Skeptic Book Club

  • July 15, 2012 · 6:00 PM
  • This location is shown only to members

Yo, I know people debate irony's definition, but I think it might apply to the fact that nonbelievers often have to have a better understanding of religions than the believers themselves to be able to defend ourselves in debates.

I know very little about the Qur'an, you? I know tons about the Bible, but Islam has been accused of being "on the rise" for some time now, and I'd like to be better educated for debates about it.

Thus: Book club. Let's work through it together, and read stuff about it, maybe some ahadith, and then move on to other texts, maybe work through the Bible again, maybe take on the Book of Mormon, maybe the Bhagavad Ghita, maybe skeptic texts like The God Delusion, who knows.

But I really want to read the Qur'an and I'd like other skeptics to discuss it with. I'd like to meet at my house Sunday evenings. I can make some munchy treats, y'all can bring some munchy treats, we can all lounge around on my decadent gluttonous couch or lie on the carpet, whatever. Like our own little skeptic harem.

If you're interested, let's get this started. The first will be an "inaugural" meeting to discuss translations, tafsirs, ahadith, what in heavens name those words mean, Mohammad's biography, etc.  In the meantime, please enjoy these free online references:

*Online Qur'an:

*Did you know the "chapters" or surah of the qur'an aren't in chronological order? knew.

*Did you know that even though everyone may be sunni muslims, they generally follow 1 of 4 "Schools of thought", or Madhabs? Different parts of the world follow different madhabs, and each one was founded by one of the 4 great imams - Imam Hanaf, Imam Malik, Imam Shafi and Imam Hanbal - who extensively studied the Qur'an and hadith and taught many other great Islamic scholars.  Learn more here:'hab

*Skeptics Annotated Quran available here

*Tafsir Ibn Kathir

*Tafsir Al-Jalalayn

*Autobiography by Hassan (an ex-Muslim)

*Why I am not Muslim by Ibn Warraq

*Why I Left Islam by Saif Rahman

*Two biographies on Mohammad.  One that combines sources in an attempt to recreate Ibn Ishaq's work here:
and o
ne written in more modern english would be this one:
Searching around online may turn up free copies, forgive me, I haven't made it to that point, but if I turn some up you can bet I'll edit this to reflect that.

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  • David

    Sorry I missed the inaugural event.
    I had some major clean up after that storm on Sun.

    July 17, 2012

  • Chris H.

    Very knowledgeable people, I learned interesting things.

    July 16, 2012

  • Larry P.

    Very interesting,

    July 16, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Thanks everyone for coming despite the nasty weather! Great crowd. We watched a short 10 minute film on the history of Islam's beginnings and how it spread, discussed what we knew about Islam, talked about translations, culture, all sorts of good stuff.

    We decided to read chapters 78 to the end of the text, and if we finish that, to start at the beginning and read until what we can. Quicker we make it through the Qur'an, quicker we move on to other texts.

    1 · July 15, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    The winds blew down my charming sign outside the house, and I just heard hail. Allah is not amused, y'all!

    July 15, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Matt, where you living? Anyone available to hook him up with a ride?

    July 14, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    In the location information above, I have included my phone number as well as a link to an image that will show my house as "A" on the map, but in case parking gets limited, there is a red square that shows a parking lot you could park in and then just walk around the corner to the house.
    - I'm starting to get excited to host you all! Putting together some short videos to watch, discussion points, and a munchie menu. I don't like to toot my own horn, but I used to be a chef, so beep beep.

    1 · July 12, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Mika, the location is visible to members of the Tucson Atheists meetup group. I will post my phone number closer to the event date. If you have any questions in the meantime please do not hesitate to email me through meetup.

    June 30, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Yes, Ben, you're right. I'll change the description.

    June 30, 2012

  • Ben B.

    Authenticity is important. But availability may be moreso for a book club. Do the local libraries have it? Also, shouldn't an inaugural meet be dedicated to introductions--with no book specified yet?


    June 29, 2012

  • David

    I would definitely be interested in such a group. As for translations, Yusuf Ali is not bad as a starter, but the traslator adds a lot of parenthetical text not found in the original. Arberry has one of the best ones that captures the fluid and poetic style of Qu'ran and is pretty good in its translation.

    June 29, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Makin' that rent in Vegas. Have fun, we'll miss you. This first meet will probably be more of an intro, anyway, to discuss pre-Qur'an reading, and whether to read it in the order it's printed or the order it was "revealed," and what "companion texts" to reference...

    1 · June 29, 2012

  • Don L.

    Best of luck Ginna. Can't make it. I'll be out of town.

    June 29, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    I've been told by some ex-muslims that the translation by Abdullah Yusuf Ali is a great one, and that's one of the copies I have. Couldn't hurt if we read different ones, though, for different perspectives.

    June 28, 2012

  • Jason D.

    You might want to suggest a certain translation of the Qur'an because it has a few different translations just like the many versions of the Bible.

    June 28, 2012

  • Karen L.

    Sounds great but I'll be in NoCal for the summer
    Pls keep me on the list

    June 28, 2012

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