Convert or die.
Mr. Wotruba claims not to condone the practice of marrying young, but his talk of the "modern obsession with prolonged independence and childhoold" smacks of sophistry to endorse pedophilia. In the case of Mohammed's child bride Ayesha, this argument makes no sense, because Ayesha had not reached child-bearing age when Mohammed married her at age 6, or when he consummated his marriage with her at age 9. Furthermore, Ayesha did not bear any children by Mohammad.
Mohammad was curiously sterile after age 40, even though he visited his wives on a rotation system, spending each night with a different wife. His son Ibrahim, born to his concubine Mary the Copt, died in infancy. Mohammad did not leave a male heir who grew to maturity. A speculative article on the pathology of Mohammad may be found in the article The mysterious illness of the Prophet Muhammad identified.
The imbalance of women v. men in warring cultures is an indictment of warring cultures, and moreover, of ideologies such as Islam that promote war and thereby inflict widowhood or involuntary spinsterhood or the indignities of polygyny (where the husband's attentions are spread among several wives and he cannot do justice to them all) on women.
Islam has used materialism and consumerism as cudgels to whip western culture. I do not endorse the materialism and consumerism of western society, but neither I do believe that Islam is THE solution to the ills of western society. I live in a city where there is a sizeable and visible Moslem community. One merely has to go to the shopping malls in my area to see how Muslims are embracing consumerism and materialism.
In addition to this you attempt to use 'history' as a key component to your argument, yet the majority of this 'history' comes from either enemies of Mohammed or from Hadith written down so long after the prophet's existence that they are unreliable or irrelevant. Hadith are good for stories but nothing more, they are proof of nothing because they developed in different areas by oral tradition. They are unnecessary they simply give basic guidelines for things like charity and salot.
Many Muslims would disagree with the idea that the Hadith are "unreliable," "irrelevant," "unnecessary," and " good for stories but nothing more, they are proof of nothing." A writer from the Islamic Institute on Information and Education, based in Chicago, USA, wrote:
The other source of Islamic legislation is teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) called Hadith or Sunnah. Teachings that come from the Sunnah have the same weight as that of the Qur'an. For example, the Qur'an teaches that Muslims should do prescribed prayers (Salah) in the morning, afternoon and at night but it does not say how many times nor it tells you how to do it. We learn from the Prophet that we are required to pray five times a day and how to do it. Similarly, there are techings about Zakat, Fasting, Hajj, inheritance, business dealings and others which are explained by the Prophet.
The Sunnah cannot be considered as "obscure and removed." It faithfully records Muhammad's sayings and actions, even his most personal hygienic habits. Therefore, it is difficult to accept that the Sunnah got it wrong about the Banu Qarayza and the Battle of the Trench. It seems that the men of the Banu Qarayza tribe were beheaded and the women and children were taken captive merely on the suspicion of betrayal, not on demonstrated evidence of betrayal. Even if there was demonstrated evidence of betrayal, this punishment is unnecessarily severe.
Mohammed's deferring judgment to Sad in the matter of the Banu Qarayza seems to be another example of his not taking responsibility for his actions or going back on his word, as are the "revelations" he received from Allah to wiggle out of some dilemma involving his relations with his wives. So much for al-Amin (the faithful one), as Mohammed is called!
If that were the meaning, then there would have been no objection to the Suralikeit Web site. Muslims became enraged (as they do when their precious religion comes in for criticism) and threatened boycotts and legal action (what one person referred to as "extortion") against America OnLine (AOL) for hosting the Web site Suralikeit (to respond to the challenge to produce a "Surah like it."). AOL caved in to Moslem demands. This site contains only 4 suras (chapters) that mimic the style of the Qur'an. Three are New Testament stories retold in the style of the Qur'an. The other one was scatological, pertaining to Mohammed, but justified by citations to the Qur'an and the Sunnah.
What mercy? I participated in a forum where Muslims claimed that Allah does not let anyone burn in hell eternally. This may be supported by verses 6:127 and 11:107, that a person burns in hell as long as Allah sees fit, but these verses are inconsistent with verses 14:17, 20:74, 43:74, and 87:13, that indicate that a person will burn in hell eternally.
If Allah is a capricious judge, pity the poor Muslim who has devoted his life to Islamic virtues such as paying the poor rate, keeping up prayer, and killing unbelievers in hopes of entering Paradise to be surrounded by perky-breasted houris (virgins). If Allah denies him entry to Paradise, all his efforts would have been in vain!
I do not need an Allah or a God who uses threats of punishment to compel me to practice virtues such as kindness, compassion, and charity. I practice these virtues because they are right and good.
These arguments supporting Quranic punishments indicate that you have to waste life in order to save life and resources. What about the unfortunates who survive flogging, crucifixion, and amputation of alternate hand and foot (all punishments recommended by the Qur'an)? As cripples, can they be restored as productive members of society, or do they become burdens to society?
The arguments of Mike G. Wotruba are "inherently relative" (to use his words) and at best support cultural norms that may have existed in desert Arabia in 500-600 CE, if those cultural norms applied then. I do not accept that the pagan Arabs were the brutes that Islam would have us believe.
Per relativism, I would like to close this article with a quote from the pamphlet The Dead Hand of Islam by Colin Maine, printed and published by the Rationalist Association of New South Wales (Australia).