A Muslim apostate explains his complete rejection of Islam
earlier e-mail, Evariste had written:
I should just be totally clear with you that I’m basically a materialistic atheist who has been so since about the age of 14 or 15. In part, because Islam claimed to be a continuation and refinement of Christianity and Judaism and claimed to worship the same God, I thought that in rejecting Allah, I was clearly also rejecting the Judeo-Christian God, and didn’t see any reason why that God was worthy of further investigation. With time, I started realizing that the personality known as Allah was very different than the personality known as God, and that the Islamic narrative I’d rejected was still poisoning my outlook even as an apostate from Islam.
To which I replied:
That is powerful and important. I would like you to elaborate on what you say here, i.e., how did you come to see that the biblical God is not the same person as Allah.
Your story is so interesting, how you became an apostate from Islam, and pro-Western and so on, I think would be very worthwhile for you to write about it.
Evariste has now replied with a full-length essay on the development of his views of Islam. Among other things, he has an explanation of Islam as based on jealousy and sibling rivalry with Judaism and Christianity which is fascinating and (to my knowledge) original. He argues powerfully for the complete falsity of Islam and its unsustainability in the face of a real intellectual challenge (an important insight from the point of view of what the Christian West needs to do in relation to the Islam threat). While Evariste remains a non-believer, he is not hostile to Christianity and Judaism, but on the contrary is highly sympathetic to them. He has also added a biographical note to the end of the essay telling about his unusual personal background.
The Allah described in the Koran has such a raging, psychotic, repellent personality. Everything in this life is war, slaves, and booty, and then in the afterlife, it’s a whorehouse. The book is totalitarian and obsessed with dictating personal behavior to an absurd degree, like telling you which hand to use to wipe your behind after defecating. Allah is completely unethical, behaving in ways that a two-year-old child would understand were wrong. He’s also totally capricious, and seeming to take delight in the fact that the religion is unreasonable, but that beings he endowed with reason are not to question but only to obey, under threat of killing or torture in this life, and further tortures in hell, forever. I understand the Bible mentions hell, but the concept of hell, while embellished during parts of history with graphic depictions of violence, was never spelled out to any degree in the primary source. Well, the Islamic hell is described in the Koran in excruciating, disgusting, loving, pornographically lurid detail. There is such special delight taken in the descriptions of horrible torture; it makes Dante’s Inferno sound like a day-spa. I may be willing to accept the idea of a real, eternal Hell, be it a painful state of separation from communion with God or some other scenario, but I refuse to believe that God is Saddam Hussein with better equipment and an even more sadistic imagination.
The Islamic conception of Judaism is that the Jews were Allah’s first project to teach humanity about himself and Islam, but he gave up on them (after thousands of years of trying) because they were too evil, and turned to the Arabs instead. Among their evil traits: he sent hundreds of prophets to them and they would either disbelieve them or kill them; they would corrupt Allah’s words and deliberately change them. So Arabs are the new Chosen People, the new prophet is one of them, the new revelation is in their language, and it can never be changed, so Allah is finally done talking to us. But if he was so wise and all-knowing, why would he have picked the Jews first in the first place? Wouldn’t he have known? And why would he have sent them hundreds of prophets over thousands of years-wouldn’t a canny deity have figured out it was futile pretty quickly?
The Islamic conception of Christianity is pretty confused too. Christianity is a polytheistic corruption of the teachings of Jesus, who was just another in the long line of prophets sent to the Jews to teach them Islam. Allah pulled a switcheroo to prevent the crucifixion of Jesus and save him from the Jews (who were once again murdering his agent), elevated him bodily to heaven, and replaced him with someone else who was transformed into a perfect body double in order to deceive the Jews, and deny them the pleasure of knowing they got rid of yet another pesky prophet from Allah. But if the switcheroo was done in order simultaneously to deceive the Jews and deny them the pleasure of killing another prophet, isn’t that self-contradictory? Taking this story on face value, they still got the pleasure of thinking they killed the prophet. If you wanted to do that, why not prevent them and let them know they failed by making the substitution more obvious, the miracle more blatant? Why does God so desperately need to participate in the crucifixion, which he has decided not to allow anyway, and make sure that someone who looks like Jesus dies? There also isn’t any real awareness that it was a Roman crucifixion, not a Jewish one. Nobody wonders, “why did Allah spare Jesus, but not the other prophets he sent the Jews?” What was so special about Jesus that he should be spared and raised to heaven? And since Muslims believe that Mohammed’s death was an agonizing and many days long ordeal, taking place as a result of poisoning by a Jewess, why did Allah not at least protect “the most perfect man,” his last messenger, from this terrible week of agony? Why no switcheroo for him? I mean, here are the Jews again, killing your last prophet, the one who was taking the Chosenness away from the Jews and giving it to the Arabs, and you just let them get away with killing him. You don’t deny them the pleasure of knowing they did it, either. And for some reason, Jesus is being held in reserve at God’s side like a joker from a deck of cards, only to be played at the end of time, when Allah sends him to lead a war to defeat the anti-Christ and liquidate the Jews. Why wouldn’t Allah send Mohammed back, the warlord? Why is this going to be Jesus’ role, the lamb? The whole story is so damn stupid and nonsensical. I realized the stupidity of a lot of what I’m telling you as I wrote it, because I hadn’t subjected many of these particular Islamic teachings to direct scrutiny and thought—I’d just rejected them wholesale with the whole Islamic package, and never revisited them.
Muslims believe that Moses, Abraham, Jesus, and every other significant Judeo-Christian prophet, king, patriarch, they all literally taught the exact same Islam that Mohammed did, but had their teachings corrupted over time by the Jews, for self-serving reasons. Muslims know that Moses brought the Torah and believe Jesus brought the “Injil” (gospel), and they think that this is literally the Christian Bible that Christians are reading: Jesus’ injil. One thing Muslims don’t know, and that I didn’t until I got back to the U.S., is that the Christian and Jewish scriptures are considered divinely inspired, yes, and maybe some are considered directly God’s word (the Pentateuch, right?), but they aren’t all “by” a prophet; many are by observers or contemporaries or followers who were setting down what they saw, and little of the scriptures of both traditions consists of God directly addressing people. We’re told what God wants, what God said, and what else happened, but God does not address people himself at all, as far as I know. The Koranic account of Christianity does not really appear to be aware that what they call the “Injil” is not by Jesus. He didn’t bring a book, he brought himself, and he taught orally. The book was written by his apostles, each describing what he saw and what Jesus taught and what happened. Muslims think all the books of the religions they consider their monotheistic peers are just garbled versions of the Koran. But the Koran is nothing but Allah hectoring you: when you’re reading it, you’re reading an irritating jerk of author who is alternately yelling at you, threatening you, bragging about himself, telling you what to do, etc. The auctorial voice is Allah’s throughout the entire document. You know more about this than I do, and I’ll have to revisit this when I give the Bible a rereading. But the God whose presence is so awesome that the sight of him would have killed Moses? The idea that it’s same God who wrote the Koran, with his finger in your face as he lectures you like an angry drill sergeant, is totally bizarre. The picture I have is that God told Moses, “Tell my people I said this, that, and the other,” whereas Allah uses the illiterate Mohammed as a physical microphone directly to address the believers. There are probably many passages of both the Bible and the Koran that disagree with or contradict this conclusion, but in the large, I believe it is a justifiable and correct generalization.
The Koran is a self-servingly edited plagiarism of others’ scriptures, propounding a cockamamie and (both internally and externally) self-contradictory theory that God has abandoned the Jews as a chosen people, that Jesus preached Islam but failed because his audience were Jews, and Mohammed was sent to anoint the Arabs as the new chosen people, depose the Jews, and reveal the final and incorruptible version of Islam to mankind in Arabic, his new favorite language. Anyone can become a Muslim, but Arabs still consider themselves far superior to non-Arab Muslims, and discriminate against them in many ways. It’s really an Arab supremacist religion that. Both the Arabs and the Jews are Semitic peoples with many resemblances, and Arabic and Hebrew are extremely similar languages, sharing an identical basic structure and much vocabulary, so I think there’s a case to be made that the Arabic rage and fury against the Jews that manifests fully in the religion called Islam is actually an echo through history of the story of Cain and Abel, writ very, very large. The supersessionist belief that Allah gave up on the Jews and turned to the Arabs (I imagine a collective Arab subconscious screaming: no we’re the ones who should be the Chosen People, we’re the ones who should bring God to the world), the incredible venom, the ambition not only to defeat the Jews but to erase them, to liquidate them totally and forever, to exterminate them: all these things speak to a crazed collective psyche. Perhaps Mohammed truly was a microphone; not of God, but of the Arab collective subconscious.
There is an important parallel here with the German attempted extermination of the Jews. The Nazis believed that Germans were the Master Race. They believed it was theirs to subjugate and enslave the entire planet. The Jews were a living rebuke to this idea. Attempts to excuse the Holocaust away as an inevitable side-effect of the fact that many Jews were prominent Communists, that many cosmopolitan, assimilated Jewish individuals acted in ways that were then-seen as detrimental to German interests, all fall flat in the face of this simple fact: the monstrous crime the Nazis committed against the Jews had a monstrous motive: the elimination of the only legitimate pretender to the role that the Nazis had decided was theirs to play on history’s stage.
The Nazis were ground into dust, defeated, and destroyed, the German government and society were remade by the Allies and the Soviets. And the Germans figuratively said, with the exception of a persistent fringe, “To heck with it, we’re not the master race after all,” and turned to friendship with and support for the State of Israel. It does not look as if the Arabs will ever do the same thing, because with Arabs, it’s not just a secular role they’d auditioned for but didn’t get to play after all. Nazism was not a religion, and did not pretend to any relationship with divinity. With Arabs, it’s a world-historical sibling rivalry which will never end unless either the Arabs or the Jews are eliminated, and not only that, but the Arabs have converted fully five times their complement to their exterminationist religion. The Nazis made alliances of convenience with, in turn, the Soviets, the Fascists, the Japanese, but the ultimate Nazi end-game was total and uncontested domination. I will note here that the Jews do not, never did, and never will wish to exterminate the Arabs. They would barely know, in their rich and productive existence, that Arabs even existed, if it wasn’t for Arabs continuing to wage this desperate struggle to subjugate them and prove themselves superior. Arabs originally wanted to save the extermination until the end times, but the coming-into-being of the State of Israel, and the exterminationist example of Nazi Germany, have made it an imperative to exterminate the Jews now, and not just enjoy making them pay jizya as dhimmis and spit on them in the streets until Jesus comes back to exterminate both them and the anti-Christ, or “Dajjal.” Arabs will never stop being Semitic Arabic speakers, and Jews will never stop being Semitic Hebrew speakers, and Jews will never stop believing and demonstrating that they are God’s chosen people, whilst Arabs will probably—absent an enormous cultural revolution—never stop resenting this, hating it, pretending it isn’t true, and trying to exterminate the Jews, who are living evidence that their conceit is a lie and their claimed status is a fraudulent pretension.
There was an interesting VFR article recently about how the unnecessary existence of such a powerful phenomenon as consciousness is a difficult, perhaps insurmountable, challenge to the premises of orthodox Darwinism, and to its pretensions as a theory that can explain how the profuse variation of life on earth came about entirely by blind, purposeless chance. It was very good reading, and I wanted to write you about it, but I didn’t really have anything coherent and powerful to say. After you then further upped the ante with the article about cat consciousness, another totally unnecessary and very astonishing phenomenon, I started writing you something about the truly astonishing and gobsmacking phenomenon of elephant consciousness. To look at them, elephants are just another big dumb weird beast. But they really do blow your mind the more you learn about them. I ended up discarding the email unsent because I felt I should have something more substantial to say on the topic than I’d written so far, but this topic has given me a second wind on it, and furthermore, the point I was trying to make about elephants ties in very nicely to a point I’m about to make about Islam.
One important aspect of elephant consciousness that would seem to be relevant here is their practice of venerating and burying the dead. I can easily grant Darwinists that recognizably significant consciousness could have arisen as an accidental side-effect of evolutionary forces once. I’m not sure I can concede it to random chance twice, though! And there is something about the fact that elephants mourn, they remember, they bury their dead, they visit their graves, they recognize and investigate any elephant remains that they discover with respect, awe, and tenderness, whether they are related to them or not. It is so strange! I can accept that humans do it, but as an outside observer, it is so astonishing and strange that elephants do it. It is so unnecessary, so unrelated to the survival of the fittest (aren’t the dead the ultimate unfit?), so inexplicable. For elephants to demonstrate a compassionate, thoughtful, sensitive consciousness that ritually pays deep respect to the dead is a very large and uncomfortable fact. If you will, it’s “the elephant in the room” that we’re ignoring. For this phenomenon to arise once could be a happy accident, but twice? I know that the easy Darwinian answer is that it’s parallel evolution, consciousness is a side effect, etc. But if consciousness is a non-Darwinian side-effect, a totally arbitrary epiphenomenon that arises from large brains, then why in hell should elephants behave like this? Exactly like human beings? Since consciousness offers total freedom, free will, exemption from the Darwinist rat-race of the survival of the fittest, you’d think that consciousnesses that arose separately as side-effects of Darwinian processes would manifest very differently from one another, especially given what totally different lives are experienced by men and elephants. Consciousness is not bound by matter or necessity. It is sublime and transcendent. Why should elephants have developed such similar rituals and attitudes with respect to the dead as human beings? Not only can’t Darwinism explain this, Darwinism is irrelevant to the question. The closest the Darwinists can come to answering the mystery is, “It was useful to the survival of the species for large brains to develop, so consciousness was a happy accident.” But this is unsatisfactory, lame, and limp. I say this as someone whose own freedom from mindless dogmas and lifelong intellectual journey owe much to Darwinism, because the idea that the astonishing fact of life could have had only a material basis was what finally gave me the courage to reject that which I’d instinctively grown to hate: Islam, its deity, and its prophet. I never considered the idea that Darwinism could have a vigorous and credible intellectual opposition until I started reading VFR. Every other challenger, such as the preposterous set of beliefs called “creationism” and the desperate and sad American movement called “intelligent design,” seemed totally moronic, and only reinforced my steadfast Darwinist convictions. It was only the vigorous, intelligent, commonsensical confrontation with Darwinian orthodoxy at VFR that left me open to the idea that Darwinism, my rock, could be wrong. If not wrong, perhaps just insufficient. Insufficiently explanatory.
Anyway, elephants. They are amazing, and you should Google and read about them if you don’t already know everything about the many impressive manifestations of their consciousness. What does that have to do with Islam, Allah, and God, Christianity, and Judaism? Just this: just as the very existence of elephant consciousness is a rebuke to Darwinism, so too is the very existence of Christianity a standing rebuke to Arab supremacism and Islamic pretensions. The Islamic fable is that Jesus was just a man, just another in a long line of Muslim prophets sent to the Jews with futile results, and ultimately another in the long line of failures that ultimately led God to abandon the Jews and throw his lot in with the Arabs. But there are so many glaring problems with this Islamic viewpoint. How do they explain that there are 12 or 15 million Jews and a couple of billion Christians? How can an Allah who intended on cementing Arab Islamic supremacy on earth have allowed Christianity to grow into such a globe-bestriding monster? How could an omnipotent monotheistic deity who believes that Christianity is a polytheistic fraud, one who sent Jesus to propound Islam, stand by as a universalist Christian faith took over the world? The Jews number fewer than 20 million, whilst the Christians number a billion, two billion, or more. Why, between Judaism and Christianity, are Judaism and Jews the eternal obsession and bete noir of Islam?
Furthermore, why does Jesus have such special treatment compared to all of his predecessors and successors? Jesus’ primary role according to Islam was supposedly to prophecy Mohammed, the final prophet, and lay the groundwork for him. So why is it Jesus not Mohammed that Allah saved from the agony of a painful death and elevated, still alive, bodily into heaven? Why is it Jesus not Mohammed that Allah is keeping by his side in heaven until the end of time, when he is to return to earth and lead armies as God’s avenging general? Why is it Jesus not Mohammed who has an anti-self who will be a world-historical figure in the eschatology of both faiths? The Dajjal, whose full Arabic name, al Masih al Dajjal, literally means “The Pretender To Christhood,” is another huge challenge. Why is he not the Fraudulent Mohammed? What is so special about Christ, that it’s he who stars in the end of times, both as the hero and as the villain? Islamic tradition just sort of mindlessly assumes these things without question or thought, but the more scrutiny one pays to Muslim eschatology, the less it supports the Muslim belief that Islam is the true, final religion that God revealed. The preponderance of the evidence would seem to indicate that Islam only arose among Arabs as a manifestation of sibling rivalry toward the Jews, and desperate competitive urgency when it appeared that God was proceeding to reveal himself and offer salvation not only to the Jews, but to everyone. It appears to be a desperate gambit to defy and thwart the will of God and his favoring of the Jews. This wasn’t urgent when the Jews were just the Jews, but when Christianity arrived on the scene, the threat to Arab self-importance became much, much larger: Christianity offered a universal covenant with God, one to which the Jews could either join into and acquiesce to just like anyone else on the planet, or remain Jewish and maintain their separate, original covenant. It suddenly looked like total victory for the Jews, who were indifferent to converting the world to Judaism, but had won and made their permanent mark on the world, whether they remained Jewish and watched a universal Christianity take over the planet, or converted themselves and joined their lot with the Christianity that they mostly viewed as just another Jewish heresy.
Christianity is a huge challenge to Islam. It is a challenge to its unimpressive and half-baked claims about itself, and it is also a factual challenge to Islam’s relevancy, existence, and meaning. Why is there an impetus within Christianity toward universalism, if Allah knew (as an omniscient deity should) that Christianity would become a global religion with billions of followers? Shouldn’t Allah have known this would happen, and shouldn’t Jesus have just been another ineffectual Jewish prophet who got murdered? Why Jesus? This is a question that Islam simply cannot answer, cannot even approach answering. Islam is clearly a total fraud and imposture. The disproof of Islam’s pretensions is littered throughout its own scriptures; the problem is that they haven’t noticed, and that the stifling mind-control built into the religion will prevent anyone who notices from being able to have much effect. The only hope that Arabs have to transcend this resentful eternal sibling rivalry with the Jews and come into communion with the rest of humanity would appear to be getting over themselves, abandoning their useless pride, humbling themselves, and converting to Christianity. They will never replace the Jews, and with all this hateful history, they will never try to become them or join them. It might take thousands of years, but it seems like the only “happy ending” to the story, doesn’t it? Since I can’t believe that evil wins in the end, I guess I have to subscribe to the idea that Islam withers away under extended scrutiny from a thoughtful, knowledgeable, and vigorous Christian challenge to its very existence and purpose. Islam does not shy away from declaring everything about Judaism and Christianity to be fraudulent and wrong, but in the breathtakingly large void of ignorance it imposes on its believers, it is hugely vulnerable, and Christians should not shy away from or hesitate to confront its legitimacy and point out its falsity and self-contradiction. At the very least, it should very much be possible to defeat Islam in the large by weaning most non-Arab Muslims from it, and letting dead-ender Arabs stew in it if they must. An Islam with 250 to 300 million Arab believers is a far less threatening phenomenon than an Islam with 900 million to 1.5 billion believers. It can be done, and the non-Arab Muslims don’t have a reason for the supersessionist animus toward Jews. They’re like Nazi Germans: defeat them (physically or spiritually) and they’ll give the whole daft idea up and say “to heck with it, we were wrong.” The only thing that kept so many of these people Muslim was Arab force of arms and the global Arab-Islamic police state known as the Caliphate, and today, Arab force of arms is incredibly weak compared to everyone else’s. There has been no better opportunity in history to speak directly with the non-Arab descendants of the victims of forcible Islamic conversion and peel them off that evil Arab supremacist faith.
Evariste adds this biographical note:
I am the child of two Palestinians who grew up in Jordan but met in college in the U.S. I was born at a Loyola University hospital. My father was a very dark man, almost African in appearance with Arab features, and my mother very fair, with pale milkish skin, freckles, and red hair. (I’m guessing there’s Crusader blood in the family tree.) Both families fled in 1948 when Israel was founded and Arab propaganda called on Palestinian Arabs to flee Israel because the Arab armies were about to descend on Israel, extinguish the Jewish state, and exterminate the Jews. My father was born in 1948. Anyway, from what I understand, they met as undergrads, my dad at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, I have no idea where my mom was attending school. They married, and after Dad spent a few years in Saudi Arabia making money as a petrochemical engineer, he returned to the U.S. to buy a home and start a family with my mom. He also started a series of suburban grocery stores and ghetto food-and-liquor stores and started acquiring apartment buildings and a career as a slumlord. I was raised a Muslim in Oak Park, Illinois, and when I was nine, my mother and father and I went to Jordan, according to him, to make sure that I grew up as a proud Arab man and not as an American. My mother had a congenital heart condition and was warned not to have any more children. She became pregnant again that year. She had to have open-heart surgery, and died in a Jordanian hospital the same year that I was uprooted to Jordan (1989). My father continued to live in the U.S. full time despite the fact that my mother had died, and I lived with a series of relatives until 1995, sometimes with sporadic support from him, usually going begging and living on the charity of family, despite his considerably large wealth. He would spend one to two months a year in Jordan, and made sure that my life was hell the whole time he was around. I arrived at apostasy as a side-effect of my intense effort to remain culturally American and not become just another Arab; I just sort of assumed “OK, our religion is Islam, whatever” when I was a kid in the USA, but it was only in Jordan that I realized I really wanted nothing to do with this entire society. When I found a college biology textbook at the U.S. embassy library about Darwinian evolution, I finally had an explanation for how life came to be that did not require a God, so it gave me the freedom privately to reject Islam and every other religion without having great big gaping holes in my worldview. At the Abd El Hamid Shoman library, a large English-language public library endowed by its namesake, the Palestinian man who founded Arab Bank, I discovered Richard Dawkins’s book “the Selfish Gene,” which further cemented my incipient Darwinistic worldview.
I had entered primary school a year early and skipped the fourth grade in Oak Park, so in Jordan, I ended up finishing high school at age 15. My father brought me back to the U.S. in the summer of 1995 to attend college. As soon as I was back here, as the physical abuse had started when my mom died in 1989 and never stopped even in the U.S., I packed a few favorite things into a backpack and fled to California. I haven’t spoken to my father since. I spent the years until I turned 18 as a homeless runaway teen, part of the time in San Francisco and part of the time in Chicago, and when I turned 18 and could legally sign a lease and establish myself in the world, I embarked on a real life, started really making my way in the world, and quit living in youth shelters, foster homes, Ocean Beach, Golden Gate Park, and homeless shelters. So here I am. I am 27 years old, and will turn 28 toward the end of August. My profession is software design; I’m a programmer who writes desktop software, and I also dabble in systems administration and managing websites. I’m the server administrator for Winds of Change (windsofchange.net) and Patterico (patterico.com). I’m entirely self-educated and self-made, and have never attended college, although I would love to. I don’t want to go to college to party for four years, or to receive vocational training, or what have you. I would love to attend St. John’s College and absorb their Great Books program, but that’s the only reason I would ever want to go to college.
Thank you very much for this excellent contribution. There’s much more to say, some of which we’ve said in private e-mails.
I want to clarify one point. Is it correct to call you an “apostate,” since you never had much real belief and background in Islam to start with?
I think “apostate” would be basically correct. I didn’t exactly ask to be born Muslim, but for a period, I embraced it fully. As a child in the U.S., I only thought about Islam on Fridays because I had to go to Friday school and then Friday prayers, but in Jordan, until the half-year or so before my apostasy, I was very much a devout Muslim! I fasted during Ramadan, I went to mosque often and not just on Friday, and relatives jokingly called me “Sheikh.”
- end of initial entry -
Adela G. writes:
Evariste’s explanation of Islam confirms the impression I always had that, in contrast to other religions, it’s a religion designed to answer psychological needs rather than philosophical questions. It is primarily motivated by feelings of inferiority in its adherents and hostility toward others (a hostility that is a tacit acknowledgment of the others’ superiority). Since its focus is on this world, it portrays the afterlife open to its followers as a reward for triumph over their earthly enemies, rather than any sort of communion with God. In other words, a petty, spiteful set of beliefs designed to make people feel better by constantly reminding them of their superiority relative to putative inferiority of their enemies.
Really, in a hateful way, it’s a very other-oriented belief system.
My thanks to Evariste for an informative and moving entry. I’m glad he has found his way here to VFR.
LA writes to Evariste:
I never heard about elephants burying their dead and visiting the graves. How would elephants bury dead elephants? Any links on this?
On searching about it, I see that they may not literally bury the dead. (Wikipedia says they do, but adds a “citation needed” tag, meaning it’s a suspect piece of infomation that will probably be deleted if no one can back it up.)
They definitely have a death ritual, but it appears to involve first grieving and tenderly touching the deceased in a group with their trunks, then covering the body in tree branches and leaves, rather than actually burying it. According to the article, elephants have been known to “bury” sleeping, ill, or dead humans, and display the same grief and tender touching behavior toward humans as they do toward elephants.
I recommend scrolling down to the Death Rituals section of the Wikipedia article titled Elephant Intelligence. It also makes the point that only homo sapiens, Neanderthals, and elephants have death rituals of this kind.
Adela G. writes:
I see the Wikipedia entry on elephants cites as a reference Cynthia Moss’s book, Elephant Memories. While she does take liberties in anthropomorphizing the elephants just a tad, her account is based on her first-hand observations and makes for wonderful reading. She says that elephants do recognize their dead in ways that suggest the ability to realize the dead were once living and that their actions around their dead do suggest a kind of mourning or memorializing. As I recall, she says they behave this way not only when members of their herd die but also when they come upon the remains of elephants unknown to them.
1) Evariste writes: “Allah pulled a switcheroo to prevent the crucifixion of Jesus and save him from the Jews (who were once again murdering his agent), elevated him bodily to heaven, and replaced him with someone else who was transformed into a perfect body double in order to deceive the Jews…”
This is not, apparently, something peculiar to Islam. There was a Christian heresy in the centuries before and around the time of Mohammed’s century (7th) called “Docetism”. One of the odd features of Docetism was the belief that the true God had put up a simulacrum, or “double”, of Jesus on the cross in order to deceive witnesses. The anti-heresy Christian writer Irenaeus in the late 2nd century A.D. catalogued certain heretics with Docetic tendencies, among them Basilides who, as A.K.M. Adam puts it (paraphrasing Irenaeus’s “Against Heresies II.xxiv.4): “…taught that the Nous took human form as Jesus in order to make the unborn, nameless Father known. Since the Nous was inhabiting Jesus, he—the Nous—could not actually suffer and die, but changed places with Simon of Cyrene, who was transfigured to resemble Jesus, and was crucified while the actual Jesus/Nous stood aside and laughed.”
Historians, on the basis of the Hadiths and Sira, conjecture that Mohammed had some discussions with some Christians in Arabia. Considering the garbled nature of the Koran and Hadiths concerning the Biblical lore, it’s quite possible that the Christians who influenced Mohammed were heretics, including Docetists.
2) LA wrote: “…he [Evariste] has an explanation of Islam as based on jealousy and sibling rivalry with Judaism and Christianity which is fascinating and (to my knowledge) original.”
I have long noticed that Islam (i.e., the Koran, Hadiths and Sira) is basically a monumental act of intellectual theft: Islam in effect pirated Israel by simply claiming that all the prophets and major holy men of Israel were in fact proto-Muslims and that Yahweh was in fact Allah. Through this act of theological theft, Islam becomes literally the True Israel, rescued from the incompetent, corrupt and wicked Jews whom God had entrusted with the responsibility of concretizing his message to the world. Christianity, in this brazenly preposterous view, becomes simply a twisted offshoot of the already corrupted tree—Israel of the Jews—both of which have been finally corrected by Allah and his final messenger Mohammed.
3) Finally, while Evariste’s personal story of the winding and painful road on which he escaped the Gulag of Islam is heartening, I would caution against us Infidels using such a rare story for a basis of hope in a reform of Islam or in some mass exodus of Muslims into apostasy. It would be wiser to dig in our heels for the long haul of the most likely scenario of the coming decades: an increasing metastasis of Islamic revival imperviously hostile to all non-Muslims, with its goals of world conquest and its tactic of terrorism along with the cleverer tactic of subterfuge and disinformation. Indeed, one particle of the latter clever tactic benefits from the misplaced weight we Infidels might place on the hope which Evariste’s story implies.
I don’t think that it was suggested or implied anywhere in the original post, by me or Evariste, that Evariste is typical or that his story provides hope for a mass exodus of Muslims from Islam.
However, based on recent discussions with a Christian whose project is to evangelize Muslims, I believe that a significant amount of conversion is possible. The great secret is that our side (whether we’re speaking of the West, or Christianity, or anti-Darwinism, or whatever) has not presented itself in a confident, sincere, articulate way to people who have not heard our side. When the message is presented in such a way, it makes a difference.
You wrote: “based on recent discussions with a Christian whose project is to evangelize Muslims, I believe that a significant amount of conversion is possible.”
As long as efforts to convert Muslims to Christianity (or to secularism, or to Buddhism, or to atheism, or to whatever) do not in any way, whether purposefully or accidentally, hamper our military and material self-defense, I have no problems with such efforts. I would add that wherever there is the slightest doubt, we should err on the side of choosing self-defense over humanitarianism with the lost souls of Islam.
Indeed. The young man I’m speaking of (and I hope to have him contribute something at VFR at some point) is entirely in agreement with Separationism, meaning the strategy of rolling back Muslims from the West and confining them in the historic Muslim lands. As he puts it, where there are large numbers of Muslims, Islam will gain power. So he’s entirely realistic concerning the material aspect of the Islam problem. But he also feels that so long as Islam exists, the likelihood remains that it will revive itself and threaten us again. That’s why he believes that the only true, long-term solution is the conversion of Muslims to Christianity. The more such conversions occur, the more Islam is weakened from within.
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He believes, like Evariste, that Islam is a false religion that is unsustainable in the face of a direct and intelligent challenge. Hearing him speak about how Muslims he has spoken to respond to his message is inspiring. What he has to say about the possibilities of evangelizing Muslims opens up a new “front” in the effort to revive our own civilization and defend it from Islam.
Here, filling in more on his beliefs, is a continuation of the e-mail from Evariste that I quoted at the beginning of this entry. I especially wanted to quote it because of what he says about the personality of God as shown in the Hebrew Bible.
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Anyway, I know you don’t think much of Darwinists and materialists, but I hope you can still take me seriously anyway, keeping in mind my odyssey. I do want to make sure you’re conscious that I’m not one of these idiot militant atheists who wants to convert the world to atheism. I’ve long held a respectful attitude toward Christians and Jews despite being an atheist, because I could see that, contrary to mine, their religions generally inspired life-affirming, positive, admirable behavior. I’m happy for religious Jews and Christians and I envy them. I do not believe that God exists, but I think if I did, the God I would believe in would be either the Jewish or the Christian God. There are a number of religious believers from both religions who post on my blog, and I’m very fond of discussing their religions with them. I’ve got a very intellectual understanding of what my God would be like, which is the Jewish or Christian God. I find Yahweh far superior to any other conception of a monotheistic deity, and leaps beyond oriental or pagan Gods. YHWH is a compelling person, and I hope he’s real. But I have no visceral emotional connection or experiential compass that makes me feel it in my gut. I do read pretty much everything you write about religion, the existence and nature of God, and Darwinism with hunger. Maybe one of these days it’ll all finally click for me.
I replied to Evariste that from about age 21 I believed that Jesus was who he said he was, but felt no personal interest in or connection with Jesus or Christianity. It was 20 years later that I had an experience that made Jesus Christ personally real and present to me.
I just confessed that I’d really like to believe in God. I guess that’s kind of funny.
Kevin JV writes:
I like the essay you posted by Evariste but I do have a bone to pick on a passing point. He writes
“Nazism was not a religion, and did not pretend to any relationship with divinity.”
This is a major error in modern thinking. It doesn’t just apply to Nazism but to all the ideologies that have swept through society since the beginning of the modern era (circa 14th century). Of course these things are religions. Every great mind in philosophy—Plato, Aristotle, Seneca, Augustine, Aquinas, etc. has known that man is homo religious. All men seek God (“My heart was made for Thyself and it is restless till it rests in Thee”—Augustine, Confessions). If they don’t accept the one true God they replace him with something else. For most of these ideologies it’s been an abstract idea, which is insufficient. That’s why the ideology collapses. Secularism itself is a religion, as John Milbank shows in Theology and Social Theory: Beyond Secular Reason. There is no such thing as “atheism” really. All men have a god, a “source of highest value and psychic energy” (Jung). The god-image is an integral part of human psychology, the mind can’t function without one. This applies to whole societies as well as individuals. The collapse of Christianity in the Western world hasn’t been an abandonment of religion but the substitution of competing religions for Christianity—liberalism, Communism, Fascism, National Socialism, egalitarianism, etc. These are all religions with gods, objects that occupy the “god-image” for people and for whole societies. The sooner Christians realize this the sooner we can go about the business of refuting these religions. As long as we treat the disciples of these competing faiths as if they had no religion we have no hope of winning.
Pax Domine sit Semper Vobiscum,
I don’t know. Let’s say that liberals believe in equality as the highest value. Let’s say that this equality functions in their psychology in some manner as God functions in the psyche of a believer. Does this mean that equality is a divinity for them? Does it mean that they think of equality as a divinity? No. Therefore there are differences between a religion that believes in an actual divinity and an ideology that believes in something that is a substitute divinity and that has some of the functional qualities of a divinity, but that is not experienced or thought of as a divinity by the followers of that ideology.
Did the German race function as a substitute divinity for Nazis? In a manner of speaking, yes. But does this mean that they saw the German race as an actual divinity? I don’t think so. Therefore, once again, while there is significant overlap, I think we need to make distinctions between the divinity in which the followers of a religion believe and the substitute divinity or quasi-divinity in which the followers of an ideology believe.
Terry Morris writes (July 1):
Another important article which illustrates the great value of VFR! Below is my little quibble (posted at Webster’s) with something Evariste says in his essay.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at June 30, 2008 08:41 AM | Send
In an essay posted at VFR Evariste explains why he ultimately rejected the teachings of the Koran, and with that rejection the Bible itself.
Anyway, thank you for posting this important and valuable article.
There are a lot of insights to be gleaned from Evariste’s lengthy essay, so I recommend that you read it … more than once. Certain Muslim beliefs are not common knowledge among Christians. I know, for instance, that I’ve been confused before on exactly what issue Muslims have with the Biblical account of the sons of Abraham, Isaac and Ishmael. Particularly whether Muslims believe that Ishmael was the actual “son of promise.” Which brings me to the point of this post, something Evariste states in his essay:
It’s really an Arab supremacist religion that. Both the Arabs and the Jews are Semitic peoples with many resemblances, and Arabic and Hebrew are extremely similar languages, sharing an identical basic structure and much vocabulary, so I think there’s a case to be made that the Arabic rage and fury against the Jews that manifests fully in the religion called Islam is actually an echo through history of the story of Cain and Abel, writ very, very large.
Yes, I suppose one could, more or less, accurately describe it that way; Cain angrily bludgeoned his brother Abel to death because of his outrage over the fact that God respected Abel’s sacrificial gift but did not respect Cain’s. But I think there’s a better biblical accounting which more accurately describes the genesis of the sibling rivalry between Arabs and Jews. Namely, Genesis chapters 16, 17 and 21. It seems that the descendants of Ishmael came by their hatred for Isaac and his descendants honest, and that nothing will ever serve to satisfy them that their rightful inheritance, as descendants of the first-born son of Abraham, was not stolen from them.