The kidnapping of God
Ever since the news about “sexual jihad” broke out, I couldn’t take its revolting image off my mind: the image of girls as young as 15, who went to prostitute themselves in order to “relieve” the fighters, and came back either with incurable STDs, or pregnant – and of course, to top it all off, stained and discarded for life, only because a bunch of assholes told them it’s a religious duty.
As I was listening to one girl’s horrifying story, I kept asking her, “How is that OK? How could such a horror be an act of obedience to God’s laws?” Needless to say, I got no satisfactory reply.
The truth is, some things in religion remind me of the way little kids reply to questions they have no plausible answer for:
“Why did you do this, Sami/Samira?”
“Because.” (It usually comes with a shoulder shrug.)
This occasional lack of loquacity isn’t a sign that religious people aren’t the talkative kind. Quite the opposite: they often tend – unfortunately – to over-share.
Nor is their reticence an indication that they are not interested in the convincing game. We all know that nothing gives more satisfaction to the majority of the devout than to try to convince you that their way is the right way, and their religion is the right religion. They’re all Jehovah’s witnesses, minus the knocking on the door.
When they do not elaborate, it is exclusively because they have nothing to say, and no way to explain why they do what they do, especially when what they are doing makes no sense or is the antithesis of what human integrity and dignity stand for.
Here are some other examples:
“Why do you think wearing a Hijab on your head with skinny jeans makes you a good, ‘modest’ Muslim? What’s so tempting in your hair that is not in your protuberant, sexy ass?”
“Because they say so.”
“Why do you think having sex outside of marriage is a sin, and that God is incessantly watching what you do with your private parts?”
“Because they say so.”
“Why do you think you shouldn’t eat meat on Fridays? How is food related to your level of religiosity?”
“Because they say so.”
Who are “they”? That’s the main question.
Underlying the reserve – or elusiveness – of the devout are many words, words that are much less confessable, words like these:
“Because I’ve been told to do it by a bunch of morons and sexist jerks who think they own God and force me into things that do not convince me in any way, but that I can’t contest or disobey because the same morons and sexist jerks said that I’d go to hell if I did, and I chose to believe them (even though I suspect that they’re morons and sexist jerks).”
Our need to understand the absurdity of some of these actions is either met with vague interpretations (“This is not the real meaning of the verse”) or with defensiveness (“Why are you attacking my faith? You are a racist, an Islamophobe, a heretic, etc”).
No, dear believers, we are not attacking your faith (at least not all of us). Some of us “infidels” really want to understand the mechanisms of it, with all good intentions. Call it an “anthropological” curiosity.
And please don’t say that “faith cannot be explained.” We’ve got it. We’re not asking you to prove the existence of the invisible guy up in the sky. Go ahead and believe in him; knock yourselves out. We’re only asking you to explain some of the laws and commandments you accept and abide by without a second thought:
How can you claim to be a human being, for example, and accept the option that a man can have four wives?
How can you be a human being, and think that it is OK for a 40-year-old guy to marry a 12-year-old?
How can you be a human being, and believe it is your business to decide whether gay people should be “tolerated” or not?
And how can you be a human being, and find it normal to kill someone because they believe in a different version of the same God?
These are mere samples, by the way. There are plenty more where those came from.
I know that many would be quick to object, “But these are not real Muslims, real Christians, etc.” Well then, allow me to break the sad news for you: the world is occupied by fake Muslims and false Christians.
So where are the “real” ones? Where are YOU?
Your “charitable, loving, righteous, merciful, and just” God seems to have been kidnapped by phony believers.
What are you waiting for to pay the ransom and take Him back?
Joumana Haddad is author of many books, among which “I Killed Scheherazade.” Her latest book, “Superman is an Arab – On God, marriage, macho men and other disastrous inventions” (Westbourne Press, London, 2012) is now available in Lebanese bookshops and on Amazon.
January 27, 2014
Related link – http://tinyurl.com/kcpfk2e