There comes a time in all of our lives that we must make the choice to become grown up and mature. There comes a time in one’s life when things that are elementary are no longer enough to sustain one’s growth and interest. That need to be a part of group, the need to have the unexplained explained by stories of the Bronze Age, the belief that somewhere is an all-knowing and merciful god to protect me from the things I feared. At the same time, that fear ruled me. The fear of the cost of being out of graces with god that would impart hell. Hell, the frightening place that all people who are not godly or know of Jesus go when they die. For years, I feared that the Rapture would happen and I would be left behind, my loved one would be whisked away to heaven without me and I would be all alone, by myself, during all the predicted turmoil of the Apocalypse. Somehow, I would be overlooked because I didn’t pray enough, I was not leaning on god. Then it became the fear of disobedience of god as the great shoe of Sufi Islam crushed me under it supplication, dogma, and strange unexplained rules. I became afraid because I didn’t love god every day. I became afraid because that is exactly what Mohammad and the Imams all wanted: surrender, supplication, complete submission to god, and the upholding of all the idiosyncrasies of religion that never had explanation. The explanation was that “god said so right here” and I was pointed to the Qur’an.

The ultimate book of lies, contradictions, half-truths and blatant fantasies are the Bible and the Qur’an. The Qur’an preaches peace, then later it becomes violent. Hadiths, which are sayings attributed to the first generations of Islam, are nothing more than elaborate lies attributed to people which are written by those who wish to maintain control. Even as a Muslim, I could never get past the Hadiths’ lies or misquotes, and I knew I was going to burn because I couldn’t bring myself to believe the earliest Muslims said these things. The Qur’an is to be considered as the final word of god, the most truthful account, and that was expected to be believed on punishment of burning for eternity. Jennah, or paradise, was reserved only for those who dedicated their lives to Islam, submitting to god entirely, bending knee for no man or woman, only god. Five times a day, one would face Meccah and pray, doing all the exercises that came along with act of praying; bending forward while kneeling, extending your hands above your head, sometimes I thought (such heresy!) it would be interesting if “jazz hands” was a prayer movement. For me, that thought was a seed. A tiny seed set into fertile ground within my mind and adopted dogma.
One day, I matured. The Sufi explanations of the Qur’an became more and more silly to me. I felt that somehow, deep inside myself, I was committing a great heresy. I was…maturing. Suddenly stories and fantasies that consumed my mind began to become more and more ridiculous, like the idea of Jesus before I said my Shahada which magically made me a Muslimah. Slowly, ever so slowly, the thoughts in my mind demanded some proof. Some shred of proof that this was the word of god, and that Mohammad really was the prophet, and that people of the book were misled, and somehow Jews were out to destroy the world. Somehow, the seed began to grow. The answers of my Imam that said, “Because god said so”, were no longer enough. The lie that the bible became was now blossoming on the pages of the Qur’an. I struggled with my jihad, I struggled to regain control of my faith. My whole world crumbled and died in the middle of a prayer. I found myself on the floor, facing Meccah, and saying to myself: “This is, quite possibly, the stupidest thing in the world. When has god answered any of my prayers? When has god actually intervened enough to prove that he was there? When did I become this stupid to become a mindless, unthinking idiot?” I stood up. I stood up and I realized that it was all true. God didn’t answer my prayers, he never has. He never showed me proof that he was there, I manufactured that in my head. I did become a mindless, unthinking idiot. There is no rhyme or reason for what I was doing other than “God told me so” which no longer was enough. I had had enough. I went back to bed and have slept in every day since then blissfully knowing there was no such thing as Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, Mohammad, Jesus, God. He had 99 names in Islam. 99. None of that mattered a lick. None of them. They were stories told to children, people who needed a prop, to control them and make them do what the leaders of the churches and mosques wanted them to do. My seed grew into the flower of logic, that does not grow in the gardens of the soul, jennah, heaven or hell.

I grew beyond needing fantasies and stories to define my life. There were no more tangled webs of dogma, tenets, and faith to guide me blindly through life being led by my nose ring. There were no more tales that explained how we got here. There were no ultimate purposes, to guide me to my rightful place beside god. There were no rules that did not evolve from human necessity to survive. Suddenly I became interested in explaining away all the fairy tales with true and logical thing that cannot be dismissed. I was no longer asleep. I was no longer being lead by an invisible being that doesn’t exist. I grew up. I matured into a thinking, rational, reasonable human being that had no soul to be responsible for, no threats to keep me living a life of ridiculous rules that made no sense, no more lies. The truth truly set me free. I am free from the tentacles of dogma, the chains of tenets, and the choker of fear. I was no longer afraid of dying, or being left behind to be all alone, or that somehow I was the only one out there that knew there was no god. Many people came forward. Grappling Ignorance, DarkMatter2525, The Thinking Atheist, and Bionic Dance on YouTube. Richard Dawkins educated me to the facts of evolution. Christopher Hitchens guided me through losing my fear and becoming a intelligent, godless, woman. A family member, who is very close to me, also came out as an atheist. I was not alone. I had some more intellectual maturing to do, which I did with a happy heart and free will. Free will is the best gift anyone can give to themselves, the freedom to not believe, not submit, not supplicate, not surrender to any one, thing, person, god or prophet. To be truly free is the most wonderful feeling I have ever had.

I matured beyond the paranormal and into the logical, reasonable and thinking woman I was meant to be.

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