It's only fair guys...
Last week's blog was on the mistakes atheists make and this week's post focuses on theists. Let's get started!
1- Fear of engaging with non-believers
'We don't let our kids play with '"those kind" of people. They'll brainwash their minds with secular ideas.'
Like our bodies, our minds need to develop an immunity against potentially harmful or damaging ideologies. But this is impossible if you always live in an intellectual bubble and refuse to engage with those with opposing views. Non-believers and believers of different faiths and creeds are part of the social fabric we live in and you can't live in isolation forever.
Just think of it this way: what kind of faith can you expect from someone who only believes in God out of ignorance of all the other views out there? You want your children to believe out of understanding and conviction. And if you think that your religious views are so weak anyone could persuade you to abandon them, then maybe you shouldn't believe in that religion to begin with. If you have no confidence in the strength of your own argument why do you believe in it, let alone preach it?
2- Fear of philosophical debates
'You shouldn't listen to what philosophers say. They twist things and are infidels.'
I minored in philosophy, so I get really touchy about this one. First of all, only a person who knows nothing about philosophy and history would state the above. Islam has a deep relationship with philosophy. In fact, Muslims were the first to translate the works of Plato and Aristotle. Thanks to them, the Arabic texts were then translated to Latin and studied in the Western world.
Second of all, philosophers, like all other humans in the world, can be both atheists and theists. Some of the most famous philosophers were Christians and Muslims. And anyway, so what if someone studied a theory developed by a non-believer? Their personal beliefs aren't relevant. When you study a philosophical principle, you weigh its strengths and weaknesses irrespective of whether the philosopher is a theist or not.
Also smart-ass, seeing as you hate philosophy so much, let's watch you defend monotheism against an atheist.
Wait ...you can't? Surprise, surprise. So you're a Muslim but you can't logically defend it's central principle. Maybe a little bit of philosophy would have helped you there.
3- Believing... just because
'Religion is about faith, not logic. We believe, because God said so. We will never understand everything.'
So God created us, gave us intelligence unlike all other animals, so that we could follow him like a herd of blind sheep? What's your brain for? Yes, it's true we may not understand everything, but that isn't a license to shut our brains.
These are the kinds of people who then wonder why their kids have suddenly abandoned religion. You don't wash your bottom 'just because', but you want people to completely alter the way they live and struggle with the challenges 'just because...'
Me: Just because what?
Dumb person: 'Just because God said so.'
Me: And you believe in this God because?
Dumb person: 'Because he said so.'
4- I'm doing it for God
'I pray/wear my scarf/eat halal because my religion asks me too.'
Well duh... everyone gets that. But why does God want you to do that? Surely, an omni-benevolent God would not ask you to do something 'just because..' or because he likes to see us struggle with all the acts of worship we need to perform.
'We don't always know the reason.'
Yes, but we can try.
5- Using scripture to back up what you say
'The Bible says that there is a day of judgement'.
Aha? Really...Well, the non-believer in front of you doesn't believe in the Bible, so how is that a persuasive argument?
'The Quran says abortion is bad.'
Again, to an atheist this is an illogical argument because they don't believe in God or scripture. So you'd need to persuade them by taking a different approach. Maybe talk through the topic using science and logic. Maybe, maybe...you'll get somewhere that way.
Now if the person in front of you follows your faith, these statements are also weak, because there are so many different interpretations of scripture.
'There shouldn't be different views. The truth is the truth.'
There are and will always be different opinions. This is a side-effect of people having...you know... different brains.
Don't be a baby about it.
'But the Quran says!'
Here we go again....
6- Mixing ethics and religion
'Without religion, people would be bad and the world would be a mess.'
When followed correctly, religion can expand one's ethical compass. For instance, most people would not consider having no relationship with their neighbors as 'unethical'. But in Islam, having good relations with your neighbors is very important. Keeping in touch with family is an obligation, giving charity is an obligation, cleanliness is an obligation. These things have ethical weight. That being said, non-believers also have a moral compass- one that is better than many believers unfortunately. For instance, I'm sure both theists and atheists can agree that basic things like stealing for no reason and murder are wrong. So no, it's not accurate to say that people would be 'bad' without religion.
7- Monopolizing the truth
Are you infallible?
Is your understanding of religion without flaw?
Is any fallible human's understanding of anything without potential flaws?
So why the hell do you think you're always right and everyone else is wrong?
The only thing we know for certain is that we make mistakes. So why are you so confident? So arrogant?
No one should monopolize the truth. You might think you're closer to the 'Truth' than others. But in the end of the day, no one has a full and complete grasp of it.
8- Inheriting beliefs
'My dad told me that...'
Are you kidding me? Who the hell is your father? The Messiah?
If you're ten years old, I can accept that you've inherited your beliefs from your parents. This is the case with most people. But please don't bring up your dad in a debate when you're 30.
It's time to leave the nest, do some reading and maybe get your own opinions on things.
That's it for this week! Hope you all enjoyed the post. If anyone has an interesting idea for a blog post, I'd love to hear it! Bye bye and see you next Tuesday.