Email: Why You Should Not Believe Anything! (11.6.2020)

Dear Gillian

I finished re-reading the Islamic book on Jesus living to 125 years old (curious), and dying in India. I am not opposed to this these ideas per se, but having re-read my 2016 counter to these ideas – or at least to the manner in which the Islamic author presents his arguments – I think my comments were clear concise and relevant at the time: 


There is a very dangerous religious mania in this particular piece of writing of Hadrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmed, which is lacking in his very readable and enjoyable biography of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). This demonstrates the limitations of religious thinking which assumes a priori that it is the highest form of human endeavour. Despite his otherwise high standing in the Islamic community, (or at least his part of it), this attempt at scholarly revisionism is childish and stupid in the extreme, and clearly demonstrates the how a small idea mistaken as a big idea can be used to distort history. Having said all this, however, I do not think he is being dishonest, far from it, indeed, as a typical Muslim he is being profoundly honest about what he thinks is the truth, but nevertheless, there is a strand of intolerance that runs through his argument which holds it all together (present in all religious thinking). This is added to the fact that he believes that he is some kind of Prophet from Allah who has met Jesus in the spiritual realm (but curiously not Buddha). Whereas Jesus supposedly told him that his revisionism is correct, Hadrat apparently never bothered to meet the Buddha in a similar manner – probably because the Buddha would have beautifully dismantled the edifice of his theistic argument and left it in tatters! (And I suspect that secretly, Hadrat knows full well that he is talking bollocks about the time-line and influences relating to the development and spread of Buddhism).  Theistic ideas of each religion being the ‘one and only truth’ are wrong, and demonstrably so. 

I will say this, however, Hadrat makes some very interesting observations regarding the wording of the English translations of the Bible – particularly the New Testament – which suggests (logically) that Jesus did not die on the cross. This has the effect of demonstrating the importance of ‘belief’ and routine ‘assumption’ when reading and interpreting texts. Yes, Hadrat is pursuing an agenda (namely that of proving Islam superior), but at the same time he is also pointing-out (more or less by accident), that Christian assumptions often impede the logical assessment of their own religious texts! Of course, built into this observation will be the Christian response of ‘denial’ and ‘moral’ outrage! It is as if by objectively observing the interplay of different religious communities (all vying for supremacy like ant colonies fighting one another), the religious effect of hindering the development of human thought is apparent. Religious thinking develops human thought to a certain point, and then actively prevents it from developing any further – at least on the level of popular religion. Perhaps the development of tree-worship prevented hunter-gatherers from eating eachother or having sexual relations with relatives, etc, and did signify a progression in human thought and behaviour at the time (unless cannibalism and incest were modes of worship), but that the human mind stays ‘trapped’ at this level of development when (secular) scientific thought becomes available. The self-sustaining and self-containing power of religious thought from a different epoch prevents the individual from breaking-out into a whole new way of viewing the world. 

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