If it were not true, no one would bother with it. - John C. Wright
I seriously have no idea why people liked and reblogged this without thinking about what’s being said. First and foremost, Wright straw mans other religions and he does this from the basis of stereotypes. With polygamy, he implies Hinduism and Islam. In Hinduism, polygamy was a practice in upper castes (e.g. brahmans). The Hindu Marriage Act prohibits that practice. In Islam, polygamy was a solution for social issues roughly 1400 years ago (see here). The reasons for polygamy today have nothing to do with that and is thus, not inherent to Islam.
As far as 72 virgins are concerned, that’s yet another stereotype. Christoph Luxenberg’s textual analysis demonstrates this.
Luxenberg concludes that the famous passage [Qur’an 44:54] refers not to virgins but instead to white raisins, or grapes.
Yes, fruit. Strange as that may seem, given all the attention paid to the Qur’an’s supposed promises of virgins in Paradise, white raisins were a prized delicacy in that region. As such, Luxemberg suggests, they actually make a more fitting symbol of the reward of Paradise than the promise of sexual favors from virgins. Luxenberg shows that the Arabic word for “Paradise” can be traced to the Syriac word for “garden,” which stands to reason, given the common identification of the garden of Adam and Eve with Paradise. Luxenberg further demonstrates that metaphorical references to bunches of grapes are consonant with Christian homiletics expatiating on the refreshments that greeted the blessed in Heaven. He specifically cites fourth-century hymns “on Paradise” of St. Ephraem the Syrian (306-373), which refers to “the grapevines of Paradise.” The fact that the Syriac word Ephraem used for “grapevine” was feminine, Luxenberg explains, “led the Arabic exegetes of the Koran to this fateful assumption” and the Qur’anic text referred to sexual playthings in Paradise.
Spencer, Robert. Did Muhammad Exist?: An Inquiry Into Islam’s Obscure Origins, p.169. Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, 2012. Print.
He also notes that the notion of virgins in Paradise contradicts Qur’an 43:70, which speaks of the blessed entering Paradise with their earthly wives.
The Viking and Aztec religions are moot since there’s virtually no one who practices them. In any case, Wright bases his reasoning on stereotypes—stereotypes he obviously takes as givens. Furthermore, he even gives his reader an over-simplification of Christianity! The irony! Christianity isn’t simply “turn the other cheek.” It’s strange that you posted this because you should know better.
Wright, for instance, appeals to Christian thinking because he thinks he’s better suited for “polygamy, self-righteousness, vengeance and violence.” He uses them as examples of wish-fulfillment. He is therefore convinced that he’s a vile individual in need of salvation. It follows then that the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross appeals to him because he is cleansed of such wretchedness. Forgiveness of sins is wish-fulfillment for some people—especially people who are convinced that they’re sinners in need of cleansing and salvation. Moreover, the promise of heaven is an example of wish-fulfillment. Wright, of course, fails to mention that the Christian heaven has it’s own lucrative promises (i.e. crowns; perfect knowledge; hidden manna; a new name; eternal life; a mansion). He gets into no specifics as to how his religion can fulfill wishes. Christianity is definitely psychologically appealing.
Lastly, every religion is difficult to practice. Every religion has its demands. Islam, in my personal opinion, is much more difficult to practice than Christianity. There is no Christian equivalent to Ramadan for example. The demands are absurd; the practices are difficult. Yet Islam and Hinduism boast many adherents. Islam, according to some estimates, is the fasting growing religion in the world. If they aren’t true, why are people bothering with them? Perhaps that which isn’t true can be bothered with for one reason or another. Ultimately, you posted this on the atheism tag as an attempt to make a point. This is actually a slap in the face to adherents of other religions. It’s also a slap in the face to Christians because “turn the other cheek” doesn’t even begin to describe Christianity. I pity everyone who mindlessly agreed with this quote.