In the Beginning

In the beginning there was a single point in which the entire universe was compressed down into pure, hot energy.  At that first instant, everything sprung out of this singularity. All of the forces were one and as the point began to expand, the forces fell apart from one another and then there was gravity and electromagnetism. Then atoms began to form and as the universe continued to expand and cool, protons and neutrons came into existence. These atoms,  contained within clouds of hot gas, began to fuse and release energy. As a result stars were formed and clusters of these stars formed galaxies.

 One such star was formed around five billion years ago on the edge of a spiral galaxy. As it formed, heavier elements in the cloud of gas formed dust and over time and under the force of gravity rocks formed, and then planets. One such planet was covered in lava, toxic rain and noxious gas. Comets and asteroids continuously bombarded the planet. Despite this hostile environment, amino acids began to form chains. These chains began replicating themselves within protective membranes. These early and primitive life forms began to become more complex and adapted to the changing environment. Over millions of years, these early one celled organisms evolved into millions of different species. One such species, in particular, evolved with a highly differentiated and particularly intelligent brain. This species was, of course, homo sapien sapien.

Some people will read this account and believe it to be complete rubbish, instead preferring the creation myth given in an ancient book. Some people will note the lack of god in this theory and conclude he doesn’t exist. Others will see this account as the best option and not know or care if it all began with a creator. Some people will see and accept the science while still seeing plenty of room for a deity as a creative synthesis.

Either way and no matter how you fall, I think it’s a beautiful creation.  I still see room for the old myths, if not simply for their literary and historical value. I do only wish humans would continue to evolve to see them as simply myths, not belonging to the same realm of  conclusive and authentic facts.

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113 Comments

Filed under apostasy, religion, science

113 responses to “In the Beginning

  1. So what are you saying… we religious folk need more ‘evolving’? Why, because religion isn’t purely rational? :/
    Einstein once said, “not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” If all one relies upon is tangible science – the material – then one might as well reject God. Your idea of myth is a slippery slope to ‘nothingness’ – if everything non-tangible in religion is myth, then so must be God. Are you saying God is a myth?

    • I love it when people use Einstein to bolster religion when Einstein did not believe in a personal God and was at best a deist leaning heavily towards agnosticism.

      The post illustrates that the scientific rationale is yet another story, but one that is actually based on facts. And yes I am saying you “religious folk” need to evolve. At least religious people that reject evolution and the big bang in favor for what their completely unsubstantiated holy book of choice dictates.

      Your slippery slope argument is valid as there are plenty of atheists out there who feel God is a myth. I lean more towards deism myself. Seeing God in creation surely cannot be proven, but it is a far cry from believing an ancient book is the actual word of God, especially when that book is full of misogyny and violence (as are both the Quran and the Bible), not to mention claims that have been disproven by science.

      • Issam

        Einstein was a firm believer in God. He actually hated the atheists who used his ideas and quotes to bolster their atheism. He was not leaning toward agnosticism at all.

        Muslims never rejected the Big Bang. There is nothing in the Quran that defies the Big Bang. On the contrary, there are several verses in the Quran that point to the Big Bang such as the early gaseous state of the universe and how the universe was a single point that exploded.

        The Big Bang itself is evidence for the existence of God, because it says that the universe had an absolute beginning. Nothing preceded the universe. And since nothing comes from nothing Someone must have brought the universe into existence. That is God.

        There are many arguments for the existence of God, such as the Ontological, Cosmological, Teleological and Moral arguments. Also arguments from Reason, arguments from Biogenesis. So seeing God in creation surely can be proven, but you believing in a Deist God, such as the one you believe in, is irrational. A God who does not care about His creatures is not a Merciful God, and a God who does not reward the good and punish the evil is not a Just God.

        I understand your statement about evolution, but you probably do not know that before Darwin, many Muslim scholars believed that humans evolved from other creatures. Scholars such as Ibn Khaldun, Ibn Arabi, Aljahiz and even Fakhredin Razi advocated evolution long before Darwin came into existence.

        Today many philosophers believe that the theory of evolution is actually an evidence for the existence of God. Briefly, our mental faculties could not have come through evolution or they would have been unreliable. Who would trust the mind of an ape for instance? Therefore the evolution of humans was divinely directed, and this where the story of Adam and Eve comes in.

        I do not understand how the fact that the Quran is an ancient book could count against its authenticity? Your claim that the Quran is a “completely unsubstantiated holy book of choice” shows your unawareness of Muslim studies and approaches to the Quran. Same goes for your other claims that it is “full of misogyny and violence” and “have been disproven by science”. You certainly have proven no such things.

        Regards,

        • I’m glad you have found a way to reconcile your faith with current scientific thought. Indeed, I don’t believe science negates God. I do actually see God in the universe and surely this post wasn’t meant to be some type of atheist manifesto. Surely, if you’ve read it as such, you’ve either misunderstood, or I’ve done a poor job in writing it.

          I don’t take exception to your claims regarding religion and science. Well, except for the bit about Adam and Eve. However, i will take exception to your insinuation that the Quran is neither misogynistic, violent, or scientifically innacurate.

          Misogyny (We hashed this out before, but here goes anyway): wife beating (yes I know you think dharaba means to seperate, either way the husband still has control), which brings me to divorce laws, inheritance laws, having sex with your slaves legally (of course she has to be willing and what woman wouldn’t be thinking of sex after her entire village was pillaged and menfolk killed), polygamy, 2 female witnesses to 1 man witness, i’m sure there is more and that doesn’t even get into the hadith (again I realize you dont accept the hadith).

          violence:
          Allah himself is a violent character in the Quran. Here are some of my favorites.
          Quran 017.010 And that those who believe not in the Hereafter, for them We have prepared a painful doom.
          Quran 047.015 are given boiling water to drink so that it teareth their bowels?
          Quran 086.015 Lo! they plot a plot (against thee, O Muhammad) And I plot a plot (against them). give a respite to the disbelievers. Deal thou gently with them for a while. Scorched by burning fire, drinking from a boiling spring, no food for them save bitter thorn-fruit.
          Really, just open any page and you won’t have to read long before you see Allah threatening his creation with eternal torture.

          science:
          The quran claims semenal fluid comes from between the backbone and rib.
          The quran claims the sun orbits the earth. Quran 36:38, 36.40, 91:1
          the sun sets into a murky pool 18.86
          The the stars rise 81:16
          The lowest part of heaven consist of stars 37.6
          The universe was created in 6 days 50:38

          there are many verses that suggest the earth is flat such as 51.48, 71.19, 88.20. Of course this all makes sense as these verses were the reflection of the way people of 7th century arabia viewed the universe. Surely God would have known better.

      • Issam

        Hello Stephanie,
        I am respondoing here because it won’t give me the option to reply directly.

        1. My religion did not need any reconciliation with scientific thought, because both were never in conflict in the first place. Regarding my comment about seeing God in creation, it was a response to your statement that “Seeing God in creation surely cannot be proven”. I said that it can be proven. You obviously misunderstood my comment.

        2. You obviously did not get my thoughts about Adam and Eve correctly. Adam and Eve were the missing link in evolution that transformed us from dumb animals into intelligent human beings. This does not conflict with the fact that we descend from other animals. To the contrary , many evolution scientists believe in this. What I am talking about here is a logical argument called the argument from reason. Several philosophers have endorsed it.

        3. Yes, we hashed the supposed misogyny in the Quran before, and you never commented on my corrections to your wrong views about women in the Quran. Instead you seem to be just repeating yourself, over and over.

        4. Verse 4:34 does not give the husband any control. It is only talking about how a loyal and good husband should treat his bad, unappreciative wife. The verse does not prevent a loyal and good woman from giving the same treatment to her bad, unappreciative husband.

        5. Both men and women can issue a divorce in Islam, provided they give good reasons. The relatives have to interfere before that and try to reconcile the differences between the husband and the wife, and if they fail, then can the husband or wife issue a divorce. These are the divorce laws in the Quran in a nutshell. Do you have any specific verse in mind that disagrees with this?

        6. Both men and women have equal inheritance shares in the Quran. The misunderstanding comes from the beginning sentence in verse 4:11. This verse says that the “hadd”, which means limit or maximum thing, a man can get is twice that of a woman. This is because in those ages it was men who used to spend on their families, but the verse does not prevent Muslims from lowering the “hadd”, since nowadays both men and women spend on one another, so that women can have equal shares exactly like men. Actually there are examples of that in verse 4:11. For instance both the father and mother of the deceased get 1/3 each if the dceased has no children, and get 1/6 each if he has a child.

        7. Slavery is illegal in the Quran, read 90:10-13. And the Quran commands believers to free slaves as atonement for their sins. There were slaves before the revelation of the Quran, and for those the Quran gave equal treatment as free people, sometimes even softer treatment than free people. You seem to think that the Quran commands Muslims to pillage entire villages and kill all the men before fornicating with the women of the deceased! It is amazing if you think so! Nowhere in the Quran does it even hint at such a terrible thing. The Quran says: “Fight in the cause of God those who fight you, but do not transgress; for God loveth not transgressors.” [2:190] And fornication is a sin in the Quran. I am sure you know that.

        8. There was no need for your sarcastic statement about the sex with slaves, Stephanie. Religion is a very sensitive topic so let’s keep the discussion civil please.

        9. Polygamy in the Quran is the exception, not the rule. It is strictly conditional. Men can marry another woman only as a way to take care of her orphaned children. Read verses 4:2-3. 4:6 and 4:127. Moreover, the Quran gives women the chance to prevent their husbands from marrying other women even to take care of their orphaned children. A woman can put a condition in her marriage contract that her husband should never marry another woman for any reason whatsoever, and the husband of course has to honour that contract as per verse 5:1.

        10. I explained how the testimony of women equals that of men on Marahm’s blog, and you never commented on that, but here goes anyway: The Quran does not say that the testimony of a woman is half that of a man’s. There are several verses in the Quran regarding testimony, and in all of them the Quran does not make any difference between men and women. Actually in one sura, [24-8-9], the testimony of women overrules that of men. There is no other religion or constitution that gives women such rights. The confusion about women’s testimony comes from verse [2:282]. This verse only concerns commercial dealings, and so it only applies to a specific situation, and is not universal. It also does not say that the testimony of a woman is half that of a man’s in commercial dealings. It means that there should be another woman witness should the first woman witness make a mistake. This is because in those days men used to do all the work while women were kept at home, rare exceptions notwithstanding. And so women were far more susceptible to making mistakes than men. But since nowadays women work alongside men and have acquired the same work experiences as men, then the condition for the second woman witness becomes void and so one woman witness becomes sufficient.

        11. Do you still believe that Hadith are part of Islam?

        12. The verses you cited do not show God to be violent or threatening His creation with eternal torture. They show Him to be a Just God. God’s favours on us are unlimited, therefore rejecting God is an unlimited crime which requires an unlimited punishment and that is eternal Hell. That is justice. It is not torture unless you consider punishing criminals accordingly to be torture.

        13. Verse 86:7 does not say that semenal fluid comes from between the backbone and rib. It is talking about man not semenal fluid. Read verse 86:5 to understand the context.

        14. Verses 36:38 and 36:38 do not say that the sun orbits the earth. They only say that the sun runs, which is true because the sun runs around the center of the Galaxy at an orbital speed of about 251 km/s. Verse 91:1 only says “By the sun and its brightness”. I am not sure how that even relates to the orbit of the sun. Are you copying these verses from other anti-Muslim websites?

        15. Verse 18:86 does not say that the sun sets into a murky pool. Verses 18:83-86 say that Thul Qarnayn reached a murky pool when the sun was going away at evening. This is further evident by the following verses which tell us that Thul Qarnayn continued his journey. Obviously he did not go into the sun.

        16. Verse 81:16 does not say that The the stars rise. This is what it says: “the planets that run their course and hide”.

        17. Verse 37:6 does not say that the lowest part of heaven consist of stars. This is what it says: “We have adorned the lowest heaven with the ornament of the planets”. It is talking about the lowest heaven, not the lowest part of the heaven. Heaven in the Quran refers to everything above us, which means the universe. The Quran says that there are 7 heavens, or universes. Read about the multiverse theory. Our universe is the lowest of these universes, or heavens.

        18. Verse 50:38 says that the universe was created in 6 periods of time, not in 6 24-hour days, because that is what the word yawm in the verse means. Read verse 70:4 to find out how the word yawm can even mean a period of 50,000 years.

        19. Verses 51:48, 71:19 and 88:20 do not suggest that the earth is flat. They are talking about the ground we walk on. The Quran says that the earth is spherical in a poetic way in verse 39:5.
        There is no one error in the Quran, because it is the word of God, and God makes no mistakes, because as you say, He would have known better.

        Regards,

  2. Stephanie, it’s interesting that some people see religion and evolution as “either-or.” I was raised in a very religious household, went to 14 years of Catholic school and was taught exactly what you described in your post. It’s what I still believe today.

    As for your reader’s “slippery slope,” I don’t think God is all that concerned about who “believes” in Him, much less in what way. He’s bigger than that. The point for me is not whether or what a person believes (and I’m married to an atheist), but how he or she acts on those beliefs. I subscribe to the old saying about judging a tree by the fruit it bears.

    Why do people care so much about what others think or believe? Do they really have that much time on their hands? Schools, hospitals, women’s shelters, museums, libraries, assisted living centers….all need volunteers. Why is someone’s belief threatened by anothers? I love the fact that there are many and diverse religious beliefs and enjoy learning about them. We’re all richer for it.

    • from my very dim view of Catholicism, I think that they don’t reject science so much as Muslims might. At least in this modern age.
      I agree wholeheartedly with your tree and the fruit it bears analogy.

      • Issam

        Dear Stephanie,

        I think what you said was absurd. No offense intended at all. You really think that Muslims reject science? And even more than Catholics? When did Muslims ever challenge a scientific theory, with the exception of the theory of evolution, which has been challeneged by all religious communities, especially the Catholics? Did you ever hear about Muslims conducting conferences and authoring tomes about how the universe is only 6000 years old? Or how languages started at the tower of Babel etc…? It seems that your misconceptions about Islam and Muslims are deeper than I originally thought.
        Or maybe you think that the Quran has more “scientific errors” in it than the Bible and that is why you said that? That is plain wrong.

        Regards,

        • You win Issam. The Muslim world is so much more advanced in scientific and technological thinking. The rest of the world is just clamoring to catch up to the high standards they’ve set.

          And I didn’t say anything about the bible. I’m sure it’s quite full of errors as well.

          I was just responding to Angelle’s comment about what she was taught in Catholic schools. In my thoroughly unscientific survey, I have found Catholics to be pretty open minded about science, more so than Muslims. Whatever the vatican’s official position is on evolution, I really couldn’t care less.

      • Issam

        Why the sarcastic statements Stephanie? I was never sarcastic with you.

        This is not about winning or losing. I am not trying to win anything here. Shame that you see it that way. I am interested in a civil discussion, are you?

        Maybe the Muslim world, in general, is not so much more advanced in scientific and technological thinking than Europe and North America, although it is more advanced than many other countries, but this is not because they reject science as you said, but because many of these countries are just poor countries which were colonized and continue to be colonized, economically at least, to this day. Some of these countries are even run by dictatorships which are supported by the “much more advanced” imperial establishments, but thank God that is beginning to change.

        Muslims were much more advanced in scientific and technological thinking than Europe in the Middle Ages. Many achievements of our human civilization today trace their origins to that era.

        You admit that your survey was unscientific, so how can you make such a sweeping and generalizing statement? And how can you even care less about the Vatican’s official opinion here when no Catholic can disagree with its opinions, or he would not be Catholic?

        Oh and by the way, I am not saying that Muslims are more open minded than Catholics or Protestants or Hindus. Or vice versa. They all contributed to science, and they all have their good fruits and bad fruits.

        Regards,

      • Issam

        I engage in it with people who want to have a dialogue about God. It benefits all parties. I surely would not engage in it with people who do not wish to have a dialogue on God.

        You say that this blog is not about critiquing Islam, yet below you made a comment that there was a difference between critique and hate (Which is true by the way). Why did you need to make that comment if you were not criticising Islam on your blog?

        Those commentators were responding to the objections and pops that you have at religion in your main blog posts. In this main post you try to create a friction between science and religion, and show how religion contains myths. In another main post you write objections about the women and human rights in Islam and the nature of the Islamic God. So why are you so surprised that some Muslims would critique your posts? Or do you only want commentators who only cheer for anything you post?

        My life is probably busier than your life. Notice that before today, my last comment was made like 10 days ago. It is true that none asked me to come here and express my opinions, but I thought that this was a public blog open to respectable comments from all people. If you do not want me to comment here again then please say so and you will never see a comment from me here again.

        My 500 word comments are not my very unique and particular views about Islam or are far out of mainstream, and you know it. You know that what I write is endorsed by eminent scholars such as Khaled Abou Elfadl, Fatima Mernissi, Asma Barlas etc… and other scholars you have not heard about such as Ahmad Sobhy Mansour and Gamal Albanna. Not to mention eminent scholars of yesteryears such as Mohammad Abdu and Abu Hanifa. I would even go as far as saying that most average Muslims believe just like the way I do, because they know and practice nothing like the nonsense in the Hadiths and some of what is written in the ancient commentaries on the Quran. It is funny how several days ago on Marahm’s blog you were talking about how there was only a wide and varied body of opinion within Islamic tradition, and that it was a source of strength that should be embraced more by modern Muslims, and now you are contradicting yourself and implying that only your opinion of Islam, which is the opinion of the Salafis, is the only correct opinion, to justify your rejection of Islam to yourself.

        The truth of the matter is that you disbelive in Islam because you do not wish to believe in Islam, not because you think it is against women or human rights. You could have easily embraced the views expressed by eminent scholars such as Khaled Abou Elfadl or Fatima Mernissi or any other progressive scholar.

        I never wote those 500 word posts to convince you to return to Islam in the first place. I knew that you would never return to Islam the first day I landed on your blog. Your tone, the way you respond to or ignore critiques, the language you use etc… all expose this. I wrote those posts just to answer your objections to the Quran, because I like exchanging ideas with people, nothing more and nothing less. Your beliefs do not interest me in the slightest. The fact that you say that you will never return to Islam , and that if anything, your interaction with people here has only cemented that in your mind, shows your complete irrationalism for disregarding any evidence that would prove you wrong, your lack of integrity regarding this matter and how dogmatic and close-minded you are.

        Peace and Blessings,

    • Issam

      Dear angelle,

      I agree with most of what you said. Now regarding your final paragraph, it is not about caring so much about what others think or believe, or that someone’s belief can be threatened by another. The fact is that some people are vocal in their objections to certain things, and they erroneosly claim that none can respond to their objections. They are basically asking for others to answer their objections, but when someone does, they start asking about why they are responding. It is strange indeed. How is this dialogue supposed to work actually?
      Or perhaps those who voice their objections should instead volunteer for schools, hospitals, women’s shelters, libraries etc…?

      If I start running a blog critiquing atheism or Deism, you can bet your last dollar that my blog will be flooded with comments from atheists or Deists. And I would have absolutely no complaint about that as long as their comments were respectable. I would actually engage with them as much as time allows.

      Dialogue is healthy and good as long as it is civil.

      Regards,

      • “The fact is that some people are vocal in their objections to certain things, and they erroneosly claim that none can respond to their objections. They are basically asking for others to answer their objections, but when someone does, they start asking about why they are responding. It is strange indeed. How is this dialogue supposed to work actually?”

        Then exactly why are you engaging in it? How does it benefit you?

        This blog isn’t about “critiquing” Islam. Most of the criticisms I’ve raised have been in response to commentators. It’s not about anything except what might be on my mind in any particular time. It just so happens that my apostacy and changing religious views happen to be it at this time. It’s a creative outlet and at times, more often than not, an open forum for debate and discussion. I certainly never wished to be the latter, and find it somewhat exhausting to fit it all into my incredibly busy life. The fact is no one asked you to come here and express your opinions. I’m tolerant of them in the extent that I’ve published every last thing that’s been written here.

        However, you must know that it’s pretty much pointless to write 500 word posts on your very unique and particular views about Islam and why it is the only way to truth and salvation (as far out of mainstream as they are). Perhaps you would better serve your ideas with your own blog because I will never return to Islam. If anything, my interaction with people here has only cemented that in my mind.

  3. Allah has given you a challenge, in the Qur’an. If you come up with a book that is better then the Qur’an, that is more unique, and more beautiful, that is poetic, but historic and even legal, yet soulful – then you have a legitimate claim – otherwise, all of this recycled anti-religious humanist rubbish, that we’ve all heard before, is an appeal to people’s ignorance.

    And btw, I quoted Einstein to illustrate a point on rationality – on the material world – not religion.
    In the end, Allah guides whom He wills.
    Best,

    • Oh nida you’re funny. Believing in science is anti religious humanist rubbish?

      Of course as a Muslim you always have the old “Allah guides who he will” excuse to fall back on. Asking someone to form an argument on the terms set by a belief system that person finds as totally ridiculous and has absolutely no belief in is asking a bit much isn’t it? I suppose the feeling is mutual in that case.

      As for the challenge set in the Quran, plenty of people challenged the miraculous nature of the Quran, both then and now, based on the grammar, syntax and linguistics found within. Of course Muslims aren’t going to buy into it that easily. These days, people are downright hostile to their book being critiqued by the usual literary standards.

      I once heard a professor recite Homer in the original Greek. It was one of the most beautiful and spell binding things I have ever experienced. Surely, if he would have told people his poetry came directly from God, they would have believed him.

      • Let me put it bluntly, your claim that you are somehow more ‘evolved’ for having rejected religion in the name of science is completely arrogant, and unfounded.

        Science, or more specifically (macro)evolution has become a religious belief in itself, and it is clear that you have ascribed to that belief system. In that sense, you are no more ‘evolved’ then the rest of us. You’ve simply chosen a ‘modern/humanist’ religion, over an ‘ancient’ one.

        • all except for the facts. I think you might want to look into the scientific method and what makes a scientific theory. Versus faith, which is based on, well, basically nothing.

          Science isn’t a religion. It is subject to change as new research and evidence arises.

          Science doesn’t answer everything regarding life and human existence. There is much room for philosophy, psychology, poetry, art, music, and yes, even religion. But to take religion and religous texts literally, especially in the face of scientic evidence, is just being obstinate and stubborn. Perhaps many avoid it because they fear the conclusions they might reach.

      • And your claim that my opinion is “unfounded” and because I believe and argue for that opinion is “arrogant” is kind of like the pot calling the kettle black, especially coming from one who clings so strongly to religion. Perhaps you can find solace in knowing that I’m surely going to burn in hell according to your provable and unarrogant world view.

      • Now you are just putting words into my mouth. God knows where you and I are going, but as far as science and religion are concerned, it is pretty clear that ‘evolutionists’ only cling to the absurdity of the idea because creationism seems to be the other alternative. Religious people do not reject science; they reject certain ideas within science.

        And ‘macro-evolution’ is as much a myth as are some of the religious stories you’ve found difficulty in understanding. You yourself are reading the Qur’an literarily, because anyone with sincerity reading the Word of God will recognize its miraculous nature. Not everything is to be taken at face value in the Qur’an, and that is exactly what you have done. Your way of looking at religion is no different from the ‘Wahabi literalists’ you seem to be critical of.

        And I’ve described your claim as ‘arrogant’ because you’ve assumed a superiority complex over religious people. You yourself have stated that we are ‘less evolved’ and should catch up to your world standard.

        • i’m not putting words into your mouth. That’s what your holy book says about disbelievers like me.

          you’re paranoia towards evolution is just astounding.

          “Not everything is to be taken at face value in the Quran”..of course there are metaphors, but Muslims do after all believe the Quran is the literal verbatim word of god, so yes, you must take it all at face value. You can only read metaphor so far. It’s interesting, previously, when I tried to read the myths as such aka metaphor, you were wholly against that.

          Again, very arrogant on your part to assume that I’ve never tried to read the Quran sincerly and that anyone who does would be able to see it’s miraculous nature. It’s nothing of the sort. It’s basically God saying believe this or you will burn in hellfire forever, spattered with some social rules which don’t favor women, with a pinch of 7th century scientific understanding. Oh and some really weird verses about heaven which seem, to again, cater to the Arabs. Maybe that’s just all metaphor though.
          ” you’ve assumed a superiority complex over religious people”.. again the pot calling the kettle black. Don’t religious people believe their way is the absolute only way and all others are astray? Or are you more of a universalist unitarian?

      • No Stephanie, I’ve always claimed that God’s word have to be understood both ‘literarily’ and ‘metaphorically’ – and I still stand by those words. Believing that the Qur’an is the ‘literal’ word of God, doesn’t mean the word itself is to be understood literally. It simply means that it came form God directly, but given the nature of God in Islam, and his transcending nature, we believe that His word is also transcendent and eternal. It holds qualities of God – so it cannot be fully grasped literarily.

        That is the beauty of it, because there are many ways of looking at it and hence why we have many different interpretations of the Word of God.

        Anyway, you really seem to have missed the point of Islam, dear. A sincere seeker of truth will accept even the most unsettling bits of reality, even if they may go against her own ‘self.’ That is courage, that is sincerity.

        “Don’t religious people believe their way is the absolute only way and all others are astray?”
        That’s like when someone brings up islamophobia in the West, and the person starts bluffing the issue and turning your attention to how bad the other faiths have it in the ME. Pretty lame if you ask me – it’s avoiding the real question.

        Any-who, the God I believe in and that Islam describes, is a Merciful God, a Loving God and a Forgiving God – it is too bad that you choose to focus only on fear and not give hope a chance.

        To you your way, to me mine. Peace!

      • Issam

        Nobody said that believing in science was anti religious humanist rubbish. Science and religion complement each other.

        Don’t you think that your description of our belief system as “totally ridiculous” is offensive? We never said such things about your belief system. We disagree, surly, but we never degrade it.

        When we say God guides who wants to be guided, we are not forming an argument from the Quran. This is a logical argument. A Just God would only guide those who seek guidance, and would only misguide those who seek misguidance. If a religion , any religion for that, claims to be true, then its God must act like that if it is a Just God.

        I have read some of these ancient and modern literary challenges to the Quran, and honestly they do not even offer a decent challenge. Most of these so called challenges even plagiarize the Quran’s terminology and phrases, then add some other phrases of their own to make it seem original and unique, and then offer their so called challenge!

        The Quran is the top literary text in the Arabic language. No sane scholar, Muslim or non-Muslim, even disputes this. It is extremely unique. It is not like poetry or standard text. And it revolutionized the Arabic language.

        I agree with you that being the top literary text in Arabic does not by default make the Quran the word of God, or else the works of Shakespeare would be divinely inspired becaue they are the top in English, or Homer would be divinely inspired because it is the top in Greek. However that is not the challenge of the Quran. The challenge of the Quran is set in verse 29:48 which says: “Say: Then bring a Book from God, which is a better guide than either of them, that I may follow it! if you are truthful!”

        It is the guidance of the Quran that is the challenge. Its social laws, its compatibility with modern science and prediction of scientific truths centuries before their acceptance, its historical reliability, its literary standard, its successful prophecies, its recordance of correct historical events, its understanding of human nature, I can go on and on, but all of this does prove that the Quran is the word of God. Although I believe that the existence of the Islamic God can be proven purely on logic without discussing the Quran, but that is a different topic.

        Regards,

      • Issam

        Dear Stephanie,

        Who said that religion was faith based on nothing? That is just wrong. Islam can be logically proven.

        I am glad that you think science doesn’t answer everything regarding life and human existence. Scientism is not scientific.

        Taking religion and religious texts literally, when they complement and not conflict, with scientific evidence is actually very rational, because science itself cannot explain reality.

        The people who avoid it are a minority who never got it rightly in the first place.

        Regards,

      • Issam

        Dear Stephanie,

        The Quran does not say that all disbelievers go to Hell. Read verses like 2:62 and 22:17 to find out that even righteous Christians, Jews, Sabeans, Zoroastrians and other believers go to Paradise.
        It is only people who reject Islam because they simply do not want to believe in it that go to Hell. Fair enough I think.

        Believing in metaphor does not negate the literal truth of the Quran. I do not know where you got that idea from. Many verses in the Quran are actually metaphors and that is even how the ancient commentators understood them.

        Your objections to the Quran are now becoming repetitive, and were answered before. Your only new objection is about “some really weird verses about heaven which seem, to again, cater to the Arabs.” I presume you are talking about the presence of houris in Paradise. Well in Paradise there will be no sexual intercourse because we will be genderless. Houris and menservants are there to serve only. Promising the Arabs with sexual intercourse in Paradise would not have catered to the Arabs because they were already having lots of sex before the revelation of the Quran and the last thing they needed was more sexual intercourse. Some people used to even marry or own tens of women back then.

        It is double standard to rebuke religious people for believing that their way is the absolute only way and all others are astray, when you yourself cling so strongly to Deism and even declare that you will never return to Islam, no matter what evidence comes your way, and that if anything, your interaction with people here has only cemented that in you mind. Too much dogmatism, stubborness and close-mindedness.

        Peace and Blessings,

        • “The Quran does not say that all disbelievers go to Hell. Read verses like 2:62 and 22:17 to find out that even righteous Christians, Jews, Sabeans, Zoroastrians and other believers go to Paradise.”

          “And whoever desires a religion other than Islam, it shall not be accepted from him, and in the hereafter he shall be one of the losers.” (Qur’an 3:85)

          “It is only people who reject Islam because they simply do not want to believe in it that go to Hell. Fair enough I think.”
          I’d say it sounds rather petty, and entirely not worthy of God. Either way, I”m pretty sure that describe me and anyone else who has heard the message and rejected it:

          “Verily, those who disbelieved after their Belief and then went on increasing in their disbelief – never will their repentance be accepted [because they repent only by their tongues and not from their hearts]. And they are those who are astray. Verily, those who disbelieved, and died while they were disbelievers, the (whole) earth full of gold will not be accepted from anyone of them even if they offered it as a ransom. For them is a painful torment and they will have no helpers.” (3:90)

          “Believing in metaphor does not negate the literal truth of the Quran.”

          You’ve misunderstood me. I agree there are metaphors within the Quran. I just don’t believe it is the literal word of God.

          “Your objections to the Quran are now becoming repetitive, and were answered before.”

          Those are my objections. The fact that I must keep repeating them is what makes them repetitive. Just because Issam answered them based on his interpretation of Islam doesn’t lessen the objections. In other words, you’ve not convinced me of your viewpoint, nor have I convinced you of mine.
          Come to think of it, this entire dialogue is becoming repetitive.

          ” Too much dogmatism, stubborness and close-mindedness.”
          You are correct. I am dogmatic, stubborn, and closed minded about never returning to Islam. I’m a lost cause Issam. Move on.

      • Issam

        You’ve misunderstood me. I agree there are metaphors within the Quran. I just don’t believe it is the literal word of God.
        ——————————————————————————————————————————————————-
        OK I got you.

        Those are my objections. The fact that I must keep repeating them is what makes them repetitive. Just because Issam answered them based on his interpretation of Islam doesn’t lessen the objections. In other words, you’ve not convinced me of your viewpoint, nor have I convinced you of mine.
        Come to think of it, this entire dialogue is becoming repetitive.
        —————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-
        I answered them based on what the Quran says, not based on my interpretation of Islam. I do not invent things. And I provided all the verses and references that support what I wrote.

        The fact remains that unless you respond to my answers to your objections with verses from the Quran that support your opinions, then your objections will always remain unreasonable and meaningless repetitive rants.
        At least I am not shutting any possibilities.

        You are correct. I am dogmatic, stubborn, and closed minded about never returning to Islam.
        —————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-
        No, you are dogmatic, stubborn and close-minded because you disregard, without even thinking twice, any evidence that supports a worldview that you were embracing someday. It is also because you reject a worldview, not because of reason, but because you do not wish to embrace it.

        Peace and Blessing,

      • Issam

        I am replying to your comment below here because WordPress would not allow me to reply directly to it.

        Verse 3:85 is talking about people who abandon Islam for another religion. Here is the following verse to understand the context: “How shall God guide those who reject religion after they accepted it and bore witness that the Messenger was true and that clear signs had come unto them? but God guides not a people unjust.”. The verse is not talking about righteous Christians, Jews, Sabeans, Zoroastrians, Deists etc…

        “I’d say it sounds rather petty, and entirely not worthy of God.”

        Why does it sound rather petty and entirely not worthy of God? A Just God would not equate between a believer who only seeks to obey him, and between a disbeliever who rejects all of His favours upon him. You simply want a God who treats all people the same. Sorry but that is not justice.

        You are right in that verse 3:90 is talking about those who abandon Islam. I thought the fate of those who abandon Islam was clear in the Quran. There is even a more explicit verse such as 2:217. Contrary to what you think, It does not comfort me and I do not rejoice when I know that people are committing crimes and are going to Hell.

        Regards,

      • Issam

        “Youre right I don’t wish to embrace it. Is that what we’ve been arguing about for weeks now?”

        No, that is a very side issue which only shows your insincerity and disingenuousness regarding this whole matter. What we’ve been arguing about for weeks was the status of women in the Quran and why a Just God would punish unbelievers.

        Regards,

        • almostclever

          Issam, dude, take a hint.. Your rash of comments is borderline stalker

          And please, for the love of God, don’t reply with a 500 word comment! LOL!!

    • Sig

      There are plenty of books better than the quran. The thing is, that’s totally subjective. I say “Shelter Island” by Dennis Lehane was a much more interesting and thought provoking read than the quran. Prove me wrong? You can’t.

  4. I really like this post. Surely the universe could have been created exactly like you explained in the first three paragraphs by God. I don’t understand why many religionists wouldn’t accept that as a possibility rather than believe in creation myths of various types.

    Thank you for thinking and for being brave to share your thoughts.

    • I’m glad you “get” this post, as some of the other commentators equate believing in the scientific version of things as succumbing to atheism. I think what physics has to offer is much more spectacular than the judeo/christian/islamic version of creation. And is much more worthy of the spectacular and incomprehinsible nature of god.

      • I don’t think at all that this post is pro-atheism. And I think the evolution theory is completely compatible with belief in God. I enjoyed it so thank you for sharing it!

      • Issam

        Physics does not offer a much more spectacular version than the Islamic version of creation. It only offers a much more detailed version, because exploring the origin of the universe is the function of physics, not the Quran.

        Your description of the nature of God as incomprehensible is astonishing. If you cannot comprehend God then how do you believe in Him or know what He wants you to be?

        None here equated believing in the scientific version of things as succumbing to atheism. To the contrary our posts were replies to your assertions that the standard scientific theories negate what the Quran says. We believe both say the same thing. Everybody accepts mainstream scientific theories. Only nida rejects macroevolution, and even then she never said that science succumbs to atheism, only that some have used evolution to further their agenda, which is actually true.

        Regards,

        • Nida has written more than one post (and mentions in the comments) about evolution and humanism. Her argument is that evolution is anti God, or at best anti religion, and she also rails against humanism. Humanism is an atheistic movement. She mentions it in her blog and the comments. Hence, my mention of atheism.

          Unless the standard scientific theories mention Adam and Even in a garden with the devil, then yes they do negate what the Quran says. And I don’t think the commentators really cared much about the post anyway (with the exception of Nida).

          Again. Move on.

      • Issam

        You misunderstood my comment. I said that nida only rejects evolution, which is true, and I also said that she did not equate believing in the scientific version of things as succumbing to atheism, which is also true. Whether she believes in Humanism or not has no bearing on her commitment to science. Humanism is philosophical, not scientific.

        And if Humanism means loving humanity then I can be classified as a Humanist too.

        The standard scientific theories do not mention Adam and Even in a garden with the devil because how Adam and Eve fit into the chain of evolution is the work of philosophy, not the natural sciences. Just a few comments above you were saying that science doesn’t answer everything regarding life and human existence, and that there was much room for philosophy. So no, the standard scientific theories do not negate what the Quran says.

        Regards,

  5. suzie

    Stephanie,
    During your time as a Muslim, did you ever get introduced to the sciences of the Quran? There are about 80 sciences of the Quran and it shows just how extraordinarily complex it is. You cannot just simply read an ayat in the English translation and think that you understand it correctly. There were reasons for specific revelations and some of the specific incidents that occurred during that period. The distinguishing features between the verses that were revealed in Makkah and Madinah for example. The sciences of the Quran can be studied for many years and still you may not understand the Quran correctly. Just knowing that there are 80 sciences makes one understand how ignorant we as even Muslims are towards to Quran and the Word of Allah. Seriously I wish you would have tried to understand that with Islam you never stop learning, it seems that you just took Islam on a surface level and never dug deeper to see that it is not just for all the hate that you seem to have for it. These things are seriously surface level issues and i’m sorry you couldn’t get past them and see what Islam has to offer, how much it helps to spark intellectual thinking about this dunya. What were the benefits you came across as being a Muslim? What made you come to Islam in the beginning?

    • Thank you for commenting, but of as you probably guessed I disagree with your analysis. I’m quite familiar with the old “but you didn’t understand it correctly” card. I think I understand it quite fine, but reached a different conclusion. I’m curious, are you fluent in classical arabic and well versed in the Quranic sciences? No? Then why do you believe in a book you can’t possibly understand?

      It’s also worthy of mention that the Quran many times refers to its message as clear and easy to understand. And why would God be so unforthcoming about delivering a message when to reject it means eternal torture, boiling skin, and such? Seems a little cruel.

      And to be sure I don’t hate Islam. Parts of it I actually miss. But you can’t force yourself to believe in something when you just simply don’t. I do think Islam is a little more problematic than most religions, due to the belief that the revelation was given directly to a man and is unchanging for all times. In Christianity and Judaism, we know there were writers to the text, and that they build off of older myths and stories which were popular to the Hebrew ancients. This allows more fluidity for the follower to shed off more problematic social constraints. Not to mention, the behavior of Jesus, as relayed by his followers, is much more exemplary than that of Muhammad.

      • Issam

        Dear Stephanie,

        Your familiarity with the “old “but you didn’t understand it correctly” card” does not prove that you understand the Quran quite fine. Honestly you have shown to have many misconceptions about the Quran, and that is the only reason you reached a different conclusion.

        I am fluent in Arabic and your understanding of what the Quran says about women and human rights is plain wrong. The Quran is a clear book for those who want to understand it, not search for errors in it. And why force yourself to believe in something when your objections can be answerd?

        Your understanding of revelation in all three religions is just plain wrong. The writers of the Bible were divinely inspired by the Holy Spirit. Both Jesus and Paul insisted that all scripture was fit for worship. No true Jew or Christian would disregard any passage of the Bible. The place of the Bible in Christianity and Judaism is the same as that of the Quran’s in Islam.

        The behaviour of Jesus as relayed by his followers is not as exemplary as you think. Go read about his revolt against the Romans, or his inhumane treatment of the Canaanite woman in Matthew 15:22-28, not to mention the misogynist passages in the letters of Paul, who was inspird by Jesus. And we have not delved yet into the Old Testament, in which Jesus was the second person of the Trinity before his incarnation. The only reason you think that the behavior of Jesus, as relayed by his followers, is much more exemplary than that of Muhammad is because you think that the Hadiths and Sira are actual sayings and deeds of the Prophet, when in fact they were authored at least 100 years after his death, and thus hold no historical reliability.

        Regards,

    • Years ago when I was first researching Islam, I was introduced to Harun Yahya and similar evangelists who vehemently argue against Darwinism and science — and after reading about the scientific miracles in the Qur’an I nearly walked away from it all. You can’t show me a picture of used chewing gum and expect me to believe that it looks like a fetus and therefore, God accurately reveals human gestation in the Quran.

      Now, show me the works of the early Muslim scientists who took the time to dissect cadavers, create astrolabes and telescopes to chart the universe, and now we’re talking.

  6. suzie

    A man went to a barbershop to have his hair cut and his beard trimmed. As the barber began to work, they began to have a good conversation. They talked about so many things and various subjects.

    When they eventually touched on the subject of God, the barber said: “I
    don’t believe that God exists.”

    “Why do you say that?” asked the customer.

    “Well, you just have to go out in the street to realize that God doesn’t exist. Tell me, if God exists, would there be so many sick people? Would there be abandoned children? If God existed, there would be neither suffering nor pain. I can’t imagine a loving a God who would allow all of these things.”

    The customer thought for a moment, but didn’t respond because he didn’t want to start an argument. The barber finished his job and the customer left the shop. Just after he left the barbershop, he saw a man in the street with long, stringy, dirty hair and an untrimmed beard. He looked dirty and unkempt.

    The customer turned back and entered the barber shop again and he said to the barber: “You know what? Barbers do not exist.”

    “How can you say that?” asked the surprised barber. “I am here, and I am a barber. And I just worked on you!”

    “No!” the customer exclaimed. “Barbers don’t exist because if they did, there would be no people with dirty long hair and untrimmed beards, like that man outside.”

    “Ah, but barbers DO exist! What happens is, people do not come to me.”

    “Exactly!”- affirmed the customer. “That’s the point! God, too, DOES exist! What happens, is, people don’t go to Him and do not look for him.

    • This makes no sense to me and has nothing whatsoever to do with the post.

      The analogy is saying people who suffer illness and abandoned children are just simply not looking for God. If they did, they’d be cured, as the guy with the shaggy hair and beard would be cured if only he would look for a barber?

      I’m not an atheist, either way, so I’m not sure who this little antedote is meant for. In rejecting Islam, I’d like to think I’m opening up a whole range of possibilities in understanding God, free from religion. That’s why I enjoy physics and science so much (referring to the post). It’s spectacular, way more interesting than anything any holy book has to say about the beginning of creation.

      And yet, here I am, arguing with Muslims….go figure.

      • Issam

        Dear Stephanie,

        You cannot understand God without religion. The Deist God is an unjust God who treats the good and the bad as the same. He does not reward the good or punish the evil. He is so disinterested and even unmerciful that he does not communicate with his creatures to show them the good way. Unfortunately you have not opened up any range of possibilities in understanding God, rather you have succumbed into a very irrational unworthy view of God.

        Physics and Science are way more interesting than anything any holy book has to say about the beginning of creation because it is the sole purpose of physics and science to understand the beginning of creation in detail. The Quran does not talk about the beginning of the creation in detail because it is a religious book, not a scientific one.

        And what is wrong with you arguing with Muslims? Your statement sound degrading and disrespectable.

        Regards,

  7. muslim

    @stephanie
    YOU SAID:
    Science:
    The quran claims semenal fluid comes from between the backbone and rib.
    The quran claims the sun orbits the earth. Quran 36:38, 36.40, 91:1
    the sun sets into a murky pool 18.86
    The the stars rise 81:16
    The lowest part of heaven consist of stars 37.6
    The universe was created in 6 days 50:38
    there are many verses that suggest the earth is flat such as 51.48, 71.19, 88.20. Of course this all makes sense as these verses were the reflection of the way people of 7th century arabia viewed the universe. Surely God would have known better.
    ME : Answer to your most or and all questions
    Watch out (all the videos on you tube) :

  8. michele

    I don’t normally comment on these blogs but I can’t help but notice that you seem quite bitter, as though you have decided not to follow the path of Islam and now are determined to take as many people with you as possible, your responses to commenters on your blog sound condescending and arrogant. It seems odd that you could have followed something for so long that you now found so distasteful and problematic. If you are married to a believing Muslim I am curious as to how you can reconcile loving someone who believes in something you find so abhorrent, let alone trying to raise a children together, or how he can reconcile loving someone who views his faith with such disdain. Hopefully your “spectacular” scientific theories will get you where you need to go.

    • When practicing or newly converted Muslims write blog after blog about the glory of Islam (usually leaving out the ugly underbelly of course), that’s all fine and good.

      So why can’t an apostate like myself write and post my views? I’m not trying to “take as many people with me as possible”. I’m only writing a few posts on a blog about my feelings. As opposed to religious people who openly prosteletyze or give “dawa”.

      I’m apologize if disagreeing with my commentators, is in your view, condescension.

      Do yo have any feelings about the post? Do you believe in the big bang or evolution and if you do, how do you reconcile that with your faith? That was, after all what the post was about. Or is it easier to leave nasty messages directed towards the fact that I disagree (and left) Islam?

      • Issam

        1. Practicing or newly converted Muslims do not usually “leave out the ugly underbelly” because there is no ugly underbelly to begin with. This ugly underbelly is a myth in your mind which came as a result of your misconceptions about the Quran.

        2. Practicing or newly converted Muslims do not write about other faiths in a condescending and arrogant manner. If they did rest assured we would voice the same objections.

        3. michele did not say that merely disagreeing with your commentators was condescension. She was talking about the manner in which you disagreed and the tone of your comments. You do indeed sound quite bitter, dogmatic and sometimes sarcastic in your comments toward Muslims.

        4. Why would you think that a Muslim needs to reconcile the big bang and evolution with his religion? I might understand your question about evolution (But as I said above evolution could not have happened without divine intervention, and both Adam and Eve were the link between us and the other animals that we descended from) but the big bang? It is explicitly mentioned in the Quran.

        5. Your post was not about how a Muslim would reconcile these two scientific theories with his religion. It was about your personal appreciation of physics and science and how you were trying to show them in conflict with the “myths” in the holy books, including the Quran. This is what prompted the replies to your post.

        6. Again none is leaving nasty messages toward the fact that you disagree with Islam. It is just the tone of your comments toward Muslims and Islam that is becoming more aggressive by the day.

        Regards,

      • Sig

        Stephanie — as the t-shirts in the mall say “Haters gonna hate.” You are absolutely right – when you’re promoting Islam and talking about how as a (white in most cases) woman you found it a sheltering peace, it’s all “alhamdolillah, tell the people the realities and truths!” Now, it’s “why you gotta post on this anyways?” Well, if people don’t like it — neither you nor allah is forcing them to read this. Keep on writing.

  9. suzie

    I won’t post anything on here anymore, I was hoping for an open dialogue, but you have just belittled my thoughts and also seem to have a prejudice towards Muslims or atleast some kind of suppressed anger. I am quite aware that my path towards knowledge about is a long on but it is one I am willing to take, the more you learn about Islam the more you realize how ignorance one can be with this deen and how ignorant we are with the Quran and the creation of Allah. It’s sad that you did not see the beauty of this religion and how much it has to offer, and that you now you think you have it all figured about Islam after being a Muslim for a short time. I hope you see the prejudice you have towards Muslim and know that we are not all out to get you. you don’t have to be so defensive in all your posts.
    “‘ In rejecting Islam, I’d like to think I’m opening up a whole range of possibilities in understanding God, free from religion. That’s why I enjoy physics and science so much (referring to the post). It’s spectacular, way more interesting than anything any holy book has to say about the beginning of creation.
    And yet, here I am, arguing with Muslims….go figure.”
    ” I’m quite familiar with the old “but you didn’t understand it correctly” card. ”
    sorry for posting and good luck with your spectacular science.

    • Suzie you may comment as much as you want and I’m sorry you feel I’m belittling you by disagreeing. Obviously we’re on different pages. Either way you didn’t answer my question about how you believe in a book you can’t possibly understand? That was your argument, not mine. Responding to my question, whether or not you disagree with my views is dialogue. You are the one who is closing the diologue, not me.

      I was Muslim for 7.5 years, which I don’t consider a “short time”.

  10. Teri

    Stephanie… may I ask a question? What does your husband feel about all of this? How will you raise your children? Just wondering. I enjoy reading your views on different things.

    • The husband and I are fine. Love and family come over religion for us. That’s not to say he’s happy about it. He’s a simple man and he lives as a Muslim and will die as one. Our children continue to be raised Muslim. I only hope they will grow to be intelligent, independent thinkers. I have no problem if they continue to be Muslims into adulthood. That is their path, and I don’t expect it will be the same as mine.

  11. Isaam, Einstein was absolutely NOT a firm believer in god. He was a self-professed agnostic: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Einstein%27s_religious_views

    Also, every one of your arguments in favor of the existence of god can – and has been – deconstructed: http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/goldstein09/goldstein09_index.html

    • Issam

      Hello Lisa and thank you for you reply.

      Wikipedia can be edited by anybody and therefore is a poor source, especially on such an issue where everyone wishes to have Einstein on their side (As if having Einstein on your side necessarily proves that you are on the right side). Toknow Einstein’s views of God read a scholarly book such as Einstein and Religion: Physics and Theology by Max Jammer, who knew Einstein personally. In it you will find out that Einstein was a firm believer in an intelligent Mind behind the universe.

      If you think that the arguments in favour of the existence of God can, and have been, deconstructed then please write your objections with your own words. Do not direct me to other web pages because the internet is filled with all sorts of things, and this is not how dialogue is supposed to work.

      Peace and Blessings,

      • Lisa

        Issam, I find it interesting that you seem to have more to say on this blog than Stephanie – the blog author – does. You seem extremely determined to get your point(s) across and not give up until Stephanie backs down and agrees with you. Why? Actually, don’t answer that, because I’m not interested in the why. I do find it disturbing, though, and arrogant and just rather annoying. You have a pretty hostile tone here, too. Lots and lots and lots of people in the world are not fans of Islam or of the notion of God or of religion or faith. I wonder if you spend your time searching for as many of these people as you can in order to try to convince them that your views are correct.

        And why in the world would I rewrite my own objections to the arguments in favor of God when someone else has done such a deft and expert job of it and I happen to agree with every last word of it?

  12. michele

    I don’t have a problem with you “leaving” Islam, as the Quran says there should be no coercion in matters of faith, as I’m sure you know. My point was that you don’t really seem interested in an open discussion about the validity of Islam but rather you seek to degrade and destroy Islam/Muslims and those who offer up differing viewpoints, I don’t think my message was “nasty” at all, in fact your attitude in pretty much all your responses to those who do not agree with you could be considered “nasty”. You should request that only like minded individuals respond to your blog or make it private and accessible only to other Islam bashers and apostates. My gut tells me you enjoy “getting a rise” out of Muslims and are seeking to prove some kind of point. Allahu Alim. I will honor your wishes and move on to discussions on other blogs, then you can pretend that I am just one of those “intellectually inferior” Muslims that isn’t as “smart” as you.
    I think your assertion that there are only blogs about the glory of Islam is incorrect. It seems in recent years the tradition of debate and ijtihad has returned and there seems to be much more discussion and writing on things that might seem problematic or inconsistent with the character or God and Islam. Here in California there have even been forums with authors and scholars that were once considered too progressive for more traditional communities.
    I personally believe that there is a necessity for God to provide his believers with boundaries and edicts that help them to live healthy, productive lives and nurture and protect the family system. I was raised in a dual faith family (Muslim/Christian) so I had the opportunity to experience both. I do believe that the examination of tafsir and hadith is important as both are written by (mostly) men, that the hadith should be taken as a collection of the Prophet’s Life experiences, not a holy book. To believe the Quran is the literal word of God is not to say that each verse is to be interpreted literally. Your desire to refute the tafsir of the Quran which is considered more progressive and consistent with Islam and the teaching of the Prophet baffles me. I do not believe science and Quran are mutually exclusive.
    How did you practice something for over 7 years yet you now feel it has little merit? Were you one of those girls that converts to “get/keep the guy” or maybe you found Islam exoctic and mysterious in the beginning?

    • “My point was that you don’t really seem interested in an open discussion about the validity of Islam”
      Absolutely no where in the post did I ask for a discussion about the validity of Islam, any more than I asked for a discussion about Christianity, Judaism, Bahai, Buddism, or any other faith. I understand that people form their worldview based on in part their religion, but it seems to me that most of the Muslim commentators don’t just use Islam as a frame of reference for the formation of an opinion, rather use these comment sections to spread dawa and try and convince me how Islam is the truth and I’m am lead astray.

      It’s similar to, say, a Muslim blogger writing a post, which has little, or nothing to do with Islam, and then having a half a dozen Christians commenting about how Islam is wrong and salvation is found only through Christ. I’d assume they might get quite annoyed and it’d be quite understandable if they took a less than super friendly tone in replying.

      Even so, I have absolute not intention of making this blog private. To ask me to do so feels as if you’re just really want me to shut up because you don’t agree with me. There is a difference between critique and openly bashing. On that note, I don’t think I’ve written anything that could be called Islam bashing, nor do I think I’ve been particularly nasty. There are much worse things that could be said about Islam and Muhammad, and often are, on truly anti-Islamic sites.

      “How did you practice something for over 7 years yet you now feel it has little merit? Were you one of those girls that converts to “get/keep the guy” or maybe you found Islam exoctic and mysterious in the beginning?”

      Very snide remark. And you call me bitter and condescending. It’s interesting that Muslims can’t accept that a person would reject their faith based on it’s merit. In reality, I had my doubts about Islam from the beginning, but pushed those doubts away like so many good religious people do. I tried to view Islam through a more progressive lens, tried to rationalize it’s more troublesome aspects, but in the end that actually led me further away from it’s fold. When I was absolutely honest with myself I just couldn’t believe the Quran was from God. Where is this beautiful and uplifting book that everyone keeps talking about? I didn’t see it. And I still don’t. I’ve outlined my issues previously and the best explanation I’ve gotten is that I don’t understand it because I don’t know Arabic, or that I don’t understand it because it’s from God and therefore transdcends human reason, or that God knows what’s best for us even when we don’t understand it. That’s just not good enough for me.

      “I will honor your wishes and move on to discussions on other blogs, then you can pretend that I am just one of those “intellectually inferior” Muslims that isn’t as “smart” as you.”

      I really don’t know where you get this idea. This entire statement is patently false.

      • Issam

        1. The Muslim commentators do not use these comment sections to spread dawa and try and convince you how Islam is the truth and you are lead astray. They use them to reply to the objections and pops that you explicitly or implicitly have at Islam in your posts. So your analogy to the Muslim blogger and his half a dozen Christians is false. If you only talked about Deism or did not criticize other religions in your posts, then this discussion would not have happened.

        2. You say that there are much worse things that could be said about Islam and Muhammad. Would you mind to tell us about these things?

        3. You say that there is a differnce between critique and openly bashing, yet above you said that this blog was not about critiquing Islam. This is becoming confusing.

        4. Muslims can accept that someone may reject their religion because there is no compulsion in religion, but to claim that he rejected it on its merit then we would expect some evidence. You have shown absolutely nothing of the sort. All of your objections have been answered point by point.

        5. You say that you had your doubts about Islam from the beginning, but this only proves that you were never a firm believer. Good religious people do not push their doubts away as you erroneously think. They sincerely seek and find answers to their questions. Unfortunately you did nothong of the sort. You just let your initial doubts overwhelm you because you were never a firm believer in the first place, or because you maybe just got tired of the whole thing.

        6. You say that you tried to view Islam through a more progressive lens, tried to rationalize its more “troublesome” aspects, but in the end that actually led you further away from its fold? How could progressive Islam, which advocates women rights, human rights and rationalism lead you further away from it? That does not make any sense at all.

        7. If you were absolutely honest with yourself you would not be so bitter and dismissive toward Muslims who respectably answer your objections.

        8. How can you ask to see this beautiful and uplifting book that everyone keeps talking about when in actuality, deep inside you, you only want to find errors and mistakes in it? Be sincere in your quest and all the doors will be open for you.

        9. You claim that you’ve outlined your issues previously and that the best explanation you’ve gotten is that you don’t understand the Quran because you don’t know Arabic, or that you don’t understand it because it’s from God and therefore transdcends human reason, or that God knows what’s best for us even when we don’t understand it. You further say that that’s just not good enough for you.
        Sorry but this comment of yours is patently false, and is insulting to our intelligence. You try to pass yourself off as someone with sincere objections to Islam that made her abandon the religion and whom the Muslims cannot answer except with irrational responses like the ones you invented here. I have answered your objections point by point, not by appealing to your ignorance of Arabic or to your supposed incomprehension of God or to the wisdom of God. My answers came straight from the Quran itself. I have cited and explained all the “troublesome” verses in their context. I have also explained why Islam supports gender equality, human rights and punishment for the unbelievers, and all I got from you was just mere repetitions of your objections, erroneous claims that what I say is only my own views, and defensive assertions that verge on hysteria that you would never return to Islam no matter what evidence is provided and that your interaction with the commentators even reinforced your prejudices! I will leave it to the honest and neutral readers of this post to judge which viewpoint is the rational one.

        10. You said that religious people “need to evolve”, and that Muslims reject science and are not advanced in scientific and technological thinking (Despite the thousands of contributions they have made to science and philosophy over the centuries and even to this very day). You clearly degrade religious people here, especially Muslims, and show them as “intellectually inferior”. That was the source of michele’s disappointment with your posts.

        Regards,

  13. suzie

    you can disagree with me all you want stephanie, but the way you have been approaching your disagreements shows alot of bitterness towards Muslims, the Quran and in my eyes hate that you have towards this religion. as to answer your question, i never said that you can’t completly understand the Quran, what i said one cannot simply read an english translation and think that you know what the Quran is all about, there are about 80 sciences to approaching the Quran and this makes you realize the complexities of this holy book and how every single ayat was revealed for a specific suprose at a specific time and to give a specific message. So I am on my path to inshallah understanding this word of Allah through through scholars who have studied this for many years who have a better understanding it than I do, and whatever I do know and learn about the Quran makes me realize how much I don’t know and how ignorant I can be in this dunya, and all the blessings I have been given. “The recipe for perpetual ignorance is: Be satisfied with your opinions and content with your knowledge.”“Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.”.

    As for why do I believe in this book that I may not understand completely, because I believe the Quran is true word of God with the same language of God revelation, and through the massive logical evidence that was presented to be I conclude this as the truth and during this life I believe it is my responsibility to get closer to God, which I believe I can strive for by learning and keep learning about the Quran, the life of the Prophet, the Hadith.
    Also personally even before prior knowledge of arabic the sound of the recitation of the Quran always had a very strong impact on me which I have never felt before, and even when I did read the translation version of this book ( which i only got a glimpse of the real beauty of it)I have cried many times because of the feeling that the ayat have in a way spoken to me. I have never felt this way before.

    in conclusion the path of knowledge is never ending

    • Critique and hate are two entirely different things. I still don’t think I’ve written anything hateful at all. Heck, even my “apostacy” post was pretty nice.

      I used to cry when I would hear the Quran recited. But then I’d feel a tad unsettled when I realized it was talking about sending people to hellfire or slaves or jinn or something. The meaning of the ayat never spoke to me.

      Do you think that’s a hateful comment? It is only the truth.

      • Also, I wonder if you heard ancient arabic poetry recited in the Quranic tradition, would you feel the same beauty. I wonder if you’d be able to tell the difference.

        A lot of music also moves me to tears. I think there is something divine in Bach and Mozart, something otherworldly.

      • Issam

        Your abandoning Islam post was nice indeed, but since then your attitude toward Islam and Muslims is becoming more aggressive and intolerant by the day. You said religious people “need to evolve”, that the “umma” was a myth, and that Muslims reject science and are not advanced in scientific and technological thinking (Despite the thousands of contributions they have made to science and philosophy over the centuries and even to this very day).

        Saying that the verses about sending people to Hellfire or slaves or jinn or something never spoke to you is not a hateful comment (Your above comments that I cited are), but I think we discussed why God should punish evil people in Hellfire, and that Quran prohibits slavery. I do not, however, know your objection to jinn? Is it that you do not know any evidence for their existence? Well here is a logical argument for the existence of angels and demons: We both believe that God is Eternal and is eternally Just and Loving. Being Just and loving involves actualizing justice and love, and therefore there must be a plurality of uncreated persons upon whom God has been putting His justice and love since eternity, and these are the angels and demons. See? It is very straightforward.

        Regards,

      • Issam

        Ancient Arabic poetry is indeed beautiful, but not on the level of the Quran. It is also very different from the Quran. I would easily tell the difference between the two of them.

        Mozart and Beethoven are very moving indeed, but there was no need for your sarcasm. Please read my post above where I explained what the challenge of the Quran was all about, and it was not about language.

        Regards,

    • Sig

      Anytime one disagrees with a Muslim, one is “bitter” or “dismissive” or “belittling” or somehow oppressing the ummah. If you don’t like what she has to say, don’t read here, simple as that. I could say that Issam and a few others here are “belittling, bitter and dismissive” towards atheists and Christians here, given that what has been posted here thus far – some of it aimed at Stephanie as a person and not her ideas – has been pretty petty.

  14. Lisa

    Although Stephanie can clearly stand up for herself, I have to say that it really bothers me to see her so attacked. And speaking as a blogger myself, it seems to me that people blog as a way to express and work through experiences, thoughts, feelings, and ideas that may be very personal and unique to them, though they may choose to make their blog public. I don’t know Stephanie’s reasons for making her blog public, but I admire her honesty and courage in exposing her very personal thoughts on such a controversial topic, and hopefully her posts reach an audience empathetic towards her and not just angry and offended by her.

    What I really, really don’t understand most of all, though, is why people of faith and religion feel so offended by somebody else’s apostacy. Isn’t it a personal matter? Why is the state of someone else’s soul or faith anyone else’s concern? If one is certain and utterly confident of their beliefs, why would they care about someone else’s faith? Even if Stephanie is criticizing Islam, if you love Islam, then what do you care what she thinks?

    • Lisa, no-one is attacking Stephanie or her choosing to leave Islam. Our problem is when people of ‘no religion’ start belittling our own intelligence, and telling us we need to ‘evolve.’ I mean who is attacking whom here?

      I wish Stephanie all the best, but I won’t stand being constantly ‘boxed’ in by today’s ‘enlightened’ humanists who constantly call religious people ‘stupid’ and ‘backward.’ They need to purchase a mirror and study the image they see in front of them very carefully before they start insulting other people’s intelligence, and patronizing them in the name of secularism and Darwinian science.

      Good day,

      • Lisa

        But if you are secure in your faith and your beliefs, why do you care what anyone else thinks or where they stand on the subject of a faith or belief system you just happen to subscribe to? Why take it so personally? How do her views – or anyone’s views – hurt you just because they don’t align with yours?

    • Issam

      Dear Lisa,

      Nobody here is attacking Stephanie or even wishes to attack her. We are not angry or offended or hurt by her at all (Well unless she makes some derogatory remarks).

      Stephanie started this blog to voice her objections about Islam. That is very fine. All we are doing is answering these objections. It is a very simple dialogue. It has nothing to do with our confidence of our beliefs. We indeed love Islam and that is why we try to correct the misconceptions of other people as time permits. Honestly I see nothing offensive about that. It is nothing personal at all.

      Now you can point your last question to her too: if she is secure in her beliefs, why does she care about other beliefs that she does not believe in?

      Personally I have no problem with Stephanie’s objections. They are the typical objections anyway. Everyone has the right to voice their objections and counter objections as long as it is done in a respectable manner. That is what freedom of expression is all about.

      Peace and Blessings.

  15. ISLAM AND YOU

    Lisa,
    By going through stphanie’s recent posts and her acceptance of blaming herself being muslim about 7+ years by having doubts about her own belief,SHE HAS PROVED HERSELF she has converted to islam to marry a muslim…she herself proved ,SHE WAS A FAKE MUSLIM FOR ALMOST 8 YEARS…

    • Issam

      That is too harsh, and untrue. I do not think Stephanie was a “fake” Muslim for 7.5 years. I believe her when she says that she genuinely believed in Islam. Maybe she was not the firmst of the believers, maybe she had many wrong ideas about Islam, but that is all. Many Muslims today actually have wrong ideas about what the Quran commands. That does not make them “fake” Muslims either.

      I agree however that Stephanie’s attitude has been nothing short of bewildering. Her tone toward anyone who rebukes her on her misconceptions about Islam is becoming increasingly aggressive, intolerant and sarcastic by the day. She seems to have a lovely family and her Muslim friends and community treat her well. She says she misses some aspects of Islam, yet she refuses to have a dialogue about Islam. She is nothing short of paranoid when she says that we are here to get her back to Islam when that is not true. Whether she become Muslim or not is irrelevant. We are only responding to her objections. Nothing more and nothing less.

      She says that she got no answers to her issues except that she did not understand Arabic or that God transcends human reason or that He knows what we do not know and that those answers were not good enough for her, when that is not true. Personally I have responded to her objections point by point by quoting verses from the Quran and explaining them in their context, and I got no response from her except that these were only my personal opinions, when that is not true and she knows it, or that she would never become Muslim no matter what evidence is provided, when she herself believed in that religion for 7.5 years, or that her interaction with the commentators here has only cemented her rejection of Islam in her mind. Sorry but that is not how an objective and rational person would argue about things, especially as sensitive and crucial a thing as religion.

      I wish her the best in her life and that God bless her and her family.
      Regards,

  16. Religiosity is persistently being challenged in today’s secular environment. Anyone who express a deep commitment to one faith or another is antagonized and called various names, such as ‘fundamentalist’, ‘radical’, ‘backward’, ‘primitive’, ‘paranoid’, ‘extremist’ etc. etc. And most undermining of all is the claim that we ‘blindly’ follow everything we are told, we take everything literally, we expect everyone to burn in hell, and we obviously do not use our ‘intelligence’ but are gullible and easily swayed by these ‘extremist’ opinions, and just ‘believe’ everything we are being told.

    This is not about being uncomfortable with ‘dissenting opinions’ – this is not about being “hurt…just because they don’t align with” our way of thinking – it’s about being constantly put down for believing what we do believe. And that is getting quite personal. Wouldn’t you be offended if someone attacked your sense of integrity like this all the time?

    Ultimately, my faith is like my mother. I would not let someone insult my mother for the sake of ‘free expression’ – likewise, I will not let people spread false information abut my religion either.

    • Lisa

      Nida, as it happens, my integrity, as well as my morals, are regularly called into question and attacked by people of faith because I am atheist. In my experience, people of faith seem to think they have a monopoly on what is right and good. I think the world would be a much better place without religion or faith or belief in and reliance on invisible, supernatural patriarchal figures.

      • Yes Lisa, except in today’s world the normative view is ‘disbelief’ – not ‘belief’ – and it is the humanist, pseudo-scientific ideology which seeks to impose itself on all of humanity, as you yourself admit. And you’re not the only one who “think(s) the world would be a much better place without religion or faith or belief in and reliance on invisible, supernatural patriarchal figures”.

        Indeed you now have evangelical atheist pioneers like Richard Dawkins spreading your message across the globe. It’s just that not everyone is prone to the ‘Dawkin’s delusion.’ And Islam, he believes, is the ‘greatest threat’ to his success.

    • Issam

      Very well put nida!

      Regards,

  17. Jude

    It’s just so sad that Muslims give themselves the right to belittle non-religious people in their books and Khutbba (even in Quran which descirbed Kuffar as cattle or even worse ! (25:44) ) yet they act so hurt and offended when someone critique even one aspect in Islam . Why are Muslims so insecure if they believe that Islam is the ultimate truth ?

    You might accuse Stephanie of being bitter and descending all you want when the truth is Stephanie was very respectful and objective in her posts , it’s just that most muslims take apostasy very personally.

    Also, do you muslims think that you will make Stephanie reconsider her views on Islam when you accuse her of being close minded (which is ironic , coming from Muslims!) or a fake muslim who converted just to get the guy ?? .. This is mean and cruel. It’s obvious from her previous blog that this woman give Islam a chance. She was a devoted mulsim . She was a better mulsim than all of the muslims I know . She just couldn’t accept it anymore. She’s not alone as most converts end up leaving Islam , even born muslims do. Were all these people fake muslims ? or maybe it’s because self-righteous arrogant Muslims like you played a big part in making Islam so ugly like you do now.

  18. Midnightmama

    Hi Steph,

    I’ve got an 18 lb chunk on one arm, so that leaves me to type this on my phone with one thumb.

    When I contemplate the universe, in it’s infinite, astounding and brilliant glory- I know intuitively that God is responsible for it. I’ve felt this way prior to my muslim-ness. Can I prove it? No. Do I need proof? Nope.

    I don’t think that this post is specific to Islam. I just think it’s your frame of reference religiously speaking.

    I see room for evolution in religion. I don’t think the two are mutually exclusive. Of course it has to be factual- and not just hypothesized.

    Whether or not someone accepts or rejects evolution is not indicator of inferior or superior intelligence as some have eluded to in these comments.

    Did you see the Larry King interview with Deepak Chopra, Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow ? It’s about 15 minutes long and very interesting. It’s entirely related to this subject matter. Can’t figure out how to link from here but google it and it will pop up right away.

    Ok thumb cramping.

    Hope you and the fam are well 🙂

  19. michele

    Wow, can you give some statistics to back up these accusations, instead of just pulling them out of the air. All of the converts I know are still practicing Muslims and I know quite a lot since I work part time for a Muslim social service agency, as for born Muslims leaving the faith, I’m sure there are a few but I would guess that it is far fewer than most. Why are Muslims ugly for trying to engage in rational debate, discussion and the desire to clarify and defend their faith, this has nothing to do with insecurity? As I said before, she should find a community of atheist and apostate supporters who will applaud her decision, revel in her denial and give her justification for her decision. It seems to me that most of the Muslims on here have responded in a kind and respectful way until they were belittled and demeaned.
    Every monotheistic faith has verses about non-believers (those who deny God)- as the non-believers fought against mono-theism. Though we have been subjected to a few flimsy examples from the Islamic tradition, I could produce more violent and treacherous punishments and comparison from the books that came before the Quran. If we believe that God wanted to lead us to the path of eternity in heaven, should He not have warned us of the dangers of disbelief? If this girl is the best Muslim you know then you have a limited circle of Muslim acquaintances. My sorrow for your husband and children Stephanie, as your anger, bitterness and disdain of Islam and Muslims will surely be evident in your home.

    • I’m happier than I’ve been in a long time and this is definitely reflected in my marriage. No need to feel sorry for any of us.

      I am not immune to the common human response of sarcasm in the face of criticism and this surely has been reflected in my comments. However, never have I demeaned or shown disdain for Islam or Muslims. It’s quite possible to be critical of a belief system without having hatred towards the followers of that system or even the system itself.

      “As I said before, she should find a community of atheist and apostate supporters who will applaud her decision, revel in her denial and give her justification for her decision. ”
      Why would you make this statement? By the same token I could suggest that you only visit blogs in which the author agrees with your belief system.

      It seems you are speaking with undue emotion and perhaps even disdain (as you say) towards the idea of apostacy when you make such comments. You’ve definitely attacked me personally on more that one occasion.

  20. Stephanie, ultimately your logic is flawed. If you accept ‘a’ God, even though His existence cannot be ‘proven’ scientifically (but it is quite possible to prove His existence through deductive reasoning); then how can you not believe in His ability to perform miracles?

    If you are saying that God’s revelation (which is the biggest miracle in Islam for example), is a myth, then God must be a myth too. Your logic is inconsistent, and that is what I was essentially getting at in my very first comment.
    If you solely rely on material proof to understand this world and creation, then your belief in this ‘Deity’ seems superficial.

    How do you define this “Deity” or ‘Creator’ you believe in now?

    • almostclever

      Hey Nida,

      I think you are viewing this with a monotheistic lens, and Stephanie no longer believes in organized religion so it is like one of you describing an orange, and the other describing an apple. Hence, you guys are arguing only from your point of view, when a real discussion can only be had if you see things from each other’s point of view. God’s revelation being a myth = God’s a myth, is a totally monotheistic deduction, and to really see where she is coming from you have to step outside of your own worldview. I’m not saying you want to do that, but what I am saying is, that is the only way to understand how or why another person does or thinks like they do. Stephanie still believes in God, and she is trying to explain how she sees God now. If people are unable to suspend their own values and worldviews, then this 80+ comment discussion, is going to end up nowhere.

      • almostclever

        When I say monotheistic I mean it from a Judaic, Christian, or Islamic organized religious perspective. One can believe in one God outside of those three perspectives, yet a monotheistic organized religious perspective would certainly deduce that no belief in revelation equals no belief in God, but you can’t put that value onto someone who doesn’t prescribe to those laws.

      • I was posing my initial question from a purely philosophical perspective. I did not mention Islam or religion or doctrine or anything. Noone has a monopoly over philosophy, from my understanding, and Socratic seminars call for heated debates and opposing philosophical perspectives/opinions. It’s not just my religious conviction that makes me question her logic, it’s my philosophical curiosity which seeks to understand how she can go from point a (claiming that religion is myth) to point b (that God is not a myth) and still claim she is being rational.

        Anyway, I see she did not wish to respond to my question, so I will leave the discussion at that.
        With peace,

        • Nida, I don’t believe you or anyone else on this blog have given any convincing arguments for the existence of God, not to mention the truth of any one religion.

          Inversely, you’re saying that a) God is real b) religion is real. Are you saying that one cannot believe in God without also believing in religion? Therefore, is God a construct of religion? or is it possible for him to exist despite and without the constraints of religion.

          There are many different ways to view God. There are nearly just as many myths and religions. Are they all correct?

          I don’t believe there is any way to prove God rationally. Rather, this is the realm of faith. My faith only goes so far as to believe there is a God. Nothing else. I base this on my inability to come up with any other reasonable explanation for existence. Atheists have some very convincing arguments against this conclusion, even.

  21. almostclever

    “I do only wish humans would continue to evolve to see them as simply myths, not belonging to the same realm of conclusive and authentic facts.”

    When I think about what it means to shed myths, I think of it as shedding our skin and embracing the positive, pure energy that is our spiritual self. Wow, that sounded way more new agey than it was supposed to, lol.. I don’t mean to get all Oprah on you, but Eckhart Tolle’s books “A New World” and “The Power of Now” are something I wish more people would read and embrace.

    One excerpt that I see as relevant to your original post:

    ” The word God has become empty of meaning through the thousands of years of misuse. I use it sometimes, but I do so sparingly. By misuse, I mean that people who have never even glimpsed the realm of the sacred, the infinite vastness behind the word, use it with great conviction, as if they know what they are talking about. Or they argue against it, as if they know what they are denying.
    This misuse gives rise to absurd beliefs, assertions, and egoic delusions, such as ‘my or our God is the only true God, and your God is false,’ or Nietzsche’s famous statement “God is dead.” The word God has become a closed concept. The moment the word is uttered, a mental image is created , a mental representation of someone or something outside of you, and yes, almost inevitably a male someone or something. …… it lends itself too easily to becoming no more than an idea in your head that you believe in. A mental idol.”

    Oh, and hi! 🙂 Hope all is well sis.

  22. muslimexmuslim

    muslims and nonmuslims debating stephanie’s and her followers group with followers of islam.
    watch out : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJtuppjAM0E

  23. What a neat way of getting the reader to think about the topic! I am one of those who “will see and accept the science while still seeing plenty of room for a deity as a creative synthesis.” I am a former agnostic who researching converting to Islam. I don’t see a conflict between science and faith – science has led me to faith. And I also don’t feel any need to scientifically prove or justify my faith in God or the Quran. That would be like trying to scientifically prove I love my man: I just do. (And, by the way, he’s not Muslim or interested in Islam for himself, and we still do just fine thankyouverymuch. For those commentators who “feel sorry” for couples of different faiths: maybe you should quit the insulting and condescendingly fake sympathy and focus on your own love life. Maybe comment on the actual post? Just an idea.)

    “I do only wish humans would continue to evolve to see them as simply myths, not belonging to the same realm of conclusive and authentic facts.”
    What I get from your post is that clinging to myths (as if our lives/existence/entirebeliefsystem depended on it) about something that happened before any of us were born doesn’t really help us, especially when its used to create “otherness” in our fellow human beings. “Evolving” to me would mean accepting that religious belief and scientific rationale do not have to be at odds or trump one another. They don’t have to agree, even. They can agree to disagree agreeably – which is what I wish some of the people commenting here would do.

    Sorry, but I gotta say this – If I had just read the comment I honestly would’ve had no idea what the topic of this post was! Even the very first comment already had a defensive and antagonistic tone to it. Why? Why can’t their just be some healthy debate – about the topic of the post – without getting all hostile like a wounded critter? As someone who has had this struggle with my own blog, I must beg the commentators here – disagree and argue about what’s written, but don’t disrespect the writer. Peace.

  24. Wow, just wow. Stephanie I’m glad to see you are still blogging and I commend you on your courage and patience. I would have started editing comments by this point if I were you. I’ve followed your posts for a few months now. I honestly don’t see any anger or bitterness in your words. You are a FAR CRY of the anti-Muslim and hateful posters within the blogosphere. It’s quite ridiculous to me see you being attracked like this. Indeed there are non-Muslims and apostates who are quite unfair and harsh in their treatment of Islam, and they should be called out for it. You simply are not one of them.

    • yeah, i just hate to start moderating comments. As long as people aren’t blatantly combative in the form of personal attacks and cursing, etc. The comments section of this post has turned into quite the spectacle, which only at times, has anything to do with the post.

  25. But just for arguments sake-let’s say you were angry, harsh, bitter and judgmental in your view of Islam and organized religion in general-SO WHAT? There are 2 billion Christians in this world, 1 billion Hindus, 1.5 billion and counting Muslims. Organized religion dominates most of the planet. Is it that bad that a small minority of us question it and don’t want to live under? Is wanting to be left to our own devices too much to ask for? Reading the posts on your blog and the way that people seek to batter you into accepting their worldview is really disconcerting. But unfortunately this is how the devout(and not just Muslims) tend to behave. It’s not enough to simply believe as you choose. No, they must beat everyone else over the head with their Scriptures and beliefs as well.

    • Lisa

      Dimunitivediva – Amen, sistah!

    • almostclever

      Dimunitivediva,

      How dare you call her courageous and patient!!!!

      Haha, no, just kidding, I agree 110%… I just got caught up in the theme of the comments, lol…

      I must go, I am lolligagging at my field work, avoiding the research sitting in front of me… Must… Concentrate……

      • Sarah–after reading these comments I’m concerned you’ll go on another self imposed hiatus. This is not the way to ease yourself back into it 🙂

        • almostclever

          It’s your fault if I do!! LOL, kidding. I can deal with other people’s issues, they are no longer my own. Plus I love your blog way too much to ignore you, that would just be wrong. Take care! Happy V-Day by the way

          • almostclever

            For example: before I would have read these ridiculous comments by others and thought “maybe there is something I am doing wrong” and I would have taken it to heart. How foolish of me. That is why I got burned out. Being away helped me put it into perspective. I can’t tolerate judgment and condemnation and arrogance on my own blog. That’s why I changed my url and will keep comment moderation on, and will no longer be discussing my personal religious beliefs on my own blog. I just can’t do it, the emotion, for me, is unnecessary.

            I can tell you have a healthy distance from it, not taking it too personal. Good for you for having that thick skin. I hope you don’t fall into feeling prejudice towards people who have obvious prejudice towards you. It’s a tough one sis.

  26. Oh my. That was exhausting. I’m actually quite saddened to see how quickly and often this post was derailed into matters that detract from the beauty of this post.

    Once upon a time I was swimming at night in the ocean off the northern coast of Barbados. A million stars were reflected in the water, so close to me that I could touch them. When I cupped my hands I literally stole the stars from out of the water. That’s when I realized that there were thousands of tiny organisms all around me — light up by bio-luminescence.

    The night I swam with the stars was the first night I acknowledged there was a God. I know there are a million universes, and that ours is expanding and slowing down the further out you go, that there are black holes, supernovas, anti matter, brilliant physics that are completely ineffable. I believe that God provided that spark, but that the universe took care of itself. I love this post because I will forever be the forever fiction romantic.

    I too find more beauty in a rose nebula than believing in a creation mythology.

  27. Midnightmama

    This post broke 100! I had to come back and read more 🙂

  28. muslim

    STEPHANIE,
    scientists and doctors are answering to one of your objections of quranic verses.

  29. Ask Him any Question

    The Universe was created in 6 days 50:38 (contraditing to big bang)
    ANSWER :

  30. Ask Him any Question

    contraditing = Contradicting

  31. In all fairness, dear Stephanie, I think you are intentionally being uninformed of religion and science. Not to appear like one of those who over-glorify our (Muslim) past by constantly referring to the scientific contributions of past Muslims, but they need to be acknowledged fairly. Did you know that most of the ones who excelled in science did so because they interpreted the Quran in a way that impelled them to reason and think and understand and explore? As for reason and logic, it was also Muslim philosophers and other intellectuals who did the very first translations of Plato’s and Aristotle’s works. They were translated into Arabic, and much of the English translations of Aristotle’s and Plato’s that we read today are actually translations of the Arabic texts.

    That era of Muslim contributions to science, philosophy, literature, and virtually every other field is often referred to as the Golden Age of Islam, and Wikipedia (sorry that it’s not the most reliable source, but it gives an idea nonetheless) has a lot to say on it as well.

    As you prolly well know by now, I’m not one to claim that one religion is better or worse than another; similarly, I don’t believe that any one religion is more scientifically correct than another. However, Stephanie, you have to understand that there are many, many, many people — of various religious backgrounds — who enter and leave religions for different reasons. We don’t have to agree with them, but we need to respect them. I for one found your comment that “faith is based on, well, nothing” a bit offensive. No, I’m not offended personally, but I’m offended on behalf of the ones who take faith very seriously, the people (whether Muslim or non-Muslim) who believe that faith is so, SO much more than “nothing,” the ones to whom it is so important that it is based on everything. Sure, I can’t stand the ones who are so arrogant in their faith that the moment you disagree with them, they start praying for your guidance, but we also have to acknowledge and appreciate the existence of those who are more rational, more tolerant, and more accepting.

    So, bottom line: I don’t think it’s fair of you to label all Muslims as one when there are as many different types of Muslims as there are fishes in the sea. Not just Muslims, actually: Islams, too! As the saying goes, “There are as many Islams in this world as there are Muslims.” My suggestion to you would be to inform yourself about the different interpretations of the verses you often cite to make one conclusion. It is intellectually dishonest of you, and of anyone else, to completely ignore another point of view but share and impose only one.

    Best,

    ~ Serenity

    • My believe is that the early Muslim scientists were great not because of Islam but despite it. The early Muslims in the first couple of centuries found themselves with a great amount of wealth and social standing which allowed them the resources to practice the sciences and humanities. They learned alot from the Greeks before them just as the Christians took from the Muslim scienitsts afterwards. Man can be inquisitive and intelligent without religion, as he can be with it.

      “I for one found your comment that “faith is based on, well, nothing” a bit offensive.”
      You are taking my statement out of context. It was in specific reference to holding the writing of an ancient book over scientific proofs and theory. More particularly, believing that the Genesis creation story, borrowed by the Quran, and believing it to be literal despite having no scientific justification or validity, rather evidence to the contrary. The point of the post is there is an alternate creation story based on mathmatics and physics, that is equally spectacular and amazing and in no way contrary to the existence of God. That is what I believe.

      “My suggestion to you would be to inform yourself about the different interpretations of the verses you often cite to make one conclusion.”
      I am quite aware of the different conclusions that exist involving many of the more problematic verses. I tried and tried to believe just one of them. I just couldn’t. I’ve found that often times people will twist the verse, especially those regarding women and homosexuals, to the point that the original meaning is nearly unrecognizable. Through feats of linguistic and exegetical contortionism, one can meet nearly any conclusion based on their own value laden and moralistic viewpoint. I just couldn’t do it anymore. I found that to be intellectual dishonesty.

      “It is intellectually dishonest of you, and of anyone else, to completely ignore another point of view but share and impose only one.”
      Now c’mon! This blog is filled with dissenting views and opinions from people of all faiths and people of no faith. I myself reserve the right to change my mind or make contradictory statements at any given time 🙂 However, one writes or blogs to express their viewpoint and opinion. Readers are free to agree, disagree, or ignore it altogether.

      • Stephanie, sorry for butting in, I know your comment was a reply to Serenity but I just had to say that I agree with you when you say that “My believe is that the early Muslim scientists were great not because of Islam but despite it. The early Muslims in the first couple of centuries found themselves with a great amount of wealth and social standing which allowed them the resources to practice the sciences and humanities.”

        Three years ago I researched a lot on the Golden Age of Islam because my child was doing her research on it and I came to three basic conclusions:

        1. It is unfair to call those centuries the Golden Age of Islam; it was the Golden Age of Arabs because Arabs excelled in areas outside the realm of religion. While it is true that Islam advanced a lot as a religion and sharia and fiqh developed, the other areas in which Arabs excelled were astrology, astronomy, poetry, visual arts, painting and medicine etc.

        2. While most (if not all) inventors and discoverers and scientists were Arab, they were not all Muslim. Jews and Christians who were either Arab or had Arabic names were part of the group which shows that the cause of their discoveries and inventions was not Islam but the fact that they had “a great amount of wealth and social standing.” In fact, it is recorded that some of the new discoveries (like astrological and astronomical discoveries) were actively condemned and suppressed by the Muslim clergy as haraam.

        3. Many of these Arab inventors and discoverers and scientists held, what we would today call (and even then called), heretical beliefs. They found nothing wrong with homosexuality or drinking; many didn’t believe in the day of judgment or that Quran was the revealed word of God and majority held very secular beliefs.

        It is also true that we tell small white lies like try googling “who invented algebra?” and you’ll be hit with thousands of pages saying that it was invented by “the *Muslim* mathematician, Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi”, but many don’t know that Al-Tabari tells us that Khwarizmi was Zoroastrian. Maybe he wasn’t, maybe he was Muslim or had converted to Islam but how does that make Algebra an Islamic achievement? Moreover, the number zero was not invented by Arabs. It was invented in India by a Hindu mathematician Aryabhatta. I mentioned this because my daughter’s Arabic teacher insists to this day that it was Arabs and moreover Muslims who invented the number zero.

        Islam can stand on its own. Does a religion need a Golden Age? I don’t think Islam needs those crutches.

  32. almostclever

    Why does this not sound like Serenity? She never says “dear.” I feel like I am in bizarro world, some comments don’t “sound” like how the author usually sounds.

    • you know I’ve had some weird paranoid vibes lately so maybe I’m rubbin off on you. To the point I was having bizarre dreams about the blogs last night! Regarding impersonating commenters, I’ve seen bloggers accuse others of doing that actually. In the case of the comment you’re referring to, the IP addresses don’t match, but that doesn’t mean anything. User name and email do match, again that doesn’t mean anything either. Since so many of us are friends on FB, it’d be pretty easy to figure out if someone was being impersonated if it ever comes up again.
      Maybe it’s the black magic or the jinn messing with our minds??? 🙂

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