Escaping Islam

If a person is born to Muslim parents, then that child is brought up to be a Muslim. If a Muslim leaves the religion, which happens all the time, the Qur’an says that person is to be put to death. Heck, it’s pretty hard to not be put to death if you live in a country where the government enforces Sharia law. All you can do is constantly think and talk about how there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet.

So I’ve been wondering if there is a point during a Muslim child’s life (and I use the term loosely, because children don’t really have religious beliefs of their own) when they have the option to get out of the religion before the death sentence kicks in for apostasy. If Islam doesn’t have this, then it means that Islam has no tolerance for atheists who were born to Muslim parents.

And that would suck.

A Figment’s Tale – chapter 10

The Royale Hotel received the most well-dressed guest any of the staff had ever seen.  He must have been a millionaire, and his tips showed it.  He rented the nicest room in the place, the emperor’s suite, for the night.  When the manager asked what he did for a living, he said, “I design roller coasters.”  The hotel was located half a block from the Third Satanic Church.  How convenient.

The bed was far enough away from the door that Josh and Happy could talk without anyone overhearing from just outside.

“Happy,” Josh said, “do you think we should really join this group?”

“You’re afraid they want to use us as a weapon, aren’t you?” Happy replied.

“Yeah.  Some of the things they said on their message board were pretty extreme.  I agreed with them at the time, but now that I’m not at work any more and we can do all this cool stuff, It seems like…”

“Like fighting the system isn’t as important any more,” Happy finished.


“I agree.  We can have adventures.  We can make the world a better place in ways we’ve never dreamed of.  We can go anywhere, do anything.  The world is our potato.  Let’s poke it in the eyes.”

They both laughed.

“That sounds good to me.  What will we do about compensating the hotel?  None of the money we paid with was real.”

“I have an idea.  You go to sleep, and I’ll take care of it.”

Josh was curious as to what Happy meant, but he trusted him enough to let it be a surprise.  Besides, they could always think of something later if his idea wasn’t a good one.  He went to sleep, and the next day, there was a solid gold statue of a woman carrying a pitcher in the middle of a huge marble fountain in what was once an open area in the hotel’s lobby.  Happy sat on the statue’s head, invisible to everyone but Josh.

“I found all the materials within about a mile of this place,” Happy told him.  “It was pretty easy to shape.  What do you think?”

“Amazing!” Josh exclaimed along with dozens of other people who had gathered around.  The owner of the hotel was there, a dark haired man in his mid 40s, and he was astounded, confused, shocked, and elated.  Where did this thing come from?  How did it get here?

Many people were talking about angels, gods, and miracles.  Josh thought to Happy that they shouldn’t reveal that it was him.  Let them believe what they want.  It can’t do any harm.  Happy agreed.  They made their way out of the building and flew off in view of many witnesses, letting them believe about it whatever their minds came up with.

Maintaining control

I’m having a really hard time today keeping my anger in check.  My girlfriend’s son broke my macro tube that I use to get close-up pictures of things, and though I did manage to avoid screaming at him, I’m having a really hard time not flying off the handle now at every other little thing that bothers me in the slightest.  (To be clear, I never scream at him.)  All I can do is stay away from people until this passes.  I don’t like this.  I wish I could stop getting angry like this, but I don’t know if it’s a consequence of the way my brain formed during my childhood or if it’s something that I can overcome with time.  All I can do is hide until Mr. Hyde leaves and Dr. Jeckyll comes back.

Book review: The Lightbringers by H. C. H. Ritz

As a photographer, it’s easy to get people to look at my work. As a writer, very few people have actually taken the time to sit down and read my books. That’s why when my friend said she had written and published a book and that it was science fiction, I had to check it out. The short review of this book is that it’s awesome and you should buy it and read it for yourself. You can get it here.  If you want more, keep reading.


It’s the future, around 2079 I think, and the United States has closed its borders and became New America, where everything is perfect and everyone thinks positively in order to bring good things into their lives.  That’s what the government tells them they have to do anyway.  Gaylen Andrews is having trouble with the usual prescription for all of life’s ills when his wife leaves him and takes their daughter with her.  Then he discovers the underground, where everything the law forbids is done, and he becomes entangled in a world of violence, death, and terrorism.  He is forced to leave his old life behind and begin a new one where he faces his inner darkness rather than denying it for the first time.

Opinion and stuff:

The author tells the story from the perspectives of not only the most important protagonists, but also a few of the antagonists, which I found very interesting.  It’s nice to see things the way a villain does and to watch even him grow throughout the story.  Gaylen, who I didn’t realize was black until halfway through the book (not that it matters really), starts off as a “sleeper”, which reminded me a little of the people in The Matrix who are unaware that their world is a lie.  Then, almost involuntarily, he becomes so much more.  It was a lot of fun to grow along with him and witness his struggles.  The book has a great message, that it takes more than just positive thinking to make the world a better place.  Well, that’s part of it anyway.  There’s a lot to it, and you really should read it for yourself.

Scenes are described but not overdescribed, and there are many moments when I was actually excited about what was going on.  I often thought I was watching a movie, especially toward the end.  The only criticism I would give is that there were some minor formatting errors and maybe a spelling mistake or two.  Most people probably wouldn’t notice.  Now you might since I mentioned them, so forget I said anything.  Just read it.

What, you need another link?  Fiiiiiiine!  Here. Click here. Or here. This whole thing is a big link. You can’t miss it.

Here is a link for those of you who don’t like Amazon.

Back from the deep end

Let me tell you about the most obnoxious person I’ve ever met.  He liked to argue, and he always had to be right.  He could combine words so well, even clear-thinking people with perfectly sound minds would become unsure of their position.  He was a troll and a bit of a bully, and he was headed down a path that could only end in loneliness.  That person, as you may have already guessed, was me.

I’ve been paying close attention to the Elliot Rodger incident that happened last weekend.  I’ve seen all of his videos, including the chilling final one where he discussed his “day of retribution”.  As I listen to what he has to say, I can’t help but recognize a little of myself.  I wasn’t as crazy as he was, but who knows what could have happened if I had kept going on the way that I was?

To clarify things a bit to certain people who might be reading this, I no longer label myself an anarchist.  My anti-government ravings were not well thought out and the product of a lot of very misplaced anger.  I wasn’t wrong about everything, but anything I was right about, I was right about for the wrong reasons.  I don’t think totally throwing out the government is a good idea at all.  People need to come together, not split apart.  Peace can only be achieved by people listening to each other.

It’s so easy to go through life without considering yourself from other people’s points of view, and it seems like most people do that.  They react to things without thinking, they misunderstand, they get angry, and they seek satisfaction rather than resolution.  I don’t want to be like that.  I’ve managed to take a look at myself from the outside a few times in my life, and about a year ago, I did it for the first time in quite a while and realized that something was seriously wrong.  I had forgotten to value my relationships.  I saw valuing the opinions and feelings of others as a weakness.  Then Michelle reminded me that only from the outside can you get an accurate overview of what most people see when they look at you.  I silenced my ego, I opened my eyes, and my world changed for the better.

It does you no good to go around hurting people and cutting yourself off from caring about the suffering you cause, because as humans, we need each other’s help to have a happy life.  Societies thrive on harmony.  Productive members of society are the ones who facilitate harmony through peaceful interactions.  That’s what I want to do.

Cultural context does not excuse the condoning of rape

Deuteronomy 22:28-29 states:

28 If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found;

29 Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days.

Biblical apologists defend this passage by saying that back in those days, if a woman was not a virgin and not married, nobody can marry her according to Leviticus 21:13-15.

13 “‘The woman he marries must be a virgin. 14 He must not marry a widow, a divorced woman, or a woman defiled by prostitution, but only a virgin from his own people, 15 so that he will not defile his offspring among his people. I am the Lord, who makes him holy.’”

Furthermore, Deuteronomy 22:13-21 says that if a man marries a woman who claims to be a virgin and decides to accuse her of not being one, her parents have to get proof of their daughter’s virginity in the form of bloody sheets from the wedding night.

13 If any man take a wife, and go in unto her, and hate her,

14 And give occasions of speech against her, and bring up an evil name upon her, and say, I took this woman, and when I came to her, I found her not a maid:

15 Then shall the father of the damsel, and her mother, take and bring forth the tokens of the damsel’s virginity unto the elders of the city in the gate:

16 And the damsel’s father shall say unto the elders, I gave my daughter unto this man to wife, and he hateth her;

17 And, lo, he hath given occasions of speech against her, saying, I found not thy daughter a maid; and yet these are the tokens of my daughter’s virginity. And they shall spread the cloth before the elders of the city.

18 And the elders of that city shall take that man and chastise him;

19 And they shall amerce him in an hundred shekels of silver, and give them unto the father of the damsel, because he hath brought up an evil name upon a virgin of Israel: and she shall be his wife; he may not put her away all his days.

20 But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel:

21 Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father’s house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you.

So in ancient Jewish society, it was pretty darn important for girls to be virgins until they were married and to only ever have sex with their husbands.  The apologist position on forcing women to marry their rapists is that it ensures that the women will be taken care of and not abandoned by society, a society that created the corner that nonvirgin women were backed into in the first place.

So rapists were forced to marry their victims.  Let’s say the rapist decided he was tired of his wife, so he went out and raped someone else.  He was caught, and he was stoned to death.  (I’m assuming that if the man is already married, he gets murdered, unless the marry-your-rapist clause kicks in again and he ends up with a second wife.)  Now his first rape victim/wife is all alone, and nobody else can marry her because of Leviticus 21:13-15 despite the fact that she did absolutely nothing wrong.

13 “‘The woman he marries must be a virgin. 14 He must not marry a widow, a divorced woman, or a woman defiled by prostitution, but only a virgin from his own people, 15 so that he will not defile his offspring among his people. I am the Lord, who makes him holy.’”

Also note that nowhere is it stated that the crime that the man is punished for is rape.  The crime is causing a girl to no longer be a virgin or defiling another man’s wife.  Deuteronomy 22:22 says that in the case of a man raping a girl who is already married, then they both are to die.

22 If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel.

If a woman is merely engaged to be married and is still a virgin, then Deuteronomy 22:23-27 kicks in.

23 If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her;

24 Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbour’s wife: so thou shalt put away evil from among you.

25 But if a man find a betrothed damsel in the field, and the man force her, and lie with her: then the man only that lay with her shall die.

26 But unto the damsel thou shalt do nothing; there is in the damsel no sin worthy of death: for as when a man riseth against his neighbour, and slayeth him, even so is this matter:

27 For he found her in the field, and the betrothed damsel cried, and there was none to save her.

It doesn’t say this directly, but according to Leviticus 21:13-15, the woman, who was oh so mercifully not murdered along with her rapist, is now unmarryable.  So any apologist that says that forcing a woman to marry her rapist is somehow a favor done for women in ancient Jewish society is completely off the mark and should read the bible at least once in his or her lifetime.


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