Tuesday, 1 September 2009

An email from Peter

Yesterday I read an email from someone whom I have posted here (with permission) that includes my response. Peter has been polite, civil and though we have ideology differences over the subject of faith and religion, we share an understanding that it is important to know and understand people and probably more - be civil about it. If only those bloggers that I point out were so inclined....



I found your blogspot after reading your posts on the Winds of Jihad site..

I wouldn't mind hearing your opinion on a couple issues and you certainly sound like you know what you are talking about ..

Would you agree that never in the history of mankind has a particular religion or ideology come under so much scrutiny as Islam.?

It seems the whole world is looking at Islam under a microscope. Every time you turn the TV on in Australia there is some documentary about it, a day doesn't go by without every major newspaper at least having some articles on Islam/muslims and it has certainly been the hot topic for political and social analysts since 9/11.

I myself have purchased a number of books on Islam including Karen Armstrongs "Mohammed", not to mention the Koran itself. In fact I feel I know as much about Islam now as i do about Christianity - the religion I was born into and grew up with ( I am now an atheist ).

The point I am tring to make is that the more we scrutinise the world's major religions the more we realise that they are just based on ancient superstitions that have absolutley no relevance to the way the world is today.

Australia has an atheist population of 25pc however only 10pc of the population are regular churchgoers. The numbers keep declining by the day and I can't ever see this trend reversing as long as technology and science keeps improving. In some western European countries the atheist population is as high as 70pc ( this is true for all of the Scandinavian countries). In Japan it is also about 70pc.

I honestly believe if every man, woman and child in countries like Iran, Pakistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia had access to the internet the decline of Islam would be rapid. One hundred years ago the atheist population of Australia was less than 1pc. Currenlty in many Islamic countries the atheist population is zero.

I have been trying to google information on atheists movements in the Middle East and other Islamic countries and it almost impossible to find any information at all.

Do you know if countires like Egypt, Iran , Pakistan etc etc have atheists? Are there any well known atheists who live in Islamic countries?. I mean surely there must be free thinking people like Christopher Hitchens, Ayan Hrisi Ali and Wafa Sultan even in countires like Saudi Arabia. It is just plain human nature and natural for humans to question why we are here and whether there is a god .

I would love to hear your opinions and comments on what I have written.

kind regards




thanks for the email, questions and your civility, I mention that because like the blog you referred to, some do not have civility but rather ugly agendas.

I agree, Islam is under the greatest of scrutiny, it has to do with many factors I believe, the current war on terrorism, globalization (ie the now constant interaction between cultures and faiths) and global media - before the Internet and access to other and traditional media is dominating life.

It would be correct, I think, to add that with the interactions from globalization, mass migration and conflict also comes politicizing the issues, thus it has become a subject of scoring for domestic consumption - ie the far right, radical leftists, radical evangelism etc. There is, of course, war going on as well and mankind has always uses the "us versus them" emotion in times of crisis.

That you purchased a Qur'an (note the spelling, it is closer phonetically to the correct pronunciation), is good - not that I am trying to sell my faith (I do not do that) - I would rather talk to someone who has attempted to read it than those that simply read blogs.

Peter, the subject of faith for me is a personal one and as the word implies in all its variations, it is a matter of faith. I have no issue with you being an atheist by the way. But I would say and take you to task on your comment about "ancient superstitions that have absolutely no relevance to the way the world is today", considering that faith is also a subject of culture, history, identity, community and social cohesion (or disruption). I would go further and say that the basis of moral standards comes from religion and faith.

I have no knowledge of the statistics of atheism but I would be certain that there are of course Muslims whom declare they are but in fact are atheists. As I am sure you are aware, atheism is under the haddiths that control most of the clerical and present religious habits of Muslims worse than apostasy and in many of the more backward nations, a death sentence. So you can imagine, inside many Muslim countries, declaring oneself especially say to a statistic count that they are an atheist is simply not going to happen for the foreseeable future.

A last few points, I find Christopher Hitchens interesting, I certainly allow him his right to his opinion but I am one who says it is not religion that is evil and has caused hate and wars in the world, it is in fact mankind that is capable of evil, hate and wars and they will automatically declare faith and religion is on their side. That is radicalism, extremism and fundamentalism.

As for Ayan Hrisi Ali (whom I know) and Wafa Sultan - I think they are sell-outs and use and abuse Islam to sell books and be famous, simple.

p.s. may I post your question and my response on my blog? In this case with the civility of your question, I will give the same in asking. I would cut your full name and no email, just the name Peter.

kind regards