I get asked this question a lot. Either “What if you are wrong?” or “Why don’t you just believe?”. Sometimes they’ll add to it “What do you lose for being a Muslim? You don’t get to eat pork and drink alcohol? You cant have a girlfriend? What’s the big deal?”
I get asked this question a lot. It’s actually a sort of famous question. It was asked by a French mathematician called Blaise Pascal.
The question is known as “Pascals wager”.
Without getting into the nitty gritty, Pascal argued that it was wiser to believe in God (his god, of course, the Christian god) rather than risk eternal damnation if you were wrong.
The question actually exposes the whole problem with these religions – that damnation is based on belief. In the Islamic perspective, you need to have the correct aqeedah. Having the wrong aqeedah can make you a disbeliever. If you believe there are 2 Allahs, or for example Muhammad isn’t the final messenger, or Gabriel gave the message to the wrong person, or or or or you would be a kafir and would go to hell.
Why is this so important to God? Why does having the right idea in your head count for damnation. If I was mistaken about something vital, that would mean I go to hell? If I happened to choose the wrong religion for no fault of my own, I would go to hell?
Its an unfair playing field. Looking at the stats, most people who convert to Islam are Christian. In my history as a Muslim, I only met 2 Muslims who were former Hindu. Just 2. Yet I knew probably tens if not hundreds of Christian converts. They were a dime a dozen. So right off the bat, if Islam is true, you were born into a Hindu family, chances are you are screwed. Majority of your family would go to hell, with only a tiny percent ever considering Islam. If you were born in Saudi or Somalia, chances are you would be born Muslim and not even have to think about it much. Just take it for granted. Of course the silly excuse will be given that “Allah wont punish people that didn’t receive the message.” We can put that aside because it really doesn’t apply to the majority. It’s really a small exception for those who truly never heard of Islam. Most of us have, and still don’t believe in it. We aren’t convinced.
You cant choose what you believe. Belief is not a choice. Try to believe that all sneezes happen because there is a unicorn sitting on your head that makes you sneeze. Not because of dust or irritation. But a tiny magical unicorn that orders you to sneeze. See if you can really truly believe it. Sincerely believe that its really there. If you don’t, you’re going to hell! Well, you weren’t able to do it right? You tried your very best but no matter how hard you tried, it wouldn’t happen. This is how faith is. You either have it or you don’t. People I know who leave Islam don’t usually come back in the same way. Either they didn’t leave it for rational reasons, and so its easy to go back, or they come back with a ‘mufti layth’ version or a mystical perennial sort of Islam. Its just not possible to put the genie back in the bottle.
Why should you be punished for trying your best? I know that from my perspective, I am 100% confident that Islam is false. That it was Muhammad’s invention – a mix of paganism, Judaism and Christianity. When I left Islam, I left the question about god open. But there is truly nothing you could tell me that would convince me Islam is true. Its so badly broken. From every angle you look at it. From beginning to end it has holes in it. I have complete “yaqeen” that Islam is false. Complete.
If I met Allah today, he would know this. He would understand that the brain HE gave me, and the life experiences I had led me to this conclusion. He knows precisely why I don’t believe he existed. Because the evidence he gave does not add up. So if god is truly just, why would he punish me? This issue is even deeper than that. We don’t have free will. The way my brain works is not my own to decide. My life experiences neither. So of course what I end up thinking is in no way “my own”. If you reconstructed my exact DNA, and gave me the same life again, I would have done the exact same thing over again. There’s no two ways about it.
Hell doesn’t make sense. Going back to the first issue, we already acknowledged that the most important reason why people go to hell is because of belief. According to Sunni theology, a murderer who believes would eventually go to heaven. But a disbeliever who was the best human being on Earth would go to hell forever. Why would god punish someone eternally for making the wrong decision when there’s no way to learn from the punishment? When I put my kids in timeout, I expect they will learn and make a different decision next time. The consequence is meant to teach. If god really wanted us to learn, he wouldn’t have designed life to be a ridiculously high stake game with extreme consequences.
Which god? Which religion? This wager doesn’t make sense because if you choose the wrong religion “just in case you are wrong”, you’d still go to hell! So you’re no better off. There are really quite a few possibilities here. Either the religion you are born in is true. Or another one. Or NONE.
There is truly no free lunch here. If you believe “just in case” but you still live like a disbeliever, who are you tricking? Are you really a believer if you don’t take any actions to prove it? Or do you have to be vested? Pray 5x a day, avoid haram industries, avoid having a haram relationship, have sex in the way you are told to, eat what you are told to and not what you cant. You have expectations from the Muslim community too. You cant just go in the mosque with your tattoos and without hijab or eating a McDonald’s sandwich. You are expected to behave a certain way. To look a certain way. Really, your entire life, especially with a religion like Islam needs to be shaped by Islam. That is what Islam commands from you. Submission. Complete submission. Those of us who really lived Islam, not like a pop Muslim, but really dedicated ourselves to it, we know just how deep the rabbit hole goes. You are really investing EVERYTHING into Islam, because you want to go to heaven and avoid hell. And there’s no way to know if you’re doing enough, so you do as much as you can, because you are rational actor that behaves according to what will benefit you the most. And life is short, the hereafter is long. So we live according to Islam. If you are wrong, this entire effort is FOR NOTHING. Your life, your sacrifice, your worship, everything is FOR NOTHING.
So you know what I’m going to do? I’m going to sleep soundly, knowing that I did the best I could and made the best decisions for myself and my family. I left Islam and won’t look back. I’m not scared of any Allah or day of judgement but I’ll be true to my own self and values. I live for myself, my family, my community, my country, and of course humanity.
Thanks for watching. Please consider supporting me. You will get early access to some of my videos and my eternal gratitude! Guiding someone away from Islam is better for you than 10 red camels! Yes, that’s my hadith. You can quote me on that. This is your friendly neighbourhood exmuslim Abdullah Sameer signing out.