Rant Back

Friday, 6 November 2009


Hello fellow Bruneians, not forgetting the non-Bruneians too. Some people might wonder why I have very long breaks inbetween posts. Well, this is a blog about my beliefs as an atheist (and other things) in a Muslim country. And being an atheist does not define all of me. By all means, no. Sure, being an atheist also leads to or overlaps with some of the other things that I do believe/support, like secularism, humanism, tolerance, equality in terms of race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. So I don't feel the need to talk about it all the time.

Okay, now I'm going to present you with a theory of mine. I'm sure some people will completely disagree with me, like they always do. I must emphasise though, this is a theory that is completely dependent on my own experience and speculation. Therefore I will be honest with you, I have no evidence for this and will not pretend to have any. But I think I'm justified to deduce, from whatever I've gathered, the points that I will make here in this post.

The idea of a 'moderate' Muslim has always puzzled me. I mean, the concept of it is great, it's progressive. Some moderates even advocate secularism. So to be clear, I'm not against the idea of moderation in terms of religion. I believe it's a healthy step towards secularism. You're free to believe in anything you want just as long as you don't impose it on others and do not expect others to follow the same rules your religion impose on you. That's totally fine with me. (Not completely, but that's a whole other topic).

I'm just perplexed by it.

Let me tell you why. If you do believe in Allah, then you definitely believe in Heaven and Hell, unless you're the extreme Muslim minority who believe in God but not Heaven & Hell (who can be argued to be distorting the Quran). The people who believe in Heaven & Hell would then in turn believe in the Quran. I'm leaving out the hadith because I know a considerable minority can find fault in the nature of them.

So why are you moderate? For many moderates, many of the little, everyday things they do would surely make them 'hell-bound'. Things like women not wearing headscarves, guys wearing shorts that go above their knees, getting and paying interests in banking, superstitions, etc.

Surely then you've realised many of the restrictions imposed by religion are simply impractical, nonsensical and backwards? At least subconsciously you're being skeptical of some of the major and minor rules in Islam. Do we demand that a full Shari'a court be installed so that adulterers would be stoned, thieves would have their hands cut off and ex-Muslims be beheaded?

No. Deep inside we know they are wrong. Deep inside these moderate Muslims who might be good friends with gay people, sexually active people and hedonistic people know that these people don't deserve what the Quran says they deserve. In fact these moderate Muslims might even be gay, sexually active or hedonistic themselves.

The thing is, I think a lot of Muslims are more skeptical/agnostic than they would like to believe they are. But culture and tradition does not allow for even the mere thought of doubt to form inside the head. It is considered a virtue to never question the core belief that there is a god, that Allah is the one true god and Muhammad is the last true prophet.

So 'moderate' believers are left with just ignoring and choosing to leave out the parts they know to be wrong and still stick with the core beliefs, unable to go further with their own skepticisms.