Debate With Best Selling Author Peter Cave, Can We Live Better Lives Without Religion
Channel: Hamza Tzortzis
File Size: 64.01MB
Hamza Andreas Tzortzis debates Peter Cave (Best-selling author, philosophy lecturer and chair of the British Humanist Association’s Philosophers Group). Excellent points by Br. Hamza and a good debate overall.
Bismillah R Rahman Rahim al hamdu Lillahi Rabbil alameen wa salatu salam ala rasulillah while he was on the edge mine, good evening, brothers and sisters, ladies and gentlemen, I feel privileged for being asked to chair this event at my former University where I graduated some 15 years ago. I'm also delighted that the Islamic Society
is reviving the long held Islamic tradition of intellectual debates where profound and far reaching philosophical issues are discussed with believers and non believers alike, with people who believe in God, and those who don't believe in God. we're reminded of Abu hanifa, Imam ghazali, and even Tamia to name but a few whose contribution to human thought is unprecedented. And the ideas live on in voluminous works. tonight's debate is entitled, can we live better lives without religion? And I'm sure you all agree that that is a very important question. And of course you do otherwise you wouldn't be here, and there's no free food. So that must be the reason why you're here. Now,
tonight's debate is actually not an abstract philosophical discussion. It's about life. It's about what we say about it, what we should do with it, and most importantly, how we can make it better. So this subject affects all of us. In recent times, we have been witnessing a campaign that is seeking to highlight the apparent in compatibility between race and religion.
This campaign is focused on attributing total irrationality, and ignorance to religion. This campaign, sometimes known as Neo atheism, has its high priests See what I did there, such as Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Sam Harris. And they've had some considerable success, insofar as developing a new narrative against the revival and existence of current religious worldviews. So tonight, we will examine and scrutinize the validity of a particular aspect of this very narrative. So I will now introduce our participants. So we have Peter cave on our extreme right. He is a philosopher lecturer, and the British humanist associations Chair of the humanist philosophy
philosophers group. He gives talks, lectures, debates, and publishes papers on a wide range of philosophical topics, often with a humorous twist. He's the author of humanism, a beginner's guide, and of the best selling, can a robot be a human, and what's wrong with eating people? So I hope you don't mind Peter if I don't accept an invitation to your house for dinner, so
so his website is found at WWE dot, Peter cave.com Hamza Zod says to his left is a senior researcher and lecturer for IRA. He is a convert to Islam from humanism. He has participated in debates both at home and abroad, with leading academics and intellectuals on the philosophy of religion, politics and society. He delivers lectures across the world to articulate and has also shed much needed light on Islam and its way of life. He runs the blog, which is WWE 100 sources.blogspot.com. I'm not going to bother spelling that out. So you can see that later. Oh, and by the way, he's Greek, which is always nice.
Now, before I ask comes to begin his opening presentation, I would like to set some ground rules and give you the format of tonight. So each speaker will speak for about 25 to 30 minutes maximum. And after each opening presentation, I will ask each speaker to respond with a seven minute rebuttal. Finally, we will have a question answer session. With each speaker asking each other a few questions first, and then you the audience will be able to address our participants. I would like to remind the audience to show courtesy to both our speakers. In particular, this means that no shoes can be thrown at them. However, as Hamza does boxing training, I'm confident he could show George W. Bush a
thing or two when it comes to dodging any oncoming projectiles. I would also request that all mobile phones are switched off or they are put on silent mode. And without further ado, I invite Hamza to the platform.
I'm going to start as Muslims do with the name of God. In Alhamdulillah wa Salatu was Salam ala rasulillah and my bad I greet you all with the Islamic greetings of peace. Assalamu alaykum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh
One of the prophets of new atheism, Christopher Hitchens, in his bestseller, God is not great, wrote the following words he said, as I write these words, and as you read them, people of faith are in a different ways planning your and my destruction and the destruction of all the hard one human attainments that I have touched upon. Religion poisons, everything. He writes, oh II see a byproduct of our secular society, conditioned to point the finger finger at religion.
And this is what today's debate is about.
Before I get into my main arguments, I would like to start with some definitions.
Now, upon surveying the various definitions for religion, looking at literature and philosophical dictionaries, I have personally come to the conclusion that the definition for mainstream religion is the belief in a god and that God commands you to do things. Pizza gate, pizza, Kate.
Sorry, that wasn't a Freudian slip at all. Pizza cave, rather.
How unfortunate pizza cave.
I'm running out of time. Pizza cave, in his book, humanism. He writes about religion, and conforms to my description. He says, it involves the belief in God, or gods with the belief generates doctrines of morality, and how life should be lived. Hence, from now on, I'm going to be using the word religion and Islam interchangeably. Now, my argument is that religion does make your life better. And the way I'm going to show this is by saying that the things in religion that are beneficial to your life, are actually unique to religion, and can never be replaced by non religious or a religious life. I give you an example. Say you have two bottles, one is full of water. The
other one is also full of water, but it has some special Herbes in it, that are beneficial for your health, for example, they both quench your thirst. But the best bottle is the one with the herbs, because it has additional benefits as unique to that bottle. I would argue religion, and specifically Islam is exactly that.
To support this, I will use four main arguments, one, sociological,
philosophical, three, moral, and for political. However, before I get into the thick of the argument, I like to highlight that all the negative things, all the evils actually related to religion, actually not unique to religion. I repeat, all the negative and evil things actually be to religion are not unique to religion.
In this way, the former professor of divinity at Oxford University, Keith Ward, he writes, it is very difficult to think of any organized human activity that could not be corrupted. The lesson is that anti religious corruptions and religious corruptions are both possible. There is no magic system of belief, not even in the belief in liberal democracy, which can be guaranteed to prevent it. And let me give an example. Let's talk about the outdated cliche of religion causes war and conflict. What is that unique to religion? I argue that the common conceptual denominator is humanity itself. Let me give you some examples. 70 million people died under Chairman Mao
20 million people died on the stand in
70 700,000. Innocent Iraqis no longer exists because of the contemporary war, about World War One and World War Two, the Vietnam War, the mass murder of newborn baby gills in China or Hiroshima, Nagasaki, about the ethnic cleansing of Tibetans.
So my point is, these conflicts and this violence more wasn't done under the name of religion, but under the name of secular non religious ideology. So in the question and answers, I asked you all, to have more than nuanced approach to this discussion, and transcend the outdated cliches. Let me go into my arguments. My first argument is this sociological argument and it can be summarized as follows religion
makes your life better in contrast to a lack of religion, because it has been shown to facilitate better mental health, better physical health, lower levels of crime, higher levels of happiness, and high levels of altruism and philanthropic activity. Let me give you some examples from key academic works in the study of sociology. Example number one, in the Handbook of religion and health, edited by Harold KEANEY, Michael McCullough and David Lawson, they reviewed 2000 published experiments designed to test the relationship between religion and various medical conditions. The overall results were that people of religion live longer, they have physically healthier lives. Young people
have lower levels, significantly lower levels of drug and alcohol abuse, lower levels of criminal delinquency, and attempted suicide, a positive correlation. Example number two, the Gallup survey on religion in America concluded that people who agree that God is very important to their lives are twice as likely to report being very happy. In contrast to those who said God is not important to their lives. And the national Opinion Research Center reported exactly the same conclusions.
Example number three in 2000, political scientists and Professor Robert Putnam surveyed 200 volunteer organizations, and it showed a positive correlation between religiosity and membership of those charitable organizations. Similarly, the index of philanthropy, Global Philanthropy Philanthropy In 2007, it states religious people are more charitable than non religious, not only given to their own congregations, but also regardless of income region, social class, and other demographic variables, and significantly more charitable in this secular donations and informal giving. Now, Peter cave also writes in his book humanism, what though is the conceptual or logical
link between morality and the belief in God, she made his claim there is none. Well, in light of the above, I would later on kindly asked him to reconsider his assumptions. argument number two, it's a philosophical argument.
Religion makes your life better than a lack of religion, because of the logic of submission.
Listen to this carefully. One, God is all knowing and all wise, she, she beings are obviously not. Three. Therefore it is rational and beneficial to follow what God has said.
But on scratching the intellectual surface, there's some hidden premises here. And what are the hidden premises? Well, the hidden premises are that God exists and that he has revealed something to humanity.
I believe this can be substantiated by showing that the uniqueness of the Quran can only be best explained supernaturally. And in doing so, I will prove the existence of the supernatural cognitive power, ie God, and at the same time, showing that the Quran is what he revealed. In other words, explaining that Quran is a miracle.
Firstly, though, what are miracles? According to the older philosophers, such as David Hume and others, they said, miracles are violations of natural law. But does this make sense? Surely this is an ironclad description of what miracles are. Because what are the reality of natural laws or natural laws? Or just inductive generalizations of patterns we perceive in the universe? That if something breaks that pattern, doesn't mean it's a miracle? No, I think that's incoherent. I would argue, well, maybe it was part of the pattern. So we have to miraculously, rediscover coherent meaning for the word miracle. And I would argue that
the best description for a miracle are acts of impossibilities. So we have to search for supernatural explanation. In the words of the philosopher, William Lane Craig, he says, miracles are events that lie outside the productive capacity of nature. So in this way, we have to look for non natural explanations. Now with regards to the Quran. The Quran is a unique piece of literature, its literary form, the structural features of the Arabic language in the Quran, the scope of the Arabic language,
It lies outside any expression of the Arabic language for example, the famous arabist aG arbury. He says, For the Quran is neither prose, no poetry, but a unique fusion of both. Similarly, the professor and arabist Hamilton give he says, as a result of humanity, not being able to challenge or emanate this unique literary form and structure concludes the following. He says, the Meccans the people at the time of revelation 1400 years ago, still demanded of human miracle. And with remarkable boldness and self confidence, Mohammed appeared as a supreme confirmation of his mission to the Quran itself. Like all Arabs, they were connoisseurs of language and rhetoric, well, then, if
the Quran with his own permission composition, other men could rival it, let them produce 10 verses like it, if they could not, and it is obvious that they could not let them accept the Quran as an outstanding evidential miracle. So since all the finite letters and the finite words and the finite grammatical rules in the Arabic language have been exhausted, and we cannot produce the form of the Quran, the literary form and structure of the Quran, then surely, we need to be looking for supernatural explanations. So let's go back to our definition, since the Quran cannot be emulated, and since we have exhausted all possibilities of the nature of the Quran, which is the Arabic
language, then it must be a miracle. Let me give you the summary. One, a miracle is an event which lies outside the productive capacity of nature to the Quran, a unique literary form lies outside the productive capacity of the nature of Arabic language. Three, therefore the Quran is a miracle, which proves the existence of a supernatural cognitive power. In other words, God, but also soul shows that the Quran is His Word. So we've justified the logic of submission.
One, God is all knowing or wise to human beings are not three, therefore, it is rational and beneficial to follow what God has said.
My third argument is a moral argument. And it can be summarized as follows. Religion makes your life better, because it is the only basis for objective morality, morality that has meaning. The word better in our discussion today is
a moral value judgment, something is better something is where something is bad, something is good. Now, I would argue that without God, we cannot meaningfully discuss today's topic, Peter should go home.
This is because
the logical submission. This is because without God, there is no objective value and objective morality, that this doesn't mean humanists or atheists or people of no religion do not display moral behavior. Of course they do. Peter's a great guy. As he says in his book, The overall
we didn't say you were easy.
The overall humanist stance.
The overall humanist stance is that moral behavior needs neither belief in a god nor the motivation to please in a god. I agree. But the argument is here, it's not about behavior. It's about moral ontology, the basis of morality, can we say the Holocaust was objectively morally wrong? 100% wrong. Regardless, if the Nazis had occupied the whole world and brainwashed us, it's still objectively wrong. But you can't say this without the existence of God. Because I said, God is the only objective anchor that transcends human subjectivity. In this slide, the famous Mackey. Rather, his name was Jay L. Mackey, a professor of Oxford University, one of the most influential atheists of
our time. He says, if there are objective values, they make the existence of God more probable, they would have been without them. Thus we have a defensible argument from morality to the existence of God.
So can we say
killing a young child is morally wrong 100% morio morally wrong? Who believes in this Put your hand up to kill a child is 100% more
Well, you can only say this if you have a religious or godly worldview.
Because as I said, God is the only conceptual anchor that transcends human subjectivity. In the absence of God. There's only two other possible foundations. And those come from evolution, and social pressure. But can evolution provide an objective basis for morality? What does evolution say that were just accidental byproducts of a very long, lengthy evolutionary process, our morality has evolved, like our ears or teeth, or toenails.
And it's illusionary because biology says that we're going to change and if your morality is pegged on your biology, then your morals are going to change so it's not objective anymore.
This is why my gurus the philosopher of science, points this out he explains, morality is a biological adaptation, no less than our hands, feet and teeth, considered as a rational, justifiable set of claims about an objective something. ethics is illusionary, I appreciate when someone says love thy neighbor as thyself, they think they're referring above and beyond themselves. Nevertheless, such reference is truly without foundation.
So can social pressure provide an objective basis for morality?
The quick answer is no. Any superficial reading on the study of social psychology, sociology, social constructionism, anyone who would read a book from Vivian bear called the introduction to social constructionism would quickly conclude that the influential structures of a particular society moves the values and morals to certain
That's why we have the term modernity which basically means from a layman perspective, don't really believe in anything because your values are going to change over time.
So we can summarize the argument as follows. One, God is the only conceptual anchor that transcends human subjectivity to the religious worldview is the belief in a god three, therefore religious perspectives of morality and values, our objective and non religious perspectives are illusionary now to close this section, I believe, Peter cave, just believe that killing 6 million Jews is objectively morally wrong. But he can only believe that if God exists, and that you carry a religious perspective. as Richard Taylor, one of the most famous ethicists, he writes, the modern age more or less, repudiating the idea of a divine lawgiver has nevertheless tried to retain the
ideas of moral rights and moral wrong without noticing that in casting God aside, they have also abolished the meaningfulness of right and wrong as well.
argument number four, and my final argument is a political argument. Islam makes your life better than a lack of religion, because its economic model deals with poverty and creates financial stability better than any other model, past or present.
Let's look at the situation about global poverty. It is one of abject poverty and misery. 3 billion in the world live on fewer than $2 a day 1.3 billion have no access to clean water. 3 billion have no access to sanitation, and 2 billion have no access to electricity.
What does Islam have to say? I'm going to deliver the six major features of the Islamic economic model. The first feature, individual needs are defined. Islam carries a truthful, honest perspective on geopolitics. individual needs are defined, and there's enough resources to deal with these individual needs. In a statement from the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him said, the son of Adam. In other words, humanity has no better right than he would have a house, a piece of cloth, and a piece of bread, food, shelter and clothing. And what this creates is a macro economy of dealing with the number one economic problem of distribution rather than the liberal non religious
economic perspective of competition. Hence, the reason we could buy the nice cameras and look very nice as you all do today
is because there has to be poor competition. What does it mean someone's gonna lose out your fellow brother.
And this is why the geopolitical myth of liberal economics is damaging. There's too many names
And not enough resources. Point number two, Islam removes interest. The Quranic injunction says, God has permitted trade and forbidden interest, because interest restricts the distribution of wealth.
And when you remove interest is more hands in.
Rather, there's more money in the hands of society and individuals. And this leads nicely to my third point, which is about Islamic taxation, aiding the distribution of wealth, because income tax is only 2.5%. While there is no income tax, but rather there is a tax, that's only 2.5%. And this creates an economic stimulus, because so many argue, if you take interest out, he would have too much money, you don't text people, there's too much money, they will keep our home and hold it. But under Islamic economic model, it decreases 2.5% every year. So that's an economic stimulus to take your money and inject you back into society to promote entrepreneurship
and elevate the economic standards of your particular society.
And this is in stark contrast to the US. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, he concluded that the combined federal, state and local government average tax rate for most workers is 40%. And this does not even include indirect taxation.
Even from a utilitarian perspective, we should want an exam economic model will have more money.
Point number four, it prevents monopolies everyone heard about about the credit crunch.
But your students forget money from your parents, right.
So the credit cards happen because it is Let Freedom be to free if that ever makes sense. The global market of free economy with no mechanisms to prevent hoarding of wealth, monopolies and all the issues that were deliberately
in some cases by some bankers done to create this financial crisis. But Islam doesn't say that it says there must be mechanisms in the free market economy in order to balance things out. And that's why the Quranic conjunction that says, wealth does not become a commodity between the rich among you is a basis to
deal with the free market economic boom and bust cycles. Point number five natural resources are actually people's wealth, more more money in the hands of society, again, because of a statement from the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him. He said, people are partners in three things, water, pastures and fire, the intellectual heritage of Islam, that classical scholarship derived that this has to do with the natural resources. And I would argue that if Saudi Arabia really followed their profit,
my profit, then it's estimated that from the oil revenues, people will be getting $20,000 a year without working.
Last point, point number six is about stability. issuing money is actually a duty of the state. And it must be pegged on something substantial like the gold or silver.
In in Islamic economics, the government is only allowed to print money, which is in stark contrast to liberal economics, especially in Britain, where the banks can print and destroy their money. And in this line, Reginald McKenna, one of the richest Chancellor of the Exchequer at one time, he said, I am afraid that the ordinary citizen will not like to be told that the banks or the Bank of England can create and destroy money when I agree.
So in Islam, gold is the standard for currency. So money is not free floating. So that means it's pegged on something substantial, like wealth like gold. So when there's more money in society, it actually means there's more wealth. So businesses, that wealth is not devalued, because of the printing of money. And this has historical precedence when at a point in time in Islamic history, governments decided to use these principles during the Ottoman period in 1507 58. Silver aspirants could buy one gold coin, after eight years and 1589. One gold coin cost 62 aspers. That's only 7% inflation in eight years, who get that in six months in some European countries.
And I think the letter that was written in 1453 by a rabbi, you
Living in the ultimate period sums, the Islamic economic model very well. And he says, here in the land of the Turks, in other words, the Muslims, we have nothing to complain of. we possess great fortunes, much gold and silver in our hands. We are not oppressed by heavy taxes, and our commerce is free and unhindered, rich are the fruits of the earth. Everything is cheap, and every one of us lives in peace and freedom. Now to conclude, the question today was, can we live better lives without religion? I believe I have shown that the negative things actually be to religion are not unique to religion itself. But the common conceptual denominator is humanity and I used crisis and
conflict and war as an example.
I also think I showed that the positive and beneficial things in Islam and religion are unique to religion specifically, and cannot be replaced by a non religious or secular or atheist worldview. So it logically follows that we can't live better lives without religion, because religion, specifically Islam has benefits that cannot be replaced by non religious life. So to end, I would like to highlight that for humanists or people of no religion, their main philosophical premise in trying to intellectually defeat religion is, in the words of Peter Kay's colleague and my previous debater, the famous philosopher, Dr. Nigel Warburton, when he said, Tell me of something human that
was taken by religion and made better. Well, according to tonight's evidence, it would not be surprising if you were to conclude that religion, specifically Islam, took life and made it better. This is why in the Quran, the Holy Book of the Muslims, it says, Oh, you who believe respond to the call of God and His messenger to that which gives you life? The implications here, if you don't respond, then maybe we're just dead people. And hamdu Lillahi Rabbil alameen. Thank you very much for listening.
Well, I must admit, I don't know where to begin. Except that's a way of beginning of course.
I suppose that these events, particularly at this event was such a fine dice a silver tongue speaker, I am worried that I might suddenly be converted to the Quran. But then all of a sudden, I think this is unlikely to happen, because I think you started losing me and suddenly lost some of the audience when all of a sudden you are managing to deduce economic models from the Quran. And that seems rather implausible, particularly if we bear in mind the states of certain Islamic countries.
There are so many things which you said, again, I start pondering on where to begin, you talk about how many, many people in abject poverty and misery indeed, that's true. That's terribly true. At this very moment, millions of people are starving and suffering. It's amazing to me that you can accept that and yet also talk about there being an all powerful God, who I believe for many religions is meant to be a loving God, that sits uneasily to me as a humanist. And so that's a sort of consideration, which would lead me to start wondering clients what's going on here Hamza.
I quickly glancing down the list of other points you made somehow we had a story about two bottles of water. One was herps in I hope the one was Herbes in mint grapes, and it was a nice bottle of red wine.
As another point, you seem to be quoting, I suspect, incredibly dubious statistics about how religious people are happier than other people. But okay, if you want to be a hedonist and just go for happiness, that's fine. Some of us have greater values like truth, and compassion and respect. So that's a rather cheap comments, but offers often humanists are accused of just being concerned about happiness. Strangely, that's what seems to come out of your talk Hamza. But overall, I'm, as I said early on, and you've mocked me, Elizabeth, I'm easygoing. I'm a humanist, I'm an atheist, and I want to live and let live. So I have no objection at all to many, many people, being religious, be
they Christians or Muslims or Hindus or worshipping Nordic gods or the Olympic gods. That's fine. That's, that's to the variety of life. And unlike some of my colleagues, I actually value religions being around I enjoy going to even song in churches sometimes because they enjoy the music. But what I don't enjoy and what makes me think religion is not beneficial to society overall, is because
Many, many religious people, though not all religious people try to impose their beliefs on others. That's the key thing, which I keep coming back to and why I talked about my being easy is that humanists and atheists Do not try to impose atheism and humanism on others. Don't discuss it, now talk about it. But we are live and let live, so long as we're not harming each other. Well as as all of us know, certainly in the heart of our hearts, many religious people, not all notes, but many religious people do try to impose their beliefs on others. In Britain, for example, the bishops will try to prevent the existence of voluntary euthanasia, of assisted dying because of their religious
beliefs. Catholics in some parts of the world will impose the claim that you ought not to use contraceptives seems very bizarre to me, in the Holy Bible, in the New Testament, Jesus Christ had it in for lust, some of us at my age, enjoy lust, that's the best it gets.
So I could go through a whole range of little items. I believe in the Quran, say, I believe certain interpretations of the colon. And certainly certain interpretations of the Bible, lead many religious people to say that homosexuality is wicked, and there should be laws against it. And
very important, some philosophers stroke scientists, mathematician, Alan Turing, who was at Cambridge in the 1920s 30s 40s, because he was so oppressed by the fact he was a homosexual, he ended up committing suicide, eating a poison apple,
which may be you might say, that goes back to Adam and Eve, but beware the apple so to speak. But nonetheless, there have been many, many tragic outcomes as a result of various religious beliefs. It's fairly common, though for Hamza to say, yes, as many tragic outcomes as a result basis. I don't deny that. And so if we start thinking about this, one question is to do with the empirical question, which Hamza was using a fair bit, namely, how many deaths or harms have come about as a result of religions as opposed as a result of atheism or humanism?
I honestly think you can't work that out. I think that's a bizarre way of looking at things for a start. Who knows which religions we're talking about whether they've been followed correctly? Of course, many religious believers would think society would be much better if there was no lasting in the hearts where there was no homosexuality. Whereas humanists would think that's fine. Overall, then we're not going to be able to measure the harms or the non harms in that way. So the empirical question doesn't really get me going, because I don't think there is any clear way of establishing whether a belief in religion is more likely to generate a flourishing society or not.
Where my concern is, is with regard to far more important issues, which I think that I say Hamza religion is found wanting.
The debates, of course, is meant to be about religions, I noticed that Hamza, I strangely get the impression that he thinks the only true religion is Islam. I'm not sure if it's meant to be the Sunni version of Sharia version, or many other versions, no doubt, which is always a problem for any religious believer, namely, you have different makes. In Christianity, as you know, we have Catholics, we have Church of England, we have Lutherans, we have Quakers, there's a whole range, and they disagree at times.
What's also fascinating with regard to any particular religion, and any particular mate of any particular religion, and any particular model of that make, it sounds like a Volvo car, you know, sort of different models of different makes, but home in focus on one particular model or one particular make. And you'll realize that there's many disagreements, the obvious disagreements tend to concern sex, which is always of interest to some of us, but they tend to concern sex with regard to homosexuality, contraception, premarital sex, and so on. And as I said, as a humanist, I really don't mind if groups of people actually do not want to engage in homosexual activities or do not
want to engage in premarital sex. My concern is when they start oppressing other people with regard to their lives. That's the main concern which I have.
I did bring along not merely to show that I have some big books at home. But I did bring along some books.
I believe the Quran is a very important sacred text and many people here and I assume so to Hamza as he told me, I think that this is the word of God of Allah. That type of thought worries me hugely. And I'll say why in more detail in a moment, but it means it seems to me that you have to go to the Quran to check out where the truth is, you know,
that worries me because surely you should look around the world to see where the truth is rather than thinking in a book or books written many, many years ago under dubious circumstances.
Somehow they've got to capture the truth.
That reminds me of another book, not another book, another thought, which came about when Hamza was talking. He implied, maybe rightly, that humanists and atheists change their values over the centuries, to remember how interpretations of this book get changed over the centuries and between different groups. So the idea that there's some fixed morality here is a bit of a myth, because as we know, many, many religious people over many, many centuries have actually changed their mind about whether morality is about the interpretations of books such as this one. I have no objections. This book is a book is written by a man no doubt, or men, maybe women, but that's unlikely See, and
I think the book says men are superior to women, which again, might be something which you're now changing, I can quote you if you want, but some of you who disagree with that for doubtless dates and Miss translation or misinterpretation, so I won't go along that route. All I have to do is place my cards on the table with regard to saying that eminence, Muslim scholars argue about what the truth is inside this book. It is therefore not a reliable source of morality, it is not a secure indicator words to be so you wouldn't all be arguing about exactly what it meant. We're allowed to be great, he could surely speak more clearly.
Another holy book is, of course, the Holy Bible, the Old Testament very much, very fond of by the Jews and New Testament by the Christians. Again, there's some agreements between this book, and this book, I only happen to have a bigger book here because I happen to have a Christian background, although I'm an atheist, and I could get the sympathy vote by saying when my mother was in her twilight years, even though I'm an atheist, I happily bought her big print Bible because she was a Christian. Once again, that manifests the fact though, that as a humanist and atheist, we don't object to people having Christian beliefs or Muslim beliefs. Our objection is when it leads to
further complications in society, which is a very important point. So once again, we are easygoing we like to be courteous. We don't want to be offensive. So we get very, very upset by the fact that some Muslims can get very offended by little cartoons of Mohammed. And yet we asis, we're not meant to get offended when we are told, hey, if you don't believe in Allah, you might go to hell, which occurs in some of the passages in the Quran. But again, where is it going, you made that mistake, we won't go to hell, because there is no hell, but noise or heaven, I'm afraid. In fact, I'm pleased about that. But that's another story. But so given to religious books, I could of course, we have
scriptures to do with Hindu to do with Buddhism, and so on. Here's one to do with Taoism. There's some fine passages in here. I'm amazed that Hamza thinks only the Quran has got some fine lighting inside it, that's fine writing inside Shakespeare inside the Bible.
I won't go as far as to say inside my books, but my books have some quips, and I'm very pleased that Hamza mentioning them so often, because it might mean you might buy one or choose and that means I get 50 P, or maybe one.
And times are hard. So every 50 p counts. And if you want more jokes, as always kind of robot be human, oh, I better not go through the list. But I've wanted also to bring some other books is another great book.
Plato's dialogues, many, many non believers, many atheists and many religious believers dip into this book, they find interesting arguments. Yes. And there are many interesting arguments that find some of the passages wonderfully written. And there are many wonderfully written passages. The big difference between, dare I say, this big book, and in this particular edition, this little book, is that people who read this book tend to think the truth has got to be found in this book. Whereas we as humanists, as atheists, were saying, No, no, no, Plato get things wrong, and they get some things, right. But it's there to discuss. So we have books rather than the book, not that time into
numbers, but we have more numbers than the Muslims do. Because at the end of the day, you think the truth has got to be found in here. Whereas we sing well, we've got to read lots of things experiments in the world. So I'm very fond of john Stuart Mill, another book. But nonetheless, I don't think the truth is in here, because it's written by mill. I don't think the truth is in here, because it's written by Plato, in contrast to many religious people say, ah, we must find it inside the colon, or we must find it inside the Holy Bible.
I could of course out and say really, you should find inside my book on humanism, but that would be achieved.
Blank, he's going blank. No.
I'm making those points. So to start getting into the main part of my discussion and my objection to the hams Aryan line, if I make I'm sorry, on line. I noticed again, though, that with regard to my lips,
Let live, I'm happily drinking from the muck, which talks about Islamic educational and research projects. And so once again, we are happy with that. But my main concern related to that is to do with truth.
Maybe Hamza is happy just to be happy. But some of us value truth. Some of us value investigations, some of us value research, to look for the truth, to engage in research to investigate, you need to be open minded and look around the world, you need to deploy your reason, you are not going to look for the truth, you're not going to be able to work out how things should be, and how things are by saying, oh, it must be found inside this particular book. Though, it may be helpful to look at this book, but it's a mistake, surely to think the truth must reside in here. It is just a book written by a human being or beings.
The danger if you are religious belief, though, is that because you are a religious believer, you do actually think this book has been written by Allah in some strange way. And so given you've got that, to my mind, mistaken belief that there's this great power behind it, you are committed to thinking Oh, it must be in here, the answers must be here. That's one clear danger of religion. Namely, you're not genuinely going to be looking for the truth, if you are committed to saying it's all inside this one book, or at least whatever the truth is, there's got to be coherent with this one book.
Obviously, there are many interpretations of this one book, as we've come across many, many disputes about it. And so in as far as we get some human interpretations of it some compassionate interpretations, then I'd say that's because you're using your humanity to interpret it. We know there are many, many nasty interpretations which result from this book. We know there are many, many nice interpretations, which result. What's the difference when I say those who produce a nice interpretations actually have started paying attention to their human feelings of fellow feeling, empathy, compassion, reason and experience. And that's why they interpret this book, so that they
don't want to chop off hands, maybe if some people read it in this way, or that they don't want to stern adulterous, or whatever the story is.
So one big area, which I've stressed is that if you think you're going to be better off with religion, you're not going to be better off with regard to access to the truth. Because access to the truth requires investigation, and does not require commitment to one particular book.
Before Hamza, without me, oh, we have lots of other books too. But I believe on Hamza, he said it himself the this, these are the words of God of Allah. And so presumably, it all comes back down to this.
And I gather that I haven't read it in detail. I haven't read it much at all. But I gather, I suspect many of you haven't read it much at all, to be honest. But I got that many nasty things in there. But you of course, try to rewrite it in a different way now that you are more humane.
I'm not sure why I talk about you, as I'm sure a few of you are Muslims. But I make the same comments. Exactly the same comments with regard to the Bible. There are many nasty things in here, twice, in fact, had it in for animals, because he sued cast the devil's into a herd of pigs and sent them flying off the edge of a cliff. Not too good for the pigs. I feel so if you're interested in animal rights, and so on, and I wouldn't be a Christian. Also, I noticed I was at a debate the other week that he wasn't too keen on the fig tree. He was looking at a fig tree and it didn't have any fix on it. It probably wasn't in season. So he was at it for victory just like that. These things
worry me, then, although many Christians will say we should follow Christ's way. I don't think you should follow his way with regard to pigs with regard to the victory, nor indeed should you follow his way with regard to saying that if you do not follow Him, you'll be cast into eternal damnation, which I think is a sort of thing which was also said by Mohammed, but I'm open to correction.
So that leads me into my second big area, my first big guy was truth. My second big area of concern is morality.
I suppose I immediately have a thought that is amazing to me that many Christians can be committed to the idea that non believers will suffer and eternal damnation when those non believers might be their parents or might be their children or their close lovers or friends. Because it seems to have vendors that you could actually live a life in which you are foretelling that some of your closest nearest and dearest would end up with eternal hell or damnation. I don't know again, what the particular stances of Muslims about hell and damnation, I'm sure there's many disagreements.
I'm often amazed by how Christians and Muslims some of them seem to know what's going to happen in the afterlife is such detail, when of course, from my viewpoint, there isn't an afterlife but even if you believe there is one for you
You haven't really got the foggiest what it would be like, I suspect you'd be rather tedious sort of going through these lectures time and time again, but you never know. Hamza has such a fine It's such a fine speaker you might enjoy listening to Hamza find eternity. I think Hamza would enjoy listening to Hamza for an eternity.
I just sketch my own thought for the little clip about my being easy, but then I live in Soho, so I am easy.
Returning to the second point, the first point was true. Second point was to do with morality. Returning to the morality issue. Yes, Hamza is toughened, he writes, you bounce the light by mistake. Sometimes times it's perfectly right that I really think there are some objective moral truths. For example, it was objectively morally wrong. To kill However, many millions of Jews or POWs were killed during the Second World War full stop.
I'm not sure if this is going to be a good example. But if I just started for the sheer fun of it to stick pins in Hamza against his will, we'll just start slicing off bits of his ears against his will, or to start chopping off his fingers or pulling his fingernails. Or if I chopped off the fingers pulling the fingernails isn't very relevant. But if I fought off the fingernails first and chopped off the fingers, I started doing lots of nasty things to Hamza for the sheer fun of it. And I hasten to say against his will, he hasn't paid it paid me to do it because he has a particular fetish. I haven't asked you about your fetishes yet. But suppose I were to be doing that, I would
say that I is just doing something morally wrong, full stop. That's a particular case in which something is morally wrong, full stop. And I suspect all of you here whatever your feelings about Hamza, your degree, I will not to harm somebody for the sheer fun of it against their will. Isn't that true? that surely is true. humanists can recognize that truth. I suspect most religious people can recognize that truth as well. Why is that an amazing truth, why it's not an amazing truth. Human beings are such that they can spot that mole truth full stop, just as human beings are such that they can spot many mathematical truths. Human beings have evolved in such a way that they can see
grasses being green, they can count the number of people inside a room. That doesn't mean the number of people inside of them hands on their evolutionary powers. It doesn't mean that grass in green hangs on the evolution of human beings. All it means is that human beings have evolved in such a way that they can perceive these things about grass or about trees or about planets or whatever. And another thing we can perceive is a set of certain moral truths.
I'm very wary of having big general moral principles. I know some religious people and some humanists and atheists like big general law principles, but I think they're normally very shallow. They normally have so many caveats. I much prefer looking at particular cases and seeing where the truth lies. Hence, I gave you that particular case with Hamza. I noticed there wasn't much support for your Hamza. When I was talking about pulling off your fingernails and so on. I thought they'd all be shouting No, no, don't do that. Hamza. But nevermind.
Perhaps, yes, perhaps there are exceptions even to that simple example. What might have been a little bit for general moral principles is for I suspect, many of you might well believe Oh, everyone has a right to life. But that doesn't mean much does it that doesn't actually affect your behavior much. If it doesn't follow that, therefore, everyone has a right to the means to life. I suspect all of us here have many luxuries, which which we don't move, don't at all need in order to live. And yet we prefer having our luxuries towards helping. Many people in other countries are really starving and under great pain and stress in abject poverty. Somewhere along the line, we
compromise. Somewhere along the line, we say oh, well, I'd like to have my DVD player, I'd rather have a holiday that actually helps somebody whose life is on the line. That applies to humanists atheists as much as to Muslims as much as it is to Christians. I'm merely making the point not to say oh, well, we're a religious believer or I'm a humanist, I think everyone has a right to life is pretty vacuous. It's pretty empty, when we don't do much about it. Yeah. All of us to reiterate, at times think we much rather have various some frills, various luxuries, various privileges, larger than than helping people whose life is at stake. So we don't really think the right to life is
paramount. If we did, we'd be changing our behavior. This applies as I said to non believers and believers alike, I'm merely making the point that say, hey, we've got these big moral principles from religion. They don't count for much if it doesn't affect your behavior much.
Furthermore, with regard to the morality issue, and then I go on to my third point, and I end with regard to the morality issue, it's
Strange how many religious believers think there can only be moral or ethical principles? If there is a divine law giver, that surely why you should be doing what is morally right in the interests of the person whom you're trying to help, you ought not to be doing it because God tells you to do it, you will not be doing it as a means of getting to heaven. If you are truly Mollie concerned, as I'm sure many of you, all of you are, what you're really doing is you're helping somebody for their sake, not being motivated towards getting to heaven, or pleasing Allah, or whatever the story is. Furthermore, there's a famous argument which Hamza hasn't mentioned, but it's a bit iffy as an
argument. But you can always ask, why does God command what He commands? If he just commands anything which crosses his mind, so to speak, then why can't it has been good? If on the other hand, he only commands what is good, then you know, already the existence of God is independent of God's commands. In other words, you've got the same problems with morality, if you just say it comes down from God, as you have, if you say it comes from humankind, there still is an issue about what makes good, good. And that's as difficult for God, so to speak, as for us.
Time is getting out, and I'm sure we'll get him bored. And for some of us, of course, that means we want to go off and have a drink. But maybe this doesn't apply to all of you that hasn't, hasn't the he just been over or something. Yes. vaguely. I heard some story about a whole restaurants filled with people and filled the Muslims last night eating, eating away eagerly. But
my third point, though, is to do meaning meaning.
Many religious believers somehow think that lives cannot have meaning without their belief in God, or Allah.
I believe that's true. Many religious believers, believers say, yeah, you know, what gives meaning to my life is my children or my job or my work? But nonetheless, what's the point of it all, unless I have eternal life, of some format? or other words, God?
I think that's a dreadful idea. Because a is intellectually, am dubious. Because if it really is a case that something can only have meaning, if it refers to something outside of itself, then that would have to apply to God as well. If you say, what's the point of it all? Then you can ask that question of God or Allah, what's the point of God? What's the point of Allah, if you think was somewhere along the line, things don't have to have points, it's just valuable in themselves, then that can apply to humanity
is remind reminded a little earlier on about how Tony Hancock had inside one of his sketches. The idea on his gravestone he came, he went in between nothing. Well, maybe that describes some of our lives such as mine. But nonetheless, I think many, many people do find meanings to their lives with regard to their children or their projects, gardening or lighting, or artistry or such. And that just is meaningful, full stop. It's a mistake to think that meaning can only come about through religious belief. So in particular, thinking you're going to have eternal life. If this if this life somehow lacks meaning, then I assure you, an eternal life would also lack meaning, arguably, it
would be worse as it will be boring. Mind you, you may think that's happening at the moment. But I hope it's not too bad. So let me just summarize. And I actually feel Hamza gave a very excellent silver tongue speech. But he ran through lots and lots of issues, many of which were incredibly iffy, with regard to the economic models, and so on, who knows what Islam is meant to say about economics, who knows what Christianity is meant to say about economics? I do know that with regard to the interest issue on money deposited, many, many Muslims find ways around it by going through various little loopholes. So that therefore technically is not on deposit but is invested but ends
up having the same security as if it was well on deposit.
But I'm not just blaming the Muslims on that I blame the Christians equally at times in the Bible, I believe you're not meant to receive interest on money yet nonetheless, obviously, they now accept it very happily.
With regard then to the economic models, the sociologies, stores, farm hams, and so on. I think these are empirical claims. Who knows, you certainly cannot draw the conclusion that life is better off with religion, not least because I take it, Hamza would strongly disapprove of some of the other religions and the title was about religion in general. I suppose I should try to sum up.
I'm tempted to make the point that I often do make this point but here might well seem to be the case that when someone such as Peter cave burbles along, is rather just a way of passing the time. But as Samuel Beckett said time would have passed anyway. So I'm
not intending just to burble, I am intending to make three very serious points despite die say the emptiness of summer hamsters comments, the three deep, serious points, which I really would want you to think about is if you are concerned with truth, if you are concerned with investigating how the world goes and how it should go, you're not to sync the answers must rest inside one particular book. In the case of many people hear the Quran, or in the case of a few people hear the Bible, these books may be of interest to look at some of the words of a fine, some of the words are pretty nasty. But nonetheless, you will not find the truth in one book. It's bizarre to think one book
written many, many years ago and many centuries ago, under strange conditions, somehow is going to give the truth about these matters, that is not in line with your reason and your experience. So I would urge that has been the first main point. The second main point is simply with regard to morality. If you base your morality in God, in belief in God, then For a start, it's dangerous, because if you lose your belief in God, you may think anything goes. And often, atheists and humanists are accused of that. But that's a mistake. If you cease believing in God, or if you never have believed in God, nonetheless, beings, human beings who have a sense of compassion, a sense of
fellow feeling, a sense of reason, have evidence of fairness. Think of young children, they straightaway seem to have an idea of it's fair, it's not fair. That's just the way we are built. Certainly, the meaning of life issue. Many religious believers somehow think this world isn't good enough, we have got to go beyond it, in order to find meanings to our lives, hey, there isn't a beyond that be this world is good enough. And I hope not many of us are in the Tony Hancock position, I'm just thinking he came, he went in between nothing. Well, there's another Samuel Beckett line, which maybe applies me. One participant club says to him, do believe in the life to
come. And ham replies all my life in the life to come, we're really, but nonetheless, I'm sure many of you can have meaningful lives, but they don't become meaningful because of a mistaken belief in an eternal life. If this life cannot have meaning for you, then an eternity of life won't have meaning for you either. So my conclusion, then is really,
let's have a enjoyable debate. And let me persuade you to then have a glass of wine afterwards. But maybe that won't go down. Well, thank you
to rebut some of the arguments put across by Peter. And then Peter will likewise have the option to rebut some of the arguments that Hamza made in this section and also during his talk, so
maybe we can the level of return squared, three squared. That's petition.
Thank you for being
PTK really sorry, for being here.
Because you didn't say much. The reason I'm saying that, because you didn't respond to any of my arguments, you just say, doesn't make sense. It's a current response. Well, you have your time to speak in a minute, sir. And, and also, and also you're talking about?
Well, it has to be done in a structured manner, obviously. And so you asked about my fetish. I think if I did have a fetish, it would be responding to humanists like yourself. That's why I always enjoy being in this position. And let me quickly go to some of his points and some of his outdated cliches with regards to God and religion. First, he talks about the problem of evil, you know, how dare a religious person who believes in this president to cause that cause the whole universe? How can he believe in such a loving and good god if there's so much evil in the world? Well,
there's a problem here. And the problem is, is that if God doesn't exist, then objective right and wrong doesn't exist, which he never addressed in my, from my presentation. However, objects mind he does exist which you admitted to evil exists, objective evil exists, therefore God exists. So what I've done is I've explained evil, the existence of evil with the goodness of God, I don't have to explain how and why. But at least I've explained that those two things are logically compatible. So I think that's a undercutting defeated to your outdated cliche with regards to God. Similarly, you said about economic model. It sounds nice and dandy. All the points I mentioned about Islam and its
economic model dealing with poverty and the financial crisis, and everything the world and his wife
are in the humanist world and his husband, husband
Now, the issue I'm trying to make, the issue I'm trying to make is that, again, there's another fallacious claim, we're looking at the Islamic world. Well, I was talking about political principles here, if you can show me and I'm happy for you to do that, to go into the Muslim world and find the Islamic political principles that they are adopting, because I even mentioned Saudi Arabia saying that they're not adopting an injunction from the Prophet himself, to give money from the oil revenues to the people. So you just swiftly again, an outdated cliche. Third point, he took about Jesus statistics and sociological evidence. I mean, I never did, I didn't focus on happiness. That
wasn't my focus, but mental and physical health, philanthropy, altruism, and I showed you a positive correlation, statistically robust, peer reviewed academic journals. I mean, you can't just say they're all rubbish or nonsensical just because you don't like them. I mean, are you talking about coding for truth? doesn't make much sense to me. Second point, you talking about morality, and saying how we get to know what morals it's in the Quran? Why'd you base it in the end? Well, Funny enough, my argument wasn't about more epistemology. It was about moral ontology. The basis for morality for human features say that pulling my fingernails and pulling my hair and torturing me
against my will is objectively morally wrong, for you to say that there must be a God because there's no other conceptual anchor that transcends human subjectivity, something you didn't deal with, again, the other point is talked about is the divine command theory, also known as you see, up froze dilemma, Plato's dilemma. Now, many philosophers such as Phillip, Queen Robert and Robert Adams, William Aston, and William Craig, they expose this false dilemma adding a third alternative, and what do they say they say, our moral duties are commanded by a loving and good God, and God's very nature, and his nature is determinative of what good is in the first place. Now, one may argue,
why do you choose God as the being that determines good? Well, by definition, God is the only thing worthy of worship. And what is worthy of worship is something that is morally perfect. So I think that breaks the dilemma. The other point you made about voluntary euthanasia, and homosexuality, again, value claims and moral claims and moral judgments about certain things, you pursued them, as if the objective in nature in the humanistic perspective, which there's even difference of opinion amongst humanism, atheist scholars with regards to euthanasia, and things like abortion, and other things like homosexuality, and I would argue, is your standard, you don't even have a standard? How
can you come here and just say, these things are right and wrong, we don't even have a standard, I will tell you.
Without God, your morality is meaningless. It's ephemeral. It's like the Mayan when he rips the blood, rather hits the neck of a deer and drinks his blood. We don't say, hey, that lion is acting immorally? No, he's not murder. He's following his instincts. And what does evolution say the basis for your morality? What does it say? He says, we're just animals. And human beings are something special than us talking about speciesism the unjustified bias for some particular species, which is unjustified and the British would just say we're just matter animals and if that's the case, then it doesn't really matter, does it?
the other point she made about the Quran, the truth is just from the Quran, so we're blind faith is quite funny because the Quran is probably my opinion, the only religious book that points to the outside world have you know, seen the things in the creation that heavens on earth ponder, reflect your tougher cologne in Arabic, those who reflect has a deep meaning. You're not just a desert romantic, touching the sand and looking at the stars. Rather, this word means this thing that you're reflecting upon inquire about its implications. This is why there is an unprecedent history when Islamic governance was in place of progress. That's why the historian piers Butler, he said, no
historical student of the culture of Western Europe can ever reconstruct for himself the intellectual values of the latter Middle Ages, unless he possesses a vivid awareness of Islam, looming in the background, john W. Draper in his book, the intellectual development of Europe.
I have to deplore the systematic systematic manner in which the literature I rip the page to give, there is the rest of it. The systematic manner of the literature of Europe has continued to put out to cite our obligations to the Mohammedan ie the Muslims, surely they cannot be no longer hidden. And many of these books that he was showing the philosophical works, if it wasn't for the Muslims, who preserved them and translated them for Western Europe, you would never be reading them today. My next point
you talked about
You know, Heaven and Hell? And you know, why would God send people to Heaven and Hell, if they just don't believe when the Islamic tradition isn't that you just don't believe you have to be an active rejecter. So proof has to come to you, whatever you constitute whatever proof constitutes to you, and you have to reject it. And that deserves punishment, just like crime, someone commits a crime in any society, they get punished. This is the regulation of metaphysical law, something, which to me sounds very fine, because if you actively reject something to be totally true, then you've devalued humanity itself. As you said, You've taken to the
next point, you talked about the punishments and stoning and cutting the hand of the thief. Well, you've presumed an individualistic philosophy on crime and punishment. I don't have to accept your philosophy in order to make value judgments about punishments. Because Islam doesn't view things from an individualistic premise as the feminist philosopher, yes, I'm a Muslim, and I'm quoting a feminist, the feminist philosopher Marilyn freedom, and she says, individualism is your viewing the self, the individuals, an abstract entity divorced from social obligations. And once you do that, it leads to what in the words of the Roundtree trust and the Trudeau society, it leads to social
breakdown and decay, which we've seen today. And it's what Islam does, he actually says cohesive values in society, and you've used society as an indivisible, whole. So sometimes you have to have suitably harsh punishments to rectify the problems that we can't find the solutions, even in the contemporary world today.
And you're talking about meaning, which is quite funny, because the contrary atheist worldview, there is no meaning at all to life. Because what did the scientists say? What do they say? They say, basically, that there's going to be a heat death, the universe is going to die, the sun is going to burn us out eventually. So we're on the Titanic on a sinking ship. So you think to me, shake the hand of the old lady, or give someone a glass of wine, and maybe we shuffle the deck shares on the sinking ship. But it doesn't really make sense, because it's just a sinking ship. What religion does is something different, it says, do great things here. And you're also going to get great things in
the hereafter too, which is something quite plausible. I don't philosophically I don't think there's any problem here. Also, you talked about the fine writing, I think this was an attack to an attempt in a very superficial attempt to discuss my argument about the miracle of the crown, which never addressed again, or about the philosophy of miracles. You said, Oh, it's fine writing. But the issue is, I never said that the Quran is fine writing. I like Shakespeare, or Romeo Romeo, where Romeo denied I father in deny name. I don't have a problem with it. So I was brought up in Shakespeare. I'm a Brit. So the issue is, I'm talking about the unique structural features of the CRAN, which
cannot be naturalistically explained. And we could discuss this in the q&a also. So it's not it's not about aesthetic reception. It's about objective, observable features in the Arabic language.
One more point, I think you made quite a few points. One more point to make is a final point, which is quite interesting about interpretation.
Humanity obviously has different perspectives on things, differences of opinion or of interpretation is not unique to religious discourse. Rather, it's a human phenomena again, even in secular law, because the Quran is only a spiritual book about morality, and how to live your life is a legal book, also, an illegal book, you required tools of interpretation, which the Quran details how to interpret it for you. Similarly, in secular law, you UK statute law, you need four rules of interpretation, the golden rule, the literal rule, the mischeif rule, and the purpose of rule and these are rules in order to extract law from secular text. So if you deny that for the Quran, is
that legal code? Are you denying that for the secular code? Of course not. And I'm just to finalize, I think I've addressed most of your points. And one thing I'd like to say is, the question is, can we live better lives as a religion? Not can we live true lives without religion, there is a big difference. So I'd like to point out to Mr. Peter cave, that please address my arguments, which just to add that evidence and sociology in a less rhetorical way more of a news discussion, the philosophy of miracles, because to the end, also, objective morality didn't address that you went to a pista mala G and how we can get to normals and what we can feel and you said, well, torturing
someone is just wrong. I don't think that's an argument. It just is. Well, I could just come to the podium and say, Well, God just is Islam just is the Prophet Mohammed just is. That's not an argument. You can't have your cake and eat it. Also, about the political aspects in the sound with regards to economy. You didn't deal with any of the six points diarized. Finally,
I'd really like to say that the statement of the Prophet Muhammad peace and blessings be upon him when he said the cure to ignorance is actually to ask and learn. And I do ask you to proceed in that light. Thank you very much for listening.
Peter cave, you now have seven to 10 minutes to rebut the rebuttal, I guess.
Well, once again, I wonder how can I follow that? Then I think how can I follow that? I'm not sure if many of us can follow it. You mentioned so many things Hamza. And so well, I to be an economist, I've stopped dealing with your arguments about how to run a society on the economic basis, but I'm not an economist. And I'm amazed that in about five or 10 minutes, you managed to explain how the world's economists could be sorted out by following an Islamic way. Whereas I'm not sure how you even find that Islamic way, I assume. But I might be wrong, that the Quran does not mention a particular level of taxation, which you seem to mention in your discussion. At one point, I assume
the trend didn't say, Oh, well, if you flog the oil, then you won't have to, you'll get about 20,000 a year because of course, if you flog the oil from the Middle East, then other people are having to work in order to pay for it. So you were just sitting in claims, which seemed fairly random to me or arbitrary? And yes, I'd be happy to find an economist to debate with you your claims about economics from Islam. But I'm in no position to do so. And I'm happy not to do so. Because I thought we were really looking at the deeper questions about religion, namely about how it is better to live or not with regard to religious values.
I suppose I still am baffled by how you very casually say, with regard to morality, the standard is God.
What does that mean? you criticize me for saying that? There are some objective moral truths such as not, I'm not so sure about this one now not sticking pins in your against your will and so on hamster. But some, nonetheless, what does it mean, say God is the standard? That's a pretty empty comment unless you can draw conclusions about what that standard is. And as we have all agreed, it seems that if you try to draw conclusions about what that standard is, you get radically different answers because you get different interpretations. In other words, it does not help your understanding of morality, to say, Oh, well, God sets the standard, and you're an atheist. So you
haven't gotten that standard. That's utterly pointless to say that because if you read the Quran, if you read the Bible, serious scholars who do these things, they draw radically different molds with regard to the ones I mentioned, with regard to premarital sex with regard to lusting with regard to contraception with regard to euthanasia with regard to abortion. So it doesn't help I repeat to say the standard is God unless you can say more about what's that God standard is, in fact, you seem very interested going back to the economics didn't return us to the gold standard. I research would be keen to plaster God's standard.
But I suppose you are, but you're God's standard doesn't help because we don't know what to draw conclusions from with regard to it. is interesting fact, though, that people do interpret the Quran in different ways people who do interpret the Bible in different ways and other religious texts. Well, which ones do we go for? I would recommend as a humanist we go for those which cohere most with the idea of living, let live, encourage people to have flourishing lives don't oppress people.
Many religious believers, as I've said, do end up trying to impress, impress, and indeed oppress non believers. And that's a big concern with regard to how society should be run. And so that's why I strongly recommend and I do recommend a neutral state society, which is not atheistic, but it's not Islam is not Christian either. It is a state, which is neutral in the sense that it is not committed to one particular religion or non religion. Its whole. So when I talk about the state as a ringmaster, rather than a conductor, if the state is a religious conductor, it expects you dare I say, to sing from the same hymn sheet. The sort of states which humanists, atheists tend to prefer,
is a sort of state which is neutral on that issue. It's more like a ringmaster, who has certain very basic values, which are there and shrines such that people can lead flourishing lives without oppressing others. That is not the sort of society in which you find any lawn. That is not the sort of society find in Saudi Arabia. It's fair comment Hamza to say, you can say quite recently, oh, well, they are not Islamic societies. That's fair enough. But then we can ask you Well, what would the Islamic Society be? Would it insist on all its citizens being free
found guilty of being thrown into jail if they had an abortion. Would it insist that men should have certain rights over women? Would it insist that euthanasia be illegal? Would it insist that some, I don't know premarital sex or going out unveiled if you are a woman wouldn't meet with lashes? These are things which you would need to answer as a liberal as a humanist liberal. My sort of state, my preferred state is one to say, well let people live their lives as they want, but don't allow them to oppress others. That's my neutral state. And so that's my response to your political points.
With response to your concern, just to come back to the point you've made quite a few times, how can humanists have values? I mean, how can atheists or humanists How can we evolve to beings?
You might say, how can they ever sort of see the sun or watch the moon, or know there are trees because they've involved in such a way that they can spot trees that they have visual receptors such that they see trees? Similarly, human beings have evolved in such a way that they have a sense of morality? Just as they have a sense of mathematics? We don't have to start saying, Oh, well, therefore, there's a mathematical God. We accept that there are mathematical truths in the world, and there are more troops that relates to another idea which I think you may be putting over name. And this applies to a few humanists, namely, that they are materialists. Well, for starters,
humanists are no more materialistic in the sense that they like getting fast cars and so on. They're not material in that sense. Yes, humanists often are materialists in a particular philosophical sense. Namely, they think, understanding of human beings is going to be enabled through understanding neural networks and the brains and so on.
But many humanists, many atheists, humanists, are not that way inclined, we accept that there's a whole way of understanding the world which does not get reduced to physics or to move on.
You can understand the world in a certain way, by just looking at a wonderful sunset, you have a different understanding a different appreciation of the world by falling in love. You can have a different understanding of the world by engaging in sexual Congress, you can have interesting understanding of the world by looking at Jackson Pollock, so Roscoe paintings, some people get a rather bizarre understanding of the world by watching Sex in the City. But nonetheless, there are different ways of understanding the world and they are not there by reducible to the movement of electrons, or no circuits or whatever the current transient scientific theory is. humanists are not
necessarily a materialist, even in that sense, and they're certainly not materialist, in the sense of utilitarianism of the very crude idea of just wanting pleasures. I'm sure you do know your utilitarianism well, Hamza, but a major utilitarian was in 19th century, john Stuart Mill. And he said, It is better to be a dissatisfied Socrates and a satisfied pig. On occasions, I prefer to be the pig. But overall, I'm on the side of john Stuart Mill, namely, the idea of a flourishing life is not just to do with happy satisfactions or pleasures, it involves those but it also involves the thought of aspiring thoughts of helping others the thoughts of nobility, the thoughts are then
trying to overcome obstacles of compassion and such like,
I suppose one of the points you kept getting up me, I wish I didn't address your miracle arguments with regard to try and suddenly to show that Allah exists. I was quite amazed that you suddenly produced this argument. And so now it is five minutes flat, I proved that Allah exists. Wow. Is it as simple as that Hamza, I'm sure it's not just because I think use the expression, the structure of this book is unique. I'm not sure what you mean by structure, but I doubt if the structure of the book is unique, but even if it is unique, that's irrelevant. The Odd pebble is unique. There's no other pebbles on this pebble. There's another pebble similar to it, but it's not this one.
uniqueness in itself does not manifest the idea of divinity. And as you yourself said, miracles in nature might just be perceived as slightly more complicated patterns of the laws of nature of the use of the regularities in nature, more complex patterns. Okay, the Quran is a part of that complex pattern of nature. There's no need to pop garden at the top of it. My very, very general points then, and I don't have it in regard, I hasten to say, I'd like to hedge my bets. You know, I would like to put that on record,
as Bertrand Russell maybe did at one point, but I would like to make a very, very basic point explanations have to come to an end. That's from the great vidkun Stein in the early 20th century, it's very simple point. Explanations have to come to an end. The atheist, the humanist stance, is to say,
we can explain so much and then we come to an end on it. Nothing is gained by popping on an extra bits and saying, Oh, well, therefore, it must actually be done by God or by Allah. Because at the end of the day, I suspect you Hamza are humble enough.
To say that Allah, Allah, His ways are mysterious and His ways are mystical, you certainly do not understand that the various human being Allah's ways. So to try to explain the world, and morality and the meaning of life by reference to something which is mysterious, is no explanation at all explanations come to an end. And the end should rest in our humanity, our compassion, our fellow feeling, our reason, our fairness with regard to each other. So our vote for humanity, and I still vote for the red wine, rather than for some mysterious Allah or God, or indeed, gods. Thank you.
So this is going to be the opportunity to ask questions directly to our participants, or you may write it to to write it down on a piece of paper, or whichever way you wish. And also, this is the opportunity for even each of our participants to follow up on the question if they, if they also see fit to do that. So
if anybody wants to be the first person just to kick off proceedings, yes, the
red top Yes.
Basically, question to
people who are religious people who believe in God.
So, how does this affect my behavior?
That's a very good question.
I mean, when when, when any human being adopts a certain worldview, about how they see the world, how they see men, women life universe, it actually inevitably shapes their behavior. And the reason it does that is because our concepts that we form from a set of ideas, actually makes us reflect upon things in a certain way. I give an example.
As a Muslim, and this is just a subjective thing, when I'm saying, If, for example, I were to see that the majority of you are in inevitable crisis at the moment, I would, I hope, sacrifice myself to help you guys, if that wasn't the case. Yeah. And the reason I'm doing that, because I truly objectively understand what philanthropic activity and altruism and self sacrifice actually really mean. Because from the Islamic world view, we do all our actions for the sake of God. Now, someone may think, Well, that sounds quite bizarre, why can you do it for this sake. But there's a problem in that, because if you have benefits orientated actions, then if something better comes along than
the previous connection, you had could be easily discarded. And that would also show that human beings have extrinsic value, no intrinsic value, like extrinsic value means money you can use for an end to buy something, it has external extrinsic value. But I believe things have intrinsic value, because God exists, because what God says about humanity and life in the universe, so I would be able to do that. Do you see my point? So that's a specific example. Similarly, it also shapes our political view, Peter Kay talked about that he is a liberal, which I don't want to build straw men. But my personal understanding of what a liberal is, is someone who adopts a basic philosophical
premise of individualism, because if you see the European history, when the Catholic Church used the coercive arm of the state to oppress thinking and the masses, and there was huge wars, you know, the 30 year was the 80 year was the massacre on St. Bartholomew's day, etc. And that created an environment where thinkers have to come out and say, well, we need to develop an individualist doctrine on humanity and rights. So that's where you have the breath of individualism, which formed the premise for liberalism. Now, I disagree with that premise totally. And that's why I see crime and punishment. For example, in a more different perspective, one could call it collective plus
individualistic at the same time, whereas a liberal perspective would say, Oh my god, cutting the hair thing is so barbaric and wrong, without having a nuanced discussion and say, well, the basis for your philosophy for crime and punishment is individualistic. You just see the human being as sovereign with hardly any attachments, philosophical attachment and obligations to society. I see differently. My worldview is different. I see society as an integral role. My actions affect society and society actions affect the individual hence, crime and punishment will be different. And that's why
Why we should always understand our worldview? And the question is a great question. Because adopting a worldview perspective has huge implications. And the ones I've just given you hopefully were more practical. Thank you.
Just a few words.
The liberal arts
community has a sense of concern for water circles for
gardening, maybe local poverty. So it's a full cyanosis. Just either you're an individual, little alternative, got to be a common terrarium. Secondly, you can actually come back to this chocolate for Hans Hamza. So I'm not sure about your Islamic few, but it would be interested to know then, are you saying that you really do think that thieves should maybe by the third time should have hands removed? Do you, for example, believe that two daughters there should be stoned? I gather in the Saudi Arabia constitution, it's got to be medium sized stones, so that neither they're so trivial, but notice the deaths occur too quickly. That's actually in the Constitution, I believe. But
presumably, we're going to disagree with that. But as you seem so clear about the nature of punishment from Allah, perhaps you'll give us some examples of what punishment you think there should be, is a wishy washy, liberal, feel very uneasy about punishment. But I recognize we have to do so I could discuss it happy with
You pass value judgments on the first thing is, you know, I don't think I should even maybe entertain a conversation with you on this issue. Because again, you don't have an objective basis for your values, as you said.
That's why I'm going to answer the question. I will help you indeed, and but I just want to make that point and retrieve it again. And again. Where is your standard? However, let me talk you about my standard. And the situation is very simple. I talk about humanity standard. Sure. I mean, the representative for humanity on my right.
As if people are religion, as if people that religion are not part of the human race.
I am from Greece, I guess so.
Okay, well, the situation is this,
first and foremost in the Islamic narrative without using some individualistic lens, and I wasn't claiming that we don't have family bonds and ties, no, our talking about your political philosophy is viewed by the prism of individualism. So when you see Crime and Punishment, you say, the individual rights and individual freedoms, I particularly disagree with that, because individualism doesn't necessarily have to be true. And there's many reasons why it's not true. One of the reasons include, that we know from developmental psychology that we're going away from the PRG view on children are developed just on their own as the individual is constructed by individualism. No,
actually, the child develops his cognitive or her cognitive abilities, via social links and attachments. So individualism from the onset is totally inaccurate. So there's other reasons why individualism is a flawed concept, which is quite interesting in the last 20 years of humanitarian critique, but that's another discussion. So it's not the dots, I think, a more correct view, which sees individuals upon society in society as part of individuals. So now, there's an effect. Now, individual actions do affect behavior and societal pressures do affect behavior also. The point is, what you shouldn't do though, is make Islamic law, a comprehensive legal system in an intersection
up, I think it's all for you just make it very, you make a caricature of it. Just imagine this, this test goes down the road, there's a sister with a hijab, and the cloak the genie back, and there's a problem with a very long beard, he has a sword down his jacket, there's a poor guy to store in a cookie because he's hungry. He runs at tescos, the sister ships him over the man with a beard.
This is a caricature of a comprehensive legal system. I mean, you've jumped into the narrative of Sky News and Fox News. And as a philosopher, you wouldn't do that. However you did. Let me just finish my point. And you come back to me. Honestly, I will give you the time. Because you go to my Greek village, ask for the time they go. So we have, so we have plenty of time. So So what happened is not isn't. So what I'm trying to say is it's not that it's not a caricature. So what we say is Islam decides to say we're not going to have a principle distance of the conception of the good life. liberalism says, You shouldn't really teach people what a good life is. don't have that
conception. Nobody says no, there are certain things which are objectively good and we must propagate them.
in society, so cohesive values such as Justice, excuse me, mercy, compassion, things that Peter k thinks he has a monopoly on, like humanism is all about compassion and justice and mercy. So we propagate this because he says that, not only do you propagate them, but we politicize them, and everyone knows about when you hear them on media, TV teaching, etc.
And on top of that, you have a very strong justice system, whereas we don't believe as Muslims beyond reasonable doubt, because Tao is in that sentence, we say, has to be almost as if it's virtually impossible. And there's, for example, cutting the hand of the thief where he had to still act of greed, not because he was hungry, because it's the duty of the state to provide these things for every individual. Unlike you see, in liberal Britain, we have 90,000 homeless people, whereas in the Islamic governance, what it does, it says, you're homeless, have a house, you're homeless, some money, and he's taken from the bites of the man, which is the state bank, but that's another
discussion. So my point is, is you then you have 19 conditions, for example, according to some classical scholars on
when you can get the hang of a thief after having all these stringent criteria. So when you see it, you say, Well, it seems to me that it's a suitably harsh punishment that acts as a deterrent. And I think that's a very unique way of crime and punishment, something that we haven't seen any society before. And when you go and look into the justice system in history, you had a few read the works of Alan Cohan, he looked at 1016 records of Jewish records living under Islamic governance, they had the freedom to choose the rabbinical courts, Christian courts, or Islamic Courts. But most of the time, they chose the cotton, which is the Islamic judge, because then you justice lived under
Islamic values. So when you see as a comprehensive model, and this is we could discuss this forever. But when he says a comprehensive model, you actually see now, you know what, it's not that caricature anymore. I may disagree with it. But it does seem workable. That's why Clive Hall in a very famous criminologist, he actually said we have to start looking at the facilitating factors for crime, rather than keep on doing the liberal view, which is have another law have another law. And another law is quite funny when liberals go to so called Islamic countries, and they say all this bad stuff is because of Islamic values. But when they see the 167 rapes a day, According to Amnesty
International, UK, of women in this country, and one in four women have domestic violence being abused in this country, and there's more likelihood of a man reporting a sick Doctor rspa than a woman being battered by her husband is atrocious, and they say, well, we need new doors, but they don't even go to the underlying values of pentacles of the particular society, the children society report a liberal group, what did they say? They said, we're suffering from excessive individualism, which in my opinion, is the premise of liberalism. So I hope I've demystified it for you a bit. Thank you.
Defense might not necessarily through
deserves to be allowed soon. And once again, very unclear whether the state law serving
countries where you're saying that I'll be wrong.
you made the point.
Your conclusions you saw.
So it's a process of
coming up with a typical version of hands on here not that.
does not say that.
Okay, can I just quickly respond to that?
You know, I like talking to you.
Okay, maybe one, okay. I'm gonna allow the audience to participate. But in terms of justice, I mean, a given example, the Quran talks about justice, not in the intuitive way, you know, what things in their place fair play as us Brits say, what the Quran also says is even if it's against
yourself, cuz that's not intuitive kind of concept for justice, especially when you think you're going to get punished. Because the intuitive especially I study psychology University, and the intuitive concept is, oh, I'm gonna get paid for something. I'm gonna hide it. I'm actually never telling anybody I'm gonna, you know, sweep underneath the carpet. What does the song say? He has, in my opinion, a greater view on justice even if it's against yourself, those you love kith and kin, rich or poor.
As the crown says, God loves the just. And so the point is, views on justice are also quite dissimilar with liberal views. So our you know, this argument of everything has to be intuitive and inside human being, I think he's wrong, because there is a necessity to learn from revealed knowledge. And I've given you example of justice, which in my opinion is on reflection is something that is far more powerful.
Okay, I think we'll take we'll take one question from, from the written question, and we'll take one from the audience. This one is rescue Peter, what is your purpose in life? Have you ever thought about why your face on the earth, everything can serve a purpose, whether it be machines, cars, etc, to what is the purpose of mankind?
Wow, this is finally United Nations,
which might be a better place to be.
I'm just amazed why ever think everything must have a purpose. Many, many centuries ago. philosophers, scientists common sense people no doubt thought that the there must be a purpose for why the moon goes around the earth if they believe that as of the time or when at one point they believe the sun went around the Earth. But now we don't think in terms of purposes there. We don't think the moon has a purpose, or the sun has a purpose. We have standard mechanical explanations of their movements, which as hams and mechanized are, in fact, just patterns. And so yes, we can talk about human beings having purposes, you know, my purpose is coming here was to try to enlighten him,
sir, I'm sorry, I'm failing. But one day he'll see the light, this has been a quickly I'm perfectly happy for him to have his beliefs as mine, but human beings often have purposes.
Possibly, in fact, I think actually, foolishly, my parents had a purpose in doing various sexual activities to have a son, pity them to end up with me. But you know, they didn't pursue that. And Sophocles famously said lately blesses the happiness of those never to have been born. And somehow I sometimes have sympathy with that. But I challenge the assumption that everything must have a purpose, I think many, many, many things do not have purposes, most of the purposes of numbers.
And hence, equally, so the whole universe does not have a purpose. And if you really think everything must have a purpose, and if you really believe in God, then you massage yourself. So what's the purpose manner? And if you give an answer, so the purpose is x, then you will say, what's the purpose of x? Once you play that card of thinking, everything must have a purpose, you'll come to no end. And as I said, at the end, the miners will talk, explanations come to an end, and so many things we just accept happen without purposes.
Well, the best explanation doesn't require an explanation. And I've said this in the previous debate, you know, if you want to find out an answer to the question of what your purpose of life is, and then you say, you find out then you want to actually be purposed to God, I mean, if God is the best explanation for your purpose of life, then the best explanation doesn't require an explanation. Even in the philosophy of science. The best explanation doesn't require an explanation. For example, the external world exists.
You can't prove that, you know, your brain is not in a vat. Some crazy alien is competing your brain, you just couldn't prove that it's an assumption. It's a philosophically basic premise that you just have to accept in order for science to be to have any grounding similarly, even with the question of God best explains your purpose of life. Well, that's the best explanation you don't have to explain the best explanation. And also I would argue, the change you're sitting on do not have any cognitive features except think and feel, we actually be purpose such a material.
A thermal object. Similarly, there is a moth,
somewhere in a forest that drinks the sap of a tree.
And as it drinks the X excretes it basically does a poo. Yeah. Okay, we know what it means.
A Of course.
So, but funnily enough, that's another month and then
Nice that month that drinks his food. And the purpose from its function you can derive that if the food which you took it on the tree, the answer, follow the trail, and in the first month, BBC fee.
money goes somewhere. So the point is this is that you never knew about this property two minutes ago. But yet there's a purpose to something so insignificant. And it's only rational for me to make the assumption, if you like that if we actually purpose to physical things like this, or to live in mosques that we never knew about that have the most ridiculous function and purpose, then surely, something more dynamic and more special, like the human being, actually must have some form of purpose? Because as many famous atheist philosophers, they debated this question is that without God, the reasonable meaning, and so what they discuss was, shall we suicide is actually it's
actually in the works. That was one of the biggest questions, shall we exist that since there is no meaning because God is a objective conceptual anchor that transcends features subjectivity,
of the mass, I have some various friends who actually loads masks because they eat away their clothes. For the mind, I'm easy about masks as well.
In fact, is easy. I'm just getting tired, really.
there's a there's a famous Peter Cook cartoon in which there's a bar made, and there's a man at the end of the bar, and she says, bitter, and he says, No, just tired. But
I never clear what his answers are. He keeps saying, I don't have objective values. I keep telling him I do but there you are, we can't get anywhere on that one. But more importantly, on this particular question, than Are you saying Hamza, that the sun, and the moon and mountains have purposes? And furthermore, as you seem to think everything must have a purpose? What is the purpose of God?
I'm not going to answer that question. Because God, by definition, is something that is transcendental. And for me to jump into the mind of God is the fallacy that some of the Greek philosophers did, and he got them in a bigger fleet in a in a big month. No, I don't actually what I think he do is using my Russian to justify that the CRAN can only be explained by a transcendental cognitive source, and hence what it says must be true. And I discussed the logic of submission, which you never counted in any shape, or form. And you misconstrued my argument of the miracle of the CRAN saying is just because of its uniqueness. Now, I was saying, when we go to the productive
capacity of the nature of the Quran, which is the Arabic language and we exhaust all possibilities, if this has been done by some Jewish scholars in on computers, we cannot create the literary form of the Quran. So we need a supernatural explanation. These are evidences for transcendence. We never dealt with this argument. And many of the other arguments and you swiftly say that I have objective morals. But that's just a statement. If you do have objective morals, which I believe you do, is because God exists, because there is no other transcendent conceptual anchor that goes beyond human subjectivity. And it was an ontological question, not an epistemological, which is how to get to
know more than what our morals, but the very fact that you believe killing an old woman for no reason is 100% morally wrong, is because God exists and I could give you the following logical format for you to understand a bit better such a philosopher, one, if God does not exist, objective morals do not exist.
We don't accept that objective morality exists. I don't accept your premise. Namely, if God does not exist, then okay. Okay, well, we could easily discuss the premise. Okay. But I believe you have failed to show me how it does in absence of God, because I gave you two other options, which is another option, please let me know, which was evolution and social pressure evolution, which is accidental byproducts of a long evolutionary process. Our morals are ephemeral, the illusionary because the base appointment is ever changing, such as biology. Secondly, social pressure, we discussed that as well. If you take social pressure as a basis for objective morality, then the
implications are that it was okay to kill 6 million Jews, because there's a consensus at that time for that to happen. I am asking you, where is the objective anchor for you to peg your morality to see that it is true seeing it just is is not an explanation because they're not they're not could be here. And my good argument could be religion is better for your life, because it just is and that's not an argument is counter discourse. Do you see my point?
In effect, choosing that format, which is saying that God just is it doesn't help at all to say, Oh, well, you need that.
anchor for morality are the anchor is God. Because then I can ask, well, what's the anchor for God? And you'll just say, well, God's his own anchor words to that effect, no doubt. And I'll make the same point that morality, morality is an anchor, just as I, as an atheist, and you know, confident there is no God, I acknowledge their mathematical truths. I don't have to say, Oh, well, there needs to be an anchor for mathematical truths. God, just acknowledge that there are truths about how many people there are in this room, I don't have to say, Oh, well, there must be anchor for that, namely, God. Similarly, I put morality on the same level, there are some moral truths we are well, then we
become aware of them through evolutionary processes. Just as we become aware through evolutionary processes, how to understand the operation of alcohol on trains, for example, or how water is made up of h2o.
But perhaps we should have more debate for the otter, that's true. But just as a final point, if you don't mind is that if you're saying evolutionary process dictate the basis for morality, what, what did Darwin Darwin said, if it happened, for example, that we were shocks, then it'll be morally okay to forcefully copulate with a female shock. So rape will be morally okay if we happen to be sharks. And that's the problem here. Even Darwin, which is the basis for the evolution theory, which I would even contest in the first place, just from a philosophical premise, because in the book, as a topic, cosmological principle by tipler, and Barrow, these are the every stage of the evolution of the of
the of the homosapien the 10 stages, for example, for each stage to be true, the probabilities are four to the power of minus 360 to the power of minus 110,000. And that's every single stage. So it's highly improbable. So for me if evolution is true, therefore, it's a miracle and thereby proves existence.
but that's cheap.
as cheap as the wine even referring to audit, I mean, the point is this that, you know, these kind of cheap rhetorical claims. I mean, I do speak a lot of rhetoric, I do have to admit, and it's almost eloquent. Yeah. But the point is, I justify it with some substance also just don't make empty claims. Like it's morally bad, morally good, like to give some justification for my model, because you're just like pointing the finger all the time. There's this like, almost in elementary ages. Now, the point I'm trying to make is that with regards to things you're talking about, with the lack of suitable punishment, I think I've discussed that in the first place. And
what was your question? Again?
I think it's time to move on.
Engaging discussion, my question to
people is that
I assume that the conditions of
interest, what is the burden of proof
and 90 to
90% of cases of voluntary
voluntary prosecution, okay, people came forward themselves as they wanted
to rocket and
you are living in a society which has turned 67 rates every day
as I speak to you.
So would you rather have
one stoning to death?
Or would you rather
be dead less
impressed by the example because normally, humanists are accused of doing utilitarian calculations whereas you seem to be wanting me to do one.
I'm not particularly convinced by the status. Also, using the stone example just when I've been a little irritated by enhancer by suggesting implying that somehow out of the Quran you
Get clear guidance, you do not get a mishmash of more guidance witness and many, many, many, many disagreements. Yes, Hamza keeps on saying, I'm just making an ontological point. But at the end of the day, Hamza believes that the knowledge is there. And he believes that in the Quran, you get the answers. We know that many, many Quranic scholars give different versions of this, which lead to different sorts of laws in different societies. I think serving of adultery says, even if it's just 20 or two is morally wrong for staff, especially when it's clearly contrived to be a painful death, if we're following the examples of Saudi Arabia.
I'm not saying Obviously, I'm not saying 167 weeks are justified,
I would be very eager to stress, better education, better laws, and so on in order to avoid those breaks. But I don't think one, I don't think one is made right by trying to become another.
Okay, this is where I have to take my gloves off, if I haven't already. And basically, this is the problem with the liberal view, it's like almost a nightmare. you're arguing in a circle continuously. The reason I'm saying this is because you know, the liberal view is all you know, things like rape have nothing to do with society or individuals and you know, you know, saying that to a rapist, for example.
Okay, okay, well,
thank you arguing my point, let me just argue for you to
make my appointment.
Well, maybe it's wine, as you say all the time. Now, the point I'm trying to make is this. Obviously, there's a phenomenon, there's a social phenomenon of 167 rapes, say there's even 10 rapes a day or one rate per day, it's still too many, or even if it's to do with other things. If we look at some feminist literature, if we look at feminist literature, we read the likes of feminist philosophers like Diane E. Russell, she developed an amazing academic paper on the causal model, between pornography as an example, which is allowed in liberal states, and rape, for example, some amazing statistics like 35% of all college students, would rape if they could get away with it. 60%
of rapists set with the psychologists that pornography was a causal factor in me raping, because it dehumanize the woman, immediately a piece of flesh, just the biology just matter. So there are psychological criminological and social evidences that accumulate together to show that there is something going wrong here. And the point is, if you do change those values, and then say, if you jump the cohesive values, and straightaway, if you know you were to do that you get a harsh punishment, I think that's a good thing. Because we're preventing lives being destroyed. You seeing it from a very one dimensional perspective and reductionist perspective, the individual is the only
thing that really exists. Yeah. I mean, this like goes up in the face of most social psychologists, criminologists, etc, that are asking even Western societies to change the type of outlook in behavior. For example, the Trudeau Science Society report, they had conclusions and they said, We need to start telling politicians instead of talking about justice, rights, freedom, all these kind of words, start using words such as love, compassion, politicize these concepts. So we really do love each other and have compassion, not only on the individualistic level, but on the social and political level. And I think, in my opinion in from a rational perspective, that the Quranic model
or the Sharia, the Islamic law is an amazing thing. If you see in its true light, which we hopefully just outlined and discussed, I use it to me that I do believe in epistemology that the Quran does give you morality, and but you said, there's so many differences of opinion and conflicting answers from this morality. Well, I'm not gonna agree with that. But see, I disagree with that. Even in secular law, even in you look, this problems, for example, the Dutch constitution, Article 97, which can be found on the web. Part Two, B, it says something like, we must impose this on minorities. Now, if you have a very vicious worldview, you can use that to do very bad things on minorities. So
there's even a legal difference of opinion and moral difference of opinion in your worldview.
And I don't understand why you will find out that I mean, I mean, what's good for the goose is good for the gander. And I just felt that back at you all human beings are human beings, and we are a different set of things. But when it comes to the Quranic narrative, we have a concept called the HMR, which basically means the consensus and monk's scholarship and are some fundamentals that have never been transgressed conceptually, and other things that we are we believe God's mercy
differences of opinion that are valid and still binding and unseen as a problem, especially when you have things like the Dutch Constitution, which was one of the first secular liberal states having problems with article 97. Part B. So I think your argument that this is just another, you know, box of falling down and trying to give a job, you know,
persons with a heavy burden of proof. So
first question is, you kept raising this point, that the religious societies or religious hierarchy wish to impose itself on those who are not religious, but that objection, because if you read the Islamic history, as examples, from the
1005, is a funny quote, while they have the capacity to go,
will resolve the
exam. So this is the temporary
You want me to say more?
I really don't know where to begin.
But I shall begin and I shall end quite swiftly.
I think you're manifesting Oh, you're not that maybe I might be faithful as well, you have a very, very liberal reading of Islam. And that's fine. I strongly approve that I'd love to. And I have some Islamic friends and Muslim friends who indeed are very liberal Muslims. But many, many other people today, as you must surely know, in many countries, have they conservative, rather stringent, rather harsh readings of Islam? If
it's fair enough, we say, Oh, well, they're not genuine Islamic states. But if one does wander around Iran, or if you do go around Saudi Arabia, you better not go on there. If you're female, nasty things will happen to you. That sort of Islamic states, I assume that you disagree with but I assume they claim to draw their morality, their understanding of the law from the command, I think they do claim that. But yes, there are many different versions therefore. And that comes back to my points to how, sir, yes, secularists disagree about these things. But at least we don't hold up a book and say, the truth is in here, it's just a matter of interpreting it. We recognize we've got to
learn to live with each other. We've got to show compassion, understanding love, these are the things which would stress as much as Hamza stresses. And we muddle through. The mistake is to think that we're not muddling through to think somehow there's a definitive answer to be found inside one particular text, which happens to be written many years ago, maybe in some unique way, but it can't be that unique. And it was with NIH, Gov.
Yo, yo, in this country, if a woman wants to speak talk this
Although I actually have a, I feel very uneasy, even in this audience, when I see many females completely covered. And I wonder how free have they actually chosen that to be nonetheless, I recognize there's a huge amount of conventions, customs pressures within this society for say young girls wear miniskirts such a wonderful class. And so I'm, I'm up for discussion about this, it's very difficult to know what's the power of customers, and how fight should or shouldn't go.
For the community. So he seems to quite keen on the sort of customers being forced on people. Following john Stuart Mill, I will talk about the tyranny of custom and trying to overcome it.
I think that we tend to opportunity to discuss with Muslims as to whether they are pressed or not. So I think this is a great opportunity to do that. And just want to take another question from the audience. I think that gentleman in the page.
Okay, we will take some questions this way as well. So
I think we should do first.
So that brother had his hand up before.
everyone has a right to life
is actually challenging whether there's much content that claim Okay, so isn't that everyone has
Just another example, is
the person who was killed, he has a right to life, and his wife was taken away. And when you have a criminal in front of you, then criminal also has a right to life. So what do you want it? Or the space? Like? This is a thing with medical fields? I mean, if you have a religion, you can solve that through the whatever book excuse it. But if you do
that, how do you decide to think about how is that so from the book, when many, many religious believers actually argue about whether capital punishment should or should not exist, just as indeed many, many non believers. But my my, my simple point here is actually the book doesn't actually help because at the end of the day, many people argue about how to read the book.
No, it's not it's no standard at all. If some people come away and say, Oh, so therefore, we really should not permit capital punishment, and other people come away saying no, therefore we should
we negotiate we muddle super, we don't pretend the answers in the book. And as you know, many of us will tend to say, well, overall, maybe compassion points towards not having the capital punishment. But I'm not suggesting there's easy answers here. I'm My point is to say, you also do not have easy answers by suddenly announcing as Hamza keeps announcing, oh, God is a standard, it doesn't help at all, because you have similar sorts of arguments. At the end of the day, you need to rely on your humanity, feeling of compassion, maybe the effects on society, maybe the effects with regard to deterrence, and so on.
I mean, just to put a defense slot to this question, from a humanist, secular atheist non religious perspective, they would never argue that the mind should never be the source of law, they will never argue against that. The our minds, and the result of our thinking should never be the source of law.
Without any justification, well, I'm arguing here, that God should be the source of law. If you can't justify your source, why do you expect me to justify mine for what I've done today is actually justifying my source. And I think it's quite saddening to see that you keep on pointing the finger at me and saying, just this book, just this book, when I have actually given you a whole argument for why I believe this book, you have great reasons to believe that it comes from a transcendental cognitive power, and you didn't deal with these arguments on is I have a basis for my source of law, the basis for your source of law, and again, which goes back to morality is again, based upon
subjective concepts such as evolution, social pressure, etc. So when I say God is the standard, God is the standard because he again, and I repeat, is the concept, the transcendental concept that goes beyond human subjectivity. You do have a standard, but your standard subjective, and that's what I'm saying. Because it's evolution, it changes social pressure, it changes, therefore, it's subjective. Do you understand that point?
Just to repeat my bits, and then you repeat your bits and bits, and then eventually will turn into pumpkins or Cinderella will come along.
That's very subjective viewpoint, nothing is actually helped by keeping on announcing God is the standard, because you don't know anything about God, unless you start saying it's all inside the command, then we come to come to your arguments say, Oh, well, the Quran is so specially written or structured or something novel in Arabic, such that it must have been caused by some transcendent being. I don't accept. I first thought I very much doubt if it really is some specially structured work. But even if it is that some way to come about that wasn't my argument, you just building another argument? which feature of the Quran is some new sets about it use a bit language in a way
which no one else has? You don't know why you asked me the question. Because you keep referring to this, and it's baffling watching me.
What did you mean, it clearly, clearly was written in the Arabic language by soon.
So clearly, it's not something which could not be expressed in the Arabic language. And so presumably, if some human beings wrote it down, and so that's manifested the fact that some natural human beings managed to express it in the Arabic language, there's no further need to say, oh, there's some transcendent power behind it. It doesn't help but that's not the argument. You want to give the argument again, not really, but feel free to I mean, in fairness, so Can
Can you feel YouTube often? I mean, fairness. I mean,
if I didn't understand
Particular argument of yours I would have said, Peter, what you mean by that under inquire about the truth of your claim. So some of the claims you're testing what you've done to mine is you misconstrued them. I'm not saying deliberately, but you have misconstrued them. And I've said that you have, then you're saying, Well, my assumption and my assumption, but it's this assumption, the best thing to do is say Hamza, what is it about the crown that makes him Let me say that Hamza Give me one sentence at a time so I can check, I can understand each sentence without too many ands or buts.
Okay, that's interesting, because n is a conjunctive particle that links concepts together. If I don't use an end, then I won't have a conversation, or it could be an eternally long question, couldn't it?
I mean, do we have time? No, definitely not. We don't have time. But
we don't have time.
all the questions, and the speakers will be here. So you can come up to them individually office and speak to them about your particular questions. We are running short of time. And I think it's, it's good that we got to at least a good point when it came to the discussions available. I'd like to thank today's participants and Peter cave, and hundreds old says, and I hope there'll be another debate coming to you soon. So thank you very much Islamic equal.
Interested in a heated debate tonight? What did you think? Well, I mean, my my remit as the as the chair was really for the discussions to go to a logical conclusion. This is philosophy. We're not talking about a political debate where it's just sound bites, and people get to ask lots of questions. I mean, some people perhaps in light the way I did that, but I felt that it was very necessary to get to the philosophical conclusion at the end of all the discussions. So that's why I let the let the to happen between Hamza and Peter. Yeah, I mean, there wasn't that much in regards to vocal questions to and fro from the audience magic just previously said. So did you think in
regards to the audience that they've taken any benefit? Or that they've understood what both of the speakers were trying to say? I think to a certain extent, yes. But I must say, and I'll be very truthful here that some of the questions that I got, which was actually written in by the Muslim is aimed at Peter cave, no criticizing him, we're, again, re iterating, again, some simple truth that we're discussing debate. But we're not adding real value, we should ignore a lot of them. You know, it was asked already to do to death in many respects, when many, but there's two, there's two, there's two angles to this. One is that Muslims, etc, that there is an intellectual discussion. So
whether they all of them understand that or not, is not necessarily the case. However, if some people got understood it and are able to carry them that then that's the job done, you know, it's not for everybody to understand the discussion. But at least everyone can appreciate there is a discussion. And for those who are able to, they can carry on with the debate in if they understood it, quite a few Muslims would present. Did you have any feedback from them? Or did you know what they thought about? Well, it was interesting, because there was a humanist who I spoke to afterwards. And again, he came from a different tack to Peter, and his, you know, we had an
interesting discussion afterwards where he said, Well, what is truth? The winter discussion as well, it doesn't really matter what is truth, as long as I know that the coat you're wearing is black. And if I say
his name is he passed me that black coat, you know what I'm talking about? And I know what I'm talking about. That's all that matters. So then he got a little bit stumped on that. But as long as we get people to realize that, look, there isn't there is a truth, and that truth is with Islam. And that's what we need to do as Muslims.
Hello, Peter, thank you for the debate today. Here. How did you feel it went? Well, I feel I offended some women, apparently, for speaking for all Muslim women, where I'm sure when you hear the tape, I just said maybe some women have been oppressed and wearing the veil. Overall, I feel I bubble away. And I should have made a few more jokes. But at the end of the day, the serious point I'm making, it's a very serious point I'm making is things are pretty bad. If you have to rely on some ancient texts for how you ought to live. You ought to rely on your humanity, your fellow feeling your concern for reason and fairness. And it depresses me a lot that so many people in the
audience seem to say, Oh, well, it says during the Quran that we should do this or that. And that worries me to say that morality is grounded in God. That doesn't help if at the end of the day, God is incomprehensible.
Bit of a bounce in regards to verbal words, did you feel that any of your beliefs were challenged at all?
verbal words as opposed to non verbal words?
my beliefs always challenged I think, because as a humanist and atheist and a rationalist I like debates I like argument and discussion. That's once again, it's why I feel it's very, very sad, that somehow some people will say, Oh, no, you must always come back to the Quran or the Bible or maybe some other texts.
Such as text, I have some interesting comments and no doubt, but they're written by men, normally men or women, because I think, I think Islam still tends to think man is superior to woman in some respects. But at the end of the day, I'm happy to debate and I enjoy it. Any benefits that you've taken goes to today's topic, on the benefits is feeling very, very tired. And although Hamza has made quips about my Alcoholics Anonymous need, I do feel like a drink, which I gather isn't very, very opportune for many Islamic believers, except when they're not being watched.
How do you feel about the event?
I think it was a positive event. I think it's one of the first times I think, in the country that we debate the topic of religion in Islam, not from a philosophical point of view in terms of, can you prove God exists? Although there was some of that today? Or can you prove the miracle the crown, which was some of that stuff, but the focus was life affects us can we live better lives that religion is very difficult, and the way I tried to argue was general and specific, giving some academic social logical evidence showing the logic of submission by proving the existence of God and the miracle of the Quran. also showing about morality that you need a religious perspective,
morality to be objective, if you don't have a religious perspective, it's subjective, and also by a political argument of like, economics deals with the biggest problems of economy, such as poverty and distribution of wealth. So in that case, we give some positive arguments. I personally believe that Peter gave, although he was rhetorical, just like I was, we got very similar characters, but I don't think he gets some substance to the counter arguments. And I think that was that was the big problem today. It's kind of a battle of bouts there. In regards to little witty remarks. I mean, do you think that your points were, you know, clear enough? And do you think that people reciprocate
them? Well, I think the point of a debate isn't actually to lecture and make people actually learn your arguments is to point out that there are certain concepts in Islam or religion that quite interesting, there was some argument I understood, and maybe let me go further and research more. And the whole point of having debates in this post liberal post secular society, postmodern society, is to show that Islam has a positive case, for society, past, present, and future. I think that's what we should we should be doing. And I think the objective of the debate is to motivate the Muslims, and to show to the non Muslims that there is an alternative narrative on religious
discourse. Now, in regards to the people and their questions, it may seem that even the Muslims are where they wanted to get. Peter Gabriel Garcia, his comments, and how did you think he was in regards to his rebuttals to yours? Personally, I know Peter cave, well, because I've read his books, I feel quite close to him. To be honest, I've seen some things on him on YouTube. He's a very nice and more polite kind of individual. Obviously, it's a heated debate. Obviously, we did mistakes until some of our attitudes, but I think the main concept is that I don't think Peter was ready for the arguments. I think he didn't look into the arguments that well, he didn't probably want to see
my arguments that well, because I don't blame him. Because in this society, we have a presumption of humanism, we have a presumption of atheism, we have a presumption of liberalism. So everything is viewed from that perspective. And I think that's the problem. So I think today, we try to undercut that perspective. And that's why I think he was slightly shaken. Any
wise words for novices that may have watched this and thought
it was interesting, what what do you what would you give your two cents on what today's show? Well, I don't want to speak for non Muslims by non Muslims to come up to me and she thought it was an amazing debate. She thought there was quite valid points from religious and non religious perspectives. And she also thought that there is something particularly special about Islam and maybe we should read about and have a sincere look and and not have the outdated cliches and the caricatures of Sharia law, but to find out what is Islam What about any wise words, or departing words that say, Muslims or non Muslims alike? Well, I think the Quran talks about different
realities. And he says, ponder on all these realities and come to a conclusion. If we do that. I think we should be fine.