Monday, 6 July 2015


Dear Believer, 

I have lived in your (predominantly Muslim) country for three years and during that time I have    been  referred to  as an Unbeliever by yourself and other Believers, and more recently,  people have shouted  'Infidel' at me in the streets.  As you know they all  mean much the a person l who does not believe in Islam. The word translates into Arabic as Kafir. The use  of the word 'infidel' takes us a bit further down the unbelieving road, and refers  to people who have no religion at all. God forbid!

The distinction between Believer and Unbeliever is a dangerous one. It has become  the deciding factor  for who keeps his/her head,  or loses  it. Like racial supremacy, it sets the superiority of one group over another. To dismiss the beliefs of others by calling them  Unbelievers as if they have no beliefs at all, and that only yours count, dehumanizes. White supremacy has the same effect.

I have the Quran on my kindle - a translation by Marmaduke Pikthall  which has been upheld by various Islamic scholars. I sweep my finger randomly to one page and immediately read, '127: That he may cut off a part of those who disbelieve, or overwhelm them so that they retire frustrated.....' Friendly stuff.

 Despite a few  verses citing that Allah can be Merciful and Forgiving when he's in a good mood,  you will know  that  the point is driven home  even   further  by108  more verses  calling on Muslims to kill, mutilate and fight with Unbelievers, particularly in the later writings of the Quran when your prophet was getting stuck into power, expansion, war and its booty.   You are  commanded to chop off heads and fingers of unbelievers and kill them  wherever they may be hiding. I am grateful that you haven't, although there are other Believers who are carrying this out to the letter. According to your book, the unbelieving are in a no-win situation. Even if they  manage to keep their heads in this life, they will be barbecued in the next.  Must have been tough being a Jew, Christian or pagan when Mecca's  young upstart religion emerged. Before that time, they all lived as kinsmen. Religion took second place to tribal allegiances.

I have lived amongst Believers, and none  of them have threatened to chop off my head or fingers, or crucify me, as your prophet and Allah have advocated.  I've appreciate this, along with the warmth and love that has been shown to me by many Believers. However, history shows   that Christian communities in the Middle East have always been under threat because there have always been those, like ISIS etc,  who take these verses literally.(I note that you do not call these 'literalists', Unbelievers, but refer to them as non-Muslims, as if part of them is still connected to Islam. Once a Believer always a Believer whether you like it or not.) Today, Middle Eastern  Christians are  crucified, tortured, beheaded and forced to leave their homes. Smelling blood, the Jews left years ago.

I've had many conversations with mild and decent Believers, like yourself, who seem to work on the  assumption that without an unchallengeable celestial dictatorship I have no moral compass. The less  mild tell me that my 'unbelief' will end in tears and the burning flames of hell. You all assume   I am a Christian, and fall silent when I say I am not. What am I then? Well, I dont have a religion. So, you assume I am an atheist, but I tell you I am  agnostic, and you fall silent and look at me as if I have fallen from the moon. An agnostic does not believe in god or disbelieve in it.  Non-belief is not quite un-belief. Please keep that in mind.

 Yes, you are right. I  unbelieve…
  • I don’t believe  I have been conceived in sin and have a duty to a stern creator.
  • I don’t believe I am the part of a divine heavenly plan. 
  • I do not believe I can only do a right action from fear of diviner retribution, or a hope for divine reward 
  • I don’t believe we are the centre of the universe and everything is created with us in mind.
  • I do not believe that any divine creative force is an intervening or redeeming one.
  • I do not believe in any celestial despot that subjects us to continual surveillance and  regards us as their private property, even after we’ve snuffed it.  
  • I do not believe in 'Divine Revelation' 
  • I don’t  believe in the Tooth Fairy any more.  
 My beliefs are as valid as yours even though, as you keep reminding me,  I do  not believe in what you believe. My beliefs  reflect my own spiritual, mystical and human journey, my unique response to this world, my personal connection to humanity. 

I believe in the marvels of science and the beauty of nature, the consolation and irony of philosophy , the infinite spendours of literature, art, music, poetry and architecuture  that aim for the sublime.  In these I feel an awe and magnificence that  connects me to a wider humanity and reinforces my belief in   the Oneness of our existence. The great thinkers.writers and poets of the ages  sustain  me; Socrates, Aristotle, John Stuart Mill, David Hume, Omar Khayoum,Spinoza, Simone Weil, Simone de Beauvoir, Rumi etc  I may not agree with everything they say,  but their thoughts have challenged and inspired me to question the messianic bilge I was force fed as a child. 

Over four hundred years ago, Shakespeare wrote more compassionately on the trials and tribulations of  the human condition than any holy book or so called prophet.  His wit, wisdom and humanity subscribes to the idea that we are all imperfect and that there is no Absolute Truth. My spirituality is an ongoing quest and I find my 'spiritual food' in the most unexpected  of places.  . 

I believe that religion is a man-made response prompted by a fear   of death's likely oblivion and darkness. The religious medieval dogma  that you and over a  billion others choose to live by, repels me

I believe in the profound power of love.

 I have tried to understand your beliefs, but  have you tried to understand mine? They might   pose a number of questions you may not want to ask yourself. The answers could leave you grappling with what you consider  scientific 'heresies'  and  spiritual insights that could cut off your scriptural life support system. I don't care for the Catholic Church, but it has at least acceeded to Darwin's theory of evoution, stating that it does not contradict the idea of divine creation. All rational, scientific evidence turns Adam and Eve to fiction, yet even the most educated and intelligent of Believers will hang on to this fairy tale. The Ancient Greeks; Pythagoras (570 - 495 BC), Aristotle (384 - 322 BC) and Hipparchus (190 - 120 BC) all knew this. Apparently Mohammed didn't. 

 He didn't know the shape of the earth either, despite a direct link to its creator. In the Quran, 20:53 and 15:19 Allah declared the earth to be flat even though it was thought to be round for thousands of years. You have mentioned that the Quran states the earth is egg shaped...and indeed, surah and verse  79:33 translates as such. The word 'dahaha' is used and does mean 'egg shaped' but it also means an expanse and fits in with earlier references to a flat earth. Can god afford to be so ambiguous and ignorant?

I believe the earth is round. Don't you?

You are a highly intelligent Believer, but I have yet to meet any human being who is remotely qualified to say that he/she understands or knows the mind of god. Yet you claim to do so. The existence of a deity remains   neither disproved or proved. You say you cannot prove your statements but that I would believe if I  recognised that  the 'truth' in my heart has been corrupted by my intellect.

I cannot accept an alliance of intellectual and moral perversion which is perveyed with an arrogance and intolerance that labels me an Unbeliever, and which qualifies Believers to look upon me with pity and disdain. Indeed, Unbelievers have been killed throughout history for their unbelieving, and still are. The Christian Catholic Church were efficient in their torture and murder of those they considered Unbelievers and who undermined its beliefs.

I suggest you edit the Quran (it does go on a bit) and remove all the 108 verses that were written when people were mainly illiterate and  thought the world was flat and  did not know our planet orbited a lesser star in an huge cosmos that exploded into existence. They  knew nothing of physics, biology, etc. Muhammed was a wiley politician and businessman  for his time,  but that time has long passed. Desert dogma and the mindset of Arab religious imperialism fostered by a Meccan merchant 1,500 years ago, are  not compatible with  the science, complexities and human rights of the 21st century. It counters the holy grail of democracy - equality and scuppers human rights.

We can no longer share our planet divided between those who believe they have the Absolute Truth and those who don't. The evidence in the destruction and lives lost is already apparent.

Best wishes from an Unbeliever.