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Dear God, Why Do You Hate Donkeys?

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I used to read what is claimed to be your last holy book written in Arabic, the Quran, because Mullahs have told us, and still do, that the Quran cannot be translated into any other language. Although prohibition against translation seems to be more of a theological matter rather than a translational issue, I believe it is more a political concern. The Islamic clergymen believe that Quran is your word, God, and if it is translated into another language, it then becomes the word of human beings. Accordingly, it may lose its authentic meaning and its sacred quality, and possibly convey wrong messages to naà ve readers. Even though I like the Arabic rhythm of Quranic verses for its soothing therapeutic effect, especially if they are chanted by a professional, what good does it do me to read something in a language that I do not understand? It wasn't until recently that apparently your representatives on earth, the shamans of the 21st century, decided to allow a stand-alone translation of Quran into Farsi, my native language. I bought a copy and read it enthusiastically. I must tell you that even though you did a good job providing divine fatherly advice to likely believers and frightening disbelievers with the threat of hellfire on almost every page, when it comes to format and coherency, I don't think you did a good job. Forgive me for being so professorial, but if you were one of my students, you would lose quite a few points for using such an substandard format. Why do you jump so abruptly from one subject to another in almost every chapter? You even change the subject while you are changing the subject! You could have helped us understand your words better by just sticking to one subject at a time. Of course I understand the reason; your words were written based on proclamations by Prophet Muhammad, a man whom we believe had no formal education, and the various chapters of your book were put together years after his death. It is not clear who decided what should be put where; it seems as if different sections were put together on a first-revealed-first-included basis!

By the way, I am writing this because I need to know if you can divine answers to some of the questions I encountered after I studied your book. I read your book with an inquiring mind and a keen interest in understanding your words; but frankly, it created some ambiguity and bewilderment for me instead of clarification and enlightenment. Consequently, I do have some questions, if you don't mind:

1. I can't help conjecturing why you have sworn so many times throughout your book, at least 66 times according to Microsoft's word count . Swearing is not for you; it is for us common and flawed human beings. We need to swear in order to prove our innocence if we are accused of wrongdoing.   We swear to tell the truth and not cover up our misdeeds or justify our lies, or to prove claims that we cannot prove otherwise. But, thank God you are God; you are devoid of such earthly shortcomings. No one can accuse you of any wrong doing, so why do you have to swear so frequently? You have nothing to cover up; you don't lie; and you have absolute power to prove or reject anything you claim without resorting to the chicanery of swearing.   Additionally, you are not testifying in a court or being inaugurated into a high political office.

And please, if you have to swear, please swear to something worthwhile, like yourself! Why do you have to swear to unlikely things such as the dark night, early morning, high sky, angels who extract human lives, and even to the verses of your own book?

2. You have not been shy about expressing your dislike for the donkey in your book. You have made this guiltless animal the symbol of the dumbness for your believers. Why do you hate donkeys? The donkey may be the most harmless creature you have created. You didn't even give them horns to harm anyone or to defend themselves. You said that " Indeed, the most unpleasant of sounds is the voice of donkeys " (Quran, 3:19). I know that they not American Idol material, but they don't sound that terrible either. You also threatened the Infidels that they will go to hell "as if they were [frightened] wild donkeys" (Quan, 74:50). You equated hypocrites with donkeys: "The likeness of those who were entrusted with the Taur- t (Torah), but who subsequently failed in those [obligations], is as the likeness of a donkey which carries huge burdens of books but understands nothing from them" (Quran, 62:5). The poor donkey is considered the dumbest of animals even by its own creator. I know that is not true; my father, you bless his soul, had a few donkeys. My family used them as our main means of transportation. It seemed like they had they own smart GPS system; no matter where we left them in town, they could always find their way back home. Donkeys have served humankind well throughout history. On a practical level, they still serve as the main mode of transportation for many of your beloved Mullahs. Without their donkeys, they would not have a way to travel the mountainous terrains to reach your nomadic believers and deliver to them your message of peace and tolerance. What did these poor creatures do to be considered dumb by their own creator? How clever would it be if a car manufacturer like GM built an automobile and then claimed that it was a lousy product?

3. Why are you so exclusively focused on your beloved last messenger and treat him so special? "He [God] it is who hath sent His messenger with the guidance and the Religion of Truth, that He may cause it to prevail over all religion, however much the idolaters may be averse" (Quran, 9:33). You have mentioned the Prophet's name explicitly, or referred to him implicitly, 1,044 times in your book. You monitor his every move and sanction everything he does. Why are you so discriminatory when it comes to bestowing privileges? You allow your messenger to have any number of wives while other men are limited to four. You even mediated disputes among his wives. "O Prophet, why do you prohibit [yourself from] what Allah has made lawful for you, seeking the approval of your wives?"   "And when the Prophet confided to one of his wives a statement, and when that wife informed another wife of it and Allah showed it to the Prophet, he made part of it known and ignored another part. And when the Prophet informed the wife about it, she said, "Who told you this?" He said, "I was informed by the Knowing, the Acquainted." "If you two [wives] repent to Allah, [it is best], for your hearts have deviated. But if you cooperate against him, then indeed Allah is his protector, and Gabriel and the righteous of the believers and the angels, moreover, are [his] assistants" (Quran, 66: 1-3). Don't you have something more important to focus on, such as global warming, human rights, poverty on this planet, uprisings in Middle East, and the clashes of civilizations? Have you forgotten that you have created billions of other human beings that should also matter to you and billions of other stars and galaxies? It baffles me why an omnipresent, omniscient God seems to care only about earth (which is like a drop of water compared the vastness of the universe and is no longer the center of universe as proven by science) and so specifically on one person and his wives.   


You also seem to favor Moses and his children more than any other past prophets because you have referred to him 222 times and to his children, "Children of Israel", 52 times in your book. You are aware certainly that Christianity is the most followed Abrahamic religion and of all the religions on earth with almost two billion followers, and that Judaism is a distant last with only 14.5 million adherents?   Are the "children of Israel" so special to you too?

4. If you know everything, which I am sure you do, why haven't you revealed in your book something that was not already known to human beings or to your messenger, things like Internet, Facebook, the S&P 500, the fall of the Berlin wall, the collapse of the Soviet empire, the Great Depression, seizing of American hostages, Soyuz and Apollo, and not to mention the triumph of Lady Gaga? So, that these nagging fanatic supporters of scientism on earth shut up once and for all and don't accuse your Prophet of not performing miracles or having knowledge of unknowns? And why do you keep talking about past nations so many times and how you ruthlessly abolished them because they did not respect your orders or did not fully obey your prophets?  "So each We seized for his sin; and among them were those upon whom We sent a storm of stones, and among them were those who were seized by the blast [from the sky], and among them were those whom We caused the earth to swallow, and among them were those whom We drowned." (Quran, 29:40) Couldn't you just have made them return to the straight path instead of destroying them so dreadfully? Why do you often harshly promote vengeance, retribution, and killing of defiant disbelievers? "Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth [to cause] corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides or that they be exiled from the land. That is for them a disgrace in this world; and for them in the Hereafter is a great punishment" (Quran 5:33). Didn't you tell Jesus, if someone strikes you on the right cheek; turn to him the other also?  Why have you then changed your mind?  

5. And, I would like to know why in your book you persistently ask us to worship you (661 times) almost to the point of pleading, resorting to the all too familiar carrot and stick scheme, threatening disbelievers with dreadful punishment (563 times), with hell (533 times), and promising believers voluptuous eternal bliss in heaven (330 times). Forgive me for asking this, do you really need obedient worshipers that badly? I don't think so, unless you feel insecure or suffer from what I am suffering from - ADD. You are almighty; you know that you have created us so that we gravitate toward you whether you solicit our attention or not. You have hard-wired us to believe in you, as some genetic scientists have proved. They are telling us "we human beings are genetically predisposed to spiritual belief". If this is the case, why do you keep asking for something that you have already instilled inside us?

Human belief in you has survived since the dawn of hunter-gatherer societies, despite scientific discoveries that question your existence. Steven Hawking argues "It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going." However, people believe in you whether you exist or not. So, why are you so adamant about forcing them to believe in you and worship you? Moreover, every catastrophic event that befalls human beings seems to drive more and more people toward you. You could just create more such events instead of begging people to worship you.

6 . Why do you allow men to treat women as their property? You also give men divine permission to beat their wives with impunity if they don't obey their husbands. "As to those women on whose part you see ill-conduct, admonish them, refuse to share their beds, beat them, but if they return to obedience" (Quran, 4:34). I want to know why you didn't confer the same privilege upon women. Can a wife also beat her husband if he behaves naughtily? Why do you have a double standard? You recommend "And if a woman fears from her husband contempt or evasion, there is no sin upon them if they make terms of settlement between them" (Quran, 4:128).   Personally, I am delighted that you do not allow husband beating because you have created some men, like me, to be slim and not very tall. I certainly do not have the upper hand over my wife in the event of physical altercation. As a matter of fact, she could beat the hell out of me if I tried to beat her! You compare our wives to an arable farm. "Your wives are a tilth for you, so go to your tilth, when or how you will, and send for your own selves beforehand" (Quran, 2:223). Do you mean that my wife and the little garden I have in my backyard are the same?

And, why do you let the men have more than one permanent wife, up to four permanent and unlimited temporary, thus burdening men with having to administer a lot of beatings if necessary? When you established this law, you certainly had not thought about the price of housing, appliances, utilities, transportation, education, entertainment, May Kay jewelry, and Estee Lauder cosmetics, and etc. How do you expect your underprivileged, minimum wage worshipers, who are even being stripped of their collective bargaining power, to be able to afford all these things, not once but multiple times? And how about the problems involved in dealing with more than one mother-in-law. Are you kidding? Excuse me your almighty, I don't think even you can handle more than one. And, please pardon my boldness for asking this dim-witted question, why don't you let women have more than one husband?

Frankly, your wife beating verse has left us with the arduous task of explaining to your head-scratching critics the divine logic behind wife beating. A herd of apologetic interpreters have tried to come up with politically acceptable explanations for this verse. Some of them have even written instruction manual on how you should administer wife beating.   Please watch this moron classifying women that deserve beating and he thanks God, I mean you, for that privilege.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mr-vt2DTCFw

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Reza Varjavand (Ph.D., University of Oklahoma) is associate professor of economics and finance at the Graham School of management, Saint Xavier University, of Chicago. He has been an avid participant in many professional organizations and active in (more...)
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