MY DISBELIEF BEFORE ISLAM
When I married my Portuguese wife, Anabela, I had a philosophy which, though I believed in God as the Creator and Power that drove the universe, did not acknowledge that I was obliged to worship Him (I conceived the Power as It – that is, sexless).
I had been born a Roman Catholic, and brought up believing in Jesus as my God and Mary as my God’s mother – but this did not sit well with me. Rather, I saw Jesus and Mary as a means through which to reach God, who was the God of the Old Testament.
As I grew older, I began to despair at understanding vast tracts of the Old Testament. The material was dense, and so called ‘prophetic’ passages appeared to be in the present tense – addressed to those people thousands of years ago, as happening to them or in their lifetimes. More confusion arose because personal addresses or actions sometimes seemed to be assigned or directed not to people, but to cities and nations. God, for example, seemed to regard Jerusalem as His wife, and the actions of her people congruent with her actions. God called her a whore, and appealed frequently for her to repent and turn back, and become His queen again. The same was true of people, such as Jacob, who assumed the name of a nation, so passages addressed to Israel sometimes meant Jacob. Jacob often symbolized his descendents, which were split into two camps: the camp of Ephraim and the camp of Judah. Again, the names of these descendents of Jacob reflected the split in the children of Israel, between the city states of Zion and Samaria.
Other passages seemed to refer to supernatural events, and supernatural encounters. The raising up of Elijah and the appearance of God before Israel seemed to describe events that could be explained as meetings between races of advanced technologies and simple, non technological, men. Given that many other religions described the same kind of encounters with their ‘gods’, I began to suspect these stories of the Bible were but legends, gathered together, and made to seem coherent for the sake of a constructed hierarchy, the Church.
On top of this suspicious view I had begun to hold, I also learned of the historical persecutions that took place during and since mediaeval times, particularly the events of the crusades and the inquisition, which followed them. In fact, the ethos of the inquisition was exported to the New World by Spanish and Portuguese ‘Conquistadores’, and the Roman Popes manoeuvred to establish riches and power in Europe by a reign of Machiavellian terror. The Family of Borgia were particularly exemplary figures in this respect.
Finally, I learned of the attempt of the Church to stifle and deny scientific advancement well into the reformation, and that change only managed to establish itself through the renaissance at a later date.
All these factors led me to believe that the God of the Bible and the descriptions of Heaven and Hell taught by the Church were forgeries, designed to subjugate and pacify the vast majority of the population under the rule of a minority elite.
Read On: Tortuous Confusion