Dawkins made it to my sociology class

Published: February 6, 2012
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A Pakistani undergraduate class was shown a Richard Dawkins documentary in a sociology course. DESIGN: SIDRAH MOIZ

Growing up in a society that discouraged asking too many questions, I often wondered what it is about modern western education that the conservative right is so scared of. 

Reading the news and following politics on television and online has helped me understand how our policy makers think and what issues matter to our general public.

If you have done the same, you will know that every effort to modernise our educational system and make it more culturally and religiously neutral has met with stern resistance from political, religious and other factions of the society. But one day, while sitting in class, I finally had an epiphany of sorts.

What happened was unbelievable.

A Pakistani undergraduate class was shown a Richard Dawkins documentary in a sociology course. Now, for some of you who don’t know Richard Dawkins, he is a prominent atheist scholar and an active opponent to organised religion. Although his book is available at a few book stores, showing it to students as part of their learning process has to be an unprecedented incident in our academic history.

To put things in perspective, I’d like to just point out that we live in a country where a female minister, Zille Huma Usman, was killed because a lunatic thought the idea of women ruling  is not prescribed by Allah; a country where Salmaan Taseer and Shahbaz Bhatti were killed for speaking against the blasphemy law, January 4 is celebrated as “Mumtaz Qadri day” and Ahmadi students are shunned out of school for their beliefs.

So, showing a Richard Dawkins documentary which ascribes religion as the root cause of all evil is simply overwhelming. Now, whether one agrees with what Mr Dawkins believes (or rather disbelieves) is an entirely different debate. But for a Pakistani teacher to be able to show his class something this controversial is a gigantic step in itself.

We all have different views on religion and most don’t agree with Dawkins. But what’s worth noticing is not that students were shown something that was sacrilegious, it is something else. It is not about Dawkins at all.

This is about the freedom and tolerance that our society and educational system has lost or rather, never had. It’s about people being empowered to ask questions about centuries old religious and cultural dogmas and to challenge the relevance of medieval practices in the 21st century.

This is where that documentary comes in. It allows us to think out of the comfortable narrative that has been concocted for us by the state and its right-wing allies. Watching it allows us to digest opinions wildly diverse from ours and still give them their due consideration and appreciation. This is what made me happy.

The path to our renaissance is difficult and dangerous but it is these little steps that make a difference. Little things like the incident when a black woman, Rosa Parks, refused to sit at the back of a bus and became the symbol of the civil rights movement; like when a group of middle class women called the Suffragettes asked why they didn’t have the right to vote (now the term suffrage literally means the right to vote). I know we are light years away from achieving our goal of a pluralist society but the abovementioned struggles took decades too, so not all hope is lost.

The role of modern, non-partisan education in all this is critical. It’s the first step, for it prepares the mind for the battle ahead. It gives you the ability to take in different views and not shout “blasphemy” or “heresy”.

It allows you to analyse situations rationally without emotions or religious indoctrination clouding your judgment. And maybe this is why no one in the class left in disgust or started an argument with the teacher about their religious sensibilities being disturbed.

This is exactly what the clergy of this country is afraid of; the power of neutral education to marginalise fixed religious views.

I have no doubt that eventually it will happen. It has to happen. The only question is, will we be around to witness it?

Has the government taken adequate measures to battle extremism in Pakistan?

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Omer.Kamal

Omer Kamal Bin Farooq

An economics student from Lahore with a keen interest in sports, theology, politics, and, anthropology.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Mawali

    I am delighted to read your most shall I say progressive opinions. The fact is that no religion or dogma should prevent anyone from listening or reading an alternative point of view. That is precisely what learning is all about. Different opinions and views in Essence enable us all to make better more educated decisions and judgements.

    BTW, I came across your writeup while searching for Richard Dawkins and while you may not agree with what he has to say I don’t. Nonetheless, Dawkins is a Bioligist by trade and education and self confessed Darwinian. Whatever, his personal beliefs; he makes a lot of sense. I urge you to read some of his books. I am about to finish his latest The Greatest Show on Earth. Evolution makes tons of sense.Recommend

  • http://lonepkliberal.wordpress.com Loneliberal PK

    I’m positively thrilled by such development! No, it’s not because I’m a fan of Richard Dawkins. It’s the fact that this teacher decided to teach his students how to think, instead of what to think (the latter being the norm around here)

    It’s easy being religious in a society where the only opinion you ever hear is pro-religious. When you’re not even aware that there exists a polemic against organized faith.

    Only when you’ve heard both sides of the argument can you truly claim to have chosen your own religion. If not, then one is blindly doing what his parents and teachers have taught him to do all his life.Recommend

  • http://bakedsunshine.wordpress.com Shumaila

    What a brave move. I am so glad that other points of view are being brought into the open, that there are some places, few though they may be, where active and thought-provoking dialogue can be engaged in without fear of oppressing one single view over all others. You’re right – the true purpose of education is allow people to think rationally, to analyse rather than let their emotions get in the way. The only way to do that is through neutral education that teaches all sides of the argument.
    .
    Doesn’t Dawkins have a fantastic accent? His books (the ones pertaining to biology) are good too. You should check them out if you haven’t already. Recommend

  • Mj

    There are many parallels between the European dark ages where clergy and popes wielded great power and the current state in Muslim countries. As is the case now over here, heretics and any one who dared question the teachings of the church or strayed from them were hunted down, persecuted, and in many cases brutally killed. It was only after the Enlightenment philosophers and intellectuals started questioning the rigid dogmas of the church, and the fear of thinking was subsequently removed that progress was made possible. The only reason our clergy does not like free thinking and rational thought is that it is difficult to control like a puppet anyone who thinks for himself, and it is one of the primary reasons that the progress and intellectual development of this nation has stagnated.

    Here are the links to Dawkin’s documentary First; Second. It is not blasphemous, or sacrilegious, rather is it quite respectful to all faiths but it will make you think if you have an open mind. And props to your professor for pushing the boundaries.Recommend

  • http://www.zaidzamanhamid.wordpress.com Zaid Hamid

    Our next last and final warning will be for this fellow Dawkins…thanks for teh idea

    — Zaid HamidRecommend

  • http://awgilani.wordpress.com Syed Abdul Wahab Gilani

    More I read Daawkins more I feel he is a wrong :P Simply mathematics of probability out class his ideas. One just needs a good grip on Mathematics ;)Recommend

  • Usman

    I dont know where this freedom of though vanishes when someone in the west points out some discrepancies in the HOLOCAUST saga. And if someone want to increase the mental capacity of our children then show them both sides of the picture, it would have been appropriate if the teacher would have shown a documentary that had both the atheistic and theistic views rather than doing a PR for atheists.Recommend

  • AM

    Disappointing how the author has had to emphasise on common sense.Recommend

  • http://lonepkliberal.wordpress.com Loneliberal PK

    Shumaila,

    Haha. People may or may not agree with his writing, but everybody agrees that his accent is hypnotizing.

    I don’t watch his documentaries a lot, but I thoroughly enjoy reading his books. The God Delusion and The Greatest Show on Earth were particularly captivating. Recommend

  • Baloch

    I recommend you all to read his book The God Delusion :)Recommend

  • Anum Rasheed

    I haven’t read a much liberal article on Tribune in a long time. Well written! Recommend

  • adeel

    mashAllah, i have tears in my eyes a such a proud moment an athiest leader ( another ideology) comes in to our classs rooms…… lol…..Get a grip,,,,, his ideologies areself demolishing…..his ideologies may work on other faiths ( where the books manipulated, man made and with contrdiction bt i wnt get in to tht) not on islam ( if u really understood n read a the quran with sincerity, i dint initially bt thankfully Allah guides those He wills) so coming bakc to mr Dawkins,,, mayb some of u should read the Cosmological Argument of the existence of a Creator ( not an islamic argument bt a scientific one, if i bring ayats fromt he Quran our mass hindu indian commmunity reading this would get overexcited) and then read the teleological Argument, and thn Read about Isaac newton and his beliefs ( remember this guy ?)
    and if still not satisfied read about Professor P. Davies winner of Templeton Prize for mathematically proving tht the laws of Physic cannot come into existence by chance bt through a precisely planned design.
    Dawkins says tht mitochondria came from outer space. ( so much for science)

    i want to share something once i was walking down a sandy hill and lightning struck the hill couple of times just below where i was once i reached tht spot the sand and bushes around the area had turned in to a solar panel and was accumulating electicity. isnt tht remarkable everythign just happend by chance.
    does it sound believable? well thts mr dawkins and u all should research about him and infact read his books n interviews and then laugh its like waching comedy bt with a stiff face! If Quran is not the word of God, Bring another book like it infact bring 10 ayats ( verses like it)
    People misuse Islam bt doesnt mean their is somethign worng in islam. If u give someone who doesnt know how to drive Mercedez s500 n he crashes, doesnt mean car had a problem.
    Get a grip brothers n sisters they wanna Turn our Pakistan into some pub bt they can remain delusional. Read the Quran with understanding. thn u wil understand the sweetness of wht we have n they dnt.

    salaamRecommend

  • Gullible Nomore

    @Usman:
    In a country like ours, do we need to “show” the students the theistic view??? Are you serious?Recommend

  • kaalchakra

    Wahad Gilani Shaib, come on, my friend :) We recently had another gentleman here who insisted that the evolutionary understanding of an Islamist at Cambridge be taken seriously because he was teaching at Cambridge, and you suggest that a premier biologist of the same institution does not have grasp of basic mathematics/statistics. Isn’t that a little bizarre? :)Recommend

  • Maulvi Imran Ahmed

    “It allows you to analyse situations rationally without emotions or religious indoctrination clouding your judgment.” What a heretical notion!Recommend

  • Ali Tanoli

    West dont know over Billion peoples faith and east trying to reject the truth what a shame……Recommend

  • Mj

    @Usman:
    “I dont know where this freedom of though vanishes when someone in the west points out some discrepancies in the HOLOCAUST saga. And if someone want to increase the mental capacity of our children then show them both sides of the picture, it would have been appropriate if the teacher would have shown a documentary that had both the atheistic and theistic views rather than doing a PR for atheists.”

    You should know that those who strive for the freedom of free expression find it equally repugnant when critics of some event are silenced. This >speech by Hitchens< is a good primer for those who champion freedom of speech.

    “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” – Evelyn Beatrice Hall, often misattributed to Voltaire.

    Can’t disagree with you on the second point. But if I were the professor, I’d ask the students to come up with arguments for the theistic position, as the opposite position would put the student arguing against the motion in a tight spot, which I am sure you understand why. Two birds with one stone, as the saying goes.Recommend

  • faraz

    There is no explanation to Dawkin’s observation that you follow the religion of the family you are born in. Family and the environment indoctrinate the child with a certain set of beliefs. And everything things he is right, and other are wrong. If there is any true religion, then why don’t people simply convert to that religion? What do they earn by not converting to the true religion? Nothing! Recommend

  • Mj

    @Syed Abdul Wahab Gilani:
    “More I read Daawkins more I feel he is a douche bag :P Simply mathematics of probability out class his ideas. One just needs a good grip on Mathematics ;)”
    .
    Please enlighten us. Recommend

  • http://- Abid P. Khan

    @Loneliberal PK:

    It’s the fact that this teacher decided to teach his students how to think, instead of what to think (the latter being the norm around here)

    The gap between brain-users and nonbrain-users is increasing rapidly. Could this be the harbinger of uneasy times ahead, a final clash between the Civilized and the Uncivilized?

    PS: The Guardian, has had a number of debates on Dawkins. Makes you realise that the level of education of participants is not noticeably higher in Blighty.Recommend

  • Sayyed Mehdi

    This was nice to hear. Especially the part that people weren’t offended.Recommend

  • http://tradersutra.com hariharmani

    God delusion ,is a must .Also Robert Wright best seller-The evolution of God.I have pretty much given up the notion,there is much going to happen to middle East,and the sub-continent.There is some chance Malaysia and Indonesia might do better in next 100 years,Pakistan 1% chance and India 10%. which no chance at all,not much has changed not in 1400 years so few more century really wont make a difference.It is a dark prospect.Why,such darkness and ignorance,why?no critical thinking,think what is told to you,free thinking is harmful,so we believe,and all good Muslims must BELIEVE.We are told to believe-Life after death in Zannat is peaches and Cream,Life is Eternal and all Bliss,Hindu are told in Reincarnation,Christians are told about “Rapture” and Second Coming,Has there a sheared of evidence?No,but we must Believe,so like sheep we believe,at least they do not burn people at stake in Western World,and Dawkins does not get get a stake in his heart,small mercy! But then he does not live in Pakistan.Thank Allah,Pakistani’s can at least talk about him.Recommend

  • adeel.s

    nice one this is the way to produce scientists and philosophers rather than engineers and doctors who work as machines while using machines. Recommend

  • Parvez

    Your article brought to mind an interview of Mr.Ghamdi talking on religion and saying it’s your duty to ask the most difficult of questions and it’s my duty to try and answer it and if you are not satisfied with my answer, you do not have to accept it.
    Exposure to a good teacher can be a life changing experience.
    Enjoyed reading this.Recommend

  • Bee

    Be Proactive instead of Reactive!Recommend

  • Cynical

    Dear believers,
    Please don’t go anywhere near Dawkins and don’t listen to his fan club.There lies a serious threat of becoming an atheist.Remember,”Ignorance is bliss.” Recommend

  • http://lonepkliberal.wordpress.com Loneliberal PK

    Usman,

    Holocaust isn’t a religious ideology or an opinion, it’s a historical fact. Maybe certain stories within the holocaust are false, but we have enough documented proof to say that holocaust did actually happen.

    Just like your history teacher can’t teach his kids that Pakistan was created in 1971 by Nehru, you can’t teach a history class that holocaust isn’t real.

    Besides, not all Western states ban holocaust denial. In Denmark for instance, where those infamous cartoons were published, there are no laws against holocaust denial either. Don’t make blanket statements about “The West” like it’s one big nation of white people.Recommend

  • LetsDOmaths

    @Syed Abdul Wahab Gilani you are very right they all need to understand the science of chances.. you seemed to be the only person here talking about it in science so I’m addressing you here not the ‘EverybodyWannaBeAtheistHere’

    Lets Support you argument by probability. i.e. The Number Of Ways Event A Can Occur
    / The total number Of Possible Outcome

    Lets take formation of a human. it could have been by chance 7 legged. 3 nosed with 9 nasal passages, upsidedown, belly on the back eyes on the head…. well there can be infinite number of possible forms (please keep in mind we are talking about chances here). the answer may become infinity or if not then certainly ot would be like 0.00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000…….. some figure may appear from 0-9 in the end.

    According to mathematics if there are more than 49 ZEROs after the deimal it will be considered as Zero. So our equation becomes 1/0 and that is ….

    Dawkins talk about chances when the answer is infinity i.e. not possible. He should go back to biology than teaching us the science of probablity.Recommend

  • Swine

    @LetsDOmaths:
    You clearly have no understanding of evolution by natural selection. It is not driven by random chance, but by success or failure within a given environment. Humans don’t have 7 legs, 3 noses etc. because 2 legs and 1 nose proved to be more appropriate for survival in the environments we evolved within. Your premise is built on false assumptions. I suggest you learn the basics of evolution before attempting to argue against it. Otherwise you risk looking very ignorant!Recommend

  • Ivandor

    @Syed Abdul Wahab Gilani:
    Wow–what a powerful rebuttal. You are very persuasive and make hard-hitting points.Recommend

  • LetsDoMoreMaths

    Here’s some more maths:

    Probability that someone will bring up the “humans weren’t created by chance” defence in a discussion thread without having the slightest understanding of the process of natural selection = 1Recommend

  • kaalchakra

    God, if she exists, save us from people trying to argue for/against God by using human reason. Recommend

  • Simon

    @adeel:

    You say: “Dawkins says tht mitochondria came from outer space.”

    Dawkins has never claimed this. In the course of his writings, he has put forward the suggestion, as have others, that the Earth might have been seeded with life that originated from outside this planet, but he has never claimed to favour this idea. And he has certainly never specifically claimed that mitochondria came from outer space.

    Incidently, “outer space” is a subjective term we use to describe the whole of the Universe that is not on our planet. The Earth is a part of “outer space” to anyone or anything that is based outside our planet, i.e. all life that evolved on Earth may be considered to have evolved in “outer space” from the perspective of 99.999999999 recurring of the Universe.Recommend

  • shanaiz

    Nice piece of writing ..!Recommend

  • zengardener

    Why don’t you say exactly what you mean? Afraid?Recommend

  • zengardener

    Dawkins has a firm grip on mathematics. Though he is not a mathematician, he has many colleagues that are. In fact there is a specialty within evolutionary biology where the use a great deal of math to calculate mutation rates, of species to determine the probably age between various stages of evolutionary development. Recommend

  • mc

    @LetsDOmaths: what on earth (or in heaven) leads you to think there are infinite body plan options for something filling our ecological niche? And further, that the arrangements are independent of each other? (both of which would need to be true for your statistical approach to have any validity). I suggest there is a much greater need for you to read more about the basics of evolution than Dawkins to read more about basic probability theory with which I imagine he is already quite familar!Recommend

  • zengardener

    @Cynical:

    The ignorant live lives that are brutal and short.Recommend

  • zengardener

    @LetsDOmaths:

    Evolution through natural selection is not based on chance.
    This may seen confusing to you because you lack a basic understanding of the science.Recommend

  • zengardener

    @kaalchakra

    Belief must be based on reason or it is insanity.Recommend

  • Babel Fish

    @Ivandor:

    Aww, you’ve spoilt the theme now! Before your comment, we had Cynical, who was really quite jovial, followed by Loneliberal PK, who isn’t really alone, followed by LetsDOmaths, who… can’t do maths! Then came Swine, who was actually quite polite.

    Then you. I can’t think of anything funny or ironic about your name. I got nothing. And it was all going so well!Recommend

  • http://www.michaelthemagician.com Michael

    @Syed Abdul Wahab Gilani:
    I’m curious what you mean? Could you be more specific? From my perspective and understanding, mathematics supports Dawkins, whether you are talking about the probability of a god, or the evidence for evolution.Recommend

  • http://www.michaelthemagician.com Michael

    @adeel:
    The Cosmological Argument? Look up the definition on wikipedia and they have several counterarguments. The most obvious, which Carl Sagan pointed out in ‘Cosmos’ was: “Then the obvious next question is what caused god? If god doesn’t need a cause, then why not skip a step and say the universe doesn’t need a cause.”.

    Templeton prize winners are also hardly objective, being offered substantial monetary grants to try and bridge the gap between religion and science. Most reputable scientists disagree with their research, and try to distance themselves from Templeton. Stephen Hawking has concluded that there is no need for a god to create the laws of physics, and the fine-tuning argument is weak at best (just because changing one constant a little will make life impossible doesn’t mean that you can’t adjust the others to compensate and make life possible).

    If you are so sure the Quran is the word of god, then check out http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/quran/index.htmRecommend

  • http://www.michaelthemagician.com Michael

    @Ali Tanoli:
    Most people thought the world was flat a few hundred years ago. Just because billions of people think something is true, does not mean that they are right.Recommend

  • http://www.michaelthemagician.com Michael

    @LetsDOmaths:
    Your understanding of evolution is misguided at best. I suggest you check out potholer54’s or thunderf00t’s youtube channel. Both have some excellent short videos explaining evolution and why the statistics you gave are completely wrong. Natural selection is not random, so the “desired” result happens quite quickly when you keep what works and discard what doesn’t.Recommend

  • http://khomisdiary.blogspot.com khurram awan

    Bravo! I commend your brave move. Seeing youth like you in the society gives me hope and comfort. There is dire need for more of us, and more of Dawkins in our educational scene.Recommend

  • F K

    Richard Dawkins is very much against Muslims. I don’t say that in the sense that he doesn’t beleive in Islam, which is obvious, but that he focuses his criticisms of religion on Islam for some reason. Many critics have pointed this out about him. He still calls himself “politically Christian” meaning he doesnt actually believe in Christianity but still supports “Christianty” (western imperialism which has its roots in evangelicals’ racism). While I think these are big flaws in Richard Dawkin’s work, the underlying premise of his work is true, that there is no scientific basis for religion. He does seem to have a political agenda though.Recommend

  • yousaf

    @Mj—Popes of the dark ages of Europe did not have loud-speakers therefore scientific knowledge made a short work of the clergy and progress ensued.Here though I see youth has a very dynamic,progressive and realistic approach towards life but opposing “thought process” is made very strong by the very inventions which these forces otherwise oppose making the process of change much longer and tedious than desired.Sir Iqbal,if I am not wrong,said long ago”deene mulla fee sabeelillah fasaad”.Path of struggle for the knowledgeable youth is long and arduous but they will win in the end,I am sure and will take the country to the cause it was gotten for Recommend

  • Truth Prevail

    Belief systems in the world can clearly be classified into 3 kinds.

    First , are the pagan practices like Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Babylonian et al. These were eclectic and evolutionary religions with many layers and differences. Of all these evolutionary religions, none exist today.

    Then came the second layer of religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam. These religions had an individual agent of change – and these religions trace their birth, growth and existence to that one individual (and his followers). These were reform religions – a response to oppression and exploitation in the respective societies. I am not including Zoroastrianism and Baha’i religions as these have minor followings (mostly in India).

    Third is the dharmic system of India. Unlike the Desert Bloc, India did not have religions. What the West recognizes as Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism are non-unitary systems.

    Read more and for further discussion on this explanation, comment on this page:

    http://2ndlook.wordpress.com/2007/12/21/half-the-world/Recommend

  • http://starcrashx.wordpress.com Supernova Kasprzak

    In the west, many of us take free speech rights for granted. To join us in freedom, Pakistan’s citizens have to keep taking steps forward, but it starts with one. This is that first step.Recommend

  • kaalchakra

    zengardener

    A god-centered religion like Islam simply cannot be held hostage to human reason. Human reason within Islamic framework must exist to serve Islam, not Islam serve the cause of human reason. Recommend

  • Mahesh

    Showing various opinions and views to students is a nice and progressive step.
    Being atheist or theist should be one personal decision. The point how many people exercise that decision by questioning, thinking and arguing.
    Now it doesn’t matter if i am a atheist or not, what matter is if i choose it (rationally) or just accept it because of majority.

    This showing of documentary reminding me of a chapter in Marathi subject in 7th standard by G.G.Agarkar. The author in that chapter tried to rationalize the age old beliefs by questioning and eventually criticizing them.
    There was a very intriguing sentence in that chapter which is like it’s summery.
    ‘Whenever a person’s ability to think ends, he accepts blind beliefs’.

    ‘I am able to love my God because He gives me freedom to deny Him.’ – Rabindranath Tagore
    ‘In matters of conscience, the law of majority has no place’ – M. K. Gandhi
    ‘Question, Question everything and everybody’ – Gautam BuddhaRecommend

  • LetsDoMoreMaths

    @F K:

    “He still calls himself “politically Christian””

    Do you have a source for this statement? I can’t find any references via a websearch. Dawkins does state that he values some aspects of the Christian cultural tradition (for example, the marvellous prose of the King James Bible), but he’s clear that having an appreciation of one’s cultural heritage doesn’t also demand a blind acceptance of religious dogma.Recommend

  • http://lonepkliberal.wordpress.com Loneliberal PK

    F K,

    Richard Dawkins is as much against Christianity as he may be against Islam or any other religious ideology. His most vocal critics are all either Jewish or Christian, like WIlliam Lane Craig and John Lennox. He speaks up against young-earth Christian creationists and the American pro-life movement much more than he talks about Islam.

    He described himself as a “political Christian”, meaning that he recognizes Jesus’s social lessons of helping the poor, turning the other cheek etc, but does not believe in the religious lessons of Christianity.

    I guess I’ll never understand this need for certain people to make everything look like a conspiracy specifically against the ummah.Recommend

  • Anthony Permal

    @adeel:

    “.his ideologies may work on other faiths ( where the books manipulated, man made and with contrdiction bt i wnt get in to tht)”

    Under Pakistan’s laws, Adeel, I can prosecute you for blasphemy against my Christian faith for saying that.

    Technically, you have openly called my holy book false and corrupted. If I said the same thing in Pakistan, you yourself would have been up in arms and I would probably have been beaten up and jailed.

    Notice the hypocrisy? But wait, you’re probably someone who is of the opinion that a blasphemer should be killed.Recommend

  • Cynical

    @ kaalchakra

    You are absolutely right.Islam is above and beyond human reasons/reasoning.There lies it’s beauty and uniqueness.All other religions are man made but Islam is god’s word,claimed to be heard by the lucky ‘One and only One’.Recommend

  • yousaf

    @adeel–Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) told us not to criticise other religions lest they in return call you with bad names ( answer to your comment by Mr.A Permal is one minor example) He (pbuh) further told us to respect all prophets that came before Him (pbuh).You therefore should be careful when you say anything about others.P.S.I do not say this, our prophet (pbuh) said it and what He(pbuh) says is the final word for a muslim,no argumentRecommend

  • FS

    I guess, there is no problem in listening to different/diversified views, even like dawkins… but at least you should be strong in your own faith first, so that before you question anyone, you might have a hint to what may be wrong with what your listening in the first place. The problem comes when studying Islam becomes preaching extremism and studying everything else seems right, and on the basis of historically ridiculed philosophers, people start criticizing their own religion without any in-depth knowledge. Recommend

  • Raja Islam

    Religion may not be the root of all evil, but it is certainly the root of many evils.Recommend

  • Ali Tanoli

    I think non reliegous wars has killed more Humans than others if some body chart that study
    Racism by whites and arabs and Brahmans and Jewsh think are god chosen and has took
    many innocent lives if we see and learn the history and most recentlly Hitler wars and Russia
    and America adventures in diffrent countries cause many peoples to loss there lives what u
    guys think i will say in millions if not billions.
    @Raja islam
    cause of evil is human evil thinking not reliegen.
    @Mahesh,
    U refer gandhi and Budh but did u ever bother to look at what Mohsen e Insaniath Muhammad
    says never right i guess biggest irony is that we in hate dont wanna see this great figure in
    history the same problem in even west has too just hate,…..Recommend

  • Humanity

    Richard Dawkins puts all the fanatic mullahs and the so-called ulema to shame.

    Richard Dawkins’s Seven Wonders of the World
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=IMD56Tohp1kRecommend

  • Mahesh

    @Ali Tanoli:
    Hey Ali, don’t paint me with your brush of generalization.
    If i have not read Mohsen e nsaniath Muhammad, how does it implies that i hate him?..you can’t conclude that.
    I’m a 15 year old boy studying in 9th. I know i need to read a lot of things.
    I quoted Gandhi ,Tagore and Buddha because i encountered them during my studies so i knew them. I have not read any religious book or any religious figure yet.
    I will definitely read them future. Recommend

  • Yumna

    Watching it allows us to digest opinions wildly diverse from ours and still give them their due consideration and appreciation. This is what made me happy.

    I am not surprised by all the people drifting the topic to whether atheism is right or wrong. This is the ignorant society we live in. Oh by the way I loved your article, specially the two lines quoted above.

    @cynical:
    dear believers,
    Please don’t go anywhere near Dawkins and don’t listen to his fan club.There lies a serious threat of becoming an atheist.Remember,”Ignorance is bliss.”

    I don’t know if this is meant to be sarcastic or not but if it is, thumbs up!Recommend

  • tunafish

    @LetsDOmaths:

    I must warn you that I m terrible with maths and zoology ,but I think your denominator is slightly wrong . I mean let us take an example ,say if you are ever hungry and you have the permission to eat anything and everything in sight, would you eat dirt?? no.. but in reality you will eat only what is available, you won`t eat a tuna fish if it is not available rather a burger or nan-roti if it is available .so your porbability of eating something is only one of the two available things,which is 50 %.

    Now come to your argument, we became, what we became because of what was before us ,which was a common ancestor of us and the monkeys. we could not have spiders like legs or fins only because of the fact ,that our previous ancestor didnot have them.So the probability of us,becoming us was actually pretty high given that our ancestors were not so different from us and his ancestor were not different from him and the chain goes backwards like these for million years until we were single celled being swimming in the ocean. So in that way your denominator is wrong. Of course we could have more muscular legs or powerful hearing abilities,but still a humanoid because that was the only possible outcome because of our decision to evolve from a monkey with four limbs and ugly head..
    Recommend

  • cooky

    there is nothing wrong with the blasphemy laws; Pakistan is a Muslim country. It is their MISUSE which should be criticised, i.e the Pakistani Justice System. besides that, in Pakistan we are the victims of “extremes”; there are the intolerants and the seculars, who disrespect religion. we should know when to draw the line between disrespecting religion, e.g eating knowingly in front of a fasting person, or looking down on women who wear the hijab, and tolerance. i’m all for tolerance. Islam demands its followers to be gentle, but we should not be ashamed to support it in a Muslim country. We need to support the right version of Islam, given in the Quran, by reading its translation ourselves, not rely on the version given by Pirs and scholars who are human, and widely divided and differentiated amongst themselves in opinion and “fatwas” Recommend

  • zengardener

    @kaalchakra:

    “A god-centered religion like Islam simply cannot be held hostage to human reason.”

    As opposed to religions with no God. I call those philosophies with ritual. Nobody cares about those unless they also preach supernatural.

    “….Held hostage to Human reason.”

    What other kind of reason is there? Plant reason? Mineral reason? Human reason is animal reason. You can have nothing to say about any other kind of reason. That is why you should not be religious.

    “Human reason within Islamic framework must exist to serve Islam, not Islam serve the cause of human reason.”

    Reason does not work within Islam. Islam violates reason. It is insane.Recommend

  • http://- Abid P. Khan

    @zengardener:
    Should one rule out an element of sarcasm, in the inputs by @kaalchakra? Recommend

  • zengardener

    @Abid P. Khan:

    Perhaps, but I find it difficult to detect sarcasm in his text.Recommend

  • http://- Abid Khan

    @zengardener:
    What would be your comment if I say that kaalchakra’s responses are well crafted tongue-in-cheek.Recommend

  • zengardener

    @Abid Khan:

    Not so well crafted. I have heard almost the exact statement before. The one who did utter it was most sincere. Is this not a demonstration of Poe’s Law?

    If the statement is so well crafted, then it is indistinguishable from sincerity. So, what is the point?Recommend

  • http://- Abid P. Khan

    @zengardener:
    Does “craftiness” of any statement depend on whether you have heard it before or not? I think his utterances are crafty enough to lure you in not doubting his apparent sincerity.
    Poor Little Red Riding Hood once again.Recommend

  • Cynical

    @Abid P. Khan

    I am quie enjoying your little chit chat with @zengardener on ‘craftiness’ (or lack of it) in Kalchaakra’s responses on this or other issues.
    I think he (Kalchaakra) is quite sincere and can articulate his position very forcefully. Recommend

  • http://- Abid Khan

    @Cynical:
    As they say, you have the right to your opinion.
    Perhaps, I am not such an obtuse observer.Recommend