Leaving Islam



Like Day and Night

Brian Smith

Much has been said about Mohammed and Islam on this site but to highlight the character of this “Prophet of God” I want to contrast him with a very different man, a man who lived in Greece some 900 years before Mohammed: Epicurus.  

Mohammed teaches that his god Allah is a vengeful being that has such human emotions as anger and hate, a being that requires humans to do things such as praying and fighting or face the punishment of being thrown into hellfire. For Epicurus this is nonsense. He says that God is a perfect being who cannot be angered and does not need anything from humans. So there is no reason for humans to be afraid of God. He also dismisses myths about life after death. When we die we simply cease to exist just as we did not exist before our birth. We have no feelings and no consciousness then and so there is no need to fear hell, the devil or anything else after death. “Death is nothing to us; once the body and brain decompose into dust and ashes, there is no feeling or thought, and what has no feeling or thought is nothing to us.”  

While Mohammed gives his followers hell on Earth with the empty promise of paradise after death, Epicurus shows the way to happiness and a good life on Earth. “People who do not understand that death is nothing waste their lives in fear because of the many superstitions about life after death.”  

Mohammed permits or demands of his followers to conquer, fight, kill, rob, rape, enslave and lie. For Epicurus a good life is not possible without being wise, honourable and just. He teaches that we should never commit an injustice and that natural justice – in which we have a mutual agreement not to harm each other – is one of the greatest goods we can have. “Natural justice is the advantage conferred by mutual agreements not to inflict nor allow harm.” “For all living creatures incapable of making agreements not to harm one another, nothing is ever just or unjust; and so it is likewise for all tribes of men which have been unable or unwilling to make such agreements.” “Anything acquired through dishonesty leads to a loss of character.” That does not mean, however, that Epicureans should submit to injustice and not defend themselves: “Absolutely anything which will keep you from being harmed by people is good and right.”  

The world as seen by Mohammed is full of superstition, magic and miracles such as the Jinn, flying horses, people getting transformed into animals, the sun setting in a muddy pool  and even the moon getting split in two. Epicurus says that anything we can see or sense - such as earthquakes, lightening and the existence of the world - is caused by natural phenomena and that we should study nature to overcome our fear of supposedly supernatural events. The world, he says, was not created by some divine being but came into existence by chance when atoms collided and stuck together to form different things.

And things or events that we cannot see or sense in any way are mere myths, stories that often frighten us but are shown not to be true through the close study of nature.  

Mohammed teaches that Muslims should not make friends with non-Muslims, but rather hate them and make use of them. Epicurus by contrast values friendship: “Of all things that wisdom provides for living one’s entire life in happiness, the greatest by far is the possession of friendship.”  

Mohammed divided humans into different groups. At the top men followed by women, slaves, unbelievers and at the bottom those that should be killed. Epicurus regarded all humans as equals and in a time when women had fewer rights than men and slavery was common he welcomed everyone – men and women, the free and slaves, rich and poor, aristocrats and hoi poloi – as equals in his garden for discussion and friendship.  

Mohammed was never content with what he had, his hunger for ever more riches, lands and women was insatiable. Greed and lust for power run like a red line through his life. Epicurus on the other hand thought that the simple necessities of life – bread, water and a place to stay – were enough. He regarded cheese with his bread as a luxury. “Natural wealth is both limited and easily obtained, but vanity is insatiable.”  

As for political power he thought that while it could protect to some degree from other people it was better to avoid a public life as power and high standing seldom lead to happiness but can bring many troubles. “Some men rule nations while being enslaved by their desires for the flesh.” “Some men and women want to be famous and well-known because they think that this will make their lives safe and secure. If fame brings safety and security, it is good and right to want to be famous; but if a famous life brings more trouble than an obscure life, it is foolish to want what is actually bad for us.”  

For Mohammed many of the pleasures in life such as alcohol or sex are evil for which there is not only punishment after death but also cruel punishment on Earth, eg. A woman getting stoned to death. Epicurus sees nothing wrong with a pleasure taken by itself. Any pleasure is good as long as it does not cause more trouble than is gained in pleasure. But, of course, if you choose to drink too much even though you know you will regret it the next day your only punishment is the unpleasant consequence you inflicted upon yourself. And a pleasure should not cause harm to others as this would go against the idea of natural justice. “There is no such thing as a pleasure that is bad in and of itself. What is bad are the unpleasant consequences that can result if you do not use your head when deciding on which pleasures to pursue and which to avoid.”  

So what would Epicurus have thought of Mohammed? Epicurus despised philosophers who do not make it their business to improve people’s natural condition: “Vain is the word of a philosopher by whom no human suffering is cured.  For just as medicine is of no use if it fails to banish the diseases of the body, so philosophy is of no use if it fails to banish the suffering of the mind” And considering that Mohammed not only failed to improve people’s lives but indeed has caused untold suffering to millions over the past fourteen centuries Epicurus would have regarded him as the Evil Incarnate, one of the worst men to have ever lived.  

For more detailed information: http://www.epicurus.info







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