A Letter from a Young Mesopotamian

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A Letter from a Young Mesopotamian

(Photo: Ishtar Gate in Babylon)
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By : Faisal Saeed Al-Mutar

(Published By Richard Dawkins Foundation of Reason & Science)

And Secular Magazine for AAI

“Who are you?” That is a three words question which I have encountered thousands of times by three kinds of people. The first are the ones who don’t know me so they ask for a little introduction.The second are the ones who like some of my views and want further information about my past and my interests.

The third are the ones who think that I am a person not worthy of living, respect, and being financially supported; a criminal. The accusation is for thinking out of the box about religion and tradition.
The third kind of people are the majority of people I encounter, unfortunately, and they range from some members of the family to random people who issue me death threats with hope that me, and others like me, will one day never exist on this planet anymore.

So ladies and gentlemen, let me tell you some of my thoughts and beliefs, and I want you to be the judge of my words.
I support equality between men and women and I also believe in equality for homosexuals. I support equal rights for all human beings regardless of their ethnicity,language, etc.
Oh, what a shame! An Iraqi Arab supports equal rights for women?! Equal rights for homosexuals as well?!
I was attacked many times by some people who consider women to be inferior to men
and think that homosexuals are “filthy sinners.”

 

Well, listen folks, I don’t think that women are inferior because there is not a shred of
evidence to support that idea, and I don’t consider homosexuals “filthy” because they
are simply people who love partners from the same sex, no more, no less!

I am an advocate of reason despite the fact that I am unreasonable sometimes due to the
impact of my society on me. I think that any arguments or beliefs should have evidence
to back them up and this evidence has to come from the real, natural world because it is
the only one we have access to. Claims which are not supported by real, testable
evidence should be open to inquiry and open to be approved or disapproved by people
who are knowledgeable about the subject.

 

I consider the theistic god(s) to be a delusion which belongs to the “unsupported byscientific evidence” category of claims because “Higher Intelligence” is a scientific claim and therefore it is a subject of science not “faith” but at the same time I admit that I am open minded to look, analyze and understand any new reasonable claims about whether there is a higher intelligence or not. But until that time, I still adhere to free thinking just like I still adhere to non believing in astrology or zombies!
There are many views I have been attacked for but the ones above are the most popular. 

 

Therefore in case I get killed or the 20 year old Faisal can not get enough food to keep him alive and sane, this is my letter to the world written by him in his fully functional brain and in his second language of English, so expect it to be direct and containing
some grammatical mistakes (I am sorry for that).
I would like to summarize my letter in few short points, and I am really sorry if it will take you more time to understand them due to difficulties in my elaborations.
Please don’t be an arrogant asshole.

Always know that you didn’t choose your gender, sexual orientation, race or nationality. Being proud of things you didn’t choose and that you didn’t work hard for is ridiculous, and if you treat other people who don’t share them with you with no respect, inequality and no mercy, entails that you are a bigot and you should be treated as one.
Don’t be dogmatic, as I admit myself to believing in “moral truths” but I am not certain
enough to close my ears and stop listening to more information that may change my
perspectives or maybe strengthen them.

Don’t listen to what you want to listen. Yes I mean it, I really do. Don’t listen to one-sided view about any topic because it makes you feel more comfortable and smart, but listen to different perspectives and as I said before:
always look at the evidence!
Asking questions is enormously better than believing fake answers. Would you rather, if you were born 4000 years ago, believe that the earth is flat, or you would rather keep the question of the shape of the earth open to inquiry until new revolutionary devices and scientists solve it in the future? 

Share the knowledge you have with others not only because it is a good thing but because it is the pathway for a successful democracy.
Would it be better for your fellow humans (who have the same right as you to vote) to make an informed or uninformed choice?
Have a basic understanding of world cultures and try to find a way to bring these cultures together to make the world a better place.
Mark Twain beautifully said, “All generalizations are false, including this one.” I don’t think that needs any elaboration.
Appreciate this wonderful Earth because it is the only planet we know of that we are capable to live on.

The best way to show your appreciation is by trying your best to save it for the next person.
I am afraid my letter is getting boring and I would like to thank you for spending your
precious time in reading it. I hope it wasn’t a big waste,please share it if you like it.

Thank you again.

If you like to support my work, click on the DONATE button.


 

 

 

Faisal Saeed Al Mutar

Email: contact at faisalalmutar dot com 
Twitter : https://twitter.com/faisalalmutar
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/faisalsalmutar
Global Secular Humanist Movement
http://www.facebook.com/GSHMP

  • Anonymous

    Well said, Faisal. I admire your bravery.

    Something pointed out by better men than me is that, for the most part, we do not choose our religions either. For most people it is as much an accident of birth as their nationality. The exception, for most of the world, is non-believers. Non-believers have in most cases chosen to reject the religious beliefs of the cultures where they live. What is also interesting is that they tend to be more knowledgeable about the religions of the cultures they are born into than the believers themselves. It is as though the less curious simply accept the religious dogmas around them unthinkingly, while the more curious educate themselves on these religious beliefs and subsequently reject them. As Penn Jillette points out, it is very difficult to actually read the Bible, in its entirety, and come away from the experience a believer.

    Keep up the good work Faisal. As you pointed out, whatever a person’s beliefs, more information is always a good thing.

  • Joel

    Faisal, a few thoughts for you:
    1. Don’t worry too much about your grammar and such.
    2. Just today I had a great talk with my unit secretary about religion; she was able to remind herself of what “Anonymous” said: “…we do not choose our religions either. For most people it is as much an accident of birth as their nationality.” I try to teach that to my university students in my psychology of religion class every year; some get it, some don’t.
    3. To me, it is very important to understand the “why” of things, like why people tend to make such tremendous commitment to their religion. Through the years and years of reading and researching this, the best answer I have encountered comes from what psychology calls “terror management theory” (the word “terror” is in reference to the existential dread we feel knowing we will die, can die at any moment, and have little to no control over it). This theory has been tested empirically in over 20 nations and is finally appearing in general psychology textbooks!! It is based on the books written by a cultural anthropologist named Ernest Becker (his books changed my life).
    4. “Share the knowledge you have…” YES! That’s one of the things I live for! A colleague asked me earlier this week why Buddhist monks wear yellow robes and shave their heads. I said I didn’t know, but then pointed to the little Christmas Tree in her office and said: “I know about that. I know why the Pope wears red, why he has a pointy hat, and why he carries a staff.” You can imagine the awesome discussion after that…

    5. (last but not least) I hope all is well in Mesopotamia! (I use that term when I teach; I think it captures culture better than political-nationalistic terms.) You have my respects.

  • AshesAshesWeAllFallDown

    At this point I am a Faisal stalker :0) I very much enjoy all that you write, and I have learned so much from your personal page and GSHM. You have opened my eyes to so many things, philosophies and life in general. It is easy to stay in your “comfort zone” and block out what happens around the world. You are an amazing young man, and I can’t wait to say (once your as big as Dawkins) I knew Faisal way back when….

  • Medea

    Well said, my fellow Mesopotamian. One reason I personally can’t get across to people from our background is that I write in English, whereas many people I know who write in Arabic are making a huge difference in the Middle East. Even with my English-only writing I managed to end up on an islamist group’s wall where they were asking their members to attack my profile as I am a blasphemous *****.

    If you were to write your articles in both languages you will have double the impact, and a much wider audience. It’s through the work of talented young people like yourself that we have a hope of some positive change in cultures such as ours.

    Keep up the great work, your dedication will take you far.

  • Medea

    Well said, my fellow Mesopotamian. One reason I personally can’t get across to people from our background is that I write in English, whereas many people I know who write in Arabic are making a huge difference in the Middle East. Even with my English-only writing I managed to end up on an islamist group’s wall where they were asking their members to attack my profile as I am a blasphemous *****.

    If you were to write your articles in both languages you will have double the impact, and a much wider audience. It’s through the work of talented young people like yourself that we have a hope of some positive change in cultures such as ours.

    Keep up the great work, your dedication will take you far.

    • I think your “few short points” contain more wisdom and morality than the combined so called ‘holy’ books of the world.

  • Lev Lafayette

    Thank you for your very fine, brave and forthright words.

    We can only hope that they receive the world-wide circulation they deserve, and not just among those who would already agree with them, but certainly among those who might disagree, but still have not lost the capacity for consideration.

  • Me

    Thank you, Faisal, for your kind thoughts.

  • EmJay

    Faisal, you really impressed me! Everything you said is 100% agreed. A very well- written letter. I copied it and sent it via e-mail and shared it on FB.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

  • Marayd McElroy

    Thank you so much for your ever entertaining & thought provoking posts on GSHM. Much appreciated.

  • Timotej Volavsek

    I wish you all best in your life and I hope you succed with this page, Faisal. It would be great if you could share some of your experiences and thoughts on the situation in Iraq (present and past). Good luck and greetings from Slovenia.

  • jeff bollbach

    How does a 20 year old Iraqi Arab come the this level of thinking? Amazing!

  • ridelo

    Faisal, what you write warms my heart. It gives me hope that sometime mankind can find a common base to agree and not to differ. No religion can ever achieve this. Only science and friendliness. Keep doing the good work, my friend, and may you find in your own country ever more people who stand with you.

  • I am a year away from becoming a high school English teacher, and your grammar is better than many native speakers I know. Your words are touching and encouraging. Here in the US, it’s a little tough to be an open atheist, but it can’t be as hard as your struggle. I admire your courage and honesty.

  • God is great

    You think you’re very “radical” and “liberal”?? Just another lost soul, looking for sympathy from western people by insulting your own people, because you weren’t strong enough to live by the rules of a strong society… Well, that’s alright, because I’m 100% sure your community is much better off without your contributions (if there would be any, since it seems you’d rather sit at home praising homosexuals online), and they’re not interested in any of this childish crybaby stuff that you’re posting here.

    • “I do not see a God up here”

      Sure, You “God is great”, she is a lost soul…Lost in scientific explanations of life. Of course you find her lost, since she is not a sheep to follow dogmas that humiliate women. Of course she is weak, since most of the time lies make people strong (at least in their minds).
      Everyone of us is weak and strong at the same time. Society makes and changes rules all the time. But since your God is great, probably he talked in your ear and explained you all this.

    • Steve Feildy

      I would reply with a well formulated and intellectual answer, but I don’t feel as though you deserve it. Therefore, instead I’ll just tell you to go fuck yourself you homophobic, ignorant piece of shit.

      • anonymous

        Buddy homophobic means you are afraid of homosexuals go back to school bigot you may have to look that one up; I am also very positive you do not understand the word intellectual. Sorry that you are so ignorant to the truth. You have my condolences.

    • Mac

      fuck you

    • Just one of these ***holes in this comment thread? Usually they are like locusts. I’d love to hear him explain “a strong society” without coming off as tyrannical and unjust.

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  • Chamrong93

    Very good article. I especially like it because it is from a Mesopotamian. I have been married for many years to one. Although he always respects and honors me, in the beginning of our marriage, he was always surprised that I had so much knowledge outside of the kitchen and making a budget. Now he says I am the smartest person he knows. (flatterer) I don’t know if this was an Iraqi thing or just a man thing. I see that many American guys also have the same attitude, being surprised when a woman has knowledge and is very skillful outside of the domestic world.

    You are completely right about having false pride in things that we did not create or cultivate.

  • Too bad that one has to apologize for having a brain and being willing (able) to use it.

  • Guest

    “Would you rather, if you were born 4000 years ago, believe that the earth is flat, or you would rather keep the question of the shape of the earth open to inquiry until new revolutionary devices and scientists solve it in the future?”

    So shouldn’t you keep the question of “God” open to enquiry rather than writing him off as a “delusion”?