Tantamount to Disbelief — A

Tantamount to Disbelief — A reader of Arab News asks, with more than merely academic interest, whether anal sex is indeed forbidden(scroll down) by Islam.

The author of the peculiar theological advice column (also touching on whether to punish a teenage girl who prays during her period) finishes his reply by writing:

Besides, several Hadiths confirm this in very clear terms. A man came to the Prophet and asked him whether it was permissible to have sex with his wife from behind. The Prophet answered in the affirmative. As the man was on his way out, the Prophet called him back and said: “Consider what I have said: from behind, but in the front.” I suppose nothing could be clearer than this. In another Hadith, the Prophet mentions ten sinful actions that are tantamount to disbelief. One of these is “anal sexual intercourse with women.” I suppose no expression of prohibition could be stronger than describing an action as tantamount to disbelief.

Now, I'm fascinated by the fact that the Prophet had a considered, undoubtedly God-endorsed, opinion on the propriety of doggy style versus backdoor. I grew up in a church that relies on ongoing prophesy, but the messages that came through the God-phone were always so general. Prophet Wallace B. Smith thankfully never had anything to say about how to get busy. Probably you could rank religions from best to worst in terms of the invasive specificity of their moral commands. (Taoism rules!) Anyway, its always good to be reminded of the stupidity and credulousness of which we humans are capable when in a religious mode. And I would encourage everyone to express their disbelief explicitly, or, if you wish, through actions merely tantamount to disbelief.

  • I’m taking a behavioral finance class this semester, and just read the article on Prospect theory by Kahneman and Tversky. It’s interesting that they didn’t call the decisions being made that contradicted utility theory as being necessarily irrational. They certainly saw problems with how people figured odds, but it isn’t necessarily irrational to be more adverse to loss vs. gain, as they described in their article.

    • Tremulous

      The Tversky-Kahneman results allow people to be money pumped. They will pay to move from state A to state B, pay to move from B to C, and pay to move from C to A. Regardless of definitions this is certainly irrational.

  • sam

    A little Pascal might have given pause to the rational action theorists in economy. You know, the bit where he says:

    “The heart has reasons that reason cannot know.”

    Oh, and a close reading of any great novelist would be salutary. Or reflection on a busted love affair.

  • Mr. Econotarian

    The challenge is that government is just as likely, if not more likely, to act irrationally than market participants.

    While large banks were mis-reading CDO risk, government was funding no-money-down loans through the FHA, extending an implicit backstop to Fannie and Freddie, and trumpeting how good it was that homeownership levels were so high.

    Is it truly likely that a government entity will have a more accurate viewpoint on an economic situation than the majority of market participants?

    I think it is likely that government regulation is useful for correcting the few outliers in terms of risk, but is unlikely to be ahead of the majority of market participants.

    If government was ahead of participants, they could simply quit the government and take an opposite market position and make lots of $$$