To be or not to be, religious.


by Anonymouse

This is the 2nd time that JJ has not published what I’ve submitted. The first one was a cartoon I drew of Hajiagha and he said he received it but never published it and then this article. My previous contributions were blogs and this was to be my first article. I thought the rule was if the Editor didn’t like the article (it was not sponge worthy) it’d be published under the Blog section. Well I sent JJ a note and asked him about it and he didn’t responsd. So, I’ll publish it as a blog. Whatever!

Can you imagine this world without religion? Can you? Huh?! There are some examples, like x- Soviet States although they still had their Orthodox sect, or Cuba, although they had it too. Perhaps North Korea or China. These aren’t desirable societies, not because they don’t have religion but because of a combination of things.

I see so many articles by so many writers and commentators who are dead set against religion. They talk to us about 1400 years ago when Islam invaded Iran. They talk as if they were there.

This reminds me of Richard Pryor and his masturbation subject during his early 80s stand up comedy routines. He would say when he was 4 years old he discovered masturbation. He’d say “hmmm what have we here?! Boy! Can’t wait till I tell Dad about it! Dad look what I found out!”

Now this bunch thinks they have discovered the religions’ ills. All of a sudden they think they are the sole believer and get the urge to educate the rest of us!

Mind you they were raised in similar families like you and me and had Talimat Dini (religious studies) in school. Now that they are more educated, they feel the need to educate the rest of us on religion and more importantly Islam. They want to educate us of all people, the readers of who are overwhelmingly NOT religious. Isn’t this funny?! I have no doubt that on their private occasions they probably summon the god almighty more than you and I normally would.

Most of us were raised in families who had religion in them one way or another. If your parents weren’t religious, you probably had an uncle or an aunt or a grand parent who believed in religion. You never thought of them as Islamist or something like that, did you? You may have had some hezbollahe in your family, but chances are he or she wasn’t your favorite person.

I am not religious, not at all, but have a lot of respect for my friends and family who are religious. I have a lot of respect for my countrymen and women in Iran who are religious. Heck on desperate occasions I have summoned God almighty for help with something. So what?

Even if they were raised in an atheist household, they still had other family members who believed in religion. Everywhere we look there is religion. Here in America, the political candidates are trying to exceed each other in their religious credentials. Bush beat Kerry by saying he was not religious enough. Hillary is saying faith is her biggest attribute and the same faith helped her during Monica Lewinsky affair. Bill Clinton summoned his spiritual advisor the next morning he confessed to have a sexual relationship with Monica. In the back of every dollar bill it’s written In God We Trust.

Now our fellow anti-religion friends and writers on this website are going to say “but Islam is different.” Islam is evil. Give me a break. Picture your religion-less world for us before bashing religion and Islam. KKK lynched and burned blacks in the name of Christianity. British enslaved Africans in the name of spreading Christianity and giving them faith.

The most horrible crimes in humanity have been made in the name of religions of every faith. At the same time, many of the poor, the uneducated find solace in religion, be it Islam or Christianity or Judaism.

The point is, don’t take away people’s beliefs if it is comforting to them. They have to live their hard lives one way or another, let them be. Criminals murder and steal despite their religious upbringing. They don’t care about what happens to them after this life. Maybe for some would be criminals, religion is a deterrent. It definitely is a deterrent to some who try to raise their children.

Article after article, comment after comment, it is the same old story or bashing Islam. They are free to say it and think if they say it enough, readers are going to change their minds. Note to all, the overwhelming majority of readers already know about religion and Islam. If some lost soul be it a man or a woman doesn’t have a clue and can easily be swayed to anti-religion slogans, he or she is not someone who thinks for himself or herself individually. He or she is of the mind set of believing whatever is fed to them and at the first sign of personal trouble, he or she will say “please god help, please” faster than you can say Farahzad.


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more from Anonymouse

People deserve respect

by Anonymouse on

Not everyone is educated.  Not everyone gets a chance to become educated.  Many have to leave school before their HS or even middle school is over.  They don't even know for sure what Islam and Muhammad and Ali are.  Most do but not all.  When someone says YAA Ali and lifts something heavy, it gives him strength as a matter of ritual and beliefs, not being lazy.  Many religious people are hard working individuals and not lazy. Our elders deserve respect.  Remember them when you bash their beliefs.


To be or not to be, religious.

by heinz57 (not verified) on

Islam is not so much different from other religions or ideologies.The attitude of many muslims to their religion is very different and that's the often neglected main point.
So the conflict is not localized between muslims and christians ,but between individualism and collectivism,between enlighted and not enlighted,between belief in the right of the people to make laws for the people by the people and the belief in qor'an and sharia as the only true sources of law.
Here are the frontlines ,so be aware!
Yes there are other sources of evil than religions, but this does not exonerate them.
Believing means being to lazy to think for yourself and therefore religion can be quite comfortable.That this deserves respect, I doubt.


Nazanin based on JJ's own admission he can be annoying.

by Anonymouse on

I don't mind JJ not publishing my pieces, no hard feelings. I just wish he would say why he is not publishing it.  There is nothing a big deal about any of the 2 items he didn't publish.  I think the Hajiagha cartoon can be funny.  It's title was "Canada Sucks!"  I know JJ or someone is reading this blog because they italicized/bolded the JJ summary and then reduced it in the blog section.  So he is reading but not commenting.

 I like JJ but based on his own admissions he can be annoying sometimes. This is one of those cases.

 Good to have you back and write some more poems.  We don't have a poet like you in this website, so you are unique and different.


I am not young!

by Anonymouse on

The picture you see as my avatar was the coolest car during my high school years! were you around back then?  how cool was that car?  2- cyliner, roll back convertible (you have to customize that kind of roof now here in USA) and you can lift it around (parking spots) with 2 people!  AND as you can see it is STILL running 30+ years later!

It is ok to discuss religion and history.  But this discussion has taken another turn.  Now some are suggesting you either admit what Muhammad did 1400 years ago was evil and murderous and Islam is violent or you are not worthy and your life is not worth anything.  You are either with us or without us.

I just want to ask all those who are anti-religion to paint a picture of a religion-less world for us.  That's all, name tamam!


Nakheir bar nagashtam - meecomentam faghat

by n.zanincanadai1 (not verified) on

Hi there, I don't think JJJ is under any obligation to print anything or to respond to emails. Age tahvil nagereft, be bozorgieh khodetun faramush konid. There's no control here and very little information about what happens behind the scenes. Just keep to the blog and you can be your own master!



dear anonymouse: You must be

by growing up (not verified) on

dear anonymouse: You must be very young. At any rate, you've started a good debate. People should and would criticize, ridicule, and fight other religions irregardless of what you and I want. They have been doing that since time immemorial.

People in Iran or around the world should not be afraid of debates and discussion. The world is increasingly becoming smaller and they should expect challenges as they need to be able to coexist with others in this new and globalized village. Isolation leads to fanaticism.
That is how Christianity and Judaism were reformed.


"You" per se.

by Anonymouse on

I didn't say you ridiculed the religious people.  I am not familiar with this guy but he sounds like an intelligent man.  Most people in Iran don't get the NY Times or MSNBC.  In this discussion I mean many in this website who write about Islam and what Muhammad did 1400 years ago and what is Jihad and so on.

 Those who insist that IRI is bringing true Islam or those who are crazy or murderors represent true Islam or Islam is a violet religion, then they are ridiculing ordinary muslims in Iran and other countries.  Same is true with Bin Laden, when he lies about christianity he is ridiculing religion basically.

Bashing religion comes in all shapes and forms.  In this blog I'm asking people to paint a picture of a religion-less world.  Is it hard to imagine and paint a picture of it?  and don't be simplistic and idealist.


Anonymouse: When did I

by growing up (not verified) on

Anonymouse: When did I ridicule the religious people?

You don't need to ridicule them but you can question and criticize them in a free society. Many muslims are embracing criticism and are willing to enlighten the rest of us because they are not afraid of criticism and they believe in the strength of their arugments so they are not afraid of questions and criticism.
For example, Ali Eteraz is an Islamic scholar who is doing an excellent job in that regard.

Bio: Prior to becoming a full-time writer, Ali Eteraz, 27, was a corporate litigator in New York, taking on multi-national corporations in corporate fraud and monopolization matters. During law school he worked on litigation on behalf of victims of torture at Abu Ghraib.

He is now a contributor to Jewcy, a politics and culture magazine; the Huffington Post; and Guardian Unlimited’s Comment is Free, where he was recently commissioned to write a seven part series on Islamic reform. He is also working on a book, set in Pakistan, about freedom and fundamentalism, entitled Children of Dust.

Ali’s articles have appeared in Open Democracy, Alternet, Killing the Buddha, The Revealer, Identity Theory, and Counterpunch. His blog has been quoted in Slate, MSNBC, CBS and Guardian, and according to Technorati, the blog search engine, is the most linked to blog by an American-Muslim. The late-great philosopher Richard Rorty described his writings as “impressive.”

Politically, he is a Humanist. Sanctity for the life and dignity of all individuals trumps affiliation with ideologies, religions, or organizations. He further believes in democracy, separation of church and state and freedom of expression and association.

In November of 2006, he founded Eteraz.Org: States of Islam, an interactive web portal dedicated to mobilizing Muslims worldwide on taking real world action on important social justice causes. The website will be relaunched after a period of fundraising.

Places he has lived include Pakistan, the Middle East, the Caribbean, and numerous American states. He currently lives in Las Vegas and near the water on the East Coast.




Morality and ethics do not spring from anti-religion either.

by Anonymouse on

True many aetheist and agnostics are fine people.  So are others.  Why do we have to ridicule those who believe in religion? they won't change.  They won't change with or without a lecture, they just won't listen to you.  On the other hand they will listen to you on other subjects. which do you prefer? listening to you or ignoring you?


No religious or non-religous

by growing up (not verified) on

No religious or non-religous person automatically deserves respect because of their religiosity or lack thereof.

What merits respect is the content of their mind and their actions in their lives and how they treat others.

Plenty of aetheist and agnostics don't drink, do drugs and never lie, cheat, steal, etc. They are more honest, compassionate and most giving. Are they religious? NO

Morality and ethics do not spring from religion.



by Anonymouse on

Who said don't insult the regime?  Insult them and their unfair practices as much as possible. I do it. Many do it in Iran constantly.  I'm saying don't insult religion.  You can say separate religion (islam) and state which is right and will eventually happen one day in Iran.  You can't equate what this regime does to what Islam does, regardless of what the regime says and regardless of the what the bigots say.


Separate Religion and State

by Iva (not verified) on

Religion does not segragate between people's personal beliefs and stat affairs ... first one is based on superstition/beliefs/untangible-thoughts while the latter is based real life.

In our case Islam is the culprit, so naturally we speak of it and do utter the hardship that is imposed on our country-people in name of brutal islam. what would you like us to do? .. Shut up, TASLIM and say it has been like this for 1400 years so we need to TAKE IT and Deal with it. You do it, you shut up and bow your head to Rahbar and kiss his feet all in the name of "respect".

Mona 19

Religion ....

by Mona 19 on

I believe religion should promote the unity of the human race, and to foster the spirit of love and fellowship.It shouldn't be a cause of dislike, hatered and division.

I do believe all people must be free to practice their faith in whatever manner they believe necessary, but not violating the same freedom of others.

Best wishes for all



The question is simple.

by Anonymouse on

Others make it difficult.


To be or not to be, religious................

by Faribors Maleknasri M.D. (not verified) on - UP TO MY OPINION - up to each body`s own choice. For example in the Moslem`s fasting month Ramadan is no individual forced to fast. But it is of course also not allowed to eat or drink in the public in the daily fasting time. Because the Public is previlaged over a single person. No Individual is allowed to interfere in the Feelings of others. because of the same reason it is not allowed to publish obsceane and/or lascivious Fotos or Texts. For some poeple is this point of unnegliginble importance on behalve of psycho-hygenics. Specially concerning tzhe youth in thier puberty ages.
2. Again up to my personal opinion JJ is not to blame because he accepts or does not accept submitions for publishing. He is the chief, the Webmaster. I think it is his legal right to act so.
3. Up to my experience no Comment or Blog is censored. May be it is just technically not possible or efforts too much of work.
4. BUT; ONE SHOULD BE AWARE! If a Blog does not satisfies the special Wishes of special Visitors of "IRANIAN". In this case rains a shower of most "effective" earthy words. Not only on the submitter but also on third totaly not involved and not concerned third persons, Politicians, Scientifics and so on and so on.
5. Now to the question "To be or not....": I think the question is too general. I suggest better one distinguishes first which religion is meant. There are 4 Religions of no negligible importance, a - d
a) The one without "BOOK" the BUDDAISM. the Budists live in a limmited part of the World. It is possible that after a enough long time thier nummber will be permanently reduced and the Ideas disappeare for ever.
b) Jewish religion, although the most oldest Religion , has not succeed to achieve a maximum number of Believers. It is said that for example in Iran live today only 25.000 Believers right away. they are all very satisfied, have thier own Parliament deputy and share also in the general Parliament elections
c) Christian religion is , as far as is known, the most uncertain Religion today. One can not find bei christian`s Officials -Pope and so - that what the Holly Christ had once saod. It is klnown that the Pope georg the 16th should have said one can not blame an individual because of her/His sexual preferences. masking the fact that the person is to blame because the public knows about his preferences. In the daily life of the christians has the holly Christ no place. May be because the officials never have presented a solution for the difficulties of the all-day Life of the believers. Think on 3. REICH or other actual questions of the politics. Some Atheist urges: Religion should not abuse/missuse and interfere in the Politics. In the same time is the christian religion or better: that what is remained from it abused and missused by western Politicians. The BUSHY BUSHY for example had claimed GOD had ordered him to attack Iraq. These examples are not rare in Number.
d) Islam is ther most actual Religion today. The actuality was even accelerated by the Islamic Revolution 1978/79 in Iran. Since then the number of Believers is going up. It will be soon higher than 2 Billions out of 6. The Moslems mean they are blessed by God and for them the answer of the hier actualized question is: Better be than Not to be. The Religion scholars have not found any self-rejecting statements in the Islamic rules. In opposit - specially - to the christian religion. Greeting


Religion is not really organized.

by Anonymouse on

Just look at all the sects under each religion.  Sunni and Shia plus other versions in Islam, Catholics and Protestants and other versions in Christianity and so on.  People don't usually go and join and organized religion like a job or something.  They join a religion when they are born!  Later some abuse it but most people just practice it for one reason or another.

 In Iran certainly many people have been (during Shah) and are religious.  That's not going to change any time soon, if ever.  Oppression by the regime in the name of religion is going to change but not people's beliefs.

 In the end if you want to burn Koran in public, go ahead an burn it in Tehran.  Don't burn it in USA or talking about burning it here in this website! that is being a coward.  If you're not brave enough to do it in Tehran then zip it!


I have faith and that is

by tranquil (not verified) on

I have faith and that is totally different from being religious as it is known!
I have faith that there exists a phenomenon beyond this tangible world of ours.
Time and again I have felt this marvel which brings me peace, tranquility and love towards beings in this fast paced, tumultuous, seemingly cruel world.
If you don't want to believe me you certainly don't have to...I have no intention of persuading anyone!
I am only expressing my own personal gut feelings.

PS. I don't actually practice any organized religion as such, not in the common mode of practice that religious people do.
I have faith in God, humanity, decency and morality...


Agnostic Vs Believer

by Agnostic (not verified) on

Religion is for people who cannot decide for themselves, those who cannot differentiate between the fiction and reality, those who know they commit sin (wrong doing), those who need to pretend as believers in order to succeed, those who blindly believe in anything, etc.


and Hodja of Albania

by Anonymous-haha (not verified) on

killed Muslims,destroyed mosques and burnt the Qur'an in the name of Atheism in Albania.

all the biggest mass murderers of the 20th century were Atheists.


My view of religion is to leave it alone.

by Anonymouse on

We, those of us who know enough English to read and are generally outside Iran since is blocked in Iran, know enough about religion to know what it is.  We all know sharia law sucks.  We all know given the opportunity and a vote, iranian people would vote to aboish the medieval practices.  We know given the chance and a vote, iranian women will vote for equal rights.  What are all the struggles that we see happening in Iran?  Why do we have so many political prisoners?

Iranian people who are more or less religious know about this and know it is not right.  They know more about it than we do.  So leave the subject of religion alone.  Everytime you see it say religion is a personal thing and billions, yes billions, of people believe in it one way or another and it is not going to change any time soon.  We all know the history behind it and many would like to discuss it (jar va bahs) and go out of their way but it shouldn't be.  It's a personal thing, it should be.


Dear Anonymouse: Would you

by Anonymouso (not verified) on

Dear Anonymouse: Would you please define religion from your perspective? Which religion? Organized Religion and believing in God are two separate issues. Morality has nothing to do with *religion*.

You can go to church or mosque every signle day but that doesn't make you moral or spiritual.

How would you describe religion in your worldview?


Red Robin

by a message (not verified) on

The movie Red Robin directed by Parviz Sheikhtadi fits right into this subject. I saw Red Robin this past weekend in the Iranian Film Festival in Freer Art Galley in Washington DC. The movie has a beautiful message - I hope you all get to see it - you will have a bigger heart after seeing it - I promise!


well said

by IRANdokht on

Thank you for taking us all back a step and putting things in perspective.

everybody needs that once in a while...

The problem is not faith in God. The problem with religion is the opportunity it gives some to forward their personal agenda with the help of those whose beliefs they abuse.

if your non-religious friends sound frustrated, it's not because they want to prove that God does not exist! they merely want to open the eyes of the ones who are taught to be followers and ask them to re-evaluate what they're told to be "the will of God". Stoning an adulterer to death, beheading a victim of rape, cutting the hands off someone who steals to feed his family etc... seem so much less cruel to the ones who believe that to be what God has allowed as punishment. You're right, many crimes have been committed in the name of God by followers of different religions. That's because the abusers of the religion and its teachings find a way to justify it.

That's what is not desirable. There is nothing with faith in a supreme being...



Jang zargari between whom?

by Anonymouse on

Jang Zargari maybe, probably true but my point is that this jang is between the so called Islamists (like Bin Laden and others like him) and those who use him to bash Islam, or vice versa.  You are only feeding the fire of zelots of both sides when you engage or publish these kind of debates.  We all know that vast majority of muslims are basically good people and believe in peace and prosperity, just like the believers of other faiths.  Do we need someone to tell us this is not the case? Who is going to believe that? and why would you believe it? why would you believe the vast majority of muslims are murderors and savages? This coming from muslims, mind you.  It doesn't matter if they say they are not muslim, they were born muslim and until found "masturbation" (see reference in the blog) they were muslim.


Ben that is JJ's job. Busy? really?!!

by Anonymouse on

JJ has a good job.  It may not pay much but it's not too bad being the publisher of an online magazine.  What else does he do? Busy? sure but so what?  We're busy too.  Telegraphing a message that "yes I got it" but don't publish it or send another response, is not sponge worthy!  I don't care, I don't ghahr, I say it this way and move on.  I just wanted to make a note of it too that yes JJ we are here too.  He has time to blog about tennis game by game and point by point!


Jangeh Zargari !

by Theosopher (not verified) on

The war between religions is a futile act. It is useful for Existence to fulfill its steps in unfolding the New Program of Creation but it is futile for people participating in it.
It is as we call it in Farsi a 'jangeh zargari' (war for nothing).
All religions and ideas reflected in this phase of Existence are 'devised' by Existence itself to unfold its anti-virus purgatory New Program. They are all 'distorted' and are all two-sided coins: they contain some true notions of reality and positive aspects for human progress, yet at the same time they contain many superstitions and negative notions. Their impacts on human history has been 2 sided too: they have caused positive aspects in human civilization such as produced laws and feelings of tenderness and compassion and at the same time they have been sources for extremism and war. To claim that one religion is bad and all the rest are good and to put all blames on one particular religion while not seeing its good aspects are signs of overt 'prejudice' and discrimination.

Ben Madadi


by Ben Madadi on

Dear Anonymous,

JJ must be a very busy person and I think he has really a lot on his mind, reading, mediating, editing etc etc. That's why he is not very communicative some times.

What you are saying is true :)

I am also going to write something about the subject.