A LOSS OF FAITH: AND THE FINDING OF HOPE
From J H
Below is my article that I wish to submit, and I hope you do consider submitting it, or at least reading it. I suppose I chose FF as a means of professing my atheism because it’s a site that has aided me on my journey, as has wikiislam (an ally of your site, I think?) and various others. Thank you for that. If this is published, I only ask that you keep it anonymous (I don’t want Muslims showing how ‘peaceful’ they are to me). I’m not sure on the procedure of article submission, but could I receive a reply e-mail if this is published, if that’s not too much trouble? Thanks again.
A LOSS OF FAITH: AND THE FINDING OF HOPE
As I sit and type this article, it is — as you probably know– Ramadan; and I, a fifteen-year-old Muslim (though I dare say that such a label is as accurate as calling a fifteen-year-old Marxist because his/her parents are), am once more starving myself for around fifteen hours (everyday for a month) for some non-existent gain. I am weak, degenerated and a ripe summer passes — almost teasing me– whilst I live a sedentary life due to low energy. And yet ironically, at a time when zealous clerics (though zealous is superfluous) expect a rise in religiosity, I find myself becoming more militantly atheist. But my faith has never been incredibly strong: So here is my journey…
My alienation from Islam was ever-so-slightly nurtured when I first entered mosque; I suppose it was around the age of six, or seven. The place was a cold, depressing confine of monotonous recitation and oppression. Beats and shouts were regular (though I was fortunate enough to not endure most of them, for I was fairly quiet), and the F word–fun– was strictly forbidden. And there before me was a book with abounding letters and marks that I didn’t understand, nor did I care to. But there was no choice. At this stage, I hadn’t lost my faith; but then, I never really had it. Young boys don’t care for religion in the same way that they don’t care for political ideologies, philosophical doctrines and economic theories. But gradually, I became angry at being forced to attend this wretched institution. I didn’t want to sit for ten hours before an alien book and an equally alien teacher: I wanted to practice riding my bike, play. But then we were taught about Hell, the vanguard of adherence to Islam…
|’Devilish minions shall pour hot lead into the ears of music-listening kuffar!’|'If a single word be repeated incorrectly whilst reading the Koran, you shall be punished!’|'The Day of Judgement is coming!’|'You will burn!’|'You will scream!’
And ad infinitum.
I still hear these threats today, as clerics admonish mosque-goers of the ‘decadent’ society that they live in (why did you move here again?). I found it to be petty and akin to bullying. It was psychologically damaging. Every action engendered evaluation as to whether it was sinful and there was constant guilt. And it took away the supposed majesty and credibility that Muslims proclaim to be present in Islam: God is the supreme architect, the supreme physicist, the supreme mathematician, the supreme engineer–he is supposed to be the most enlightened being, above all progressive systems. And yet, this supreme entity doles out a punishment so primitive, petty, unfair, retributive. It’s the sort of primeval ideal that’d be thought of by, say, bronze-age patriarchs (or a deluded, plagiarizing merchant in primitive Arabia). And why would this deity require his subjects, whom he created, to grovel him five times a day, and make ineffectual prayers inside sumptuous mosques that paradoxically chides the West for its materialism? And why does he hold such a fixation on the Middle East? What of the poor peoples in Australia and the Americas, burning in Hell despite not knowing about the religion?
As a teenager, I was also embarrassed at the desperation of Muslims around me to affirm Islam’s superiority: Virtually every favorable celebrity ostensibly converted to Islam–and my friends took great pride in that. I was also appalled by their veneration for Eastern despots like Saddam Hussein; twisted lunatics like Bin Laden; and their agreement that people like Salman Rushdie should be dead. So, regular massacres of innocent civilians are fine because the perpetrators are Muslim, but let woe befall a man who printed some words — damn words! And the funny thing was, most Muslims around me embraced Western culture. They enjoyed music, many smoking, drinking, watching lewd material and dancing. But come Ramadan and they renounce those things and conjure a visage of piety. I think this contrast of extremes surges their desperation, and sees the transpiration of guilty, young men who’ve been indoctrinated into extremist (or should I say proper?) Islam, going on to commit terrorism. Not a single moral that I, or any other Muslim I knew, held was due to faith.
But the final strike of the hammer came when I delved into the personality of our beloved prophet. A man of peace, bringing God’s word, conducted war? He married a nine-year-old at fifty (many Muslims would cringe if they heard of this in the news now, only then to exonerate Muhammad: If this was customary of the time, why should anything of Muhammad be practiced, considering it’s all archaic?), he was an anti-Semite, he ordered killings, he twisted history, he was a misogynist and a hypocrite.
To be honest, it’s all very reminiscent of a totalitarian state. People often conflate atheism with such regimes (citing Stalin and Mao as examples) but it is fundamental faith that is more Orwellian, autocratic and despotic. There’s Big Brother, or Allah; only the Koran may be read, whilst all other forms of media are censored or outright banned; dissent is brutally quelled; continual war is propagate until the whole world is subjugated; there is no proper art; sex is proscribed as is identity. I honestly wish to witness a day when this cruel, depressing ideology is vanquished.
That’s my story. I’m a closet atheist who awaits the day when I’m emancipated and can continue my life without hindrance. I still have a great deal more to experience, but thanks for listening.
Short URL: http://www.archive2012.faithfreedom.org/?p=39155