In their own way, these seven men -- Albert Einstein, Franklin Roosevelt, Mahatma Gandhi, John Stuart Mill, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Paine, & Terence -- all strongly disagreed with Islam's Allah:
Yet Allah envisages a different purpose in life for us: "And I did not Create the jinn [mystical Islamic creatures] and humans except they should worship Me." (Quran 51:56). Debate Question: For the sake of argument, consider yourself the God of the Heavens, the all-powerful Creator of the Universe. Would you decree for humans that their primary purpose is to obey and worship you, or would you instead determine for them that their primary purpose is to live for each other? Or is there a different primary purpose you would want for them?
If one believes in the revelations of Muhammad and obey all directives from the Allah of Muhammad, then Allah will reward that person, we are told, with eternity in Islamic heaven (Quran 3:132-136). If, however, you refuses to believe Muhammad's revelations then Allah will burn you forever (Quran 4:56). But Einstein had this to say: "I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, whose purposes are modeled after our own — a God, in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty..." and this as well: "I do not believe that a man should be restrained in his daily actions by being afraid of punishment after death or that he should do things only because in this way he will be rewarded after he dies. This does not make sense. The proper guidance during the life of a man should be the weight that he puts upon ethics and the amount of consideration that he has for others."
Debate Question: Einstein (an agnostic) also said "Morality is of the highest importance -- but for us, not for God." Is this notion completely consistent with Islam?
Franklin Roosevelt on Fear.
Franklin Roosevelt in 1933 famously encouraged the American people, stating: "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself!" Later, in 1941, he articulated his renowned "Four Freedoms," freedoms all humans should have, one of which is Freedom from Fear.
At least 28 different verses in the Quran exhort the faithful to "fear Allah." In addition, at one point Allah seeks to terrorize: "We shall cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve because they ascribe unto Allah partners, for which no warrant has been revealed. Their habitation is the Fire." (Quran 3:151).
Debate Questions: Would humans have better lives living without fear (as Franklin Roosevelt would want), or living in fear (as Allah wants)?
With regards to Allah "casting terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve," is this truly better than casting love into the hearts of everyone?
Gandhi on Nonviolence.
Mahatma Gandhi stated, "I believe in the doctrine of nonviolence as a weapon of the weak. I believe in the doctrine of nonviolence as a weapon of the strongest. I believe that a man is the strongest soldier for daring to die unarmed. "
Allah, on the other hand, had this to say: "O Prophet! urge the believers to war..." (Quran 8:65), "O you who believe! fight those of the unbelievers who are near to you and let them find in you hardness" (Quran 9:123), and "Fight against such of those who have been given the Scripture as believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, and forbid not that which Allah hath forbidden by His messenger, and follow not the Religion of Truth, until they pay the tribute (the jizya) readily, being brought low." (Quran 9:29).
Following commands such as these, Muhammad & his merry men did wage war, including once traveling 150 kilometers from Medina to fight the unsuspecting disbelievers of Khaibar, an event described in this Sahih Muslim hadith: "The people of the town had just come out from (their houses) to go about their jobs. They said (in surprise): Muhammad has come. We captured Khaibar by force." (Sahih Muslim, 4437). After all, Allah ordained fighting for the Muslims: "Fighting has been enjoined upon you while it is hateful to you. But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah Knows, while you know not." (Quran 2:216). Though leaving their homes to travel far away to fight others may have been "hateful" to the Muslims, the residents of Khaibar had not yet been brought low, they had not yet paid any tribute, and Allah & Muhammad wanted this payment made.
Debate Questions: Has there been too much fighting between Muslims and nonMuslims throughout history, or too little fighting?
In the future, which path will lead to greater harmony and prosperity in society: God-ordained fighting or nonviolence?
Creating men with "a degree over" women (Quran 2:228), Allah makes clear that wives must obey their husbands (Quran 4:34) since Allah has favored men more than women: "Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband's] absence what Allah would have them guard. But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance - advise them, forsake them in bed, and strike them..."(Quran 4:34).
In contrast, the philosopher John Stuart Mill strongly favored equality in marriage, believing it vital not just for marriage, but also for advancing morality throughout society:
"The moral regeneration of mankind will only really commence, when the most fundamental of the social relations [marriage] is placed under the rule of equal justice, and when human beings learn to cultivate their strongest sympathy with an equal in rights and in cultivation." (emphasis added).
Our Debate Question: What shall be best for humanity in the years ahead, equality or inequality between husbands & wives, equality or inequality between men & women?
Abraham Lincoln on Slavery.
Allah condones slavery -- in the Quran he goes so far as to permit his beloved prophet Muhammad to marry his female slaves if Muhammad wants to (Quran 33:50). In addition, Allah permits the Muslim male to have sex with his female slaves, even if he is married to others (Quran 70:29-30).
Abraham Lincoln & Allah on Enemies::
Unlike Abraham Lincoln, Allah sought not to turn his enemies into friends; instead Allah seeks to torture his enemies forever by burning them: in the Quran (41:19) we read: "And the Day the enemies of Allah are mustered to the Fire, so they are (duly) dispensed with."
Debate Question: Which is a better way for us to deal with our enemies: trying to turn them into friends, or instead is it better to torture them?
Thomas Paine on Hell.
Allah hates those who do not believe Muhammad so much that he wants to torture them forever. Many verses in the Quran point out the peril of those who refuse to believe Muhammad, but none more tellingly than this: "Lo! Those who disbelieve Our revelations, We shall expose them to the Fire. As often as their skins are consumed We shall exchange them for fresh skins that they may taste the torment. Lo! Allah is ever Mighty, Wise " (Quran 4:56). Muslims approve of everything that their god does, and thus approve of the endless torture of people who simply refused to believe Muhammad.
Think for a moment about the members of the Islamic State, and then ponder our Debate Question: "Can belief in a cruel god make a man cruel?"
Terence on Acceptance & Tolerance. Showing a willingness to accept others, Terence wrote, "I am human; nothing human is alien to me."
Allah is far, far less accepting. In the Quran we read: "And whoever desires other than Islam as religion - never will it be accepted from him, and he, in the Hereafter, will be among the losers." (Quran 3:85). That is to say, Allah will burn them.
In addition to refusal to believe Muhammad, Allah also could not tolerate homosexuality. Allah declared, "What, of all creation will you go to (fornicate with) the males, leaving aside those whom Allah has created for you as your mates. Nay, you are a people that has transgressed all limits." (Quran 26:165-166, see also Quran 7:81 & 4:16). Terence, on the other hand, had allusions to homosexuality in two of his six plays.
Debate Question: Would the world be a happier, brighter place if Muslims were more accepting of both nonMuslims and homosexuals?