Holy Horror

“…a survey by the think-tank Policy Exchange, for instance, revealed that 36 per cent of young (British) Muslims believe that those who leave Islam should be killed.”

If the result of the above survey reported in 2007, is to be believed, the height of religious fanaticism and irrational cruelty, worry even someone as apathetic as me.

It should be borne in mind while interpreting it, that Britain is one of the more open-minded and rational societies in the World, as far as rational questioning and tolerance for religious plurality are concerned, probably, much more than the US.

And if someone is inclined to point out the positive aspect of the survey that a significant majority – 64 per cent would not kill ex-Muslims, then, I must confess, for me to summon that much positivity in my outlook is not possible.

Let me try to explain. Cruelty and intolerance – both are not countable attitudes, as in ‘present’ or ‘absent’, but rather, can be best represented as a spectrum. If 36 per cent want religious apostates killed, it also indicates that possibly, the rest prescribe less severe penalities upon leaving Islam. But the fact remains, they might support such penalties.

In essence, the message sent out is – “if you are born a Muslim, you must die a Muslim; no looking ‘here and there’.”

In light of this conclusion, it seems, at least, as far as the subjects of the said survey are concerned, ‘religious’ and ‘tolerance’, are at best oxymorons, and ‘religion’ and ‘peace’ too might get similarly mutually related in the near future.

The reports of the quoted survey and related analyses could be found in the following news pieces:

Muslim apostates threatened over Christianity – Telegraph (click)

Young, British Muslims ‘getting more radical’ – Telegraph (click)

Lastly, I have noticed that many readers despite reading my posts, do not comment on such ‘sensitive’ issues. For the first time, I request, if you read this, kindly, if not your opinion, at least leave “I read” in the comments’ section. Thanks!

18 thoughts on “Holy Horror

  1. In my “opinion” those who believe in so-called religions are all morons. Hence, any such ridiculous (or cruel, or both types) acts by them is not surprising!

    You rightly pointed out that the other 64% is not necessarily a bunch of nobility. In fact, the moment one adopts a religion the “disease” has entered. Only the degree of “infection” differs in people. The said 36% are, like, severely infected and should be “terminated” outright!!

    Haha.. What am I writing!!!

  2. Darshan,

    Thanks a lot for commenting!

    I’m really worried by this trend of people refraining from commenting only out of fear of hurting someone’s religious sentiments. I really don’t understand what’s so special about ‘religious’ sentiments that they must not be hurt, but it’s alright to kill people only for starting to believe a different set of mythological tales as true?

    The attitude is becoming one of – “you don’t speak against my religion, and I won’t speak against yours; and under the garb of religion, you can do ANYTHING you want as we have bartered our mutual silence!”

    As anticipated by me, many people have not commented on this post despite reading it. It’s so sad. 😦 This is precisely how religious fanaticism gains further legitimacy.

    But then your comment ended as you yourself are becoming diseased! 😛

    Talking of diseases, you might enjoy this post from another blog very much – Fight the Cholera! (click).

    Thanks again, and I appreciate your upright attitude in not refraining from commenting on this issue.


  3. Religion is a nice hobby just like others. Can keep you engaged and peaceful and positive. Unfortunately some people take it too seriously :P.

    Anyways other hobbies also make people violent. Like football/soccer fans beating crap out of rival team fans. May be humans just are inherently violent and seek an excuse which will be commended and not condemned by other. Religion (be it any) seems to provide a ‘noble’ and ‘justifiable’ excuse 😛

  4. Ketan, sometime back I read ‘The Islamist’. It explains how Radical Islam has spread itself and gained acceptance among the network of mosques in Britain. Secondly, I’ve also noticed that a large number of Pakistanis have migrated to Britain. I’m not sure if this might be one of the reasons but seems like it has got something to do with it.

    Actually, never do people do wrong so horribly as when they do in the name of religion.

  5. Hello Ketan! 😀

    Happy New Year! I wish you all the happiness in the coming year. 🙂

    Also, I don’t know what to comment. I’m not worried about religious sentiments or anything, because those 36% are obviously huge dumbasses or whatever, and the 64% haven’t done anything noble by choosing NOT to kill ex-Muslims.

    Also, I always thought that US always had more tolerance when it came to religion, owing to the large multi-cultural society present there.
    I say this because one of my friends recently moved there, and till now, she hasn’t faced any racial attack whatsoever. Of course, haven’t based my assumption on that one example, but it always seems that way, what with all the integration of cultures in New York and many other factors.
    What do you think?

  6. Hi Ketan

    Religion! I don’t know what makes people very possessive about that. Nor do I understand, why some people are against that.

    Religion is part of the identity. As some person rightly said, it is a WAY OF LIFE. As much as the Profession is our Identity. Or our country, or the language we speak or the gender we are. Some people identify themselves as an “Indian Male”, or “Tamilian” or “Delhi’ite” etc. As in being a part of a larger identified group (Blogger!). I don’t find anything wrong in that. But what is wrong is this. Seeking religion as the ONLY source of identity. Preaching its superiority over the other. Incentives and emotional blackmails being unleashed for religious devotion etc.

    As to the news article, I find most of such “surveys” a truck loads of shits. Often these surveys ask the wrong questions with even worse answers for getting the sense of the public. And thats the beauty of statistics. With incomplete questions, and inappropriate answers, it can be misleading!

    To the real issue. Bane on the society we live is that we also are part of another way of life, another set of religions called “APATHEISM” AND “INTOLERANTISM (Copyrighted)”. Though they stand at opposite ends of reaction on an issue, both are dangerous.

    WE ARE APATHETIC TOWARDS CRITICAL ISSUES, and INTOLERANT TOWARDS NON ISSUES. I am that way, often taking shelter under the age old excuse that I have something more important (which is true only half the time), or “What can I do? This is beyond my control.” trying to play some stupidly safe game to save my skin or life (if you can call it that way).

    I need to change, is all I wish to say.


  7. you have no idea how much i wish religion had a bit to do something with the gods and not fools and so called saviours.i guess am a deluded fool in that way.free

  8. You know, there is this wonderful movie “Khuda Kay Liye” that addresses a lot of ‘sensitive issues’ atleast with regard to everything thats wrong with the world becoz of fanaticism and why tolerance has become a mere byword these days..

    anything I say will only be superfluous..I really recommend you watch the movie instead..

  9. @ Stupidosaur:

    I understand what you’re saying, but possibly since you’re atheist, you might have not observed the trading of silence I made a mention of in my comment to Darshan. How religion differs from football fans’ beating up would still be condemned vehemently by those NOT indulging in such violence, but the moment something falls under the purview of religion, it gains instant legitimacy. This servility to religion is worrying, because it stands for surrendering of one’s own rational thoughts in favor of primitive and largely savage practices.

    Yes, humans do keep on finding excuses to try to prove some sort of supremacy (individual or collective), and till that tendency is not removed from the human mind, some sort of needless friction will keep on prevailing in the society. But in the meantime, we have to try to minimize the damage this tendency could cause.

    Education and independent rational thinking does help. This is best exemplified by the fact that in more rational societies, though instinct for violence might exist, it is curbed by the individual concerned as well as the society because it is condemned as against being condoned.

    Of course, to be totally honest, at a very fundamental level I wouldn’t care as long as myself and those I hold dear remain safe. But this realization couldn’t stand my apathy that one human could think that way for another human being for something as frivolous as which set of superhero stories to believe in!

    As to the wishing of a happy new year, thanks a lot!

    Twisted humor could still ‘perpetuate’ straight mirth, especially when coming from you! It’s after all the bhaavana that matters! 😛 So, sincerely wish you the same. 🙂

    Thanks a lot for commenting!


    @ Rakesh:

    Thanks for pointing out the Pakistani emmigration factor.

    I really have no idea if that could be the possible reason.

    One of the links in the news piece points out (recalling here from memory, so could be inaccurate) that some 4 clauses of Sharia law-system, and one other system actually prescribe death penalty for someone leaving the fold….

  10. …In light of this fact, and the prevalent idea among ALL the religions that it is VIRTUOUS to stay as close to the word of the scripture as possible, the attitude of 36% people doesn’t come at all as surprising. If you might have read the links, what is worrying is not just the absolute numbers, but a rising TREND towards intolerance.

    Also, even if it is the Pakistani influx that has inflated the numbers, then still it is a cause for worry, because I am assuming, a lot of them would be skilled workers, meaning, having had good, or at least some education. And if despite their education, this is their attitude, then it’s totally alarming!

    But then it should not come as a surprise. I read somewhere that Pakistani government is considering making apostacy punishable by death! So, in a nation where even the judiciary, bureaucrats and politicians think of these things as legitimate, what could be expected of the ‘aam junta’! 😦

    Yes, your last point about worst crimes being committed under the name of religion is something I took time to accept, but now I do subscribe to the idea.

    Thanks a lot for commenting. Am glad, at least this time readers chose to comment on religion-loaded post.


    @ Srishti:

    Thanks for commenting!

    But I hope, I am mistaken in what you say! It makes a terrible lot of difference to what those 36% people feel!

    For several reasons:

    1. Those 36% people are humans, just like you and me, and moreover, not to forget they’re grownups!

    If that’s how they feel, then, it is a cause for great worry as to where is the human race headed. Something must have gone wrong for you to be able to see the folly in their thought processes, but their entirely missing it! Why can’t they see the irrationality of their ideas? Can it be corrected. If so, how? Must it be corrected? Most definitely, yes. Because human societies don’t live in isolation. If religion occupies such a prominent portion of a large section of most productive age-group of a society, and to put it mildly, in a destructive way, then rather than contributing to the society, they might be proving to be burdens!…

  11. 2. What about those who might want to leave Islam? What could be done to protect their rights? If others do not interfere, citing something akin to “it is their religion, let them do whatever they want with their apostates”, then in India, we must allow bride-burning, female feticide, sati, etc., ‘cuz we can conveniently say it “their” bride, fetus, widow, etc. This is fundamentally an issue of human rights.

    3. As I pointed out in the post itself, Britain is one of the more developed and rationalist societies. And if the degree of intolerance is such intense even there, then it reflects very ominously on the future prospects of freedom and peace to coexist with religions in general, and Islam, in particular.

    I hope, I’ve been able to explain, why this newspiece which talks of Britain, is so significant to the entire world.

    As to which of the two societies is more tolerant – British or American, the issue is largely redundant, but New York is NOT representative of entire US. 🙂

    If you compare NY with London, results might not be very different.

    When I talked of religious tolerance and rationalism, it was in context of acceptance of scientific ideas like Darwinian selection. I guess more Americans than Britishers believe that the Earth was actually created just 6000 years back! 😉 And more Americans feel that intelligent design must be taught at schools. And more Americans feel that vaccines are bad for their children. And more Americans feel that atheists are immoral, and hence must not become President. 😉

    As you shall see, religious intolerance and rejection of scientific ideas are for some unfathomable reasons, integrally related. 🙂


    @ Saimukundhan:

    I can’t speak for other atheists, but why I feel religion is against human welfare is because it is fundamentally antagonistic (the way it is practiced as against the ‘theory’) to what makes humans different from animals.

    Religion, at best, asks for suspension of enquiry and expression of skepticism in a very few limited philosophical ‘sanctuaries’ like the nature of God/soul, etc., which might only lead to a bit of intellectual dishonesty, with no larger impact on the society. But such people in whose lives religion plays such a limited role are very few in my knowledge….

  12. …But at its worst, religion makes people slam planes into buildings bustling with productivity and people, and concurrent loss of those lives who chose to commit suicide to book their seat in paradise, the probability of existence of which is exactly the same as your currently being in heaven as you read this!

    And precisely because religion stands for a way of life, it is worrisome, if it becomes immutable. The sense of identity you talked of, somehow is strongly intertwined with inertia against change. Because as soon as some ‘key features’ of a religious practices change, it is perceived as ‘loss’ of religion.

    I always wanted you to read my article on communalism (click). If you don’t find time to read it, in summary I’ve tried there to explain why pride in and loyalty to group identities determined by birth are irrational because we never get to CHOOSE them!

    In a few of our discussions we have had on this issue, you have probably wondered why should something as personal as religion cannot coexist with tolerance and rationalism. I have answered that partly in the article on communalism – because in all communal affiliations, the perceived worth of the group being equated with personal worth. So for MEMBERS of one ‘group’ to accept some other group as better than them becomes extremely difficult.

    So though you might believe that it should be possible for religion and larger group identities (communalism) to coexist with peace, tolerance and rationalism, I believe practically it is impossible to happen because the purpose of these larger group identities has ALWAYS been mass ego massage! 😉

    I’m totally with you when you say what media spins off should be taken with a pinch of salt, that’s why my opening sentence was “If the result… is to be believed” 😉 But you know, the legitimacy of this survey is less suspect, precisely because as I pointed out in my response to Rakesh, the Muslim Sharia law actually prescribed death penalty for apostates, and that in several Muslim countries, this law is actually followed.

    And lastly Saimukundhan, I feel like a hypocrite to say this (probably ‘cuz am one), but honestly despite writing all this on my blog, what have I fundamentally achieved?…

  13. …Nothing really! I knew, my blog would attract readers that largely agree with me.

    If I want to do something tangible so as to prove the genuineness in the concern I felt, I must go to those 36% and their likes, to try to introduce some sense into their minds. But I’m not doing that. Because I’m a coward. I don’t want to risk my life. I take the easy way out by just typing in a few fancy words. I’m not being sarcastic. I’m very serious. I never wanted to be so apathetic, but practicality dictates that I stop seeing things that exist, and go about my life so as to be able to survive in this competitive world.

    I honestly do not feel I owe anything to the humanity.

    By not doing anything, or doing less than what you can, there is nothing wrong you are doing. You only told me what’s the point breaking our head hitting it on a wall? 😉

    Thanks a lot! TC.

    @ Vishwas: Thanks! Seriously. 🙂

    @ Soin:

    In my comments above, I’ve tried to explain why religious intolerance is here to stay.

    In summary, because all the religions try to pass off fanciful theories and moral prescriptions for the society as the ultimate truths. And of course, even the most foolish fool knows truth is only ONE. It can be either reached through experimentation, enquiry, induction and consequent consensus (naturalism), or ELIMINATING the ‘contending’ truths (supernaturalism-based religions).

    Those contending truths can be best eliminated by living humans who harbor them into nonliving. Simple! 🙂

    Thanks! TC.

    @ TUIB:

    Nothing you say could ever be superfluous! 😉

    Yes, I’d heard of its story; sounded interesting! Thanks! What I’ve not discussed in the post or the comments is – HOW TO TACKLE SUCH PROBLEMS? It’s extremely challenging.

    Thanks and TC.

  14. Dearest Ketan: So I was born into a muslim family. My grandfather was a well known Sheikh, religious leader in South Africa. He brough tmy mother up under very strict religious rule,and she vowed that her children, especially her daughters would have way more relaxed rules. We still went to mosque, attended religious festivals and fasted during the month of ramadaan, but we were never forced to wear a scarf, went to the best private school in the country, which was Anglican, and where I was th e only muslim girl. HOwever…from about the age of twelve, I knew that none of this religion stuff sat well with me. Having been taught from an early age to think for my self, and having learned to read before going to school – I was exposed through literature and interactions with different folk from many cultures…none of these enforced rules ever made any sense to me, and I envied the ones who ewre happy to follow the blissfully.

    When I read about muslims persecuting those who have left the faith in pursuit of their own destinies without the restraints?/boundaries?/protection? it makes me want to scream violently. Who are we to judge others? Who are we to impose our own moral values on the rest of the world. Everyone is on a personal journey of self-discovery, and what works for one is not what is necessary for another. Live and let live, and first do no harm. I believe it’s as simple as that.

  15. Dr. S,

    Thanks a lot for commenting. I am glad something on my blog could make you comment on such a poignant note. 🙂

    I still have no idea of your religious beliefs, and the sincerity with which you work, and the stress you lay on tangible evidence and rationality in your everyday life, make my knowing it irrelevant.

    I really commend the sensibility shown by your mother in bringing up her daughters. I wish more people thought like her.

    The greatest problems with religions is their foremost demand of their followers – “do not think for yourself”. Whether this demand is put forth in sugar-coated words or with overt threat (e.g., the 36% respondents in the above survey), the demand always persists. The moment one ‘customizes’ one’s religion according to one’s own needs, it ceases to be the very same religion. Because then, the greater issue would be if religions could be customized, why not better create them anew keeping in with the prevalent ethos (like equality of all races and genders)? Why try to re-fashion an old mold rather than creating a new one? When things become too rigid, to refashion them, they need to be destroyed, which is much more energy-consuming as compared to simply discarding the old structures and making new ones.

    Here’s where the blind love for one’s religion comes into play. People find it an almost offensive suggestion, if they’re asked to objectively think about the moral codes prescribed by the religions they follow.

    In light of this, asking them to totally discard their old religion can only result in violent protests despite that being the most honest and prudent thing to do. 🙂

    Thanks again a lot for your insightful comment where you have chosen to reveal so much about yourself! 🙂

    Good day to you!

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