So when I was younger I was a bit of an idiot and somehow got convinced into converting to Islam after a few of my Muslim "friends" managed to convince me it was right at the time. (It turned out they were involved in the uni's ISoc Dawah stuff so they were fairly seasoned at getting people to convert and I must have been an easy target, a clinically depressed loner)
I still remember the stuff they told me, stuff like how the Koran is backed up by science how they pressured me into taking the shahada (literally "There is plenty of time to learn it all once you convert, if you delay converting then if you die tomorrow you won't make heaven") and once I did do it them and the iman dude were pretty reluctant to let me study it on my own, they kept on texting me asking me to read bits with them not on my own etc.
A few months down the line I did read a decent online translation and I thought what a load of nonsense the science stuff in there is crap and the books they gave me at the start had really suspect translations in there (e.g the section on about foetal development, the Koran literally says Blood clot which is nonsense, but the book had clump of cells which is pretty much a first stage foetus) then you hear about the bits that were obviously made up by Muhammed, he has some pretty convenient revelations in there.
I just wonder if your average born Muslim kid ever gets to read it critically. I remember when I converted the Muslims loved me, a young white British guy from a decent background validated their beliefs, I was invited to people's houses for dinner, I was the talk of the ISoc for months. I actually wonder if they did that to stop me from questioning it....
I dread to think what kids in madrassas are taught
One difference between christianity and islam is that, as I understand it, there is a greater emphasis in islam about reading the quran - all of it - and indeed, knowing it by heart. This stands in contrast to a great deal of christianity, at least in the US, where in a great number of instances, the bible is read TO them more than read BY them. This is, I suspect, a great deal of the reason why many christians have no idea about some of the less attractive passages in their holy book. If the leader of the bible study group doesn't want to cover something like Psalms 137:9 or Judges 19:22-30, they just don't bring them up and the
sheep church member is none the wiser.
It makes me wonder, though, at how the quran is taught. Rote memorization without attention to meaning would be the approach I would expect, as it would bypass a great deal of the equally inconvenient surahs ithe quran holds. The further dynamic of teaching it in Arabic to non-Arabic-speaking people (if this is indeed a practice) also has much the same effect as the RC church's long tradition of maintaining the bible in Latin. Either practice separates those who are supposed to follow their respective sacred text from the text itself, which makes the text less accessible and therefore less vulnerable to the kind of full understanding which gives rise to the brand of embarrassing questions we atheists aim at it.
Stipulated that I haven't read the quran cover-to-cover ... but I AM aware of lovely little surahs that refer to muslims not taking christians or jews as friends or that lovely little bit about "kill them where you may find them," among a few others. That by itself poisons the well pretty thoroughly for me. I'd be curious to hear in more detail what ruined it for you.
They were very eager for me to learn the prayers and the like in Arabic, and I had English translations so I at least had some idea of what I was saying, to be fair they did seem pretty nice I will say that.
The thing is, I am gay and at the time I was deeply repressed. I remember the line with Muslims is that its not a sin to be gay but it is a sin to act upon the feelings (so you can't be human and fall in love like a heterosexual can) but when I found the passages that discussed what should be done to the people of Lut it disgusted me. You are right about what is says about Jews and Christians and us atheists (we are all kafirs and should be made to convert or face hellfire) .
As far as some Islamists are concerned I should be killed at least 3 times, once for being apostate, second for being a homosexual and acting on it and third for being an atheist with no desire to repent.
I remember discussing some of these surahs I heard about, they have these responses that sound reasonable at first and for a while I accepted them, it was stuff like "The Koran was written at a time when war was common and people needed to survive, thats why there are surahs discussing war in there"
Hmph ... not that much different from the kind of apologetic crap you hear from christians about the bible. Can't say as I'm much surprised.
And before I forget - WELCOME! Glad you found us! Please enjoy yourself and if you have any questions, ASK.
You had a difficult route to atheism - welcome!
I'm glad you found criticial thinking. A basic rule I use is to apply the same method to other materials. So, when a Muslim says that God dividing the Heaven and Earth is REALLY the Big Bang and the Koran is science, I would point out that almost every creation myth has the same wording. Are they also about the Big Bang? If you use your imagination, you can find almost anything in anything. You can look at Homer's Oddysey and claim that the Ancient Greeks had modern technology. If a religious text REALLY had some scientific truth in it as Christians and Moslems sometimes claim today, why is it that NO ONE ever noticed that in thousands of years? Only after something is discovered by science and then religious people reluctantly have to accept it after denying it do the religious then claim it was in their scriptures all along!
Welcome. There is no science involved in, or backing up anybody's holy book. Today especially you have christians talking about "creationist science." There is no such thing. For you to get into a religion there has to be promises of benefits, if not in this life then in another. Your Islamist friends were doing what any other group would do if they wanted you to become one of them.
Science is a demonstrable fact. It means you can apply cause and effect to something, do an experiment, and have it come out the same way every time. Most of us believe in gravity, which can be demonstrated this way. There is no holy book in the world that has anything close to a "scientific method" involved in it.
All holy books are myth and superstition. The way they are read depends on the imam or apologist doing the interpretations.
Among other things, the scriptures are so boring that most people like to believe in them without reading them!
That is a very good point! As a work of literature it certainly wouldn't be on your list of books to read. Only reason people became familiar with it is through the desire to indoctrinate. Certainly never for pleasure.
Exactly! And the younger one is, the easier to do it
Yup....and when most people DO read them, they think they're real....tragically
It's the same for Christianity.....WE will tell you what is true....don't question, wonder, etc. .... tragically for too many "believing" just because someone says it's "true", especially someone/writings from hundreds and thousands of years ago.....how many lives have been and are wasted without seeking information and thinking for themselves....sadly, most of mine have been....