Leaving Islam






By: Ali Sina 

Religions have been with us since the early days of humanity. The belief in animism and spirits is present in very primitive societies. Even today one can find the traces of animism in the isolated societies like the inhabitants of the Amazon Jungles. But belief in the unknown is not restricted to primitive cultures. We do not have to travel to the Amazons to find people who believe in things for which there is no evidence whatsoever. You can find believers, even in the most advanced societies and the most civilized nations. People who are educated, who have university degrees, who are our politicians and our leaders are believers in things that have no logical basis.

Someone wrote: “People always have looked for something to worship. This is true from the Aztecs and Africans to Vikings, from 10,000 BC to 2001 AD. Mohammad was not the 1st person to use religion for his own benefit; this is an old history. You can never wipe out religion. The communists with all their power and influence could not do it, what makes you think that you can?

My answer to this cyber friend was as follows:

It is true that people in the past have always looked for something to worship. But past is no indication of the future. In the past people lacked knowledge and understanding. They had not discovered science and had no ways to understand the world. They invented myths, gods, angels and demons to explain the unknown. There was a god of thunder, a god of rain, a god of wind and a god of fertility. Many natural phenomena had a god that was responsible for it. I was surprised when I heard that Copernicus who rejected geocentrism and proposed heliocentrism, (Sun as the center of the Solar system) who lived before Newton and still ignorant of the gravity and therefore could not explain why the Earth moves around the sun guessed that angels make the Earth rotate around the Sun.

If this story is true, it is surprising, especially coming from a brilliant mind like Copernicus. But it just shows how the human mind works. How they introduced gods and angels to explain the unknown when faced with an unexplainable phenomenon. Our brain is a complex organ. Parts of that may be very advanced yet other parts that deal with beliefs can remain very much underdeveloped. So it is not impossible to find a surgeon whose beliefs are puerile and naive. It seems that all the academic qualifications of some people cannot curb the absurd beliefs that were inculcated in him since his childhood.

However, humanity as a whole is growing out of this childish way of thinking gradually. Beliefs are becoming outdated and unfashionable. People are now discovering the value of doubt. Ambroise Bierce puts it eloquently: "Faith, is Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel."

The reason Communists did not succeedin eradicating religion was because they wanted to replace belief in God with another atheist religion. They also believed that they could indoctrinate people by force. This approach is doomed to fail. The same method is used by the Islamic Regime in Iran, and I am certain that those kids born after the revolution and indoctrinated by the IR will be the ones that will abandon Islam altogether just as the Russian indoctrinated in communism were the ones that rebelled against it.

As freethinkers we are not replacing one dogma with another. We are proposing the abandonment of all dogmas and accepting as true only the facts that have been proven. In other words  we believe in nothing. We are not proposing the replacement of one illogical belief with another. We are questioning the validity of belief itself. This definitely has more appeal and is going to succeed.

Richard Dawkins has an excellent quote on faith. He said: "Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence." The correctness of this statement becomes further evident when we read a few assertions made by men of faith.

“We should always be disposed to believe that which appears to us to be white is really black, if the hierarchy of the church so decides.”
-St. Ignatius Loyola (1500)

“Whoever wishes to be a Christian, let him pluck out the eyes of his reason.”
-Martin Luther (First Psalm Lectures, Luther's Works, Vol. 11, p.285)

“Christ wants to slay reason and subdue the arrogance of the Jews...”
-Martin Luther (Sermons on the Gospel of St. John, Luther's Works, V.22, p.320)

“Whoever wants to be a Christian must be intent on silencing the voice of reason.”
-Martin Luther (Sermons on the Gospel of St. John, Luther's Works, V.23, p. 99)

“If the bible had said that Jonah swallowed the whale, I would believe it.”
­William Jennings Bryan

“Evolution is a bankrupt speculative philosophy, not a scientific fact. Only a spiritually bankrupt society could ever believe it. ... Only atheists could accept this Satanic theory.”
-Jimmy Swaggart (former pop preacher)

“Sickness and disease will be a part of life of this planet until Jesus comes back.”
-Pat Robertson (Answers to 200 of Life's most Probing Questions, Bantom Books, 1984)

“If you go all the way back to the days just following creation, men lived nine hundred years or more.”
-Pat Robertson (Answers to 200 of Life's most Probing Questions, Bantom Books, 1984)

He [Jesus] had the ability to walk through doors, to travel vast distances in an instant, and to ascent into heaven.
-Pat Robertson (Answers to 200 of Life's most Probing Questions, Bantom Books, 1984)

You say what's going to happen on this earth when the Rapture occurs? You'll be riding along in an automobile; you'll be the driver, perhaps; you're a Christian; there'll be several people in the automobile with you, maybe someone who is not a Christian. When the trumpet sounds, you and the other born-again Christians in that automobile will be instantly caught away, you'll disappear, leaving behind your clothing and physical things that cannot inherit eternal life. That unsaved person or persons in the automobile will suddenly be startled to find that the car is moving along without a driver, and suddenly somewhere crashes. Those saved people in the car have disappeared.
-Rev. Jerry Falwell (broadcast excerpt on National Public Radio cassette Ronald Reagan and the Prophecy of Armageddon by Joe Cuomo.)

The Bible tells us that the unbelievers will go into endless punishment.
-D. James Kennedy (Why I Believe, World Publishing, 1980)

These are examples of the thinking of religious people; people who believe but do not think. This attitude is changing. Yes people are still in the search of their spirituality, but they  no longer believe in the above gobbledygook. They are now searching for answers, for the meaning of the universe, for the purpose of their lives. This is the quest of today’s “religious” men and women.

Cultures are colliding and the Internet has made it possible for people from all over the world to exchange ideas and question each other’s beliefs. This will only debilitate the beliefs that are founded on shaky grounds. They will eventually crumble. All beliefs, all religions that are based on illogical premises and blind faiths will fall. But instead of going from one religion to another and from one dogma to the next people will learn to think.

For centuries belief was the king. Men of faith were respected and praised. Having faith and believing in something was considered to be good. There are still those who say, one must believe in something. But that is not right. One need not believe in anything. Today the world honors skeptics; people who can think, who can reason, who can question, not those who believe what they are told when they were children.

Of course there is another “fundamentalist” group on the other side of the spectrum who totally deny our spiritual essence. Naturally they will not succeed to convince those who know and sense their own spirituality. We are spiritual beings and we need no one to convince us otherwise. Just as those who have eyes can see and will not be swayed by all the mocking, denial and foot stumbling of the blinds, those who are aware of their spiritual dimension that is as real to them as is their sight, will not accept the materialistic views of a few-pseudo scientists who see with clarity the dirty bathwater but are unable to see the baby in it.

It was this spiritual thirst that led the primitive humans to invent gods and demigods in the first place. The thirst is real, even though those gods are not. Now gradually we are coming to terms in accepting ourselves as spiritual beings, but without the need of clinging to antiquated beliefs, irrational religions, and tyrannical and absurd gods. We are discovering our own spirituality without the mumbo jumbo of religions.

Let me give you one example of that discovery: The past religions told us to pray, for who prays with sincerity, his prayers would be answered. And sure enough many experienced miracles in prayers and this made them believe in the power of prayer and in a god who answers those prayers. For example, when people were sick and they prayed or they were aware that others are praying for them, this gave them assurance that they are going to recover and sure enough they did. Now we know perfectly that visualization and autosuggestion stimulate the brain to produce a chemical known as endocrines that cures the disease. There is no god answering your prayer but it is your brain that activates those chemicals and cures you.

Human mind is a powerful tool. There has been a case that a man caught in a refrigerating wagon of a train was found “frozen” to death, while the refrigerator was not working. The man “believed” that it was working!

In another case a doctor was allowed to experiment with a prisoner on a death role. He blindfolded the man and while pressing a sharp metal on his wrist, he poured warm water on it telling him all the time that he is going to bleed to death. Sure enough the man’s heart stopped to beat exactly as the doctor had told him. This man’s wrist was not cut and he did not lose even one drop of blood. His belief killed him.

People have seen miracles and they think it is from their religions. You cannot just tell them everything is false. They have seen the evidence and you will not be able to convince them otherwise. There is certainly a reality that we have to acknowledge and instead of denying it, explore it and understand it.

Once you adopt this approach, it is much easier to put aside the religions and their gods and instead find ways to discover the power within the human spirit and tap into the enormous energy that is hidden within each one of us, free from the shroud of mystery and the hogwash of religions.

In conclusion, worshipping is a thing of the past. New humans do not worship anything. That antiquated terminology will no more exist. We doubt, think, reason and question. This is what distinguished the modern man from the primitive man.

May 11, 2001






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