This is hard to admit in a public forum, but I hope I can say this in the right way and get the discussion I think is necessary around this issue. I live in a very rural area so I don't know a lot of people who are Muslim, the ones I have met are fine people, but I have this negative feeling about the religion, that spills over into my feelings about people. It's there for other religions too, but not as strong. I think it's obvious that this is due to media and books I have read, I think Christopher hitchens and Sam Harris had pretty dim views. Also I've read salman Rushdie and Ayaan hirsi Ali and these authors informed my opinion. I see the news and what is happening in the Middle East, and it's frightening. Obviously I'm an atheist, I'm not interested in converting, but i would like to have a more balanced view, and I really hate being biased, racist, or anything of the sort. So I'm looking for positive stories about Islam and ways others deal with biases in regards to religion, as an atheist. I guess the first step in conquering biases is to admit them, so here goes nothing.

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I am currently reading the Quran, and the negativity is not a stereotype. For every verse about something positive (which so far I can count on one hand) there are numerous verses about death and torture for infidels and unbelievers.

Is there something positive about Islam? Probably. I think the divorce process in the Quran was surprisingly "fair," but extremely convoluted.

Islam is a Dark Age religion. What they are going through now, is what Christianity went through during the Dark Ages. In the future, you can expect to see the "friendly" Islam, as they will realize that threats and hate will quickly lose it's shock value.

Kind of like what happened with Mormonism? Where they let go of the "colored barriers"? 

Start reading books about Christianity, polygamist compounds. Maybe watch Jesus Camp... there's plenty of negativity about Christianity to go around. 

The Abrahamic religions are all violent. It doesn't mean that every person who subscribes to them is violent, just that the justification for violence is inherent in all of them.

well there are some positivity in Islam like all other religions .. like for example forbidding killing robbery and lying is positive for sure. encouraging one to take care of his elder parents or helping the poor and the weak is positive.

however all religions and civilizations have agreed to these terms one way or another.

the thing with Islam is that it contradicts itself .. at some point it says u have a free will to choose ur religion and in another one it says death to those who leave islam .. it's a religion of deception.. i don't like it and that's why i left it

Hey marvel,

Are you sure about this? Taqiya is a Shia concept, not a Sunni one. Do the Sunni have a similar concept? I don't know. But I also don't think that it is taught in Shia Islam that  "lying is positive for sure". Taqiya refers to deception used when one is placed in a moral hazard, for example, you lie to protect someone from someone who is trying to kill them.

In the west we call this "moral necessity" and its a legal term. It's an absolute defense if you can show it. Basically, I shot the burglar illegally, in the back because he was attacking my daughter, for example.

- kk

Sunni have the same concept but they don't call it "Taqia" .. i guess they don't have a name for it (due to sunni-shia conflict) but they use the same tactics .. when u r weak and a few use the verses of peace when u r strong use the verses of war and death forcing people to convert to your religion and your life style.

about the example you mentioned; your morals are against killing people but its the moral necessity that make you kill in defense of youself , you were put in a situation that forced you to do so and you are still against killing .. that's understandable for me.

but in Islam it calls everyone who disagrees with it an infidel and deserves to die, claiming that it's a religion of peace till it become strong to force people to convert into their religion is not a moral necessity its a deception .. and i can't accept that.

for example when Al-Qaida or any other terrorist group attack western countries they are not praised by the other muslims scholars not because attacking them is incorrect but because it's not the right time to attack infidels and kill them .. they just don't want to reveal the true face right now.

Hey Marvel,

Thanks for that info, I had wondered if the Sunni had something like this. Anyway,

but in Islam it calls everyone who disagrees with it an infidel and deserves to die, claiming that it's a religion of peace till it become strong to force people to convert into their religion is not a moral necessity its a deception .. and i can't accept that.

sounds familiar to me though I had always heard it in the context of who you chose to follow ... because there can be a lot of difference there, too.

- kk

I am friends with several Muslims.  There is the rhetoric in all religions that I dearly disagree with, but it is in the way people practice their religion that is important.  Most Christians, Muslims and Jews I have known, know how to balance their religious lives and their secular lives. If they don't have a proper balance, then we don't become friends.

Muslim, Christian, Jewish, all have more than enough fanatics to kill you at the drop of a prayer,.

There's a saying I try and go buy, I sort of franken-rigged it up, It goes "don't hate the christian, hate the christianity." it could work for muslims too. ;-)

Don't have a negative bias against the one. Have a bias against them all.

I am not prejudiced, I hate all religions that preach intolerance to non-believers.

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