Between Islam and Christianity?

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LivingApostate's picture
Between Islam and Christianity?

No, it's not a question about the difference between the faiths, or the unlikely preference between the two, either! I'm wondering if anyone else out there can lay claim to having had the misfortune of being raised in both religions and/or experience of the two, as I. In brief, I was born into a muslim family and, as I found myself at odds with it from an early age, looked to other offerings, briefly flirting with christianity until I realized how much horseshit was being reshovelled. I'm curious. I have endless debates with family members from both camps who insist on my salvation through their religion and that I sure must believe in something?! Though they hate the fact that I am courting danger with my 'beliefs' (!) they still love me because I'm family, naturally. It doesn't stop them caling me what I am more than ready to accept; i.e. I am an apostate. And, if I believe in anything, yes, I do believe in my ability to reason and to weigh up palpable evidence. I also believe the religious brain must have a switch somewhere that can be turned off from lies, deceit and indoctrination, but I also wonder how religion continues to have such a stranglehold on people. I realize it is such a comfort blanket for people. I also realize it is 'just what we've always believed' as I keep on being told, and I realize that to admit anything other than belief is far too alien a concept owing to the fear that ensues at the mere thought of betraying their religion, family and friends. I know many on this forum/site will echo what I am saying here. It would be interesting to hear of your epiphanies or stories of religious shackles finally shed. Do tell. I'm all ears. Oh, and thanks for the site and all it does to promote a caring, sharing attitude towards common sense and freedom of expression. Cheers all!

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mysticrose's picture
Thanks for sharing your story

Thanks for sharing your story here. I understand how you feels that's why I no longer see any religion as big deal to humanity. I'm a humanist and yet I still believe there's some sort of supreme being out there but no religion can explain about that being. For now it's better for us to focus on doing good things not for religion but for the sake of goodness.

cookymonster1103's picture
Thanks for posting! It's nice

Thanks for posting! It's nice to read about others' experiences regarding religion on this site.

I was baptized Catholic (though never went to catechism or got confirmed) and raised Christian; I was never very religious in the first place, so I guess that made the transition to atheism easier.

During some personal rough patches, I started to tap into my faith, but I was coming up with more questions than answers. As I looked for answers, I grew more skeptical of my long-held beliefs. The more I challenged my faith, the more I recognized the quandary of believing in something I couldn't even prove exists. Afterwards I realized that, despite the fact that science is far from perfect, it's the best observation-based method mankind has of figuring things out, and that it's more reasonable to rely on our own experiences and observations than some deity. Lastly-and this was my big epiphany- I realized that there really isn't any need for a god, so why should one even exist?

This is also why I now make such a distinction between thinking and believing. Thought implies reasoning, calculation, and the ability to change if proven wrong. Belief, however, is conviction without reasoning or proof, which is probably why it's so damn hard to combat. I think many things, but believe in very few of them.

Anyway, sorry this post is so lengthy...I guess I just got carried away :)

Zaphod's picture
No reason to apologize on

No reason to apologize on this site, for the length of your post some post mine included blow this away in length. This is a place for atheist no matter the kind to debate or express ourselves. Feel free to make you post as long as you like.

It is during personal rough patches people often tend to reach for God or religion. It is during these times when we need faith most but not really do we need faith in God, but rather we need faith in ourselves or faith in our worlds in general. If we misplace this faith in God we may feel forsaken by him or her whatever your god may be. It is during such times. the non need existence issue is one that has come up regularly, I venture to say just because there is no need does not mean something does not exist. I feel though there may or may not have been at one point a conscious entity deserving of the term god, I don't think if it exist it would have such a personal connection with any individual as some theist seem to think and also just because it was the origin of all things great and small , this would not mean it was all powerful or even still alive today. Even if it were something else I don't think any religions have it right even if they happen to have the concept right to a certain degree.

cookymonster1103's picture
First off, thanks for taking

First off, thanks for taking the time to read my comment and share your thoughts :)

Next, I like your point about whether or not something needs a purpose to exist; I'm more of a functionalist when it comes to these kinds of things, so I usually associate the two in that way.

Since I personally am unable to fathom an all-encompassing, omniscient higher intelligence/deity as described by organize religion, and from what we know of science it seems pretty far-fetched that one exists, I think that the probability of one not existing is higher than of one existing.

I also like the fact that you address the topic more creatively than, instead, focusing on a particular denomination or concept of a higher power.

Overall, you have some pretty interesting ideas on the matter; I look forward to reading more of your comments :)

LivingApostate's picture
Hey, thanks to you both for

Hey, thanks to you both for sharing some thoughts. I am involved with a long running series of emails between my nephew and me on the subject of Islam and what it means to him and why it means nothing to me. It's a respectful conversation (for a change!) and I think I am slowly dismantling his beliefs to the point where I am satisfied I have given reason a chance. I don't wish to change his life completely, but I have instilled in him the chance to realize that he is a man capable of making his own assumptions about long held beliefs that he has been handed down and to make questions more searching. I know I'll cut some flack for involving him, but that's ok. My sister needs to see another light, too!

When I was 'searching' for something different, just to see what all the hype was about, I tinkered with christian evangelism and met my wife. I was in a place that was alien to me but found myself drawn to what I now know was a falsehood of falsehoods, but was blinkered by her beauty and grace. Sadly, many years later, my growing disbelief became my unbelief and my marriage couldn't survive with such chasms of thought between us. However, mentally, I have never felt more free.

I contend that what others thought was some of god's plan for me, was in reality the kind of experience one has when one is utterly intoxicated by love or compassion or a haze of something that can be attributed to a chemical imbalance from circumstance which, in my case, was clouded judgement from years of indoctrination.

I lived to regret the union.

Now, I am a man with kids who wonders how long it will be before they are old enough to take on reasoning and to question deeply enough to change the notion of a supernatural entity into just another fairytale. I worry that my kids will be force fed the same crap I was for so long, but I have to tread a fine line as my ex-wife and I are amicably separated and have three beautiful kids that we share 50/50. How best to approach their education on this huge issue, I wonder? Anyone else in the same boat?

I could go on for ages, and I think I actually have, but there's much more for another time, I'm sure.

Thanks for the forum and the opportunity to 'vent' this way. I hope good people are listening and able to offer their two cents! Thanks again!

cookymonster1103's picture
Even though I'm not exactly

Even though I'm not exactly in your position (I'm barely an adult myself!), I'd say that a good way to counter your ex-wife's religious influence on your kids would be to teach them how to think for themselves and to use reason to make decisions.

Also, another good step would be to expose them to other places, cultures, etc. and teach them to be accepting of others' beliefs. Since the more religious, holier-than-thou types tend to be narrow-minded and insulated, this course of action might help negate that sort of influence.

This could also help dispel some of the stigma behind atheism and agnosticism, making it an easier transition for your kids if they ever choose it.

Again, I realize that we're on completely different playing fields when it comes down to life experience, but I hope this helps anyway :)

Good luck!

Zaphod's picture
First let me begin by saying

First let me begin by saying no I was not raise in both Christian and Islamic faith.I have looked into both to some degree and must say if only some Christians knew how much in line with Islamic faith their faith was they would probably not be at each other so much as they are today. This would be asking a bit much of people and even demand they put some of their lives to the side for a bit to truly try and understand these religions enough to separate the extremist from the norm.

People would prefer to ignore other faiths and honestly in my opinion often would prefer to use hate as a tool or excuse to justify their actions toward others even if those actions are based on theological background because they can't find any other reason. Hatred allows people from time to time to vent or let out their aggression they build up during their day to day lives. Unfortunately people remember bad things more then they tend to remember good and people doing bad things or behaving badly under the guise of faith tend to stick out in our memories.The problematic thing many people don't seem to understand is that though in my opinion should be obvious is that they both are supposed to believe in the same God but just with a different religious structure.

Thermonuclear's picture
In a geographic area where

In a geographic area where these two religions are both equally fanatically practiced, I too have had the misfortune of almost being poised to choose between the two general faiths. I did made friends with people coming from either faiths.

I'm from Mindanao, a southern island in the Philippines. Christianity in our region has been divided in multiple sects, so at first glance it's easier for any Muslim here to have that kind of advantage when in a religious debate or discussion, especially given the quite insular and parochial perspective that most people here have. Initially, even I would agree that the Islam I knew then made more sense than Christianity that I knew then. Although reportedly Shia mosques and schools have humbly established themselves in our country (which was also being warned by the mainstream muslims here, so as to try to discredit them as heretics), they still aren't visible enough for majority of the non-islamic people to distinguish or recognize the fact that islam is also just like any other religion, where you have Ahmadiyya, Druze, Alawite, Baha'i, sects of which also face persecution to Sunni majority countries. If only these sects were as popular as the Baptists, the Adventists, and the other locally established sects, it would have created a more balanced challenge for a debate between the mainstream Sunni and the majority Catholics.

Though raised in a Catholic family, i had much easier time of eventually not having to choose between either of two religious systems which I grew up noticing (there aren't Hindus or Jews here), or refraining from practicing any of the two, as being exposed to numerous books from early childhood, the mythologies of the Norse, Egyptian, and Greek had a greater appeal, and the moral standards of the Chinese philosophies made more sense that what's posited in the Koran or the Bible.

I had friends from both religions, some of them have made friends from the other religion, coz they weren't the kind of people who would shove their beliefs to you. They do pray though, and do all their rituals and stuff as if they really work. What can you do when you're surrounded by a population where religion has a special place in society?

ginamoon's picture
Agree that on a family,

Agree that on a family, everyone should be given the right to have their own beliefs especially if raised with parents with different beliefs.
In my own opinion, if being a believer or not a believer makes a person a better person, it should not be a major issue since it is not healthy to hold on to certain religion or group if that will just bring out the worst in you. :)

mysticrose's picture
At the right age, anyone can

At the right age, anyone can choose the religion that they want but one factor that may make them stay on the religion is their concerned for what their parents would think if they change their beliefs. We know how our parents love us and how we care for them in the same way so we tend to please them the best that we can.

SammyShazaam's picture
Interesting story. I myself

Interesting story. I myself have no real life experience with Islam (I know several Muslims, but am not in the habit of discussing religion with any of them) so all I know about the religion is what I read in the Qur'an. I've never heard of anyone switching from Islam to Christianity, and as a matter of fact the only religious conversions that I know about in my groups of friends were done so for the micro-politics of marriage and domestic life, not for any real beliefs.

I'm interested to know, even though you eventually did away with it altogether, what appealed to you about Christianity after being raised in Islam?

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