20 Stupid Is As Stupid Does
Gerry: Uzza, ignore that stuff about aliens, but consider everything else. Do you honestly believe what you have just told us about the stone from Paradise and the sanctity of the rituals associated with it, which the majority of believers will not be able to perform through no fault of their own and be condemned to an eternity on fire?
Uzza: As I said before, it does not matter what I believe, it is what Islamists believe.
Archie: That would mean that anyone who performs the Hajj is an Islamist.
Uzza: MY FATHER PERFORMED THE HAJJ AND HE WAS NO ISLAMIST!
Gerry: Uzza, calm down. From what you have told us about your father he doesn't sound like the type who would believe stories about how a stone from Paradise became the icon at the center of Islam's most sacred shrine venerated by all who believe.
Uzza: The stone from Paradise is not an icon, only unbelievers venerate icons; and the stories about Adam falling to earth can be surmised from Allah telling him to "go down from here" and Abraham's visits to Mecca and what he did there, including asking Allah the send an Arab messenger to teach the Arabs the Koran, you will find details in the Koran from which a more comprehensive story can be told.
Gerry: Uzza, have you ever wondered why Abraham asked Allah to send the Koran when He had yet to send the Torah, and how would he have known about the Koran in the first place?
Uzza: Not really.
Archie: Obviously it’s a question that also did not bother whoever filled in the blanks. Anyone we should know?
Uzza: For the complete story, believers are very much indebted to a man who spent a lifetime studying the Koran and the saying of Muhammad before writing a sixty-thousand-page history of the world, the Kitab Tarikh al-Rusul wa'l Muluk, The Book of History of Prophets And Kings, from Creation to the 9th century, his century. Al-Tabari is considered the father of Islamic History, and after Muhammad, one of the wisest men who ever lived.
Bob: The story about Adam and the stone of Paradise and all the bowing and the circling, the running back and forth like a mad person between two hills and throwing stones at a pillar as if it was the devil are not mentioned in the Koran?
Uzza: The circling, yes.
Archie: This fellow Tabari may be a wise man, and the fastest guy ever with a feather and bowl of ink, but an even wiser man said that "stupid is as stupid does."
Uzza: My father was not a stupid man. And how are the rituals of the Hajj any more stupid than those of the Catholics? Like associating eating a piece of flat bread with eating a piece of God as part of their worship.
Archie: He is not a fool who recognizes that he has been played for a fool, and Catholics have been deserting their church for years now. They've wised up.
Bob: I don't remember Forest Gump saying that thing about fools not being fools?
Archie: He didn't, I did.
Uzza: Catholics have not deserted their church because of some silly ritual but because of the nonsense it preaches, like that sex is for procreation only. What if you’re an infertile couple. They have deserted their church because their children are being raped by men prohibited from marrying. They say Islam is obsessed with having sex and that this is a bad thing; but a religion which is obsessed with not having it is worse.
Gerry: I might agree with you if Islam did not use sex as an incentive to commit massmurder.
Archie: You know what strikes me about this discussion about rituals in praise of inscrutable gods?
Uzza: I can't wait to hear this.
Archie: That we are all pagans, except me of course, for I don't believe in any of this crap. Like you said earlier, a caveman woke up one day and realized he was alone and mortal and couldn't deal with it and invented gods and the afterlife. He was the first pagan. Mindless rituals are how pagans from the very beginning worshipped their newly minted figment of their imagination. Modern religions would like you to think they are different. They are not. They simply, to survive the discovery that the moon and sun and whatever were not gods after all, embraced a new nonsense, the metaphysical, while sticking with the same shtick of the pagans of old to maintain an aura of authenticity.
Gerry: A new, what you call nonsense, that is much harder to disprove. What you have just said Archie is actually quite profound. And I'm impressed that the words metaphysical, inscrutable, authenticity are even part of your vocabulary.
Archie: Do you want to hear something even more profound? Something Mark Twain said about faith, that it is believing in something you know to be untrue.
Bob: What does that mean?
Archie: It means that cavemen who could not have known any better were probably smarter than today's pagans.
Bob: Enough about pagans. So, what happened after the Meccans went home?
Gerry: Good idea, let's change the subject again. Are you okay with that Uzza?
Uzza: I guess so. But leave my father out of it. I find it very tiresome.
Archie: We're not changing the subject; that is how this discussion all started.
Gerry: Archie, give it a rest, will you.