On the Dangers of Abandoning Reason for Comfort

Often, religious people proudly talk about being calm and collected, and attribute it to their faith. Regardless of whether it’s true (Who’s to say someone like Sam Harris is not calm?), I wish to argue that even if true, it is not a virtue, but quite the opposite: It is wicked and foul, the surrender of one’s humanity into slavery.

This happens in Abrahamic religions in general, but as you may have noticed, Islam is my particular target, since even the name “Islam” come from the Arabic root “salama” which means surrender. For centuries, Muslims have been proudly claiming that this God (Allah) has sent them all they need, the most complete religion (A verse in the Qur’an says: “Today I completed my religion for you and finished my blessings upon you” [Almaedah, verse 3]). This means that Islam dictates their lives, from how to have sex, what to do during sex, what to do after sex and so on, to how to enter somewhere (with the right foot, and no I’m not joking).

The same thing, perhaps to a milder degree, but the same in essence none the less, happens in Christianity and Judaism. Yet again that God is very concerned with what people do with each other in bed, how they live their lives and how they end it. Does this make us act better as human beings? I have argued before that such is not the case. But does this make the religious more calm, more collected? Perhaps. Is that calmness good? Not at all.

There is not a day that passes by and I (as a none believer, and a sane human being) am not in mental anguish. Every action that I prepare myself to do, every interaction that I have with others, I keep thinking to myself if I have done the right thing. I keep thinking if my reasoning was right, if I acted correctly. There is not a day that passes by and I do not regret, and take lessons from, some of the things I have done wrong in the past. Every time I make a claim, I keep weighing it, trying to make sure I say the right thing, that I do not lie or not be dishonest.

I wonder what would have happened if I had surrendered my wits, my sanity, to an authority by means of faith? Obviously I would have been sure of the things I was doing, after all, they were the commandments of someone utterly righteous. They would have been my moral duties.  What if I was commanded to mutilate my baby boy’s (or girl’s) genitalia? No problem. I would have been happy to do so. What if I was commanded to behead my son (Qur’an: Assafat, verses 101-107)? No problem, I would have been more than happy to do so for such righteous being. And I would feel no guilt, no shame, no regret doing those things. In fact, I would have felt happy to please such being, my master, who literally owned me, whom I had surrendered to.

The thought of being as such makes me shiver. No, thank you. I’m glad I am in mental anguish. I’m glad my conscience is not numbed, is not surrendered into the slavery of a tyrannical sadistic master. I’m glad if I am not perfect, at least I can try.

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thetruthfulheretic

Dear fellow Homo sapiens, or if you prefer conscious mammals! And of course, friends nonetheless: I created my blog in order to speak my very weird mind, mostly about three subjects (as I identify myself and my state of mind with them): Atheism, as I was born in the Middle East and saw and felt the affects of Islam; Homosexuality and equal rights, as a gay man who has tasted the Homophobia and also Sexism in that society; and Liberalism and political philosophy, which I think is a good ground for secular values and criticism of fundamentalism. If you wish, visit and join your state of mind to mine. I hope they don't short circuit!

5 thoughts on “On the Dangers of Abandoning Reason for Comfort”

  1. I assume that when you say “wicked and foul,” you are using these terms as representative of your own personal opinion, rather than a metaphysical truth about an individual’s moral value, right? If so, then I have nothing more to say, since it is your opinion (and I agree, personally). If not, and you ARE attempting to express a metaphysical truth, then I have to disagree. While religion cannot logically dictate moral truths (and judge based off of such “commandments”), neither can you or I, or any human. If such truths even existed, which they more than likely don’t (in my opinion), I think they would be impossible to logically deduce.

    1. Thank you for the comment dear Joe. It’s not metaphysical, it’s my way of saying “wrong”, worldly wrong. And everything in this blog is my opinion, though I think I have good reasons that these opinions are true, and I try to give my arguments and reasons.

      Also I’m not dictating values (right and wrong cannot be dictated, values maybe different and that’s not my discussion here), I’m trying to use moral theories to argue for the wrongness of the position that considers calmness given by religious convictions to be a virtue. The point I tried to make was that religious calmness is not a virtue. It may make fanatics very comfortable, but that comfort is not only not virtuous, in fact it is an abomination (I promise, not metaphysical at all!). Enslavement of a dynamic mind based on reason in favor of confiscated given laws that have already determined what one should do.

      P.S: Perhaps elaborate on your point more? since I see I just repeated my post in a paragraph.

      1. Thank you for your response. My reply didn’t have a direct argument, but was more a poorly worded question, which you answered. I agree with you fully, now.

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