Further evidence of Mohammed's brutality/lack of compassion

I don't think this line of questioning is quite as effective as that of the issues of child molestation and slavery, but I think showing the brutality and merciless nature of Mohammed could be very helpful.  To that end, I suggest reading the stories of Mohammed's treatment of poets, then following up with questions.

EW:  I've spent quite a bit of time reading the hadith collections of Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim, as well as the biography of Mohammed by Ibn Ishaq.  Through these books, I've learned a lot about Mohammed's character.  There were a few incidents these reliable biographers conveyed that caught my attention.  I'd like us to now take a look at them:

The first one deals with Mohammed's treatment of a man named Uqba.  According to the hadith, Uqba was strongly opposed to Mohammed.  In fact, we're told that Uqba even tried to kill Mohammed.  So we know that Uqba was someone Mohammed needed to deal with in order to further his religion.  Since Islam is the religion of peace, we might assume that Mohammed "showed him the light" by doing good deeds, extending forgiveness to him, etc.  But Mohammed didn't do that.  No, instead of bringing him around through peaceful means, Mohammed had him killed.  Let's take a look at what these reliable sources had to say:

Bukhari, vol. 4, no. 2934; Muslim, vol. 3, nos. 4422, 4424; Ibn Ishaq, p. 308 / 458

"He too harassed and mocked Muhammad in Mecca and wrote derogatory verses about him. He too was captured during the Battle of Badr, and Muhammad ordered him to be executed. "But who will look after my children, O Muhammad?" Uqba cried with anguish. "Hell," retorted the prophet coldly. Then the sword of one of his followers cut through Uqba’s neck.

So we see that because Mohammed perceived Uqba as a threat, he had him executed.  Again, I'd hope for a more tolerant, forgiving response, but it's not for me to judge. 

But what really concerns me is Mohammed's response to this dying man's plea.  Uqba knew death was imminent.  As a last gesture, a desperate attempt to seek forgiveness, or at the very least, ensure protection for his innocent children, he asks Mohammed, "Who will take care of my children?"

Most would hope "the greatest man to ever live" would say something like, "Though I have to kill you for security reasons, I promise to take care of your children", or perhaps, "Only you have wronged me, Uqba.  Therefore, I will leave your children in peace".

But Mohammed didn't do that.  Instead, in response to a loving father's desperate plea, Mohammed "coldly" replied "Hell" will take care of your children.

This seems odd to me.  Mohammed is the greatest man to ever live.  Such a callous, unfeeling response hardly seems appropriate.  Why do you personally believe Mohammed behaved so terribly?

Dr. Naik:  (Stumbling, muttering, etc)

EW:  Well, there's no need to answer right now.  I'd like us to take a look at  a couple more examples. 

According to Ibn Ishaq, Abu Afak was a man of over 100 years of age.  Obviously, such an old man hardly could have posed much of a threat to Mohammed.  But let's take a look at the way Mohammed treated him:

Ibn Ishaq p. 675

Abu Afak, an centenarian elder of Medina, belonging to a group of clans who were associated with the god Manat (though another account has him as a Jew), wrote a derogatory poem about Muhammad, extolling the ancestors of his tribe who were strong enough to overthrow mountains and to resist submitting to an outsider (Muhammad) who divides two large Medinan tribes with religious commands like "permitted" and "forbidden." That is, the poet is referring to Muhammad’s legal decrees about things that are forbidden (e.g. pork and alcohol) and permitted (e.g. other meats like beef and camel). Before the Battle of Badr, Muhammad let him live.

After the battle, the prophet queried, "Who will deal with this rascal for me?" That night, Salim b. Umayr "went forth and killed him." One of the Muslims wrote a poem in reply: "A hanif [monotheist or Muslim] gave you a thrust in the night saying / ‘Take that Abu Afak in spite of your age!’"

So for some reason, Mohammed felt the need to "have this rascal dealt with" for the terrible crime of writing poetry Mohammed didn't like.

That seems a little harsh to me.  He's a 100 year old man writing poetry.  What threat did he pose to Mohammed?  None, of course.  Yet Mohammed incited one of his followers to kill him.

That doesn't really square with my view of "the standard for all humanity". 

Let's take a look at one more example:

Ibn Ishaq, pp. 675-76

Asma was a poetess who belonged to a tribe of Medinan pagans, and whose husband was named Yazid b. Zayd. She composed a poem blaming the Medinan pagans for obeying a stranger (Muhammad) and for not taking the initiative to attack him by surprise. When the Allah-inspired prophet heard what she had said, he asked, "Who will rid me of Marwan’s daughter?" A member of her husband’s tribe volunteered and crept into her house that night. She had five children, and the youngest was sleeping at her breast. The assassin gently removed the child, drew his sword, and plunged it into her, killing her in her sleep.

The following morning, the assassin defied anyone to take revenge. No one took him up on his challenge, not even her husband. In fact, Islam became powerful among his tribe. Previously, some members who had kept their conversion secret now became Muslims openly, "because they saw the power of Islam," conjectures Ibn Ishaq.

So we can see that Asma was a female poet.  According to Ibn Ishaq, she wrote poetry that was critical of Mohammed, and we might even say that she was attempting to incite violent action against Mohammed and his followers.

However, his response seems a little strong.  Certainly, since Mohammed was God's last, true Prophet, he knew that Islam was God's plan.  Since this was the case, he must have known that no man (or woman) could have possibly stopped it.  Therefore, I fail to see why he felt the need to have these people eliminated.  Again, this is God's plan.  If God is for it, no man could possibly stop it. 

So we can confidently say that these murders were unnecessary.  Yet for some reason, Mohammed still incited his followers to kill people who had been critical of him.

That seems strange to me.  Could you help me to understand why Mohammed needlessly had people murdered?

Dr. Naik:  (Probably go on about how these people were a true threat, and that's why it was necessary for them to be killed; if he chooses to go that route, hammer him about how Islam is God's true plan, and Mohammed knew that.  Since this was the case, Mohammed knew no man could have possibly stopped Islam, and that these murders were therefore totally unnecessary)

*It's also possible he could go the, "Ibn Ishaq included fake reports, there were some fake hadith, etc.

If that happens, remind him that the biography of Ibn Ishaq is considered the most important biography of Mohammed, and the hadith collections of Sahih Muslim and Sahih Bukhari are considered the second and third most important books in Islam.

Mohammed's lack of compassion and mercy

EW:  There are a lot of Christians in today's audience.  I can't speak for all of them, but I'd say that a lot of Christians were drawn to Jesus Christ because of the love and compassion he exuded in his interaction with people.  I speak for myself when I say that I'm particularly drawn to the forgiveness and compassion he showed to sinners.  One of the most famous examples of the compassion of Jesus can be found in John 7:53-8:11:

And every man went unto his own house. 8:1 Jesus went unto the Mount of Olives. 2 And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them. 3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, 4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. 5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? 6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. 7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. 8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. 9 And they who heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. 10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? 11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

I personally think this is beautiful.  Jesus could have condemned her.  Obviously, that's exactly what the religious leaders wanted Jesus to do.  But Jesus didn't condemn her.  Instead, he extended forgiveness to her.  He didn't have to, but due to his compassion and great love for humanity, he forgave her.

However, when we look at Mohammed's life, we see a man seemingly lacking in compassion and forgiveness.  Let's take a look at a couple of examples:

Bukhari (6:60:79)

Narrated 'Abdullah bin Umar:

The Jews brought to the Prophet a man and a woman from among them who had committed illegal sexual intercourse. The Prophet said to them, "How do you usually punish the one amongst you who has committed illegal sexual intercourse?" They replied, "We blacken their faces with coal and beat them," He said, "Don't you find the order of Ar-Rajm (i.e. stoning to death) in the Torah?" They replied, "We do not find anything in it." 'Abdullah bin Salam (after hearing this conversation) said to them. "You have told a lie! Bring here the Torah and recite it if you are truthful." (So the Jews brought the Torah). And the religious teacher who was teaching it to them, put his hand over the Verse of Ar-Rajm and started reading what was written above and below the place hidden with his hand, but he did not read the Verse of Ar-Rajm. 'Abdullah bin Salam removed his (i.e. the teacher's) hand from the Verse of Ar-Rajm and said, "What is this?" So when the Jews saw that Verse, they said, "This is the Verse of Ar-Rajm." So the Prophet ordered the two adulterers to be stoned to death, and they were stoned to death near the place where biers used to be placed near the Mosque. I saw her companion (i.e. the adulterer) bowing over her so as to protect her from the stones.

I find this particular incident disturbing.  Mohammed could have forgiven this couple.  He could have said, "You have made a mistake, and dishonored yourselves in the eyes of God.  However, I shall forgive you and help you to live a righteous life". 

Mohammed could have done something like that.  But he didn't.  Instead, he had them put to death. 

Let's take a look at another incident:

Muslim (17:4206)

'Abdullah b. Buraida reported on the authority of his father that Ma'iz b. Malik al-Aslami came to Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) and said: Allah's Messenger, I have wronged myself; I have committed adultery and I earnestly desire that you should purify me. He turned him away. On the following day, he (Ma'iz) again came to him and said: Allah's Messenger, I have committed adultery. Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) turned him away for the second time, and sent him to his people saying: Do you know if there is anything wrong with his mind. They denied of any such thing in him and said: We do not know him but as a wise good man among us, so far as we can judge. He (Ma'iz) came for the third time, and he (the Holy Prophet) sent him as he had done before. He asked about him and they informed him that there was nothing wrong with him or with his mind. When it was the fourth time, a ditch was dug for him and he (the Holy Prophet) pronounced judgment about him and he wasstoned. He (the narrator) said: There came to him (the Holy Prophet) a woman from Ghamid and said: Allah's Messenger, I have committed adultery, so purify me. He (the Holy Prophet) turned her away. On the following day she said: Allah's Messenger, Why do you turn me away? Perhaps, you turn me away as you turned away Ma'iz. By Allah, I have become pregnant. He said: Well, if you insist upon it, then go away until you give birth to (the child). When she was delivered she came with the child (wrapped) in a rag and said: Here is the child whom I have given birth to. He said: Go away and suckle him until you wean him. When she had weaned him, she came to him (the Holy Prophet) with the child who was holding a piece of bread in his hand. She said: Allah's Apostle, here is he as I have weaned him and he eats food. He (the Holy Prophet) entrusted the child to one of the Muslims and then pronounced punishment. And she was put in a ditch up to her chest and he commanded people and they stoned her. Khalid b Walid came forward with a stone which he flung at her head and there spurted blood on the face of Khalid and so he abused her. Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) heard his (Khalid's) curse that he had huried upon her. Thereupon he (the Holy Prophet) said: Khalid, be gentle. By Him in Whose Hand is my life, she has made such a repentance that even if a wrongful tax-collector were to repent, he would have been forgiven. Then giving command regarding her, he prayed over her and she was buried.

This appears to be Mohammed's attempt at compassion.  Have a woman brutally killed, then say a nice prayer over her dead body.

I like to think of God as being kind and compassionate.  Yes, perhaps God does hate sin, but essentially, God is kind and loves all people.  Yet here we see God's "last, true" messenger showing a total lack of kindness and compassion. 

Why do you personally believe Mohammed was so devoid of forgiveness and compassion?

Dr. Naik:  (I assume he'll attempt to point to other hadith that show Mohammed cared about others.  I don't think this particular line of questioning is "devastating" to Islam/Mohammed, but reading these hadith [especially the second one], could be helpful.  I think it's essential to expose non-Muslims to the brutality of Mohammed, most of whom still think Mohammed was basically the "Jesus Christ of Arabia").

How to respond to the "Times were different" defense

Particularly when pressing issues like Mohammed's rape of nine year old Aisha, Muslims often respond by saying, "But times were different back then; most females married at a young age". 

That is a reasonable response, but unfortunately, it's one we can't accept in Mohammed's case. 

If that defense is presented, this is a good approach:

EW:  Yes, times were very different back in the 7th century.  However, let's take a look at what the Quran has to say about Mohammed:

Quran 33:21:  "You have in (Muhammad) the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern of conduct for any one to follow."

And as we've already established, the Quran is God's eternal, unchangeable word.  That means that in the year 2010, the words of the Quran are every bit as relevant and applicable as they were in the 7th century.

That means that in the year 2010, "You have in (Muhammad) the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern of conduct for any one to follow."

Again, the hadith collections of Sahih Muslim and Sahih Bukhari clearly state that Mohammed consummated his marriage with Aisha when she was nine years old.  So as far as I can tell, we have two options:

Option A:  Agree with the Quran that Mohammed's example is "a beautiful pattern of conduct", and say that in the year 2010 it's morally acceptable for a grown man to marry and have sex with a nine year old child.

or

Option B:  Say that in the 7th century it was morally acceptable for a grown man to marry and have sex with a nine year old child.  However, in the year 2010 it's immoral.  Therefore, by today's standards, Mohammed was an immoral person.

So which option do you choose?  In the year 2010, is it morally acceptable for a grown man to marry and have sex with a nine year old child, or is Mohammed's example no longer "a beautiful pattern of conduct"?

*Perhaps there's a third option I'm missing, but no Muslim I've debated has yet to come up with one.  Obviously, they can't say Mohammed's behavior was immoral, and admitting that child rape is A-OK wouldn't be a good choice either.  So this should be an excellent response to the "times were different" defense.

A follow-up to the slavery discussion

It's entirely possible that the Imam will try to evade the slavery issue by saying something like, "Well, slavery no longer exists, so it's not a relevant question".  Of course, that's a patently false statement, as numerous human rights organizations have claimed that in today's world there are more human slaves than at any other point in human history.  But that's not worth pressing.  Instead, propose a theoretical example like this:

EW:  You've said that slavery no longer exists and that my question is therefore irrelevant.  Fair enough, but let's take a look at a theoretical example:

It's the year 2050.  The leaders in Saudi Arabia have decided to reinstate the institution of slavery.  They said they decided to reinstate it because in the Quran, God expressed support for Muslims owning slaves.  Additionally, Mohammed, "the man who has come closest to perfection", owned slaves.  Therefore, God clearly wants Muslims to own slaves, so the leaders in Saudi Arabia have decided to reinstate the institution of slavery.  Do you support the actions of this government, or do you condemn their actions as immoral?

Dr. Naik:  (It's likely he'll try to once again avoid giving a direct answer, so it will be essential for the audience/moderator to force him to give him a direct answer)

Slavery

(As always, establish the absoluteness of the Quran, Mohammed's example)

EW: Okay then, Dr. Naik, my next question has to do with 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Specifically, I’d like to discuss Article 4. Are you familiar with Article 4? Actually, for the benefit of everyone here, I’ll read it. It states:

Article 4
No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

This seems pretty straightforward, right? And in the year 2010, it’s pretty reasonable, right? Most people agree that in today’s world, slavery is wrong. What is your personal view of Article 4 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Dr. Naik?

Dr. Naik: (I’m not entirely sure what he’ll say to this. Let’s assume he just agrees).

EW: Okay then Dr. Naik. You earlier established that the Quran is God's eternal, unchangeable word, and the hadith collections of Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim are of great importance. I’d like us to take a look at a few verses and hadiths, and perhaps you could help us to understand them.

Qur'an (2:178) - "O ye who believe! Retaliation is prescribed for you in the matter of the murdered; the freeman for the freeman, and the slave for the slave, and the female for the female."

So we can clearly see in this verse that God allowed Muslims to own slaves.  Let's now take a look at some hadith.

Sahih Bukhari 2:24:542

Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah's Apostle said, "There is no Zakat either on a horse or a slave belonging to a Muslim"

This tells us that in some instances it was acceptable for Muslims to own slaves, is that right?

And here’s another hadith:

Sahih Bukhari 7:62:132

Narrated 'Abdullah bin Zam'a: The Prophet said, "None of you should flog his wife as he flogs a slave and then have sexual intercourse with her in the last part of the day."

In this hadith Mohammed takes for granted that it’s not only permissible to own slaves, but that they will be regularly beaten.

And how about this hadith:

Volume 3, Book 34, Number 351:

Narrated Jabir bin Abdullah:

A man decided that a slave of his would be manumitted after his death and later on he was in need of money, so the Prophet took the slave and said, "Who will buy this slave from me?" Nu'aim bin 'Abdullah bought him for such and such price and the Prophet gave him the slave.

According to this hadith, Mohammed bought and sold slaves. If Bukhari was correct, Mohammed was a slave trader.

And here are a couple hadith that clearly show Mohammed owned slaves:

Sahih Bukhari 6:60:435

Then I put on my clothes and went to Allah's Apostle's residence, and behold, he was staying in an upper room of his to which he ascended by a ladder, and a black slave of Allah's Apostle was (sitting) on the first step. I said to him, 'Say (to the Prophet ) 'Umar bin Al-Khattab is here.'

Sahih Bukhari 7:62:119

I sat with them for a while but could not endure the situation, so I went to the upper room where the Prophet; was and said to a black slave of his, 'Will you get the permission (of the Prophet ) for 'Umar (to enter)?' The slave went in, talked to the Prophet about it and then returned saying, 'I have spoken to the Prophet and mentioned you but he kept quiet.

Earlier you mentioned that the hadiths of al-Bukhari are thought to be the second most authentic holy book behind the Quran. So certainly Dr. Naik, you accept that these hadith are accurate?

Dr. Naik: (Undoubtedly, there will be a lot of stumbling, muttering, deflections about the accuracy, he’ll try to point out how Mohammed made great advancement in the treatment of slaves, etc.)

EW: Dr. Naik, please stick to the point. Bukhari made it clear that Mohammed bought, sold and owned slaves. Do you accept that on at least one occasion, Mohammed engaged in the buying and selling of slaves?

Dr. Naik: (Again, more diversions, so it’ll be necessary for the audience to force him to answer the questions)

EW: So we’re forced to conclude that Mohammed was a slave trader. And Dr. Naik, you earlier told us that Mohammed’s example is the standard for humanity for all time. You told us that there is no room for moral relativism in Islam. So according to your earlier statements, you must believe that in the year 2010, slavery is acceptable, is that right?

Dr. Naik: (More deflections, audience has got to stay on him)

EW: Do you, or do you not agree that in today’s society slavery is morally acceptable? In the year 2010, are there any circumstances in which it is morally acceptable for a Muslim to enslave another man?  Do you disagree with Article 4 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 4, which states that slavery is completely unacceptable? And if you do disagree, do you admit that Mohammed’s example is not valid for all times, but merely for the 7th century? Remember, he’s either the standard for all humanity for all times only if all his actions are correct, so if one of his actions was incorrect or immoral, he can’t be the standard for humanity for all times. So what do you believe Dr. Naik. Do you accept that in the year 2010 it is morally acceptable to enslave another man?

And it’s hard to say how he’ll respond, but hopefully he’ll say yes, and Islam is once again discredited.

a god of hate

EW:  I'm of the belief that God loves all people.  Perhaps God has a specific plan he'd like for man to accept, but my general view is that God loves all people and desperately wants them to love Him (and possibly accept a particular plan for salvation).  But when I read the Quran, I'm alarmed by how much your god seems to hate non-Muslims.  Let's take a look at a few verses:

Those who reject (Truth), among the People of the Book and among the Polytheists, will be in Hell-Fire, to dwell therein (for aye). They are the worst of creatures. (98:6)

Surely the vilest of animals in Allah's sight are those who disbelieve, then they would not believe. (8:55)

So according to those verses, your god believes non-Muslims are "the vilest of animals" and "the worst of creatures". 

I reject Islam.  I don't believe it's true.  Therefore, your god hates me.  Your god thinks I am a disgusting, sub-human piece of trash.  Why do you think your god believes this?

Dr. Naik:  Well, you must understand that God really wants the world to accept Islam, and though Hell may be terrible, in our view, it's even worse for someone to reject this wonderful plan God has offered to mankind.

EW: This isn't about Hell.  This is about the here and now.  And right now, because I think Islam is a false religion, your god hates me.  Your god thinks I am nothing, that I'm of less value than a cockroach or a sewer rat.  And I can't understand that.  Please, help me understand why you worship a god that is full of such hatred.

Dr. Naik:  (Who knows how he'll respond.  This could be a good one to use, however, particularly with an audience full of non-Muslims)

The unnecessary violence of the god of the quran

EW: One thing I've had trouble understanding is how needlessly violent your god is.  Let's take a look at a verse from the Quran:

Qur'an (8:12) - "I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them"

Now certainly, your god didn't have to be so violent.  Had he so chosen, your god could have easily said something like, "War is terrible, so you should always try to avoid it. However, war is sometimes inevitable. Since this is the case, there will come a time when you may have to take the life of another man. If you must do this, do it with as much mercy as possible".

Your god could have said something like that. But he didn't. Instead, he said, "strike off their heads and every fingertip of them".  Please help me to understand why your god made this choice.

Dr. Naik:  Well, you must understand that at this time, the Muslims were going up against a very strong army, so God wanted to motivate them, etc.  Also, the God of the Bible was equally violent.

EW:  This isn't about Christianity.  Also, you believe that Allah is all-powerful and all-knowing, right?  Therefore, God must have known that the Muslim army would win.  Since this is the case, it would seem reasonable for your god to be as kind as possible.  But he wasn't.  He purposely chose to be violent and merciless.  So once again, please help me to understand why your god is one of violence and anger, and is devoid of compassion.

Dr. Naik: (I don't know how he'll respond.  EW should probably be slightly less confrontational, however).

Lack of self-control

EW: Most people view "Godly" or "saintly" men as people who are in total control of their physical desires.  Yet when we look at the life of Mohammed, we see a man who was given to physical lusts, to desires of the flesh.  Let's take a look at a couple hadith from Sahih Bukhari:

Volume 1, Book 5, Number 268:

Narrated Qatada:

Anas bin Malik said, "The Prophet used to visit all his wives in a round, during the day and night and they were eleven in number." I asked Anas, "Had the Prophet the strength for it?" Anas replied, "We used to say that the Prophet was given the strength of thirty (men)."

I suppose that from a purely physical viewpoint, satisfying eleven women in one day is impressive.  But it doesn't strike me as something a "man of God" would do. 

Let's take a look at another hadith:

Volume 1, Book 6, Number 300:

Narrated Maimuna:

When ever Allah's Apostle wanted to fondle any of his wives during the periods (menses), he used to ask her to wear an Izar.

So even though Mohammed had 11 wives, he still sometimes fondled his wives while they were menstruating.  Again, this seems to show a serious lack of self-restraint.  Why do you personally believe Mohammed, God's last, true prophet, a man we could say is on "the most important mission of all time", spent entire days having sex with his wives and fondling his wives while they were menstruating?

Dr. Naik:  (No idea how he might respond to this one.  Could be effective, especially given the fact that sex does sell).

Slaves of less value than free men

002.178
YUSUFALI: O ye who believe! the law of equality is prescribed to you in cases of murder: the free for the free, the slave for the slave, the woman for the woman. But if any remission is made by the brother of the slain, then grant any reasonable demand, and compensate him with handsome gratitude, this is a concession and a Mercy from your Lord. After this whoever exceeds the limits shall be in grave penalty.

Perhaps a line of questioning could go like this:

PG: "So, we see that according to your God, the life of a free man is not equal to the life of a slave. If your God believed the life of a free man was equal to the life of the enslaved man, your God would have simply said, "the law of equality is prescribed to you in the cases of murder: one man for one man".  But your God made a distinction between the value of the free man and the value of the enslaved man.  Why do you personally believe your God values the life of a slave less than the life of a free man? Is not a slave still a man? Even though he may have been enslaved, he's still a man, and in my eyes, he's every bit as valuable and important as a free man. Yet your God makes a clear distinction. Why do you think your God places differing value on men according to their free/enslaved status?

IF: (No real idea how he'll respond to this, but if he tries something like, "Well, since there's no longer slavery in our world, it's no longer relevant", then it would be fairly easy to follow up)

PG: Yes, slavery has finally been abolished through much of the world, but let's look at a theoretical example: in the Sudan, a formerly free man named Manute was recently captured by the enemy and enslaved. So according to your God, the life of Manute is no longer as valuable as the life of a free man, is that correct?

IF: (Again, don't really know how he'll respond. I think this could be particularly effective, especially given how strongly Americans believe in "equality of all men", and how strongly most Americans hate the idea of slavery.

the god of the quran's ignorance of christianity

1. Present verses 5:73 and 5:116

"Unbelievers are those who say: 'God is one of three.' There is but one God. If they do not desist from so saying, those of them that disbelieve shall be sternly punished." (Surah 5:73)

"The God will say: 'Jesus, son of Mary, did you ever say to mankind 'Worship me and my mother as gods besides God?' 'Glory to You, 'he will answer, 'how could I ever say that to which I have no right?" (Surah 5:116)

Ask them why their all-knowing God would say, "Unbelievers are those who say 'God is one of three'.

Acknowledge that the Trinity is an admittedly confusing concept, but that at its core, it's pretty simple: God is one, but God sometimes takes different forms. So press them on why their God showed a fundamental lack of understanding of basic Christian theology.

And then move to 5:116. Ask them why God would ask Jesus such a question. Ask them if they have in fact read the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. If they say they have, ask them where in the Gospels Jesus told his followers to make an idol of his mother.

Of course, they will have no response, so press them on it: "Obviously, the Bible makes no mention of holding the mother of Jesus up as an idol, so on the last day, why will God ask him if he did? The question is totally irrelevant. God might as well ask Jesus if he told his followers to devote at least ten hours a week to the art of breakdancing.