Happy Ramadan Evrabodeh...!
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11-08-2011, 11:59 PM
 
Happy Ramadan Evrabodeh...!
Guess what!!

I'm Atheist but I still fast every Ramadan!

"Why!?" You ask...

Answer#1: My country has the Shariah Court and I'm legally and officially a Muslim. I can be locked up if I'm caught!
Answer#2: I'm a somewhat a closeted atheist... Because of the possible danger I face if I'm open. But I am not closeted with my atheist friends.
(I've got a disappointing story about my coleted-ness)
Answer#3: It's part of the tradition I am brought up with, and I don't intend to break away from it. Just like Atheists celebrating Christmas. I mean without Ramadan, Eid wouldn't feel that "accomplishing."
Answer#4: I like the challenge although I hate the outcome of loosing weight (as in muscle mass). I don't just fast from eating food, I also fast from porn and wanking... HAHAHA!... Yes I do!

There you go!

-------------------------------
Disappointing Story of my Closetted-ness:

I was hoping to slowly and indirectly un-closet myself through my new website, What Lay People Should Know which is not an atheist blog, but has atheistic elements, especially in my first article which is on evolution where I wrote "One can’t believe in facts, but rather know of facts with the support of evidence. On the other hand, one can't know in beliefs, but rather believe in beliefs with the support of faith."

I even openly questioned the ethics of of circumcision, which does not yet question God, I would consider.

Then in an article on cloning I wrote "Religious groups have already fulfilled their responsibility in taking a stance to correctly condemn this creation of life, as they always do ever since the beginning of scientific advancement to many scientific researches and newly discovered scientific facts which their mythical based beliefs just so happen to contradict," and "Or in a broader manner 'according to god, this is how it should be, and not like that' – the acclaimed divine fascism of a still-to-be-discovered conscious creator of the known world."

Way back before, I have also took a very atheistic stance in a facebook debate with a strong believer (Muslim). I never admitted directly that "I don't believe in god" but instead I simply pointed out the flaws of his evidences of god. He even said "You're an atheist and I can respect that"... Anyway, moving on...

Then few weeks ago, which was probably a few days after these articles on my website, my father called me in to the room. He advised me "Now that I have facebook and a blog, be careful about what you say about God," (paraphrasing). "Some of the Malays (the major race, somewhat my race, which is actually somewhat an ethnoreligious group of Muslims) may take your word and report it to the religious bodies, while thinking that they are doing good," he continued, "and these religious bodies can lock you up in jail."

And I knew that was true... One guy here in Malaysia has been locked up for claiming to be a Prophet... At least he believed in Allah - I don't, which is even worst. We call converts from Muslim murtad, which has always been perceived as something so fucked up. Even I find it difficult to label myself a murtad, or to have murtad. It just sounds so horrible, as many of you I was brought to believe!

My father even said warned me to not even mention to any of my friends of my disbelief - not even to non-Muslims. Words may split onto a Muslim and they, even if they may be my friends, might report it. Because religion can just be more intimate than friendship. He advised me that it is not worth the risk. "You have to behave as if you are a believer because that is what I do," he said, and added "I do not pray. I don't go to the mosque and everyone knows that, but at least they still think of me as a Muslim. Perhaps one who hasn't been enlightened."

My father has always said he doesn't believe in religion, but he said that he does believe in god, with his "we don't know what happened before the Big Bang" argument long, long ago, which really disappointed me. After this conversation, it got me thinking that may be he really don't believe in god, but wishes to stay closeted about it, even to his own atheist sons (us 3 sons have never labelled ourselves Atheist to each other so although we all have an atheist stance, we have never admitted directly that we don't believe in god to each other).

My father even said to me "Don't even dare label yourself and Atheist." Just pretend to be a believer. "I know it's hypocritical, but it's not worth the risk" he added on. He told me to be careful about what I write on the internet... Yet I am writing right here!!!

But I'm stubborn. I do not wish to remain closeted. If I could, I want to fight for secularism in this country. Either that, I'll run off to a secular country. I refuse to raise my future children, if marriage ever does happen, in a non-secular country.
-------------------------------

I know this is a really long read, but if you went all through that, you're amazing! I really appreciate it...
I'm just confiding here... That's all... I don't post here that much, but I do lurk once in a while... Where else can I confide about my atheism.

Who else are in a similar condition, and how do you go about it?... Anyone who comes across this, please do reply! Thanks.

Random: I wanna tattoo which represents atheism or more accurately reasoning!! Coz atheism isn't an accurate term for most atheist. Buddhists are atheist, but they're religious and believe in reincarnation... But I'll take years to design it, or actually decide to get it done.
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12-08-2011, 03:34 AM
RE: Happy Ramadan Evrabodeh...!
Well, I still hold on to some religious behaviours, like clasping my hands together when worried (Last time, I prayed every time I feel worried). The hymns in church last time, still remember how nice they were, and... joyous? Anyway, Happy Ramadan to you too!


WAIT A MINUTE ARE YOU ALSO FROM MALAYSIA?????

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12-08-2011, 03:42 AM
 
RE: Happy Ramadan Evrabodeh...!
Oh shit... Don't tell me you're Malaysian.
Yes, I am. Haha...
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12-08-2011, 04:02 AM
RE: Happy Ramadan Evrabodeh...!
Not that I celebrate it but, Happy Ramadan man.

Have a good one! Wink

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12-08-2011, 06:05 AM
RE: Happy Ramadan Evrabodeh...!
Nice post, I did read the whole post, it wasn't that long... Smile Now about your situation and your father, he is a very wise man, you should listen to his advice, no matter what you want to shout out loud. It is very easy and relaxing for me to be opened atheist, or our friends form this forum who live in Europe, USA, Australia, but you live in a bit different environment. I really don't think that being an atheist and telling that to the whole world around you would change that much, but it will surely get you locked up and I don't think that is worth the trouble because in jail you will not change anything except your personality, bones and physical looks, if you know what I mean. Your father gave you the best possible advice and since he has lived like that all his life my advice is to listen and follow him. You yourself said you will not give up Muslim traditions, like Ramadan, so why then would you need to have atheistic tattoos and be opened and preaching your atheism around? Be very careful what you write no Facebook and blog, I don't think you want to visit Malaysian jails because of something as trivial as Facebook and stupid people who will report you because of something you write online...

Don't get me wrong, I do feel for you, I know how you feel, I completely understand what and why you want, but you need to have patience. Not every time is the right time, you need to act when the time is right, when you have some support and at least some basic security. Timing is very important in every major action you take, maybe the most important thing in planing and it doesn't look like the time is right at this moment. Bad thing about timing is that you never know when the right time will come, maybe not even for your lifetime.

So for now, maybe it is best if you keep acting like everything is fine and you keep some things for yourself, as your father did. Try to gain some kind of support and power, political power, if that is even possible in your country (I don't know about your states political system), if you want to change something and act for the good of your country and people around you, going to jail is not the way, you need to do it one step at a time, do it diplomatically, do it politically correct, do it at the right time, with the right group of people, do it the right way.

I hope you will understand what I wanted to say, this is not an easy theme to write about. To make thing short, your father is right, take his advice.

And happy Ramadan.

Peace.

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12-08-2011, 07:52 AM
 
RE: Happy Ramadan Evrabodeh...!
OG: Cool... You have a good one too!

Filox:
I'll probably take years to even decide whether I'll really get a tattoo. But if I do, it will be hidden and not easily interpreted. It be something like "Truth via Science, Morality via Rational Reasoning"... But I want it in Greek.

As of everything else you said. Yes, I know you're right about my dad being right. It's just that I've already expressed it to some of my friends. I've never yet labelled myself atheist, though. But my atheist friends and a few christian friends know very well I am a confirmed atheist. I have answered "No" to a "Do you believe in god?" asked by a Chinese Christian friend in front of a Muslim.

So, certain things is like "Darn, too late". I'll just be careful from now on I suppose... Thanks for responding. I gave you a Rep Wink
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12-08-2011, 10:51 AM
RE: Happy Ramadan Evrabodeh...!
(12-08-2011 03:42 AM)SubmissionToScience Wrote:  Oh shit... Don't tell me you're Malaysian.
Yes, I am. Haha...

I am Smile Nice to meet you!

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12-08-2011, 12:32 PM
RE: Happy Ramadan Evrabodeh...!
Maybe one day I'll open an safe house for all of the young atheists of the world... stories like this make me sad.

Perhaps one day you can be free, but until then, safety first, you only have 1 life to live!

Besides, I guess you could always immigrate to another nation and try to get amnesty for your non-belief.

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12-08-2011, 04:41 PM
RE: Happy Ramadan Evrabodeh...!
Hi SubmissiontoScience,

Selamat berpuasa, kawanku!

Just wanted to offer a word of encouragement. I'm an American of Jewish background, for a long time either an agnostic or an atheist depending on your definition of god (certainly an atheist if you're talking about the "Abrahamic" god). But I try to fast every Yom Kippur. It's only a day, but a long one: about 25 hours of nothing at all, including water.

Why? I can't justify it rationally, except to say that it's a tradition (and yes, I know not all traditions are good); it's a kind of discipline; and most of all, it feels like I'm maintaining a small connection to a culture that, despite my feelings about its theology, clearly has a lot of positive aspects to it.

Way back in the '60s I lived and taught in Terengganu for two years. In 1990 I returned for a visit and found my way back to my old kampung. What a change. I was unprepared to see all the Malay women, including young girls, with their heads covered, which was not at all the case when I was there earlier. And I occasionally encountered hostility from strangers that I hadn't experienced before. It was a very different atmosphere.

As long as you remain in a country that defines you as a Muslim because of your ethnicity (I remember the sign in a hotel lounge in Kelantan: no orang Melayu will be served alcohol), you have a tricky balancing act: being true to your beliefs while protecting yourself from harm. So there are times when you'll have to be prudent and not express yourself in the way you'd really like to. But you understand that.

I hope things will change. In the meantime, take care, and, although a little early, Selamat Hari Raya!

Religious disputes are like arguments in a madhouse over which inmate really is Napoleon.
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12-08-2011, 11:32 PM
 
RE: Happy Ramadan Evrabodeh...!
(12-08-2011 10:51 AM)robotworld Wrote:  
(12-08-2011 03:42 AM)SubmissionToScience Wrote:  Oh shit... Don't tell me you're Malaysian.
Yes, I am. Haha...

I am Smile Nice to meet you!
Likewise Smile . You Chinese?


(12-08-2011 04:41 PM)cufflink Wrote:  Hi SubmissiontoScience,

Selamat berpuasa, kawanku!

Just wanted to offer a word of encouragement. I'm an American of Jewish background, for a long time either an agnostic or an atheist depending on your definition of god (certainly an atheist if you're talking about the "Abrahamic" god). But I try to fast every Yom Kippur. It's only a day, but a long one: about 25 hours of nothing at all, including water.

Why? I can't justify it rationally, except to say that it's a tradition (and yes, I know not all traditions are good); it's a kind of discipline; and most of all, it feels like I'm maintaining a small connection to a culture that, despite my feelings about its theology, clearly has a lot of positive aspects to it.

Way back in the '60s I lived and taught in Terengganu for two years. In 1990 I returned for a visit and found my way back to my old kampung. What a change. I was unprepared to see all the Malay women, including young girls, with their heads covered, which was not at all the case when I was there earlier. And I occasionally encountered hostility from strangers that I hadn't experienced before. It was a very different atmosphere.

As long as you remain in a country that defines you as a Muslim because of your ethnicity (I remember the sign in a hotel lounge in Kelantan: no orang Melayu will be served alcohol), you have a tricky balancing act: being true to your beliefs while protecting yourself from harm. So there are times when you'll have to be prudent and not express yourself in the way you'd really like to. But you understand that.

I hope things will change. In the meantime, take care, and, although a little early, Selamat Hari Raya!
You're one cool dude!... I'm so touched by the "Selamat berpuasa, kawanku" and ZEE AVI's Selamat Hari Raya!!... Really nice words from you. Really cheered me up reading this.

And yes, Malaysia is becoming more religious by the time passes by. I am actually from the less religious side of Malaysia. I'm from Borneo Malaysia. But I live in KL with my family now. Coming here gave me a culture shock on the religiousness of the people here. The schools teachers made sure we all prayed. They stand outside the surau with a cane. Even then, Sabah is slowly influenced to be more religious, which sucks. Being from Sabah, I'm not exactly Malay, but our race are Muslims, so I can't escape. The non-Muslim Bumiputras are fine.

Wait!... You're a Jew? Jews are forbidden in Malaysia... They're not allowed to enter the country. Horrible right!... How did you get it. Was it because you're not of the Jewish religion, perhaps?

Thanks for the nice words. It made me smile!
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