Serving in Iraq killed my faith in God

RP578

LE
Book Reviewer
#1
Don't know if this should really go in the 'Are You Religious?' thread, but it struck me as a thought-provoking article and I wonder if any others have had a similar journey to disbelief. I've been a devout non-believer since my late teens and Iraq and Afghanistan didn't affect that in any way, but I do often wonder how religious people reconcile their beliefs with the suffering of the world. As an Atheist myself, I think his article ends on a pretty upbeat note, but perhaps other people will have a different take on it.

Serving in Iraq killed my faith in God | Adnan Sarwar | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk

Here's a snip with a conversation he had with Luke Allsopp a fellow Sapper who was later KIA.

...

We were both soldiers in the Royal Engineers. He was what you might imagine your average squaddie to be: hard-drinking and full of life. I was not so much your average squaddie: a Pakistani immigrant who had joined the British Army looking for adventure. He sat on the end of my bed and told me he was worried. We had just been told we were going to Iraq.


The lads had responded to this news by going out into the local town to drink the bars dry. Now, here was Luke, his behaviour the result of a heavy night numbing reality. I prepared myself to hear my friend talk about how he was worried about his family. But, he didn't want to talk to me about that. He told me he was worried about me.


He asked me why I didn't drink or sleep with anybody. I told him it was my religion. He laughed and asked if I actually believed in all that. He told me how life was too short, how we were off to Iraq soon and how embarrassing it would be to die a virgin. Only a soldier could have put it so well.
....
 
#2
It will be interesting to note if Mr Sarwar has any backlash from his family & former Muslim friends as it is considered to be an absolute no no to leave the Islamic faith, possibly resulting in death threats!!
 

RP578

LE
Book Reviewer
#3
It will be interesting to note if Mr Sarwar has any backlash from his family & former Muslim friends as it is considered to be an absolute no no to leave the Islamic faith, possibly resulting in death threats!!
Yeah, especially being so public about it. I know a few blokes who would call themselves Muslim if asked, but amongst friends will admit that they left the faith. Though I don't think that they'd announce it to their families never mind the great British public c/o the national newspapers.
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
#4
Why is it an automatic philosophical tenet of the feeble-minded that, if bad things happen, there can be no God? Whatever happened to free will and the requirement of evil for good to exist? It's all the fault of the namby pamby C of E.
 
#5
It will be interesting to note if Mr Sarwar has any backlash from his family & former Muslim friends as it is considered to be an absolute no no to leave the Islamic faith, possibly resulting in death threats!!
It also says he did two tours in Iraq. The chap's probably good at handling those 'awkward' conversations.
 

RP578

LE
Book Reviewer
#6
Why is it an automatic philosophical tenet of the feeble-minded that, if bad things happen, there can be no God? Whatever happened to free will and the requirement of evil for good to exist? It's all the fault of the namby pamby C of E.
Perhaps he took the view that an omnipotent God that allowed such suffering to occur wasn't worth worshiping? Either way, given that he was raised as a Muslim, I don't think we can blame the 'namby-pamby' CofE. Must be all of those wishy-washy liberal Mullahs and Imams eh?
 
#7
Why is it an automatic philosophical tenet of the feeble-minded that, if bad things happen, there can be no God? Whatever happened to free will and the requirement of evil for good to exist? It's all the fault of the namby pamby C of E.
That's an interesting viewpoint F-F. My own personal philosophical tenet has long been that religious belief is a form of mental illness.

No offence.
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
#8
That's an interesting viewpoint F-F. My own personal philosophical tenet has long been that religious belief is a form of mental illness.

No offence.
Since my religious proclivities are fully extended by the worship of rugby, beer and gorgeous women, no offence taken. I'm just curious about the assumption that any deity must be fluffy. Give me some vindictive pagan Thunder God with a cute High Priestess and a couple of eager-to-please priestess friends; that's the way to fill a church.

RP578, just because something's omnipotent, it doesn't necessarily follow that the omnipotency be automatically exercised. I still blame the C of E because, muslim or not, they will blame themselves. Oh for Good Queen Bess.
 
#9
Why is it an automatic philosophical tenet of the feeble-minded that, if bad things happen, there can be no God? Whatever happened to free will and the requirement of evil for good to exist? It's all the fault of the namby pamby C of E.
I think it is the automatic philosophical tenet of the feeble minded that there is big daddy in the sky that loves us. It speaks volumes that he feels happier now that he has renounced his faith, I feel similar. This is the bit:-

I didn't believe in God and wasn't scared of admitting it any more. I didn't need a religion and was at my happiest and most content. It might be a hard thing to hear but my religion held me back for years and only when I had the courage to get rid of it did I really start living my life. My new-found honesty gave me freedom and strength. I had realised that I don't do God.
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
#10
I think it is the automatic philosophical tenet of the feeble minded that there is big daddy in the sky that loves us. It speaks volumes that he feels happier now that he has renounced his faith, I feel similar. This is the bit:-
Which is another way of saying what I said, since it is the incompatability of that view with the realities of the world which have apparently caused the loss of belief. For me, the jury is still out on which group is the most futile - those who are trying to prove that there is a benign God directing the affairs of mankind or those on the other side who are committed to trying to prove a negative.
 

RP578

LE
Book Reviewer
#11
RP578, just because something's omnipotent, it doesn't necessarily follow that the omnipotency be automatically exercised.
No of course not, but by the same token if a deity elects not to exercise their omnipotence to stop evil, why should anyone choose to worship them? I used to have these discussions with other lads in my platoon. It usually started with them professing religious conviction because they were still walking and talking after a contact. I'd always counter by asking, if God spared them, why did He not spare those that were killed and maimed? I sometimes got the comeback of, 'it was their time'. Well if it's your time, then why bother with body armour etc. After all if it's God's will that you're to die on a particular why bother trying to protect ourselves? Also known as the "Insh'allah Doctrine" so ably demonstrated by many of our ANA comrades in arms!

I still blame the C of E because, muslim or not, they will blame themselves.
You're saying that the C of E will blame themselves for a Muslim losing faith in Islam?
 
#12
Which is another way of saying what I said, since it is the incompatability of that view with the realities of the world which have apparently caused the loss of belief. For me, the jury is still out on which group is the most futile - those who are trying to prove that there is a benign God directing the affairs of mankind or those on the other side who are committed to trying to prove a negative.
I don't know anyone who is trying to do that. Most none-believers accept that proving a negative is not possible. That is the reason for such points as the orbiting teapot, FSM and pixie arguments. They are to counter the childish argument, "you can't prove God does not exist".
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
#13
No of course not, but by the same token if a deity elects not to exercise their omnipotence to stop evil, why should anyone choose to worship them?

Why indeed - although the fiercer of the Protestants would tell you it was all about being tested (my insert - FF).


You're saying that the C of E will blame themselves for a Muslim losing faith in Islam?
That's where ecumenicalism and the whole 'There are many pathways to God' happy clappy, partners in faith stuff takes you. In the brave new worldism that is the C of E, being without faith is considered to be highly devout. The C of E's very Blairist - I am your leader, where shall we go? It needs to burn more/some people if it's ever going to be taken seriously again and I think that's beyond them.
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
#14
I don't know anyone who is trying to do that. Most none-believers accept that proving a negative is not possible. That is the reason for such points as the orbiting teapot, FSM and pixie arguments. They are to counter the childish argument, "you can't prove God does not exist".
Actually you can prove God exists by adopting Thor Heyerdahl's position that if Nature created us then Nature is God. What you're disputing is the nature of God as a sentient, omnipotent and benign being and you will either struggle to prove or disprove that or be as rich as Croesus until the end of your days. My money says you'll struggle but good luck anyway.

1 edit
 
#15
It speaks volumes that he feels happier now that he has renounced his faith, I feel similar.
Or renouced Islam (submission) which allows virtually no free-will or self-determination as all is in the power of Allah, hence the Insh'Allah malaise described below?
 
#16
It's an old argument:

Epicurus - 300BC (ish) said:
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?
Yes, that Epicurus.
 
#17
Actually you can prove God exists by adopting Thor Heyerdahl's position that if Nature created us then Nature is God. What you're disputing is the nature of God as a sentient, omnipotent and benign being and you will either struggle to prove or disprove that or be as rich as Croesus until the end of your days. My money says you'll struggle but good luck anyway.

1 edit
I will reply on the "Are you religious" thread as I don't want to derail this one.
 
#18
There is no god and accepting that is a good start. Every army for Millenia has believed God was on their side. Believing in God is as outdated as the Incas performing human sacrifices to ensure the sun rose the following day.
 
#20
Since my religious proclivities are fully extended by the worship of rugby, beer and gorgeous women, no offence taken. I'm just curious about the assumption that any deity must be fluffy. Give me some vindictive pagan Thunder God with a cute High Priestess and a couple of eager-to-please priestess friends; that's the way to fill a church.

RP578, just because something's omnipotent, it doesn't necessarily follow that the omnipotency be automatically exercised. I still blame the C of E because, muslim or not, they will blame themselves. Oh for Good Queen Bess.
Allow me one of those LOL's there F-F. Count me in, although you can keep the Rugby, Reverend!
 

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