Saturday, May 15, 2010

When Religion Hurts

I'm not at all anti-religious.  Over the years, I've known many religious people who I think were made better by their religion, and I myself was raised Catholic, and don't feel it hurt me in the least.  As far as religion goes towards improving people and giving them guidance in their own lives, I'm all for it.  If somebody claims that they'd be raping hamsters were Jesus not in their life, then I'm all for them having Jesus in their life; if only for the sake of the hamsters.

But the part I don't like is when people take their religion and insist that it also applies to everyone else.  People who use religion as a weapon in order to further their own interests; whether those interests are personal or religious.  And that applies to anti-religious atheists who mock religious people and try to force their atheism on others.  If someone wants to discuss religion with you, that's great.  I love religious debate of all kinds and think it's the best way to hone your own beliefs.  But as soon as you move from "This is what I believe" to "This is what you should believe," you've crossed the line.

Overall, your religion is your business and you have no business forcing it upon others; just as others have no business forcing their religion on you.  And that includes prayer in school, which should be up to the individual and not an officially sanctioned event.  I have no problem with people talking to their god; just as long as I don't have to eavesdrop on the call. 

Fake Ex-Muslims

And so I read with interest the story of the Ergun Caner, president of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary (aka, Jerry Falwell University), who claims to have been raised as a radical Muslim jihadist until his conversion to Christianity in his late teens.  And while his conversion is his own business, after 9/11, he's used his conversion as a weapon against Islam, in order to further his own personal interests.  And as I said, that's an area of interest to me.

And as the story unfolds, it appears Caner is a total fraud.  Not only was he not raised as a radical Muslim in Turkey, as he leads people to believe, he wasn't raised in Turkey at all...or as a Muslim.  Rather, it appears he was an atheist from Ohio (though his father was a Turkish Muslim).  And it seems that after 9/11, he made quite a mint by teaching scared Christians of all the evils of Islam, from the perspective of a reformed insider.

Yet while his knowledge of Islam is clearly sufficient enough for his Christian audiences, he screws up even the most basic facts about the religion.  From the bits I can gather, he's the equivalent of a christian theologian who doesn't know who John the Baptist is, what day Christmas is, or why protestants aren't Catholic.  He even substitutes gibberish for an actual langauge Muslims might speak; which is so bad that even *I* think it sounds like gibberish, and I'm horrible with languages. 

Fake Islam

You can read lots about it at Fake Ex-Muslims, a website devoted to exposing Caner as the anti-Muslim fraud he is.  And I liked that site for two reasons: One, I love stories exposing frauds; especially religious frauds who use their religion as a weapon to hurt others.  Rather than using religion to improve life, he uses it to scare Christians with lies about Islam; feeding upon their ignorance by making them hate a religion they don't understand.  And as I said above, that's something I'm never cool with.

But secondly, I actually learned quite a bit about Islam as part of the reading.  All I've known of Islam were a few basic words and ideas, and this website goes into those basic ideas because those are the same ideas that Caner's christian audience is familiar with.  And so to expose Caner's fraudulent Muslim past, it's necessary to go a little deeper into these areas, which was great, as I now understand things a little better.  And while I have no plans to ever convert to any religion, I'm always interested in learning about them, so I can better understand how other people think.

And so if you've got nothing better to do today, I definitely recommend checking out Fake Ex-Muslims for awhile.  While I think it could be organized and written better, and needs more emphasis on how his anti-Muslim stuff is wrong, it's still a good read; which is not only informative, but also pretty funny.  As a relatively honest person who makes a point of playing by the rules, it always gives me a boost to read about cheaters getting taken down.  I hope more heat is put on this guy, if only so that his christian victims finally learn that the radical Islam he warned them about was just an attempt to con them of their money.


Mohammad Khan said...


Muslimfella said...

Doc,You nail it spot on: "Your religion is your business, and you have no business forcing your beliefs on others". Similarly we believe as follows as in the Quran
Surah 109. Al-Kafirun (The Disbelievers, Atheists)

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

1. Say : O ye that reject Faith!

2. I worship not that which ye worship,

3. Nor will ye worship that which I worship.

4. And I will not worship that which ye have been wont to worship,

5. Nor will ye worship that which I worship.

6. To you be your Way, and to me mine.


NFQ said...

This is a really sad story ... taking advantage of people's fear of the Other is a terrible thing to do. At least it's good that he got exposed as a fraud.

I'm curious, though, about what you mean when you say, But as soon as you move from "This is what I believe" to "This is what you should believe," you've crossed the line. I think I used to have views more like yours, but as I've gotten older I've started to see it as more of a true/false issue. Religions make claims about what reality actually is. Do you really mean to imply that we shouldn't advocate that people believe likely true things and stop believing likely false things?

Doctor Biobrain said...

NFQ - If you're interested, I posted a rebuttal on a separate post: Gambling With Infinite-Sided Dice

Basically, it concerns your claim on the likelihood of what is true or false.