Skip navigation
Sidebar -

Advanced search options →

Welcome

Welcome to CEMB forum.
Please login or register. Did you miss your activation email?

Donations

Help keep the Forum going!
Click on Kitty to donate:

Kitty is lost

Recent Posts


NayaPakistan...New Pakist...
Today at 06:41 AM

Qur'anic studies today
Today at 05:40 AM

'Islamic State' a.k.a. IS...
by zeca
Yesterday at 07:47 PM

Freely down loadable Boo...
Yesterday at 06:55 PM

Catalan protests
Yesterday at 06:06 PM

Excellence and uniqueness
Yesterday at 12:15 PM

Neo prounouns & facism
October 13, 2019, 10:35 PM

New tunisian prez
October 13, 2019, 09:24 PM

Kyrgyzstan and islamisati...
October 13, 2019, 01:36 PM

Kashmir endgame
October 12, 2019, 11:24 AM

5 strongest arguments aga...
October 11, 2019, 08:47 AM

The Battle for British Is...
October 11, 2019, 12:34 AM

Theme Changer

 Topic: Absurdity of fear and hell in Islam: Am I missing something here?

 (Read 4762 times)
  • 1« Previous thread | Next thread »
  • Absurdity of fear and hell in Islam: Am I missing something here?
     OP - April 27, 2013, 02:44 AM

    I'm shocked at how central fear and hell is in Islam; though I've been reading up on Islam for some time now it wasn't until I'd finished reading the Koran that I realised how central these two things are. I'm close friends with a Muslim and through him know many warm-hearted Muslims, a disposition I find to be at total odds with the darkness of the Koran- I therefore suspect I'm not interpreting it right, even as a non-religious critic who nevertheless wants to keep a balanced view on such things.

    What shocked me most is the revelation that Allah, the most merciful, created such a cruel and disgusting place where the bulk of humanity will end up. The punishments and endless tortures dished out in Allah's hell are something I wouldn't dare wish on the most wicked, even in a watered down form. Even the most vomit-inducing and depressing things in our reality are but a pinch to the skin in comparison to Allah's evil plan.

    In light of this I'm surprised that Islam is able maintain such adherence and continue to attract followers despite this black hole in humanity. I'm surprised that it's still sold as a pure way of life, that Muslims have handed me the Koran advising that it's such a beautifully written book when all I see are pages of constant threats of hell on the disbelievers, as though the insecure author has to constantly threaten us to maintain our attention and devotion.

    I have reached 2 possible conclusions>

    1) I must be misunderstanding or overstating the place of fear and hell in the Koran. Perhaps there's something lost in it's English translation, or something on a metaphorical level that's flown over my agnostic head.

    2) Fear is central to Islam. Muslims continue to adhere to such a controlling religion in fear of the consequences. I can't see how the totalitarianism of the Koran's pages can genuinely induce a feeling of purity, knowing and creativity for the reader like so many claim it does.

    Of course Allah knows best, and he is the God of such complexity that our feeble minds can never comprehend him or question his perfect plans; but no God responsible for love and kindness could create such nauseating horror and despair, it just seems so counter-intuitive to believe so on any level, be it spiritual or intellectual.

    Anyhow I'd like to know what the ex-Muslims on here think. As I said I seek to be a balanced critic, I never seek to criticise Islam through simple hate or spite.

  • Absurdity of fear and hell in Islam: Am I missing something here
     Reply #1 - April 27, 2013, 03:17 AM

    Hey there.

    No you're not misunderstanding, the hell part is disgusting. It was one of the first things I started hating about Islam. God and his torture games.

    "Athab al-qabr" where apparently burning in hell for eternity isn't enough, so you will be tortured in your grave until the day of judgement, then judged, then hell forever.




    Quote from: ZooBear 

    • Surah Al-Fil: In an epic game of Angry Birds, Allah uses birds (that drop pebbles) to destroy an army riding elephants whose intentions were to destroy the Kaaba. No one has beaten the high score.

  • Absurdity of fear and hell in Islam: Am I missing something here
     Reply #2 - April 27, 2013, 03:18 AM

    Maybe many Muslims have not noticed all those passages about hell?

    There are quite a few "cultural Muslims" who are simply Muslims by default because their parents are Muslims. They probably do not feel the need to read the Quran in much detail because they are already Muslims so they are not particularly curious about it and it is rather a boring and incoherent book so why bother?
  • Absurdity of fear and hell in Islam: Am I missing something here?
     Reply #3 - April 27, 2013, 07:01 AM

    Hi Jila-I'd be interested in hearing your story of apostasy but couldn't find it in your older posts.

    Tonyt-
    I've encountered a few 'cultural Muslims' as well. Interestingly enough my close friend is a Sunni, much more devout than his father who he admitted to me once was a 'cultural Muslim'. From my anecdotal experience, there's a tolerance by the more devout for these more liberal types. It's as though their lack of adherence will somehow be excused or corrected before the day of judgement: 'oh he prays occasionally and usually fasts, that'll be enough to get him over the line'. To me that kind of excusing attitude seems a paradox given how controlling the religion is, and the dire consequences involved (after all the Koran explicitly states that it's not enough to be a Muslim to enter paradise).

    Despite Islam's tough demands a certain level of nonchalance or 'sin', a perfectly natural part of the human condition, will inevitably show through. On some level the monotony of being micromanaged in virtually all of life's minor affairs must consciously register as absurd in the followers mind, albeit it briefly, as would the realisation that they couldn't possibly be punished severely for the odd transgression. From their a few more transgressions are justifiable as the follower lies to her/himself (my Muslim friend swears all the time, which he knows is sinful, and I have a hard time believing he's a 32 year old virgin due to never marrying, or never masturbated for that matter).

  • Absurdity of fear and hell in Islam: Am I missing something here?
     Reply #4 - April 27, 2013, 08:46 AM

    My parents and sister are aware of some of the nasty verses (drinking from a boiling spring, skin being burnt off then new skin forming only to be burned off again, etc) but they still believe and go as far as saying that hell-dwellers deserve it. My sister claims that only the "defiantly disobedient" remain non-believers because Islam is so self-evidently true Roll Eyes therefore they deserve to be punished severely for rejecting the obvious truth due to their arrogance. I didn't think about it too much, it made sense to me: Do good = heaven. Do bad = hell. Nice and simple. It was what I had been raised to believe and I never thought anything of it. 


    Quote
    From my anecdotal experience, there's a tolerance by the more devout for these more liberal types. It's as though their lack of adherence will somehow be excused or corrected before the day of judgement: 'oh he prays occasionally and usually fasts, that'll be enough to get him over the line'. To me that kind of excusing attitude seems a paradox given how controlling the religion is, and the dire consequences involved (after all the Koran explicitly states that it's not enough to be a Muslim to enter paradise).


    There's a Hadith where Muhammad basically says to a man that all one needs to enter paradise is prayer and there's a widely accepted belief that if one dies a Muslim, though they'll be punished in hell for their sins, they'll eventually enter heaven. That's probably where the tolerant attitude comes from despite all the talk of hell and punishments. My sister -- who is very religious -- suspects that I'm godless but doesn't give me any grief over it; I think she just doesn't think about it and that's probably the case for a lot of religious people with irreligious family members. 

    There's also a distinction between major and minor sins; using your examples, some people don't sweat the little things like swearing, masturbation and stuff like that but sex is a *major* sin so it'd be avoided more. I have an aunt in her 40s whose a virgin and I know men who were virgins until they married in their 30s so it's not as unlikely as it seems. Religion is a powerful thing. 
  • Absurdity of fear and hell in Islam: Am I missing something here?
     Reply #5 - May 12, 2013, 04:05 AM

    "If there is a God who will damn his children forever, I would rather go to hell than to go to heaven and keep the society of such an infamous tyrant. I make my choice now. I despise that doctrine. It has covered the cheeks of this world with tears. It has polluted the hearts of children, and poisoned the imaginations of men.... What right have you, sir, Mr. clergyman, you, minister of the gospel to stand at the portals of the tomb, at the vestibule of eternity, and fill the future with horror and with fear? I do not believe this doctrine, neither do you. If you did, you could not sleep one moment. Any man who believes it, and has within his breast a decent, throbbing heart, will go insane. A man who believes that doctrine and does not go insane has the heart of a snake and the conscience of a hyena."

    - COL. Robert G. Ingersoll, "The Liberty Of All" (1877)

    The foundation of superstition is ignorance, the
    superstructure is faith and the dome is a vain hope. Superstition
    is the child of ignorance and the mother of misery.
    -Robert G. Ingersoll (1898)

     "Do time ninjas have this ability?" "Yeah. Only they stay silent and aren't douchebags."  -Ibl
  • Absurdity of fear and hell in Islam: Am I missing something here?
     Reply #6 - May 12, 2013, 04:51 AM

    Two excellent posts, Inkabod, if you don't mind a non-ex-Muslim saying so.
  • Absurdity of fear and hell in Islam: Am I missing something here?
     Reply #7 - May 12, 2013, 06:37 AM

    Has Islam rationalised hell like this?

    Quote
    Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God

    Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)
    Enfield, Connecticut
    July 8, 1741

    Their foot shall slide in due time. Deuteronomy 32:35

    In this verse is threatened the vengeance of God on the wicked unbelieving Israelites, who were God's visible people, and who lived under the means of grace; but who, notwithstanding all God's wonderful works towards them, remained (as vers 28.) void of counsel, having no understanding in them. Under all the cultivations of heaven, they brought forth bitter and poisonous fruit; as in the two verses next preceding the text. -- The expression I have chosen for my text, their foot shall slide in due time, seems to imply the following things, relating to the punishment and destruction to which these wicked Israelites were exposed.

    That they were always exposed to destruction; as one that stands or walks in slippery places is always exposed to fall. This is implied in the manner of their destruction coming upon them, being represented by their foot sliding. The same is expressed, Psalm 73:18. "Surely thou didst set them in slippery places; thou castedst them down into destruction."

    It implies, that they were always exposed to sudden unexpected destruction. As he that walks in slippery places is every moment liable to fall, he cannot foresee one moment whether he shall stand or fall the next; and when he does fall, he falls at once without warning: Which is also expressed in Psalm 73:18,19. "Surely thou didst set them in slippery places; thou castedst them down into destruction: How are they brought into desolation as in a moment!"

    Another thing implied is, that they are liable to fall of themselves, without being thrown down by the hand of another; as he that stands or walks on slippery ground needs nothing but his own weight to throw him down.

    That the reason why they are not fallen already and do not fall now is only that God's appointed time is not come. For it is said, that when that due time, or appointed time comes, their foot shall slide. Then they shall be left to fall, as they are inclined by their own weight. God will not hold them up in these slippery places any longer, but will let them go; and then, at that very instant, they shall fall into destruction; as he that stands on such slippery declining ground, on the edge of a pit, he cannot stand alone, when he is let go he immediately falls and is lost.

    The observation from the words that I would now insist upon is this. -- "There is nothing that keeps wicked men at any one moment out of hell, but the mere pleasure of God." -- By the mere pleasure of God, I mean his sovereign pleasure, his arbitrary will, restrained by no obligation, hindered by no manner of difficulty, any more than if nothing else but God's mere will had in the least degree, or in any respect whatsoever, any hand in the preservation of wicked men one moment. -- The truth of this observation may appear by the following consideration.

    There is no want of power in God to cast wicked men into hell at any moment. Men's hands cannot be strong when God rises up. The strongest have no power to resist him, nor can any deliver out of his hands. -- He is not only able to cast wicked men into hell, but he can most easily do it. Sometimes an earthly prince meets with a great deal of difficulty to subdue a rebel, who has found means to fortify himself, and has made himself strong by the numbers of his followers. But it is not so with God. There is no fortress that is any defence from the power of God. Though hand join in hand, and vast multitudes of God's enemies combine and associate themselves, they are easily broken in pieces. They are as great heaps of light chaff before the whirlwind; or large quantities of dry stubble before devouring flames. We find it easy to tread on and crush a worm that we see crawling on the earth; so it is easy for us to cut or singe a slender thread that any thing hangs by: thus easy is it for God, when he pleases, to cast his enemies down to hell. What are we, that we should think to stand before him, at whose rebuke the earth trembles, and before whom the rocks are thrown down?

    They deserve to be cast into hell; so that divine justice never stands in the way, it makes no objection against God's using his power at any moment to destroy them. Yea, on the contrary, justice calls aloud for an infinite punishment of their sins. Divine justice says of the tree that brings forth such grapes of Sodom, "Cut it down, why cumbereth it the ground?" Luke 13:7. The sword of divine justice is every moment brandished over their heads, and it is nothing but the hand of arbitrary mercy, and God's mere will, that holds it back.

    They are already under a sentence of condemnation to hell. They do not only justly deserve to be cast down thither, but the sentence of the law of God, that eternal and immutable rule of righteousness that God has fixed between him and mankind, is gone out against them, and stands against them; so that they are bound over already to hell. John 3:18. "He that believeth not is condemned already." So that every unconverted man properly belongs to hell; that is his place; from thence he is, John 8:23. "Ye are from beneath:" And thither he is bound; it is the place that justice, and God's word, and the sentence of his unchangeable law assign to him.

    They are now the objects of that very same anger and wrath of God, that is expressed in the torments of hell. And the reason why they do not go down to hell at each moment, is not because God, in whose power they are, is not then very angry with them; as he is with many miserable creatures now tormented in hell, who there feel and bear the fierceness of his wrath. Yea, God is a great deal more angry with great numbers that are now on earth: yea, doubtless, with many that are now in this congregation, who it may be are at ease, than he is with many of those who are now in the flames of hell.
    So that it is not because God is unmindful of their wickedness, and does not resent it, that he does not let loose his hand and cut them off. God is not altogether such an one as themselves, though they may imagine him to be so. The wrath of God burns against them, their damnation does not slumber; the pit is prepared, the fire is made ready, the furnace is now hot, ready to receive them; the flames do now rage and glow. The glittering sword is whet, and held over them, and the pit hath opened its mouth under them.


    http://www.ccel.org/ccel/edwards/sermons.sinners.html

    When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.


    A.A. Milne,

    "We cannot slaughter each other out of the human impasse"
  • Absurdity of fear and hell in Islam: Am I missing something here?
     Reply #8 - May 12, 2013, 07:41 AM

    Muslims are generally desensitized to all the gruesomeness and threats in the Quran. They know it exists, but it doesn't really register into most of them.

    It's kind of like life: You're perfectly aware that life is short and you need to make of it the most you can, but you don't tend to act that way by seizing every moment and every opportunity. Till one day something clicks and you think, "Holy shit, life really is so fucking short and I really need to get something out of it!" And that's when your existential struggle really begins, and you can't stop thinking about how short life is and how little you've done. It takes over your life and you have no choice but to live with the struggle

    Most Muslims don't live fearing Hell and all the other threats. They drink, have sex, and generally act like any other person, a person who doesn't have those threats. Maybe it's because death and Hell seem so distant, or because Muslims are like everyone else and just want to enjoy their lives. Or maybe it's a combination of the two.

    Muslims tend to say that ex-Muslims were never really believers, but ex-Muslims are intellectually stimulated people, people who couldn't just ignore everything in the Quran. They're people who were conscious of everything in it and tried to live according to its rules but really couldn't fathom it. Because once you become conscious of the contents of the Quran, you either devote your entire life to it, or you give it up entirely.

    Ex-Muslims are the people who couldn't bear the agony of life so committed suicide.
  • Absurdity of fear and hell in Islam: Am I missing something here?
     Reply #9 - May 13, 2013, 06:03 AM

    Quote
    Muslims are generally desensitized to all the gruesomeness and threats in the Quran. They know it exists, but it doesn't really register into most of them.


    Spot on, I imagine this applies to a majority Muslims but it's still that awareness of hell that prevents them from considering apostacy and is surely 'the' motivating factor of Islam as a religion. Without the threat of hell I doubt Islam would have survived; in my opinion it's Islam's one and true pillar. Sounds crude and simplistic to rest such a pervasive phenomenon on such a narrow stand, but it's what I believe.
  • Absurdity of fear and hell in Islam: Am I missing something here?
     Reply #10 - May 13, 2013, 07:12 AM

    Muslims are generally desensitized to all the gruesomeness and threats in the Quran. They know it exists, but it doesn't really register into most of them.

    It's kind of like life: You're perfectly aware that life is short and you need to make of it the most you can, but you don't tend to act that way by seizing every moment and every opportunity. Till one day something clicks and you think, "Holy shit, life really is so fucking short and I really need to get something out of it!" And that's when your existential struggle really begins, and you can't stop thinking about how short life is and how little you've done. It takes over your life and you have no choice but to live with the struggle

    Most Muslims don't live fearing Hell and all the other threats. They drink, have sex, and generally act like any other person, a person who doesn't have those threats. Maybe it's because death and Hell seem so distant, or because Muslims are like everyone else and just want to enjoy their lives. Or maybe it's a combination of the two.

    Muslims tend to say that ex-Muslims were never really believers, but ex-Muslims are intellectually stimulated people, people who couldn't just ignore everything in the Quran. They're people who were conscious of everything in it and tried to live according to its rules but really couldn't fathom it. Because once you become conscious of the contents of the Quran, you either devote your entire life to it, or you give it up entirely.

    Ex-Muslims are the people who couldn't bear the agony of life so committed suicide.


    Couldn't have said it any better  Afro
  • Absurdity of fear and hell in Islam: Am I missing something here?
     Reply #11 - May 16, 2013, 07:23 PM

    The horrific imagery is often too much to take. In my case, I did my best to keep it out of my head, because I couldn't live with it. I had to distract myself.

    There are all sorts of descriptive imagery of torture in Islamic text, not just in the Quran. There was one hadith that described the punishment of people who make a habit of sleeping through Fajr prayer. Some angel tortures them over and over until judgement day by smashing their heads with a rock, picking it up, allowing the head to heal back, and the process repeats.
  • Absurdity of fear and hell in Islam: Am I missing something here?
     Reply #12 - August 01, 2017, 08:23 AM

    Thread about fear of hell on the urban75 forum: https://www.urban75.net/forums/threads/to-those-raised-in-religious-household-did-you-actually-find-hell-scary.353614/
  • 1« Previous thread | Next thread »