Koranic Numbers Game:
Sign Of A Simpler Problem?
Yashar

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since x->y then there should be an x resulting in y.

and since a->b->c->d... can't be valid infinitely,

and since every state of nature should be caused by a previous state,

then there should be a creator, namely, God.

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This section has been revised.

From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "tired male"
Subject: Re: Help Wanted !!!
Date: December 17, 2001 6:04 AM

I do not know the answers to these specific problems. Similar things have been done with the Bible, though. One was called The Bible Code. If you find some criticism of The Bible Code, you might get some clues to addressing your problem in terms of the problem itself; I can only give you a few clues in terms of the bigger picture of why people follow leaders such as this and how to attempt to bring them back to reality.

To attack the numerology itself is very limited, and I suggest that you look beyond that. I suggest that the clues you seek are not about numbers and numerology but instead are about what kind of thinking goes into these puzzles. You may recognize a personality quirk or an emotional insecurity that, if addressed properly, might open up your friend's mind. You will find some usefulness in attacking the numerology, to be sure, but this alone will not do much.

There is something deeper going on, something which has prompted your friend to give up his own sense of self-authority and to allow this other fellow's group or dogma or religion to do his thinking for him. Keep this in mind: Your friend has yielded his own personal autonomy to some other authority, and your goal is to coax him into taking that authority back from this other fellow (or group, or whatever).

Also, you might encounter some larger theme that has to do with trying to make numerical riddles apply to a text. If you find some of these discrepancies (that would apply equally to The Bible Code as well as this Koranic riddle your friend has discovered), then you can use this to raise questions in your friend's mind. The goal, here, is to ask questions to which the answers lie outside your friend's cultic world view.

I learned this angle from the famous (or infamous) "cult deprogrammer" Ted Patrick, at whose feet I was given the privelege to sit for over two hours in about 1981. One example that he gave me is as follows: More than one group believes the Bible and yet are very strict vegetarians. Well, one passage in the Bible, First Timothy, chapter 4, shows this to be an impossible situation for a Bible believer because no True Believer, as a leader, would forbid her or his disciples to eat meat:

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[1] Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
[2] Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
[3] Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.
[4] For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:
[5] For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

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So, then, when he kept pointing out that the Bible says this about false teachers who forbid people from eating meats, a great stress occured in the mind of the believer: the answer to this dilemma cannot be found within the body of information given to the believer by the religious group. Thus, the believer had to look outside the authority of the group in order to answer this dilemma.

The human mind is marvelous thing: if presented with a dilemma such as this, and if challenged to explain it, the human mind will naturally try to make the situation fit together in a logical manner. The mind cannot help but try, even after years of practice attempting to shut this process off (and trying to suppress this innate sense of curiosity is part of the group's indoctrination process). Unless a person has had his "conscience seared with a hot iron," as First Timothy so aptly puts it, their mind will seek the answer -- and Ted Patrick insisted that even after years of practice, the mind will still reach out for an answer.

However, it is up to you to devise questions to which the answers lie outside the world view of the religion. Your goal is to force your friend's mind to go somewhere other than to the authority of the group's leadership for answers. The followers have allowed the group's leadership or dogma or religion to take over and do their thinking for them -- to make those decisions which rightly belong to the individual in question. Your goal is to alert part of his mind to this situation, and the way you do it is to entice or trick or force his mind to look beyond this new "authority" unto which his thinking processes have recently submitted.

Although not foolproof, this technique was used extensively and with good success during the 1970s to help "cult" members snap out of their cultic states. Although Ted Patrick was the busiest and the most famous (and though he ended up serving prison time for what he did to help people), he by no means kept his processes a secret. Not knowing me from Adam (and needing no excuse such as "journalist" or anything along those line other than that I was a man who was curious about his methods), he spent about two hours showing me what he knew and telling me of his experiences. Mostly, though, he went over this process again and again. At the time I was very religious. Within a few months, I had snapped out of my religious state. One can only guess as to whether Ted Patrick played a role in this.

While many books have been written about mind control (brainwashing), I have read two that were written specifically about religious groups that use these mind control rather than the simple argument and persuasion that most religions use. One book is old and hard to find, and fortunately, it is not very useful except to help someone recognize that this is what's happening to their child or friend. This book is called Snapping by Conway and Siegelman, circa 1979 or so (the cloth edition was published before Jonestown and the paperback has an extra chapter on the Jonestown tragedy). Good luck trying to find it even in a library, although a University library in America or Europe should be able to track it down. The second book is still in print, from Prometheus books, and is called The Mind of the Bible Believer, by Edmund Cohen. Unfortunately, this book is difficult to read, and I recommend that you have at least your first year of college psychology under your belt.

The one thing that I've noticed, though, in all the books that I've studied and in all the situations I've seen (including almost every "nut-case" who writes to our Forum), is that the victim appears to have given up his right to think for himself. This, I think, is the core problem in all of these situations. Traditional religion does this, to be sure, but never to the extent that the so-called cults do. I also think a lot can be said for Patrick's technique of asking questions and challenging the mind to do some thinking. The mind can take a lot of abuse and still the basic functions will work if we force the person to engage in the basic thinking tasks.
 

As for the logic that every cause has a cause, if the believer insists on this one, then she or he is forced to apply it to God Himself: If we accept that every cause has a cause, then ultimately we must accept that if God is a cause, then God Himself has a cause! The only way out of this is to grant that not every cause has a cause (which is what the believers unwittingly do when they call God an "uncaused cause"). Well, if God can be an "uncaused cause," then so can the Universe. Thus, there is nothing to stop us from accepting the likelihood that the Universe is the uncaused cause, and has always been here in one form or another (although we know that the Universe as it exists today began about fifteen or twenty billion years ago and may or may not have existed in some other form before that).

I encourage you to study the "Clues" section of our Writings Library."Clues" is a collection of articles and book chapters on how to think logically and argue effectively. Many people who try to convince others to go along with their ideas use tricks that fool the listeners into thinking their idea has merit and is worthy of assent. I have taken those tricks which I have found get used most often on our Forum, and have assembled them into a larger discussion called "Introduction to Activistic Atheism."

The major section in question, "Discussing Atheism with Others," deals with how people see atheism versus how they see their own religion. But the subsection I've found most useful, called "Sophistry: Logical and Rhetorical Fallacies; Faulty Reasoning," overviews 29 different ways that a trickster can introduce confusion into a discussion or argument. As soon as you begin reading this work, you will begin to recognize some of these tricks: I'm sure you have had others try to use these on you, and perhaps you have unwittingly tried these on others in a desperate attempt to see a discussion go the way you wanted it to go. A solid grasp of these techniques can do you a world of good when dealing with those people who've had the wool pulled over their eyes.

Cliff Walker
Positive Atheism Magazine
Six years of service to
     people with no reason to believe

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From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "tired male"
Subject: Re: Help Wanted !!!
Date: December 17, 2001 10:50 PM

You did a good job with changing the base and pointing out the discrepancies involved when we try to test his new-found thesis from a slightly different angle! Changing the base served to raise an impossible situation as a question that could not be answered from within the cultic framework. You thus forced your friend's mind "back" to the "old way" of thinking in search of an answer. This is precisely what Mr. Patrick was doing, and I am happy that you were able to think of this question using your own intuition: this reassures me that what we're dealing with is relatively simple and intuitive, rather than the insurmountable mystery that the fear-mongers made it out to be during the 1970s.
 

Be very careful with this one: those who join the so-called cults in America are the kids we thought were brilliant because they were very good at doing one thing (art, music, programming). The problem is that intelligence and wisdom are two completely different functions of the brain. I am constantly being baffled by this or that person I meet who is brilliant at their trade, but then they believe the most whacked-out religion you could imagine.

Sometimes believing a strange religious dogma is nothing more than a ticket into being accepted by the group (in your friend's case, to be accepted by this other programmer, who will not accept him unless he submits to this strange dogma). The reason they use strange dogma, in my opinion (and this is a new hypothesis of mine, certainly untested, but it makes sense), is because if you used, for your dogma, "The Sun rises in the East," then anybody could join and there would be nothing special about joining. Also, the leadership seeks control of the victim, so if the mark will submit to believing something stupid, having trusted the leader's word that it does, in fact, make sense, then the leader has just that much more control over the mark.

Cliff Walker
Positive Atheism Magazine
Six years of service to
     people with no reason to believe

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