The mysterious character I talked about in my previous post is just a satiated version of our own selves. As the first rays of the dawning sun filter through the window curtains, gently caressing our faces, we wake up to a newer version of ourselves. The newer version is a day older than the previous one. Time makes us old and less intense. The passionate yearning to know transforms into a deep calmness of surrender. We are getting closer to our physical end. Death seems inevitable. Are we any closer to the truth? The Absolute Truth which is the summum bonum?
Perhaps not. And so the struggle continues. Another day of endless possibilities to enrich one’s life experiences lies in front of us. Perhaps, just perhaps, this might be the day when the mystery of being will be unraveled and the transcendent powers that be will manifest themselves in full glory. We long for such ecstatically profound moments. Moments that will transform ourselves forever and provide us with the ultimate vision of all that we know on earth and all we need to know…
My struggle with faith is somewhat similar. Every day I wake up, hoping to learn something new, something profound about religions in general and Islam in particular that might transform myself. Yet I find myself to be disappointed by my own efforts and failures. I wholeheartedly accept that I definitely am not putting in enough time and energy required to systematically study the Qur’an and the Ahadith.
However, the limited time I do allocate to my theological interests, seems to be wasted at times. Maybe Islam is inaccurate and is ‘nothing more than Bronze Age mythology’ as stated on EXMNA’s website.
I don’t know. There is massive confusion and the quest for Absolute Truth with regards to religious claims, as made by Islam, does not seem to be coming to an end. Religion is obvious nonsense for the likes of Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss and I should, perhaps, be doing something more worthwhile with my time.
During my screening interview with MoTheAtheist, I said that some Muslim scholars argue that it is important to know Arabic in order to truly understand and appreciate the Qur’an. To this, the President of EXMNA said that what about the numerous Arabic-speaking people who have left Islam? Surely, they speak and understand the language and yet choose to leave the religion. According to him, this is a trivial argument.
I was asked about any particular part of the Qur’an that I found unsettling during my search. I mentioned the famous verse related to wife-beating that I had also blogged about.
There was also a discussion about morality wherein I adopted a meta-ethical moral relativist position arguing that there is no objective and absolute yardstick to gauge morality. There is no way to quantify morality, so to speak.
Of course, slavery is bad. It’s immoral and inhumane but only by modern standards. Our moral code, much like our genetic code, is subject to evolution. What was acceptable a century ago is unacceptable today. Similarly, it is fairly possible that what is acceptable today may end up becoming unacceptable a century from now. Moral and ethical values, I believe, are not set in stone.
In my humble opinion, the search for an objective and absolute moral code is futile. Moreover, it is a characteristic of an extremist mind that only wishes to see reality in black and white, ignoring the varying shades of gray.
Anyway, coming back to my interview, I was informed by MoTheAtheist that local chapters of EXMNA often organize events like Islamoween in which people dress up in Islamic themes. In past such events, some people came wearing burqas. One person dressed up as Buraq: the mythical horse-like creature on which Prophet Muhammad allegedly visited the heavens. But the highlight of the event was the one who dressed up as the Ka’aba. Circumambulating around him was a no-brainer.
They also prepared a drink by mixing Zamzam water with Jack Daniel’s and few other types of alcohol that I don’t remember. There was Kulfies (Indian frozen dairy dessert) prepared with Baileys Irish Cream and haleem made with ham, which tasted terrible.
We talked for almost 2 hours. Towards the end, MoTheAtheist asked me to show him some form of identification. With that out of the way, I was officially welcomed to EXMNA and joined the group. I’ll conclude this post at this juncture. In the coming days, I will talk about some of the discussions I have had on the EXMNA group with other fellow ex-Muslims. Stay tuned.