "If a man obtains a judgment against you for one hundred dollars, give him two hundred."

Only the insane could give or follow this advice.

Think not I come to send peace on earth. I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother.

If this is true, how much better it would have been had he remained away.

Is it possible that he who said, "Resist not evil," came to bring a sword? That he who said, "Love your enemies," came to destroy the peace of the world?

To set father against son, and daughter against father -- what a glorious mission!

He did bring a sword, and the sword was wet for a thousand years with innocent blood. In millions of hearts he sowed the seeds of hatred and revenge. He divided nations and families, put out the light of reason, and petrified the hearts of men.

And every one that hath forsaken house, or breathren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.

According to the writer of Matthew, Christ, the compassionate, the merciful, uttered these terrible words. Is it possible that Christ offered the bribe of eternal joy to those who would desert their fathers, their mothers, their wives and children? Are we to win the happiness of heaven by deserting the ones we love? Is a home to be ruined here for the sake of a mansion there?

And yet it is said that Christ is an example for all the world. Did he desert his father and mother? He said, speaking to his mother: "Woman, what have I to do with thee?"

The Pharisees said unto Christ: "Is it lawful to pay tribute unto Caesar?

Christ said: "Show me the tribute money."They brought him a penny. And he saith unto them: "Whose is the image and the superscription? "They said: "Caesar's." And Christ said: "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's."

Did Christ think that the money belonged to Caesar because his image and superscription were stamped upon it? Did the penny belong to Caesar or to the man who had earned it? Had Caesar the right to demand it because it was adorned with his image?

Does it appear from this conversation that Christ understood the real nature and use of money?

Can we now say that Christ was the greatest of philosophers?



He never said a word in favor of education. He never even hinted at the existence of any science. He never uttered a word in favor of industry, economy or of any effort to better our condition in this world. He was the enemy of the successful, of the wealthy. Dives was sent to hell, not because he was bad, but because he was rich. Lazarus went to heaven, not because he was good, but because he was poor.

Christ cared nothing for painting, for sculpture, for music -- nothing for any art. He said nothing about the duties of nation to nation, of king to subject; nothing about the rights of man; nothing about intellectual liberty or the freedom of speech. He said nothing about the sacredness of home; not one word for the fireside; not a word in favor of marriage, in honor of maternity.

He never married. He wandered homeless from place to place with a few disciples. None of them seem to have been engaged in any useful business, and they seem to have lived on alms.

All human ties were held in contempt; this world was sacrificed for the next; all human effort was discouraged. God would support and protect.

At last, in the dusk of death, Christ, finding that he was mistaken, cried out: "My God My God! Why hast thou forsaken me?"

We have found that man must depend on himself. He must clear the land; he must build the home; he must plow and plant; he must invent; he must work with hand and brain; he must overcome the difficulties and obstructions; he must conquer and enslave the forces of nature to the end that they may do the work of the world.



Was he kinder, more forgiving, more self-sacrificing than Buddha? Was he wiser, did he meet death with more perfect calmness, than Socrates? Was he more patient, more charitable, than Epictetus? Was he a greater philosopher, a deeper thinker, than Epicurus? In what respect was he the superior of Zoroaster? Was he gentler than Lao-tsze, more universal than Confucius? Were his ideas of human rights and duties superior to those of Zeno? Did he express grander truths than Cicero? Was his mind subtler than Spinoza's? Was his brain equal to Kepler's or Newton's? Was he grander in death -- a sublimer martyr than Bruno? Was he in intelligence, in the force and beauty of expression, in breadth and scope of thought, in wealth of illustration, in aptness of comparison, in knowledge of the human brain and heart, of all passions, hopes and fears, the equal of Shakespeare, the greatest of the human race?

If Christ was in fact God, he knew all the future. Before him like a panorama moved the history yet to be. He knew how his words would be interpreted. He knew what crimes, what horrors, what infamies, would be committed in his name. He knew that the hungry flames of persecution would climb around the limbs of countless martyrs. He knew that; thousands and thousands of brave men and women would languish in dungeons in darkness, filled with pain. He knew that his church would invent and use instruments of torture; that his followers would appeal to whip and fagot, to chain and rack. He saw the horizon of the future lurid with the flames of the auto da fe. He knew what creeds would spring like poisonous fungi from every text. He saw the ignorant sects waging war against each other. He saw thousands of men, under the orders of priests, building prisons for their fellow-men. He saw thousands of scaffolds dripping with the best and bravest blood. He saw his followers using the instruments of pain. He heard the groans -- saw the faces white with agony. He heard the shrieks and sobs and cries of all the moaning, martyred multitudes. He knew that commentaries would be written on his words with swords, to be read by the light of fagots. He knew that the Inquisition would be born of the teachings attributed to him.

He saw the interpolations and falsehoods that hypocrisy would write and tell. He saw all wars that would he waged, and he knew that above these fields of death, these dungeons, these rackings, these burnings, these executions, for a thousand years would float the dripping banner of the cross.

He knew that hypocrisy would be robed and crowned -- that cruelty and credulity would rule the world; knew that liberty would perish from the earth; knew that popes and kings in his name would enslave the souls and bodies of men; knew that they would persecute and destroy the discoverers, thinkers and inventors; knew that his church would extinguish reason's holy light and leave the world without a star.

He saw his disciples extinguishing the eyes of men, flaying them alive, cutting out their tongues, searching for all the nerves of pain.

He knew that in his name his followers would trade in human flesh; that cradles would be robbed and women's breasts unbabed for gold.

And yet he died with voiceless lips.

Why did he fail to speak? Why did he not tell his disciples, and through them the world: "You shall not burn, imprison and torture in my name. You shall not persecute your fellow-men."

Why did he not plainly say: "I am the Son of God," or, "I am God"? Why did he not explain the Trinity? Why did he not tell the mode of baptism that was pleasing to him? Why did he not write a creed? Why did he not break the chains of slaves? Why did he not say that the Old Testament was or was not the inspired word of God? Why did he not write the New Testament himself? Why did he leave his words to ignorance, hypocrisy and chance? Why did he not say something positive, definite and satisfactory about another world? Why did he not turn the tear-stained hope of heaven into the glad knowledge of another life? Why did he not tell us something of the rights of man, of the liberty of hand and brain?

Why did he go dumbly to his death, leaving the world to misery and to doubt?

I will tell you why. He was a man, and did not know.



Not before about the third century was it claimed or believed that the books composing the New Testament were inspired.

It will be remembered that there were a great number of books, of Gospels, Epistles and Acts, and that from these the "inspired" ones were selected by "uninspired" men.

Between the "Fathers" there were great differences of opinion as to which books were inspired; much discussion and plenty of hatred. Many of the books now deemed spurious were by many of the "Fathers" regarded as divine, and some now regarded as inspired were believed to be spurious. Many of the early Christians and some of the "Fathers" repudiated the Gospel of John, the Epistle to the Hebrews, Jade, James, Peter, and the Revelation of St. John. On the other hand, many of them regarded the Gospel of the Hebrews, of the Egyptians, the Preaching of Peter, the Shepherd of Hermas, the Epistle of Bar nabas, the Pastor of Hermas, the Revelation of Peter, the Revelation of Paul, the Epistle of Clement, the Gospel of Nicodemus, inspired books, equal to the very best.

From all these books, and many others, the Christians selected the inspired ones.

The men who did the selecting were ignorant and superstitious. They were firm believers in the miraculous. They thought that diseases had been cured by the aprons and handkerchiefs of the apostles, by the bones of the dead. They believed in the fable of the Phoenix, and that the hyenas changed their sex every year.

Were the men who through many centuries made the selections inspired? Were they -- ignorant, credulous, stupid and malicious -- as well qualified to judge of "inspiration" as the students of our time? How are we bound by their opinion? Have we not the right to judge for ourselves?

Erasmus, one of the leaders of the Reformation, declared that the Epistle to the Hebrews was not written by Paul, and he denied the inspiration of Second and Third John, and also of Revelation. Luther was of the same opinion. He declared James to be an epistle of straw, and denied the inspiration of Revelation. Zwinglius rejected the book of Revelation, and even Calvin denied that Paul was the author of Hebrews.

The truth is that the Protestants did not agree as to what books are inspired until 1647, by the Assembly of Westminster.

To prove that a book is inspired you must prove the existence of God. You must also prove that this God thinks, acts, has objects, ends and aims. This is somewhat difficult.

It is impossible to conceive of an infinite being. Having no conception of an infinite being, it is impossible to tell whether all the facts we know tend to prove or disprove the existence of such a being.

God is a guess. If the existence of God is admitted, how are we to prove that he inspired the writers of the books of the Bible?

How can one man establish the inspiration of another? How can an inspired man prove that he is inspired? How can he know himself that he is inspired? There is no way to prove the fact of inspiration. The only evidence is the word of some man who could by no possibility know anything on the subject.

What is inspiration? Did God use men as instruments? Did he cause them to write his thoughts? Did he take possession of their minds and destroy their wills?

Were these writers only partly controlled, so that their mistakes, their ignorance and their prejudices were mingled with the wisdom of God?

How are we to separate the mistakes of man from the thoughts of God? Can we do this without being inspired ourselves? If the original writers were inspired, then the translators should have been, and so should be the men who tell us what the Bible means.

How is it possible for a human being to know that he is inspired by an infinite being? But of one thing we may be certain: An inspired book should certainly excel all the books produced by uninspired men. It should, above all, be true, filled with wisdom, blossoming in beauty -- perfect.

Ministers wonder how I can be wicked enough to attack the Bible.

I will tell them: This book, the Bible, has persecuted, even unto death, the wisest and the best. This book stayed and stopped the onward movement of the human race. This book poisoned the fountains of learning and misdirected the energies of man.

This book is the enemy of freedom, the support of slavery. This book sowed the seeds of hatred in families and nations, fed the flames of war, and impoverished the world. This book is the breastwork of kings and tyrants -- the enslaver of women and children. This book has corrupted parliaments and courts. This book has made colleges and universities the teachers of error and the haters of science. This book has filled Christendom with hateful, cruel, ignorant and warring sects. This book taught men to kill their fellows for religion's sake. This book funded the Inquisition, invented the instruments of torture, built the dungeons in which the good and loving languished, forged the chains that rusted in their flesh, erected the scaffolds whereon they died. This book piled fagots about the feet of the just. This book drove reason from the minds of millions and filled the asylums with the insane.

This book has caused fathers and mothers to shed the blood of their babes. This book was the auction block on which the slave- mother stood when she was sold from her child. This book filled the sails of the slave-trader and made merchandise of human flesh. This book lighted the fires that burned "witches" and "wizards." This book filled the darkness with ghouls and ghosts, and the bodies of men and women with devils. This book polluted the souls of men with the infamous dogma of eternal pain. This book made credulity the greatest of virtues, and investigation the greatest of crimes. This book filled nations with hermits, monks and nuns -- with the pious and the useless. This book placed the ignorant and unclean saint above the philosopher and philanthropist. This book taught man to despise the joys of this life, that he might be happy in another -- to waste this world for the sake of the next.

I attack this book because it is the enemy of human liberty -- the greatest obstruction across the highway of human progress.

Let me ask the ministers one question: How can you be wicked enough to defend this book?



For thousands of years men have been writing the real Bible, and it is being written from day to day, and it will never be finished while man has life. All the facts that we know, all the truly recorded events, all the discoveries and inventions, all the wonderful machines whose wheels and levers seem to think, all the poems, crystals from the brain, flowers from the heart, all the songs of love and joy, of smiles and tears, the great dramas of Imagination's world, the wondrous paintings, miracles of form and color, of light and shade, the marvelous marbles that seem to live and breathe, the secrets told by rock and star, by dust and flower, by rain and snow, by frost and flame, by winding stream and desert sand, by mountain range and billowed sea.

All the wisdom that lengthens and ennobles life, all that avoids or cures disease, or conquers pain -- all just and perfect laws and rules that guide and shape our lives, all thoughts that feed the flames of love the music that transfigures, enraptures and enthralls the victories of heart and brain, the miracles that hands have wrought, the deft and cunning hands of those who worked for wife and child, the histories of noble deeds, of brave and useful men, of faithful loving wives, of quenchless mother-love, of conflicts for the right, of sufferings for the truth, of all the best that all the men and women of the world have said, and thought and done through all the years.

These treasures of the heart and brain -- these are the Sacred Scriptures of the human race.

Joe Morreale said...


Plenty of proof of how the Glorious
Qu'ran has impacted our history has been shown above.

Now for further and conclusive proof of its Divine origin which any unbiased, unprejudiced and objective sincere seeker of the truth can see and accept.

The Bible, Qu'ran and Science - Dr Maurice Bucaille

Dr Zaik - The Qu'ran, Bible and Science debate versus Dr William Campbell in chicago U.S.A 2000

Dr Zaik lectures - Qu'ran and Modern Science, conflict or conciliation?
Is the Qu'ran God's Word? 2007

Dr Jamal Badawi works

Gary Miller - The Amazing Qu'ran - admissions of several non-muslim scientists like Prof Keith Moore

Dr Nadir Ahmed versus David Giron debate on Qu'ran and algorithm on

Hamza Andreas Tzortzis -

I invite you to , via your free-will (no compulsion) submit to God by worshiping Him and
not in vain submission to your passions, whims and desires (wishfull-thinking)


Paul Sims said...

Right, I'm usually a very reasonable moderator – I only delete spam or genuinely offensive comments. But to be honest all this is basically spam, and just having to scroll through it offends me, so any more will be deleted. Anything that's been cut and pasted from elsewhere will definitely be rejected - in fact, if you're reeling off anything longer than 2 paragraphs you should really find something else to do with your time. Are we clear?

InGodWeRust said...

Sorry, childish i know.