The Western Anti-Theist Man's View on Islam

(he quotes Christopher Hitchens)

It would, in my opinion, be fundamentally wrong to publish an issue of Critic that has a specific focus of Islamic Awareness Week without the other side of the argument being presented. Before I go on, this absolutely represents my views on Islam, although the feature could, if I had a choice, fill the 46 pages of Critic and catalogue the issues of each of the monotheistic religions separately. However, let me be clear - this is not an attack on Muslims, but on Islam, an important distinction. Lastly, this is entirely my opinion and does not represent the views of Critic Magazine or any other contributor, volunteer, or staff member in any way.

Religion is man-made, something I believe is as clear as the grass is green. Unfortunately, billions of people remain convinced of the existence of a creator. In my opinion, there really are only two plausible ways of understanding the inception of religion besides firstly: grandiose experiences, i.e. believing you are God or a disciple of God. Delusions of this kind are a sub-classification of schizophrenia today, and thus would also have been the case during the lifetime of Muhammad if his contemporaries had the same knowledge of psychiatry as we do in the modern world. Alternatively, it could be that some individuals with particular entrepreneurial flair living in the Bronze Age understood that revealing they had been presented with divine powers from a deity was a great way to earn recognition, status, and potentially financial assistance from their contemporaries. Jesus, for example, was not the only person of his time to proclaim to be the son of god for instance; there were actually 12 other known claimaints to that title.To overlook these two overwhelmingly plausible possiblities is myopic at best.

I understand the mindset of the religious masses, I really do. Those who know me well may be surprised, but, for when I was 14, for three years, I was a devout Anglican (a period of my life I have not previously spoken of for obvious reasons) and was almost obsessive in the amount of time I spent understanding the bible, proselytizing, and interpreting the ‘words of god’ in a way that made sense to my life. Here lies my second issue with religion of all kinds (although it it’s more pertinent to Islam due to the spread of radical Islam and the acts that go with it, particularly in the Middle-East, which is increasingly spilling over into neighbouring countries) is the archaic content of the scripture so many base their lives on. The inception of the Islamic faith occurred when the archangel Gabriel supposedly appeared to a man (who later became the Prophet Muhammad) in a cave he frequented in Hira, near Mecca, just over 1400 years ago. From the point of view of an anti-theist like myself, basing one’s life and assembling their morals on a 1400 year-old text is analogous to gathering one’s medical advice from an equally old medical textbook - refer to the ‘Vitalogy’ section of Critic for the type of absurdity you may find from a one-hundred year old textbook, yet alone one 14 times older. 

The Qur’an, along with the Bible and the Torah, (they’re essentially one and the same in terms of content, although that’s another feature altogether) contain some abhorrent and despicable content. It would be too easy to pick apart any religion on these obscenities alone, and would both take far too long and be subject to the same ‘cherry-picking’ claims as the atheist community constantly level at religious proselytizers. They represent some of the first attempts that homo sapiens (anatomically modern humans) had at questions of morality, astronomy, life sciences, and law and order amongst other things, and therefore are also likely going to be our worst attempts at the same time. Health science students won’t be able to write a perfect medical PHD at their first attempt, it will take them years of intense study to be able to understand the necessary knowledge, yet alone apply that relevant knowledge in order to compile the finished product. It is a purely arrogant claim that only religion seems to be able to have to think our species could compile a book so fundamental to both the basis of human life, as well as the future of all humanity at their first attempt. If that is actually the case, you can tell by looking at much of the content that he/she/they didn’t do a great job at recognizing humanity’s priorities, which is not only often grossly offensive, but is regularly tautologous and vastly contradictory.

If when it comes to my death I find out I was wrong, and find myself before the Islamic god, I will have one question: why did you appear to a man in the less literate parts of the Middle East when the Sui Dynasty in China at the same time was far, far more advanced? This early dynasty was a politically developed civilisation, who were largely able to read, write and study to a monumentally higher level than Muhammad and his Middle Eastern contemporaries. It seems to be counterintuitive for an omniscient creator to appeal to such a group of people. Indeed, if this alone sounds unbelievable, the fact that these ‘divine revelations’ were verbally passed from Muhammed to the early proponents of Islam three years after they were revealed to him shows an incredibly unlikely basis for any religion. Being able to recite large monologues allegedly given to you in a cave from a deity to another person months 36 months later and verbatim (something that would more likely end up consisting of a strange religious version of Chinese whispers) is a rare ability that I very much doubt actually eventuated as billions claim. The late Christopher Hitchens put his thoughts on this issue far better than I have or ever will, when he stated that Muhammad was an:“illiterate merchant warlord in Arabia, and he’s able to write this down perfectly and it contains the answers to all [of humanity’s problems]  — don’t waste my time with that bulls**t. Also, the archangel Gabriel speaks only Arabic, it seems? Crap.”

This article first appeared in Issue 20, 2016.
Posted 11:30am Sunday 21st August 2016 by Joe Higham.