Problem I am always grappling with

You guys seem very smart and may be able to help me with this, its bugged me for a long time.

My boss is a muslim, hes a nice guy, hes also very compitent and intelligent, people dont ever get the better of him, partly down to his confidence though I have to admit.

Even though I put im an athiest, I do have some agnostic there, a little, maybe I should class myself as agnostic in retrospect. Some of his arguments for islam make me go home with this problem of how some of what the quran says reflects life very well.

Such as, drinking is bad, gambling is bad, credit is bad, smoking is bad, sex before marriage is bad… I know these arent “facts”… but when you look at people in our western society, all these things can be very problematic to some, which makes me question, is there objective truth to that overall?

Lets take cigarettes, they give people pleasure, but overall they seem bad for society because they harm your body and cause suffering… if you were to ban cigarettes, nobody would ever be harmed by them… same as the other things.

So this idea that islam presents of banning certain things, (though it really doesnt appeal to me and takes away liberties) you could argue is objectively good because it takes away most of the problems that people have in western society. No more alcoholics, no drug addicts, no gamblers losing their house, no paying crazy interest rates etc etc. “If” islam were to be followed as per the quran

Its a bit similar to the christian concept of temptation I think, both seem to cover society quite well. I love classic rock, but take for example what could in theory happen if you go to a rock concert? You could end up drinking, smoking, having sex and having a child who has seperated parents, which ‘may’ (not always) cause that child to not have full opportunities. Yes this is all maybes, but its as if religion makes sure this never happens because there are always those that will make choices that may stop them progressing.

How many people fail college or uni because of the social pressure to drink/party etc… yes its up to them, but with no choice they would be more likely to focus on study, which seems to be why muslim children end up becoming doctors/lawyers etc more frequently. Again its this thing that they seem to have stuff covered.

I personally prefer the idea of life and fun, and hate the idea of this ‘control’, but it stumps me.

I do see how islam, christianity, judaism, hinduism, look at us from the outside and see us making lots of temptational errors (should I say) that are reknowned in life for holding us back.

We are all free ofcourse to not drink, not gamble, not take drugs etc etc. but without rules in place, its obvious that many in society will fall into traps such as alcoholism and gambling, because of their weakness. (I have a weakness for alcohol sometimes, nicotene, and food that is bad for me, lets not pretend I am not one them)

I guess my question is, how do we answer this as athiests, that our athiestic freedom allows many things that can and will cause problems to many people, whereas religion irradicates them as per the scripture?

A good example of what im talking about is the tv show worlds strictest parents, where troubled teens from the uk and australia go and stay with religious families who try to set them on the straight and narrow. This tv show seems to highlight how our casual culture can be problematic, the teens are usually living under very relaxed parenthood, they drink a lot, smoke, take drugs, and end up getting into trouble and going nowhere… the religious family always sets them on a better path… and this frightens me, because I wonder wow is christianity, islam etc right? And that frightens me because with that comes the heaven hell concept, the control, the idea that this life is just a test etc. All things I dont want to think

If anyone could help me with this id really appreciate it as I do sometimes feel like our free culture is almost laughable to some religious people. It makes me feel uneasy as I love our western culture because its fun, and dont want to feel as if it is the wrong way and that we are somehow proof that religion has been correct all along.


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If he thinks people who don’t believe in magic should be burned forever; he isn’t a nice guy.

Atheist and agnostic are not mutually exclusive (you can be both at the same time).

Because it was written by someone who was alive. :woman_shrugging:t6:

of course not!

Only if you don’t know what the word objective means.

Taking drugs is part of being human.


You answered some of the points but didnt really elaborate, yes people dying of cigerettes is not objectively bad, because its subjective and some sicko would think its good etc etc. Obviously.

Can there not be a discussion on here thats just human rather than playing with definitions all day like my post is some sort of legal document? Its worse than talking to actual theists

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Which part would you want me to elaborate on?

Details matter. For example: from what you posted, it is clear you are using the word atheist differently than people here. I thought that should be pointed out; if you want me to hold my tongue; I will.

My friend, im genuinely seeking help with this, its actually stopping me enjoying my life. I appreciate you pointing things out that may be wrong. Overall there is a message there, and I just want someone to help me get rid of this annoying theistic view because its genuinely not good for me mentally. I keep hearing that western society is this western society is that, and I just wanted to know if it is justifiable. It does seem that a lot of what we enjoy is fun, but can damage some people really bad, therefore religion is correct in banning such things. I felt like coming on an athiest forum might help me see that this theistic view that we are all doing life wrong, wasnt true. I apologise, I took your brief answers as sarcastic, forums seem to be full of people who want to be smart rather than help, please excuse my poor reply

You want to know if what is justifiable?

Correct according to whom?

Which exact answers/phrases did you think I wasn’t serious about?

If the criticism of our western freedoms are justifiable? Ok so do YOU personally think that religious criticism of our western freedoms are justified? Such as the fact that we are able to drink, smoke, fornicate, anything that is considered a sin in islam, and if not, how would you address their argument that overall these things lead to potential downfall within society and that the world is better without them?

Correct according to whom is a very good question, I suppose there isnt one particular judge of society is there.

As to which answers I initially thought were sarcastic, I thought when you pointed out my use of objectivity, you were referring only to me, but I now see that you were generalising. Again my apologies. But let me elobarate on why I used the word objectively… it is objectively true that smoking is bad for your health, it is objectively true that gambling causes some people to lose their house, it is objectively true that alcohol can lead to health issues and violence, and so on

No. Lying to people because the world is a dangerous place, is a terrible idea, imo.


What are they lying about and why is it a terrible idea? To play devils advocate, is it a lie to say that smoking is bad for society, or that alcohol and gambling have a negative effect on society? Help me understand how they are lying

Start by understanding the distinction. Agnosticism is about what you know. Atheism is about what you believe. The categories are not exclusive. I submit to you that all atheists and theists are agnostic. What can you possibly know about something that just does not evidence itself in any way? I have never seen a claim from a theist or an atheist that can stand against rational inquiry. Even when I am in full-blown antitheist mode I have to admit there is a chance, tiny, but a chance, that something called a God might exist. But to assert you KNOW a magical, non-measurable, non-identifiable, thing, exists, is to be utterly and complety ignorant of the world around you.

And what is the penalty for engaging in these things? Death? What a great idea. Someone steals you chop off their hands, right? What a lovely idea. If a woman is not a virgin on her wedding night, you chop off her head and hang it on a post in front of your house. It’s the muslim way. Certainly there are better ways to curb ill behaviors than to follow the ignorance of a 1500-year-old religion. Anti smoking campaigns have been very successful, and they have been successful without religion.

The reason for the drug problem is that drugs are illegal. Make them legal. Let the government tax them. Run the same sort of anti-drug programs as the smoking programs and drug use will drop overnight. Allow employers to check for drug use in some occupations and the druggies will have to deal with real world consequences. Not agents from the government punishing them but their fellow citizens telling them, you can not be this way in our society.

No one needs religion to make a better world for everyone.

The response for many atheists is ‘Secular Humanism.’ I am not a member of the ilk as I do not believe in a welfare state. But many atheists are members. I’m sure there are other ways to grow and support the culture that I am unaware of. No relighion needed.

It’s a popular TV show, done for ‘Ratings.’ 80% of America is Christian. What do you imagine the TV show is going to show you? How fucked up the Christian family is? How the father is raping the daughters in the name of God? Your example is woefully inadequate.

The most corrupt country in Europe is Vatican City.

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Lying about god; lying about sin, etc.

True, but when muslims look at the western world, as do hindus, they see how addicted we are to things that can and do harm us. This is my problem its that I feel they may have a point, although a world without them would be boring, but not if we were told no from birth as they are

And you don’t think these people are addicted to things that do them harm? It seems you’ve internalized this non-sense.

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What are muslims addicted to that are as bad for our health as drugs, cigerettes, alcohol etc?

Get this through your skull: what is bad and what is good, is subjective, not objective.

Bad for health is objective, and always will be

That is wildly inaccurate, for multiple reasons. I’ve come to the subjective conclusion that you are not serious.

You are saying that smoking being bad for your health is widely inaccurate?

I wrote what I meant; please don’t try to change it.

Thankyou for pointing out the distinction between agnostic/atheist, as did the other person.

I agree that islam and all religions, have led to barbaric behaviour, completely horrific as are the examples you have given.

Are the punishments that you have given examples of forceable via the quran? Is it written in the quran to do such things to people? Genuinely I am unaware, I dont believe that the punishment for smoking, gambling or dealing with credit is this barbaric, I believe according to islam that god will give you a temporary punishment. Which ofcourse is stupid in its own right. As for things like adultery and theft, I honestly dont know what the actual book says the punishment should be, or how much you could twist the words… this is helping me actually so thanks.

Sorry to play devils advocate here, but when you said about drug users kind of having to suffer for their own choices… which is perfectly reasonable… this is where religion would say, in an islamic world those choices would be far less likely to occur. Now please remember im just playing devils advocate here, I feel that would be their rebuttle

As for the tv show, you are probably right, but I dont think most christians are barbaric like the example you gave, I dont think if they followed the bible properly they would ever do such an act