Why I left Islam

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This topic contains 21 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  Simon Paynton 6 years, 7 months ago.

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    I am from Lebanon, I was born and raised as Muslim, as a young boy my father started taking me to our local mosque and taught me how to pray to Allah, here when the indoctrination started. My parents along with the Imam, told me many things, that just did not add up, that women who show skin are condemned to hell, I asked myself as a 5-year-old “These women are not harming anyone, then why would Allah punish them?” I also asked my parents: “Who created God?” They replied: “You are not allowed to ask this question, it will make step towards hell.” Imams also taught me about hell, it really scared me, and I got nightmares because of it, the concept of hell in Islam as described by most Imams would make an awesome horror movie. Ever since I was little boy, I am an individualist, I do not like people telling what to do and intervening in my personal freedom, I still am now.

    However, my parents are open towards unorthodox views like they reject the Hijab, and don’t think that apostates should be executed, or adulterers/fornicators should be stoned, and think that honor killings are criminal.  But unfortunately, they support blasphemy laws, and think that homosexuality is a mental illness and should be rejected by society.

    On one hand, one of my maternal cousins is a member of The Committee of Islamic Scholars, this committee is socially authoritarian and want the government to walk all over other people’s personal & civil liberties in the name of Islam, morality, and traditionalism. A few months ago, when the Supreme Jurisdiction Council declared that homosexuality is fine, and that the state should not intervene with what people do in the bedroom, the committee got pissed off with the Council’s decision. The rest are pro-Hamas and pro-Muslim brotherhood.

    On the other hand, my paternal uncle’s wife works for Dar Al Fatwa, a government institution run by The Grand Mufti of the Sunnis, the institution has political influence on government policy and is backed by Saudi Arabia, and the committee mentioned above.4 years ago, liberals, leftists, secularists, and feminists demanded the Lebanese Parliament and Government to legalize optional secular civil marriage, the Mufti scared the politicians by issuing a fatwa “Any Muslim politician , from the government, Parliament, or  member Jurisdiction Council who supports secular marriage even if optional is an apostate. This made the politicians reject the demand, including Christian and Druze members. The rest of my father’s side is collectivist, tribalist, extremely traditional, they hate it when on their members marries someone from another religious sect, like Shia, Druze, Christian, or Alawite.

    Lebanon, had suffered a devastating 15-year civil war from 1975-1990, it has damaged us socially, economically, and politically, and our Military, and gave rise to the terrorist organization Hezbollah backed by Iran.  Lebanon is now divided into 4 major religious sects; the Sunnis, Shias, Maronite Christians, and Druze. Each of the 4 groups have politicians in the state, all 4 hate each other, and the politicians take advantage of the status quo to keep us fighting over ridiculous things.

    I was not a very religious person, but at the age of 14 almost 15, my brother lost his job in UAE, and came to Lebanon in the summer, he used to very devout and dragged me to pray 5 times a day, I slowly started becoming more religious, by the end of the summer I devoted myself to Allah, suppressed my sexual urges but because of my raging testosterone levels, I still watched porn, masturbated to girls, and had sex with them, but I felt a sheer amount of guilt, and regret, I used to lecture my closest friends that they must not drink alcohol, have premarital sex, even shake hands with female, they got annoyed by me, and started hanging out less with me. But at the same time, I wasn’t feeling that I am being myself, I was repressive, consumed by those bad ideas. In geography class, we were discussing the universe, and the teacher said that the milky way galaxy has an estimated 160 billion planets , she also added that there are hundreds of billions of galaxies in the universe, I came to the conclusion that we may not be alone, and the existence of extraterrestrial civilizations is highly probable, I asked my Imam “ Our universe has hundreds of billions of galaxies, and every galaxy has hundreds of billions of planets, so according to the laws in probability in Math, the we could not be alone in the universe, Do you think extraterrestrials could exist?” His answer was : “No, that is a bunch of nonsense regurgitated by the evil Americans.”

    At the age of 16 my devotion started slowly diminishing, but since I love The Simpsons, I started watching it more, through it I came upon Family Guy, and then South Park. I fell in love with the other two series, they were more than just comedy and satire, they were very well convincing. These shows make fun of everything, through this show I started being exposed to new ideas, even if I didn’t like them, also did offend me, I dismissed many of their arguments, but they did shed some light. But I couldn’t resist I still watch them more. One of the Episodes that made fun of atheism and evolution, when they explained evolution it made a lot of sense.

    At the age of 17, I started losing my faith, I isolated myself in my room for a few days and asked myself these simple questions, “The Christian thinks I am wrong, so does Shia, and many others and I think Sunni Islam is the right one, what if they are right, what if the atheists are right, what if I am wrong?” “If god is omniscient, why did he create satan, he knows certain people are going to heaven and other are going to hell, then why pray?” “In the Koran, it written that God created life and death to test you, and judge you. But If life is limited, and the punishment and reward are eternal then why did god created us?” “Why is religion geographical?” “Why is consensual sex, masturbation wrong if they are harmless?” “What is wrong with homosexuality?” I remember as a young kid, that I was taught humans were the first creatures to inhabit the earth, but I discovered that there were dinosaurs and ruled the earth for hundreds of millions of years, and got extinct 65 million years. And the question from my childhood which was silenced “If everything needs a creator, and god created us then who created god? And who created god’s god?”. I decided that religion is bunch of bullshit created to control minds.

    But I still needed to do further research, I started reading more about the universe, and evolution, watching more documentaries. I stumbled upon great thinkers Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Bill Maher, Stephen Hawking, and also atheist Youtubers like thunderf00t, TJ Kirk, Seth Andrews, DarkMatter2525, and. I found their arguments extremely convincing, encourage critical thinking, challenge adopted ideas, I did listen to religious clerics and had conversations with Pastors, Imams, Mullahs, Ayatollah I even watched Zakir Naik’s lectures, they seemed ridiculous, and unscientific.

    I decided to read the Koran and The Bible critically, and I saw that these books are filled with unscientific claims, unethical, misogynistic, and homophobic bullshit. And above all else it contradicts itself. I also made an analogy, that Muslim majority and Islamic countries and dystopian and extremely backwards, and wherever there is Islam there is dysfunction. And look what is happening now in European countries they are now suffering from a security crisis.

    From the 1920s to the 70s, Arabs, Persians, Afghanis, used to be much more progressive they got influenced by western culture and Attaturk who secularized Turkey, the hijab was rare only older women wore it, Arab women used to wear bikinis and short skirts sexual harassment & rape were almost nonexistent unlike now in Egypt. Saudi Clerics nagged former Arab & Persian leaders to control what women should wear, but Arabs ignored them. Arabs used to go to European countries to earn their degrees. After overthrowing monarchies and Fedualists, the middle class was established because of free market capitalism, and they ruled the Arab world holding progressive and liberal values.  But soon after KSA started getting rich with oil Arabs started going to work there coming back with regressive and reactionary values about the world since the 80s. In addition, the Muslim brotherhood gained more influence. Making Arab culture become one of the most backwards in the world. Plus, the Islamic revolution of Iran also affected us negatively which gave birth to Hezbollah triggered by Zionism, and western neo-conservatism.

    And what really pisses me off is the western regressive left, feminists, and social justice warriors defending Islam and telling others that “The hijab is liberating”, If someone mentions that atrocities against women and gays in the name of Islam or Islamic countries they will reply “But it’s their culture”, and what is worse is that in the women’s march almost everyone was cheering for Linda Sarsour who wants to bring Shariah (Islamic Law) to America which is anti-women, and homophobic.  By the way Sarsour means cockroach in Arabic.

    I now I am an atheist, a de-facto kind, I don’t agree with religion or the hijab but it can be helpful to the unfortunate providing some escape fantasy, and hijab can sometimes protect from the scorching sun.

    PS: Excuse my English, it isn’t my first language. Thanks, in Advance.






    What a beautiful post!  Welcome to the free thinking world of atheism :). I’m particularly glad that because of the internet, you were able to reach out and find information which would otherwise have been inaccessible in your home land.

    It’s such an interesting insight, your history, as it enables people not from your area to get a better understanding of how your system works, too.

    i had a good chuckle at Sarsour meaning ‘cockroach’ 🙂


    Simon Paynton

    Thank you for a very interesting post.  Have you heard this Sam Harris podcast with Sarah Haider, about leaving Islam?





    Forgot to add that “Islam is Christianity on Steroids”



    I watched the dialogue, really liked it.


    Simon Paynton

    Do you have any thoughts on why Islam seems to be so very very paranoid?  Nobody’s allowed to question it, and in general, the religion seems to think that the whole world’s out to get them.  It seems to be defined very much as an opposition to Western values or the West in general.  The West, in contrast, couldn’t really care less what Muslims do in “their own” countries – we don’t define ourselves as “non-Muslim”, we’re just into this or that, getting on with things.

    This situation seems very similar to the right-wing evangelical Christians in the USA.  Very paranoid, very inflexible.

    At the same time, I recognise that it’s not entirely toxic – many Islamic values seem healthy, and whenever I meet real life Muslims, I find myself very impressed (at least with their gracious manners and hospitality).

    I think that the predominant view of Islam in the West is that it’s frighteningly repressive of normal human nature, which is bound to send people crazy and want to blow themselves up and others.


    Simon Paynton

    Sarah Haider’s great.  Muslims seem to have so much to offer the world, but the religion holds them back.



    Very interesting post!

    Glad you had internet access to begin educating yourself, & learning is something which never stops.



    @simon I don’t really know why never really thought about it, but I will give my stock answer.

    Islam originated from a medieval hot desert with temperatures up to 50 degrees Celsius, and of course Muhammad will promise desert people heaven with lots of food, water, cool temperature, and unlimited sex (That’s why sex is repressed). And in order to make this religion promise heaven it takes away basic human necessities according to Abraham Maslow  like water, food, shelter , sex.

    And that’s why you see many muslims resorting to commit terrorist acts in order to get to heaven, providing all human necessities.

    And not to mention, that Islam needs fear, hate & ignorance to survive, like I said in my OP, hell is described as something extremely horrific.



    @simonpaynton Did evangelical christianity helped create New atheism?

    Did they also contribute to the rise of Atheism itself?


    David Boots

    Your English is great. The question I have for you is why do you think islam became much more conservative after the 1970’s?Afghan Students 1960's


    Simon Paynton

    I don’t know for sure, but I have read recently that evangelical Christianity did help to create New atheism in the USA, because of its hardline opposition to science, evolution, human rights etc.  But I believe the main factor was 9/11.

    Atheism itself, I believe, pretty much dates back to the Enlightenment.  Of course, there have always been atheists, but it began to be respectable and mainstream then.  The French Revolution, around that time, created the first officially atheist state, I think.  So that’s the time when it really started to take off.  The Enlightenment itself seems to have beeen birthed by the UK Protestant tradition, and then secular philosophers took over.

    I can’t be sure, but I think that American evangelism itself was some kind of response to both science and atheism which was taking the place of religion within US culture in the 19th century.  So in the West, there’s been some kind of historic back-and-forth between religion and atheism going back centuries.

    I think that Christianity had its own “Enlightenment” which went alongside the secular one.  Certainly, it’s behaved in a much more friendly fashion overall since then.


    Simon Paynton

    @david Boots – I don’t know, but I think the Iranian revolution seems to have started the process, followed by a lot of $$$ muscle provided by hardline Saudi Arabia.



    But I believe the main factor was 9/11.

    That’s what Sam Harris says… he had “other” plans for his career before 911 happened.



    The question I have for you is why do you think islam became much more conservative after the 1970’s?

    If I can jump in here, one possible contributor to empowering theocracies is simply “oil money”. Oil money gave power to the few at the top in control of business, politics, and dissemination of conservative brand(s) of religion.

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