Progress Note: I Am An Idiot

Upon nearing the final portions of Part II of my book, I decided to check my word count and page count by making a separate file to place all that I have written into one word document, I found that, to my own chagrin, that I had undervalued myself and overshot the lengths I had already written… to the point that I will have to make this 4-year book project into a series. If you would like to read portions from the actual book to better understand what it’ll contain, here is a sample draft of chapter 6 which doesn’t reflect the final version, but it is still mostly the same.

At the time I decided to check, I found that my word count for Part II was 325,718 and combined with Part I which was on a separate file, it became 404,444 words. It amounted to 881 pages in word. For comparison, my first and terrible attempt at an ebook is around 18,000 words and takes up 203 pages double-spaced on Amazon’s ebook page count. As of now, my word count is 406,958 words and 1,001 pages in what has been completed thus far. So as you can plainly see, I have indeed worked on this book for four years. I will have to change it into a series and I wonder if I should scrub all references to Part III that were made to allude to that portion so that readers would look forward to it, or if I should keep it there so people get interested in future book releases… I really don’t know. It is intended to be a Two-Part Book series now though. I feel a strange and confusing feeling of pride and self-contempt that I’ve done this to myself.

I will now need to make two separate conclusions and I am struggling to think of what would even be appropriate for this book, since the intention was to finish Part III and make a conclusion for what was to be a single book. I’m contemplating a few ideas on how to conclude the entirety of the book as of now. I still haven’t finished the section on Hinduism, but I’ll probably do that one last because I really want to be sure that I can provide a satisfying conclusion that challenges people. I’m not sure if I’ll succeed on that point, but I’ll try with what I have thus far.

For those of you who might be curious, here is my Table of Contents. I wish to take down any notion that I’ll be going soft on Islam and harsher on other religions. I wish to show my ruthlessness upon all of them out of my compassion for the victims of religion:

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Ex-Muslim Atheist Activists Being Targeted With Arbitrary Suspensions, Bans, and Shadowbans on Twitter

“Injustice and filth cast they at the lonesome one: but, my brother, if thou wouldst be a star, thou must shine for them none the less on that account! And be on thy guard against the good and just! They would fain crucify those who devise their own virtue—they hate the lonesome ones. Be on thy guard, also, against holy simplicity! All is unholy to it that is not simple; fain, likewise, would it play with the fire—of the fagot and stake.” Thus Spake Zarathustra Pg. 67. Thomas Common Edition.

The most recent example today on 6/2/19 is Rayhana Sultan, founder of emexs.org, which seeks to combat both issues like domestic violence in Muslim communities and violence from the far-right who try to co-opt her work.

As some of you may already know, Ex-Muslim Atheist Ridvan Aydemir, the Apostate Prophet, was outright banned from Twitter with no explanation.

Ex-Muslim Anti-Theist Zara Kay temporarily dealt with this a few months ago.

Things are getting worse and, while my anti-theism was growing during this process, I feel it has blossomed because I cannot believe we live in a world where people who are literally just trying to argue for their right to exist, be heard, and have the same civil liberties as us all are being targeted, silenced, and banned for the crime of wanting to live their lives. This is all because of religious tolerance. Hitchens was absolutely right, Religion Poisons Everything. While Sam Harris has dealt with this crap for what is effectively 12 years now, at least he wasn’t being silenced, even if mockery, derision, and manipulation of his words is hardly any better.

This behavior is completely ridiculous and I am just so frustrated right now. I can’t believe we live in this kind of world. To get my point across further…

President Barack Obama was rebuffed by social media companies, including Twitter, when he requested that they take down ISIS terrorist content. Yet, Twitter has a new policy against so-called hate speech right around the time a Saudi Prince became the second majority shareholder of Twitter. Coincidentally, the selective targeting against Ex-Muslims just so happened to have begun around this point while “respected” Saudi Imams can continue to argue freely on Twitter that marital rape doesn’t exist.

A correction: Twitter has banned ISIS content over the years, but is also targeting human rights activists critical of Islamic despots and giving their information to the law enforcement of Islamic countries.  Even those living overseas who have escaped such despots.

I am absolutely livid right now. Just thought I’d share to continue in any small way I can in having their voices heard. I worry things will only get worse since Twitter seems to be acting more pernicious as the months go by.

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.

Why do the Abrahamic Faiths Dominate The World?

Rape, torture, slavery, and genocide. They’re the most likely to support human violence as per their holy books. Slavery in Islam began during its formative years and still exists today despite the West forcing the Middle East to make it illegal, Christianity has years of raping and torturing kids under its belt all the way from the 1870s to even now, and the Old Testament… well… people already know the contents supporting rape and genocide.

The Abrahamic faiths still are the most successful at committing violence; always using one negative aspect of a non-Abrahamic foreign culture to justify rape,torture and massacres, and genocide en masse of millions.

Westerners are correct to point out the barbarity of Islamic conquests; but see the rape and torture of Native American children in Christian schoolsmass killings of Transgenders in India under British ruleforced amputations and slaughter of indigenous people across the world over, and genocide as “rational” when Western imperialism is what is responsible for it.

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Rape Culture Comes From Religion; Stop Defending It

Patriarchy, rape culture, and violence against women. It’s long past the point where we should acknowledge religious teachings are culpable. The plethora of abuses should at least give people pause by now.

The most recent case of Ex-Muslims being hunted down to be killed by their father and brother for the crime of changing their beliefs about Islam; this particular case is one where the pair of sisters are stranded in the Eastern European country of Georgia.

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Thus Spake Zarathustra Review

He who said ‘God is a Spirit’—made the greatest stride and slide hitherto made on earth towards unbelief: such a dictum is not easily amended again on earth!” – Thus Spake; Zarathustra,  Chapter LXXVIII: The Ass-Festival. Thomas Common translation.

Nietzsche’s philosophical novel was an amazing read. At the time I began to read it, I hadn’t really been captivated by a novel since the Harry Potter series (which I love) and I found most fantasy stories to be really boring. I had first become familiar with it after reading a philosophical analysis of one of my favorite video games, Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne. I knew Nocturne was conveying some philosophy, but I didn’t know what at the time. I discovered Nocturne is a spiritual re-telling of certain portions of the novel.

I didn’t expect much at the time, it was mostly curiosity in relation to the game. I suspected that I’d find it boring. To my surprise, it was initially quite a laughable read. Zarathustra is humiliated in front of a crowd whom he tries to speak with as equals. The crowds throughout the novel are always seen as hateful and resentful of anything outside of their small town or village community, they resent and fear any change to better themselves, and spend their days not having a clear opinion on what they want from life or any direction on how they seek to motivate their own improvement, but rather live in indolence seeking only self-gratification and nothing else. This is one of the recurring themes of the novel when Zarathustra travels. Zarathustra seeks to be honest with himself and philosophizes his views, but doing so means he’s ridiculed, ostracized, and labeled dangerous for criticizing core beliefs that are held as sacrosanct. People just don’t want to listen to him and instead make spurious personal attacks based upon the most haphazard of claims.

Nevertheless, the beginning portion goes from particularly inspiring with his evocative words about teaching people of the Ubermensch in the beginning of the novel to a bizarre sort of tragicomedy immediately after. Zarathustra speaks to a crowd that doesn’t wish to understand him and instead ask him about the Last Man which he warns about; the Last Man being the aforementioned indolent dweller who doesn’t care about anything but self-gratification. The tightrope walker falls off from their circus act and severely injures himself which scares the crowd into fleeing. Nobody from the crowd helps the dying tightrope walker except Zarathustra who listens to his dying request to be buried. Zarathustra takes his body, which people in other parts of the village use as shortsighted “evidence” to accuse Zarathustra of grave-robbing, and leaves it up a tree to avoid wolves eating the dead man’s flesh. He sits down and gets absorbed into his own thoughts for awhile before leaving the dead body in the tree. I had laughed at this at first because Zarathustra clearly misunderstood the man’s request and didn’t really follow through with it despite convincing himself that he had. It was really peculiar and apart from being comical, I don’t see much on what that specific scenario was meant to convey. By contrast, the chapter immediately after about making good habits was immediately clear and brought back the interest.

Throughout his journey, Zarathustra extols some very interesting perspectives, but it’s always with the pernicious culture of vitriol and hatred for his teachings by various small town or small village communities who refuse to engage and don’t care to change their habits. Zarathustra points out that people prefer simplistic narratives of good and evil based on their culture or community instead of evaluating right and wrong for themselves. This is particularly evident in religious cultures. They claim to be about their own justice and goodness, but put their brains to sleep when faced with corruption or just blame humanity in general instead of fighting back against such corrupt individuals and corrupt institutions. He guides the reader into asking, if these religious teachings of your community are truly so moral and wonderful, if their values are universally correct as your religion might claim them to be, then why doesn’t it stop abusive behavior from happening? And on the charge of blaming humanity in general when they fail, Nietzsche’s Zarathustra argues that this is responding to genuine criticisms with pure hatred. Theologians and the herd who argue that humans will always be violent or abusive by nature in this circular reasoning argument that “humans are humans” are actually expressing pure hatred for humanity. It doesn’t challenge or confront people who harm you or who harm those you love, it’s just a way of throwing away an argument by refusing to listen and instead opting for a nihilistic hatred for all of humanity as a sort of divine answer.

His criticisms of religion, which are his most salient and paradoxically his most ignored contentions, seem to have gone completely unchallenged. I’ve looked for critiques online and nobody mentions his criticisms on religion. In fact, when I join Nietzsche groups online (which usually have 2000+ members) and begin discussing his criticisms of religion, I am immediately banned from such groups. So-called Nietzsche fans like saying that he contradicted himself or didn’t really say anything, but no one ever seems to be aware or brings up his criticisms of religion. So-called readers of Nietzsche never once speak of it. The closest I’ve seen to an honest critique is Alain de Bottom and a lecture video by Jordan Peterson in one of his classes. By contrast, Christian theologians are notoriously dishonest; repeatedly claiming Nietzsche said things that he never did. I even read an online book in which the author cited Nietzsche by cutting out half the words in a aphorism to claim Nietzsche said something that he never advocated for. I’ve seen Nietzsche quotes pages on facebook full of quotes that Nietzsche never once wrote. Most other scholars of Nietzsche, even on Quora, seem to have read critiques of Nietzsche but never Nietzsche’s actual works. They don’t read to form their opinions on Nietzsche, they read criticisms of Nietzsche and believe those criticisms to be absolute fact and never bother to actually read Nietzsche. Some might argue its due to the confusion over Elizabeth Forster-Nietzsche appropriating his works for her Nazi ideologies, Heidegger’s own appropriation in which he created a Strawman, or perhaps the strawman delusions of Bertrand Russell; but in all honesty, these sorts of strawman depictions exist for every famous person. Even the US Founding Fathers are constantly misinterpreted. I think what underlies all this confusion is the human capacity of heuristics. People believe they can judge and know everything about a single human being from a few short excerpts and judge their entire life based on a few short sentences they read. This does have evolutionary benefits like spotting really dangerous people like Adolf Hitler, but it can be misused and people can be manipulated into seeing hatred, dishonesty, or evil from people who want to criticize bad beliefs. Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi seem more like exceptions than the rule, where the character assassinations against them eventually backfired. But for people criticizing ideas without civil disobedience or in a context where civil disobedience isn’t a factor, it becomes much harder to be listened to from others.

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The Intolerance of Nerdfighteria: How Discussing Human Rights Gets You Muted And Banned

So, awhile back I attempted to share Ex-Muslims of North America content on Nerdfighteria Discords in an effort to join their communities while sharing information on an important human rights topic. When doing this, I was immediately accused of bigotry, when talking about human rights I was accused of making a strawman (even though no opposing argument was given nor any discernible information regarding any opposing argument), and I was told that I was posting on “incorrect channels” — the channels I selected were related to Politics and stated it was for divisive and controversial topics. Evidently, human rights wasn’t included in that package as I was muted by one Nerdfighteria community and the other refused to respond to my question of whether they valued the human rights of Ex-Muslims.

A part of me just didn’t want to believe that Nerdfighteria, a community that seemed so calm, compassionate, and open to polite communication of ideas could be so intolerant towards the human rights of some of the most vulnerable people in the world today who live in fear within their own societies for the crime of having their own opinions. So, I made and used an alternative account to check and see if I could open discussions about the human rights of Ex-Muslims who essentially have to live in fear for their very lives and the human rights abuses that women in Islamic majority communities suffer. I primarily did this because as far as cost-benefits analysis, the human rights of people should outweigh the woeful ideal of religious tolerance. If that seems like an excuse for “trolling” then I would honestly respond by pointing out that the human rights of these people and the ability to give their human rights issues a platform should be paramount to the public discourse. Just as we discuss Yazidi and Christian women being abused as sex slaves by ISIS, Ex-Muslims being hunted down and killed for the crime of freedom of thought is just as relevant of a human rights issue. Also, I find it astonishing and sickening that fellow Liberals can dismiss the human rights of these people so callously without any regard for what they’re condemning these people too. I suspect it’s because people don’t want to open the discussion on the hot topic of religion in order to protect their own religious traditions. As such, I suspect that their own religion is more important than people’s human rights. Furthermore, trolling seems to just be a meaningless personal attack for shutting down discussion whenever a topic that is personally uncomfortable comes up. It’s a meaningless term that ignores critical examination of the content in order to swipe away all nuanced discussion due to personal comfort levels. I personally feel a sense of frustration and disbelief that this crucial human rights issue hasn’t found a stronger acceptance in Left-leaning public discourse.

For this new attempt, I used another username and shared videos of human rights crimes.

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Why I became an Atheist

I had come to the realization in 10th grade that Christianity and Hinduism couldn’t both be true due to irreconcilable differences. Growing up in the USA, you get a lot of Christian symbolism in television, movies, and sometimes in music. Even the use of the term “God” during the pledge of allegiance made me feel different because as a Hindu, I had been led to believe in a polytheistic view when growing up. I seriously began to wonder if Hinduism was really true around middle school. When I visited India as a kid (at age 12 for my cousin’s wedding), I realized that people really did believe in Hinduism and that Christianity was as vacant in the parts of India I visited just like Hinduism is vacant in the U.S., because there was no frickin’ way people danced around a fire pot for 8 hours to gain blessings for a wedding from various deities. That takes dedication . . . and I was on a rooftop with a bunch of other people sitting in the cold as some Hindu priest rambled on in some nonsensical ceremony while the bride and groom occasionally had to circle around the fire pot with him.

It was later on that I realized people just used their personal surroundings as a sort of “proof” that their religion was real because so many around them believe it. Moreover, I had to come to terms with the fact that if Hinduism is true then the majority of the 300 million people living in the U.S. and millions living in Europe were fooling themselves. By contrast, if Christianity was true, then 1.2 billion Hindus were fooling themselves. Worse than that, I had believed if Hinduism is true then believers of the Abrahamic faiths were condemned to live in misery in the world unless they recognized Hinduism – or in some cases end-up in some Hindu version of hell or reincarnation. To clarify, my belief on that was misguided as the Bhagavad Gita which I read years later clarified that all you have to be is a good moral person and that it doesn’t matter your religion (Hindu or not) to obtain Moksha (Self-liberation to either become one with Brahman or to beyond depending on the interpretation of whichever Hindu school of thought is believed in). Conversely, if the Abrahamic faiths were true then my entire extended family was being sent to hell since before I was born. So, I decided not to lie to myself about the negatives of religion.

By age 14, I became agnostic and began to question the meaning of life. Although, it was more accurate to say agnostic-theist; that is, I didn’t know whether there was a God or gods or not, but still believed. By age 15, I became an atheist-agnostic. And to be honest, I felt the shift from agnostic – that is, the feeling of being unsure of whether a God existed or not – to an atheist-agnostic was more profound and impactful to me personally. It was with the understanding that I couldn’t know whether a God existed or not, but that I didn’t believe in it on a personal level due to the comparisons I kept making. I was confused how anyone else could have confidence. If you were a Christian, then you must believe all non-Christians are going to hell. Muslim? Same thing. Jewish? It wouldn’t matter how many Christians or Muslims there were in the world and the appeal to conversion would stop mattering if Judaism was the truth. Hinduism, same thing.

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Why There Is No God by Armin Navabi

This book is an excellent introductory for theists, agnostics, and atheists unsure of their atheism on the basic arguments that atheists have against the belief in a God or Gods. Armin Navabi, an ex-Muslim who grew up in Iran and became Canadian after leaving the faith, gives a thorough examination of the most common criticisms of religion that atheists give to theists. If you’re one of the aforementioned people that is genuinely curious about why atheists don’t believe in a God or Gods, then I highly recommend this book. It offers the most thorough explanations about the most common arguments that atheists have against the existence of a God.

Unfortunately, even in today’s time, many theists often pretend to know what atheists think and believe about faith in a God or Gods. There is this erroneous belief that atheists hate or fear a God because of something that happened in their personal life or because that’s what holy books like the Bible give as reasons for why someone would be an atheist instead of simply talking to atheists and asking them why. The belief that atheists fear or hate God or love to wallow in sin is the wrong assessment about most atheists. Many atheists point to scientific evidence and criticisms of theology for their reasons on why they don’t believe in any sort of higher power anymore. Armin thoroughly explains these lines of reasoning. He goes on to dismiss the most common theistic comebacks that have been debunked for decades now such as Pascal’s Wager, arguments from ignorance of how little humans know as a reason to believe in a God, and using smart or famous people as reasons to believe in a God or Gods.

If you’re looking for sincere reasons why atheists don’t believe in a God or why people of your faith are leaving your religion, this book is for you. If you want to sincerely understand the basic reasons, then this book will be incredibly useful in understanding the atheist mindset. If you’re a theist or an agnostic who thinks atheists want to live in sin, or are fearful, or hate God; then I honestly recommend this book so that your misconceptions will be cleared away and you can focus on the real reasons that people are leaving religion and think about them. If you’re so concerned about the increase in atheism and view it as a negative occurrence, why not take a leap of faith and read this book to understand the real motivations and reasons on why people leave? If you don’t understand the real reasons, how will you ever hope to change the mind of an atheist? The reasons why people leave religion and become atheist won’t be found in the Bible or the Quran. They’ll only be found by actually listening to atheists. Perhaps, start with this book?

Score: 8/10.