(I can't be bothered to tidy it up, but here's one I made earlier):
I think the mistake you make is to call it a switch. There are many reasons to leave a religion. There are many reasons to disbelieve in gods. Doing either doesn't necessarily mean one will jump straight into bed with a replacement. It can also be liberating life experience. It doesn't have to leave a religion shaped hole that needs filling - it can set you free to just explore yourself and the universe and take it as it comes. Some people don’t even have emotional attachments, instead having practical attachments. Some want or need neither. Both these kind of attachments can be replaced. But you’re not going to put much thought into finding a replacement if they are still holding your attention.
Islam never really held my attention. I always found myself out of synch with it. Praying was boring, fasting was uncomfortable, the structured ruleset was frustrating me, curiosity was met with trite answers that left me unsatisfied, and the divine directives didn’t sit right with me, and I saw the injustices and didn't like them, not only to myself but to others, long before I actually did any reading or investigation into the rationale of how things came to be this way for me. So I wouldn’t describe it as emotional. I think it was a practical, sensual thing - it smelled like bullshit. I was an unbeliever even before I realised what one was, simply by practical deduction. There was no “Eureka!” moment. There was no BOOM! I am an Atheist! It was a complete non-event - the end of an organic, gradual process. The result of largely an unconscious effort.
Some people are just not born to be Muslim. Some people have a wilder lust for the world and an animal ‘fear of the trap’ that makes resistance to systems of life like Islam part of their very being. And it's maybe more typical of adolescence than adulthood. Maybe I got out just in time, before I made a terrible compromise to my existence. I can’t really speak for emotional attachments in this case, but I can maybe explain why Islam is not even remotely attractive to me except maybe as a chew toy when I’m bored.
First, the theological claims of Islam have been proven to be false, again and again, by people much more informed and eloquent than I. Simply by its own internal inconsistencies and fallacies as a work of literature, the Qur’an is self-refuting. Any theist with a modicum of self-respect has to concede that it was ‘just metaphor and parable’ in order to reconcile it with reality and in order to be accepted as marginally sensible in a modern adult world.
Taken at face value, without bias, the Qur’an is profoundly lacking in substance. As a work of literature, its terrible. Poorly written, poorly structured, uncannily resembling the blissfully ignorant views of the men of that time.This is a fact: it has been outshined, outclassed, outmatched by superior written works. And it makes matters worse for itself by being such an arrogant work. Making bold claims of perfection, challenging its reader to find better. Well, guess what? I found better, and I didn’t even have to look very hard at all. Maybe millennia ago, when books were simply not available, it stood out as the bestest fresh and relevant thing to hand, but what are people’s excuses these days? You can walk into any library or bookshop and take a random book off the shelf and prove this point: the Qur’an has not stood the test of time.
Subjective? Perhaps. But when you consider the vast majority of Muslims have not even read the Qur’an anyway and claim to be an authority on it, and when you consider that many of the ones who do actually investigate their own scripture, blatantly lie and squirm about massive sections of its content when they are cornered about it, I think I’ve got a pretty good case. Hence why so many Muslim careers have been made on pseudo-philosophy and bunk science, trying to find or manufacture hidden meanings behind drained, worn-out lines of rotting text that are demonstrably defunct, and we end up with the so-called Miracles of the Qur’an and various strained numerological attempts and desperate pattern seeking. It’s all so forced and contrived - a sad and pitiful attempt to keep the Qur’an relevant in a world that has already moved on.
On to the mythology. I love a good myth. I love a good story - big, larger than life characters, heroes and villains, champions and monsters, honour, bravery, tragedy, deceit, epic sagas, swashbuckling human drama - good old fashioned storytelling. What the authors of the Qur’an have managed to do, in the process of plagiarising and cannibalising every tradition that came before, is to ruin great myths. And its biggest crime is surgically removing any modicum of humour from them. Sterilising them to fit in with The Plan. It has a complete inability to laugh at itself. Islam is where great myths go to die. It’s a graveyard of broken myths. One seeking true adventure would do well to follow the trail of breadcrumbs back to the originals it has stolen from. See for yourself the hatchet job those ham-fisted bastards did.
What about philosophy? Here is what I can write about the philosophy of Islam: Nothing. There isn’t anything to go on. Islam is philosophically sterile. It’s almost as though philosophy didn’t even exist as a concept hundreds of years earlier, almost like Islam evolved in a philosophical vacuum. The measure of its failings is illustrated when any analysis of Islam has to be cross referenced with superior works, some even older. It’s almost funny. What a pathetic, infantile stab in the dark at philosophy Islam offers us. What kind of unfortunate and simplistic proto-mind can be satisfied by it? What appetite do I have that otherwise intelligent and respectable Muslims do not? It is a mystery to me.
Belief in Islam takes so much from you. Yes, it takes from you, and gives back nothing you can’t drink elsewhere from cleaner streams. You’re diving for pearls in poisoned waters. It traps Muslims in a rigid spiritual prison. A good, subservient, observant Muslim has their spiritual journey restricted by the ruleset of Islam. It is not only restricted, but ruthlessly policed by an all seeing eye. There is the overbearing knowledge that you will be judged according to a specific and set standard. You are held back. You are compelled in some cases to fight against your own good conscience, do things no good person should do, for no other reason than: it says so in a book I think is awesome. Like the wise man Jason Bourne once said, “Do you even know why you’re supposed to kill me? Look at what they make you give.”
As an institution, Islam is systematically responsible for some of the worst human rights violations in the world. It is no coincidence. These things don’t just happen to be occurring in Muslim nations. These are the directives of Islam, the divine will of a fantasy war god that ancient clerics and superstitionists decided to name “Allah”. These things are the cornerstones of its tradition - subdue, suppress, assert, aggress, spread, dehumanise opposition, demonise dissent, sustained by the unwavering faith in the ascendancy and supremacy of the chosen. This is not something I even want to believe in, support, or swear allegiance to, even if it were miraculously and irrefutably revealed to be true. Even if I did believe in the existence of a god resembling the different Abrahamic brands of the One True God™, I’d distance myself from the ponzie scheme as a matter of principle. It is not a choice of belief or disbelief - it is a choice of being a good person or being a good Muslim.
Ultimately, I was faced with that choice of being a good person or being a good Muslim. A human being cannot be both in my eyes. These two things are at opposite ends of the scale for me. To be an obedient, observant Muslim, you must sacrifice your humanity. You must surrender to a divine will, swear honest fealty to it, without doubt, without questioning. To be a good person you must not only renounce many of the central tenets of Islam, but you must also openly oppose them, wherever they manifest in the world. Then, and only then, can you claim to be a human with me. Or, you can compromise - live some kind of half-life, a contradictory creature, torn between faith and your own conscience, drifting this way and that amid your own confused and unbalanced inner equilibrium - fooling yourself that you are free, and valued, and precious to non-existent higher power. You can pretend that you love an unlovable god, pretend that such a hateful god could ever love you, try to salvage some validation and purpose, some salvation from a book that gives you a little and then takes a lot more, and all the time harbouring a self-loathing, a deep rooted knowledge that you are a slave to that same higher power, with your mind shackled and your heart held back from true human interaction, under his ever-present gaze and scrutiny. That’s no life for me. That isn’t living.
I reject Islam wholeheartedly. I made my choice. I chose to try and be a good person instead of trying to be a good Muslim. The main symptom of doing so was feeling the weight lift off as each and every facet of Islam fell away from me. I have learned I no longer have to surrender my body, mind and soul to the god of the Prophet’s desires, dreams and delusions, and I have realised that I wont be punished for imaginary crimes in an imaginary afterlife if I choose not to surrender. The more I learned about the Prophet, the more I found him repulsive, even for a man of his time. The more I pulled away from that hideous Abrahamic concept of a supreme ‘one-god’, the more alive and vital I was in this gorgeous universe. I was free to be me, the person inside, perfect with all my flaws, comfortable in my own skin, no longer a mind-slave to the dark age ideologies imagined up by sadistic and insane monsters of history, no longer led along by the nose like cattle, no longer living according to the dogma spelled out by long-dead fools whose ideas belong in the graveyard of failed human endeavours, throwbacks to the infancy of our species. The umbilical cord that holds back the ascendancy and mastery of our own spirits and minds must be cut. We’ve crawled along on our belly for too long under religion. We should be walking on our own by now, running by now. We could even be flying by now.
There are better role models in this beautiful world than the so-called Prophet. There are better contributions to the world than the cancerous, poisoned chalice known as the Quran. There are better wisdoms out there to find, to add to your own spiritual alchemy, better philosophies, better revelations, better discoveries, better poetic and artistic expression, better hopes and dreams to be had, better love and passions, a much richer, fuller existence - all eclipsed while you are under the black cloud of Islam. I almost hate Islam for the life it denied me for so long, never knowing my potential as a member of the human race. I know that potential now. I can taste it, feel it, appreciate it like never before. I penetrated that black cloud like the chick breaking out of the egg. It was like opening my eyes for the first time to a whole new alphabet of feeling and emotion. Like seeing in colour after a lifetime of black and white.
I’ll never go back. Never. I would be a fool to. I’ve shed my skin already. My journey has only just begun, my journey of life, with new blood running through me, new verve, new growth, new days, and new hope for the first time - true, tangible hope and possibilities. And with Islam in my rear-view mirror, I have no regrets. This journey of life I am forever grateful for, and I can’t begin to describe how excited I am. I can only show those close to me, making the journey with me. And to those who accept me for who I am, and what I am, I will share myself, naked, unashamed, with arms wide open.