Author Topic: Richard Dawkins- The Root of All Evil  (Read 14507 times)

Legend of the Past

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Re: Richard Dawkins- The Root of All Evil
« Reply #15 on: May 22, 2006, 01:33:43 pm »
I myself don’t see a problem in religion itself, but more in the fanatic people, who say something like “My religion is the right one, yours sucks, so become one of us or I kill you”, but not everyone is that fanatic.

Believe what you want, as long as you let other people believe what they want.

Ah, but that is the crucial point. Religion will not allow for the peace which you describe. The reason Dr. Dawkins entitled his documentary The Root of All Evil is that religion begins so harmlessly, yet inevitably brings destruction. It precludes peace on Earth, because, with religion, our best intentions invariably become our own worst enemies.

At the center of every religion is faith, faith in one’s god. In the general sense, “faith” is to believe without proof that one knows the truth about something. In religion, faith reaches its full potential: Faith in one’s god provides for that god’s moral authority, which in turn provides the believer with a ready system of morality. Voila! Already the believer has acquired the means and the justification to pass judgment on all human behavior. All it took was faith in a god. You see, when someone tells you they have faith in their god, what they also mean is that they believe they know truths of the highest caliber—divine truths. But an obvious question arises: What is so special about faith that it gives someone the power to know the truth, simply because they believe they know it?

If you asked me to build an airplane, I might be able to do it—because I am an aerospace engineer. But what if I weren’t? What if I were a church pastor instead, who specializes in giving sermons and knows nothing about the engineering involved in airplane design? What if I then proceeded to build my airplane anyway, haul it out to the runway, and put you in the cockpit? Would you be nervous? Yes, if your brain is working correctly, you damn well should be nervous. But then suppose I told you that God said my design would work, and that you would be able to fly that airplane above the clouds. Would that allay your fears? Would you try to fly my plane?

No, you wouldn’t. Or at least I should hope you wouldn’t, because my airplane would be a death trap. If you were lucky, you’d turn on the engine and nothing would happen. More likely, the plane would catch on fire, or fall apart and crush you in the wreckage. If the damn thing actually did manage to get into the air, you would almost certainly crash horribly just seconds later.

That’s why airplanes were not built until the twentieth century, despite humanity’s ageless wish to fly.

I can have all the faith I want in my airplane design...but, at the end of the day, either my airplane will fly or it won’t. When a claim can be proved or disproved like that, faith doesn’t matter. Unfortunately, the claims of religion are much harder to test…and faith abounds. But the fact of the matter is that faith does not give us inside access to the truth. It may sometimes appear to be able to do that, but when faith is put up against something concrete like an airplane design, its power vanishes. Faith has no connection with truth.

In fact, faith is an obstacle on the path to truth. When a person decides to shut down his or her critical brain and simply believe in something, without evidence, that person’s mind becomes closed and rigid. Any real truths that show up, which do not fit into that person’s beliefs, are likely to be discarded.

Now imagine the falsehoods of faith as acted out in the theater of religion, where faith makes claims upon the very highest truths of all: existence, purpose, meaning, nature. Can you imagine the horrors that would ensue were people to claim they know such truths, without actually knowing them? But that is precisely what happens, and you needn’t imagine anything, because the horrors of religion are thriving around the Earth today. Let’s remember: Faith in one’s god means the believer has acquired the means and the justification to pass judgment on all human behavior. That puts the rest of us at the mercy of that person’s morals. We can only hope that our way of life does not intrude upon their views.

But you know what? It never works out that way. Faith is all about power. Our bodies are weak, but our minds are great, and with the power of the human intellect we have created a better world for ourselves. However, we still have disasters. We still have diseases. We still have car wrecks, and our ice cream still melts off the cone and falls into our laps. We still lose the lottery. We still have trouble with our bosses and friends. We still have unrequited love, and unsatisfied desires. And we still have death. We exist with these vulnerabilities every day, and we fear and despise them, because we are powerless to change them. If we were gods, we would snap our fingers and live in a paradise where all our wishes come true. But we’re not gods; we are mortal beings, frail and emotional. However, there is the next best thing: We can create gods inside our imaginations…gods who will reassure us that, even though life is difficult and unpredictable, it is for the better. These gods teach us that the struggles of life are worthwhile, because there is a higher meaning to life itself. That “higher meaning” varies from religion to religion…from the sensual comforts of neo-paganism, to the pleasure-seeking of modern hedonism, to the eternal heaven of the Abrahamic religions. These beliefs give us power, not to change our lives but to accept them. That is a start.

But these are the comforts of a delusion.

And, worse, one person’s delusion intrudes upon another’s. The Baptist’s beliefs are in conflict with the Mormon’s, and both of their beliefs are in conflict with the Shi’ite Muslim’s. All three would have a bone to pick with a Hasidic Jew, and the whole lot of them would sneer at a Wiccan.

So here we are, at that pivotal moment when all aggrieved parties can decide to either provoke a conflict, or live side by side in peace. Let history attest to the will of the devout!

Why? Why is it that, when given the choice of conflict or peace, religion will choose conflict every time? It is because faith is inherently adversarial. Your fantasy truth and my fantasy truth don’t match up in the real world. And that’s not good. Humans are very defensive of their opinions—when we feel safe in asserting ourselves—because having our authority acknowledged is an innate, evolved desire in all of us, and the secular materialism in which we live has afforded us a relative immunity in expressing ourselves freely. The Internet in particular promotes spectacular debates, because the people involved know they have little real popularity to lose, and much social validation to gain. Being agreed with is, after all, a form of social power. But beyond the Internet, one’s assertiveness can be backed up by anything from a mob, to strong laws, to the barrel of a gun. And when something as important as our god is on the line, our need to be acknowledged can easily become a matter to die for, and to kill for. It gives me a sardonic chuckle when I see fundamentalist Christians suing in court to change the law to discriminate against somebody. These people don’t respect the rule of law…they simply have no power to overrule it. They’d shoot gays and women in the streets if we let them…because their god is that important to them.

Faith discourages critical thinking and reinforces an arbitrary authority that exists beyond the realm of fact. It drives a wedge between people, innately, because competing faiths are contradictory, and therefore people’s lifestyles come into conflict. Faith is adversarial. That is why religion precludes a lasting peace. Religions cannot live side by side—at least not under their own power.

All the instances both in history and today of religious harmony and interfaith unity are the result of religious devotees placing some other authority above that of their own religious faith. From the persecuted minority religions, to the spiritualistic Eastern religions, to the secularized Western religions, to the barbaric super-religions of Christianity and Islam, whenever people of different faith come together in a show of friendship, it is always, always because they are willing or compelled to put their faith aside for the moment and strive toward a common goal—a goal borne in the world of reason. Even the most peaceful-looking religions are peaceful only inasmuch as they are willing to temporarily or partially suspend their own legitimacy. After all, who would join a religion that teaches every religion is correct? (Actually, there are such people, but we’ll forgive them their ignorance as surely as we will forgive the fundamentalists theirs.)

It all begins so harmlessly. A lot of questions…damn few answers. Religious faith is our attempt to find wholeness in an incomplete world, and contentment in a land of woe. But the medicine is self-defeating, in the end. Open-mindedness is the most important personality trait of all, and faith snuffs it out, to whatever degree we let it. When our minds close, our guns open. That is the story of religion. That is why religious faith is the proverbial root of all evil. And that is why religions will never be able to live peacefully side by side. At most they can only be forced to coexist, by some stronger power…which raises the question: Why bother?

When can I join that Josh-something nation of yours?

CyberSarkany

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Re: Richard Dawkins- The Root of All Evil
« Reply #16 on: May 22, 2006, 02:02:47 pm »
 :lee:
I think(and hope) I got you point(s), but i don't feel skilled enough to give it the good answer it deserves, I only can say: you are really the man.

There was this quote from this person I forgot, something like:
"Political systems and religions are used to control humans", maybe that was the main idea of religion, controlling people, at least it seems that way (Esp. the pope, if he would say "lying is good", than lying is good, if he says "there is no evil" then there is no evil for the katholics). I, myself, don't like being Christian, I was born/forced into this religion, like most other teenagers my age have been. I can't believe in something im forced to believe in.

Anyways, you are right, no religion really tries to accomblish peace as long as there are other religions...
But what would  world be without "faith"? I don't have "faith", and I don't think I ever had, but people who have it, even if they are ignoring facts, seem to be "happy", and if you talk to them, they become very angry and stuff... They want to live in their "own little world of peace", ignoring all facts about war, hatred against each other etc.. Even if they are "happy", it's sad IMO.

You are very skilled with all that explaining stuff and examples, wished I would have that ability.

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When can I join that Josh-something nation of yours?
Add me to your list, too :lee:

Sentenal

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Re: Richard Dawkins- The Root of All Evil
« Reply #17 on: May 23, 2006, 01:44:04 am »
I agree with you all.  Religion and Faith are a disease on the planet.  The question is, what should we do about it?

Religion is created by people, and people believe in it so strongly, there is little that we tolerant intelectuals can do about it.  Or is there?

If Religious Faith is a disease, I believe we should intern all religious followers, and make them not believe.  By force, we shall show them there is no God.  Who the hell are they to hold society back?  After all, does the bible not say: "Cursed be those who ponder the world, as their works only brew evil.  Any man who thinks "There is no God", and tries to explain the universe himself, shall be cast away from his peers and beaten.  I tell you the truth, any man who assoicates with people like this will not inherit the Kingdom of God."  If we can turn the people from Religion, religion will be defeated.

However, this internment of Religious followers is not legal as of now, so we must figure out just how to correct this problem.  The biggest thing in our way is the United States Constitution.  This horrid document protects religious practices, the same religious practices that threaten to devour the entire world.  This document needs to be abolished.  Who the hell are these people who think that they should have the freedom to "worship", when it means that we are preyed upon, and civilazation is staled?

...That was fun.

Burning Zeppelin

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Re: Richard Dawkins- The Root of All Evil
« Reply #18 on: May 23, 2006, 05:29:36 am »
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« Last Edit: May 23, 2006, 06:19:49 am by Lord J esq »

Lord J Esq

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Re: Richard Dawkins- The Root of All Evil
« Reply #19 on: May 23, 2006, 09:15:53 am »
When can I join that Josh-something nation of yours?

Your compliment is appreciated, but the sentiment behind it is much more interesting to me. What is it that fascinates you so much, that you created this thread? I mean it sincerely, if you’d like to answer. But keep in mind I am not talking about Professor Dawkins.

If I were to presume to know your thoughts, I would say you are taking an interest in the philosophy of reason. That philosophy can be stated thusly: Everything has a reason. Find it. Learn all that is learnable. Reject ignorance. Think critically. But it doesn’t end there. Reason leads to visions of a better world, and I take it you have come to desire something like that.

A better world begins within you. So put that critical mind of yours to work. Question everything. Look for reasons. Don’t be afraid to be curious. I’m sure the Joshalonian Empire will get around to your neck of the woods eventually, but don’t look to me or anyone else for your own, personal excellence.

But what would  world be without "faith"? I don't have "faith", and I don't think I ever had, but people who have it, even if they are ignoring facts, seem to be "happy", and if you talk to them, they become very angry and stuff... They want to live in their "own little world of peace", ignoring all facts about war, hatred against each other etc.. Even if they are "happy", it's sad IMO.

That is a welcome observation, and a fine point. If people could live alone for their whole lives, it wouldn’t matter what they believed, because nobody else would penetrate their bubble of fantasy. But because we are all alive in this world together, our actions have serious repercussions on the lives of others, and personal fantasy is an indulgence which ends where somebody else’s nose begins. That is why the real truth—the truth of airplanes and science—is so worthy of a place at the center of our lives. If people live by that truth, there will be no bubbles to burst.

You are very skilled with all that explaining stuff and examples, wished I would have that ability.

Thank you. It comes with time and practice. You don’t need to “wish” for it. You just need to do it. =)

I agree with you all.  Religion and Faith are a disease on the planet.  The question is, what should we do about it?

Religion is created by people, and people believe in it so strongly, there is little that we tolerant intelectuals can do about it.  Or is there?

If Religious Faith is a disease, I believe we should intern all religious followers, and make them not believe.  By force, we shall show them there is no God.  Who the hell are they to hold society back?  After all, does the bible not say: "Cursed be those who ponder the world, as their works only brew evil.  Any man who thinks "There is no God", and tries to explain the universe himself, shall be cast away from his peers and beaten.  I tell you the truth, any man who assoicates with people like this will not inherit the Kingdom of God."  If we can turn the people from Religion, religion will be defeated.

However, this internment of Religious followers is not legal as of now, so we must figure out just how to correct this problem.  The biggest thing in our way is the United States Constitution.  This horrid document protects religious practices, the same religious practices that threaten to devour the entire world.  This document needs to be abolished.  Who the hell are these people who think that they should have the freedom to "worship", when it means that we are preyed upon, and civilazation is staled?

...That was fun.

Sentenal, you’re getting better. I think you are finally starting to enjoy this more, and allow yourself to be enriched by these exchanges, rather than simply made angry.

Now, as to the specifics of your snark, let’s remember the case of “killing the killers.” You are in favor of the death penalty; you understand exactly what that means. Religion is a killer, plain and simple. In a functional justice system, the law simply cannot allow religion to have its way, unchecked.

But nobody is talking about killing the religious, except you. I certainly don’t want to kill anybody. I want not to be killed by people like you. I resent needless death and destruction, and I think religion can be dismantled peacefully. By separating church and state, and depriving faith-based institutions of all government money and civic recognition, religion can remain people’s private business, and would hopefully continue its slow decline as new generations of people grow up with better education and less need to believe in a delusion.

Burning Zeppelin

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Re: Richard Dawkins- The Root of All Evil
« Reply #20 on: May 23, 2006, 09:44:14 am »
Message deleted by Lord J Esq for violation of forum rules:

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My bad  :oops:

I've always thought the death penalty was justified in the terms of getting rid of the criminal, rather then just punishing him. I mean, if its punishment, whats stopping us from torturing them to death? Morals? Hah. Morals don't exist, I mean, which power should have the ability to make these morals. God? Lord J? Those fat cats in Washington? Hah. Good luck.

My stance on Lord J World isn't a bad one, nay, I quite like the idea. But would it definetely work? Will you actually suppress religion, or would you just have a totally secular law? But then again, which law is totally secular? Many laws come from the two super religions. But that doesn't matter : D We could always say they didn't ; )

My main point is this; to win whatever argument is going on, two things must be achieved:
  • Prove/ Disprove the existence of God(s)
  • Define what good and evil are

Destroy me of my faith, which would be pretty hard to do, and I'll be totally sold on your idea. I've got faith, and even though I'm not a very good Muslim (heck, I enjoy Rock the Casbah : ) ) I've still got it.


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Re: Richard Dawkins- The Root of All Evil
« Reply #21 on: May 23, 2006, 10:11:05 am »
When can I join that Josh-something nation of yours?

Your compliment is appreciated, but the sentiment behind it is much more interesting to me. What is it that fascinates you so much, that you created this thread? I mean it sincerely, if you’d like to answer. But keep in mind I am not talking about Professor Dawkins.

If I were to presume to know your thoughts, I would say you are taking an interest in the philosophy of reason. That philosophy can be stated thusly: Everything has a reason. Find it. Learn all that is learnable. Reject ignorance. Think critically. But it doesn’t end there. Reason leads to visions of a better world, and I take it you have come to desire something like that.

A better world begins within you. So put that critical mind of yours to work. Question everything. Look for reasons. Don’t be afraid to be curious. I’m sure the Joshalonian Empire will get around to your neck of the woods eventually, but don’t look to me or anyone else for your own, personal excellence.

Oh, why I created this thread? Like you said, I think the world is on the wrong way. I've just displayed it so that people can watch this intresting video and perhaps comprehend something of what Dawkins-and also I-defines as 'The Root of all Evil'. Of course, I'm not here to shake people's beliefes-They may believe what they want, and I really think that no one around here is as extreme as the evangelist pastor or the Muslim in Jerusalam, but I sincerely hope that they woulden't become like them when things get worse and all hell gets loose-which is something that'll happan, in our lifetime or the next. I really hope that they'll keep religion in perspective, as that may very well pass on to next generations. I hope people like Burning Z and other radicalists will, someday, realize how, excuse the word, twisted are the things they say and do sometimes. I, for one, have no problem talking to Muslims. Why, Burning Z and I get along just fine and every once and a while we have a friendly chat on MSN. I don't Muslims, or Arabs, or whatever. I mind TERRORISTS AND KILLERS. That's what I hate, and I hope, and believe you do as well, Josh, for a future, where our children can live without enduring such hardships.

Sentenal

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Re: Richard Dawkins- The Root of All Evil
« Reply #22 on: May 24, 2006, 01:26:29 am »
Quote
Sentenal, you’re getting better. I think you are finally starting to enjoy this more, and allow yourself to be enriched by these exchanges, rather than simply made angry.
Thanks, because I'd rather not have issues with people here.

Quote
Now, as to the specifics of your snark, let’s remember the case of “killing the killers.” You are in favor of the death penalty; you understand exactly what that means. Religion is a killer, plain and simple. In a functional justice system, the law simply cannot allow religion to have its way, unchecked.
I have never let my religious beliefs harm anyone.  In fact, my religious believes have inspired me to be helpful around my community, and assist my fellow man with their problems.
Quote
But nobody is talking about killing the religious, except you. I certainly don’t want to kill anybody. I want not to be killed by people like you. I resent needless death and destruction, and I think religion can be dismantled peacefully. By separating church and state, and depriving faith-based institutions of all government money and civic recognition, religion can remain people’s private business, and would hopefully continue its slow decline as new generations of people grow up with better education and less need to believe in a delusion.
In my satire, I ment the killing of Religion, not the Religious.  And in order to kill the Religion, the Religious have to be forcefully striped of their right of freedom of religion, and forced to comform to what you see fit.  From your stance of wanting Religion to end, I see why you want Churchs and stuff to not get government money and civic recognition.  I don't want my Church getting taxpayer money either.  Religious Organizations should be treated as non-profit organizations, running off money donated, and free from government taxes.

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Re: Richard Dawkins- The Root of All Evil
« Reply #23 on: May 24, 2006, 02:45:00 am »
Quote
But nobody is talking about killing the religious, except you. I certainly don’t want to kill anybody. I want not to be killed by people like you. I resent needless death and destruction, and I think religion can be dismantled peacefully. By separating church and state, and depriving faith-based institutions of all government money and civic recognition, religion can remain people’s private business, and would hopefully continue its slow decline as new generations of people grow up with better education and less need to believe in a delusion.
In my satire, I ment the killing of Religion, not the Religious.  And in order to kill the Religion, the Religious have to be forcefully striped of their right of freedom of religion, and forced to comform to what you see fit.  From your stance of wanting Religion to end, I see why you want Churchs and stuff to not get government money and civic recognition.  I don't want my Church getting taxpayer money either.  Religious Organizations should be treated as non-profit organizations, running off money donated, and free from government taxes.

Then we have something in common. It would be nice if more fundamentalists decided that church and state make a poor pair.

One last thing: You said that in order for religion to die out, the faithful have to be stripped of their freedom to practice their religion. That's not necessarily true. There is another way for religion to die out. People can decide they don't need it.

Sentenal

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Re: Richard Dawkins- The Root of All Evil
« Reply #24 on: May 24, 2006, 02:53:11 am »
Quote
But nobody is talking about killing the religious, except you. I certainly don’t want to kill anybody. I want not to be killed by people like you. I resent needless death and destruction, and I think religion can be dismantled peacefully. By separating church and state, and depriving faith-based institutions of all government money and civic recognition, religion can remain people’s private business, and would hopefully continue its slow decline as new generations of people grow up with better education and less need to believe in a delusion.
In my satire, I ment the killing of Religion, not the Religious.  And in order to kill the Religion, the Religious have to be forcefully striped of their right of freedom of religion, and forced to comform to what you see fit.  From your stance of wanting Religion to end, I see why you want Churchs and stuff to not get government money and civic recognition.  I don't want my Church getting taxpayer money either.  Religious Organizations should be treated as non-profit organizations, running off money donated, and free from government taxes.

Then we have something in common. It would be nice if more fundamentalists decided that church and state make a poor pair.

One last thing: You said that in order for religion to die out, the faithful have to be stripped of their freedom to practice their religion. That's not necessarily true. There is another way for religion to die out. People can decide they don't need it.
That is true.  However, I don't know how possible that is.  Personally, I would hope that people would never decide they don't need it.  The only way to get people to decide they don't need it is to endocrinate children in our schools, and even then, you wouldn't be able to ensure this in private and home schools.  Frankly, the only way I see religion dieing out is God's existance to be disproven.

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Re: Richard Dawkins- The Root of All Evil
« Reply #25 on: May 24, 2006, 03:06:23 am »
There is another way for religion to die out. People can decide they don't need it.
That is true.  However, I don't know how possible that is.  Personally, I would hope that people would never decide they don't need it.  The only way to get people to decide they don't need it is to endocrinate children in our schools, and even then, you wouldn't be able to ensure this in private and home schools.  Frankly, the only way I see religion dieing out is God's existance to be disproven.

Indoctrination...now that's the stuff of faith. I know why it is hard for you to imagine that people could simply "realize" one day that they don't need religion, without having been indoctrinated toward that opinion. But just because it's a strange idea to you doesn't have any bearing on its truth. That's the big problem with faith; it discourages people from imagining things, from being able to conceive of new ideas...from thinking freely. If students (and others) are taught to have an open mind, and think critically about what they are told, then many of them will realize the truth of that old saying by Carl Sagan, that "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." The more that people come to understand their natural world, the easier it becomes for them to outgrow religious conviction. That's why so many of the most intelligent people are nonreligious. And that's also why religion has been generally on the decline in the West as materialism and the quality of education have improved. You might have trouble conceiving of it, but it is actively occuring all around you--notwithstanding the anachronism of the fundamentalist conservative religious resurgence in the United States South.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2006, 03:08:05 am by Lord J esq »

Burning Zeppelin

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Re: Richard Dawkins- The Root of All Evil
« Reply #26 on: May 24, 2006, 06:11:04 am »
Burning Z and other radicalists
*blinks rapidly* Huh?

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Re: Richard Dawkins- The Root of All Evil
« Reply #27 on: May 24, 2006, 06:44:44 am »
Burning Z and other radicalists
*blinks rapidly* Huh?

Hey, you're the one who said that after Gog and Magog everybody will be Muslim.

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Re: Richard Dawkins- The Root of All Evil
« Reply #28 on: May 25, 2006, 05:59:23 am »
No, I said before. After Gog and Magog everyone will be dead :P
And plus, thats not me talking. Thats what (I believe) God said. Therefore you are calling my God radical.

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Re: Richard Dawkins- The Root of All Evil
« Reply #29 on: May 25, 2006, 06:14:22 am »
No, I said before. After Gog and Magog everyone will be dead :P

Maybe it's just me, but that little exchange sounded rather funny. Or maybe it's just too late in the night, and I'm not thinking.

But... umm... sorry for asking, but do you actually take Revelations literally? For that matter, do Muslims read Revleations? Its apocryphal even in the Christian church, and there's quite a bit of contention about what it means. Being rather fringe even for Christians (or, at least, it should be) I wasn't under the impression that Muslims actually looked at it. I know you consider Jesus a prophet (a funny thing, though, to hear of Muslims boycotting the Da Vinci Code and holdings signs saying Muslims for Jesus or something like that), but what do you consider the other post-Jesus writers?