Didn’t Say Simon Says

I don’t know about your childhood, but perhaps you’ve played a kid’s game called Simon Says. Simon gives a command after first saying “Simon Says” and you have to follow it in this case, and disobey it if he didn’t say Simon Says. While this game is simple, it carries with it the message that there are times to obey a message, and times to disobey.

What am I getting at? Well, suppose I had some sort of identifier that it was actually me doing the writing, certain phrases I would use. Someone else tries to forge my handwriting and force me to write a false message, and I wouldn’t use this identifier, so they would know it wasn’t me.

Moving on. In the writing of the Qu’ran, the passages were not written in order by chronology, but by length of passage, so the text appears jumbled, with several instances of him speaking to people that seem out of context because the other parts are elsewhere. That said, another feature of the text is the practice of abrogation, that is, older passage are overwritten by newer ones. (The problem being, the average person reading through this, has no idea which passages are older or newer without doing a historical study)

More on this here

There are two problems with this:

First, the entire concept of abrogation means the Qu’ran is not a holy book, and not of divine origin. Why? Well, let me provide some background on myself. I am a writer, mainly of video games and the like, but I have at one point written a religious book known as the Mune Shinri (I have since changed my name and address, sorry, no autographs). This was a religious book on human religion, using the lessons of my own life. So whenever something I wrote turned out to be wrong, I rewrote it. This is okay, I never claimed this was God’s word. Humans make mistakes. The problem being, if something claims to be the infallible word of God, it cannot have these rewrites or its whole legitimacy is called into question.

However, we have a more serious problem. According to the history of the man himself, at one point, he pronounced a verse acknowledging the existence of three Meccan goddesses considered to be the daughters of Allah. The next day at the behest of Gabriel, he claims that the verses were whispered by the devil himself. So, we are looking at the text, and there is a sudden shift from peaceful texts about trading with Jews and Christians, to increasingly paranoid text about how the Jews and Christians are plotting together, from an accepted command to not do violence except in defensive warfare to a change in 626 AD where things changed to largely offensive war.

We weren’t around. How do we know that at some point, one of his relatives didn’t actually take over? In fact, since Muslims of the time were largely silent, he very well could have been killed much earlier than claimed for being too soft. Or that he was influenced by the devil (what most of us would consider either insanity, or simply allowing himself to be consumed by hatred or revenge)? In either case, this change would reflect itself in the text, would it not?

And it does.

(From the link above)

Chapter 9 of the Qur’an, in English called “Ultimatum,” is the most important concerning the issues of abrogation and jihad against unbelievers. It is the only chapter that does not begin “in the name of God, most benevolent, ever-merciful.”[54] Commentators agree that Muhammad received this revelation in 631, the year before his death, when he had returned to Mecca and was at his strongest.[55] Muhammad bin Ismail al-Bukhari (810-70), compiler of one of the most authoritative collections of the hadith, said that “Ultimatum” was the last chapter revealed to Muhammad[56] although others suggest it might have been penultimate. Regardless, coming at or near the very end of Muhammad’s life, “Ultimatum” trumps earlier revelations.

Because this chapter contains violent passages, it abrogates previous peaceful content. Muhsin Khan, the translator of Sahih al-Bukhari, says God revealed “Ultimatum” in order to discard restraint and to command Muslims to fight against all the pagans as well as against the People of the Book if they do not embrace Islam or until they pay religious taxes. So, at first aggressive fighting was forbidden; it later became permissible (2:190) and subsequently obligatory (9:5).[57] This “verse of the sword” abrogated, canceled, and replaced 124 verses that called for tolerance, compassion, and peace.[58]

There is something wrong with this. You see, unlike previous passages, it does not include the classical beginning. This tells me that (1) Muhammad had been ordered to write this passage by others of his family and he dropped the typical callsign to let people know that it wasn’t really him writing, or (2) it wasn’t him writing and the person who wrote this added it in here into the text before noticing that he always started (this would be like my sister trying to get my parents to write a letter of permission to go on a field trip, and doing it herself. Even if she forged their writing, the letter would be in the tone of a teenager rather than an adult, and clearly not written by my parents). There is another problem. This was written one year before his death (June 8, 632 AD), but at 626 they started declaring offensive wars. What writing was there in support of this in 626 AD?


As it turns out, there wasn’t one. In 626, Muhammad wrote a text that in fact made it sinful to hurt other people of the book, making this extremist stance a violation of the original tenants of Islam. What then, are we to conclude from this? Islam was at some point hijacked. Muhammad, as flawed a human being as he was, did not advocate war, but his in-laws took over his followers and marched in direct conflict with his wishes (or killed him and claimed he died later).

Given this, we can conclude that this particular abrogation was likely falsely written, and has no validity. Since 2:190 does make it permissable to fight back, this is still permissable to defend, but the idea that jihad is an obligation is actually a heresy. Given this, any texts that this led to, are also falsely written. In short, because this part of the text was not written in the name of God, most benevolent, ever-merciful, it could only have been written by the demons or by man.

Muslims need to stop fighting, and start cleaning house. To start looking seriously at the Qu’ran, and actually allowing it to reform. To unseat the extremist elements of their own faith before they proceed to spread their religion. If you aren’t sure whether all of your writings actually were inspired by God, you cannot share them with others without it being called into doubt.

Why I’m Likely Not Going To See Divergent: Ascendent

Maybe you haven’t heard. After Divergent: Allegiant, they’re supposedly scheduling a fourth movie, known as Ascendant. This will “complete” the series as it was intended to be told. However, I, and much of the population would be better off ending the series uncompleted.

Don’t get me wrong, I like the Divergent series, for the most part. However, having tried to wade through the print version of Allegiant, I came to one conclusion. It was a trainwreck. First off, the story was told as a single narrative from Tris, but now it switches back and forth between Tris and Tobias. Tris’s narrative, honestly, was part of what worked for the first two books, making the entire story jarring to read. That’s not the only thing that switches back and forth, either, it seems like there is a lot more travel between the area beyond the wall and the city of Chicago. Then we have switching back and forth between the faction and factionless sides, and it just seemed very disorganized and… well, stupid. We learn about the various colored formulas, the memory formula and the death formula. First, they try to wipe the memory of everyone, to start over because David, the leader of the camp outside, has to answer to his superiors for the war going on in Chicago.

Aside from not even mentioning the death formula, this is mostly what happened in the movie so far. But then (and my memory is kinda rusty from reading it about a year and a half ago, and then seeing the movie) I believe after stopping Tobias’s mom, they have another point where David tries again to take over the city. Already, this book is repetitive, lacking some of the novel aspects of the previous books. This is in fact an unnecessary story arc, because technically, having failed to clean up the city, his superiors could easily have demoted him, and since they weren’t that invested in the city, might have left it alone. Instead, we get into the worst part of the story.

Before I continue, we need to talk about the symbolic aspect of the books and movies. There is a sense of religion and transcendental reality all through the plot, with themes of resurrection and immortality pervading as well. In book and movie one, Tris awakens during a virtual reality sequence from a chemical formula, designed to test her caste affinity, by discovering she has the ability to detect when “this isn’t real” in regards to reality. This is part of what makes the series interesting, and I think it is a good metaphor for our own reality, to say nothing of being a very cool scene. The second movie, they deviate substantially from the book’s plot. In the book, Janine is trying to control Tris, and keeps doing control simulations (everything in the books is based on potions and formulas), and there is some deal where they try to sneak. In the movie, they decide (much like I did) that this is LAME, and instead shift the story to an ancient artifact being discovered, which requires someone qualifying for all of the factions, so Tris retakes her factions test. This is a massive deviation from the book, but the section works both from a plot and from a character perspective. We learn more about what makes Tris tick, even than from the book. Tris gets very far during this simulation, but due to the mental strain of the test, gets a massive seizure, and apparently dies. Like the third book (I’ll get to that later), we have a resurrection motif, and she tries this over again. We see her figuring out that this is an illusion, conquering her fear, telling the truth, passing the Abnegation part, and finally facing the Amity test. Contrary to what you would believe from the sound of Amity, this is not an easy test. Tris must conquer her impulse to fight back, or else the entire world falls apart around her and she dies from the fall. This scene reads very much like one conquering her reality and becoming transcendent (or Ascendant), and we could very much end here. Especially, now that we see the entire city becoming free, walking and climbing towards the outside. Sure, fine, end here. The third movie, they are once again trapped inside the walls of the city, but the main characters decide to take a climbing mission across the border. As I say, they meet David, and discover about the genetic manipulation of the past, and how Tris was the end result of an experiment to return to the true nature of humanity (a rather good metaphor here for the tendency of people to say “I’m only human” and limit themselves to single-faceted existence, when in fact they can become much greater). We have a rather cool scene where they gain new technology where they can control drones to defend themselves with shields and sense stuff. These are a sort of metaphor for the true power of humanity, what Spirit Science calls the Merkaba (an energy field using the power of the heart). We then have the main characters returning to their home, and retaking it from these thugs using the above abilities (“technology”), uniting their old home with the knowledge of the new world. From a metaphorical standpoint, we could end the story here, too.

Unfortunately, the book doesn’t end the story there. Rather than the memory gas wiping out everyone’s mind getting stopped by Tris and company, we have some deal where Tris has to stop David, and to do that she has to sneak into some room guarded by the death poison. Again, this is sort of transcendental spirituality at work. She overcomes the death poison, and takes the McGuffin behind it, only to just get shot down. Can you say broken aesop? We have a scene where she is quietly ushered out of the picture by her mom, and yay she’s dead. David gets stopped and the people of Chicago are free. But ummm, aren’t they already free? Isn’t the city already united at the end of the Allegiant movie? Why the hell do we need this sequence? We then are treated to a maxim about as trite as “Love means never having to say you’re sorry” telling the reader that all of us are damaged, but that it’s when we are together that we can heal the damage. Unfortunately, I really didn’t care about the whole pure/damaged arc, so this section seems like a waste of storytelling and killing off a character that didn’t need to be sacrificed to tell a stupid moral. If Ascendant promises a better ending than the book, cool. If not, it is better not to watch, and just end the story here. That said, I probably will anyway, because I’m a sucker for an action romance dystopia.