All religions promise a good life on earth. Many of them also promise a good life after we die. All religions preach very different ideas though. Who do you believe? I can imagine the answer coming from most of you: “I am happy with what my parents brought me up in.” If you believe that, then I have one more question to ask you, after which you can happily stop reading. My question is, if each person’s parents taught them the best religion possible, and calls other parents’ religions false, then how do we know which one is telling the truth? Like for example, if my parents are Muslims and your parents are Christian, and both regard each others’ beliefs as being wrong, whose parents does a neutral person seeking an answer believe? If this question troubles you, keep reading. If not, thank you for your time.
If I flip a coin and ask two people to each predict either “heads” or “tails”, three things are possible: 1. Both could predict heads, 2. One could predict heads and one tails 3. Both could predict tails. Are you agreed that that’s the only three possibilities? Okay, so after I have flipped the coin, and show the outcome, there are now three possibilities again:
- If both chose differently before the toss, then one will be right and one wrong – Both cannot be right
- If both chose heads and the outcome was tails, then both of them was wrong in the first place.
- If both chose heads and the outome is heads, then both were right in the first place.
The lesson for our discussion is as follows:
- When people agree on an issue, its possible that they could be agreed on the wrong thing
- If people agree on something, its possible that they could all be right.
- When people differ over an issue, it is impossible for all of them to be right
Why have I brought up this coin-tossing analogy? I want to prove that having everyone agree with you is not a guarantee of following the right thing. Also, I want to prove that its impossible for everyone to be right when they all differ amongst each other.
The religious world looks like this today: Those who follow their religion, feel that millions of others are also following the same thing, and therefore comfort themselves that they MUST be following the true path. The fact however is that millions may be following one religion, but millions of people also follow an opposing set of beliefs, which really means that some of those millions MUST be wrong.
This booklet is an attempt to provide clarity and to offer a way forward.
Before I can continue the discussion, I wish to ask for two basic points of agreement, without which, we will only be wasting our time. Those two points I need agreement on are:
- We have to agree that a solution to our problem can be found
- We have to exert our healthy minds to the best of our ability to seek that solution
If you believe that using our minds is not a viable way forward, or if you believe that no solution exists to the question of “which religion is right?”, then I also bid you farewell.
Religions claim to be about God. They claim that God gave humanity religion as a means to save themselves. Now let’s look at the gifts of God. What tangible, natural gift is the most precious gift you have, from God, that sets you apart from all other life forms? Our healthy intelligent minds are most certainly the most prized gift we have as human beings. If you were to be told by some crafty person to pay over half the money you possess, in return for a double your money tomorrow, your healthy mind will protect you from such stupidity. Stupidity causes loss. Healthy thinking causes success. The biggest gift God gave you is the gift that will protect you and guide you throughout your life. Why then do so many of us choose to suspend the use of our minds when it comes to religion?
More importantly, my key question: Why do religions claim that they are God’s gift to us, while those same religions deny God’s other great gift to you, namely your sound mind?? I can hear some of you say: “My religion doesn’t do that!” The fact is that ALL the major religions I’ve come across ask you to believe in things that you would normally NEVER believe, using your sound mind. I can list a few examples, but I ask you not to be offended, as my aim is not to degrade any religion here, but rather to pursue a path to the truth, God willing.
Example 1: Can someone have both the power to do something AND lack the power to do that thing at the same time? In philosophy , this is called the Law of the Excluded Middle. A person either IS or on IS NOT carrying an ability, and any option besides the two is impossible. Note, we’re not talking about subjective opinions here, but rather about facts. For example, take the statements “The sun is out” and “The sun is NOT out.” There can be no option where the sun is out and not out at the same time. Another example: “I have a cat”, and “I don’t have a cat.” Both cannot be true. Yet, the Christian church confuses this healthy reasoning when it comes to the most important core aspect of their religion, namely God! Claiming that Jesus is fully God and fully Man. I.e. Jesus has all the powers of God, and at the same time, none of the powers of God. Now, I know hundreds of books have been written to justify the official position of the Christian church. I have a question however for those who defend this belief: If someone came with a similar argument to you today, claiming that he is both a billionaire and a homeless vagrant dying of cold, would you believe him?
Example 2: Any act can be seen as virtuous or NOT virtuous. Is it possible to conceive of an act that is both intended as an evil and a good act at the same time? Killing someone could either be done justly, such as in self-defence or UNJUSTLY, such as in a murder. An act cannot be both Good and Bad at the same time. Yet, in Islam, in the war that raged between the elected leader and fourth Caliph Ali on the one side and Muawiyah the rebel leader from Syria on the other side, both men are regarded as virtuous! The rebellion of Muawiyah, with the subsequent thousands of deaths, is therefore painstakingly justified by hundreds of scholars.
Example 3: Can a person both be present and absent at the same time? Let me introduce this example as follows: Say your uncle has a huge fortune that is to be distributed to his heirs upon his death. You are the sole heir. A man appears and claims that he has a child of your uncle, who he cannot present at the present moment, but whose claim he would like to stake. Will you hand over all the wealth entitled to this guy, without at least asking to see the child? Twelver Shi’ism makes this exact demand from its followers: Accept that the 11th Imam, Hassan Al Askari has a son, which none but one witness has seen , who is both absent and present at the same time in the world. Meanwhile the only witness to such a child is also the beneficiary as a custodian of the immense wealth due to the child.
Example 4: Can God perform a Devilish act? According to the Jewish Old Testament, the answer is “yes”. The Jewish books are replete with events that would ascribe the actions of Satan to God Almighty. If God is capable of mimicking Satan, then is the faith that places such a Satanic being at its core not itself satanic? Look at this verse, clearly enunciating a satanic act:
Samuel 15:2,3 :This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt.3 Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy [a] everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.’ ”
The ridiculous claim that God can mimick Satan by committing grave injustices is carried forward into Salafism. They too believe that unspeakable atrocities can be committed such as burdering babies and innocent people in the name of God.
I have now provided you with four examples of how every one of the major religions calls on you to suspend your good mind, and to accept the fantastic opinions and reasonings of its scholars and priests.
Do you need to be a professor in mathematics to know that you have ten fingers? If some mathematics professor arrives and writes a million books about you having nine fingers, would you believe the million books or your own eyes? The scholars and priests of religion are the same. They come to you, asking you to suspend your logical mind and to believe their poppycock just because they are more learned than you. Why are they more learned? Just because they read more books? Did they travel to the life beyond death? Do they have a secret stash of heavenly revealed books? My dear reader, you were born, you grew up, you found a way to sustain yourself financially, all without the help of a cleric or a priest. So why do you desperately need them when it comes to religion? Its like saying that you cannot make any decision in your life without calling your lawyer. Or that you cannot eat anything without calling your doctor. Or that you cannot spend any money without calling your accountant. Completely absurd. Religion should be about God, and not about the priests. But the priests have carefully twisted religion to be about them (speaking on God’s behalf.)
Here is my first appeal to you, dear reader: Reclaim your right to ponder, evaluate, scrutinise, consider, reflect and critique what you are told by men who claim to speak for God. Your sound mind is God’s best gift to you, to use in your journey to Him. If anyone tells you that your sound mind will lead you away from God, then that person is saying that good religion cannot be achieved by a healthy process of contemplation. You are also insulting God, by saying that God created you with a mind that leads you away from Him!
Liberating yourself from priesthood, and embracing your own sound intellect or mind is the first major step towards a pure and sincere religion.
Are all religions all wrong?
A river starts high up in the mountains or highlands, and finds its way down towards the lower valleys. All rivers start out clear and pure, but can undergo contamination during its downward path. At a certain point, the river might lose its purity and become hazardous to your health. Its up to you to take personal care to purify the water from the river before you drink it. I believe that the major religions are the same today. They can be good for you, provided you filter out the filth. And guess what: When you filter water from the Amazon, the Nile or any other river, all you get is the same nourishing H2O.
Applying this to our study of religion, we have to put any idea that anyone asks us to accept to a purifying process. What is this purifying process? Its simply the rational, reflection, pondering, weighing up and critical reflection that we exercise with our sound mind. If someone is handing out water to people, and you see those people falling ill and dropping dead after drinking the water, you need to be especially sceptical. With religion today, if a religion is causing death, pain and suffering, you need to be especially cautious of that religion.
My thesis in this booklet, my dear reader, is that, once you clear the filth out of Islam, Christianity or Judaism, you will be left with the same unadulterated Godly religion. What do I mean by unadulterated Godly religion? I mean by that the core-concepts that all religions preach, namely:
- The recognition that there is a greater reality within which the perceivable world exists and the recognition of God as Supreme Creator and Sustainer of the universe and what exists beyond.
- God is virtuous and has established guidance for human beings to be virtuous
- The recognition of the Earth as temporal abode preceding an eternal after life abode where the most excellent of souls will enjoy eternal flourishing.
None of the main religions will dispute or subtract from these core principles. What they do do is to add confusion to these simple core points. Islam confuses these core ideas by introducing a huge cumbersome set of unnecessary laws and shifting the focus away from love and dedication to God, towards love and dedication to laws. One example: Islamic scholars write endless books on how to posture oneself during the act of worshipping God, while omitting the importance of making a sincere connection with God during worship sessions. Orthodox Judaism commits the same mistake, turning religion into a strict maze of legalisms.
Christians and Hindus shift the attention from God towards His creation and his mediators. Christians places worship, love and dedication to Jesus on a par with love and dedication to God almighty, whilst Jesus himself announced that he worships a greater power. Hindus adore the creation of God, as a manifestation of God. This amounts to confusing God with His creation. The artist is not the painting; the engineer is not the engine, the watch maker is not the watch, so why should God’s creation be regarded as God?
Religious imposters serve to confuse the pristine message of religion as stated above. God’s detractors have given up hope over the millennia from convincing us that He doesn’t exist, so they’ve changed their strategy to confuse and muddy his essence.
The tools of the imposter and corruptor are:
- Claiming to speak for God and claiming the right to punish you on God’s behalf
- Using intimidation and mob tactics to defend the orthodoxy which they established.
- Claiming mysterious knowledge of the afterlife and promising damnation to those differing with them
- Claiming mysterious powers to influence your fortunes in the world
All of these are absolutely fake and invented to lead you away from pure unadulterated worship of God. Accepting any of these as valid places you on a sad path that leads away from God.
Can I be regarded as a good Christian/ Muslim / Jew if I adore God, worship him everyday, do virtuous deeds every day of my life and show nothing but kindness all my life? They all say “No!” The Christian Priest says “No!” because you failed to accept Jesus Christ. The Muslim and Jewish Priests say: “No!” because you failed to follow the myriad of laws meticulously. This shows the ridiculousness of the religions of the priests.
On the other hand, can I be regarded as good Christian / Muslim / Jew even after living a life oblivious to God and committing countless acts harming others? They all answer “Yes, its possible”. The Christian claims that you have achieved salvation and your sins forgiven, as long as you professed that Jesus died for your sins. The Muslim and the Jew claim that as long as you followed the laws, and kept up your rituals, you will be regarded as a good Muslim or Jew. When I visited Mecca in 1985, I learnt that thousands of tons of meat, ritually slaughtered would rot and be disposed of, never to reach an empty stomach. This to me is an indication of how legal ritual kills and overrides virtue. I saw a Shi’ite priest once advising a devout follower to escape fasting ordained in the Holy Quran by taking a pointless journey and returning home again. Meaningless compliance with rituals and stupid nonsensical actions can never be regarded as part of the magnificent grand plan of God Almighty. If you witness such actions, be assured that you should be worried.
Now to conclude: All religions have a good core, and you have to cut away the corruption to get to that core. If we all do the same, we will notice an amazingly uniform system emerging where priests, titles and sects will lose relevance and where only God and Virtue will become our main pre-occupation.