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.