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norwegian

What do ex Muslims convert to and why?

I've met many new Buddhists and atheists who are ex Christians.

I've met many new Christians who are ex Muslims.

I've met new Muslims (not many) who are ex Hindus.

But overwhelmingly, many ex Muslims seem to favor Christianity. They almost never become Hindu, Buddhist or atheist.

I've been wondering, does the predictable choice of ex Muslims have to do with their desire to stick with the familiar, given the common roots of Islam and Christianity? Is it the fear of departing from the mainstream, of the wrath of the Abrahamic god? Or is it because Eastern religions are viewed as superstition and idolatry, worse than Islam and therefore unthinkable?

What do you think ex Muslims think about when they choose a new faith?
All_Brains

Re: What do ex Muslims convert to and why?

norwegian wrote:
I've met many new Buddhists and atheists who are ex Christians.

I've met many new Christians who are ex Muslims.

I've met new Muslims (not many) who are ex Hindus.

But overwhelmingly, many ex Muslims seem to favor Christianity. They almost never become Hindu, Buddhist or atheist.

I've been wondering, does the predictable choice of ex Muslims have to do with their desire to stick with the familiar, given the common roots of Islam and Christianity? Is it the fear of departing from the mainstream, of the wrath of the Abrahamic god? Or is it because Eastern religions are viewed as superstition and idolatry, worse than Islam and therefore unthinkable?

What do you think ex Muslims think about when they choose a new faith?


I actually tend to think that the vast majority of ex-Muslims become Agnostic and Atheist.

It's very hard for the Abrahamic Faiths subscribers to convert to the Eastern Religions, may be apart from Christianity as it has more philosophical and spiritual aspects than Islam or Judaism.

I know at least 100 ex-Muslims and apart from two who became Christian and one to Judaism. The vast majority transit in Agnosticism for a while before making the final decision of being Atheist.

I was agnostic for 14 years and now 1 year being an Atheist.
Tvebak

Hmm would this topic perhaps fit better in the "Apostate of religion"-subject?
Smile
All_Brains

Tvebak wrote:
Hmm would this topic perhaps fit better in the "Apostate of religion"-subject?
Smile


Norwegian is a Buddhist, so this may be a little home for him/her.

The Apostates of religion is more designed at people who left the faith they were born to and joined another.
Tvebak

All_Brains wrote:
Tvebak wrote:
Hmm would this topic perhaps fit better in the "Apostate of religion"-subject?
Smile


Norwegian is a Buddhist, so this may be a little home for him/her.

The Apostates of religion is more designed at people who left the faith they were born to and joined another.


I understand.
norwegian

Tvebak wrote:
Hmm would this topic perhaps fit better in the "Apostate of religion"-subject?
Smile


Not really, because I meant to ask why Eastern religions aren't a common destination for Islamic or Christian apostates.

All_Brains wrote:
I actually tend to think that the vast majority of ex-Muslims become Agnostic and Atheist.

It's very hard for the Abrahamic Faiths subscribers to convert to the Eastern Religions, may be apart from Christianity as it has more philosophical and spiritual aspects than Islam or Judaism.


Its easy enough to imagine why theists gravitate towards atheism. I reckon all people need is a bunch of broken promises, a string of no shows by a "loving" god and a healthy serving of hypocrisy to get it rolling. But how atheists become theists, now that's a puzzling one. Any ideas why that happens?

On Eastern religions being more philosophical, I think there's a more fundamental difference: Abrahamic religions believe man is saved by god, an external savior. Eastern ideologies or at least the ones I know believe only man can save himself. There is no external savior.

Obviously its more attractive to believe you have a get-out-of-jail-free card even if it requires you to believe in the tooth fairy. Furthermore it takes a shorter leap of faith for a theist to stay within the Abrahamic family if he is still yearning for a savior. Thats why I think ex Abrahamists tend to either switch horses within the same camp or jump out completely, refusing to have anything to do with spirituality thereafter.
Tvebak

norwegian wrote:
Tvebak wrote:
Hmm would this topic perhaps fit better in the "Apostate of religion"-subject?
Smile


Not really, because I meant to ask why Eastern religions aren't a common destination for Islamic or Christian apostates.


hmm does your name give a hint to where you live?
norwegian

Tvebak wrote:
hmm does your name give a hint to where you live?


Yes and no. I'm a frequent traveller between Europe, Asia and the US for work, frequent enough to call Hong Kong and San Francisco my home sometimes  Smile
Tvebak

norwegian wrote:
Tvebak wrote:
hmm does your name give a hint to where you live?


Yes and no. I'm a frequent traveller between Europe, Asia and the US for work, frequent enough to call Hong Kong and San Francisco my home sometimes  Smile


Just lost my comment  Crying or Very sad  Very Happy

Well I'll make it shorter then.

The world is market for different religions. I would say you are most likely to take a product that resembles (ie. monotheistic to monotheistic) or a product that is the "opposite" (believe to non-believe) when you looking for a new product. I would say that's the mainreason that most ex-muslims become either christians or agnostic/atheist.


I'll think of it from a western perspective:
Hinduism has very bad condition in the western market, it's practically just known as a polytheistic religion(not considered with high regards), with "red dots", caste-system, "reluctance towards having girls", "Ghandhi" and some more. It's really only England which have a higher number of hinduist, so it's not a religion we "see".

Buddhism is mainly considered as a 'religion' which have nurtured some good equipments for a stressfull day. But there's nobody screaming about the 'religion' (I consider this as a positive thing though). And you have to scream at the top of your lungs on the market of religions  Very Happy

Short thought.

Cheers and peace
norwegian

Hello Tvebak

I suppose there is some truth about religion following the rules of commodities. It's been dissected and taken seriously by none other than Miscrosoft Corp who I'm told has "Evangelist" as job titles. Watch out for software heaven and hell, LOL!

Far as I can tell, people are afraid of Eastern religions for three reasons. One, the thought that it is idolatry - a unpardonable sin that scares the living daylights out of even the most liberal Abrahamist. Two, they offer no such thing as a personal savior. Only you can save yourself. Three, that Eastern religion are polytheistic and everything you've been taught says there can only be one god. (The 1st and 3rd are often a result of mis- or dis-information).

So while one may think he has left his religion, these 3 sacred thou-shalt-nots often do not leave.

While I don't think these fears are rationally defendable, especially when they are reactions to simple disinformation, the strength in which they are burned in the mind, especially the Muslim mind, is phenomenal. Its one that keeps you want to run back to familiar grounds.

So Abrahamists will end up in an either-or situation. Either you jump to a similar religion that passes these criteria (or in the case of agnostics, keep an open mind on similar religions), or you get so disillusioned by it all that you disown spirituality completely and become a far-right atheist. There's seldom a middle path.

Tvebak wrote:
Buddhism is mainly considered as a 'religion' which have nurtured some good equipments for a stressfull day. But there's nobody screaming about the 'religion' (I consider this as a positive thing though). And you have to scream at the top of your lungs on the market of religions


One thing I liked about Buddhism is that is truly personal. People are usually drawn to Buddhism and not the other way way round.

The other thing I liked about it is that its non judgemental. There is no divine authority in the sky that will sentence you to an eternity anywhere.
.
Tvebak

norwegian wrote:
Hello Tvebak

I suppose there is some truth about religion following the rules of commodities. It's been dissected and taken seriously by none other than Miscrosoft Corp who I'm told has "Evangelist" as job titles. Watch out for software heaven and hell, LOL!


LOL.

Yes I think it is a market, dispaying different ideas and thoughts. And people go into the grand supermarket of beliefs and looks at the offers (bringing along coupons), but most of all people tend to stay in the same section, culturally, geographical, ideas. The "global market" have of course change some of the static movement, but you are still a product of your society, and those rarely changes swiftly.

norwegian wrote:
Far as I can tell, people are afraid of Eastern religions for three reasons. One, the thought that it is idolatry - a unpardonable sin that scares the living daylights out of even the most liberal Abrahamist. Two, they offer no such thing as a personal savior. Only you can save yourself. Three, that Eastern religion are polytheistic and everything you've been taught says there can only be one god. (The 1st and 3rd are often a result of mis- or dis-information).

So while one may think he has left his religion, these 3 sacred thou-shalt-nots often do not leave.


Hmm you might be right. But I have a little thing I would dispute and that is, especially if you look at the scandinavian countries, the religions plays (or at least untill resently) a lesser role. People are more "cultural" christian or jewish or something else, than they are religious. People don't getted tucked to bed with horror-stories of 'hell' that much anymore. My wife did though, but she's from a danish "free church" community, where they actually still had "sunday-schools". There's of course great amount of variations in most countries, but it is my feeling that the "hell"-bedtimestories is fewer.

norwegian wrote:
While I don't think these fears are rationally defendable, especially when they are reactions to simple disinformation, the strength in which they are burned in the mind, especially the Muslim mind, is phenomenal. Its one that keeps you want to run back to familiar grounds.


I pro-con towards the "religion as rationally"-issue. Cause if sincerely believes in these stories then it's rational to follow them, but then again my opinion is that these stories arent rational.

norwegian wrote:
So Abrahamists will end up in an either-or situation. Either you jump to a similar religion that passes these criteria (or in the case of agnostics, keep an open mind on similar religions), or you get so disillusioned by it all that you disown spirituality completely and become a far-right atheist. There's seldom a middle path.


Yes that would be my guess. Most 'abrahamist' would stay in the 'abrahamist' idea or completely leave religion alltogether. But there is of course exception, but on the long yard what you wrote I think is what we can expect. But the trip to the supermarket might not be over, cause you've been there once. You can always come back and find a new product  Very Happy

norwegian wrote:
One thing I liked about Buddhism is that is truly personal. People are usually drawn to Buddhism and not the other way way round.


I think people most of all a drawn to the ideas. But besides that I like the anynom part aswell.

Cheers and peace.
Baal

One of the roles of religion, and IMO the main mechanism by which religions gains momentum, is by how much it can rally and unite its followers.

Whatever the goal, be it to build a financial empire, be it to win a war, be it to topple a government, be it to demand and get a better education, be it to get people into martial arts, etc..

People in tribal societies, which is most of the ME, are very much aware of that power of religion. People there are not independant, they know that 'alone' they do not stand a chance to survive even the simplest "police search without a warrant with planted evidence" or "a good street beating". or even much more mundane, without the support of their family, they will literally be out on the street with no hopes of getting married anytime soon.

So the option of being 'Alone' is often NOT an option. When they leave an established religion, they only want to move to another established religion.
roshan

Another factor could be indoctrination against non Abrahamic religions. This indoctrination is deep enough that most ex Muslims probably wont even look at non Abrahamic religions.

And, understanding non Abrahamic philosophy is too difficult for people brought up with an Abrahamic mindset, instead of trying to understand non Abrahamic concepts within the philosophies of their religion, they automatically superimpose their Abrahamic based assumptions, preventing them from having an even basic grasp of non Abrahamic philosophy. For example, recently, there was a discussion about reincarnation in Saharas forum (and many previous discussions about reincarnation on FFI as well over many years). Until today, I have yet to read a single intelligent critique of reincarnation from any Abrahamic apostate - almost all their dismissals of reincarnation are based on Abrahamic philosophical concepts which have no basis in Eastern thought.

For example, one common critique that I have read hundreds of times is that the number of humans (those who have a marginally better grasp will say life) is increasing, so where do the new souls come from? This is based on the assumption that there are a set number of souls, which is based on the assumption of a creator god that designed/decided how many souls to create, which is again based on the assumption that the creator god is an anthropomorphic entity bound by time, and so on. To a knowledgeable non Abrahamist, such criticism or questioning sounds absurd and ridiculous at best, as it demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of Eastern philosophy.
All_Brains

roshan wrote:
Another factor could be indoctrination against non Abrahamic religions. This indoctrination is deep enough that most ex Muslims probably wont even look at non Abrahamic religions.

And, understanding non Abrahamic philosophy is too difficult for people brought up with an Abrahamic mindset, instead of trying to understand non Abrahamic concepts within the philosophies of their religion, they automatically superimpose their Abrahamic based assumptions, preventing them from having an even basic grasp of non Abrahamic philosophy. For example, recently, there was a discussion about reincarnation in Saharas forum (and many previous discussions about reincarnation on FFI as well over many years). Until today, I have yet to read a single intelligent critique of reincarnation from any Abrahamic apostate - almost all their dismissals of reincarnation are based on Abrahamic philosophical concepts which have no basis in Eastern thought.

For example, one common critique that I have read hundreds of times is that the number of humans (those who have a marginally better grasp will say life) is increasing, so where do the new souls come from? This is based on the assumption that there are a set number of souls, which is based on the assumption of a creator god that designed/decided how many souls to create, which is again based on the assumption that the creator god is an anthropomorphic entity bound by time, and so on. To a knowledgeable non Abrahamist, such criticism or questioning sounds absurd and ridiculous at best, as it demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of Eastern philosophy.


Hello Roshan and welcome to our forum! Very Happy
roshan

Thanks!
norwegian

Tvebak wrote:
Yes that would be my guess. Most 'abrahamist' would stay in the 'abrahamist' idea or completely leave religion all together. But there is of course exception, but on the long yard what you wrote I think is what we can expect. But the trip to the supermarket might not be over, cause you've been there once. You can always come back and find a new product


Can't stay away from those 2-for-1 specials at the supermarket eh. I know what you mean. Very Happy


roshan wrote:
For example, one common critique that I have read hundreds of times is that the number of humans (those who have a marginally better grasp will say life) is increasing, so where do the new souls come from? This is based on the assumption that there are a set number of souls, which is based on the assumption of a creator god that designed/decided how many souls to create, which is again based on the assumption that the creator god is an anthropomorphic entity bound by time, and so on. To a knowledgeable non Abrahamist, such criticism or questioning sounds absurd and ridiculous at best, as it demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of Eastern philosophy.


I agree. I think Abrahamists tend to see cause and effect as linear because the doctrine itself is largely linear. If popularity is important, a religion must be one that is easy for the common man to understand. After all he's more worried about putting bread on the table than pondering anthropomorphy. But as Einstein had postulated, linear realities are an illusion, one that not everyone will understand. So it shouldn't be surprising how the truth of relativity will escape the linearly inclined.
norwegian

Baal wrote:
One of the roles of religion, and IMO the main mechanism by which religions gains momentum, is by how much it can rally and unite its followers.

Whatever the goal, be it to build a financial empire, be it to win a war, be it to topple a government, be it to demand and get a better education, be it to get people into martial arts, etc..

People in tribal societies, which is most of the ME, are very much aware of that power of religion. People there are not independant, they know that 'alone' they do not stand a chance to survive even the simplest "police search without a warrant with planted evidence" or "a good street beating". or even much more mundane, without the support of their family, they will literally be out on the street with no hopes of getting married anytime soon.

So the option of being 'Alone' is often NOT an option. When they leave an established religion, they only want to move to another established religion.


Hi Baal

If the number of believers is a criteria, then I think all main ideologies are established in one way or another. The issue is, an ex Muslim is more likely to embrace Christianity than Taoism. A Taoist is more likely to embrace Buddhism than Islam. The question is why.
Pazuzu bin Hanbi

Migrating from Islam to Christianity;

I’ve encountered plenty of muslims who have forsaken Islam for the free worship of the heart afforded by Christianity.

Rodney Stark has some interesting views on this in one of his books (One True God: Historical Consequences of Monotheism). He applies straightforward economics to religion (mainly followings in the USA) and divides different types of divinities into two:
  1. God as essence, and
  2. God as conscious supernatural being.
The first consists of an abstract form of divinity, nonanthropomorphic, outside of space & time, etc. The second mirrors humanity more closely, listens to and answers supplications and prayers in real time, etc. He maintains that “only supernatural beings do anything”, and thus prove more attractive to people.

Now I personally would say that despite a confusing mix of the two types of divinity, muslims represent Allah more as an ‘essence’ type of god. Christianity, despite advanced theologies such as Trinitarianism, features Jesus as a supernatural being. Accordingly, I’d say that muslims turning to Christianity makes sense because the Jesus type of Lord proves more of a ‘best–seller’.

As Stark puts it: “the supernatural is the only plausible source of many benefits we greatly desire”, and that such a god “makes an extremely attractive exchange partner who can be counted on to maximize human benefits”.
HomoErectus

Ex-Muslims, like any other "apostates" will encounter the same experiences...

Once you have learned to question one "deity", you will also come to question any other deity...

It will take some time, surely so, depending on the singular commitment, and the will to hold on to the "air-grip" of religion !

Why just REPLACE some alleged "god" ?

Why not question the whole concept of "God" itself !

Why not ?

Off limits !
Pazuzu bin Hanbi

I like this quote I have seen bandied about everywhere, but without reference to a specific author:

“I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one less god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss the rest of the gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”
Tvebak

Pazuzu bin Hanbi wrote:
I like this quote I have seen bandied about everywhere, but without reference to a specific author:

“I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one less god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss the rest of the gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”


Well phrased. Dawkins have said something similar, but I don't recall that it was like that.

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