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Religion's Evil Core


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Judith Hayes

MAY 2002


Religion's Evil Core


In December 1998 I wrote a very brief overview of the amount of killing and suffering caused by the world's religions. I mentioned the Crusades, the Inquisitions, Northern Ireland, the "ethnic" (read: religious) cleansing in Bosnia, the Holocaust, the Salem Witch Trials, the Thirty Years' War, and I made a brief reference to the Aztecs' human sacrifices. With what's happening today I think it's time to update and expand on that list. And the next time someone tries to point out to you how religion brings out the best in us, you might want show them a printout of this.


* The Aztecs were not alone, although they were the undisputed champions, murdering 20,000 victims each year to appease their gods. Religious human sacrifice was carried out in ancient Phoenicia, Gaul, Tibet, Africa (the Ashanti), and Borneo. The Mayans and Incas also regularly sacrificed humans to their gods, the Incas executing as many as 200 children at once during major ceremonies.


* In Alexandria in the year 415, the great female scientist and head of the Alexandria Library, Hypatia, was beaten to death by Catholic monks who considered her scientific work heretical.


* Since the 7th century the number of people killed in "jihads" or "holy" wars waged by various factions of Islam can only be vaguely guessed at. Several million would not be out of the question, and the number is increasing as this is being written.


* In 1095 when Pope Urban II launched the first Crusade to take the Holy Land from the Muslims, the German Crusaders decided to first "kill the infidels among us" and slaughtered thousands of German Jews on the way to the Holy Land. The same thing happened to Jews in Prague, massacred by Christian Crusaders.


* In 1208 Pope Innocent III decreed that a Catholic sect known as the

Albigenses should be destroyed, all murdered, because they held heretical views such as the idea that Jesus was only an angel. The Crusading soldiers swept through southern France searching for these heretics. When they got to the city of Beziers, that was known to host many of the Albigenses, they asked a papal representative how they could distinguish the heretics from the truly faithful. The answer: "Kill them all. God will know His own."


* In the 14th century tens of thousands of Jews were killed by Christians for "causing" the Black Death (bubonic plague). Reason? Because so many Jews survived the plague. Reason? Probably the Jewish rituals that include weekly cleansing of the body and changing into clean clothes.


* In the 1500s when the Spanish invaded the Americas they brought the Inquisition with them. Demanding "instant" conversion to Catholicism from all the native inhabitants, backsliders were naturally common. And they were then killed by the Inquisition.


* Thousands of Protestants fled France to avoid persecution and some

of them ended up in what is now St. Augustine, Florida. In 1565 Catholic Spaniards discovered one such colony and killed almost every single person there. They then erected a sign that said the people had been executed "not as Frenchmen but as Lutherans."


* On August 24, 1572, in France, the Catholics murdered thousands of Protestants in a single bloody day. It came to be known as the St. Bartholomew Day massacre.


* In the 17th century the Church of England tried to eliminate the Puritans, using torture and sometimes hanging to achieve their ends. Then Oliver Cromwell, a Puritan, rose to power and led the Puritans into a backlash, resulting in civil war. When Cromwell died there was a backlash against Puritans again and Cromwell's body was exhumed, hanged and then decapitated. Death toll uncertain.


* On July 1, 1766, in Abbeville, France, a teenage boy was decapitated for singing irreligious songs, marring a crucifix, mocking the Virgin Mary, and refusing to remove his hat when a religious procession passed.


* Up until the 1800s the Hindus in India sacrificed a male child every Friday evening for the goddess Kali. Other Kali followers killed an estimated 2 million people over 300 years.


* In the mid-1800s a Buddhist king in Burma ordered 500 people to be sacrificed to "sanctify" the new city walls of Mandalay.


* In 1857 the East India Company incautiously armed themselves with

rifle cartridges that were greased with animal fat. This enraged both Muslims and Hindus, the former finding pigs to be evil and the latter considering cows to be holy. Violence broke out leaving thousands dead.


* In 1915 Christian Armenians and Turkish Muslims waged war on each other leaving an estimated 3 million dead.


* Beginning in 1955 in the Sudan, Muslims and Christians waged a "holy" war lasting seventeen years and killing a half million people. In 1983 the same war flared up again, this time with the final result of one million dead in 24 years.


* Up until 1965 the Roman Catholic Church's liturgy contained the words, "...and protect us from the perfidious Jews." In the Church's history scores of thousands of Jews were killed for (1) Murdering Christian children and drinking their blood; and (2) "Host-Nailing" meaning that they stole the communion wafers that represented the body of Jesus and drove nails through them, thereby crucifying Jesus a second time. [i am not making this up.]


* In the fifty years of Israel's existence, over 3,000 Israelis died as a result of Muslim suicide bombers, thousands more during various wars, and the religious clashes between Israeli Jews and Palestinian Muslims continue to this day, as does the dying-on both sides.


* In 1978 more than 900 people of the religious group, the Peoples Temple, died as victims of suicide/murders at their own hands, in Jonestown in Guyana, South America.


* In the 1980s Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini ruled by means of cruel torture and killings. Secrecy surrounds the number of victims, but thousands are certainly dead because of his religious oppression.


* In 1980 at Moradabad, India, a riot broke out between Muslims and

Hindus because the former believed the latter had intentionally driven a pig to walk over Muslim holy ground. 200 died.


* In the 1980s Iran's Shi'ite theocracy killed around 200 Baha'i believers who would not convert to Islam.


* In 1993 a secretive religious cult, the Branch Dividians, led by David Koresh, armed themselves to the teeth and fought with Federal Agents, leaving 83 dead in Waco, Texas.


* On June 17, 1993, a six-year-old girl died after being struck by a moving train in Dania, Florida. She was thrown 20 feet and suffered a broken neck. Her brother had pushed her to safety, but she rushed back onto the tracks to die so she could be in heaven, waiting for her terminally ill mother. [AP]


* On January 13, 1999 in Ahmedabad, India, Hindu mobs attacked and set fire to two Christian chapels in an ongoing religious struggle. [Reuters]


* On October 28, 2000, in Nablus on the West Bank, an angry mob of Muslims ripped up Jewish prayer books and stomped on their sacred scrolls, protesting their right to be on the West Bank. [The Washington Post]


* On September 11, 2001 nineteen Muslims flew two jumbo jets into the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon, and a fourth one crashed, leaving over 3,000 dead. This act was to please Allah and achieve Paradise by killing "Infidels."


* This year, 2002, we all learned the horrific scale of a problem that we had always known existed in the Roman Catholic Church-pedophilia. Now and again we'd read about priests raping young boys, but the extent of the obscenity was hidden from most of us by a vile, crass, CYA policy followed by Cardinals and Bishops all over the USA. They just moved the rapists from one diocese to another and/or paid off the victims' families so they'd keep silent about it. Making it worse is the callous attitude shown by the American Bishops and Cardinals summoned to Rome to consider the outrages. They used words like "offenders" and "mistakes" and other weasel words, as if they had been caught with their hands in a cookie jar instead of molesting children. Those priests are not offenders. They are criminals and should be treated as such. This abomination should have been addressed decades ago. But of course Popes have other things to think about in their busy world.


* On October 27, 2000, in Rome, at his weekly general audience in front of 50,000 in St. Peter's Square, Pope John Paul II gave thanks to

2,000 pizzamakers gathered from around the world to celebrate World

Pizzamakers' Day. "We appreciate so much your professional work," said the 80-year-old Pope. "I pray for your families and your particular profession," he added. [Reuters]

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Thank you Fwee. I do appreciate it.



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I wonder how much of this phenomenon comes because a triumphalistic and absolutist ideology will tend to magnify whatever tendencies people have already. Religious idealism may help motivate some people to heroic virtue, who would have been fairly decent people anyway. It motivates others to violence because it convinces them that their aggressive tendencies, which they have anyway, find a justified outlet. Case in point: psychological progression of vaguely disaffected youths into suicide bombers.


I have heard stories of Soviet soldiers enduring huge hardships feeling that Chairman Stalin's spirit was with them giving them strength. There must be many examples.


On the other hand, to say religion as such promotes violence -- Buddhists claim no one was ever killed in the name of Buddhism. Is this true?


So my hypothesis is, the more absolutist and aggressive the ideology, the more it'll promote those tendencies. Christianity inherits from Judaism a very violent nexus of legendary history (conquest of Canaan) and symbol (violent metaphors/images all through into Revelation). Other ideologies have those things, too. Some don't.


Another part of my hypothesis: most societies did not have a clear split between religious and secular. Even western Europe can be said not to have conceived of such a split clearly until around the French Revolution. So, most historical examples of violent societies will present religion as a big element of ideology just because most societies intertwined religion and the rest of life. Roman legionaries considered their military signposts as religious objects, they sacrificed to the emperor's genius, Roman myth conceived of the gods as giving the world to Rome to rule ("you, o Roman, remember to spare the conquered and beat down the proud in war" is a key verse from the Aeneid about how Rome saw its destiny). Did Roman religion "make" the Romans violent? They were violent already, they had religion all along - hard to see a way to split religion from other social factors as a cause, since it permeated everything.

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Thank you, Fwee. I'm adding that to my collection of refutations of Christianity. If you'd be interested, I'd be happy to send you a copy of that folder, or anything in it. It's pretty good sized, 2.2 MB, 34 (now 35) documents. If you'd like, I can give you a list of doc. titles. Some are extremely good, some decent, some very short, or very long, some questionable, but fun.


Thanks again, my friend.

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Great post, Fwee.


It more than adequately illustrates the abject ignorance and barbarism of the cancerous fundamentalist mindset. The fundamentalist does not comprehend the difference between religion and Spirituality.


My view is that religion is an external framework invented by men, which includes dogma, tradition, ritual and observances, etc. Spirituality is an Internal Process, in which the Developing Divinity of the individual is brought into full Vibratory Sympathy with TheAllThatIsConveyed. The Pagan perspective is that Love-Light-and-Life At-Onement - with the Divinity in Nature and the Living Universe.


The fundie of course, knows only the externalities of religionistic legalism, control-mongering, and the "angry god" "fear factor" promulgated by the fundie prelates. Religion is merely a framework in which Spirituality is supposed to Operate. Actually, Spirituality does not even require religion. Unfortunately, religion and government frequently require each other, the end result being the brutality and idiocy of religio-statism. As Ficino said, the Romans were fascist statists already. Hence the fascism of fundie Xtianity.


True Spirituality should be the same for everyone. The Buddhists and Mystics of any religion basically comprehend this, the Golden Buddha being the Shining Example of the Manifesting S(u/o)n Child within, the Divine Soul Spark and the Ultimate Goal of Personal Alchemy. I don't know if anyone has ever been killed in the name of Buddhism. My guess is that it would be very unlikely to have occurred.


For those who wish to examine the Mystical perspective in more detail, one of my favorite works is 'Practical Mysticism' (a general Approach - 1914) by U.K. Mystic Evelyn Underhill (1850-1941). She had Christian leanings, but was IMO a great Spiritual Thinker. Another one of my favorites is by Sufi Mystic Hazrat Inayat Kahn, and is entitled 'The Music Of Life'. Manly P.Hall is another author I hold in high regard. His extensive works form the core of the Philosophical Research Society's excellent education facilities. These can be explored at: http://www.prs.org .


Best regards,



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Thank you, Fwee. I'm adding that to my collection of refutations of Christianity. If you'd be interested, I'd be happy to send you a copy of that folder, or anything in it. It's pretty good sized, 2.2 MB, 34 (now 35) documents. If you'd like, I can give you a list of doc. titles. Some are extremely good, some decent, some very short, or very long, some questionable, but fun.


Thanks again, my friend.


Sure, Loren! Go right ahead!


But you know I like to share...


I have about 44mb's of documents :Duivel7:





Here's another one that you'll like. It's written by the same person right around xmas time of 1998.


Judith Hayes



Peace on Earth


The ink had just dried on the Middle East Peace Accord between the Israelis and the Palestinians this past November, when the car bombings began in Jerusalem. In one incident two Muslims knowingly committed suicide as they drove their bomb-laden cars into a crowded Israeli neighborhood. They undoubtedly cried the triumphant, "Tonight in Paradise!" while doing so.


This is the purported reward for dying while killing "Infidels"---instant Heaven. No waiting around for Judgment Day. Just a beeline for Paradise. In October a young man named Matthew Shepard was horribly beaten to death simply because he was gay. Fanatic Christian Fundamentalists carried placards at his funeral with slogans such as, "God Hates Fags."


It is possible that by now there is no one in Northern Ireland who doesn't know of at least one friend or relative who has been killed in the ongoing violence there. For the last forty years, Protestants and Catholics have been killing each other on a regular basis. The fragile cease-fire now in effect is just that---fragile. If history is any teacher, it will not last.


In the early 1990s, the world watched in shock and horror as the Roman Catholic Croats, Orthodox Serbs, and Bosnian Muslims slaughtered each other relentlessly. News reports continually refer to those wars as the result of attempts at "ethnic" cleansing, but their religious underpinnings are transparently obvious.


During World War II, twelve million people died in Hitler's concentration camps, six million of them simply because they were Jewish. The word "Holocaust" barely gets the job done.


In the 19th and 18th centuries, slavery in the USA was said to be approved of by God, and therefore justifiable, because the Bible refers to it. The Bible does refer to slaves and slavery many times, never once condemning it.


In the 17th century the putative USA hosted witch trials in which scores of people were accused and found guilty of being in league with the Devil as they committed their dastardly deeds---such as causing someone's milk cow to go dry just by looking at it. Devout Christians in Salem, Massachusetts had no doubts at all about the existence of witches and Satan's role in conspiring with them. As a result, these "witches," mostly women, were put to death.


The 17th century also witnessed the Thirty Years' War in Europe where Protestant and Catholic soldiers killed each other, along with thousands of hapless civilians, for thirty straight years.


In the year 1231 Pope Gregory set up the Holy Office of the Inquisition to seek out heretics and witches who were then tortured and killed. Scores of thousands of people fell victim to the Inquisitions. The "Holy" Land witnessed a series of Crusades that were conducted periodically from the 12th to the 14th century. Repeatedly, under the orders of many different Popes, Christians were charged with the daunting task of capturing Jerusalem by wresting it from the hands of equally determined Muslims who were not about to give it up. No one knows how many thousands died during the Crusades, but accounts refer to an enormous number of massacres and bloodbaths as the struggle continued.


During these same centuries the Aztecs were ritually sacrificing humans to appease their gods.


Beginning roughly in 2,000 B.C., and continuing for centuries (according to the Bible's Old Testament, which religious Jews claim is an accurate account of their own history) Jewish tribes slaughtered hundreds of thousands of people in the name of their God, Yahweh. It would not be at all surprising if the very first Stone Age humans to draw a deity on a cave wall followed up their inspiration by killing any other humans who refused to recognize the supremacy of their Cave Wall God. It just seems to go with the territory. So it is no small irony that at this time of year "Peace on Earth" echoes all over the planet. Merry Christmas? Well, by the most conservative of estimates, of the 2,000 Christmases we've had so far, during at least 850 of them people were being murdered in the name of Christianity. Irony indeed.



When I was in the third grade, some kids threw rocks at me, as I ran home from school, because my mother had sent me to school wearing the color orange (symbol of Protestantism) on Saint Patrick's Day (Catholic holiday) when all good Catholics wear green. True story.



John Lennon's wonderful song, "Imagine," asks us to imagine a world without, among many other things, religion. It is an almost impossible task. But if you really strain your brain cells you can manage it, and whatever images you come up with will be totally alien. A world without religion would be a world we do not recognize. The question is: Would the world have been, and would it be today, a better place without any religion at all? Of course religion cannot be blamed for all the world's ills, since greed, lust, xenophobia and high testosterone levels are a part of our human baggage. But throughout history religions have notoriously aided and abetted our worst tendencies.


To be sure, wars have been fought for non-religious reasons. Yet in how many of those wars did the combatants pray to their various Gods for protection and victory? Probably most if not all. And following this line of reasoning, how many soldiers would have marched bravely into battle without assurances that their God would protect them, or, failing that, at least provide a Heaven (or reincarnation) for them on the other side of death?


It's an interesting question because humans, like all animals, have an instinct for survival, and charging headlong into a barrage of bullets and cannon fire is a counter-intuitive, and basically stupid thing to do. However, with a prayer on your lips, and a God who will reward you one way or another (survival or Paradise) it is much easier to throw caution to the wind and ignore your instinctive, sensible fear of danger. Yes, there are atheists in foxholes, but they at least fully appreciate their predicament.


Death is death.


In trying to imagine a world without religion, we have to imagine, for a start, a world that never engaged in any of the above mentioned religious wars and inquisitions. Think of it. All that killing and torture would never have happened.


It is no coincidence that 17th-century Holland was a magnet for scientists, philosophers, artists and merchants. While Rome was threatening Galileo with the tortures of the Inquisition for his heretical observation that moons orbited Jupiter, Protestant, tolerant Holland beckoned with enlightenment.


By mid-century the Netherlands was the foremost commercial and maritime power in Europe, with Amsterdam being the financial center of the continent. Christian Huygens (of telescope fame), Leeuwenhoek (of microscope fame) and Rembrandt, to name just a few, thrived in this rarefied air of tolerance.


Now apply this atmosphere of tolerance, which is the primary goal of humanism, to all places in all times. Try to picture what this world might be like today if all of the energy, time, intelligence and billions of dollars that have been poured into religions over the centuries, right up to and including today, had instead been devoted to agriculture, medicine, science and engineering. Take the thousand human-hours per year per person devoted to bowing, kneeling and praying to invisible gods, redirect them toward improving the human condition, and the possibilities are mind-boggling-almost limitless.


We might have found a vaccine for smallpox and perfected birth control centuries ago. Today cancer and viruses might be conquered; poverty and hunger eliminated; the world population stable; drug addictions unknown; birth defects and congenital illnesses eliminated; the environment healthy and pure. These are not impossibilities. We are a clever species. Given the time, such accomplishments are within our grasp. We don't lack the talent. We lack the direction for that talent.


In addition to our unfortunately frequent inclinations toward violence, we humans also have impressively frequent inclinations toward love and compassion. Imagine if we developed that human compassion to its fullest-again, the focus of secular humanism. Imagine a world where every baby that is born is wanted....... where no children are frightened with tales of hellfire and devils.......where there are no "holy" books espousing sexism and religious bigotry.......where individual self-esteem, not a sense of sin and guilt, is valued and encouraged in all the world's children....... where "holy" wars are nonexistent.......


Try to imagine.......Peace on Earth.


© 1998 Judith Hayes

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....Death is death....


Fundyism and death.....the same. The record speaks for itself.


Thanx again, Fwee.



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Let the record speak for itself.



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Sure, Loren! Go right ahead!


But you know I like to share...


I have about 44mb's of documents :Duivel7:



I just hate it when another man has a file of refutations bigger than mine!


It's why I avoid locker rooms.




Thank you, Fwee. I'll be back with you on that. And thank you for the Judith Hayes article! It's another I'm adding to that folder.



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I just hate it when another man has a file of refutations bigger than mine!


It's why I avoid locker rooms.



I dare not make any comment here. :wicked:

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And thank you for the Judith Hayes article!

It's another I'm adding to that folder.

I dug up the link for her site.

There's a lot of good stuff here.



The Happy Heretic

Welcome to the home of The Happy Heretic! I am Judith Hayes, The Happy Heretic. This monthly column was born in November 1996. My Grandfather was a Lutheran minister, his son was a Lutheran pipe organist, and his granddaughter is an atheist. Now that's my kind of evolution. I have a lot to share that I hope you'll enjoy.



BTW- When I double-checked my files, I realized that the mini CD that I was using at the time didn't contain religious documentation only. Sure, there is 44mb of info on there, but some of it is pictures and entire books in simple text formats. So, I'm not entirely sure of how much pertinent stuff is on there. :shrug:

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Don't forget God Hates Shrimp and God Hates Figs.



(And wowee, the Bartholomew massacre was on my birthday. Vesuvius erupted in 79, and a big ol' massacre in 1572; I am one lucky bugger. :Hmm: )


Have you ever tried pointing out to Christians whenever they get worked up about their religion being the "right" one by dint of membership that Christianity would probably have ended up a forgotten offshoot of Judaism if the Roman Empire hadn't forced conversion on their millions of inhabitants? Elitism enforced by death threats; what a marvelous system.

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In keeping with the theme of the title of this thread,

I thought that this would be a fine addition to it.


The similarities between Christianity and Islam are disgust amazing.



How to Wean Muslims From Islam



The passage from belief to freethinking and enlightenment has its stages. The first stage is shock and then it is denial. If one can overcome the denial one goes through confusion, guilt, dismay, anger and finally enlightenment. The majority of the Muslims are trapped in denial. They are unable and unwilling to admit that Quran is a hoax. They desperately try to explain the unexplainable, find miracles in it and are not abashed to bend all the rules of logic to prove that Quran is right. Each time they are exposed to a shocking statement in Quran or shocking act performed by Muhammad they retreat in denial. Denial is a safe place. This is the comfort zone. In denial they are not going to be hurt, every thing is okay; everything is fine.


Truth is extremely painful especially if one has been accustomed to lies all his life. It is like telling someone that his father is a murderer, a rapist or a criminal. This might be the truth yet the child who adulates his father cannot take it. The shock would be so great that the first thing he will do is to deny it. He will call you a liar and he will hate you for hurting him. He will curse you, hold you as his enemy and he may even discharge his anger at you by physically attacking you.


This is the stage of denial. It is a self defense mechanism. If pain is too big, denial will take that pain away. If a mother is informed that her child has died in an accident, the first thing she would do is to deny. People who have lost a loved one often believe that this is all a bad dream and when they wake up everything will be okay. But unfortunately facts are stubborn and they will not go away. One can live in denial for a while but s/he must accept the truth sooner or later.


Muslims are cocooned in lies. Because speaking against Islam is a crime punishable by death, no one dares to tell the truth. Those who do, do not go far; they are silenced very soon. So how would you know the truth if all you hear are lies? On one hand the Quran claims to be a miracle and challenges everyone to produce a Surah like it, on the other hand it instructs its followers to kill anyone who dares to criticize it. In such an atmosphere of insincerity and deceit, truth will never be known.


However, for the first time, the Internet has changed the balance of power. Now the brutal force of the guns, bombs, prisons and death squads are helpless and pen is almighty. For the first time Muslims cannot stop the truth by killing its messenger. Now a great number of them are coming in contact with the truth and they feel helpless. They want to silence this voice but they cannot. They want to kill the messenger but they cannot. They try to ban the sites exposing their cherished beliefs, sometimes they succeed momentarily but most of the times they don't. (Tripod was forced to shut down this site now I have it hosted in three places and receive over 3000 visitors per day). So the old way of killing the apostates, burning their books and silencing them by terror does not work. Also they cannot stop people from reading. So a great number of Muslims who never knew the truth about Islam are becoming shocked after they learn the truth for the first time. This shock is tremendously painful. The only mechanism and the natural way to deal with it is denial.


Denial takes away the pain. Denial is soothing. Denial is bliss. But denial is hiding ones head in the sand. One cannot stay in denial forever. Sooner or later we have to face the truth and deal with it.


A great majority of Muslims live in denial. Those who don't are the fundamentalists who are so brainwashed that they actually think that killing is good, bombing is holy, stoning is divine mandate, beating wives is prescribed by God, hating the unbelievers is what God has told them to do, and terrorism will take them to Paradise. Apart form this group that unfortunately constitutes the majority of ignorant masses (see Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, etc) those Muslims who have come in contact with the humanistic values of civilized world and like it, either know nothing of the ugly truth of Islam or they deny it.


I do not think this group of Muslims will ever see the truth if they are kept cocooned in lies. All they have heard so far is the lie that Islam is good and if only Muslims practiced the true Islam the world would be a paradise; that it is all the fault of the Muslims. This is a lie. Most Muslims are extremely good people. They are kind, generous, caring, hospitable, wonderful human beings. What is wrong is Islam. Those Muslims who do bad things are those who follow Islam. Islam rears the criminal instinct of the people. The more a person is Islamist, the more bloodthirsty, hate mongering, zombie s/he becomes.


Quran tells Muslims to kill the disbelievers wherever they find them (Q. 2:191), to murder them and treat them harshly (Q. 9:123), slay them (Q. 9: 5) and fight with them, (Q. 8: 65). The teachings of Quran are inhumane and barbaric.


What we have to do is to jolt the Muslims to reality. We have to tell them the truth, expose them to all the facts about Islam, and tell them about the absurdities of Quran and the inhumanities of its author so harshly that something shocks them. There is no easy way. The followers of Muhammad must see the naked truth and they must be shocked. We cannot keep sugar coating the truth. The truth is bitter and it must be swallowed. Only then the process of enlightenment starts.


But because every person’s sensitivity is different, what shocks one person may not shock the other. Even as a man I was shocked when I read Muhammad instructed his followers to beat their wives and called women “deficient in intelligence”. Yet I have found many Muslim women who have no difficulty accepting these derogatory statements uttered by their prophet. Not that they agree that they are deficient in intelligence or that they believe that the majority of the inhabitants of the hell are women, or that they deserve to be scourged if they disobey their husband, just because the Prophet said so. But they simply block out that information. They read it but it doesn’t sink. They are in denial. The denial acts as a shield that covers them, that protects them, that saves them from facing the pain of shock and disillusionment. Once that shield is up, nothing can bring it down. It is no use to simply repeat the same things over and over. At this point they must be attacked from other directions. We have to bombard them with other stupid and shocking teachings of Quran. They may have a weak spot for one of them and one of those stupid teachings may shock them. That is all they need: a good shock. Shocks are painful, but sometimes they can be lifesavers. Shocks are used by doctors to bring back to life a dead patient.


Last year I met a lady on the net (Yahoo clubs) who called herself Khadija in Niqab. She had a web site with her picture completely covered in black veil and her story of how she had become a Muslim. She was very active and she used to tell everyone not to come to the Society For Islamic Humanist club (SFIH) where I used to post my writings. But when she read the story of Safiyah, she was shocked. She asked explanation from other Muslims who could not answer her. Then the door was open, she joined SFIH with another ID: “Liberty” and kept asking questions. Finally she passed through the other stages between blind faith to enlightenment very quickly and wrote a thank you letter to me for opening her eyes and withdrew from the Yahoo Islamic clubs altogether.


That is what we have to do. Our job is to expose Islam, write the truth about Muhammad’s unholy life, his shameful words, his stupid assertions and bombard the Muslims with the facts. These people read what you write, they become angry with you, curse you, insult you and tell you that after reading your articles their faith in Islam is strengthened. But that is when you know that you have sown the seed of doubt in their mind. They say all this to you because they are shocked. Now they have entered the stage of denial. The seed of doubt is planted and it will wait for the first chance to germinate. In some people it takes years, but given the change it will eventually germinate.


Doubt is the greatest gift we can give to each other. It is the gift of enlightenment. Doubt will set us free, will advance knowledge, will unravel the mysteries of this universe, but faith will keep us ignorant.


One of hurdles we have to overcome is the hurdle of tradition and false values imposed on us by thousands of years of religious upbringing. The world still values faith and considers doubt something evil. People talk of men of faith with respect and disdain men of little faith. We are screwed up in our values. The word faith means belief without evidence but gullibility also means belief without evidence. Therefore faithfulness is not a glory. It means being gullible, credulous, naïf, susceptible, easy to fleece. How can one be proud of such qualities?


Doubt on the other hand means the reverse of the above. It means being capable to think independently, being capable to question, to be skeptic. We owe our science and our modern civilization to men and women who doubted, not those who believed. Those who doubted were the pioneers, they were the leaders of thought, they were philosophers, inventors, and discoverers, but those who believed lived and died as followers, gave little or no contribution to the advancement of science and human understanding.


Those who read my articles and are hurt by what they discover in Quran are lucky. They have me to blame. They can hate me, curse me and direct all their angers towards me. But when I read the Quran and learned about its content, I could not blame anyone. So after going through the stages of shock and denial, I was confused and started to blame myself. I hated myself for thinking, for doubting and for finding faults with what I regarded to be the words of God.


Just like all the other Muslims I was exposed to many lies, absurdities and inhumanities inherent in Islam but had accepted all that. I was brought as a religious person. I believed in whatever I was told and had faith. These lies were given to me in small doses and since my childhood. I was never given an alternative to compare. It is like vaccination. I was immune to the truth. But when I started to read the Quran seriously from cover to cover and understood what this book had to say. I felt nauseated. Like it was all those lies coming to me at once. I knew all these lies and had accepted them. It was as if my rational thinking was numbed. I had become insensitive to the absurdities of Quran. When I found something that did not make sense I automatically overlooked and said one has to look at the “big picture”. The big picture however was nowhere to be found except in my own mind. I had made a picture of Islam in my mind that was perfect. So all those absurdities did not bother me because I did not pay attention to them. But when I read the whole Quran I discovered a different picture very much distinct from the picture I had made of it in my mind. The new picture of Islam emerging from the pages of the Quran was a violent, intolerant, irrational, arrogant picture that was a far cry from my mental picture that depicted Islam as a religion of peace, equality and tolerance.


My first reaction, of course was denial. That was the easiest thing to do. I had to deny, in order to keep my sanity. But for how long I could keep denying when it was there in black and white in front of me? I started to read the Quran in Arabic and used an English translation for the words that I did not understand. I went back and forth from Arabic to English reading over and over each verse until I was sure that I understood the Arabic. I realized many translations in English are not entirely reliable. The poor translators had tried very hard to hide the inhumanity and the violence of Quran by twisting the words and adding their own words sometimes in parenthesis. When you read the Quran in Arabic and understand it, it is shocking.


I went through a period of depression. It was as if my whole world had fallen apart. I felt like someone who feels like the floor on which he was standing is no longer there and is falling to a bottomless pit. If I say that was like being in hell I am not exaggerating. I was confused and I did not know where to turn. My faith was shaken and my world had crumbled. I could no longer deny what I was reading. But I could not accept the possibility that this was all a huge lie. “How could it be?” I kept asking myself. How could it be that so many people died for this religion for nothing? How could it be that so many people have not seen the truth and I see it? How could it be that great seers and saints like Moulana Jalaleddin Rumi did not see that Muhammad was an impostor and that Quran is a hoax and I see it? It was then that I entered into another stage and that was guilt.


The guilt lasted for many months. I hated myself for having these thoughts. I felt God is testing my faith. I felt ashamed. I spoke with learned people that I trusted, people who were not only knowledgeable but also were wise and spiritual. I heard very little that could quench the burning fire that I had within me. Some of these learned men told me not to read the Quran for a wile, pray and read only books that strengthen my faith. I did that, but it did not help. The thoughts about the absurd, sometimes-ruthless sometimes-ridiculous verses of Quran kept throbbing in my head. Each time I looked at my bookshelf and saw that book, I felt pain. I took the Quran and hid it behind the other books. I thought if I do not think about it for a while my thoughts will go away and I will regain my faith once again. But they didn’t go away. I denied as much as I could, until I could no more. I was shocked and it was painful. Then I went through the stage of confusion and bewilderment pleading for help and no one could help. Now I was in a deep sense of guilt, ashamed of my thoughts and hating myself for having such thoughts. This sense of guilt was accompanied by a profound sense of loss and depression. Naturally I am a positive thinker. I see the good side of everything. I always think tomorrow is going to be better. I usually am not depressed. But this feeling of loss was overbearing. I still recall that weight on my heart. I thought God has forsaken me and I did not know why. I did not remember hurting anyone ever. I had gone out of my way to help anyone who had crossed my way and asked me for help. I had many people who hugged me and thanked me, sometimes with tears in their eyes because I helped them to put their lives back on track, start a new business or save their marriage. I stopped eating meat because I did not want to destroy a life just to satisfy my taste buds, although the smell and the taste of a good stake drives me crazy. So, why did God want to punish me in this way? Why was He not answering my prayers? Why had He abandoned me to myself and to these thoughts for which I could find no answers?


This period of guilt lasted too long. One day I decided enough is enough. I told myself that it is not my fault. I am not going to carry this guilt forever for thinking about things that make no sense to me. If God gave me a brain, it is because he wants me to use it. If what I perceive as right and wrong is completely twisted, then it is not my fault. He tells me killing is bad and I know it is bad because I do not like to be killed, then why had his messenger killed so many innocent people and asked others to kill people who disbelieve? If rape is bad and I know that it is bad because I do not want it to happen to people I love, why Allah's prophet raped his captives of war? If imposition of religion is bad and I know that it is bad because I would not like another person to force a religion that I don’t want down my throat, then why did the Prophet eulogized the Jihad and exhorted his followers to kill the unbelievers, take their booty and sell their women and children as spoils of war? If God tells me something is good and I know that it is good because it feels good to me then why His prophet does the reverse of that thing?


It was then that I felt liberated from guilt and entered the next stage, which is dismay, disillusionment and cynicism. I felt sorry for all the religious people and especially for all the Muslims for still believing in these foolish teachings. I felt sorry for all those who lost their lives in the name of these false doctrines. I felt sorry for all the women in virtually all the Islamic countries that suffer all sorts of abuses and are so subdued that do not even know that they are being abused.


Then I became angry. Angry because I believed in those lies for so many years. Angry because I wasted so many years of my life chasing a wild goose. I was angry at my culture for it had betrayed me. I was angry at my parents for teaching me a lie. I was angry at my self for not thinking before, for believing in lies, for trusting an impostor and I was angry at God for letting me down, for not intervening and stopping the lies that were being disseminated in His name.


By then I knew that Muhammad was no messenger of God but a charlatan, a demagogue whose only intention was to beguile people and satisfy his own narcissistic ambitions. I knew that all those childish stories of a hell with scorching fire and a heaven with rivers of wine, honey and milk full of orgies were the figments of a sick, wild, insecure and bullying mind of a man in desperate need to dominate, destroy and affirm his own authority.


But I could not be angry with my parents; for they did their best and taught me what they thought was the best. I could not be angry with my community, society, and culture; because they too were just as misinformed as my parents and myself. When I looked carefully I saw that everyone is a victim. There are one billion victims who in turn have become victimizers. How I could blame the Muslims if they do not know what Islam stands for and honestly, though erroneously, believe that it is a religion of peace?


What about Muhammad? Should I be angry with him for lying, deceiving and misleading people? How could I be angry with a dead corpse? Muhammad was a sick man who was not in control. He grew as an orphan, changed five foster parents before he reached the age of eight. As soon as he came to be attached to someone, he was snatched and was given to another person. This must have been hard on him and was detrimental to his emotional health. As a child, deprived of love and a sense of belonging, he grew with deep feelings of fear and lack of self-confidence. He tried to make up for it by becoming a narcissist. A narcissist is a person who has not received enough love in his childhood, who is incapable to love, but instead craves attention, respect and recognition. He sees his own worth in the way others view him. Without that recognition he is nobody. He is manipulative and a pathetic liar.


Narcissists have grandiose dreams. They want to conquer to world and dominate every body. Only in these megalomaniac reveries they find their narcissistic supply. Allah for Muhammad was just an alter ego. He could wield control over everyone's life and death by telling them this is what God has ordained.


Muhammad was a man with profound emotional scars. He was a victim in his own right. He was desperate for recognition and respect. He is responsible but like an addict he needed his narcissistic supply and he was not in control.


I could not criticize or blame the ignorant Arabs of the 7th century for not being able to discern that Muhammad was sick and not a prophet, that his outlandish promises, his impressive dreams of conquering and subduing the great nations when he was just a pauper and the head of a group of bandits, were caused by his pathological emotional complications and not due to a divine power. How could I blame those stupid Arabs for falling prey to a man like Muhammad when only in the last century, millions of Germans fell prey to the charisma of another narcissist who also like Muhammad gave them big promises of total domination, who was as ruthless as him, as manipulative as him and as ambitious as him?


When I looked with care, I saw there is not a single person I could find guilty to be angry with. I realized we are all victims and victimizers at the same time. The only culprit is ignorance. it is our ignorance that makes us believe in charlatans and their lies. It is because of ignorance that we let these impostors inseminate hate in us in the name of false deities, ideologies or religions. It is our ignorance that does not allow us to see our oneness and hinders us from understanding that we are members of one body of humanity related to each other and interdependent with each other.


It was then that my anger gave way to a profound feeling of empathy, compassion and love. I made a promise to myself to fight this ignorance that divides the human race. We paid dearly for our disunity. The disunity in the human race is caused by ignorance and the ignorance is the result of false beliefs and pernicious ideologies often concocted by emotionally unhealthy individuals for self-serving purposes.


Ideologies separate us. Religions cause disunity, hate and antagonism. Humanity needs no ideology nor does it need any religion. As members of the human race, we need no ideology, cause or religion to be united, but to be disunited, fight and kill each other we need to have an ideology, a cause or a religion.




The process of going from faith to enlightenment is an arduous and painful process. Faith is the state of being confirmed in ignorance. You will continue to stay in that state of blissful oblivion until you are shocked and forced out of it. The natural and first reaction to shock is denial. Denial acts like a shield. It buffers the pain and protects you from the agony of going out of your comfort zone. The comfort zone is where we feel at ease, where we find everything familiar, where we don't have to take new challengers or face the unknown. But growth doesn't take place in comfort zones. In order to go forward and to evolve we need to get out of our comfort zones. We won't get out of our comfort zones unless we are shocked. It is also natural to buffer the pain of the shock by denial. At this moment we need another shock, and we may decide to shield ourselves again with another denial. The more a person is exposed to facts and the more he is shocked, the more he tries to protect himself by denial. But denial does not eliminate the facts. It just shields us momentarily. Facts are very stubborn and they will not go away. When we are exposed to all the facts, at one moment we will find ourselves unable to keep denying. That is when one of those facts will hit us and we are shocked. Suddenly we will find ourselves unable to keep our defenses up and all the denials come down. We can no longer can keep hiding our head in the sand pretending that everything is okay. The first shock will have a domino effect and we find ourselves being hit from all directions by facts that up until now we kept at bay by denying them. Suddenly all those absurdities that we had accepted and even defended, do not seem logical anymore and we won't be able to accept them.


It is then that we are driven into the painful stage of confusion. The old beliefs seem unreasonable, foolish and unacceptable yet we have nothing to cling to. This stage, I believe, is the most dreadful stage in the passage from faith to enlightenment. In this stage we have lost our faith but we have found no enlightenment yet. We are basically standing in nowhere. We experience a free fall. We ask for help but all we get is the rehashing of some nonsense cliché. It seems that those who try to help us have no clue of what they are talking about, yet they are so convinced about it. They believe in what they don't know. The arguments that they present are not logical at all. They expect us to believe without questioning. They bring the example of the faith of others. But the intensity of the faith of other people does not prove the truth of what they believe in.


This confusion eventually gives way to guilt. You feel guilty for thinking. You feel guilty for doubting, for questioning, for not understanding. You think it is your fault if the absurdities mentioned in your holy books make no sense to you. You think that God has abandoned you or that he is testing your faith. In this stage you are torn apart between your emotions and your intellect. Emotions are not rational but they are extremely powerful. You want to go back, you desperately want to believe but you simply can't. You have committed the sin of thinking. You have eaten the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge. You have angered your imaginary god. You are cast out of the paradise of ignorance. Now you find yourself naked, ashamed, overtaken by guilt and with no way to return.


Thereupon you enter the stage of anger. One day you decide that it is not your fault at all if all the mumbo jumbo taught to you in the name of the religion and truth make no sense. You decide to rebel. If the religions are stupid, it is not your fault. If they make no sense, then why should you feel guilty? If they are from God certainly they should be logical and reasonable. If they are not reasonable, then perhaps they are not from God. Perhaps they are false doctrines. The fact that a billion people believe in something does not make that thing true. How many of those billion people actually sat down and questioned their beliefs? How many of them can answer your questions? How many of them are allowed to question without fearing persecution? Maybe all of them are in denial. There was a time that everyone thought that the Earth was flat. Did this unanimous consensus make any difference in the shape of the Earth? In this stage you become angry at yourself, and at everything else. You realize how much you lost of your precious life believing in so many lies. That is when you enter the next stage, which is dismay.


In this stage you are over taken by sadness. You ponder upon time lost. You think of so many people who believed in this nonsense and foolishly sacrificed everything for it including their lives. How many millions of lives were sacrificed at the altar of these false religions? How many people voluntarily faced death and in the case of Islam how many people took the lives of other innocent people with completely clear consciences. The pages of history are written with the blood of people who were killed in the name of Yahweh, Allah or other gods. All for nothing! All for a lie!


But then you realize that you are the lucky one for having made it this far and that there are billions of others who are still trying to shield themselves with denials and not venture out of their comfort zone. There are billions of believers who are cocooned in lies and desperately try to stay there. At this stage, when you are completely free from faith, guilt and anger, you are ready for understanding the ultimate truth and unraveling the mysteries of life. You are ready to be enlightened. The enlightenment comes when you realize that the truth is in love and in our relationship with our fellow human beings and not in a religion or a cult.


Truth is a pathless land.


Ali Sina


25 June 2001

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On October 27, 2000, in Rome, at his weekly general audience in front of 50,000 in St. Peter's Square, Pope John Paul II gave thanks to

2,000 pizzamakers gathered from around the world to celebrate World

Pizzamakers' Day. "We appreciate so much your professional work," said the 80-year-old Pope. "I pray for your families and your particular profession," he added. [Reuters]


To which I say:

Blessed are the pizzamakers, for they will be called by hungry sons of God.


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