My Journey

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Runner's picture
My Journey

I was born and brought up into a loving Muslim family and whilst not orthodox, I maintained a fairly strong faith in an All-Powerful and All-Loving creator until about the age of 42 (July 2019). I can't say that it was one particular event that encouraged me to look at myself from outside my personal "Fish-bowl", and certainly not a negative experience within religion - at present, I am at peace with the notion that it was just a slow realization of the possibility of the very idea of a creator that threatens cruel eternal punishment for not acknowledging said creator. Mind you, I still consider this a very personal opinion and a choice that I have made for myself, and do not wish to debate the issue or hurt anyone's feelings.
If you are a believer and reading this - these words are in no way intended to offend you - if anything, I admire people who can hold onto a particular set of beliefs in a deity and indeed, there are many beautiful people who dedicate their entire lives to the service of their fellow human beings, inspired by these very beliefs.
This is about my personal journey, where I will try to explain and as a consequence, hopefully explore at the same time by putting my thoughts and doubts into words, why I could no longer hold onto my faith in a benevolent sentient being in control of everything. If you find that we have anything in common, I would be delighted to get in touch as well; a common religious belief system also plays an important role in the formation of community and I have a feeling that outside of sites such as these (of which there aren't many to start off with), there is very little for people such as myself, who have relinquished their belief system.
A little bit about me:
I am a scientist and live in Sydney, Australia. I have a wife and son, and my wife still considers herself a Muslim, but is aware of my doubts and misgivings in the faith (or any faith, for that matter).
One slight difference in the way I was brought up, compared to most of my friends was the heavy emphasis my father placed on the superiority of Reason, even in faith - and maybe more so in faith. Dad was a highly learned scholar having studied comparative religion and often taught us to always take the holistic view in life. Getting caught up in the little things is where the average human being gets trapped, and most religions are structured around these very "little things". While I am not here to criticize any belief system, consider this:
If your faith gives you peace and makes you a better human being, one who cares about others, regardless of what their personal beliefs maybe, then, all well and good, but if it creates the tiniest bit of prejudice in your mind, gives you the smallest fraction of a superiority complex, and encourages you to consider yourself, better in any way to someone else who may not have the same belief system as you, then it is my humble opinion, that you may have either completely missed the mark in understanding your religion, or (and this might offend), your belief system my be centered around prejudice in the first place.
I will try to talk about the above statement at length in a future post, among other views that I have about the exclusivity of belief systems, but my personal experience with other human beings has taught me that a good person, is usually that, regardless of their faith (or lack of it) and vice-versa.
I will continue this forum topic very soon, but for now, hopefully I have made a gentle start to what I hope will be a helpful narration to someone in a similar situation.

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Tin-Man's picture
@Runner Re: "If your faith

@Runner Re: "If your faith gives you peace and makes you a better human being, one who cares about others, regardless of what their personal beliefs maybe, then, all well and good..."

Hey there, Runner. Welcome to the AR. Nice having you here with us. I really like how you put that, as it follows very much along how I personally believe. Having only recently escaped the bonds of my Christian indoctrination a little over two years ago, I have come to adopt the position that each individual should be free to believe whatever he/she wants as long as they do not infringe upon the rights and safety of others and can still be a functional part of society. But when a person (or group) starts demanding that I and other should be forced to believe/behave as they believe/behave in regards to some religious dogma... well... there's gonna be some head-buttin' happening. As far as I am concerned, if they stay in their lane, then I am more than happy to stay in mine, regardless of how ridiculous I may view their particular belief system. Unfortunately, there are waaaaaaay too many self-appointed "religious crusaders" who are disturbingly determined to bring every single person within reach under the control of their chosen deity. To put it lightly, there are those of us who have a really big problem with that... *chuckle*... The way I see it, religious beliefs/dogmas are pretty much like assholes. Just because you have one, does not mean you have to show it to me. And if you DO show it to me without my asking, then be prepared to have something inserted into it that you will find to be a very uncomfortable fit... *mischievous grin*...

Runner's picture
Thank you Tin-Man. And I

Thank you Tin-Man. And I completely agree with someone shoving their opinion in others' faces. If your faith isn't enough for you, so that you feel you need to (and even have a right to) impose your beliefs onto others, then maybe the purpose of your faith is not to "save" you but to enable you to gain control over the masses(?)

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
Hi Runner,

Hi Runner,
Welcome to AR. You are in good company.

Runner's picture
Thank you Old man shouts... :

Thank you Old man shouts... :-) I think I need this.

Cognostic's picture
RE: if anything, I admire

RE: if anything, I admire people who can hold onto a particular set of beliefs in a deity and indeed, there are many beautiful people who dedicate their entire lives to the service of their fellow human beings, inspired by these very beliefs.

And there are others who don't feel like forcing people to pray before they get their bowl of rice is moral. To get a good person to do something horrible, it takes religion.

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Father might have been a wise man.
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RE: f your faith gives you peace and makes you a better human being, one who cares about others, regardless of what their personal beliefs maybe, then, all well and good, but if it creates the tiniest bit of prejudice in your mind, gives you the smallest fraction of a superiority complex, and encourages you to consider yourself, better in any way to someone else who may not have the same belief system as you, then it is my humble opinion, that you may have either completely missed the mark in understanding your religion, or (and this might offend), your belief system my be centered around prejudice in the first place.

So people who believe non-believers will burn in hell, do not understand Islam? BULLSHIT! I got over 500 direct quotes from the Quaran alone that attest to the truth of the claim that non-believers are deserving of Allah's wrath and hell. One can not be a Muslim and not be Superior in this regard.
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No one is interested in erroneous interpretations. What is stated is clearly stated for all to read.
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Runner's picture
Thank you Cognostic (loving

Thank you Cognostic (loving this name - had to think about it a bit - cognitive and agnostic - I got the agnostic part, but took me a few seconds to get the cognitive bit :-) ).
I agree with your statement that, in fact, religion is used by many to do things and get the masses to follow suit, that one would never think of doing otherwise (behavior that common sense tells us are just plain wrong).
Also agree about the Quran - I am very familiar with the quotes you mention. However, I do not know for sure that all other religions preach the exact same (anyone who does not believe in the deity particular to that doctrine will suffer in hell forever) and so took a slightly softer approach when I said that "you may have completely missed the mark in understanding your religion". Although I suspect both the old and new Testaments preach along the same lines - "God loves you, but if you die as a disbeliever, then there is no hope (in hell?) for you!" Not ridiculing the notion, but that is what it actually boils down to. And I further agree with your statement that one can not be a Muslim and not feel superior in this regard. Moreover, I will add, that most religious people (of any faith) can not help but feel some superiority over their fellow human beings in this exact regard ("I know the truth and you don't, so poor you. You're going to be so sorry when you die!").
"Erroneous Interpretations" is something that I will try to talk at length about - in my case, for a very long time, it was my own "softer and more sensible" interpretations that kept me inside my very own secluded dark room. I realize now, of course, that in fact, those words and verses simply mean what they do and, as you point out, are repeated over and over again to emphasize that God will punish disbelievers severely. My problem from a very young age was "why?" Why does God feel the need for acknowledgement? And why/how does God expect me to acknowledge God when there are so many different versions and ideas about God - how am I supposed to know which one is the correct one, if the devout Christian claims that their success is attributed to their faith, but the Muslim, Jew and Hindu also make the exact same claim; that God helps them because they believe in the most accurate idea about God. Also, bear in mind, God apparently spoke to a few very selective folks (mostly men, by the way - and I will write a short essay on this soon) between about 6000-1500 years ago, but is now choosing not to talk to anyone at all (the very premise of the Quran - it's the final word!).

Cognostic's picture
@Runner

@Runner
Well.... all that sounds a hell of a lot better than the initial post. I can not disagree with your agreeing. Atheists are simply people who have no invisible means of support.

The name is actually from a time when I did not understand the difference between atheism and agnosticism. I kept it because I have come to the realization that everyone on the planet is actually agnostic. No one has ever made a single knowledge assertion regarding God or gods that could be backed up with facts, evidence, or withstand critical inquiry. EVERYONE IS AGNOSTIC WHETHER THEY KNOW IT OR NOT. This renders the word completely useless.

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