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Why Do You Believe YOUR Particular Religion Is True?

January 30, 2014

Another excellent video by the CEMB presents a question to believers of all types:

Truth is that those brought up in Christian families (even many atheists) enjoy celebrating Christmas and other joyous occasions with their families. It is the same with Muslims. And it is the same with Hindus, Buddhists, Jews and other religions. Cultural influences are much stronger holds on one’s identity than religion alone. For a Turkish individual, for example, to be Turkish is to be Muslim and to be Muslim is to be Turkish. This is also why we see Christianity wrapped in nationalism and jingoism with many (admittedly not all) Christians in the United States. Even the flavor of Islam in the United States is taking on a more and more evangelical Christian flavor. In effect they are becoming like “Muslim protestants” and run many of their Islamic Centers in much the same way a church is run. Many American mosques have “Sunday schools”, boy/girl scout programs, voting drives and emphasize forgiveness and peace more just as churches do. We are also seeing American mosques soften on the gender segregation issue. (Next thing you know, there will be choirs!) The point here is that the American culture is influencing the shape the version(s) of Islam in the United States is taking. The other point is that it shows that the important thing to the Muslims that have come here is their identity as Muslims and they will change things to make them feel more comfortable rather than changing the religious identity itself. If the culture becomes more liberal, the religion will become more liberal. If the culture becomes more conservative, the religion will become more conservative. Cultures around the world are shaped around the religion of their nation and this informs the way they perceive themselves.

That is why it is ridiculous for Christians and Muslims to expect mass conversion of a culture from one religion to another. Yes, you will get some malcontents at the edges, but you will never convert the masses from their traditional religion – short of war/genocide. Now a Muslim apologist will mention that there are many converts to Islam. But he will not mention that a) many (if not most) of those converts leave the new religion and b) there are Muslims that also leave Islam. So it all pretty much balances out.

In the weeks before I finally left Islam the question that I deliberated over for remaining Muslim was not theology (I was 100% convinced that Islam is man made at this point) but my IDENTITY as a Muslim. I had spend years as a Muslim and people knew me as such. I thought, “Should I just claim Islam as an identity like most Muslims?”…”Iftar is kinda fun. I don’t have to fast, but I can still enjoy the friends I’ve made over the years” etc, etc. Ultimately, as the video suggests, I was honest with myself and saw that these were not good reasons to claim a religion, so I stopped claiming to be Muslim.

Now, obviously many, many others have made different decisions. They have decided that their identity as Muslims must be maintained even if they do not believe. I know many people like that and I don’t blame them for doing what is right for themselves and their families. On the other hand, I have enormous respect for those who take that final step and risk losing everything. These people deserve our love, respect and support in whatever way that we can give it.

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