Leaving Islam – Unlearning and Relearning

 “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. ” 

— Alvin Toffler 

Before I start, I should let you know that I am still a closet Ex Muslim. I am still financially dependent and I fear what my family will do to me when they find out. That being said, I still do try to bring up discussions that subtly hint that their long-held traditional and fundamentalist views have no place in this world. Or at least I tried to, until things turned out to be nasty. Some of my family members would threaten me; some would yell at me; many would simply dismiss me. “You are still young. You are just going through a phase, like many young adults,” they would say. Basically, I am just an insane, raving madwoman who should not be taken very seriously.

When I first left Islam, I knew I could never turn to any of them to deal with my paradigm shift. But I wasn’t too unfortunate. The fact that I was lied to my whole life was overwhelming and depressing (to this day), but the knowledge I had that I was about to embark a journey of unlearning and relearning was more exhilarating and enticing. This was the period where I met many heroes and heroines like Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Lawrence Krauss and Hypatia of Alexandria, who have helped me by enlightening me, shaping my worldview, and honing my critical thinking skills. Most importantly, they have illuminated the shadows of ignorance left behind by the pathetic lies spawn by religion and my culture. At the same time, this journey is very dangerous and risky. My family members, at all times, must never find out about my apostasy and my anti-theism stance. They are the type of people who would go all lengths to protect their ideologies, even if it entails ruining people’s lives. These are the type of people who put ideology before people, the very same mentality that motivates terrorists to carry out their crimes against humanity.

Now now, I am well aware that not all Muslims hold the views (as shown above in the picture). I know many ‘moderate’ Muslims who are much smarter and much more moral than Islam itself. But I am very certain that there are some Muslims who are very ignorant. I personally know many supporters of Zakir Naik and Hamza Tzortzis. They are, in my opinion, the very definition of what we mean by pseudoscience and intellectual bankruptcy. It boggles my mind when I think about how these fraudulent conmen receive immense support when we live in the information age. I mean, who needs DNA testing when you can rape nine year olds and get away scott free right? Once, my uncle and I got into a heated debate about the validity of Zakir Naik’s speeches. He shoved an entire Zakir Naik CD collection and his books into my arms. However, when I showed him a video (25 mistakes in 5 minutes) that aimed to expose Naik’s lies, he refused to watch it. He refused to listen to a single word I say.

See how close-minded and insecure Islamists are! This was the point where I totally gave up talking to many Islamists because they are not going to bother listening to any stances that opposes their views. If you could reason with these people, they won’t be Muslims in the first place.

I am very thankful that we live in a world where we have education and information at our disposal. I am grateful that we have amazing institutions like Coursera, Edx, and even libraries for free. My hope is that we take advantage of these resources to educate ourselves and no longer rely on ancient myths for guidance. Here’s to a better, more informed, and a religion-free world!

[Follow me on Twitter @ChistaPantea]

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  • Nessie

    Brilliant site!! Best to all!

  • Jessica Cole

    Hey guys, i moved a few months ago, and left Islam. I want to join Ex-MNA but I’m also scared. I have no family thats Muslim, only they know my current address,but a lot of people who may be checking my current fb profile are Muslims. I was going through some really rough times, and a huge personal crisis at the time i scrapped my account to just focus on myself.

    During that time period i started really examining Islam, instead of just going into denile. Maybe denouncing Zakir Naik as a Muslim was the begining of my apostasy. My belifes were very watered down, but i didn’t realize how much so untill I left the religion. If I hadn’t been indoctrinated by conservative Christians about hell, and fearing that “God” will turn his back on you if you don’t quickly gobble up the “truth”; I would have NEVER fell for that silly ass religion!

    Im still healing a lot, and learning a lot about myself in general, but now i don’t quickly accept b.s. science claims, and hop on some band wagon so sky daddy doesn’t barbaque me. Maybe that’s just a part if growing up.

    I was living “in sin”, and felt deeply guilty, and wanted to repent and start being a good Muslim while doing what I was doing. After fighting so hard to keep our relationship together, i wasn’t about to give up who I loved most. I hoped God would see my circumstances and understand. He’s the most merciful, right?

    If rejecting Zakir was the 1st step being true to myself was the second. For some time, I had been sneaking out on Fridays, fording 3 creeks and almost 4 miles of muddy fields to reach my local masjid, and sneaking back/getting driven back and telling the relative i lived with i had “gone on a walk”.

    I chose my partner, someone i really love even though at the time he was a devout member of a Christian sect. He didn’t know much about Islam, being from where he’s from, so there was little judgement. I thought that since i was very proactive about being a good Muslim, and trying to get everything right, that i would surely be able to show our kids the beauty and “science” of Islam, and they’d surely accept it. Reasoning for myself, and not letting the Qurans sexism dictate my life was my 3rd step. My 4th was being an artist, and finding it rediculous that “God” would through people in hell for drawing faces. I wasn’t being arrogant and trying to be like him-I just liked art. Would a just God really roast me alive over that?

    Being Muslim was easier in boarding school because i was left so busy, and so depressed that i didn’t really have much chance to question. My faith was severly repressed, something which i resented, but that kept me from going to deep on that nasty verses. After i converted, it was more a comfort then anything. Sometimes i was horrified at what i did find out, but