Feb 26 @ 10:22am
Congratulations <friend’s name>! You’ve expressed beautifully in words what a difficult journey this is. There is so much courage in you actions, so much thought behind your decision and so much love behind the way you navigate this all.
May your family and wider community be understanding enough to realize that while you reject the set of ideas and truth-claims that is Islam; you still love them as human beings.
Here’s to living with authenticity!
Feb 26 @ 1:51pm
<Addressing ex-Muslim’s elder brother> Great to see supportive siblings. We can disagree on beliefs, respect each other’s rights to our own beliefs, and yet still love one another just as much.
Feb 26 @ 5:20pm
<Addressing ex-Muslim’s religious, elder cousin>, it’s great to see support from extended family, even if it is to agree to disagree as well wishers, with love.
Having been deeply religious before myself, there are still aspects of Islam I admire; especially the sense of community that it can create.
My own take: I do believe that for every objection to religion, religions will have a response, to which there is then a counter, then a counter to the counter, and so on.
In the end, we all make up our minds weighing the evidence, as we see it; deciding based on which camp appeals to us as the stronger case. Sometimes the more honest position is to say, “I don’t know, but I do know that it is not xyz”.
Having myself grown up a devout Ahmadi Muslim, I didn’t often meet Shia Muslims who were devout and raised in the West.
Do you have a website in English that you could point me to for looking up the consensus Shia view on matters of fiqh? In high school, I would discuss Islam with devout Shia Muslims recently immigrated from Iraq. They all believed that Islam mandates death for apostates (in an ideal Islamic state). I’m looking for a reputable, respected Shia scholar who has published a counter to this, as I’m sure most Shia Muslims in Canada would have a different belief.
(<friend’s name>: Sorry to digress on your thread like this; I’m forever curious about the philosophy of religion even now as an ex-Muslim)
Feb 26 @ 8:00pm
<Addressing the cousin who posted a wall of text about alleged scientific miracles in the Quran>, it’s very clear that you care about <friend’s name>. We should all be so lucky to have such devoted and passionate friends and family in our lives.
You have asked some interesting, provocative and important questions for <friend’s name> (and for the posterity of those who may be following along in the thread).
As an ex-Muslim myself, I find that many of us raised in Islam didn’t actually study it critically at first–we often read material that re-enforced our inherited beliefs.
As a fellow thinker, I invite you to consider with an open mind challenges to the scientific miracle claims put forward by Muslims on behalf of the Qur’an.
I am encouraged that you believe Muslims are encouraged to reason and reflect.
When you reflect on the principles of justice, do they lead you to believe that the exercise of our free will in matters of religion dictates that apostates from Islam be killed?
Only a minority of Muslim groups denounce this position as un-Islamic. Can you unequivocally denounce the killing of apostates as both unjust and un-Islamic?
Feb 27 @ 5:56pm
While I see a lot of comments from other Muslims on this thread defending Islam, let’s remember that most of us (though not all) have continued to follow the religion of our birth.
If you are so convinced of Shia Islam being the path, have your really put in the work to rule out Ahmadiyya Islam? Or have you been content to read about their positions from authors supporting your birth religion’s position?
Similarly, have you explored Christianity’s criticisms of Islam, from their sources?
If you were born a Christian, what about your life today and your independent research suggests that you would end up a Shia Muslim?
Let’s not forget the statistics—we are all more likely to find our inherited religion to be the “true” religion. Seeing everyone think this about their respective birth religions is one of the most absurd realities of demographics and religion generally.
So why do we as human beings push back? Because we mistakenly view someone rejecting the religious ideology we shared in common with them, as somehow rejecting us. But it needn’t be this way. You needn’t feel that way.
And to say that <friend’s name> or anyone else left because of “culture” is very patronizing. You’ll do everything to absolve the religion of blame. Have you ever objectively assessed Islam without going in with the conclusion you wanted to come out with?
<friend’s name> hasn’t pulled back. She doesn’t want religion to divide family. I saw some great support for her in the comments yesterday. And those same comments are now edited down to sound a lot less supportive.
Do you see how religion and the culture that springs from it, poisons our inner humanity to love and support one another regardless of religious differences?
I submit to you all that most of us identify the great experiences of family, support, structure and accountability with religion. We mistakenly attribute these universal values to the specific religion in which we were raised.
Those of you devoutly religious today—most of you didn’t reason into religion. You were indoctrinated into it—as was I.
Many of us are happy to reason with you about religious claims, but the elephant in the room is the emotional conditioning to defend religion the way we would all defend our mothers.
Realize, that these are distinct concepts.
If you want to show that Shia Islam is loving and wonderful, show your unconditional support for <friend’s name>‘s choice here without preaching to her.
Most of you who are religious don’t realize that such decisions are not taken lightly, and have been contemplated and researched for years.
Feb 27 @ 6:15pm
Whenever I have interacted with Shia Muslims, and talked about death-for-apostasy, almost all who are raised in the West will agree with me that this is inhumane and un-Islamic. There’s no compulsion in religion, after all.
And then after they look around for a supporting view. They come up empty handed. Instead of following their moral intuitions of justified outrage, they will then backward rationalize it.
From another Shia Muslim friend who left Islam recently:
I haven’t found a mujtahid who says no death to apostates. The most popular mujtahid for Shias right now is Sistani who agrees with death to apostates. I had this argument with my family a few years ago.
After reading this, I fully expect devout Shia Muslims on this thread to say, “Alas, only Allah Knows” or come up with some elaborate philosophical gymnastics that frankly, are only self-deception.
I urge you all to open your hearts and your minds. Please don’t close your eyes to these issues in the religion.
Love one another accepting a difference in religious belief without preaching at one another. Or be prepared to have your religious ideas publicly and robustly challenged.