Ask an Atheist with Sam Mulvey

Scripture Says…What? for the Week of August 21st

open bibleIn this week’s look at the funny, the scary and just plain weird passages in humanity’s holy text, we’re looking at Islam.  This passage this week comes from our very own Rich Lyons, from Qur’an Chapter 2, Verses 6-7:

Don’t bother warning the disbelievers. Allah has made it impossible for them to believe so that he can torture them forever after they die.

What an asshole.

Not only are you advocating the eternal torment of someone for the crime of not believing in something, you’re making it impossible for them to evade that punishment.  It’s passages like this that make me scratch my head when I see moderate religious scholars of the Abrahamic faiths talk about their holy books as if they’re texts of love, peace and fellowship. The sadism and cruel satisfaction just drip from these words.

And every translation I’ve found of this passage says the exact same thing. Allah is intentionally circumventing free will and then punishing people for a decision they have no choice but to make. Truly have we created a god in the worst possible image of mankind.

And before you get too smug, Christians and Jews, remember that the God of the Old Testament played the same game of mind control and mental entrapment with the Pharaoh in Exodus, threatening punishment for an action and then blocking the ability to make any other decision.

While most Muslims are peaceful, you can’t look at a book that says things like this and pretend that this is a religion of peace.

If you have a passage of holy scripture that you find funny, scary or just plain weird, send it our way. Whether it’s from the Bible, the Qur’an, the Bhagavad Gita, or even Diatnetics, click on the big, red, shiny button at the top of the page and we may even read it on the show!

About the Author: Mike Gillis

Mike Gillis is co-creator, and co-host of Ask an Atheist. He hosts the Radio vs. the Martians! and Mike and Pól Save the Universe! podcasts. He also enjoys comic books, the Planet of the Apes, and the band Queen.

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Jan Kivisaar

What translation is this? I can’t find any translation that is this outrageous.

I only find something like this: “Indeed, those who disbelieve – it is all the same for them whether you warn them or do not warn them – they will not believe. Allah has set a seal upon their hearts and upon their hearing, and over their vision is a veil. And for them is a great punishment.”

So, clearly, Allah is not a very nice guy here either, but it says nothing about “torture forever”.

Jan Kivisaar


Thank you for clearing that up. Since I can’t speak or read ancient Arabic myself, it’s difficult to know sometimes what was really being said/written. 🙂 “The lowest cavern” can mean “dark place” or “Hell”, as can “great punishment” mean “torture forever” and so on.

It’s no doubt the Qur’an, as well as the Bible, holds many phrases that sounds totally… well, barbaric. I look forward to more “Scripture says” segments.

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