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Why Do You Believe YOUR Particular Religion Is True?

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.

The Fallacy of “Real” Islam

One of our themes here of late is in debunking the idea of a “real” Islam. Many non-Muslims like to say that “moderate” Islam is the “real” Islam (as Tony Blair does here) and the more militant versions are “false”. While we definitely prefer the non-violent and non-fundamentalist versions of Islam to the militant brands, it is not true to say that those particular versions of Islam are “true” just because we prefer it to the others.

On twitter, our friends at the Council of ex-Muslims were on fire on this subject (follow them on twitter) and I decided to share some of their tweets here in chronological order on the subject and why it matters that we do not empower the charlatan professional Muslims that claim to represent this “one body” that they are calling “the Muslims”:

~If you think you are Muslim & follow the correct version of Islam, don’t worry, some other Muslim out there thinks you’re a kafir.

~Every single person who thinks he/she is Muslim is considered a kafir by another person who think he/she is Muslim.

~Maybe Muslims are right, because when you ask them, you will find there is no ‘real’ Islam. It doesn’t exist in reality.

~What does exist are the careers of professional Muslims – imams, clerics, ‘community leaders’ who need the illusion of a ‘real’ Islam.

~As Muslims realize there is no ‘real’ Islam, since they’re all Kafirs acording to other Muslims, professional Muslims lose subscribers.

~The ones most invested in bleating loudest about ‘Muslims’ being offended are the ones most worried about their own cash cow aka “Islam”.

~As long as Muslims do Daw’ah (evangelizing / preaching to others), we & others have the right to criticize Islam.

~Because if you make your personal faith a public spectacle, it will be criticised, analysed, & mocked like all other ideologies are.

~Get used to having your ideas treated like everyone else’s.

Here in the United States we also have “professional Muslims” who claim to represent the entirety of a group that is extremely diverse in thought, sect/ideology and nationality and have turned it into a business. They desire the ascendancy of a “Muslim establishment” with all those professional Muslims descending upon Washington D.C. to establish and staff think tanks, foundations or civil rights organizations. It is an excellent business and they have done an outstanding job of creating demand for their product. They also like to attack those who criticize them as thought they are criticizing all Muslims. In other words, to criticize CAIR (for example) is tantamount to an attack on “all American Muslims”. This is false.

The “professional Muslim” game has become a money-grubbing scam that is totalitarian in the way it operates and disseminates ideas. The professional Muslims at the top give themselves near perfect freedom to decide what opinions count as “Islamic” and those that are beyond the pale. They decide what is and what is not offensive. Even Muslims who dissent risk ostracism, harsh rebuke and name calling (like being called a “House Muslim”). A good example of this is Maajid Nawaz who when he disagreed with the professional Muslim establishment in the UK was viciously attacked much like the “two minutes of hate” from Orwell’s 1984.

These professional Muslims (at least the ones in the UK) seem to tolerate the more vulgar, angry versions of Muslim ideology while the most vicious attacks are reserved for “turncoats”, like Maajid Nawaz.

It is too bad that a respectful debate on Islamism and Jihadism can not be held (yet) because of these professional Muslim gate-keepers that must continue to propagate the “real Islam” fallacy.

Can A Person Criticise Muhammad?

Jaclyn Glenn responds to some Muslims who were offended at her critiques of Muhammad.

When I was Muslim, I must say that I never got so riled up that I wanted to send a person a death threat when a person criticized Muhammad. Even at my most religious, I always found it to be childish and thought that it exposed an inferiority complex.

Killing For Being “Wrong Kind Of Muslim”

When you boil it all down, this is what is happening in Syria and Iraq. You even have several clans of Al-Qaeda affiliates that are fighting each other. The result is that the hospitals are now filling up with extremists

An al Qaeda affiliate in Syria battled rival rebels across the country’s north on Saturday and dozens of bodies piled up in a hospital in an insurgent-held city, a monitoring group said.

A week of infighting between the al Qaeda-linked group, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and other groups including another al Qaeda-affiliated faction has killed hundreds of fighters opposed to President Bashar al-Assad.

Young Muslims who are interested in going to fight overseas with “Mujahideen” often find that they are doing nothing but fighting other Muslims that are likewise calling themselves “Mujahideen”. Each of them fighting the other because they are the wrong kind of Muslim. This goes back to a fundamental premise that: there is no “true” Islam. And when one is violent, they will kill another person for the slightest perceived deviation from their particular form of the orthodoxy.

…but It’s Metaphorical

a video response to Islamic apologists who claim that the ridiculous verses are metaphorical:

Debunking The Islamic Hell

An excellent article by “Happy Murtad” on the myth of the Islamic version of Hell. Read it all here.

Whilst torment by fire, iron maces, and bowel-tearing water are undoubtedly a clear violation of the Geneva Convention against Torture, there exist still in today’s modern world those who would adamantly assert that such cruel and unusual punishments are morally justifiable. While a marginal number of interpreters would assert that these verses are merely allegorical, a great deal more throughout the ages have taken these descriptions of pain and bodily harm with dead seriousness.

They would attempt unimpressive twists of logical gymnastics in a feat to explain that not only is such a deranged sentence true, it is also a wise and fitting judgement that ought to be imposed upon the vast majority of humanity.

In the same vein, and without the slightest perception of irony, advocates for the necessity of such a depraved notion will concede that it is entirely the brainchild and construction of a God who dubs himself “the most merciful of those who show mercy.”

The inhabitants of Islamic hell are not simply the hedonist tyrants of the days of old. They are the billions upon billions of people who did not reach the less than obvious conclusion that Islam was God’s only religion.

They are our colleagues, our doctors, our teachers, our mail men, our friends, and often times, our family.

They are fellow human beings.

Now, if Allah is indeed all knowing and all powerful, then he knew in advance that billions of these poor souls would be cast unto such unspeakable tortures, mostly on account of the beliefs they happened to be indoctrinated with from birth.  He could have given all of them guidance and saved them from such a fate, but he chose not to. As Allah is quoted as saying in the Qur’an, “If We had so willed, We could certainly have brought every soul its true guidance: but the Word from Me will come true, “I will fill Hell with Jinns and men all together.” Surah 32:13

This is troubling on many levels. Would it not be more merciful for him to simply not create the inhabitants of hell to start off with?

Go there to read it this well reasoned and unemotional argument

Is The Qur’an A Miracle?

Excellent video refuting the claim that the Qur’an is a “miracle” in itself