Why Should You Consider Reading Faith in Doubt: Do You Question Your Faith?

I’ve written about how Faith in Doubt was a 4-year project and about why you shouldn’t be daunted by the page count, so I’d like to go into more details for people who might still be on the fence despite such assurances and explain briefly what each section has to offer so I wanted to explain in more details what each section contains for both Part I and Part II.

The book itself is actually 1034 pages with the approximately 1000 other pages being copious citations. I made sure to read and re-read several chapters of the many books that I cited for my research to make sure that I gave the most accurate information to make sure it is applied correctly. That can still be daunting, which is why I made split editions. Part I is 269 pages in total with approximately 12 pages of citations for the Preface and first 5 chapters. Part I is about the general issues of how religion is applied to everyday life such as the belief that personal luck is due to a God’s intervention or a critique of the usage of prayer. Part I applies psychological research from books such as Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman for cognitive psychology aspects, Influence: Science and Practice by Robert A. Cialdini for social interactions regarding some religious behavior, and the social theory of Alexa Ispas’s Politics and Identity: A Social Identity Perspective to apply to in-group/out-group social dynamics of religion. For certain chapters within Part I, I apply Friedrich Nietzsche’s criticisms and perspective such as the chapter on belief in the afterlife and making my own commentary on the research of the mentality of suicide bombers that are cited. I’ve read all of Nietzsche’s main works and apply aphorisms from different books throughout both Part I and Part II to give a different philosophical perspective on religion. For instance, one of Nietzsche’s thorough critiques was that the concept of the afterlife being the purpose of this life was a worship of death over life as a form of meaning. Nietzsche argued ancient people couldn’t find other more healthy purposes for their existence because of all the suffering and confusion that they went through so a hatred of life and worship of death became their meaning, which is what most present-day religions are based upon. I use this perspective in concomitant with the psychological research and analytical philosophy whenever applicable in order to make the most thorough refutation of common religious beliefs and practices that most theists participate in, within the US and across the world.

Part II is broken into separate sections beginning with Original Sin. Original Sin is often vaguely thought of or defined by most Christians and Jews in modern times. Sinfulness’s applicability to Islam is dependent on an Imam’s perspective on how it relates to Islam’s purity theology. As such, I thought it necessary to share my own perspective on the term and Nietzsche’s sharp criticisms of the concept. Sinfulness is interpreted and analyzed as a hatred of human existence and I apply Carol Dweck and Heidi Grant Halvorson’s psychological research on beliefs in rigidity and fixed personality traits to sinfulness because it really does seem to apply accurately. Most people probably wouldn’t make the connection but the very vague idea of Original Sin is ingrained to people through indoctrination. The next chapter focuses on research related to the problem of Free Will likely having been debunked by modern science and the concept of Sin’s failure to measure-up to what we see as a nonsensical view of Free Will. For instance, I cite Beau Lotto’s Deviate to point out that the mind is a statistical distribution where too often you need to unlearn untrue beliefs before you can learn true ones and how much of your beliefs are pre-determined by the quality of your education, the language you speak, and too often how other people treat your ethnic background or religious background. I don’t mean specifically Western countries in this context, but rather apply it to countries like Lebanon where such backgrounds really determine your quality of life because the society is split so heavily on religious grounds. Lastly, I point out how even the defense of Free Will by neuroscientists effectively debunk the vague concept of Sinfulness because the application of the term is the reverse of what people expect. For instance, people who can fight off addictions would have more Free Will than those who are addicted to drugs and can’t fight them off and therefore the very concept as it is believed by most Abrahamic theists doesn’t work with real life circumstances of human experience. It would therefore be a useless fantasy and not an important moral teaching. I cover how the use of human violence to justify the concept sin falls into unjustifiable cognitive illusions where we as people put too much stock in negative events without comparing positive events.

The section on Abrahamic religions in Part II is a different approach for each of them. For Judaism, I cite the archaeological evidence debunking the Bible such as the lack of evidence that Moses was anything more than a fictional character. The lack of evidence of Israelites ever having been slaves, how their true origins are a breakaway group of Canaanites that had a cultural revolution to name themselves the Israelites, and takeover another agrarian plot of land separate from their erstwhile group. I cite news articles about how these myths negatively impact the contemporary rights of Jewish women and the LGBT within Israel. I further argue Nietzsche’s own critique where he pointed out that Judaism’s main problem is that it looks for an infallible cult leader referred to as the “Messiah” and how such a theological concept will always create harsh divisions where some Jewish folk will argue the new converts have been deceived by an imposter away from the Abrahamic God, while the new converts to the infallible cult leader’s faith will see their erstwhile community as having been deceived away from the Abrahamic God. Does that sound ridiculous? That’s the entire legacy of Christianity and arguably Islam. Which brings me to the sections on Christianity and Islam in Part II. With Christianity, I cover how the entire religion is a thorough self-contradiction that splinters off into thousands of smaller sects because of every aspect of the religion is based on self-contradictory beliefs. From the Sermon on the Mount’s self-contradictions, to the differences in interpretations by Christian soldiers and Christian pacifists, and to Jesus’s own claims on fulfilling or abolishing the Mosiac law depending upon what denomination of Christianity that you’re part of. If you probe more deeply into the theology, the self-contradictions of Christianity worsen to the point that people have to use open interpretation because the Bible at face value loses any coherence with reality. Christianity is Monotheistic yet follows the Pagan practice of 3 Gods in One (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are copies of ancient Mother Goddess and Father-God polytheism likely stolen from Roman mythology), Jesus is meek and mild while raving like a narcissist about being God and the Son of God, Heaven is a free gift but if you don’t accept Jesus then you go to hell forever, and doing sinful acts like murder or rape are morally bad but Jesus will forgive you regardless of how much you harm other people. In effect, Christianity is a bucket of self-contradictions that actually doesn’t have any moral values to teach people and I make my case more thoroughly in my book. By comparison, Islam is the dumbest religion of the major religious faiths. The entire project is a anti-intellectual cult where the Prophet Mohammad is celebrated as the perfect human being who can do no wrong and every Muslim must strive to be like him, so when Mohammad raped and murdered then Muslims must view that as self-defense or pure perfection beyond conventional morality that goes into an argument from ignorance. Western Muslims make excuses, while people in Muslim majority countries ignore child rape and torture because Mohammad proscribed them or because the Quran teaches such behavior as morally good for Muslims. Islam is also a purity cult, where non-belief is seen as going against the in-group purity and so Muslims are called upon to murder Ex-Muslims to protect the purity of the Ummah (Islamic nation). It’d be more correct to say that Islam is sophistry upon sophistry with its utterly nonsensical belief structure that uses its history and ascetic practices to appear deep and meaningful, when it is sheer madness made by a warlord who said whatever that he wanted off the top of his head because he made a successful cult that perceives everything that he does as infallible. It’s likely that Islamic success in war is what helped it encroach itself across multiple countries; Islam is built upon the success of human genocide and cultural genocide in tandem as it made its bloody mark upon the world. Moreover, people in ancient times believed that people fighting and dying for something must’ve meant that the religion therefore has a deeper meaning of profound truth for why their followers die for it. The success of Islam likely facilitated belief there was a deeper and underlying cause to the success and once you add cultural genocide, the worship of Mohammad as the perfect human being is completed. Islam’s internal theology is categorically against Enlightenment values of Free Speech and Free Expression; to be a Muslim, you must accept the Quran as unquestionable fact with no open interpretation like in Christianity. The Sharia isn’t a proscribed set of instructions that Muslims can pick and choose from, this is a lie taught by Western news media and it devastated my trust in Western corporate news organizations to discover that this was a blatant lie. It really broke my implicit trust in the mainstream media’s authenticity when I discovered how deeply they lie about Islam’s internal theology. The concept of Sharia in particular is somewhat like a theological pyramid that Muslims must follow; the Quran is on top which all Muslims must accept as unquestionable fact, then the Sunnah which teaches about Mohammad’s life, then the companions of Mohammad and the first followers of Islam are all explicitly used to dictate everything that a Muslim can or cannot do according to Islamic jurisprudence. Internally, Islam is taught as equivalent to science with Imams and Sheiks being words meant to designate “Islamic Scholars” — meaning the only people allowed to comment on Islam are people who accept the Quran, that Mohammad was a prophet, and the nonsensical beliefs in flying horses, pens that write on golden tablets, and talking hands and feet. Imams and Sheiks accept Islam as unquestionable fact and never contest these nonsensical beliefs. This theology of Sharia is why Muslims argue that any outsider who criticizes Islam – including Ex-Muslims – have no right to an opinion on Islam; many actually believe that this is deep and meaningful and equivalent to scientific discoveries. There’s so much more which I can’t delve into within just a blog post; a thorough critique on Islam would probably be longer than even all my longest blog posts combined as there is ample material on how insane Islam actually is. If you want to know more, and wish to separate what Islam teaches from what the Western mainstream media explicitly lies about its teachings, I’ve written it all in my book.

Continue reading

Have Prominent Ex-Muslims of the West been consistent with open dialogue and challenging their views?

Note: This is Part 2 of 2 of my critique of people who I use to have more respect for. While many are accepting of my identity of Hindu Atheist/Hindu Anti-theist, there are those in the Western Atheist community who are not and there’s even worse problems on following through with their supposed beliefs and aims.

Shortly before writing this piece, I’ve found myself thrown out from yet another atheist discord server for “Islamophobia” for sharing Yasmine Mohammad’s tweets criticizing Islam. This is getting absolutely ridiculous. Some of these people identified as Anti-Theist, but refused to criticize Islam on the basis of it being “Islamophobic” to do so. Throughout my time there, discussions on criticizing Islam always devolved into accusations of personal bias on my part. I think I understand Sam Harris’s frustrations a bit better now and what he’s dealt with since 2006.

Perhaps beginning this blog post with the aforementioned paragraph seems to be in poor choice because I might be criticizing potential allies, but I really believed in the claims of prominent Western Ex-Muslims and I’ve been disappointed in the gap between the claims and the results. Now, I want to be clear that this isn’t the majority of them, but rather my favorite ones who inspired me. I’ve been assessing their activities after barely getting any meaningful response from them. I want to make it clear that I still absolutely support their activism insofar as support for human rights of people suffering from religious persecution in our contemporary time. Ex-Muslims are by far among the most thoughtful and intelligent people that I’ve met and it really is a shame that more people don’t support them or recognize their human rights. That being said, after seven months of trying to communicate and what felt like talking to a wall, I’ve become skeptical and pessimistic about their approach in their activism. Admittedly, some of it is varied; Armin Navabi and Ali A. Rizvi seem to be about promoting atheism completely, the organization Ex-Muslims of North America seems to have the same goal at least secondary to helping Ex-Muslims who have left the religion, and people like Imtiaz Shams seem more focused on reform while his organization Faith to Faithless is about supporting people who de-converted from their respective religious backgrounds. Sarah Haider recently stated on Twitter a few months back that she exclusively will focus on Ex-Muslim issues herself while being open to hearing Ex-religious stories of other backgrounds; she and non-Muslim atheist activists who escaped cult-like religions are forming a NYC conference in October 2019 to better inform people about how certain religions have cult-like behavior, and to better understand their dangers. Nevertheless, I think the approaches online, specifically on their Twitter interactions, need a re-examination.

My chief criticism are about either the inaccuracy of certain beliefs which when I challenge them on in Twitter (even bringing citations from historians via screenshot images) they never respond to them or when I challenge them on laughing off or ignoring historic abuses of the West, they never respond. It often feels like talking to a brick wall, especially when trying to communicate with the Ex-MNA Twitter account, Ali A. Rizvi, and Armin Navabi in particular. By comparison, Harris Sultan, Fay – the most Gracious, Zara Kay, Muhammad Syed, and sometimes Sarah Haider occasionally respond. However, when challenged on certain political topics that go into the realm of religion, it seems to be less often from a few of them. I want to be clear though: I’m frustrated and chose to write this because there has been no dialogue over issues they keep misconstruing and ignore my criticisms of their portrayal thereof. Over certain topics related to history or human rights, they just ignore my criticisms completely.

Continue reading

Happy Buddha Purnima / Vesak

Today is evidently the Buddha’s birthday as recognized by several Buddhist schools of thought and Buddhist traditions. I thought I’d add this post as a celebration. The art is by Sherman Nepali and can be found here. For a quick rundown, on the celebration of the Buddha’s birthday, click here. More information can be found here.

I wanted to celebrate Buddhist art and culture due to the horrifying degree in which it is being culturally erased in Afghanistan, Maldives, and it is quite saddening how little of the Greco-Buddhist culture is left due to Islamic conquests that made a thoroughgoing attempt to destroy it all.

Before and After Images of The Taliban’s violent destruction of the massive 1700 year-old Bamiyan Cliff Statues in Afghanistan via dynamite due to their faith in Islam.

Islam has destroyed so much beauty and wonder, yet still can claim victimhood despite all its horrific actions. Meanwhile, actual peaceful teachings and cultures suffer being referred to as bigoted even after losing so much to such a violent and atrocious ideology as Islam.

Buddhism has such an inner sense of clarity, reflection, and sense of peace towards the world; building beautiful monuments, paintings, and civilizations. Yet, when it is forcibly taken away by a demented and psychotic belief system like Islam, Buddhists are depicted to be the aggressors. I ask you, who gives more value to a civilization? Which culture offers more beauty, wonder, and interest to our collective human experience?

I oppose anti-Muslim bigotry, Muslims should never endure violence because of terrorist organizations like the Taliban or stupid people like in Maldives, but don’t pretend Muslim culture isn’t complete shit.

While I may not agree with many doctrines, it should go without saying that Buddhism, Judaism, Hinduism, and Christianity all have beautiful depictions of art, music, and culture. We mustn’t ever allow them to be erased.

What The Fuck Happened To Intelligent Discourse?

Dear Reader,

Do you remember when intelligent interviews and discussions were the norm? When you got to learn something of incredible value from an interview and it wasn’t a pissing contest with an interviewee leaving the stage because they couldn’t take a few basic questions that journalists asked so they could clarify any confusion for audiences? Or when people could just be part of a panel and not have someone storm off for hashtags and tweets and then be rewarded by the worthless rabble for refusing to even be part of a discussion?

Free Speech seems to already be dead and it is dead because so-called advocates of it don’t even follow its core tenants. The people who behave like the recent so-called “public intellectuals” have killed it and continue to defecate on its corpse while claiming to be its paragons.

Continue reading