Posted by: nimbu | March 17, 2007

Different Ways to Leave Your Religion

I’ve noticed that there are two, maybe three kinds of people that leave their religion. There’s the one that leaves their religion because they are dissatisfied by what that religion offers and are seeking another religion. These people convert from one god to another god (or belief system) that provides them with the spiritual bounty they’re looking for.

The other type is the one that tries to figure out why their own religion isn’t working. This type is me. It is this type of religious analysis that often produce agnostics or atheists. It’s quite difficult for this type of person to become religious again. Because the same deficiencies they found in their own religion are very easy to find in other religions. Richard Dawkins (my savior) says it best: We all know what it’s like to be atheists. Every religious person is an atheist regarding all other religions. It’s easy for a Christian to see the faults with Islam, Hinduism, etc. That’s because when you’re not brought up from day one believing in such a way, it’s hard to believe this supernatural stuff!

For example: If you were brought up believing that God spoke to Moses in the form of a burning bush on top of a mountain, then why is it difficult to believe that Muhammad would have a similar experience hundreds of years later? Easy. Because both stories are strange; it’s just that you’re used to hearing one of them.

One of the biggest reasons for my distrust of and departure from all religions is this: God only likes to talk to 1 person at a time. This makes it really difficult to have witnesses that will write down their experience. Just like people never believe others that claim to have witnessed a UFO. Why not? If Moses came down from the mountain and told me God just spoke with him, I’d look at him the same way I would look at somebody that said they just saw a UFO. Why can’t God talk to more than one person at a time? Is it technological? Or is it some kind of test? God fearing people always claim that this is some sort of test of their faith in God’s messengers and His words. I call it a bullshit excuse.

I think there might be a third type: One that believes in a god/creator but cannot stand organized religion. I know many people that firmly believe that I still believe in God, but just not religion. Now I have to go into a discussion about all of the reasons God cannot exist. It’s quite frustrating. This type of person can be persuaded to believe in religion again; usually the religion of their parents or one of their closest friends.

But let me set the record straight: I don’t believe in God. Not because I’m unhappy with the spirituality I had with Islam, but because now everything makes sense. When I believed in God, things didn’t make sense. So I studied. And I studied. And apparently that’s the worst thing you can do, because the inevitable outcome of this type of studying is atheism (or at least agnosticism).

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Responses

  1. Nimbu,
    Good point at the end! I too studied and studied and things biblical lost their meaning and sense to me, especially religion. You are also very wise to point out, why IS it easier to believe God spoke through a burning bush and not through Muhammed? Have you ever asked a Christian this? I wonder what they’d say….
    I fear, in the immortal words of Michael Stipe (REM) that “I’m losing my religion.”

  2. Great post Nimbu!

    I think I am heading down the second path, and the more I read and keep abreast of issues going on in the Muslim world, the more I recall my experiences with Islam while growing up, the more I look at my life and look within and ask what it is important to me, I’m finding that Islam isn’t working for me. Or any other religion for that matter.

    Mystery of Iniquity – I wrote a whole three part series by the same name as REM’s song. And the whole time I had the song on repeat in the back of my head!

  3. Chickpea,
    Don’t you love it when that happens? 🙂

  4. Nimbu, I remember asking myself why Allaah could not reveal the same revelation – the Qur’aan of Prophet Muhammad – to all nations, especially the indigenous peoples (i.e., aborigines, native peoples, first nations, Fourth World). It is unjust for an illiterate man in a remote jungle to be subjected to Hellfire without any chance.

    God, according to my understanding, exists only in the confines of the believer’s mind. This is why a particular God — character and personality — is present only during a Prophet’s career and disappears at his death. Just some examples: ‘Yahweh’ conveyed with Moses a favouritism towards the Jews and Jerusalem, ‘Allaah’ commanded prepossession towards the Muslims and Makkah, while ‘God the Father’ expressed with Joseph Smith, Jr. a preference for Mormons and the American West. I no longer buy into these divinely sactioned revelations. It’s very convenient for Muhammad to be the “Last Messenger.”

    Nimbu, by the way, can you delete my comments in your ‘About’ page? I made a mess, sorry. I’m new to wordpress. Just leave the last one, if you mind. ;O)

  5. what about philosphies or religions that are silent about God/god- Buddhism or Hindusim (a few schools) which believe in the formless, faceless power within us…
    i mean religions which are still spiritual but don’t have a god or gods making rules for it’s poeple?

  6. Actually, Buddhism and Jainism categorically reject the notion of a Creator God. Nevertheless, they do have faith in an ineffable transcendence that is unborn and unmade. In this sense, these religions are non-theistic and not atheistic. This is why I view Buddhism specifically as the most iconoclastic religion, more against idolatry than Islaam, and most notably in the Zen Buddhist tradition.

    But the distinctions between the Abrahamic religions and Vedic faiths must inevitably end somewhere. Instead of deities, you have a guru or perfected human-being imposing Dharma (cosmic law) upon people. Buddhism and Jainism have specific “rules” much more demanding than even Islaam. Jainism has elusive ethical standards that make it’s implementation almost unfeasible. Although, if I had to choose any religion, it would surely be Buddhism.

  7. http://iraqiatheist.blogspot.com/

    Perhaps you’ll find this blog interesting

  8. I really agree with your last point about things making sense if there is no God. It’s like all those questions I had growing up just dissolved when I thought about what the world would be like without a God. The suffering of innocent people, the fact that 4000 years worth of people did not have to accept Jesus, but then people for the next 2000 years they had to hear about him through word of mouth or go to hell, the seeming pointlessness of so many generations going about their ordinary lives and dying while waiting for Jesus to come back, why there were so many religions when Christianity was so obviously true. All of those questions I had, basically about things in my religion that didn’t make sense, finally did make sense. Religion was just a human institution, and there was no divine plan, no matter how much people might want one.

  9. Seeing Religion from the Outside

    It’s a simple and sad fact that people find it easy to spot flaws, errors, and inconsistencies in other people’s religion, but not any of the same flaws, errors, and inconsistencies in their own religion. This is, in fact, a part of the inc…

  10. militant atheism ftw ??


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