Sarah Haider, co founder of Ex-Muslims of North America whom I’ve blogged about before here, entitled: Islamophobia, NOT!, once again makes some interesting observations about Islam and especially why many are leaving it behind. From a number of her comments it appears that reading the Koran and hadith allows one to plainly see the pure absurdity and abject cruelty of the religion and drop it as easily as one does with Xiansanity, just by actually reading the Bible!
The best way to make anyone a non-believer in both of the “Big Two” evidently is to read their scriptures!
Sarah starts off describing how some “militant atheists” she knew prompted, challenged her to question her Muslim belief (having been raised a Shi’a Muslim in America). In reading the Koran for herself, she quickly discovered it wasn’t “so poetic only god could have written it” (as Gad interjects), in fact Sarah realized it is not so poetic at all, in fact confusing, and a jumble of ambiguous verses and not so wonderful nor perfect as all Muslims are taught.
An important point is that being aggressively challenged by her atheist friends did offend her.
“But, that is what got me to look into it because I was so intent on proving these people wrong!…they don’t know what they are talking about.” Then as she dived into the Koran, she realized she was wrong, what she had been taught wasn’t true.
Many of us non-believers express despair at not being able to reach the religious and we worry about and are all too often admonished not to “offend” religious people by questioning, even attacking their beliefs. The claim put forth by many religious apologists and even many atheists who think we shouldn’t offend, is that it is not “nice” to upset believers and it only makes the religious dig in their heels that much deeper. That claim couldn’t be more wrong!
The attack, the questioning, works, whether one takes offense or not.
An excerpt from my forthcoming book “The Arrogance of Religious Thought” illustrates the usual silly plea to back off, be nice, don’t risk offending…
“In September 2014, a particularly lame call for just this sort of “hands off” treatment was offered up in the form of a “challenge” to us Unbelieving Scum, by Steve Neumann, a contributor to Salon magazine; “Cut it out atheists, Why it is time to stop behaving like Bill Maher and Richard Dawkins.” The upshot was we shouldn’t offend anyone. We should stop attacking religious absurdities and calling folks out on them. It hurts their feelings. His pitch in a nutshell:
“I’d like to challenge all atheists, myself included, to refrain from posting disparaging commentary about Christian news-makers on Facebook and other social media sites — including blogs — for one month. Let’s call it The Atheist Positivity Challenge, or the APC for short. The purpose of this challenge is to draw attention to two things: The fact that gloating about the lunacy and misdeeds of specific Christians is not only unnecessary, but probably counterproductive; and the need to rehabilitate the reputation of atheism in America.”
No, we need to turn up the volume. It works. Offended or not, it often forces people to question the nonsense they have been taught, for themselves. People arent stupid. Xians and Muslims are hosed, not dumb. As Sarah points out, as does Faisal Saeed al Mutar and Waleed al Husseini, it may be much easier to leave Islam altogether than one might think, even easier than to reform it.
” It really doesn’t take much reading into it, a couple of weeks, maybe a few months…and you’re out.”
She nails it. So many of us secularists forget that once we were believers as well, some really hardcore and that for many, who just never questioned, a little prodding, even being offended put us on that path and with just a few weeks of research, we had dropped religion too!
Just as it is with most Xians, when Gad suggests that many Muslims are wholly unaware of what is actually in the Koran, Sarah agrees:
“There’s definitely a lot of people who don’t know anything about Islam…”
And with regards the attempts to reform Islam, she then proposes the rather “bold step” as Gad mutters “Wow,” that:
“I actually think we need to move straight to atheism…I actually think that’s easier…I think that’s totally possible.”
Just as Faisal al Mutar and al Husseini linked above state, there are so many atheists within Islam, all over the Muslim world, who have found it easier intellectually to jettison the absurdity and cruelty inherent in the verses altogether than perform the mental gymnastics required for reformation.
Sarah cites another reason dropping Islam altogether may be facilitated in that Islam is so pervasive and all-encompassing a daily practice that it brings along a smothering Arab culture which overlays and eliminates so much of the indigenous culture of any given Muslim country. I’d often marveled at the blatant and absurd incongruity, seeing a suburban American kid, a Nigerian tribesman, or a Phillipino native suddenly wearing the Bedouin headdress and thobe because they are now Muslim. I would immediately think: “Yeah, but you’re not an Arab, and you don’t live in the desert.”
Sarah once again:
“I think there are many countries, many cultures that have been sort of taken over by Islam, their own cultural histories have been erased”
She contrasts India and Pakistan (where she is from) “they are the same people” yet Islam has almost completely transformed Muslim Pakistan away from the shared Indian subcontinent cultural heritage.
This is something not experienced within Xianity, where the local culture expresses Xian practice and ritual in a very syncretic way, with indigenous customs and dress maintained and combined with Xian worship. Not so with Islam. It is a stifling cultural affectation, and a demanding political system as well as a set of beliefs. It governs nearly every behavior, across all aspects of daily life and requires a level of conformity un-imagined by those outside of it.
The many ex-Muslims speaking out:
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Faisal Saeed al Mutar
Waleed al Husseini
and so many others can give us non-Muslims a real glimpse into what Islam is like and what to do about it.
I’ll take my cues from them about Islam, not from right-wing Xians, nor from Regressive Left apologists for Islam like Reza Alsan, Glenn Greenwald, CJ Werleman, or Chris Hedges.
The entire interview with Sarah is intelligent and informative, do give it a look and listen. Thanks again to the “Gadfather” for bringing such pertinent information out to the world.
end religion now
All of them