Hey folks. What do you think about all the ahkam (fard, halal, haram, etc.) and the Quranic idea of “perseverance with patience” seared onto my brain?
Here’s what I think: I think I should accept all the ahkam all the way through in my brain to give me a cognitive boost, but also keep in mind that Sam Harris has declared “The End of Faith”. Howz that? Besides that, I will also keep in mind what Sam Harris mentioned in his book Waking Up: There is no question that many religious disciplines can produce interesting experiences in suitable minds (which I think includes prayer, fasting, growing beard). It should be clear, however, that engaging a faith-based (and probably delusional) practice, whatever its effects, isn’t the same as investigating the nature of one’s mind absent any doctrinal assumptions. Statements of this kind may seem starkly antagonistic toward Abrahamic religions, but they are nonetheless true: One can speak about Buddhism shorn of its miracles and irrational assumptions. The same cannot be said of Christianity or Islam.
I would definitely endorse you growing a beard.
We’re not ignoring you, Irfan, but only Celal has experience leaving Islam. In general, leaving one’s faith is difficult and you may feel alone in the difficulties many times and that is OK because it is part of the process of getting used to giving up a big part of what defined who you are, but you are on the right track. Feel free to pick and chose what parts of your former faith to keep and leave behind since you have decided to no longer be bound to the rules of your religion. Feel free to incorporate other traditions into your life which you like.
You have given yourself more freedom of thought and behavior by leaving a set of arbitrary and voluntary rules.
Have a drink.
Date a woman outside your religion.
Date a man (assuming you are a man).
Go to a nude beach.
A friend of mine who lives in Idaho is an atheist living in a dominant Mormon community, and he says the rule when hunting with Mormons is he has to take two Mormons because if he takes only one the Mormon will drink all his beer. You have very few Muslims where you are now so you don’t have someone to make you feel guilty for letting go of Islam’s rules. And taking time away from Islam may help you find who you really are - a Muslim, or atheist, or whatever. You decide who you are, admit it, accept it, and live it.