Hi everyone, I’m a 20-year-old Atheist and former Muslim from Singapore. I’ll be withholding my real name to protect my identity.
Like many other Muslims, I was raised while being taught Islamic values and attended Madrasah/Sunday school until I was 16. I didn’t wear a hijab/tudung or pray daily but I claimed I was proud to be a Muslim. I defended Islam online whenever it was under attack and ignored all the supposed evils of Islam brought up by people I debated. I looked down on people who left Islam and judged them for it. Now that I think about it, I was blinded by my love for the religion and I did not realise it.
I first started questioning Islam and religion not long after I stopped attending Madrasah. I did not want to be a Muslim simply because Mummy told me so and because it just so happened I was born into Islam. I was at the age where most teens think about their place in life. I thought about my purpose. I read books on Philosophy which had chapters on God and the logical impossibility of his existence.
The road to my apostasy was a slow process. I was a self-professed Agnostic for several years. I questioned Islam and religion in general, but I never outright denied the existence of the Muslim God. Looking back, I now see that I was too afraid to leave the religion. I believed in God just in case, as in Pascal’s wager. I didn’t realise back then that I had a 1 in 3000 chance of believing in the right God. After all, who’s to say Zeus doesn’t exist? Or Yahweh? How can Muslims know for sure that Allah is the one true God?
I had an irrational fear that something horrible would happen to me once I apostatised. I blame Islam for this – from a very young age, Muslims are ingrained with the fear of Hell, the fear of a vengeful God and the idea that apostasy is unthinkable (God forbid!). That’s Islam for you, using fear as a tool to ensure submission.
I eventually realised the concept of God is logically flawed. I read The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, whom I now look up to. I questioned further when I read the following Epicurus quote:
“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?”
I also love using this argument as believers cannot answer it: If God is as great and merciful, then why does he condemn thinking men and women who question his existence to Hell for eternity (according to the Bible, Quran and Torah, etc)? Why are they condemned just for not bowing down to him, even those who were morally upright in their lifetimes? Is he that petty and narcissistic?
The way I see it, if a God really does exist and if he’s everything people claim him to be, I have nothing to worry about. He would recognise that I am not a bad person despite the many mistakes I have committed. Today, I consider myself an Atheist and a Humanist. For those who are unaware, I quote: “Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without supernaturalism, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity.”
I also started to have issues with Islam. One of the things I don’t like about Islam is its treatment of women. Justify it all you want (just as I did back when I believed) but it degrades women. For example, I don’t agree with women having to cover themselves up and take the blame for inciting lust in men.
When I was 19, I finally declared my Atheism and apostasy. I’m happier now that I no longer have a fear of God and Hell and I feel like a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I don’t live to please God anymore. Basically, to me that’s all there is to it – we live then we die, so we might as well make the most of it. As of today, I strive to be a good person. You don’t have to believe in God to be morally upright. I knew I no longer had a reason to be afraid.
Unfortunately, I remain in the closet. It’s especially difficult being an ex-Muslim Atheist. I doubt my family would be very happy to hear the news when I tell them in the future.
To those of you who believe, do take a moment to question all you have been told. Do not have blind faith. I wish you all the best.