Contexually Clueless: Or, Peddling Pop Star Scholarship
by Annabelle Ketterling

You know, these days you never know what sort of argument people in the relentless pursuit of insignificance will dream up; here we've got one Nadir Ahmed, a Muslim apologist, writing up something called, "Britney Spears vs. Rebecca St. James debate Morality". Grammatically incorrect though it is, it manages to achieve at least the appearance of irrelevance for someone like me who cares about as much about either celebrity as JP's poodle cares about Japanese state fiscal policy. Mr. Ahmed apparently had some low-down hoe-down with CARM's Matt Slick about relative morality, and while I don't care enough to view the debate itself, I do have some comments on Ahmed's, well, you know, gross anachronisms and abounding ignorance of Biblical social science. Why not.

There was apparently at the start of this some rhubarb where St. James (a Christian pop musician) accused Spears (some other secular pop musician, if you don't know -- eh?) of dressing immodestly. Now I really wouldn't know who dresses in what these days on your pop music circuit (for all I know, clown outfits could be all the rage, and probably should be if they are not). And I can tell you that where I'm from, we keep a tighter rein on our passions than you guys do, so "modesty" isn't as big an issue. I mean, we didn't have any sort of "Victorian era" on Hearthstone, OK? You see how *I* dress...and maybe that bugs guys like Mr. Ahmed who can't keep it under control, eh? But it's modest where I'm from, and where we get to crossing out Mr. Ahmed is with his little comment:

...Rebecca attempted to criticise Britney Spears on her clothing, accusing her of being too promiscuous. Here, she gives the impression, that Britney dress style is going against the Bible. But this is not true. All the Bible states is be "modest" (1 Timothy 2:9), that's it. But, the Bible does not state what clothing is considered modest. To put it in a nutshell, Modesty is simply an emotion. It's a feeling one gets when they are personally satisfied with what they are dressed in. Therefore, Britney Spears fully meets this requirement, so long as she feels that she is modest.

Oh, dear. Well, we have two big bonehead errors in this one, but nothing we wouldn't expect from someone just reading the text in English and announcing his opinion. It goes like this. First, the Bible does not have to "state what clothing is considered modest." Surely Mr. Ahmed is not so pitiably dense as to think that a word used in an ancient text was not without some contextual understanding by its own readers. Mohammed certainly did not provide a glossary of terms for the Quran; so it's safe to assume that when the Bible uses "modest," it had specific meaning in the first-century context it was written. Of course, if Mr. Ahmed wishes to take some pride in pointing out the Quran's specific injunctions against, i.e., premarital sex, well, best think that over. The Biblical world was a high-context society; there was a lot taken for granted in documents of the period and lack of specific warnings is, if anything, normal. In fact, since the Quran was developed in the same type of society, if anything what this tells us is that Mohammed's contemporaries were so badly depraved that they needed the reminder. Not much virtue in that, is there?

Can we find out what "modest" meant to these people? Sure, easy. As Mounce says in his commentary on the Pastorals, the word here is used in many secular texts; it is "one of Plato's four cardinal virtues"; the same word is also used as a requirement for elders (1 Tim. 3:2) and other persons in the Pastorals. The comment is also followed upon by a slam against overdone hair and jewelry. So what is likely in view here when Paul says to cool it? Not hard to see.

Which does lead to a point. Rebecca St. James is not any sort of Greek linguist that I know of, but "modesty" is in this case a modern interpretative understanding, and her application of the word to Spears' apparently sparse accoutrements is an indirect application. The word itself has a more general meaning of having restraint or self-control. Like I said, we have a lot of that here where I'm from. Maybe you guys don't. But I assume that if Mr. Ahmed is told to have restraint he is not going to stand aghast with his mouth agape not knowing what he is being asked to do. His culture tells him what is required, which leads to a second big point. This is obviously not an "emotion" as Ahmed says it is. It is also not that it is, "a feeling one gets when they are personally satisfied with what they are dressed in." In fact, this is where Ahmed makes his most enormous boo-boo when it comes to the Biblical social setting. As JP has noted on his site many times, the world of the ancient Mediterranean was a group-oriented culture -- just like the one I come from. So the answer is that moderation here has nothing to do with personal satisfaction (the very idea that an individual could be so free would be ludicrous in Paul's setting and mine), but with the rigors and morals of the group and how well they are satisfied. Obviously this still goes to some extent today, even in your individualist America when you appeal to "community standards" and such. I don't want to get into an extended diatribe on morals here, because that means getting into how the rules apply on my world, but it is necessary to make a related point. Don't think by this that moderation is relative; no, this is what one of your thinkers called "graded absolutism" in action. Mr. Ahmed may perhaps say, "bare breasts are not considered immodest in Toga Toga," but before using that as a starter to get bare breasts going as an American fad, please note that in Toga Toga, it may be that bare breasts are not immodest because the Toga Togans possess moral and sexual restraint that you do not (just like we here on Hearthstone do); or that immodesty may be found in some other activity. In other words, think before you make a stink.

Ahmed wants to know, "is wearing pants modest? Is wearing shorts modest? Tank tops? Dress covering the entire body? Swimsuit? Therefore, modesty is left up to the individual to decide." Sure it is. I'd invite Mr. Ahmed to take a stroll down a Saudi Arabian beach wearing nothing but a fig leaf; I'm sure the police there will appreciate his plea that he as an individual decided it was A-Ok and they should just shut up. Or perhaps he might try sending a female relative out there without a burka. Islam, like Judaism and Christianity, calls nudity shameful, so where Mr. Ahmed gets his own ideas is something worth a mull. As for swimsuits, Mr. Ahmed seems to like one in particular -- here's what it looks like when I wear it. What do you think? I kind of like it, and I can tell you my husband Brett is happy! Is Mr. Ahmed unhappy? That's a shame. But who made it his business anyway?

Here's what it boils down to: Mr. Ahmed's silly little "challenge" to Christians to "prove from the Bible that wearing a Britney Spears type outfit is sinful or wrong" misses an enormous point. Ask Plato then to prove that kosmios is really a cardinal virtue. (Oh yeah, I'll show you later what a "Britney Spears type outfit" is too, hee hee.)

Then there's some stuff about how St. James apparently accused Spears of dressing so as to be treated as a sex object. Ahmed claims that "the very same objection can be used against [St. James], but even more forcefully, because she has many traits, which men would consider to be sexy." If he says so. I can well imagine that for Mr. Ahmed, it might be "sexy" for a woman to turn up the corner of a burka and flash a little ankle; a cartoon JP once had, from the early 1900s in America, depicted a man googling women's lower calves on a windy street corner. Of course there's quite a difference between a Britney who (apparently) knows what a great many find sexy, and dresses accordingly, and a St. James who is blissfully unaware of the knucklehead who happens to get his jollies from That Particular Shade of Lipstick. Short of specifics, not much can be said.

I don't know what to make then of Ahmed's comment that, "it is a well-known fact, that the dress a woman wears has a direct correlation to the moral decadence of a society." In this he seems to cut off his nose to spite his face; I also know of no such "well-known fact" from anthropology, in my world or on yours, but maybe further enlightenment awaits us. I rather doubt Mr. Ahmed has done the requisite social science legwork (pun intended) to become an authority. Christianity, Mr. Ahmed says, has no solution; Islam does, by which he apparently means it solves the problem by being dictatorial. True enough, killing the patient does cure the disease. I can't dispute that. On the other hand, he seems bewildered that the Bible does not get as explicit as he thinks it ought to be: "For example, the Bible does not condemn using a computer or driving a car, therefore, the logical conclusion is that it must be ok to drive a car or use a computer. Using the same common sense, if the Bible does not condemn those sexual acts, then it is ok to do." He then issues another inane challenge: "...prove from the Bible that it is ok for men and woman to kiss and hold hands on a date, but it is wrong or sinful for them to engage in any other kind of sexual activity except intercourse according to the Bible." Hmm. Here's a clue for Mr. Ahmed: In the date and place the Bible was written, just like where I come from, there was no such thing as a "date"; marriages were arranged, and to dally sexually prior to the covenant was, well, dishonorable. In other words, the social context (preformulated as it were before pen even went to scroll) already had the rules in place. There is no condemnation of drug use because there were no drugs to use; at most you have the Scythians getting lightly high off the smoke of the hemp plant, something practically unavailable to the first-century Mediterranean; and don't even ask me why the Bible needed to condemn use of the coca plant found only in the New World at that time. To demand that the Bible get more specific is like asking it to tell us the sky is blue. If you really need to be told this, you are so out of it that an explicit rule isn't going to change you anyway. If Mr. Ahmed thinks the Bible promotes a society of skimpy outfits, I would like to ask him for proof of skimpy outfits in Christian communities of the first century Mediterranean, for apparently those people didn't understand their own Bible. Sorry, but the screw ups he sees are the result of individualism -- not the Bible.

Mr. Ahmed thinks Islam will solve these ills, and that's a remarkable statement given that Islamic countries like Afghanistan and Iran are leading producers of the opium poppy and there are more than a few addicts there who will even go looking for their hit in the midst of disaster. But given Mr. Ahmed's performance, that's about the simplistic level of social science we would expect.


And be moderate in thy pace, and lower thy voice; for the harshest of sounds without doubt is the braying of the ass.

And well, I was told that Mr. Ahmed was one of those sorts who had no idea when he ought to just take his licks and shut up; so it is that he's offered a response, and to say that it is confused and prone to wandering would be something of an understatement. Mr. Ahmed proudly crows that I "was not able to refute the fact, that Islam indeed addresses the problems of today's society." Who would refute that in the first place? No one doubts that Islam "addresses" such things; so does Judaism, the Hale-Bopp cult, and Hare Krishna. Addressing problems is easy. Solving problems is quite another matter. (Of course I also acknowledge that Islam "solves" many problems; just as euthanasia "solves" deadly diseases. Whether it does so best is another matter.)

Mr. Ahmed grouses that I was "forced to go looking OUTSIDE of the Bible for answers." I wonder whether someone has lately infected him with King James Only Disease. Surely Mr. Ahmed would not say that he was "forced" to go outside the Quran to know the definitions of the Arabic words used therein. It seems indeed that the sort of idiocy we address here is not unique to Christendom. Mr. Ahmed obviously lacks any conception of texts being defined by their contexts (social, literary, linguistic, etc.). Let the ignorance speak for itself!

Beyond this Mr. Ahmed gives himself an intellectual concussion blattering about how JP and Matt Slick "must get your story straight". Why? Does Mr. Ahmed need to get his story straight with Osama bin Laden, with the Sufis, with the Shi'a, with every Islamic variation, before he can run his mouth? I don't particularly care what Matt Slick says about his wife's bathing suit (obviously); and nor in fact did I insinuate, as Ahmed claims, that "all Christians must follow the standard of modesty of the pagan and idolatrous Hellenistic Roman, Greek, and monotheistic Hebrew culture." Though indeed, that standard of modesty was quite stronger than yours AND ours in many ways (especially among the Hebrews), I made it quite clear that modesty was arrived upon by means of graded absolutes; it is established by contexts, which is a concept Mr. Ahmed seems to have grave difficulties comprehending. On and again he whingles of being "FORCED" to go outside the Bible to understand the Bible, as if this were some sort of problem. This is the standard means of scholarship for any ancient text, especially one written in a high-context society.

Mr. Ahmed refers to an article in which he argues that "Paul abolished the laws of the OT." JP's own view of the matter (not a response to him) is here; I know not what silliness Mr. Ahmed claims of Paul here, but anyway, it's a contrivance to claim that when Paul speaks of "modesty" it "can not be proven" and we can "never know" what Paul meant by using the word. Good grief! Words are defined by their context and usage; the definition of "modesty" used by Paul and his contemporaries (who he was specifically addressing) must be taken as what is meant, and it is those who disagree who must provide solid evidence to the contrary: They must, for example, produce a text from the time of Paul that defines "modesty" differently, and then show that this was the definition that Paul and his readers were more likely to be familiar with, than the one clearly testified to in Greco-Roman and Jewish literature of the period. If this is not the way things are done, what keeps us from ripping a verse out of context from the Quran, and declaring that when Muhammed spoke about modesty, he was really saying you could get naked and party naked all night long? Mr. Ahmed's method is the intellectual equivalent of him hiking up his pant legs like a little girl, stamping his feet rapidly, and flapping his hands yelling, "Eeeeeeeeeeeeeee!" It is patently obvious that Mr. Ahmed is lost in the sea of scholarship I have drowned him in.

Mr. Ahmed clouds his own waters of doom by claiming that "if someone were to ask me [Mr. Ahmed], what my standard of morality is, my answer would be very different than what the traditional culture I live in dictates, and it will be based on my own personal standard of what I think is right or wrong." Well now isn't that just hunky dory. Aside from the fact that the world of the first century Mediterranean was a collectivist culture, as I said, and to which there was no reply or mention -- where Mr. Ahmed's screaming individualism would have been regarded as a horrifying mutation which would have had him disgraced in the eyes of his neighbors -- there is a scale of difference between the broad idea of a "standard of morality" and that of a single aspect of morality, modesty. It is possible that in America, Mr. Ahmed would find ranges of difference on this particular; it is not at all possible in the ancient world. It is therefore utterly false that "only Paul, can tell us what HE meant by modest." That is rank nonsense from someone clearly unfamiliar with the social setting of the Biblical world.

Mr. Ahmed further professes ignorance at knowing of any Christian who "believes or practices what James P. Holding is recommending." This gives excellent testimony to Mr. Ahmed's seclusion, but little else. It is also quite frankly a non-answer to the question of whether or not what James P. Holding recommends is accurate or not. Mr. Ahmed's blubbering retort that "virtually all Muslims and Christians believe is that God's Word transcends all cultures and practices" -- well, I cannot speak for Muslims of whatever rank, but in your Christian world, the word for persons who refuse to define the Biblical text in terms of its context is ignorant. It is not exactly clear what Mr. Ahmed means by "transcends all cultures and practices" but it seems that he thinks it requires gross decontextualization, and I am forced to ask once again (since it was not answered, see below) where Muhammed included definitions of the Arabic words he used to author the Quran. If Mr. Ahmed so much as looks at an Arabic dictionary, or was taught the definitions of words by someone else, he is following "man made traditions" and hoists himself on his own petard.

Obviously not having yet achieved that high of a reading level, though, Mr. Ahmed "challenges" me to recommend here that "Christians MUST dress like the people did in the first century because this is what Paul truly meant," though that is not what I recommended, and I have no issues to speak of with any particular "Christian Cheerleaders" or "Christians to win the title of Miss America." Heck, if I hadn't been an executive I may have tried out for a few of those beauty contests we have here myself; at least Brett says I would have won them, but he IS a little biased. But as with a certain atheist, Mr. Ahmed shouts a challenge into the dragon's cave, knowing that the dragon is down at the bar and grill picking up his order of buffalo wings. We get now to where I noted that "Mohammed certainly did not provide a glossary of terms for the Quran"; oblivious to what this point means, Mr. Ahmed says in essence, "we don't need no stinkin' glossary" for the Bible, muddles about the alleged lack of a solution, and then ignores entirely the point about an outside context (Arabic language) being needed to even access the Quran. The Quran's "clear guidance for daily living" is of absolutely no use unless someone in the crowd somewhere can read Arabic. I believe (perhaps Mr. Ahmed, given his oddities, is different) no Muslim gets guidance from the Quran by rubbing it on his head.

We get now to where I made some issue of the social aspect of high context that made definitions, for Paul, unnecessary; and made admonitions in the Quran, if anything, a sign of a more degnerate society in need of the reminder. Mr. Ahmed plays the ignorance card yet again, simply calling this "foolishness" and "jealousy towards Islam"; but of course, any expectation that I did have the Mr. Ahmed would actually provide a response, rooted in the findings of peer-reviewed, credentialed social-science scholarship as my point is (see Malina and Rohrbaugh's Social Science Commentary on John, for example), may as well have been an expectation that Mr. Ahmed would grow pig ears and fly to the moon. Further confused, Mr. Ahmed reads my note about the mere existence of community standards with a recommendation that we follow them, and then claims contradiction between the point he invented for me claiming that we are supposed to follow first century norms. In essence Mr. Ahmed has erected two scarecrows in my yard and has put them in the boxing ring. he also takes my comment, "Sure it is," not as a facetious retort (as the context itself shows -- he does not quote my invitation to him following, to stroll down a Saudi Arabian beach nearly naked and see if his claim rings true) but as an admission of the truth on my part! Needless to say, the barrel of yuks that descends from Mr. Ahmed's barn meets anything produced by any atheist JP has ever rebutted-!

Further on, in response to my point about it perhaps being "sexy" for a woman in Mr. Ahmed's crowd to turn up an ankle, we have but some skein about "racist caricature of Arabs" (from whatever range of paranoia that resulted from) as well as some implication that the 1900s cartoon I referred to was somehow racist ("silly racist cartoons from the 1900s depicting Muslims as vile sex perverts" -- I will have to ask Mr. Ahmed how many Muslims were in America, as specified, in this period!), though it depicted, in fact, white, male, non-Muslim American citizens of the period (it was from the artist whose work is noted here). Remaining unanswered is my point that someone like St. James can be no means by held responsible for the perversions of those who are "turned on" because her hair is curled just so. If that is so, then I expect Mr. Ahmed to hide himself at once beneath a burkah, as there are undoubtedly some women, or maybe even homosexual men, out there who would find his attractive, and it is his fault if he tempts them.

Back again to context: Regarding what I said about the rules being in place already when Paul wrote (or else what Mr. Ahmed whinging about being of no cultural relevance), Mr. Ahmed consults the highest level of social science scholarship he can find -- himself -- and declares as he stamps his feet, no, "people meeting each other, then deciding to get married" have always existed. The Romans and Greeks certainly did it this way." No, they did not. Marriages in the Greco-Roman world were arranged; there was no dating (the main point of Mr. Ahmed's screed) and women were kept tightly controlled in their homes. I grew up close to this way myself and I'm glad of it (maybe JP will do a story on that someday). Marriages were performed for financial gain (to one or both families); just like my father arranged for me to marry Brett because the two of us together would be a great team to keep the family business going (hee, yeah, we ended up in love anyway...that was an extra bonus). Anyway, from all of this in which I am explaining why Paul does not give rules for dating and did not need to, Mr. Ahmed gets some delusional idea that I recommend a return to this sort of method in marriage for you guys (!), which makes about the fourth delusional strawman Mr. Ahmed has erected since this discourse began. It is much easier, I'd say, than coming to grips with social science data far above Mr. Ahmed's knowledge.

Re my note about Muslims in Iran taking and making drugs, Mr. Ahmed makes the amazing statement that "Iranians are NOT Muslims, they are Shia" (! -- I suppose they say of Mr. Ahmed, then, "he is NOT Muslim, he is Sunni!" -- or whatever he is this week -- and see here by the way) and presents some mulluguther about how Mohammed permitted persons to "drink alcohol and eat pork for survival" though I wonder how he supposes that opium was the only choice these persons had, as if they were surrounded by square miles and hectares of opium without so much as a field mouse in sight. We ignore the further diatribe on alleged suffering of Afghans (may we ask if there is such great suffering, why opium fields are not being planted with wheat?), though we note the claim that "drugs, sex, and alcohol are at an astounding low rate in Muslim countries." As noted, we agree that Islam "solves" these problems -- so indeed would a knife in the heart solve the problems of a cancer patient. Perhaps Mr. Ahmed would say that that is what is needed to keep people in Islamic countries in line, but that is another matter.

Oddly enough, Mr. Ahmed agrees with my point that the Bible (and the Quran, he allows) say nothing about drugs for there were no drugs to use and abuse; yet this glimmering moment of contextualizing realization is spoiled by his excuse that "Islam was clearly able to address the evils of today's society and condemn them. The Bible failed to do so." Christianity, however, contrary to Mr. Ahmed's makeshift proposition to the contrary, did not fail to do so; while the Quran "did" fail by his own admission. That little shiftiness of categories won't be gotten away with. And then, in spite of agreeing that there was good reason for the Bible (or the Quran) to mention drugs, Mr. Ahmed embarks on a skein of mulluguthering about the "Bible's gross deficit" (shared by the Quran, as he admits) and an alleged "logical fallacy of false analogy" in my appeal to "common sense". Mr. Ahmed whingles, "There are many things, which are BAD for you, but are permitted by God, like butter and eggs, which are high in chloresterol." I do beg pardon. The medical research says that these things are bad for you, IN EXCESS; and it takes no more than common sense to say that would be the case for anything. Whole grains are good for you; but eat nothing else but those, and eat them until your belt flies off, and you will die of scurvy and get grossly fat as well. In any event what any of this has to do with "Biblical morality" is difficult to see. I suppose next Mr. Ahmed will "freak out" over the Bible's (and the Quran's) lack of advice on maintaining a "good" cholesterol level of 200. I would remind Mr. Ahmed that his own Allah is "ALL KNOWING and ALL-POWERFUL, he knows the past, present and future." Therefore, Allah knew very well the issue of drugs even more so than people do today. Yet, according to the Quran, as Mr. Ahmed admits and according to the same level of explanation he demands of the Bible, Allah decided, that it is not a sin to do drugs. Thus we're left with two options: We can either be absurd literalists, as Mr. Ahmed is, and insist that if the exact drug name and FDA number is not given in the Bible (or Quran), that drug is not prohibited and we can get as high as we please; or, we can be like 1) the Muslims here (or are they "Shia"?) and use some common sense, to decide that the Quran's forbiddance of "intoxicants" can be broadly defined to include drugs yet unknown to Muhammed; and 2) Jews and Christians who use some common sense, to decide that the Bible's strictures on pharamkos (Galatians 5:20) or against marring the temple of the Holy Spirit, speak just as well in application to drugs not named there either. Got that, Ahmed? ALL Christians scholars uphold this view. This is bad news for millions of decontextualizers as well as Islamic apologists who don't do their homework.

Mr. Ahmed goes on to deny, from his realm of fantasy, that those deep in sin won't be affected by rules one way or the other; he admits to us "that if it were not for Islam's explicit rules, I would definitely try marijuana... I would love to try cocaine...And definitely, I would like to have a beer with my friends after work." To which I can only say, that we thank Mr. Ahmed for admitting to his own rank stupidity and/or utter lack of self-control. It speaks well of the quality of his debate, as well as the fact that he obviously grew up in a non-collectivist society.

And so it is, that Mr. Ahmed's "reply" to this article, using as it does not one whit of relevant scholarly data, closes with Mr. Ahmed apparently exciting himself a bit too much describing "walking around in tight fitted, skimpy outfits exposing much of their parts like that of Britney Spears," (I guess he means like this one I have on here, right?) and declaring that no, the Bible does not teach that "you should look at their INTENTIONS behind their deeds." It hardly needed to; that once again is a standard moral lesson that has been known in societies from the dawn of time; if Muhammed needed to remind his own contemporaries of that point, it is yet again merely a testimony to how sunken in moral mire his contemporaries truly were. If Mr. Ahmed likes challenges, I do challenge him to find me a society that failed to differentiate between evil works down with intent to harm, and accidental works that caused harm inadvertently. Until then, I will also challenge him to stay under a burkah of his own, lest by some means he inadvertently (but it's his own fault) tempt some woman (or even some homosexual man) to ogle him. Or maybe I should recommend that he go around stark naked lest he tempt some person to say, "I don't like the clothes that guy wears. They're too conservative. I rebel!" and then compel them to go around naked as well. No, the only solution for the uncourageous, unthinking soul that is Mr. Ahmed is to hide in his room and never come out again. Little wonder that the heavy-handed solutions of Islam have appeal for him.


And yet again, Mr. Ahmed seems a little more inclined towards self-torment as he whips himself into a frenzy for what promises to be his final response. Engaging what we are told is his normal modus operandi -- claiming to have us "on the run" even as he flees from the field himself -- Mr. Ahmed professes the matter to be "SO simple" and asks us to tell "which outfits are condemned by Jesus and which clothing are approved by Jesus!!!" Simplicity indeed. It is only the simple who make such grossly decontextualized demands; I made clear the issue with an earlier point which, appearing to have escaped Mr. Ahmed, apparently needs to be repeated: Mr. Ahmed may perhaps say, "bare breasts are not considered immodest in Toga Toga," but before using that as a starter to get bare breasts going as an American fad, please note that in Toga Toga, it may be that bare breasts are not immodest because the Toga Togans possess moral and sexual restraint that we do not; or that immodesty may be found in some other activity. To put it another way, ALL societies accept restraint (of which modesty, as we call it, is a subset) as a virtue, and therein lies a universal absolute; they do differ in what constitutes restraint, and the obvious reason for this is that there are simply too many environmental and personal variables to implement any universal rule. The Toga Togans' bare breasts would make a stink in your US of A on the average neighborhood street, but not in Toga Toga; but it is not because the Toga Togans are hedonistic jerks, it is because the sexual license associated with bare breasts in your white-bread communities just doesn't exist in Toga Toga. Not being aware of this reflects rather poorly on Mr. Ahmed's grasp of the philosophy of ethics, as he cannot even figure out how one figures "how much cleavage you can show according to Jesus". Jesus didn't waste time on such petty-ante stuff in your world, and as M'Kai in my world, didn't waste time on it either. Poor Mr. Ahmed's conundrum is the inevitable result of diversity meeting with bigotry; if he cannot conceive of a society like Toga Toga, in which no amount of shown cleavage will be taken as sexual license; or to the opposite extreme, a society so concerned to control sexuality that women must be kept in homes constantly and covered completely when outside, not even being able to show more than a single eye, then he simply needs more cultural education. As it is he shows all the cultural tolerance of certain atheists you have known.

Onward from this, Mr. Ahmed avers that we "RAN LIKE A COWARD" from the challenges that he himself invented based on a faulty reading of our material; in substance this is like saying we ran from the pink elephants he released into our front yard. If one is imagined, it is not hard to say the other is. He wants to know what "exactly" is wrong with Britney Spears in our view; I noted quite some time ago that I have about as much interest in celebrities as I do in nuclear binding, but it has already been made clear that if any problem exists -- with Spears, or Janet, or even Don Knotts -- it would have to do with a) them knowing by what means they may dress or act to provoke licentiousness among their fellow citizens; b) then deliberately dressing or acting that specific way. How hard is this to figure? Confused and wandering further, Mr. Ahmed accuses us of "evading" a "fundamental key question" of his, such as "is wearing pants modest?" To which I say, those who missed the answer given, represent themselves. Is Mr. Ahmed thinks this is what the issue boils down to, let us ask him a question: 1) Is the Muslim burkah modest? 2) If so, what would he say if over a period of time, wearing one came to be regarded as "sexy" and daring (because it invoked a mystery of forbidden romance)? Does he perhaps get the point now? We doubt it. "Pants" are not modest or immodest in and of themselves. A pair of pants lays on the floor; are they modest or immodest? I put a pair on Mr. Ahmed's head; is he wearing them modestly, or not? The sexiest woman Mr. Ahmed can imagine puts them on -- in private. Are they modest, or not? We sympathize with poor Mr. Ahmed, whose own moral vision is so clouded that he cannot find his way to think through these simplest of matters without direct instruction every waking moment.

The irony here though is that while Mr. Ahmed is looking for detailed instructions for putting on his pants, and deftly claims that Islam "solves" such problems as to whether wear pants or not, it is clear that within Islam's core document itself there is no evidence that this level of obsessive detail is satisfied. As Sam Shamoun has noted in assistance to us, the Quran ONLY mentions that women are to cover their bosoms, not necessarily the head. The Islamic dress code comes mainly from Muslim traditions, indicating that the Quran by itself isn't enough to tell a Muslim how a woman should exactly dress. As an article here Muslim Women's League notes:

Interestingly, the Qur'an is really not that explicit about the exact definition of modest dress. By reading the Qur'anic verses above, women are advised to cover their breasts and put on their outer garments in a way that enables them to avoid harassment. In addition, women are advised not to draw attention to their "beauty" (zeenah). This term has been translated as both beauty and ornaments (as women used to strike their feet to draw attention to hidden ornaments such as ankle bracelets). Of note is that the Qur'an uses the term zeenah elsewhere, perhaps showing that in different contexts the word has slightly different meanings:
O Children of Adam! Wear your beautiful apparel (zeenah) at every time and place of prayer.(7:31)
The exact rules defining women's dress have been determined based on interpretation of these verses and incorporation of concepts established in hadith. The inclusion of a head covering is derived from interpretation of the word khimar in 24:31 above. Most translators and commentators agree that this was a loose scarf worn at the time of the Prophet (pbuh) which covered a woman's head, neck and possibly shoulders, leaving the rest exposed. Women were thus ordered to use the khimar to cover their breasts. Naturally, a woman would continue to cover her neck, head and shoulders and would then also cover her breast. This understanding of the khimar as a head-covering explains why Muslims believe that the Qur'an tells us to cover our hair. The injunction, however, regarding covering the hair in addition to everything else is implied, not specified in the Qur'an.

No doubt we will be told by Mr. Ahmed that these people are apostate Muslims, or not Muslims, or really Rastafarians, or some other such nonsense. The article, however, includes a point not unlike our own: A more important question in this discussion is whether individuals, Muslim or non-Muslim, should be forced to dress in a certain way. Every society is entitled to establish minimum standards of dress (in the US, we do have limits as well, defining "indecent exposure" according to that society's norms). How those standards are enforced and to what extent individuals are punished for violations is of extreme importance in those countries which strongly regulate the dress code.

Mr. Ahmed thinks "jealousy of Islam" to be behind our arguments; but what of Muhammad's jealousy that others may lust after his wives and daughters being the source of one of his own rules of modesty?

O Prophet! Tell your wives and daughters and the believing women that they should draw over themselves their jilbab (outer garments) (when in public); this will be more conducive to their being recognized (as decent women) and not harassed. But God is indeed oft-forgiving, most merciful. (33:59)

A question arises: if this had been a society in which men were more like true gentlemen, who did not harrass women (and that's the way it is on MY world, other than with people we call criminals), would this stricture have been ordered? See more about the traditions behind this here and here and here. Also of interest: here and here. And more:

  • As Shamoun notes for us, there are Muslims who even go so far as to say that Islamic veil IS NOT TAUGHT IN THE QURAN; see here.
  • As shown here the main issue is how a woman manipulates her body and flirts with it -- dress itself is a subset, as we have said: intentions are what is at issue.
  • Shamoun adds that Mr. Ahmed himself fails to deal with an important point -- "that at one time Muhammad degraded women by allowing men to contract temporary marriages with them, i.e. legal prostitution." See here. Note as well that Shia Muslims (not real Muslims, according to Mr. Ahmed!) do this still today.

    At any rate, Mr. Ahmed continues to dodge past my own question of how one cannot be "forced" to go outside the Quran to know the definitions of the Arabic words used therein; then, in response to my request of whether he needs to get his story straight with bin Laden et al, he admits: "Yes. For example, when I speak of terrorism, I make sure I separate myself form Bin Laden." Well and well: JP has separated himself from Matt Slick on this issue, so Mr. Ahmed cuts himself off at his own waist. When I ask what prevents one from ripping a verse out of context from the Quran so that when Muhammed says "be modest" he really meant "party hardy and party naked," we are given the non-response that "Muslims do NOT go to pagan Arab culture to interpret the Quran's code of modesty nor anything else." That is not what I asked. I asked, precisely, how one contextualizes the meaning of the Quran; how does one define the words in it; and unless "God has revealed to Prophet Muhammed(TM)" a full Arabic dictionary as well as a Quran, Mr. Ahmed has no retort to the point that one must define "restraint" in terms of how the writers and the readers of the document understood it -- and then, as needed, evaluate the crucial differences in our society and theirs to decide how an application is to be made.

    Unsurprisingly, Mr. Ahmed has no means to deal with our points about the nature of a collective society; he insists -- as some of the worst atheists we have encountered do -- that this means "Paul possessed NO individuality and no inspiration" (a strawman; it means that Paul would and did subdue any such individuality and inspiration he had, if it was any different, to the group's preferences), and we are still left with the mysterious implication, by Mr. Ahmed's inkling, that when Paul uses a word to his contemporaries, it is conveniently such that his meaning, and theirs, might be (by no evidence whatsoever) entirely different than that of every other document we have from that period. It makes no difference in this context whether God was the author and Paul merely a conveyor of the message. Mr. Ahmed virtually insists, for no other purpose than to foist an argument, a deconstructionist reading that would play havoc with any document, the Quran included. I ask again: Where is the Arabic dictionary appended to the Quran telling us exactly what a "jilbab" consists of? Why not say that we can't be sure that when Muhammed refers to a "jilbab" he doesn't mean the equivalent of a bathing suit thong, which is actually very "decent" (since we don't really know for sure what Muhammed meant by that either)? The game is up, and Mr. Ahmed swings mightily from his own petard.

    Mr. Ahmed further plays the scholar by claiming that "Paul did teach certain aspects of morality which did go against collectivist culture in 1 Cor 11." Mr. Ahmed quotes no specific verses from this chapter allegedly demonstrating this. In fact Paul is right in line with the morals of his day here (see here). Mr. Ahmed says "Paul also condemned women from wearing jewelry and braided hair" but then so did other moralists of the day, so again Paul is not offering anything new. It is alleged that "Paul may have had a particular code of modesty, but simply did not write it down in his letters, therefore, that code is lost. Paul's himself confirms that 1 Cor 11:34." This verse only says, "And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come." How we get from this that Paul "lost" or did not write down a full moral code, ever, is one of those great mysteries that we suppose will be forever locked in Mr. Ahmed's head, which is the same place we will find his evidence that I am "the only Christian in the world that has this bizarre morality code."

    Robbed of some excitement, apparently, by the mere mention of the name, Mr. Ahmed asks, "Why did you exclude Britney Spears?????????????" I dealt with Spears rather earlier when I noted the difference in intention; I have no "prejudice against Arabs" (how can I, wheer I'm from???) and it does little good, other than for cough relief salesman, for Mr. Ahmed to shout that "You and your buddy St. James have NO RIGHT to dictate to others what they should or should not find sexually appealing." While presumably Mr. Ahmed and his Islamic cohorts do. However, a few points. First, if we live in the same society as certain persons who lack restraint, and their lack of restraint cascades into a greater effect that will or can affect US, we absolutely DO have a right to speak out (hardly "dictation" since neither I nor Ms. James possess dictatorial powers or own any military hardware). Second, Mr. Ahmed essentially concedes to my main point: "If I man (or woman) wants to find a person's nasty toes to be appealing, you have no right to pass judgment on them. That is arrogance, par excellence." It is indeed. That is the point. The problem with such persons is them, and their toe fetish, not us. However, there is quite a difference between the person who walks in with their toe-jammed self, unaware of the man with the sick fetish for dirty toes, and the person who knows that there are those who find dirty toes appealing, and purposely walks in, flaunts them, waves their dirty toes around in the face of the man with the fetish, etc. In this we say no more or less than what the Islamic articles linked above say -- which themselves belie Mr. Ahmed's spurious claim that "Islam clearly does" address such issues. (In what Sura do we find the line about dirty toe fetishes, may I ask?)

    Out of his element once again, Mr. Ahmed implies that there is no "proof" of arranged marriages in the ancient world (never mind that it is all over the scholarship; i.e., Witherington's commentary on Corinthians, 170: "Roman marriages were for the most part arranged and involved little person choice on the part of the participants, at least among the prosperous"; hence it was not love, but concordia, or a state of peace and harmony, that was a characteristic of a good marriage!); we are told that we "misunderstood" Mr. Ahmed's quite unmisunderstandable point, and it is insisted that even if "arranged marriages existed...love marriages have always existed side by side. There is no way in the world any society can avoid it!" Well, too bad: They did avoid it, and if love did come to pass in any marriage at this time, it was by happy accident after the fact, as was the case with Brett and I. And even then, the point remains that love marriages or not, there was no dating. As Malina says in The New Testament World [66], in a collectivist culture (and guys, I LIVED in one of these before Brett and I teamed up with Sheila, so we know this to be true), people "did not know each other very well in the way we know people, that is, psychologically, individually, intimately, and personally." People were not considered "psychologically unique worlds" to each other; personal idiosyncracies obviously existed, but were considered unimportant and uninteresting. So then: The whole purposes of dating, to get to know a person as a person, did not exist; the whole basis for a love marriage, unique attachment to a person as a person, was unknown, and if Mr. Ahmed can't provide any better answer than, "Nah, couldn't be," his inability will continue to speak for itself.

    Mr. Ahmed further challenges us to "show how Islam's solution is like a knife in the heart." I suppose cutting off a hand to stop a thief doesn't meet this requirement, but we might also point to this. It need not all be in the form of death, but coercion is part of the package -- and no amount of "well, those are not Muslims" will erase it, since these practies go back to Muhammed himslf.

    Further confused, Mr. Ahmed now says, "Go back and read what I wrote again. I specifically stated that Islam clearly prohibits drug use, which the Bible does not do." Here again is what he said: "I agree with you on this point. But the same holds true for the Quran, there was no drug problem during the advent of Islam." Perhaps Mr. Ahmed is trying to bait and switch, getting out of his admission that the Quran has no word against drug use by pointing out that Islam does. Mr. Ahmed also blindsidedly misses the point (using indeed partial quoting) that Galatians 5:20 is not used by me as a direct address to modern drugs, but a verse which, using common sense, takes its application to that day's sorcery, and realizes that the purpose of it, being much the same (to induce an altered state of consciousness) has direct application to today's use of cocaine, etc. In that way, we do nothing different than those who Muslims use the hadith prescription against intoxication generally (without mentioning a specific drug) and apply it to specific drugs (a portion which Mr. Ahmed fails to quote from us -- and which makes the author of that article, Osama Abdallah, a cut above Mr. Ahmed on the moral perception scale). If we wish to be as abusive as Mr. Ahmed with human language, here's a trick for him. Let's take this again:

    "The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: If a large amount of anything causes intoxication, a small amount of it is prohibited."

    Is that so? Well, in that case, we argue that Islam teaches that people are forbidden to breathe! What the devil, you say? It's true. Here's informing word from "Wildcat", who is in school for this sort of stuff right now:

    "The toxicity of oxygen is related to the production of oxygen free radicals which, through their interaction with lipids, proteins, carbohydrates, and DNA, produce cellular dysfunction. Evidence of free radical damage has been described in over 100 disease states....The free radical damage could be the primary cause of the disease, could enhance complications of the disease, or could be the consequence of cell damage caused by other agents." Marks, Dawn B. PhD; Marks, Allan D. MD; Smith, Colleen M. PhD. "Basic Medical Biochemistry." 1996. pg. 330.
    Oxygen radicals are implicated in DNA damage as well, which leads to mutations, which could ultimately lead to cancer. Humans (and many other eukaryotic organisms; and aerobic prokaryotes) even have enzymes (e.g. superoxide dismutase; catalase) used to break down and remove free radicals. Also, vitamin E is a major anti-oxidant used to counter oxygen radicals.

    So there you have it. A large amount of oxygen can cause intoxication; therefore, a small amount of it is prohibited. If you are Muslim, you must now hold your breath and never breathe again.

    Of course, I don't offer any such absurd view in reality. Context teaches us that this moral truism by no means could apply to something like oxygen. Yet if we follow Mr. Ahmed's strict hermeneutic as applied to the Bible, we would have little choice but to conclude that Islam requires us to stop breathing. True Muslims would die of asphyxiation upon conversion.

    We are told (again, by the greatest authority Mr. Ahmed knows in social science, himself) that it is not proven that societies always considered intention, and it is claimed that "your own Bible teaches against this". Where? We are given Matthew 7:21-23, thus:

    Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven(they had the right intention); but he that doeth the will (deeds have to be correct)of my Father which is in heaven.

    It goes further, but the exegesis crashes into contextualism from the get go. Nothing about saying "lord, lord" establishes "right intention". In fact, kurios (Lord) was a word used as we use sir today; it is a title of acclaim but expresses nothing about "intent" (other than maybe, intent to ingratiate). But further:

    Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? (they had the right intentions; they did it for Jesus) and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

    How again Mr. Ahmed presumes to read minds and find "right intention" here (as opposed to ingratiating spin doctoring) is yet another mystery that may never be solved; let's keep in mind that one thing pagans were known to do was use the name of Yahweh (and later, Jesus) in magical formulas, even for exorcisms, yet of course they no more were Christians than Oscar the Grouch is a Muslim. There is no sign here of correct "intentions"; in fact, if Mr. Ahmed had any sense at all of Semitic anthropology he would know that there could be no concept of intentions not matched with action. Jesus' condemnation in 7:23 shows that these persons had neither right deeds nor right intent. (Beyond this, Mr. Ahmed is lost in irrelevancy when he says, Christians have coined the phrase, "Road to hell is paved with good intentions". The origin of this phrase is variously attributed to Samuel Johnson, but the attribution is off (see here); but the earliest form still comes from no earlier than the 1100s, well after Biblical times and not informed of Semitic anthropology, and its earliest meaning had to do with life in hell itself, not the road to it.) Mr. Ahmed is also confused in saying that "Christians also believe that INTENTIONS are irrelevant when it comes to committing sin." They are indeed irrelevant in terms of paying a price, just as we are expected to help an old lady up when we trip her by accident. They are NOT irrelevant in determining the seriousness of the sin; even the OT clearly distinguishes between sin committed purposely and by accident, and prescribes a lesser penalty for the latter.)

    Mr. Ahmed closes with an extended diatribe against "male shovanistic [sic] pig hypocrisy" of Christian men and bewilderments over why such things as hunting Bambi for sport are not condemned. We'll leave those red herrings in their tub, thank you (sport hunting, I am sorry, did not exist in the ancient world either -- we are told "sport hunting is FORBIDDEN in Islam" but since it isn't in the Quran, that means it's not worth a hill of beans) and note once again Mr. Ahmed's own profession to lack sense, as he admits to loving to "pot weelies [sic] on a motorcycle" because it "gives me thrill, and is very fun." I know what he means: I get the same thrill out of seeing Mr. Ahmed squirm under the microscope of Biblical social science.


    Some weeks after our last response, Mr. Ahmed apparently had some time to spare to write a further limited response, beginning with a half-truth that he was "hoping James Patrick Holding (JPH) would debate me in public on this topic, but it appears that JPH was not confident enough and refused to debate." That is not quite true. In fact, JP was willing and able to debate Mr. Ahmed on TheologyWeb (see thread here) but Mr. Ahmed obviously did not wish to debate in a setting in which he actually had to think things over and work out details, as opposed to simply shouting his performance catchphrases about such matters as "Girls Gone Wild" repeatedly. In the end, much of his latest is again more of the same, with demands that I condemn Miss America contests and J. Crew clothing, since Mr. Ahmed apparently has not the wherewithal to figure out the matters himself.

    Little of what I say is actually quoted this round; one point used, about the correlation possible between minimal Toga Togan dress and Toga Togan sexual restraint, is waved off with a "Who cares?" (yes, literally!) and a claim that this "does not even begin to address my challenges" because it does not tell Mr. Ahmed precisely "how low your neckline is supposed to be according to Jesus" or things like how much physical contact is allowed before marriage. Perhaps this is not surprising, since Mr. Ahmed apparently has to ask, And what the hec [sic] does he mean by “moral restraint”? If Mr. Ahmed has to ask for a definition of so simple a phrase, little wonder the "complexities" of moral and social interaction are beyond him.

    It is only partly correct to say that (in the specific area stated) "good and evil is based upon fellow citizen’s libido." Mr. Ahmed forgets to include the further point that it is also based on the primary citizen's knowledge of the libido of others. Thus it is not only that "the woman’s dress is dictated to her by men’s libido," but also by the woman's own intentions. This does not lead to the point, as Mr. Ahmed claims, that "men are put in charge to dictate to woman what they can wear and what they can not wear" (that describes the forlorn, tyrannical methods we associate rather with fundamentalist Islam, as well as fundamentalist Christianity); and so Mr. Ahmed's further diatribe assuming this to be the case is beside the point. Morality is and always will be interactional to some extent; absolutes will always involve matters of grading. Mr. Ahmed's panic-stricken retorts about the danger of trying to get varied parties to agree leaves us little surprised that his answer is a tyrannical code of purity that simply makes all persons into mindless Borg. (Rather confused is Mr. Ahmed's commentary on "original sin," whatever the point of it was; JP's take on that matter is here.)

    In what follows that is simply not more of the same, we are told that perhaps Britney Spears had other intentions, like selling records (which seems to me just an extension of the sexual aspect) or having fun (more of the same), or to meet men, and so on. Perhaps so, but if Mr. Ahmed believes this of the current crop of Hollywood -- that indeed, selling sexuality isn't their game -- there is indeed some nice tundra land I have for sale where he can plant a vacation home. In any event I myself make no judgment on Spears, and never did; on the other hand, nor did this automatically mean "it is ok to dress like Britney Spears" (assuming it is indeed objectionable); it would only mean that Spears was innocent of intent, and therefore less culpabale. But I suspect such graded morality would be rather difficult for Mr. Ahmed to grasp.

    I take with a grain of salt Mr. Ahmed's fantasy that, Every half way decent looking woman is going to cause a man to “lust” after her by simply saying, “Hi, nice to meet you.” Perhaps this reflects problems he is having in his own personal life, which would merely prove my point that morality involves an understanding of subject-object relationships and not merely indistinct surface impressions. Presumably Mr. Ahmed can't even plug in a lamp without exciting his libido.

    On it goes, with my point about Gal. 5:20 arbitrarily and summarily dismissed with no other answer than that there is "no evidence" for what I said -- other than, presumably, the reports of credentialed scholars who tell us what pharmakeia meant in Greek. (I am sorry to inform Mr. Ahmed that in the ancient world, pharmakeia did not bring "wealth" to anyone; and in any event, bringing wealth is not an exclusive property of pharmakeia and would lead Paul to say rather, that no one ought to buy pharmakeia, or that it ought to be free. Mr. Ahmed's inventive contextualizing serves only to magnify his contempt for scholarship. But he admits that his view is absurd anyway, so what does this have to do with any real issue?)

    Of the rest, Mr. Ahmed deems to call it "quite irrelevant" (which I assume means, not within his capability to understand or answer) with the exception of my challenge questions. The first one is answered simply; yes, the burhka is modest. Then for my second question -- what happens if the burhka becomes alluring? -- we are told:

    There is no sin on the woman if a man looks at her in a sexual way so long as she is following the basic minimum requirement for dress in Islam...men have no right to dictate to woman what they can wear or what they can not wear. Only God has that right. It does not matter how sexually excited a man gets.

    So this is quite a tale to tell! Apparently, women may under this rubric freely dress in a way that is explicitly alluring and sexual, and it is not a sin to do so. Which leads to the conclusion that "God" in Mr. Ahmed's Islam is merely a legalist with no real concern for sin, except where men are concerned. Or, perhaps Mr. Ahmed's "God" is a woman and a female chauvanist. Or, Mr. Ahmed's "God" mistakenly believes that cloth is at the root of sexuality. Regular readers will recognize that Mr. Ahmed has put himself in the same absurd corner as have many King James Only fundamentalists and those who read the Bible as though written yesterday and for them personally -- the text becomes, when this happens, a highly counterfactual, counterintuitive production that requires even more ridiculous lengths to be defended, and more props and excuses, validated with nothing but a simple threat ("God says so!") rather than reason. It is a vicious exercise in circular reasoning, in which "God" is at the center of the circle one chases one's tail around. Left to ask is the question, "WHY does God say this is wrong?" That God "has a right" is not an answer; it is fideism of the worst sort, no better than Christians who answer questions about Bible problems by saying we need to "use the eye of faith." Presumably Mr. Ahmed finds that sort of answer of no use when Christians give it; and we likewise find it of no use from him.

    Mr. Ahmed then takes some time to insult Sam Shamoun without answering much of any of his points. Mr. Ahmed's "Sex, Lies...." link is answered by Shamoun here and his "restaurant chase" charge is debunked by a 3rd party here. He also adds some further comments:

    The problem is that he hasn't defended his position from the Quran, since this traditon now stands in opposition to the explicit Quranic injunction regarding the dress code of woman. Thus, he either subscribes to the sufficiency of the Quran, or upholds the tradition which finds no substantiation from the explicit teaching of the Quran.

    Recall the links I sent you, and also take into consideration the following site. These are Muslims who are using the Quran to refute Nadir's traditions.

    And:

    Since Nadir demands for explicit commands and regulations regarding dress code, otherwise he thinks that the Bible promotes immorality, then by the same token let him produce a single Quranic reference where Allah condemns bestiality and lesbianism, otherwise we are forced to admit that the Quran promotes these things.

    In fact, apart from Muhammad permitting muta (temporary marriages with the sole aim of sexual pleasure), there is a verse in the Quran which can be construed to permit prostitution:

    And let those who do not find the means to marry keep chaste until Allah makes them free from want out of His grace. And (as for) those who ask for a writing from among those whom your right hands possess, give them the writing if you know any good in them, and give them of the wealth of Allah which He has given you; and do not compel your slave girls to prostitution, WHEN THEY DESIRE TO KEEP CHASTE, in order to seek the frail good of this world's life; and whoever compels them, then surely after their compulsion Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. S. 24:33 Shakir

    The way this passage is worded one can easily conclude that prostitution is only a sin when the slave girl desires chastity. Otherwise, if she does not desire to be chaste then it is okay for her to prostitute herself for gain. This understanding is supported by Muhammad having allowed his followers to contract temporary marriages for the sole purpose of sexual gratification, an obvious form of prostitution. Thus, this verse allows women to prostitute themselves if they so chose since they would be needed for men to contract temporary marriages.

    The Quran even permits adultery in certain circumstances:

    Also (prohibited are) women already married, except those whom your right hands possess: Thus hath God ordained (Prohibitions) against you: Except for these, all others are lawful, provided ye seek (them in marriage) with gifts from your property, - desiring chastity, not lust, seeing that ye derive benefit from them, give them their dowers (at least) as prescribed; but if, after a dower is prescribed, agree Mutually (to vary it), there is no blame on you, and God is All-knowing, All-wise. S. 4:24 Y. Ali

    This passage makes it lawful for men to have sex with married women who are owned by Muslims as slaves, whether by captivity or by purchase.

    In light of the foregoing, it is the Quran, not the Bible, which allows for adultery and prosttiution, the complete degradation of women and society.

    Finally, there is this on the "hijab":

    Since he has introduced the Shiites into the equation, implying that he accepts them as legitimate Muslims. Well, if that is the case, then these Muslims which Nadir appealed to claim that temporary marriages (muta- a form of legal prostiution) is still applicable today. Thus, Islam promotes prostitution, even though it calls it marriage, which means that following Islam will lead to a complete destruction of family and marital values, as well as to the degradation of women.

    Nadir himself embarrasingly admitted on tape that muta, or temporary marriages, can be even for only an hour! (Source)

    Also: Muhammad doesn't say that the only way one can cover the body with the exception of the hands and face is by wearing a dress. One can wear very tight jeans and sweaters or long sleaved t-shirts which can still be revealing enough to cause men to lust.

    Not surprisingly, though, we are told that as for "these links which Shameless Shamoun is sending to you, these are cults which do not comprise even 1% of the Muslim population." Yes, as predicted, Mr. Ahmed defines away as a cult whatever Muslims do not agree with them. Admittedly, he could be right, or he could be the "cultist" and the others right, or both could be cultists. But apparently we'll never find out in an objective fashion.

    My final question, asking "if this had been a society in which men were more like true gentlemen, who did not harrass women, would this stricture have been ordered," isn't even answered at first. Instead some tangent is raised about how I have "assumed that the society which he lives in are more like true gentlemen as compared to 6th century Arabs," which I say absolutely nowhere, and added on is a repeat of Mr. Ahmed's former error about "cartoons from the early 1900s depicting Arabs as sexual perverts" (as he missed, the cartoon had no Arabs in it). But eventually, the answer is given and it is the same as above: The rules are "God’s revelation for all times," so that if it happens that by perversion, the rules become sexy, there is no need to change the rules. Which leads Mr. Ahmed into a conundrum: If he wishes to say that the Bible gives no such rules, then all we need to say is that this lack of rules reflects "God's revelation for all times," and so any misapplication or abuse by later persons is exclusively their fault. It's either one or the other, but not both. Either we can blame both the Bible and the Quran for not keeping up with the times; or we can blame men for going their own way against silence. What Mr. Ahmed throws at us, boomerangs back upon him.

    Further on, Mr. Ahmed fails to grasp how I have shown that "Islam is like knife in the heart." It is not in the least "unrelated," as Mr. Ahmed says, to bring up the issue of a hand being cut off; unless he will now say that there is no penalty at all for sexual dalliances in his religious system. In which case, whence his claims of superiority in control?

    Then at last, Mr. Ahmed seeks to relieve his embarrassment over the proof that Islam forbids breathing, with a note that the Quran orders us to follow the Messenger. And the Messenger breathed oxygen, therefore, oxygen is an exception to the rule. Unfortunately all Mr. Ahmed has done is prove that the Messenger was either a hypocrite, or badly informed about the toxicity of oxygen. Rather than get out of his hole, Mr. Ahmed has only dug himself deeper into the pit.

    And so it is that we end another round, with Mr. Ahmed more clueless, if that were possible, than before -- and no closer to understanding the Biblical world in its context.