The Genius of Islam | Episode 3, The Curse of Polytheism

The Genius of Islam | Episode 1, The Modern Human Condition

The Genius of Islam | Episode 2, Dark Truths About the Atheist Mind

They say: all religions are the same…

According to ancient Aztec priests, the god Tlaloc required continuous human sacrifice. If these sacrifices were not made, the rain would stop and the crops would die. But Tlaloc especially needed child sacrifice. And it was not enough to wet the earth with the blood of children. Tlaloc also required their tears. If the sacrificial children did not cry enough, the priests would pull out their teeth or their nails to ensure maximum screams of pain before ritually sacrificing them.

There is a sacred ritual described in Hindu scripture that is so vulgar that Hindu scholars refused to translate it. Later Western academics like Wendy Doniger have provided full translations of the Hindu sacred Veda scriptures that describe this shocking fertility ritual called the Ashvamedha.[1] We will describe the ritual for you now along with direct quotes from the scriptures, but viewer discretion is advised.

The ritual begins when a horse is suffocated to death. The king and his four queens walk around the dead horse chanting prayers. The chief-queen recites: ‘O horse, you are, protector of the community on the basis of your good qualities, you are the protector of happiness. O horse, you have become my husband.’ When the prayer is complete, the chief-queen lies down next to the horse. As the priests observe, she pulls the dead horse’s genitalia and puts it into her own. She then recites the sacred prayer: “This horse may release semen into me.” The king then recites another sacred prayer: “O horse, please throw semen on the upper part of the anus of my wife. Expand your penis and insert it in the vagina.” According to the Harivamsa Purana, the Hindu god Indra eventually enters the body of the dead horse to have intercourse with the queen as the king watches.[2] The ritual is complete after the queen spends the whole night with the dead horse’s genitalia inside her, thus ensuring fertility for the Hindu kingdom. In one instance, the mother of Rama is also reported to have participated in this special ritual. You might think that this is a marginal practice in Hinduism, but many sacred Hindu temples — such as the Khajuraho temple in India — depict these acts of bestiality and group sex on their “holy” walls.

Now, you could say that “all religions are the same,” but what other religions involve child sacrifice and dead horse bestiality?

Intro

These are shocking examples, but there’s a deeper underlying truth here. Religions that involve bestiality, human sacrifice, and child torture are all polytheistic. Why is polytheism conducive to these practices?

Of all religions, Islam is unique in its staunch condemnation of polytheism in all its forms. No religion takes a harder stance against polytheism. Islam teaches that the greatest injustice is polytheism, or shirk, and the greatest virtue is strict monotheism, or tawhid. But what is so unjust about worshipping multiple gods? And what is so morally good about strictly worshiping one God?

We live in a world that has whitewashed polytheism. People think that the only difference between a monotheistic religion like Islam and polytheism is, Muslims have a mosque that doesn’t have idols in it whereas Hindus, Buddhists, and Pagans, have temples with colorful statues. Why get so worked up about this difference? What’s the big deal?

Love and Gratitude

If you believe in multiple gods versus believing in one all-powerful God, that has a huge impact on your psychology.

Unlike the polytheist, the true monotheist, namely the Muslim, worships only One all-powerful God. This one God has created him and everything else that exists. This One God has given him the eyes he sees with, the ears he hears with, the heart pumping in his chest and is the sole provider of literally everything he has. This understanding creates a very specific dynamic between God and the believer: a relationship built on feelings of intense love and deep gratitude. The believer is in a state of utter appreciation knowing that whatever he is, whatever he has, whatever he will ever reach, is from one single God. When people accept that every happiness and joy they experience is from one all-loving deity, all of their appreciation is concentrated towards Him. They, in turn, direct all their worship exclusively to Him. This naturally produces a beautiful relationship with God, one with overwhelming love, gratitude, devotion, and obedience.

The temptation is to say that this kind of love is part of every religion. That is false. It’s not part of every religion. This is whitewashing polytheism. In polytheism, most deities have no role in a person’s life. They’re not responsible for food that you eat, air you breathe, they aren’t responsible for the order of the universe that ensures the Sun rises and sets. In polytheism, most gods are localized, with limited power. There’s a god for the sea, another god for the sky, or a small god for your specific family. These are weak gods that offer you nothing. The deities in polytheism are so weak that often they can’t even feed themselves. They require sacrifices in the form of food, alcohol, or blood. This is what libations are for. In many cases, traditional polytheism involves appeasing spirit beings and literal demons. For example, you make an offering to the sea demons so they don’t destroy your boat. In the theology of polytheism, you get no benefit from these gods and the only reason you worship them is to ward off their evil. How could you love gods like this or have any gratitude towards them? You might even hate these gods. Polytheistic religions have this inherent ugliness. It’s the complete opposite of monotheism.

Fear and Humility

Beyond love and gratitude, monotheism creates reverence and fear. The thing about believing in one all-powerful God who has created you and controls the universe, that gives you a strong sense of fear as well as humility. This is a natural human reaction. We all naturally fear and are humble before strong authorities who have great power to harm or benefit. This is why monotheism puts the fear of God in you. When you truly believe that God is all powerful, you are filled with this indescribable awe of the Divine. You want to submit to God in His ultimate power and bow down to His absolute authority. You’re overwhelmed with a sense of submission that makes you want to dedicate yourself to that higher truth, that higher purpose, in devotion to the Almighty.

Again, these are emotions that cannot exist in polytheism. There’s no one central deity that has all power in polytheism. Rather, power is distributed among many gods. And many gods are so weak, they can be controlled through bribes and magic, gods so weak that people can even threaten them. You say to a deity, “If you don’t do this for me, I will destroy your temples.” How can you have humility before such wimpy gods? This polytheistic theology produces people who lack humility, lack self-restraint. People who feel free reign to indulge in every vice, unchecked by a healthy fear of Divine wrath.

In this same vein, Judaism is a supposedly monotheistic religion, but it actually shares this aspect of polytheism. Monotheism, on the one hand, is belief in one omnipotent God. But on the other hand, belief in one omnipotent God has consequences. If you truly believe that this one God has all power and knowledge, then this is a God that you fully submit to. It’s not a God that you try to argue with or try to challenge or try to outsmart. But this is precisely what Judaism does. The way that Jews depict God, they celebrate the notion of debating with God, winning arguments against God, even triumphing over God. This comes from the traditional Jewish doctrine of “The Torah is not in heaven,” which means that Rabbis have ultimate authority in determining religious laws and even God himself cannot overrule them. In the Talmud story of the Oven of Akhnai, God himself states a legal position by miraculously speaking to a group of Rabbis directly from heaven, but the Rabbis disagree with God’s position and argue that God is mistaken. By the end of the story, God admits: “My children have defeated Me.”[3] In this way, in Judaism, the Rabbis are ultimate lawmakers above even God. And this principle is allegedly acknowledged by God Himself. According to the Talmud, God admits, “Even I must obey the decree of the Rabbis.”[4]

Such religions that insult their gods by subordinating them to humans do nothing but breed followers who are arrogant, defiant, and rebellious. This is, again, the complete opposite of monotheism.

Certainty

Beyond fear, love, and gratitude, monotheism produces rock-solid certainty. This is because the notion of a monotheistic God draws upon deep human intuitions, we discussed in Episode 2. All children intuitively recognize that the universe has a Creator who controls the universe. These innate intuitions very much resonate with monotheism but clash with polytheism. As psychologists acknowledge, this makes monotheism more intuitively compelling to the human mind.[5] These intuitions are also used to rationally justify belief in one God. This is why you find many philosophical proofs for God, but you won’t find any proofs about the existence of Hanuman, the monkey god or Zulu, the moon goddess.

Polytheistic gods are not only unintuitive, they’re actually repulsive. For example, according to ancient Egyptian religion, their pantheon of gods was created when the god Atum masturbated other gods out from his penis. Polytheistic myths are chockfull of nasty, bizarre, or confusing things like this which destroy people’s certainty in gods.

Christianity, for example. The issue with Christianity is they have formulated this Trinitarian conception of God which is confusing, at best. To make matters worse, the Bible teaches conflicting notions of God. One notion of God depicted in the Old Testament commands believers to kill women and children and commit genocide. But in the New Testament, God in the form of Jesus tells believers to turn the other cheek. In the Old Testament, God commands believers to stone the adulterer. But in the New Testament, God in the form of Jesus says that only he without sin should cast stones. It’s like the Christian God can’t make up his mind.

This conflicted notion of God only breeds confusion and doubt. This is the main reason why Christian societies have fallen into apostasy and secularization time and time again. Lest we forget, Christianity is the only religion that was so thoroughly stomped by its own apostates that it birthed secularism and modern atheism.

It’s no coincidence that secularists tell Muslims that they should follow Christians. They say, “Islam needs to have a Reformation like Christianity.” But Christianity had a reformation because they have this very confusing notion of God that clashes with monotheistic intuitions. But it’s the strong monotheism of Islam that creates certainty in Muslims and makes them reject secular efforts at reforming and liberalizing their religion.

What also makes secularists rage is how Muslims have been so resistant to the colonial project. Colonizers have had great difficulty getting Muslims to sell out and abandon the monotheism that is the lynchpin of Muslim life. Polytheism on the other hand…well let’s just say it’s relatively easier to get people to stop believing in Brahma the god who raped his own daughter or Atum the masturbating god. In a short amount of time, colonialism wiped out, assimilated, or reformed thousands of polytheistic religions throughout the world. But the unshakeable faith of Muslims has been the thorn in the side of European colonial powers for over 200 years.

Social Harmony

Monotheism produces this beautiful psychology grounded in love, gratitude, humility, and certainty. And that psychology creates societies that are more honest, more altruistic, more harmonious. These are facts cited in recent academic books like Big Gods by professor Ara Norenzayan.

There are several reasons for this.

1. First of all, monotheists are much more motivated to be moral because they fear God. If you believe God Almighty can zap you with lightning at any moment, that’s going to keep you honest in your daily life. But you don’t find this kind of fear in polytheism, as we already mentioned.

2. Secondly, in monotheism, God is all-knowing. But polytheistic gods are not. Polytheistic gods are sometimes so ignorant they can be tricked. For example, in Greek religion, Zeus was tricked by Prometheus. In Hinduism, the god Shiva ignorantly decapitated his own son because his wife Parvati had a child without him knowing. That’s the level of ignorance of these gods. So, if a polytheist cheats, steals, lies, murders, and rapes, he won’t have to worry about divine retribution because the gods probably won’t even know about it. This connection between increased dishonesty and polytheism has actually been experimentally proven in numerous studies.[6]

3. Thirdly, polytheistic societies are more immoral because they worship gods who are themselves highly immoral. The idea that God is all-good and is the source of morality is a monotheistic concept. In Greek polytheism, Zeus is depicted as seducing and raping other gods and other people. In Hinduism, gods like Indra, Krishna, and many others are depicted as serial rapists. The Hindu text Bhavishya Purana describes how the gods Vishnu, Shiva, and Brahma, worked together to gangrape Anusuya, a hindu sage’s wife. The Hindu god Kali is often depicted holding a severed head, wearing a necklace of decapitated heads, and dead baby fetus earrings. One Hindu sect, the Aghoris, even to this day give “sexual satisfaction” to goddess Kali by having intercourse with rotten human corpses.

What kind of society is created when people worship gods who not only lie and cheat, but are also serial rapists and bloodthirsty killers of babies? What kind of society is created when rituals involve necrophilia, cannibalism, bestiality, and child torture? In fact, studies show that in countries like India for example, a large percentage of the Hindu population justifies crimes like rape and child sacrifice by appealing to these gods.

Now contrast with Muslim societies. Because Islam has tawhid as this strong, uncompromising monotheism, Muslim societies have less fornication, less infidelity, they drink less, get addicted to drugs less, commit homicide less, commit suicide less, and generally avoid other immoral behaviors to a greater extent than both polytheist and secular societies.[7]

Communal Identity

But the beauty of Islamic monotheism doesn’t end there. Because monotheism creates deep conviction, this results in strong religious identity. Rather than religious identity, polytheistic societies have strong ethno-nationalist identities. This is because they don’t have religious beliefs that are strong or compelling enough to rally around. Since they can’t depend on their beliefs, polytheists have to depend on other things like shared blood or culture.

But in Islam, tawhid unites people regardless of ethnicity, race, or culture. This is why Islam is this revolutionary force. As the history of Islam shows, it brought together all the Arab tribes and, from day one, integrated many other races into one Muslim Umma. Islamic monotheism is strong enough to unite the masses despite racial and ethnic differences. This is why Islam has been the most racially diverse religion from the beginning.

What’s so incredibly dishonest about other religions when they criticize Islam, is they say, “Sure Muslims have strong religious identity, but that makes them engage in religious discrimination, unlike our peaceful religions!”

Yes, Islam treats people differently according to their religion. Guilty as charged. But it’s not like discrimination doesn’t exist in polytheistic or secular societies. They have boatloads of discrimination, but instead of religious discrimination, it’s on the basis of race, ethnicity, or national origin. How is this supposedly better? At least with Islam, religion represents a person’s deepest beliefs and it’s something freely chosen. But you can’t choose your race or the country you’re born in. So it makes sense to judge people and categorize them on the basis of their religion. But the color of your skin or which country you happen to be born in is a silly basis for categorization. And, if anything, it leads to far more persecution and bloodshed.

Consider the supposedly peace-loving religion of Buddhism. Burmese Buddhists persecute the Rohingya based on racial identity. Sinhalese Buddhists persecute the Tamils based on ethnic identity. Japanese Buddhists justified Japanese imperialism based on ethno-nationalist identity. So, yes, none of these are religious conflicts per se, but that’s because the persecution is ethno-nationalist in character. And it’s not just Buddhists that have to resort to lowly racism and ethno-nationalism. Look at Christian white nationalists. Look at Jewish Zionists. Look at Hindutva. All these religious groups put primacy on race and discriminate based on race. This is not a coincidence. It’s a byproduct of the weak conviction polytheism produces. The fact that these polytheistic religions don’t admit this and pretend to be all about peace and tolerance while criticizing Islam is very dishonest.

Conclusion

It’s not surprising that all these polytheistic religions come together to criticize Islam. Just look online. You see Christians obsessed with Islam. Jewish Zionists obsessed with Islam. Buddhist nationalists, Hindutva, and even atheists. They’re all seething about Islam. You hardly see a Christian debunking Buddhist scripture. Or a Hindu deconstructing Jewish theology. Why are they all focused on Islam?

What’s so telling is that these religions don’t criticize Islam on the basis of their own traditional doctrines. Rather, their main criticism is that Islam is not liberal and modern enough. Islam doesn’t respect women’s rights like we do. Islam doesn’t respect LGBT like we do. Islam is not as tolerant and freedom loving as we are. These are nothing more than modern secular values that these other religions have sold out to. Liberal modernity is their true religion, and it just comes in a Christian, Jewish, Hindu, or Buddhist flavor. But as we’ve seen, Muslims can critique other religions based on Islamic standards of monotheism, which are so clearly more beautiful, more moral, and more intuitively compelling than the ugliness of polytheism. In contrast, these polytheistic religious doctrines are either too repugnant or too irrational to use to criticize Islam. So all they can do is cry about Islam not selling out to liberal secularism the same way they did. Deep down, they know their religions all sold out, but Muslims haven’t. And that burns them up inside.

What makes them even more enraged is the fact that Muslims won’t assimilate. Look at how agitated Christian White Nationalists are about Muslim immigration. Look at how much anxiety Hindutva has about Muslims converting and marrying Hindus. Look at how nervous Jewish Zionists are about Palestinian birth rates. Look at how incensed Buddhists in Myanmar are about their Muslim demographic. Look at how livid Western atheists get about Muslim minorities not accepting Western values. They’re all terrified about the Muslim population growing. They’re worried about Muslim conversion. They’re nervous about strong Muslim commitment to Islamic law. All of these things are directly tied to the strong faith that Islamic monotheism produces that all these other religions lack.

People assume that every religion is based on deep humility, love, and gratitude. But this is a very monotheistic understanding of religion. This psychology can only exist in polytheistic religions to a confused extent. But profound deep faith based on love, gratitude, and submission in their maximum purest form is only possible in Islam because Islam directs these feelings solely toward our Creator. This makes Islam the most beautiful religion, the most just religion, whereas polytheists commit the worst injustice by devoting themselves to false gods. Ultimately, these other religions, what they are selling you is, “Come be a Christian, Jew, Buddhist, Hindu because we are more liberal, you can indulge in more fornication, you can indulge in more freedom, you can walk around naked in public. The only selling point of these religions is, “We’re not as bad as Islam.” But Islam has a positive message. Islam offers tawhid, a pure monotheism, that creates strong faith connecting you to your Creator, unshakeable faith that can motivate you to stand up against the evil modernist onslaught. These are Islam’s values, and these are the values that should guide human life. These are the values that allow Muslims to resist colonization, to resist secularization, to resist assimilation, and to resist the transhumanist liberalization agenda that threatens to destroy all mankind. Islam stands alone, and it’s all because of one belief: There is no god except Allah.

Notes

  1. Textual Sources for the Study of Hinduism, Page 16-18. Wendy Doniger O’Flaherty.
  2. Harivamsa Purana, Bhavishya Parva 3.5.11-13
  3. Talmud, Bava Metzia 59a-b
  4. Pesikta Rabbati 3
  5. Born Believers: The Science of Children’s Religious Belief by Justin Barrett, Natural-Theological Understanding from Childhood to Adulthood by Olivera Petrovich, A Natural History of Natural Theology: The Cognitive Science of Theology and Philosophy of Religion by Helen De Cruz and Johan De Smedt
  6. The Weirdest People in the World by Joseph Henrich pages 131-146.
  7. “Religion and Sexual Behaviors: Understanding the Influence of Islamic Cultures and Religious Affiliation for Explaining Sex Outside of Marriage.” By Amy Adamczyk. “Why Muslims are the world’s fastest-growing religious group.” Pew Research Center. “The Future Global Muslim Population.” Pew Research Center. “Are Muslims Distinctive? A Look at the Evidence.” Pg 109-131, By M. Steven Fish. “Key findings: How living arrangements vary by religious affiliation around the world.” Pew Research Center. “Giving Up on God: The Global Decline of Religion – Revisited.” By Ronald Inglehart. “The relationship between suicide and Islam: a cross-national study.” By Ajit Shah, Mahmood Chandia
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Mumin

Alhamdulillah. Alhamdulillah. Alhamdulillah for Islam. ALLAHU AKBAR!