Islam Deserves No Respect From Me


No religion deserves respect from me. However, when in this modern age, a particular religion is always grabbing the headlines when its adherents kidnap and open 396079_10150480627647772_276988682771_8924818_2014902550_nfire on innocent people in shopping malls and cafes while screaming, “There is no other God but Allah”, and murder children for simply daring to seek an education, I can say, Islam deserves nothing but contempt. My heart bleeds for all the innocent lives lost in the latest atrocities committed in the name of religion and a mythical skydaddy.

No lie or myths sold as truth deserves respect and all religions are myths and lies. However, when lies are used as brainwashing tool to harm innocent people and cause havoc in the society, that lie deserves nothing but contempt and condemnation from decent people.

Child marriages, subjugation of women, persecution of LGBTs, stoning of women found guilty of adultery, public flogging as punishment for drinking alcohol, cutting off hands as punishment for stealing,  jungle justice, Jihads, Fatwas and beheading for blasphemy are just a few things of my least favourite things about Islam and its holy book, Quran.

What do we expect from followers of the Abrahamic God who took pride in ordering the execution of children? Genocides were a thing Skydaddy was proud of, and some of his delusional adherents are still proud to follow his sadistic orders.

Religious fanatics are quick to scream that they don’t want democracy, all they want is Islam. And if you happened to want democracy as a bonafide citizen, no qualms,155817_179313065417231_100000156154826_726705_8307750_n they just blow you up! The apologetics will blame it on poverty and politics, never accepting that RELIGION IS A MAJOR CAUSE OF EVIL.

“Not all Muslims are terrorists”, they say.

Stop inciting hate against Muslims”, they accused.

Stop being so Islamophobic”, they scream.

Islam is a religion of peace”, they pathetically mutter.

These people are not true Muslims”, they righteously claim.

Hmm, I dare say that since these despicable believers are following the commandments in the holy book that you accept as the words of your God, this makes them and not you, the true Muslim or True Christian.

It is not about what we accept or do not accept, it is about what they SAY, what they BELIEVE and what they DO and what their RELIGION SAYS. Not sincerely addressing what their religion says is begging the question. From time immemorial, heinous crimes have been committed in the name of RELIGION, pretending that those fanatics are not TRUE RELIGIOUS PEOPLE, is an act of cowardice.

As Blaise Pascal said, “Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction”. It does not take religion to make a good person do good deeds, however it takes religion to make good people do bad things. If they say they do it in the name of their FAITH and RELIGION, then examine what their religion says. Critically ANALYSE not just the BELIEVERS but also the BELIEF.

Here is a link to an interesting video about three surprising things you probably did not know about Islam and the Quran. This subject may affect you in the near future, so take the chance to inform yourself now, before it does. Well, it already affects my country Nigeria and the world in general.

Sahih International –

Fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth from those who were given the Scripture – [fight] until they give the jizyah willingly while they are humbled.

Religion of peace , my foot!

If as a friend did, you are screaming, “Stop being so Islamophobic! it’s the same as being Homophobic”, you probably don’t know the meaning of 484898_433952073352485_1826309972_nIslamophobia or maybe you are deliberately misusing it to suppress dissent and silence questions about your religion.

Phobia is an irrational fear of something. For example, homophobia is an irrational fear of homosexuals manifesting in dislike and prejudice against homosexuals.  I do not have an irrational fear of Islam; therefore, Islamophobic is used here in the wrong context.

Also, any decent human being has a reason to have a RATIONAL FEAR of any belief, religion or ideology that commands the killing of children or adults who do not belief in your God. That, my dear, IS NOT AN IRRATIONAL FEAR.

I must say, there is nothing that puts the fear of a religion in one more than reading from its precious holy book where Skyddady/Allah/God gives graphic details about just how believers should decapitate those he finds unworthy, including children of unbelievers. If i am not afraid of that monstrosity, what exactly should i be afraid of?

Using the “Islamophobic” card to appeal to my anti-homophobia stance is a cheap, emotional, and useless card to play because there is nothing Islamophobic in pointing out the evils that Islam promotes. Moreover, the fact that i fight against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia does not mean I cannot point out what is wrong with religion and the harm it causes.

If any of my friends who stand beside me in the fight for LGBT rights feel offended when I call out the harm their religion does, that is sad but not a reason to demand my silence. Shielding religion from scrutiny is one of the greatest harm we have done to humanity.

The Islamists fanatics are terrifying, and they are terrorising us all. They and their bloodthirsty religion must be condemned. They scream “Allah is the only true God” and486800_228297997297443_757964048_n they kill anyone who thinks otherwise. However, remember, their holy book says that is what they should do.

The Abrahamic God is just an insecure, jealous, bigoted, sadistic dictator who does not want to share the spotlight with anyone because he wants people to think the world revolves around him. Good thing is, he is just a myth. I wish his followers were just a myth too, so we could have less attention seeking, suicide bombers, hell mongering, holy books thumpers, and judgemental bigots amongst us.

It is not just about the individuals , it is about what the religion they adhere to says in its holy book. If your religion in anyway supports heinous actions like slavery, discrimination, genocides or kidnapping in its so called Holy book, it is something to be ashamed of. While the perpetrators of such heinous atrocities deserve all the contempt, it still does not absolve the religion from blame. It is no comfort to say, “Not all Muslims/believers are terrorists” when the very holy book they hold as sacred supports acts of terrorism against children and people who don’t share their faith.

It is not just about the fanatics who chose to carry out the commands in their sacred ‘holy book’. It must also be about people who defend the Quran or the Bible simply because they consider religion beyond criticism and cherry pick their holy book to suits their purpose.

Muslims are defenders of the Quran, Christians are defenders of the Bible, and they both consider their holy books the sacred word of their God. The point is, if ANY HOLY BOOK supports these atrocities, that religion is not worthy of respect. The crucial point is not that not all believers are terrorists, what is being called out here is not just the fanatics but the RELIGION THAT PROVIDES A COVER FOR SUCH EVIL PEOPLE.

The truth is often a bitter pill to swallow, especially if we were raised never to question religion. No ideology/belief should be regarded as too sacred to question. Decent human beings regardless of their religious beliefs or what their religion says should have no problem condemning any book or religion that supports man’s inhumanity to man, even if it is done because their beloved God commands it.

Religion makes collective insanity cool. When a religion provides a hiding place for bad people to commit atrocities, that religion deserves no respect. Religion is an instrument of oppression, useful in the hands of the rulers .Religion easily provides an excuse for evil people to carry out deluded activities, however, an excuse for evil is itself evil.

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Comments

  1. Yemisi Ilesanmi says

    @Shripathi Kamath- You can stop wondering, cos i can tell you that my fellow FTBers can tell the difference between pointing out the harmful effect of religion, from attacking or hating anyone just for their religion. I hope you know the difference.

  2. busterggi says

    Abrahamistic religions in general deserve no respect -- hell, they don’t respect one another even.

  3. says

    I wish I could have this conversation with the people in my life who are either religious or religious apologists. But everytime I try, it ends going no where at best, or screaming fights at worst. And I generally end up being seen as the villian just for pointing out the same things as you have in this post.

    Yemisi, applaud you for outright saying what so many of us can’t, or won’t! Very well said.

  4. culuriel says

    No argument from me on how uniquely AWFUL the Koran is. It’s like the writer decided to combine all the worst elements of judgemental, punishment-obsessed, woman-hating Christian writers of that time into one book. It’s like Augustine and Paul freebased cocaine and then wrote a book together.
    I’m just not sure what constructive policies your attitude leads to. I totally understand if it influences you to personally avoid Muslims. But what overall policies does hating Islam lead to? Refusing to engage individual Muslims isolates people, leaving them in a bubble that clerics are happy to fill with religious propaganda. Nuke ’em all is a war crime.
    As much as you dislike more moderate Muslims, as providing cover for violent fundamentalists, they’re the only future of Islam that fits in the modern world. Just like modernizing, liberal Christians dragged their religion, inch by bloody, bitter inch, out of the Dark Ages, moderate Muslims will have to do the same.
    We may think nothing’s being done, but how many generations did it take just to get Christianity to the place where clergy have reluctantly let people govern themselves? Ireland, Uganda, and Latin America haven’t even gotten there. We will only live long enough to see an activist here, an activist there, and reformers being persecuted. But those events can lead others to being brave, just as they did with Christianity.

  5. Meggamat says

    It should not be forgotten that the fundamental link between the Abraham religions, namely the tale Abraham himself, carries a deeply questionable message. If the voice in your head tells you to kill an apparently innocent person not giving any reason or justification, you must obey without question.

  6. mr mark says

    I’m working in Iraq at the moment, and I have the problem like ‘Wordsgood’ says, about having debates about religion. I am from the UK, where I have zero religious friends, and am now working with (and count many amongst my friends) Muslim people.
    _
    None of them try and enforce religion on me, but sometimes, the topic comes up about why I don’t believe in a God, and most the time I feel like I have to hold back, and just politely say that I have no reason to believe in any religious book, or that we were created by some magical powerful being.
    _
    I have managed to get further in debates with a muslim girl, where I start really speaking my mind on the subject, but obviously, it always gets to a point where she gets really offended, and it’s impossible to continue the discussion. Our friendship is enough that she’ll never be mad at me for long after, but it does mean that every time we discuss religion, I know it’s going to end up with her telling me to stop saying bad things about her psychopath prophet, or god, or religion in general.
    _
    I think it’s probably best anyway to be in discussions with religious strangers rather than friends, because I’d actually feel bad if I did succeed in making them stop believing, and realising they’d been devoting their life to a lie, and probably wouldn’t be going to some nice fluffy heaven forever.
    _
    Yemisi, as you say on another page, religion is a cancer, and this is one of the most devastating tricks hardwired into religion, that it is somehow ‘offensive’ to question or even say bad things. It means that religious people feel they can’t question things themselves or be in a discussion where other people are questioning things, without feeling guilty, or being offended.
    _
    I’d like to think that even if I did have some belief in some god, that if I heard people say bad things about it or whatever religion, that I wouldn’t be offended, that I’d be able to continue the discussion, no matter what someone was trying to say about my god, because I’d want them to believe…but who knows how I would think if I was religious, my brain would be thinking a different way to what it does now.
    _
    I can see, especially in a culture like here, where having religion rammed down one’s throat from early childhood and throughout their life every day, all friends and family around them being religious too, religious phrases such as ‘praise be to god’ as part of every greeting, numerous religious holidays, many (but not all) women wearing headscarves, it would be very hard to stop thinking religiously. Then throw in aggressively loud call to prayers five times a day, (which where I am, sound like a dying camel with a microphone down it’s throat (although this isn’t completely relevant, because I heard calls of prayer in Lebanon, and thought it sounded hauntingly beautiful -- it is actually the more beautiful music in religion that’s the most dangerous, because it’s so enticing)), and I don’t see much hope in stopping religion.
    _
    I’ve probably met over 150-200 people since working here, and only two people have confided in me about not being religious, one is atheist, one is agnostic. And they certainly can’t go round speaking their mind, because they’d face retaliation from people if they did -- ranging from being disliked or hated by friends or family to something much worse.
    _
    I think Christianity is a cancer in America too, but at the very least there, people can be more free to speak their mind without fear of retaliation. That doesn’t mean I think it’s going to go away anytime soon, but at least there’s hope that ignorance can be trumped by logic. In the middle east, it seems far more hopeless.
    _
    You have written some great blogs, it’s a shame that many people in this world that would benefit from reading them, would probably stop long before the end, but I hope that the things you say do reach out to people and really make them think.

  7. mikeymo says

    I’m sorry, but this is terrible. Brown skinned bisexual women aren’t allowed to criticise Islam. Especially if they’ve got a law degree.

    It’s a well known fact that all ‘Islamaphobes’ are nasty white working class oiks.

    Please don’t do this again Ms Ilesanmi. It throws all our identity politics into a complete mess.

    If you need any more guidance on how to think I suggest you renew your subscription to The Guardian, or perhaps take some lessons from George Galloway.

    Thanks you for your co-operation.

  8. hexidecima says

    wonderful post. I love this part best “It is not just about the fanatics who chose to carry out the commands in their sacred ‘holy book’. It must also be about people who defend the Quran or the Bible simply because they consider religion beyond criticism and cherry pick their holy book to suits their purpose.”

    I recently had a Roman Catholic demand that I respect their religion or they wouldn’t deign to debate their nonsense with me. I told them that respect was earned, not demanded and I had no reason to respect such nonsense or the person demanding such things.

  9. Yemisi Ilesanmi says

    @culuriel -- Whatever in my post gave you the idea that having no respect for Islam translates to me hating Muslims or to quote you -- “personally avoid Muslims”, ” Refusing to engage individual Muslims” , “isolates people” “dislike more moderate Muslims”?

    Do you understand that it is perfectly possible to hate the belief but not the believer? And i hope you know that it is perfectly possible to interact with people based on their actions and not their professed belief or non-belief in a deity?

    People are human beings first ,before any tag ,be it Christian, Muslim, Jew Atheist, Gay, Bi, Trans, Black, White etc. People’s character, not belief, determines whether they get to be part of my life. Of course, if any of the religious /homophobic fanatics that often send me threatening messages suddenly invite me for dinner or demand that i give out my home address, it would be reasonable to avoid them. That is not Islamophobia, it is putting my safety first, especially when the persons have shown they are willing to follow the words of their precious Holy books to the letter.

    You wondered, “I’m just not sure what constructive policies your attitude leads to” . Let me enlighten you a bit on that.
    1- Calling out religion for its harmful practices, manifesto, or holy book is one way of questioning the moral code of that religion. I hope you understand that breaking the silence taboo around questioning religion, holy books, or God is a step forward to freeing ourselves from mental slavery and of course tackle censorship. Attitude like mine leads to such constructive policy in our society.

    2- After reading this post, i had inbox messages from friends who said they are questioning their religion and the post answers some of the questions for them. So, another constructive thing calling out religion does is that it opens minds, provide opportunity for questioning what we were taught, and also make us realise that there are perfectly normal people who are also questioning what they were taught from birth. Surely, that can’t be a bad thing.

    3- This post points people to the fact that those atrocities are not just about fanatic believers but also about the belief of the average believer and that which they hold to be the unchanging words of their God. Encouraging people to take a conscious look at the contents of their hoy book is surely a constructive attitude to promote.

    I think you read my post, saw the title and immediately thought, “She hates and avoids Muslims”. Truly, that is not a reasonable conclusion to come to after reading my post, not even from merely glancing at the title.

  10. Yemisi Ilesanmi says

    @mr mark- Thanks so much. I personally understand how discussing/sharing our non-belief with friends and even family members, who are believers, can cause tension and even enmity. I have lost friends and even had strained relationships with close family members for daring to speak out against religion and their beloved Skydaddy.

    However, I strongly believe we have to assert ourselves when need be. When friends and family members assume it is OK to share their faith with me, they must also accept that it makes it OK too for me to share my non-belief with them. When someone tells me “Thank God you got that job”, or “Thank God you are healthy again” , it is an invitation for a lecture on why no mythical God is not gonna take glory for my hard work and the sacrifices i made or the good work of doctors and scientists. With time, friends and family members have learned to keep their God belief away from my personal life, that way, we don’t get to talk about their Skydaddy.

    I think we do ourselves a lot of injustice by bowing to the default religious people’s privilege. We should fight for our right to talk about our non-belief too, not just with strangers, but with those we care about. The “I am offended by your dissing my God” is a silencing technique we must challenge whenever we can, and when we think it is worth it.

    Your comment has given me an idea for an introductory video to a series i am starting soon. I think it is important to point out that religious people can change their mind about their God, religion and faith. What you conveyed in your post and how hopeless it might seems engaging religious people in anti-religion talks when their daily activities are structured around religion rings a bell. But it really is not as hopeless as it seems. I am a product of a deeply religious family and society, saying things like “Thank God “ and “May God help us” are words people throw around with no second thought. But that does not mean people are not questioning these beliefs and dogmas privately , like the two who confessed to you that they don’t belief.

    As a child and teenager, I was deeply religious myself, at that time, i was even more religious than my parents. I thought, If i was going to be a Christian , i was going to be the best Christian possible. I was gonna be so beloved by God that with my faith, I was not just gonna move mountains but make the world utopian! So, I attended every church service, joined the choir, finally started speaking in tongues became a prophetess and a prayer warrior!

    However, the problem started when i decided i was going to be the very best at quoting the bible and win all the bible quizzes. As it turned out, reading the bible cured me of Christianity. Reading other holy books I could get my hands on eventually cured me of any God delusion. As it turned out, I was too much of a human right activist to have any respect for God and his lack of morals. Just saying, it is possible to break free from that mental slavery, no matter how deeply chained we were to the faith delusion. Our evolved brains are capable of wonderful things, including figuring out that religion is at best, just crap.

  11. says

    @2, Actually I’ll keep wondering till your fellow FTBers speak for themselves.

    It is not just about the fanatics who chose to carry out the commands in their sacred ‘holy book’. It must also be about people who defend the Quran or the Bible simply because they consider religion beyond criticism and cherry pick their holy book to suits their purpose.

    Muslims are defenders of the Quran, Christians are defenders of the Bible, and they both consider their holy books the sacred word of their God. The point is, if ANY HOLY BOOK supports these atrocities, that religion is not worthy of respect. The crucial point is not that not all believers are terrorists, what is being called out here is not just the fanatics but the RELIGION THAT PROVIDES A COVER FOR SUCH EVIL PEOPLE.

    is the very sentiment Harris and Maher were chastised for.

  12. culuriel says

    @ Yemisi, I actually did read all the way to the end of the post. You literally have three paragraphs near the end of your essay where you are pretty clear that more moderate Muslims provide ideological cover for acts of terror committed by fundamentalists. Religions are made of people, and it’s pretty difficult to say that Islam provides cover without meaning that Muslims provide this cover.
    Also, it’s great that you influenced some of the people reading this. But telling people that the religion that they practice is somehow aiding violent criminals isn’t going to influence the majority. It really is those moderate Muslims who will do the trench work of reforming Islam. No religion is going away soon. I don’t tell my Christian friends that their religion is helping fanatics murder abortion doctors, mostly because the Christianity they practice doesn’t condone it, and because they’re happy being Christians.
    Maybe I’m to go-along-to-get-along for your tastes. But I’m also happy to support people just trying to reform their faith, on the grounds that we will never eradicate religion. Get rid of the Abrahamic god and something else will take its place. People, throughout history, have preferred believing in some sort of deity. Even an awful one.

  13. Yemisi Ilesanmi says

    @culuriel-

    You literally have three paragraphs near the end of your essay where you are pretty clear that more moderate Muslims provide ideological cover for acts of terror committed by fundamentalists.

    Of course I am clear that ‘moderate believers’ provide an ideological cover for acts of terrorism and other atrocities committed by their fellow believers if such acts are commanded in the holy book they all hold as the true unchanging words of their God. Holding Holy book as sacred, unchanging and infallible is a stamp of approval for everything written in the holy book. This is a simple if uncomfortable fact, it isn’t rocket science!

    What you are saying is that pointing out this fact means I hate believers and want to isolate them.
    Now, let’s get this right.

    1-Pointing out a fact to someone does not mean you hate that person.

    2-Calling out believers for providing a stamp of approval for a book that contains atrocities does not mean i am advocating that we should isolate believers.

    3-Quoting those verses that support the terrors the fundamentalists put us through in the name of Allah, does not mean I am reading all Muslims a manifesto of why I hate them, and want them isolated.
    Really, stop confusing the issues.

    “Maybe I’m to go-along-to-get-along for your tastes. But I’m also happy to support people just trying to reform their faith, on the grounds that we will never eradicate religion”

    You cannot help people reform their religion if you cannot point out to them what is wrong with their religion. Simples!

    If believers are to reform their religion or the words of their deity as contained in their precious Holy book, the first step would be to acknowledge that those words are actually in their holy books. AND admit that these words are not just some figurative or ill interpreted words, They are what they are, atrocities and atrocious commands of their God.
    It is only after accepting the basic truth that they can start thinking of reforms or better still kick religion in its mythical ass and let go of God delusion. Because we think there will always be religion is not an excuse not to call out the harms that religious cause in our society.

  14. culuriel says

    Where in my original comment did I say you “hate” individual Muslims? In fact, the only thing I pointed out is that you may hate Islam, which I think is fair to say from your post. And I also stated that I certainly wouldn’t blame you for hating the religion. But I’ve noticed that Christians identify their religion as a part of themselves, and I’m pretty sure Muslims do the same. Most believers simply aren’t going to make the distinction.
    After reading numerous reconversion stories, especially from Christianity, I can find only two things that de convert. If a believer reads the holy book and notices all the glaring inconsistencies and inaccuracies. And/or noticing the holy book describes a faith that is in no way compatible with modern ethics. But first, people have to have the respect for evidence and human rights before they realize their holy book doesn’t.
    I have never seen someone de-convert, and then support human rights. I have only seen the opposite- they learn that their religion has no business legislating its morality, and over time realize their religion’s morality has less and less to offer.
    At this point, I’m also not totally convinced that religion outright causes the wide variety of social intolerances its believers have. I think people pick the religion that corresponds to their own social tolerances or intolerance. The sad reality is that most of the evils we associate with religion existed long before, in other religions, and currently exist in the wide varieties of the world’s religions today. Even a religion without a bloodthirsty god, Buddhism, has problems with sexism. Even the atheist community has problems with sexism. I think religion was literally invented to codify social intolerance and power politics by ancient society, and its usefulness to the powerful has kept it supported by institutions people live by.
    Skepticism in Europe and North America could take off because Christians literally got tired of other Christians telling them what a real Christian is, and trying to enforce that into law. They then wrote protections for the wide variety of Christians that were sprouting up everywhere. I have never seen a theocracy go directly to secular humanist population. I’d love to be wrong about that. But the only thing we’ve ever seen is that first people reform their own religion to just get it out of the laws and courts. And I’ve rarely seen atheists or agnostics do this for a wider society. Especially considering how reviled we tend to be by believers. When we do, like getting official prayers out of public school, the backlash is so extreme that an entire movement takes their kids out of the public schools.
    The only thing I’ve ever seen work is that people decide they’re free to be modern and moderate believers first. Their children and grandchildren raise their kids to be more liberal, with a liberal, evidence and thought base education. Then religion weakens in general. I would love it if we could hop over the generations necessary to produce a society of modern, more liberal non-believers. I’ve just never seen it.

  15. Yemisi Ilesanmi says

    @culuriel- You asked-

    Where in my original comment did I say you “hate” individual Muslims?

    Well, here for one

    I’m just not sure what constructive policies your attitude leads to. I totally understand if it influences you to personally avoid Muslims.

    And here

    Refusing to engage individual Muslims isolates people, leaving them in a bubble that clerics are happy to fill with religious propaganda

    And here

    Nuke ‘em all is a war crime.

    And here

    As much as you dislike more moderate Muslims

    As for your observation --

    But first, people have to have the respect for evidence and human rights before they realize their holy book doesn’t. I have never seen someone de-convert, and then support human rights. I have only seen the opposite

    People aren’t born to immediately recognise human rights, the society evolved through wars and bloodshed to recognise human rights. Helping those who don’t recognise awful religious or cultural practices as violation of human rights, to understand and appreciate human rights better, is in fact, a very useful process in the de-conversion therapy you proposed/implied, especially when it comes to moderate believers finally noticing that their holy book comes short in the area of morality.

    You also observed-

    I think people pick the religion that corresponds to their own social tolerances or intolerance

    In majority of cases, people don’t pick their religion, they are simply born into it. Geographical location and the religion of our parents play a very significant role in the religion that gets forced down our throats. After many years of indoctrination and told never to question religion, God or their Faith, many simply go along with it, even as adults.

    Posts and discussions that point out the harm inherent in religion and its holy book help break that stranglehold of fear and indoctrination. Surely, we need to talk more about this, and not aid in suppressing the questioning because just so we could get along with everyone. I never said without religion, the world would be an utopian where we all hold hands, hug and roll around in chocolate with happy faces. However, the point is, without religion to provide a respectable cover for so many atrocities, the world would be a better place.

    BTW, a few times in your last comment, you lumped atheism with religion. You do know that atheism is not a religion, right?
    As a growing movement, organised atheism especially its leading faces, have been called out by concerned atheists on their understanding (or lack of) of social justice issues. Which is one reason we now have Atheism plus.

    As there is no holy book or clerics laying down rules and religious dogmas for non-believers, and, the purpose of this post is to point out how believers who hold their holy book sacred and infallible contribute to the harms done by religion, I would say in the instances you mentioned, atheism does not fit in.

  16. mikeymo says

    Constant theme number one: ‘Just because you disagree/disapprove/dislike/hate an ideology doesn’t mean you hate the people who believe in it’.

    I say -- why not? (Godwin alert) Would it be OK to say that I hate Nazis, but Hitler was a nice man? Isn’t that just a ridiculous thing to say? Why do we need to separate the person from their beliefs all the time? Especially when the person’s beliefs are central to their identity. When the beliefs are what make them kill other people, or themselves. When their beliefs mean they pray 5 times a day, and dictate what they eat, and dictate who they have sex with, and dictate how they raise their children, and dictate where they live. In fact if those beliefs dictate pretty much entirely how they live their lives (and allow them to dictate how OTHER people live their lives) it looks to me as though the person and their beliefs are one and the same thing.

    Of course Islam has a very strong trump card when it comes to all this idiotic identity politics nonsense. The majority of Muslims have skin tones which are in the darker range for humans. Such is the guilt and fear amongst ‘white’ ‘western’ liberals about racism that they are unable to separate the two. So, terrified of being accused of racism and even doubting their own squeaky clean liberal ‘values’ they incessantly bang on about beliefs and people being separate, the majority of muslims being moderate etc. etc.

    I don’t care. If your ideology, or ‘culture’ or ‘deeply held religious beliefs’ or whatever, advocates stoning adulterers to death, hanging homosexuals, beheading unbelievers, flying jumbo jets into skyscrapers, raping women (and men, as it happens) from a different ‘faith’ then your ideology is evil, and so are you for subscribing to it. Whatever the colour of your skin is.

  17. mikeymo says

    Clearly what I meant was ‘hate `nazism, but Hitler was a nice man’. Though maybe the typo was a Freudian paraprax.

  18. Yemisi Ilesanmi says

    @mikeymo- Your conclusion is flawed, very flawed. For example, any decent human being would hate Hitler because of his crimes against humanity. There is no contradiction about what Nazism stands for. People can easily see Nazism for what it is; there is no respectable cover for Nazism. Also, decent people, be they believers or non-believers hate religious fundamentalists who commit and encourage the commitment of these religious atrocities. The question is, do all believers understand that their holy book actually sanctions these atrocities?

    I have no problem proclaiming my hate for any religion that promotes atrocities. I also have no problem proclaiming my hate and disgust for anyone who in the name of religion or whatever ideology, commit or promote atrocities or any sort of human rights violations.

    However, it is just ridiculous to hate anyone simply because they identify as Christian, Muslim, Jew, Atheists, or Pagan, especially when religion is something many are born into.

    Many religious believers do not even know what is written in their holy book.
    Many Muslims do not even have access to read the Quran themselves; they just accept the words and interpretation of their clerics.
    Many Christians are surprised when i quote verses from their precious bible about stoning brides who are not virgins.
    Many Christians especially in Africa attend churches because they are drawn to ‘Prosperity gospel’

    Unlike what you claim, many believers’ characters are not central to their religious identity. Not many believers are conversant with what their holy book really says, and not many are proud to defend it when they are confronted with the atrocities in their holy book.

    The bible has appallingly horrible commands, still that is not a reason to hate people who identify as Christians, not unless their words and actions give you a reason to. I wonder though if you reserve as much hate for white skin toned Christians as much as you reserved for brown skin toned Muslims. No matter what you try to tell yourself, I very much doubt this is the case.

    Religious identity is something so ingrained in the fabrics of many societies that not wearing that religious tag is like being left naked in the market square. Not many are willing to start taking the cloak of religious respectability off. Especially when it not only meant being left naked, but also could mean being stoned to death.

    Hating people for the religion they identify with is not going to help save the world from fundamentalists. Breaking the stronghold of religion by discussing its harms and letting people know that they won’t be alone in the market square if they decided to tear off that societal religious fabric, is indeed a start to getting rid of religion.

    I don’t hate or like people for the tags they wear. I hate or like people for their actions, characters, and words. Announcing that you are an atheist does not mean I am going to like you, just as announcing that you are a Muslim does not mean i am going to hate you. You words and actions will be the determinant of where to place you.

    Religion provides cover for people to do bad things; also, Islamophobia provides cover for racists to be racists and bigots to be assholes. If you are looking for an excuse to hate brown skin toned people or whatever colour believers come in, you won’t find that cover under my post because it is not a cloak for hating believers. The way organised religion has been forced down people’s throats via childhood indoctrination makes it possible to hate religion without necessarily hating the believers. The job to be do be done is to call out religion and show it for what it is, an instrument of oppression and a cover for evil. We need people to stop acting all surprised when their religion lives up to what it was intended for; control and oppression.

  19. mikeymo says

    @Yemisi Ilesanmi

    Thanks for taking the time to reply. Lots of worthwhile thoughts there. You might be right. I’m not sure what my ‘conclusion’ is. Presumably you mean my last paragraph.

    It’s worth pointing out perhaps that the evils of Nazism maybe weren’t that clear until after the 2nd World War? And if you “don’t hate or like people for the tags they wear” would that apply to the Swastika?

    Anyway. There are degrees. Much as we’d like simple answers (and simple questions) life isn’t like that. Sure, many people are born into certain ideologies, and are raised in them. So, for want of a better expression, don’t know any better. They just ‘go along with it’. Perhaps I was guilty of hyperbole if you thought I was saying those people are evil. Or maybe you didn’t think that I am capable of imagining that there is a continuum of belief and commitment.

    But is it not true that some people embrace those ideologies whole heartedly and promote them wherever they go? And make those ideologies central to their lives. Their whole raison d’être. That would apply to the fighters of IS wouldn’t it? Their ideology looks pretty evil to me, and their commitment to it and vigorous pursuit of its evil aims is, well, evil. I would say it is only a matter of semantics, philosophy or behavioural psychology whether we call those people evil or not.

    You mention the surprise of Christians when you quote brutal passages from the bible at them. Sure. There’s an almost permanent quote and counter quote routine being played out on the interwebs about which Holy Book is the nastiest. I expect somebody will soon found out that Buddha said some awful things. I’m not actually that interested enough to bother reading any of those books. Because I don’t think that many religious people pay that much attention. The god thing is a nonsense to me. Organised religion is just another form of social control, dominated by those in power, using the ‘holy book’ to give some semblance of authority to their claims to know the truth. Is that arrogant of me? That I can pronounce somebody’s religion nonsense without reading their holy book?

    But why should I bother? God doesn’t exist, the scriptures are fairy stories made up by men (usually), and then selectively quoted and re-written to get people to do what the ‘leaders’ want.

    Anyway, the deeply flawed conclusion seems to be this. Very evil things don’t make the doer of them evil. You might be right, but I think it’s an academic difference. And not, in the end, that important. And there are, of course, degrees of evilness, both people and deeds.

  20. exi5tentialist says

    The question is, do all believers understand that their holy book actually sanctions these atrocities?

    I usually get banned from atheist websites when I persist in arguing that scriptures are dead, lifeless texts. My view is intensely atheistic, rejecting not only the existence of god but habits of thinking that derive from believing in God. One of them is the doctrine that ideas can be transferred from one era to the next eg in a book with no living intermediary between the two eras in question.

    I argue that consciousness only exists in the present. Consciousness and meaning depend on living brains. It is quite impossible for anybody to be oppressed by people who died 1,300 years ago. And yet, to say “their holy book actually sanctions these atrocities” is to say that these words have a power of their own to woft across the ages and initiate, provoke or affirm acts of violence. That idea really does sound very woo to me. When we read a book, we project our meaning onto the words. Yes, our projection is constrained by the shape of the text, but it is very much our projection. Meaning does not project itself from the page into our brains. The process is the other way around.

    I’m always happy to discuss this philosophy in the spirit of discussion. I know a lot of people don’t agree with me because to do so would remove a cornerstone of anti-islamic culture, but I really do think that’s the way it is. To me, there is nothing more pious than an atheist quoting scripture to support atheist doctrine.

    Also, there is no one thing called “islam”. Islam is pretty much what the muslim who’s standing in front of me says it is. Islam is what that person makes it. If s/he says Islam supports atrocities, I’ll challenge the justification for that. If s/he says that islam is peaceful and condemns the so-called muslim terrorists, I don’t see any reason to argue.

    On another note, is there a cultural reason why you persist in referring to LGBQ people as “homosexuals”? It really is rather antiquated and loaded language, as is “homosexuality”. I just wonder if there’s a reason that I haven’t understood why you’re so attached to a word that in my culture is considered to be very 1950s, loaded, authoritarian and clinical?

  21. culuriel says

    Hi Yesimi- A couple of things. People can avoid all sorts of people without hating them.
    Also, “Nuke ’em all” unfortunately, tends to be the desired policy of people who go much further than you in criticizing Islam and its followers. You don’t belong to that crowd, and I’m happy to say so.
    Also, I have to agree with mikeymo’s point about separating people and their beliefs in criticism. For instance, when some j@ck@ass tells me he hates feminism but respects women, I like to think I know better than to believe he respects me. When someone tells me they hate various Rights Movements, but not the people those movements help, I know to just stick to the weather in our conversation. It’s not that he/she disagrees with me, it’s that you just can’t debate that level of cognitive dissonance.
    In terms of picking a religion, it’s definitely true that most people ‘stay’ in the religion of their birth. But the social intolerances they were raised with, which I’ve also noticed they keep, are usually sold to them independently. In every discussion of race, and gender and sexual orientation, parents make sure kids know what the “approved” opinion will be, partly from religion and partly because of the parents’ politics. And while conservatives (at least here in the US) get their politics from religion, liberals tend not to. Liberals tend to say something about scientific studies, and history, or about justice. However, there comes a point where something stops being a parents’ choice, and becomes one’s own. I live in a society where any of these kids could quickly find out their parents’ opinions are based on stereotypes and ignorance.
    Some people break free, like me. But then, I tried being a liberal Christian. Because that just happened to satisfy what my politics and personality thought a religion should be. And then, when even that didn’t work out, I chose atheism. And then, when the Rift came, I happily fit in with Atheist Plus. So, I can definitely say that I’ve made my religious choices based on where I was/am politically. And I’ve always noticed that people pick churches that just happen to correspond to their own politics, or ethics.
    Your piece has one other really interesting thing to discuss: whether to respect or not a religion. People go back and forth, but I think it’s kind of a trick question. Which Islam don’t we respect? The Islam of Keith Ellison, representative from Minnesota? The Islam of Malala Yousafi? Islam just isn’t monolithic anymore. It’s not like saying, “I have no respect for Cleric X. His statements show….” And is respecting a religion or not something anyone cares about? Christians want “respect” for their “religion” all the time, but what they’re asking for is so amorphous, a combination of political favors and funding and some sort of deference, or maybe just stating that you respect their right to be religious. It doesn’t have a concrete meaning. Does it even matter if you, or I, or anyone else doesn’t “respect” a religion?

  22. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Yemisi Ilesanmi

    The question is, do all believers understand that their holy book actually sanctions these atrocities?

    Is ignorance a sufficient excuse in all cases? In most cases? (Rhetorical questions.)

    After explaining in detail how someone is wrong, then it is no longer ignorance. At best, it is willful ignorance. Is willful ignorance ever a sufficient excuse? (Actual question.)

    However, it is just ridiculous to hate anyone simply because they identify as Christian, Muslim, Jew, Atheists, or Pagan, especially when religion is something many are born into.

    For someone identifying as a Catholic? Politely disagreed. IMAO, they might as well be identifying as a NAMBLA member. At best, a hypothetical person who identifies as a Catholic might be able to claim the ignorance excuse. However, IMHO we have already past the time where basic due diligence would have informed someone of the child rape protection policies of the Roman Catholic Church, which means at best this kind of ignorance is IMHO morally equivalent to criminal negligence.

  23. Odeh rizkallah says

    You fucking racist shit. I am American and living in Egypt, a country with a large muslim population. NOT ALL MUSLIMS ARE BAD!! Because ISIS is causing trouble doesn’t mean that all muslims are bad. Just like the KKK doesn’t represent the Catholic community (I’m not muslim btw).

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