Atheist,humanist and secularist students are under attack, not in the temples or mosques but in the universities, the institutions of learning of the highest level. They are humiliated, threatened and banned. Instead of protecting freedom of expression the authorities have been protecting a bunch of irrational myths. Nothing is more dangerous than the ideas that our secular institutions have to behave like religious institutions and instead of enlightening students it is alright to keep them in the dark.
Why don’t we file cases against the people who violate people’s freedom of expression? We should not let them go unopposed.
Martin S Pribble is my guest today. He is an Australian atheist- feminist. He has written this post for my respected readers. I hope you would like his opinions.
‘I’m sure it comes as no surprise to anyone that I am an atheist. All this means that I hold no belief in God or gods. I could be called an “anti-theist” because of my distaste for organised religions and the harm caused by them. I am also an “a-superstitionist”, a humanist, an environmentalist, and a male feminist. These are all separate to my atheism, but the edges of these “ists” cross over in several areas.
For instance, my dismissal of superstition crosses over into my atheism in the fact that religions are built upon a bed of superstitions, and all superstitions are equally false. Humanism and atheism cross over in areas where atrocities against people are bolstered by religious dogma and doctrine, or where religions are used as an excuse to kill and torture people. Environmentalism and atheism cross paths where dominionist groups such as The Cornwall Alliance use their belief in god to justify the pillaging of the earth’s remaining resources, all because the Bible says that it’s OK to do so.
But the biggest crossover occurs between atheism, Anti-theism and feminism. This is because most religions hold women to be second-class, and some even go so far as to blame women for all the evils in the world. Particularly in the Abrahamic religions, the ones I am most familiar with, women are blamed for the “fall of man” in the garden of Eden in the genesis chapters of the Old Testament, and it’s all downhill from there.
Throughout these holy books, women are mere secondary players in their versions of the origins of humankind, with all the “good” and “big” things being played out by men. With the exception of Mary, who was a mere receptacle for the unborn Christ, no other women are attributed with doing anything “good” in these stories. In fact one could say that women are often blamed for such things as seduction and “leading men astray” with their evil feminine prowess.
This is all back-story, however, and matters little in today’s world, unless you try to figure out why women are treated badly when under the control of a religious society. What matter is what is happening now, in the name of religion, and in the name of culture, that hinders the rights and positions of women.
Under the guise of religion, attempts are being made to control the reproductive rights of women, claiming that since god put a soul in a woman’s womb, that it’s god’s will that a baby be born. Under the guise of religion, women are expected to shave their heads and wear a wig, because their real hair is seen as evil or “a temptation”. Under the guise of religion, girls as young as nine are forced into arranged marriage, using the example of Mohammed and Aisha as justification. Under the guise of religion, women are denied the right to become a religious leader, and in some cases, are not even allowed into a place of worship.
In all of these examples, religion is used as an excuse, or a reason, for the subjugation of women. Yet in most cases the religions that people use to justify them make no mention of these practices directly, either in a ritualistic sense, or in an allegorical sense. In fact, what we see is the translations of ancient texts into whatever language the people within a society speak, then at the behest of the men in charge of the region, cultural practices are inflated out of these ideas. And this is not something that happened by chance, it happened by design.
Culture then holds onto these practices to keep them alive. This makes some kind of sense, for men are the ones in power, and it is in their interest to keep all people in a state of powerlessness. So by instantly discounting 50% of the population, half the job is already done, and it just leaves the men to get on with whatever business is at hand. If ever challenged on these practices, all a man need do is point at the holy book and threaten, not only from their own man-made power structure, but from the powers of the almighty god. Women are to be subordinate. The Bible says so.
The point here is not whether the old books explicitly state that women are to be treated as second-class citizens. The point is that the religions are used as a justification for such acts, and that women bear the brunt of these interpretations of the holy books. When Pat Robertson spins hatred toward women, he does so with the apparent authority of God (tornadoes). When the mullah shows disapproval at the baring of women’s breasts, he does so under the name of Allah (earthquakes). When an Islamic man beats his wife, he justifies it using Sura 4:34, which allows this practice.
As a man, I can’t tell you how it feels to be the one discriminated against in the name of religion, for I will never know that. Neither can I tell you what it feels like to have the whole religious card-deck stacked up against you. What I can tell you is that I recognise it is wrong, and that I can do something about this. The systematic deconstruction of the anti-women tenets of religion is needed, and from this standpoint, we can then work toward destroying the cultural practices that use religion to justify their existences.
The humanist in me says that this idea goes for any and all practices that hold down men and women, and I know this is like trying to put out a wildfire with a water-pistol, but I feel starting with 50% agenda (i.e. that of women) is a better place to start than any other. This is because the anti-women rhetoric appears not only in the context of religion, but also in everyday society. If a practice impinged upon man and women both it would be much more likely to be addressed.
What we see here, and one of the main reasons why I am against organised religion, is the justification of age-old practices in a time when we know better. Not saying that the practices were ever right; they weren’t. However at the times of the writings of these holy books, there was no recourse for women. Now, we have the power, the numbers, the information, and the means to show that bronze-age patriarchal practices hold no place in modern society. This is the hangover from a time when religion held power, when the word of the priest was more important that the word of the scholar.’
According to a new study, there are at least six types of atheists.
1) Intellectual atheist/agnostic
This type of nonbeliever seeks information and intellectual stimulation about atheism.
They like debating and arguing, particularly on popular Internet sites.
They’re also well-versed in books and articles about religion and atheism, and prone to citing those works frequently.
These kinds of atheists and agnostics are not content with just disbelieving in God; they want to tell others why they reject religion and why society would be better off if we all did likewise.
They tend to be vocal about political causes like gay rights, feminism, the environment and the care of animals.
This group is made up of people who are unsure about the existence of a God but keep an open mind and recognize the limits of human knowledge and experience.
They regularly question their own beliefs and do not hold a firm ideological position.
That doesn’t mean this group is confused. They just embrace uncertainty.
This group regularly speaks out against religion and religious beliefs, usually by positioning themselves as diametrically opposed to religious ideology. Anti-theists view religion as ignorance and see any individual or institution associated with it as backward and socially detrimental. The Anti-Theist has a clear and – in their view, superior – understanding of the limitations and danger of religions.
Anti-theists are outspoken, devoted and – at times – confrontational about their disbelief. They believe that obvious fallacies in religion and belief should be aggressively addressed in some form or another.
The smallest group among the six are the non-theists, people who do not involve themselves with either religion or anti-religion.
In many cases, this comes across as apathy or disinterest. A Non-Theist simply does not concern him or herself with religion. Religion plays no role or issue in one’s consciousness or worldview; nor does a Non- Theist have concern for the atheist or agnostic movement.
They simply do not believe, and in the same right, their absence of faith means the absence of anything religion in any form from their mental space.
6) Ritual atheist
They don’t believe in God, they don’t associate with religion, and they tend to believe there is no afterlife, but the sixth type of nonbeliever still finds useful the teachings of some religious traditions.
They see these as more or less philosophical teachings of how to live life and achieve happiness than a path to transcendental liberation. For example, these individuals may participate in specific rituals, ceremonies, musical opportunities, meditation, yoga classes, or holiday traditions.
For many of these nonbelievers, their adherence to ritual may stem from family traditions. For others, its a personal connection to, or respect for, the “profound symbolism” inherent within religious rituals, beliefs and ceremonies.
This classification is probably not the best one. But I am glad that people are talking about atheists and different types of atheists in popular mainstream media. The word atheist is not being considered a filthy obscene word in the USA anymore. People are becoming religious. People are becoming atheists also, more than ever.
What kind of atheist am I ? I believe I am a mixture of 1, 2, and 4. What about you guys?
I attended two atheist-humanist conferences in last two months. One was in Kamloops, Canada and another was in Dublin, Ireland.
Canada conference’s topic was Imagine no religion.
You can listen to almost everyone here.
Ireland conference’s topic was Empowering women through secularism. Here you will get to listen to all great speakers.
It was a privilege to meet great scientists, humanists, and great thinkers of our time in both conferences. We do not waste our time by repeating there-is-no-god, because we all are pretty sure that there is no god. Rather we talk about science, evolution, education, secularism, women’s rights, rights of LGBTQ and many other important issues. Our aim is to make people better people and to make the world a better place. Atheism alone can not do everything.
When we are not on the stage, we do not forget to have some good time for ourselves.
Here we are:
Next time you should try not to miss great conferences on atheism, secularism, feminism, and humanism.
It is Bangladesh. Islamists have been harassing, torturing and murdering atheists in order to protect their God. The protectors or saviours of God are uneducated, unenlightened, uncivilized, undemocratic, unethical, misogynists and murderers!
Oh my poor God!
Like everyone I was born an atheist. I didn’t know that I was an atheist until the early ’70s.
I have been slapped, punched, kicked, harassed, assaulted, abused, banned, banished and threatened with death, but I never shut my mouth.
Don’t shut your mouth. Question everything. Protest against lies and superstitions. Fight dogmas. Don’t let the ignorant faith-heads ruin our world.
Be atheists, new atheists.
The present government of Bangladesh is called ‘secular’.
People who do not know the meaning of secular call this government ‘secular’.
His blog was banned by the government a few days ago.
His yesterday’s facebook message was:
Yesterday 3 bloggers of Bangla blog community have been arrested for not believing in any organized religion and for criticizing of the religious fundamentalism, religious institutions and religious Dogmas. Few days back, 84 freethinker bloggers were listed by some religious fundamentalist groups named ‘Hefajat e Islam” and the list was submitted to the government to arrest them and to impose Blasphemy law on them. I’m one of the listed bloggers, and In January, I was stabbed brutally by some Al-Qaeda terrorist group in Dhaka. And after one month, Blogger Rajib Haidar was slaughtered by the same group. Now our co called secular government are doing the rest of the job. May be they will arrest me today or tomorrow morning.
There was a time in the 17-18th century in Europe when women who excelled in knowledge, science and philosophy more than men were blamed for witchcraft and were burned alive by the churches and their theocratic government. Education and thus advancement for women has always been a threat for radicalism so this is why the church and the government indulged in burning the progressive women by branding them as witches.
The exact same situation is in Bangladesh right now. The whole new generation who brought in a revolution in Bangla blog community with their advancement in science, philosophy and critical mind, who wrote against the religious fundamentalism and in favor of our great liberation war, freedom of speech, secularism and democracy will be burned alive just like witch-hunt in the late middle ages.
Religious sentiments are so easy to be offended, that sentiment is always ready to be hurt. Religious fundamentalist always search google, facebook and youtube for the contents that hurts their sentiment and always cry to stop those Blasphemy! I don’t know who told them to search those things and hurt themselves! This is so ridiculous and nonsense.
Religious feelings can be hurt in a number of ways. The mass slaughter of cows at Muslim ‘Qurbani’ festivals may be offensive for the Hindus who worship the Cows as gods. Similarly, public worship of idols, celebrating the Bangla New Year and giving flowers at the Shahid Minar in a Muslim-dominated country can offend a true follower of Islam because all of the cultures are forbidden in Islam. Moreover, followers of other religion might not accept or feel insulted when someone says that ‘Islam is the best religion in the world’, or it might hurt Muslims when a Hindu person claims that all humans are born as Hindus. So as a matter of fact, if you want to prohibit the criticism on religion, you have to prohibit the statements that go in favor of the religion also.
The general people who take religion as a part of humanism, aren’t really interested in such propaganda that relates to religious ignominy but when things like these are used in political deceptive maneuvers, they make people believe that their own religion is endangered and to protect it they have to take part in war, murder, rape and what not. This was exactly how the genocide of 1971 was planned in Bangladesh, in the name of Islam, Pakistan army killed 3000000 of our people and raped more than 200000 women.
So Insulting religion is obviously a political issue, political leaders just want to use religions for their dirty politics and to save the religion, they want middle aged laws to be imposed and to promote religion based education system which is not compatible with modern age. The listed bloggers were solely doing the right job to separate religion from politics and the state. When religion remains out of the politics which gets dirty at times, it will remain sacred and then no one will ever want to disrespect it, or insult it.
To drag religion into politics and playing with it like a football is the real offense towards religion. So separating the religion from the state is the primary concern of the Blogger community in Bangladesh, also to save the religions from being insulted.
Just a couple of days ago, four Islamists were arrested for stabbing Asif.
Today Asif was arrested.
Does the government try to prove that Asif is as guilty as the Islamists who tried to murder him?
Asif wrote blogs expressing his thoughts on atheism, secularism and humanism. He did not kill anyone in the name of atheism. He asked no one to kill anyone to save atheism. He used his keyboard or pen to tell the truth. Islamists nearly killed Asif with knives. The government of Bangladesh thinks there is no difference between Asif, the freethinker and a bunch of murderers.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was a soft-core Islamist. She is now trying to be a hard-core Islamist. She is helping the Islamists for their dreams–of turning Bangladesh into a fundamentalist country–come true.
Sheikh Hasina has been preventing me from entering my country because I am an atheist and a feminist. She put enlightened bloggers in prison because those bloggers do not believe in God.
‘What is the difference between Islamists and Sheikh Hasina?’ I asked.
A friend of mine said, ‘the difference between Islamists and Sheikh Hasina is that Islamists do not pretend to be secular.’
Bangladesh has been banning blogs that criticize Islam and Muhammad. It is nothing but a horror story.
Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission sent a letter to amarblog.com asking for information about six of its bloggers. But amarblog.com refused to do so.
As per Bangladesh Telecommunication Control Act, BTRC can ask for information from anyone having telecommunication license or any Internet user to ensure proper usage of information technology,” BTRC said in the statement.
It also said according to law, not providing it with the sought information was a punishable crime.
The government has already formed a committee in wake of the recent allegations against some blogs and Facebook pages that they were hurting people’s religious feeling misusing social networking sites. The committee will recommend taking actions against those involved in such acts.
Atheists are under attack.
Why do we have to save the ass of a charlatan for centuries?
Who do Muslim countries think it is their right to violate people’s human rights and the right to freedom of expression?
And, why do the international community think they all should shut their mouth when enlightened atheists get jailed,banned, mutilated and slaughtered for the sake of 7th century myths?
Ishina left Islam.
She is telling us why she is not a Muslim.
”There are many reasons to leave a religion.
There are many reasons to disbelieve in gods. Doing either doesn’t necessarily mean one will jump straight into bed with a replacement. It can also be liberating life experience. It doesn’t have to leave a religion shaped hole that needs filling. It can set you free to just explore yourself and the universe and take it as it comes. To expand and breathe life unchained.
Some people don’t even have any kind of emotional attachments to religion, instead having practical or social attachments. Any of these kinds of attachments can be replaced. But you’re not going to put much thought into finding a replacement if they are still holding your attention.
Islam never really held my attention.
I always found myself out of synch with it. Praying was boring, fasting was uncomfortable, the structured rule set was frustrating and claustrophobic, often ridiculously arbitrary.
When I asked questions, my curiosity was met with trite answers that left me unsatisfied, left me wanting, left me cold. Programmed platitudes, clichés and canards that rang insincere and hollow to me. And that was on a good day when the answers were somewhat constructive.
It was more often than not a harsh, impatient and stifling condemnation of the mere idea of questioning such things.
The divine directives just didn’t sit right with me either. I saw the abuses and injustices that were a manifest result of them, not only to me but to others, and this vexed me. Like a splinter in my brain.
All this was compounded by the overbearing masculinity of Islam. This is a man’s religion. This last point troubled my conscience perhaps most of all. Long before I actually did any reading or investigation into the rationale of how things came to be this way for me.
I wouldn’t describe my deconversion as an emotional expulsion of religion. I think it was a practical, sensual thing. Islam smelled like bullshit and the trail of evidence pointed away from Islam. You start doubting one thing and it starts a chain reaction. It’s like a game of Jenga – you start removing blocks and eventually the little tower becomes so unstable that it collapses. I was an unbeliever even before I realised what one was, simply by ongoing practical deduction. But there was no “Eureka!” moment. There was no BOOM! I am an Atheist! It was a complete non-event – the end of an organic, gradual process. The result of largely an unconscious effort. A by-product of being a student of life. Of being curious. Of being unwilling to stop thinking.
Some people are just not born to be Muslim. Some people have a wilder lust for the world and an animal ‘fear of the trap’ that makes resistance to systems of life like Islam part of their very being. And that’s perhaps more typical of adolescence than adulthood. Maybe I got out just in time, before I made a terrible compromise to my existence. I can’t really speak for emotional attachments in this case, but I can maybe explain why Islam is not even remotely attractive to me except maybe as a chew toy when I’m bored.
First, the theological claims of Islam have been proven to be false again and again by people much more informed and eloquent than me. Simply by its own internal inconsistencies and fallacies as a work of literature, the Quran is self-refuting. Poorly written, poorly structured, profoundly lacking in original insight and depth, contradictory to the point of needing its own ad hoc system of abrogation, it is a featherweight compared to equivalent works in other traditions. Keep in mind that the Quran is allegedly the unaltered words of a god, verbatim. So sure are Muslims of this that they have fetishised the Quran to the point of becoming a self-parody. To the point of having an existential crisis (and sometimes even to the point of violence) if it is defaced or disrespected.
The Quran only makes matters worse for itself by being such an arrogant work. Making bold claims of perfection, challenging its reader to find better; “Whoever denies it, let him produce a similar one.” The human authors of Islam painted themselves into a corner by proclaiming it to be no less than the Final Testament from the God of Abraham, and further, that Mohammed was the seal prophet, appointed to confirm, correct, complete and give closure to the prophesies that came before. It’s an incredibly conceited and short-sighted thing to do, but quite understandable when you take into account the apocalyptic doomsayer culture it was born from, authored by those who thought the world would end ages ago, perhaps even in their own lifetime. And of course, it didn’t end. And so, the supposed measure of divine wisdom revealed in the Quran uncannily resembles the superstitious and ignorant views of the men of that period, frozen in time.
The authors of Islam have essentially tied their own hands and, by extension, the hands of future Muslims – trapping them in a rigid narrative prison with only limited source material to draw upon. This is the price to pay for writing the final words of God in the dark ages. Slim pickings indeed.
Hence why so many Muslim careers have been made on spin and mitigation, bogus philosophy and pseudoscience, trying to find or manufacture hidden meaning behind exhausted and defunct lines of text that have simply not aged well, trying to exploit the wiggle room in its more ambiguous verses. We end up with the so-called scientific miracles of the Quran, various strained numerology attempts and desperate pattern seeking. It’s all so forced and contrived.
A sad and pitiful attempt to keep the Quran relevant in a world that’s already moved on.
Maybe millennia ago when books were simply not available the Quran might have stood out as the most profound and pertinent thing heard in that region, but what are people’s excuses these days? You can walk into any library or bookshop and take a random book off of the shelf and prove this point: the Quran has not stood the test of time. It has been outshined, outclassed, outmatched by superior written works. Superseded and even preceded by great poets and orators who have already said any of its meaningful content a thousand times in a thousand ways, and conveyed it more eloquently and succinctly.
In the grander scope of the world stage, the Quran relies almost entirely on its exotic and foreign flavour to lend it any mysterious power. And this exotic allure has been taken hostage by Muslims. God, apparently, only speaks in Classical Arabic now. The Quran cannot be translated. It is no longer the Quran once translated.
The Message for all people and for all time, the perfect and Final Testament of God, that shines clear and evidently true to all, unaltered since its original revelation, on which the fate of our immortal souls rest upon, can only ever be understood in an ancient Middle-Eastern regional dialect. This is layer upon layer of absurdity.
What exactly is the Message? What could be so important that the Grand Architect of the Universe took time out of its schedule to communicate with humanity for the very last time? What’s all the boasting about?
Never before has one boasted so much about so little.
A mediocre oral tradition, at best, which pertains only to a small province of a single planet over a narrow span of time, that cannot even remain relevant in that short timespan without abrogating itself.
Annals of petty local feuds, regional drama, and the defunct tribal taboos of an ignorant culture that thought the earth was flat. Randomly interspersed with reworked myths. Doubling as an instruction manual for holy war and a constitution for the mundane micro-management of a growing empire and future conquest. Marketed primarily to secure the interest and loyalty of fighting men, wherein it divides spoils of war in great detail, blesses the taking of sex slaves, screws women over for eternity, ultimately promising a paradise men’s club for the obedient and diligent, tempting them with superficial material prizes and wealth and, of course, puts a little extra aside for the main player, Mohammed.
Now, I love a good myth. A good saga. Larger than life characters, heroes and villains, champions and monsters, love, honour, bravery, tragedy, deceit, epic swashbuckling human drama. Good old fashioned storytelling really lights me up. In Islam, mythology is a cheap knock off. What the authors of the Quran have managed to do, in the process of plagiarising and cannibalising every tradition that came before, is to ruin great myths. And its biggest crime is surgically removing any modicum of humour from them. Sterilising them to fit in with The Plan.
It has a complete inability to laugh at itself. Islam is where great myths go to die. It is a graveyard of broken myths. One seeking true adventure would do well to follow the trail of breadcrumbs back to the originals it has stolen from. See for yourself the hatchet job those ham-fisted bastards did. This plagiarising is common to its sibling Judeo-Christian religions too. But at least the Christian mythology has the trippy, malaria-fever odyssey of the Book of Revelation. And the Gospel According to John (KJV) kinda reads like a fireside story if you squint your eyes a bit.
What about philosophy in the Quran? Here is what I can write about the philosophy in the Quran: Nothing. There’s nowhere to start. Islam is philosophically sterile. It’s almost as though philosophy didn’t even exist as a great tradition hundreds of years earlier, almost like Islam evolved in a philosophical vacuum. The measure of its failings is revealed when any analysis of the Quran is cross referenced with superior works, some even older. Side by side, we see a child’s finger painting next to the Mona Lisa. It’s almost funny. What a pathetic, infantile stab in the dark at philosophy Islam offers us. What kind of unfortunate and simplistic proto-mind can be satisfied by it? What appetite do I have that otherwise intelligent and respectable Muslims do not? It is a mystery to me. I am literally baffled at the hold these desert fairy tales have over people to this day. How amazing it would be if something so vapid and mundane would placate my wondering mind.
As a system of life Islam takes so much from you. It takes from you and gives back nothing you can’t drink elsewhere from cleaner streams. You’re diving for pearls in poisoned waters. It traps Muslims in a rigid spiritual prison.
A good, subservient, observant Muslim has her or his spiritual journey restricted by the ruleset of Islam. It is not only restricted, but ruthlessly policed by an all seeing eye. There is the overbearing knowledge that you will be judged according to a specific and set standard. You are held back. You are compelled in some cases to fight against your own good conscience, do things no good person should do, for no other reason than: it says so in a book I think is awesome. Like the wise man Jason Bourne once said, “Do you even know why you’re supposed to kill me? Look at what they make you give.”
As an institution, Islam is systematically responsible for some of the worst human rights violations in the world. It is no coincidence. These things don’t just happen to be occurring in Muslim nations. These are the logical conclusions of the directives of Islam, the divine will of a fantasy war god that ancient clerics and superstitious folk decided to name “Allah.”
These things are the cornerstones of its tradition: subdue, suppress, assert, aggress, spread, dehumanise opposition, demonise dissent, sustained by the unwavering and chauvinistic faith in the ascendancy and supremacy of a chosen people. And the sum of all this is vomited out into the world as a political and social movement that opposes democracy and liberal, free-thinking and freedom of expression, with the sole aim of replacing it with an unquestioned and unchallenged totalitarian ideology. This is something I would not want to believe in, support, or swear allegiance to, even if it were miraculously and irrefutably revealed to be of divine behest. Even if Allah himself descended from his throne and wrote proof of his existence across the sky, I’d distance myself from the ponzi scheme as a matter of principle.
I honestly don’t think I ever did manage to rationalise the immorality in the Quran. As soon as I actually found out about Mohammed and his sleazy, violent, entitled and indulgent life, the spell was broken. Utterly and irreparably. How anyone with a working conscience, a love of humanity and want for equality and respect can read about the life of Mohammed and remain impressed – or worse, in full awe of the man – is a mystery to me. Especially as a woman. The more I learned about the Prophet, the more I found him repulsive even for a man of his time. That, and reading the Quran itself. So many obscene verses and unjustifiable commands that it’s impossible to remain enchanted once seen. Magnified a thousand times in the context of an abusive environment, experiencing first-hand the fruits of that toxic manual. I don’t think it ever occurred to me to rationalise it, only to dream harder, make plans for my own destiny and escape that physical and emotional prison.
I flirted with Islam again when I was a little older. With the mindset that, while disgusting and polluted and anathema to real humanity, perhaps there is some deeper truth missed by the misogynist, the supremacist, the predator, the charlatan, who use that book to such great effect. This was at a point when I seriously needed spiritual and moral guidance. But there was none to be found in Islam. Spiritual guidance in Islam is only to be found in those unique individual Muslims who have a very generous and selective interpretation of its traditions. Ones who put being a good person first before being a good Muslim. Good despite Islam, not because of it.
So ultimately, I was faced with that choice of being a good person or being a good Muslim. A human being cannot be both in my eyes. These two things are at opposite ends of the scale for me.
To be an obedient, observant Muslim, you must sacrifice your humanity. You must surrender to a divine will, swear honest fealty to it, without doubt, without questioning. To be a good person you must not only renounce many of the central tenets of Islam, but you must also openly oppose them, wherever they manifest in the world. Then, and only then, can you claim to be a good human with me.
Or, you can compromise – live some kind of half-life, a contradictory creature, torn between faith and your own conscience, drifting this way and that amid your own confused and unbalanced inner equilibrium, fooling yourself that you are free, and valued, and precious to non-existent higher power.
You can pretend that you love an unlovable god, pretend that such a hateful god could ever love you, try to salvage some validation and purpose, some salvation from a book that gives you a little and then takes a lot more. All the time harbouring a self-loathing, a deep rooted knowledge that you are a slave to that same higher power, with your mind shackled and your heart held back from true human interaction, under his ever-present gaze and scrutiny.
That’s no life for me. That isn’t living.
The more I pulled away from that hideous Abrahamic concept of a supreme god, the more alive and vital I was in this gorgeous universe. I was free to be me, the person inside, perfect with all my flaws, comfortable in my own skin, no longer a mind-slave to the dark age ideologies imagined up by sadistic and insane monsters of history, no longer led along by the nose like cattle, no longer living according to the dogma spelled out by long-dead fools whose ideas belong in the graveyard of failed human endeavours, throwbacks to the infancy of our species. The umbilical cord that holds back the ascendancy and mastery of our own spirits and minds must be cut. We’ve crawled along on our belly for too long under religion. We should be walking on our own by now, running by now. We could even be flying by now.
There are better role models in this beautiful world than the so-called Prophet. There are better contributions to the knowledge of the world than the cancerous, poisoned chalice known as the Quran. There is better wisdom out there to find, to add to your own spiritual alchemy, better philosophies, better revelations, better discoveries, better poetic and artistic expression, better hopes and dreams to be had, better love and passions, a much richer, fuller existence – all eclipsed while you are under the black cloud of Islam. Better religions, even.
Everything good that is in me is from elsewhere.
There were times when I almost hated Islam for the life it denied me for so long, never knowing my potential as a member of the human race. I know that potential now. I can taste it, feel it, appreciate it like never before. I penetrated that black cloud like the chick breaking out of the egg. It was like opening my eyes for the first time to a whole new alphabet of feeling and emotion. Like seeing in colour after a lifetime of black and white.
I reject Islam wholeheartedly. I made my choice. I chose to try and be a good person instead of trying to be a good Muslim. The main symptom of doing so was feeling the weight lift off as each and every facet of Islam fell away from me. I have learned I no longer have to surrender my body, mind and soul to the god of the Prophet’s desires, dreams and delusions, and I have realised that I wont be punished for made-up crimes in an imaginary afterlife if I choose not to surrender.
I’ll never go back to Islam. Never. I would be a fool to even entertain the idea. I’ve shed my skin already. My journey has only just begun, my journey of life, with new blood running through me, new verve, new growth, new days, and new hope for the first time – true, tangible hope and possibilities. And with Islam in my rear-view mirror, I have no shame for who I am. No pity for myself, no more fears, no more tears and no regrets. Tried, tested, built to last. The sum of my parts.
This journey of life I am forever grateful for and I can’t begin to describe how excited I am. I can only show those close to me, those making the journey with me. And to those who accept me for who I am and what I am, I will share myself; naked, unashamed, with arms wide open.”
Like Ishina, like me, like hundreds of women, all Muslim women should leave Islam. There are hundreds of reasons to leave Islam. There is not a single good reason not to leave it.