Leaving Islam



Bring back that Old Time Religion

By Ohmyrus 

Western society has become more secular in the past 20 years, especially in Europe . People are losing interest in religion and some have become anti-religion. I am not interested in proving any religion to be true but in assessing the societal and economic consequences of religious beliefs or non-beliefs.

Those of you who have read my earlier articles will discover that in my opinion, Islamic beliefs lead to backwardness. I had argued that Islam was designed to facilitate Arabic imperialism and the same qualities that ensured its success in the first few centuries of Islam are now holding back the progress of Muslims. That is why Muslims are today amongst the most backwards, unhealthy, uneducated people in the world - facts which are acknowledged by Muslim leaders such as Mr. Pervez Musharraf and Dr Mahathir Mohammed.

But what about secularism? Western society, especially Europe is increasingly becoming secular with people losing traditional religious beliefs. Church attendance in Europe has gone down. Christian ideas are been eroded as can be seen by the legalization of same sex marriage in most parts of Western Europe . What are the societal and economic consequences that flow from secularism?

To begin with, secularism promotes a more short term and hedonistic attitude towards life. Since secular people have little faith in God or an after life, the tendency is for them to adopt the attitude of “Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die”. Of course, not all secular people are like that. But in general, secularism promotes such attitudes.

Their time horizon is therefore their own lifetime. Religious people on the other hand are more long term. Their eyes are on eternity. If you go to Europe , you will come across many Cathedrals that took centuries to build. For example, Cologne Cathedral took more than 300 years to complete. (1)

Why did the Medieval Christians start a project that none of them would live to see its completion? The answer is that they look to the hereafter. Their desire was to please God and go to heaven. They say that faith can move mountains. Here a mountain of stone was literally moved to build the great Cathedrals of Europe.

But what of the secular people in now post-Christian Europe ? What are the economic consequences of people whose time frame is simply the rest of their lives?

For a start, they (in general) want to enjoy their lives to the hilt. For some, this could mean early retirement with loss of still productive workers to the economy. For others, it could mean fewer or no children for children means responsibility and a tax on their resources which could be used to indulge themselves. Statistics from America have shown that regular church goers tend to have more children than those that seldom or don't attend church. (2)

When interviewed, 47% of people who attend church weekly say that the ideal family size is three or more children, compared to only 27% of those who seldom attend church.

This implies a correlation between religious faith and the birth rate which of course has economic consequences. I can detect two reasons for this. Firstly, all religions tend to assign gender roles. Women are seen to be primarily as homemakers with men the head of the household. Thus those women with higher religiosity tends to have more children because they are more ready to accept that child caring is an important part of their lives. Women who give higher priority tend to have less children.

But there is a second reason which is more subtle and in my opinion more powerful. As I said earlier, secular people tend to have a "Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die," attitude. Since they have little faith or no faith in God and an afterlife, they want to enjoy their lives now while they still can. In the modern world, children are no longer seen as providers in our old age. They are seen as drain on our resources because we have to feed and educate them. Hence you will get a low birth rate among secular people.

A low birth rate in Europe , besides creating an aging population with its attendant strain on the welfare system, must be seen in the context of rising immigration from Muslim countries. These Muslims, perhaps with greater religiosity, tend to have a higher birth rate. Scholar Bernard Lewis commented that by the end of this century, Europeans might be speaking Arabic and majority Muslim.

Besides this, secularism has another impact on society. Secularism creates a culture that is very similar to that of the culture of polytheistic societies. Secularism and Polytheism produce societies that are too tolerant, too undisciplined, too lacking in a moral compass to resist an aggressive monotheism like Islam. I fear that what happened to the ancient polytheistic Meccans is beginning to happen to secular Europeans

We can gain an insight by comparing Roman/Greek polytheism with Christianity which replaced it. The first thing that struck me when reading about Roman (and Greek) gods were that they had very human qualities as compared to Jehovah or Allah. Jupiter (or Zeus) was a philanderer and his jealous wife always takes out her anger on the unfortunate mortal women her husband seduced.

Why did they have such human qualities? That is because in all likelihood they were once human. The ancients and not so ancient people have a habit of deifying humans. Roman emperors were often declared gods by the Roman Senate. Hadrian, a pederast Roman emperor made his lover-boy Antinous a god after he drowned in Egypt.(3)

In Malaysia, there is a temple in Malacca dedicated to Cheng Ho or Zheng He, an eunuch, Chinese, Muslim Admiral. (4) I also recall reading somewhere that devotees in an Indian village are worshiping at the grave of a 19th century British officer. They offer his spirit liquor because he was reputed to love strong drink.

So we have a motley crew of an emperor's Greek lover boy, a Chinese Muslim, eunuch Admiral and a drunken British officer added to the pantheon of polytheistic gods. Thus we may assume that the main Greek and Roman gods were once human and thus have human failings.

The second thing about polytheistic gods is that they do not appear all powerful. Often they are at odds with one another (eg Zeus and his wife Hera were always quarreling) and can sometimes be manipulated by mortals. Amongst Chinese folk religions, there is a kitchen god who ascends to heaven once a year to tell the Jade Emperor whether the people of each household have been good or bad. So once a year, worshipers bake a special sticky cake to bribe him. If that fails, then they hope that maybe his mouth will get stuck by the sticky cake and he can't talk. (5)

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