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Home country: UK
Member since: Thu Aug 17, 2006, 04:50 AM
Number of posts: 8,170

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Separated from the US by a common language

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The unknown ex-pastor

Humans of New York is a Photoblog by Brandon Stanton. In it he photographs ordinary people and, where he can talks to them. The following quote is from his conversation with an un-named ex-pastor.
"Iíve been a deep believer my whole life. 18 years as a Southern Baptist. More than 40 years as a mainline Protestant. Iím an ordained pastor. But itís just stopped making sense to me. You see people doing terrible things in the name of religion, and you think: ĎThose people believe just as strongly as I do. Theyíre just as convinced as I am.í And it just doesnít make sense anymore. It doesnít make sense to believe in a God that dabbles in peopleís lives. If a plane crashes, and one person survives, everyone thanks God. They say: ĎGod had a purpose for that person. God saved her for a reason!í Do we not realize how cruel that is? Do we not realize how cruel it is to say that if God had a purpose for that person, he also had a purpose in killing everyone else on that plane? And a purpose in starving millions of children? A purpose in slavery and genocide? For every time you say that thereís a purpose behind one personís success, you invalidate billions of people. You say there is a purpose to their suffering. And thatís just cruel."

Pretty much says it all.

I have just come across an incredibly painful ex-Muslim blog post

I Cheated Present-Day Me by Kheirr
When I was in my teens, my family and I shred our photos. All of them. My baby photos, my graduation photos, that time we went on a road trip through the US. We threw them in the garbage. Everything. We purified ourselves. Our home. We rid ourselves of the devil. You see, angels canít enter the house if pictures (or dogs) reside in your home. At first, we kept them in the washroom, because angels donít follow you in there anyways! Smart move, eh?! We cheated the system! We thought we were safe. Then, we started to question it. When I was around 15, I read a book that said (and this is a rough translation), ďThe photographer and the one photographed are immoral and hell-bound.Ē We realized we had, in fact, not really cheated the system, but had cheated ourselves. And we feared hell. We decided, as a family, to rid ourselves of this evil.

For a long time, I agreed with my familyís conclusions. I took part in the decisions. I pushed them towards fundamental Islam. I practically shoved it down their throats. I showed the book Iíd read to my mother, and when she ignored it, I pushed. I pushed until she gave in. I thought I was freeing my family from their hellish shackles, but in reality, I was just tightening them. The devil was not chaining them, I was; I chained my family to Islam. To Wahhabism. To Salafiyyah. At age 12, we threw aside our cultural music. At 14, I convinced her to wear dresses instead of pants. At age 15, we shunned our cultural artwork. At age 17, we destroyed our family photos. The chains grew tighter and tighter. The same chains that forced my grandmother to undergo female genital mutilation. The same chains that made my aunts wear the niqab, and made my uncles grow beards. The same chains that separated my family from me. I locked them in those chains, and I threw away the key.


I wish they can feel again like I can. They have become numb to everything. They lost part of their humanity. And itís my fault. I took away their humanity and sacrificed it to God. To Allah. They only feel through Him. Now, they see the world through a darkened lens. They canít enjoy the freedom of their bodies swaying to the beat. To my family, the elephant means nothing. They canít feel the beauty of life in this photo because they canít understand it. It is against Islam. God forbid it, so it must be wrong. My mother used to dance to Elvis Presley in our family restaurant, her long hair swaying to and fro. Now, she is confined. She is chained. And I fucking wish I could find that key.

I wish him well and I hope that if he finds a key his family gets the courage to use it
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