thousands of “beliefs”, political, religious and philosophical
doctrines and all of them are in contrast with each other. Of course not
all of them can be true. Yet their supporters claim that theirs is the
only true doctrine. In my opinion truth is infinite and therefore no
person, group or religion can claim to possess it. There is no book that
can contain the infinite truth. All doctrines and ideologies posses a part
of the truth. Things are not black and white. They come in different
shades and colors. The light of the sun shines on all things, yet each
thing reflects that light with a different wavelength and that is why you
see the variety of colors in this world. The light is one, yet it
manifests itself in millions of colors.
also one, yet each person understands it differently. We see the truth in
different ways; each sees a facet of it. Who can decry the facet that
someone holds true and dear to his heart? The Truth is one and only, but
because each person’s mental capacity, social and cultural background is
different, that same Truth for each person has a different flavor. The
variety is not in the Truth itself but in its containers.
Truth is unattainable. It is too big for us humans with our limited mental
capacity to grasp. All we can aspire is to see and understand one or a
few aspects of the Truth. Think of the truth as this Earth. We are all in
contact with it and experience it. But while we are standing on its
surface our experience of it is limited. Since the Earth is made of
mountains, plateaus, oceans, forests, deserts, and many more features,
each one of us can only see what is around him. No one can claim to have
the only true view of the Earth.
exactly how we see the truth. We see only part of it. And what we see
depends on the social, cultural and religious ground on which we are
the same reality from different angles. What they see is different, but
they are just seeing different facets of the same reality. This
realization, that my truth and yours are not different, will enrich our
understanding instead of becoming points of contention.
become aware of our limitations, we stop having “blind faith” about
anything. We know that our understanding is limited and it is subject to
change. So we learn to think laterally, become open to other
possibilities, doubt and question. Though we may think we have found the
truth, we know that the truth has other hidden facets that we have not
seen yet. By having an open mind, listening to other theories, we learn
more. The more we know, the more we find how little we know. This is the
essence of freethinking. This is how philosophers think. It is much
different from the thinking of a religious person who believes all truth
can be contained in few pages of a book, and that is all there is to it,
and nothing more.
there is truth in everything, there is also falsehood in everything. There
is nothing that can be defined as absolutely wrong, just as there is
nothing that can be defined as absolutely true. In every black there is an
element of whiteness and in every white there is a component of blackness.
The method to arrive at the truth is through critical analysis of
different ideas. Truth will sparkle when different ideas clash. If you and
I never talk, you will never know my point of view and I will not know
I do not
believe that any religion is true. They are all man made. And just as any
other man made philosophy and school of thought, every religion is
partially true and partially wrong. The proportion may vary from religion
to religion. But since the absolute truth is unattainable and what we can
understand is relative and subject to our cultural biases and personal
predispositions, what you think is true may seem untrue to me and vice
shall we do? If we never talk, we’ll never learn each other’s points
of view and the gap between us grows deeper. Some matters are of taste and
should be left to the individual. For example, whether you believe in
reincarnation, the survival of the soul after death, and the existence of
God are personal beliefs. Whether we agree with
them or not, it does not change anything. We may disagree on these
personal issues and still live and work together in the same society in
peace and harmony.
But what if
our beliefs infringe on the rights of the others? What if I believe in a
god as the owner of this universe that has ordered me to kill anyone who
fails to recognize him? What if I believe that my god wants me to beat my
wife if she is not obedient to me, or kill my daughter if I suspect
lewdness on her part, or subdue and humiliate my neighbor if his religion
is not the right one?
obviously cannot sit idle and “respect” my belief. You have two
choices, you either arm yourself and try to kill me before I kill you or
you try to educate me and make me see that what I believe is morally and
opinion, since we all have different beliefs, if we opt the first route
and start killing each other very few of us will remain in this world.
Islam advocates Jihad, it encourages you to fight and kill the unbelievers
until everyone’s religion is Islam. This is a
barbaric way to handle the differences. The winner is not necessarily the
one who is right but the one who has the might. Hitler and Muhammad both
believed in violence as a legitimate mean to impose their philosophy. The
result, in both cases was catastrophic.
blinds. As a believer I am incapable of seeing my errors. If I am only
talking with my peers who believe in what I believe they strengthen my
faith and if our faith is wrong we are both confirmed in our ignorance. We
will sit in our congregations and say how good we are and how evil you
are; how much god loves us and how much he hates you and so on. This is
the way we have done so far and it wasn’t a picnic. Now imagine we who
have so much hate, also have atomic
and biological weapons.
Pakistan has atomic bombs and Iraq has biological weapons. Of course if
they use their arsenals against the West or Israel, they will be wiped
out. But they are fanatics. They are the suicide bombers. They cannot
think straight. They believe that they will go to Paradise whether they
kill or they are killed.
there is a lot at stake. We cannot just sit and let a catastrophe of
unimaginable proportions happen. The destruction of our country, and our
neighboring countries is painful and sad, yet it is nothing with what is
going to befall us, if we do not stop this madness.
that we take another route. Let us discuss and make each other see where
we are wrong. I believe in what I believe and you have faith in yours. I
am not able to see the errors of my faith and you are not able to see
yours. Let us find out the truth. You show my errors, and let me show
yours. I won’t be offended if you tell me where I am wrong. But please
don’t take it personally when I point out your errors. You and I should
talk and let our ideas clash, let us debate, let us find the truth, but
let us be friends and love each other like brothers and sisters.
you do if you find out that your son or someone you love has joined a very
dangerous cult? Would you sit idle and let him harm himself and others
because of his beliefs? Would you hate him, punish him or kill him for it?
If you are a wise person you will educate yourself about that cult and try
to help him see the dangerous road that he is taking.
are brothers and sisters to each other. This is the first and foremost
truth that we all must be aware of. Once this feeling of love and oneness
is established among all the members of humanity, we should sit and talk
to each other; listen and learn from each other. We have to point out to
the errors of each other and not be offended if our own errors are singled
Love of your
brother and sister in humanity comes first. Your beliefs, ideas, doctrines
and religion, come next. Only with this spirit of empathy, care and
understanding, should you sit with your Muslim , Jewish, Christian or
Communist brothers and show them their errors. Only when you love them
more than your religion you are not offended if they too criticize the
errors of your beliefs.
I am a
humanist. I love all humanity. For me, a Jew, a Baha'i, a Muslim, an
Iranian, an Iraqi, an American, a black, or a white are all the same. I
hate no one. I love every human being, irrespective of his or her color,
race, nationality or religion. But that does not mean that I approve of
what they do, say or believe. I feel it is my duty to show them their
errors if those errors harm others. And I would accept with gratitude and
humility if they helped me see mine.
I know that
there is something good in every religion. But as a whole religions have
done more harm than good. Religion is the most powerful force of disunity
among humankind. All religions, without any exception, are based on false
premises. We cannot build our prosperity on false and shaky foundations.
Truth, and nothing but truth will set us free. And to find the truth, we
have to talk and expose the fallacies of our beliefs.
I do not
disagree with religion as a personal bliss. The belief in a deity that
looks over our shoulders, takes care of us and comes to our aid when we
need him is uplifting and very therapeutic. The faith in a personal god
gives many people a sense of peace. It helps many overcome their
weaknesses. It is a crutch that they can lean on. The psychological
benefit of believing, for many millions of people is incalculable. To
deprive people of believing in a personal god is not fair. People must
wean themselves from religions, whenever THEY are ready. They will toss
aside this crutch only when THEY feel that they can walk with their own
feet, see with their own eyes and understand with their own rational
thinking. We should not force people out of religion. We should let them
mature on their own just as we would let a chicken to hatch in the egg
until it is ready to break its shell and emerge from it on its own.
But when our
belief becomes the cause of disunity and an excuse to kill, maim and hate
others, we should not remain silent. We have to make reason prevail. We
have to stop those who perpetrate crimes against humanity in the name of
their god. No matter how strong their belief and how numerous their
numbers; we have to put a halt to their insanity. If something is wrong,
it does not become right just because the majority believes it.
years ago I started to participate in a few Internet discussion groups
writing mostly about Islam and scrutinizing it with rational thinking. I
had many discussions with a lot of people. Eventually I decided to polish
some of those writings in the form of articles so when someone comes with
a question that I had dealt with earlier I could simply cut and paste my
answers to him. Eventually I created a Website and published those
articles. Other writers contributed with their essays and the site kept
does not pretend to have the answers to anyone's questions. What you find
here are the answers that I have found satisfactory to my own questions.
Although I share these answers with you, I also share many questions. What
I hope to achieve is not to teach but to stimulate independent thinking.
It is up to you, however, to pose your own questions and find your own
answers. I hope that this site will kindle your interest in being
inquisitive, learn to be skeptic, and as Buddha said, "doubt
everything and find your own light".