Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Do we need religion -- part 1

By Aussiegirl

In March I posted three articles that Wolfgang Bruno had written, under the title Three more from Wolfgang Bruno. This is another, more recent article from his website, which I urge you to visit. This article is long but well worth the read. It's very encouraging to learn that 10% to 15% of UK Muslims are apostates -- and if a former Muslim thinks that Islam can't be reformed, you have to believe it. The trouble is that Islam will go down fighting and screaming and killing. It's not a pleasant future that awaits us!

Wolfgang Bruno

Do We Need Religion? Part 1

Ali Sina is the Iranian ex-Muslim behind the website www.faithfreedom.org. Along with other former Muslims such as Ibn Warraq, Sina is spearheading what may be the first organized movement of ex-Muslims in Islamic history, made possible during the past ten to fifteen years by Muslim immigration to the West and the growth of the Internet. Publishing rational criticism of Islam, reaching hundreds of thousands of people and potentially hundreds of millions of people across the world, has never been done before until a few years ago. This is also part of the inspiration for my own suggestion of creating an Online Infidel Library, with dozens of books critical of Islam being made available online. It is no exaggeration to say that if the likes of Ali Sina, Ibn Warraq and Wafa Sultan prevail in the face of the traditional death penalty for leaving Islam, then Islam will never again be the same. Ibn Warraq has estimated that 10- 15% of the Muslims in the UK are actually apostates. If that percentage reflects the Islamic world as a whole, we are talking about a number of people the equivalent of a country the size of Japan. Even half of this is a country the size of Britain. This is the soft underbelly of Islam.

I am fortunate enough to have read Ali Sina’s excellent, upcoming book, which, sadly enough, hasn’t found a publisher yet. I agree with Sina on most important points, especially the fact that Islam probably can’t be reformed and that we are very close to a new world war triggered by Islamic fanaticism. [....] I think our challenge is to find a way to salvage morality and family values without the burden of religion. Maybe I am asking too much. But there must be a way. There must be more choices than either believing in lies or becoming immoral. There must be a middle ground. This point is fundamental to the survival of the western civilization. We must find an answer to it.”

This is where Sina and I part ways. As this is probably one of the most important issues of our age, it could make for an interesting discussion. Can you have morality without religion? I’m not so sure, which is why I will recommend a strengthening of the traditional Judeo-Christian religion of the West. [....]
Europe has been threatened by Islam several times before, but has managed to withstand it. Why not now? If we want to mount a defense of Western civilization, then we first need to define exactly what Western civilization is. I have found that the West at the beginning of the 21st century is mired in an internal cultural battle, an ideological civil war over the purpose of the West that is sometimes so severe that combined with Muslim immigration it could even trigger physical civil wars in several Western nations in the near future. One of the contenders is what I will label the ideology of Egalitarianism, of which Multiculturalism is the most prominent component. If you analyze the ideology of Egalitarianism, is has Marxist roots in ideas about forced equality. [....] Which means that Multiculturalism and Egalitarianism need to be discredited if Europe is to have any chance of surviving.

In defining what Western civilization means, we will sooner or later face the question of how closely it is tied to the religion of Christianity. I would define myself as a Christian Atheist, the way Oriana Fallaci does. I am not personally religious, but I have gradually grown more positive towards Christianity, especially after I started studying Islam. I now think that defining Western civilization without its Judeo-Christian religious component simply doesn't make sense from a historical or philosophical point of view. [....] The defining difference is not the belief in God, but the belief in the rights of the individual vs. the rights of the collective group. As Ibn Warraq puts it: The fight is not between Muslims and non-Muslims, but between those who value freedom and those who do not. [....]

Sina’s motto is “Don’t be a follower, be your own Prophet.” But is this feasible? I would argue that most human beings are neither willing nor able to come up with their own set of moral values, and even if this was possible, I’m not sure whether it would always be desirable. Don’t we then wander into the territory of moral relativism, Multiculturalism and “to every man his own truth,” precisely what Ali Sina himself warns against?

As somebody once put it: “When people stop believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing, they believe in anything.” The retreat of the traditional, Judeo-Christian religion in Europe during the 20th century left the door open to a new set of “religions without God” that in many ways proved at least as harmful as the “intolerance” they were supposed to replace. Marxism killed more than 100 million people during a few generations. The negative argument against removing the Judeo-Christian religious base of the West could thus be that whatever flaws might exist in the old system, what will replace it could well turn out to be worse. There are also more positive arguments in support of it, which I will discuss in the second part of this essay.


At 3:27 AM, Blogger Nick said...

“When people stop believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing, they believe in anything.”

How on earth can you possibly argue that an atheist or agnostic, is more prone to "believing in anything" than a fundimentalist christian who openly professes to believe in angels, devils, noah, adam and eve, moses, jesus, virgin mary, etc? Christianity is the very epitome of gullibility.

"I would argue that most human beings are neither willing nor able to come up with their own set of moral values"

Firstly, you’re making an extremely naive assumption that organized religion somehow correlates to a moral society. Its important to remember that, regardless of what they claim, organized religious groups are operated by people, not god. The day your population places blind, unquestioning faith in any human being, is a very dangerous day indeed.

Secondly, it would be a very sad day indeed if the only reason society could function was due to delusional, primitive, not to mention utterly moronic, belief systems. There's nothing to fear from a society populated by rational, enlightened thinkers. A society of blind, unquestioning fundamentalists on the other hand... that’s a truly terrifying prospect… I believe they called that the “dark ages”.

I dare say people who lack both the ability to reason / evaluate and instead choose to belligerently perpetuate utterly moronic beliefs such as Christianity, are wide-open to manipulation and are as such, far from moral.

Surely its obvious that such unquestioning faith is counter-productive to a moral society… but then again… surely its obvious there isn’t, in fact, an invisible man living in the sky.


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