Why be Good if there is no Afterlife?
30 Jun, 2007
This is the continuation of the email exchanges I had with Dr. Sohail
Dr Sohail: I
believe Islam to be the best religion in the world & Prophet
Muhammad (pbuh) to be the true Last Messenger of Almighty Allah.
(Relax I'm not starting a debate!)
Before I get into a discussion with you over Islam here's an easy query for you to answer (kindly don't misquote & misinterpret my words): As far as I know you're an atheist which means you don't believe in the existence of God & we all know that every human being will die someday... IF FOR THE SAKE OF ARGUMENT, I agree with you that whatever you say about Islam is true then can you tell me what do you believe will happen to you after you die?
I do not know what will happen to us after we die. Most likely we simply cease to exist. Is it possible that a reality of us survive after we die? No one can’t be sure of that and I say probably the answer is “no”. There are a lot of things that we humans still do not know. Is it possible that the world is more complex than what meets the eyes? Could there be other words with different dimensions parallel to ours of which we have no knowledge? Even if such worlds exist, we have no evidence of then and therefore they belong to the realm of speculation. It is not wise to hinge our lives around things that are speculative in nature. There is only one life of which we can be certain and it is this life. We must make the most of it.
The best way to make the most of this life is
to make our species advance. We humans are social animals. Our
happiness depends on the happiness of our fellow beings. Nature has
made us such that the greatest pleasures we feel is in giving and in
helping others. Those who help others do so because they enjoy
helping. There is no pleasure greater than making others happy.
Animals do not have this sense. Empathy is something that has
evolved in us humans. An animal has a natural drive to provide and
protect her own offspring. Beyond that, except few gregarious
species, animals don’t have a great sense of empathy.
A study shows that the area of the brain
associated with higher-level thinking, empathy, and guilt is
underused by teenagers. When considering an action, the teenage
medial prefrontal cortex, located in front of the brain, doesn't get
as much action as adults. Empathy is a basic part of human nature
that allows people to care about others. This study suggests that
empathy is a learned behavior that develops in humans as they age.
Another study suggests damage to the brain
limits empathy. When asked if they would kill someone for a greater
cause, such as saving more people, those with damaged brains often
responded positively while the subjects with normal brains were not
prepared to kill someone even for a greater cause. According to Dr.
Antonio Damasio, one of the study’s lead authors, “Part of our moral
behavior is grounded ... in a specific part of our brains,"
Some cultures are noticeably more empathic than
others. High on the list are Hindus and the westerners. Low on the
list, are Muslims in general, irrespective of their race or
nationality. This is clear from the emails that they send me, (many
of which I have published in this site.) They often rationalize the
pain and suffering caused to non-Muslims, citing Abu Ghraib,
Now, it would be unreasonable to assume that Muslims as a group are brain damaged. However, it is fair to say that their level of empathy is comparable to those with damaged brains. So how can we understand the general lack of empathy in Muslims at large? This conundrum can be explained through the findings of another study.
A French and American team of social-cognitive neuroscientists
have identified a network of brain regions that are involved in
human imitation. The scope of the research was to find the
neurological basis of social interaction, particularly empathy. The
team is headed by neuroscientist Jean Decety of
Their study suggests that empathy is learned through imitation. "This work is important because imitation is a natural procedure. We don't learn to imitate. It is part of our biological nature and we are born to imitate," said Decety.
Children learn empathy if they see empathy. It
is a mistake to assume all cultures are equal or buy into the lie
that all people are the same and that bad and good are equally
distributed among all nations. There are definitely nations that are
better than other. There are societies that generally lack empathy.
In the western society good is the norm and bad people are
exceptions, Among the Muslims the reverse is true. Now this makes no
sense, since we are all genetically made of the same stock and are
the same species. The only difference is education, belief systems
Westerners are very likely to give money to
charities, even when they are not necessarily wealthy. Muslims in
general do not give to charities unless they believe they will be
rewarded for it in the next world. Islamic charities are not geared
to help the poor but to promote Islam, such as build mosques, pint
the Quran and distribute it for free, or finance Jihad. This is how
a Muslim perceives charity. Muslims also give to the poor. However,
the intent is not to improve the life of the poor but to gain the
pleasure of Allah and be rewarded in the afterlife. I recall once I
stayed at the home of an aunt and a beggar knocked at the door
asking for something to eat. My aunt went to the kitchen, got a
piece of bread and some cheese and gave it to him. But before, she
rotated the food around my head. I perfectly knew why she was doing
it. According to her belief system by rotating the food around
someone’s head she was taking away the ill surrounding that person
and giving it away to the beggar. As a child I believed this to be
true and felt guilt. I did not want someone else take away my ills
just for a piece of bread. This kind of charity is called sadaqeh.
The intent of sadaqeh is to send away the ill and give it to someone
An entire society can lack empathy. If the
ethos of a society does not promote empathy people do not learn it.
The evolution of empathy in the West is recent. Only a hundred years
ago the westerners felt no qualm colonizing other nations,
subjugating them and exploiting them. The Opium war that the British
waged against the Chinese is only a token of the lack of empathy of
Europeans towards other people. Another example is what the Germans
did only sixty years ago. However, it is unlikely that either the
Germans or the British of today would allow their governments to
commit such acts of inhumanity. The ethos of these people has
changed and as the result their level of empathy is also changed.
Many ex-Muslims will tell you that prior to
their rejection of Islam they had no empathy for the pains of the
non-Muslims and some have even confessed that they were genuinely
elated when they heard about the September 11 calamity that killed
many kafirs. Even the westerners, upon converting to Islam lose
their empathy. Yvonne Riddley, the BBC journalist who converted to
Islam, has given her support to the terrorists and has justified
their murder of innocent people including the children of Beslan.
Joseph Cohen, a Jew who changed his name to Yusuf Khattab after
converting to Islam, has also expressed his approval of the killing
of Israelis, including their children.
It is clear that we can develop empathy or lose
it through education and belief. Actually it is amazing how fast one
can acquire empathy or lose it. I felt no pain or sorrow upon
hearing the violent death of Musab al Zarqawi, the Jordanian
terrorist who had killed over a thousand people in
This makes our problem very clear. It is evil
ideologies that reduce people into bloodthirsty beasts and heartless
killers. It is these ideologies that we have to fight and eliminate.
People are the same everywhere. We were all born innocent. What
makes us different is our belief systems.
Muslim children are nurtured with the hatred of
the non believers, particularly the Jews. Even a “moderate” Muslim
like Dr. Mahathir, the ex-Prime minister of Malaysia, who probably
has never had shaken hand with a Jew in his life, was so much filled
with their hatred that in his speech addressed to all the Muslim
leaders of the world, blamed the Jews for everything that is wrong
in the Muslim world. When people grow in such an environment filled
with hate, there is little room for empathy. As the result Muslims
have no empathy.
Empathy makes us not only feel the pain of
others, but also their happiness. Isn’t it true that seeing someone
happy automatically makes you happy? The reverse is also true.
Seeing a person in pain and anguish saddens and concerns us. Those
who have high levels of empathy can rejoice in the happiness others.
This is the crux of the matter.
Why should we be kind to others, help our
fellow beings and striving to bring happiness to their lives, if
there is no hell and heaven? The answer is that once we develop
empathy, we do not need other compensation for our good deeds. The
fact that our deed is going to help someone and make him or her
happy is by itself rewarding. It is the happiness of others that
makes us happy. Many people did not know Nazanin, the young Iranian
girl who was sentenced by the Islamic courts to be hanged for
defending herself against a rapist, which accidentally killed him.
People felt her pain and started a campaign to raise the public
awareness to her plight and set her free. Under the pressure of the
world opinion the courts in
So, why we have to be good to each other? It is
because it makes us feel good. That is all there is to it. The
reward and punishment for our actions are right here in this world
our very actions.
What about those people who have no empathy, like criminals, the brain damaged and the Muslims? They are mishaps. Criminals and the brain damaged. Muslims must be weaned from their cultic belief. As long as they are Muhammadan’s and to the degree that they follow that psychopath, there is very difference between Muslims and criminals or brain damaged people. The actions of their terrorists are eloquent testimony to this claim.
Whether we like it or not and whether it is
politically correct to say it or not, we have to accept the fact
that Muslims, and here I mean those believing and practicing Muslims
who regularly go to the mosque and fill their minds with the
venomous sermons, have little empathy for the rest of mankind. What
distinguishes us humans from lower forms of life is empathy. .
As I stated above, empathy can be learned and
it can be switched off and on. Once Muslims leave Islam they often
acquire empathy quite fast. Suddenly they can see other humans as
fellow beings and feel their sorrow and happiness. The reverse is
also true. Once a non-Muslim falls into the trap of Islam, it takes
very little time before he or she starts hating everyone and
Dante described hell as a place where there is
no hope. I agree with that description and add one more. Hell is
where there is no love. By this definition, Muslims live in hell.
They wake up every morning and go to bed every night feeling nothing
but hatred of mankind? A hatred that is fueled by lies, so intense
that derives them to commit suicide in order to take their revenge.
This is hell.
We humans care about each other. That is
because our survival as a species depends on it. Therefore, empathy
is natural and a necessity of life in us humans. In giving, we
enrich our own lives. Giving validates our sense of humanness and
makes us feel complete. We feel pleasure in giving, in helping, in
making others happy and in alleviating people’s pain. This is very
natural to us humans, unless we lose it through evil indoctrination.
One does not need any religion or belief to have empathy because it
is part of our evolutionary make up, just like intelligence.
However, like intelligence it has to be nurtured to develop. Since
religion is the expression of everything that is noble and good in
us humans, most religions emphasize on this aspect of our humanness
and encourage us to be giving, loving and helping. Nonetheless, it
is a mistake to assume that it is because of religion that we have
empathy. It is actually the other way round. Religions have adopted
what is intrinsically human and as much part of our evolution as is
Islam is a different story. Islam is the
invention of a very sick psychopathic mind. The author of Islam was
a narcissist. The religion that he invented was intended only to
advance his own narcissistic dreams of grandiosity and power. As the
result Islam is extremely evil. Unlike other major religions, such
as Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism or Zoroastrianism, Islam reduces
its followers into zombies and evil beings. It takes away their
humanity and makes them monsters, unworthy to be called humans.
Other religions are mix bags of good and bad. Islam is all bad. With
false promises of a shamefully orgiastic afterlife and threats of
hell, it rubs the intelligence and the conscience of its victims
reducing them into little more than beasts. Once you lose your
humanity, there is nothing left in you than bestiality. Take a look
at what is happening in
Whether there is an afterlife or not, we don’t
know. Assuming there is, of one thing we can be sure, and that is
evildoers will not be rewarded. Muslims who follow Muhammad and
inspired by his teachings of hate go against human nature and kill
their kind can’t expect to be rewarded. If there is a hell Muhammad
is in the pit of it. Every Muslim who follows him and abuses other
humans in the name of Islam will also be sent to hell. If there is a
hell it is filled with Muslims. If God exists, he must be just. He
will not leave evil people unpunished. Ignorance is not an excuse.
God gave all humans the faculty to distinguish right from wrong and
Muslims willingly chose evil.
The Quest for Immortality
It is my belief that we humans are the only
species that is aware of its mortality. In fact I recall the day I
became aware of human mortality. It was a traumatic experience. I
was about eight or nine years old when an elderly lady who was our
aquatint was hit by a truck and died. I was shocked by the
realization that she was gone for good. I kept asking “why”. My
mother reassured me that she has gone to a better place. I accepted
her explanation because it made me feel better.
Because we humans are aware of our mortality,
we seek immortality. We want to beat the death. How we do that
depends very much on our maturity and our ability to think
rationally. Primitive humans solved this problem by promoting the
belief that they will transcend death by either resuscitating or by
acquiring an incorruptible body in a new (spiritual) dimension.
Rational people find it hard to accept this assumption. They satisfy
their quest for immortality by trying to leave a trace of themselves
behind. This sentiment was beautifully expressed by Orianna Fallachi,
who in her last days, while cancer was fast depleting her vital
energy, ran against the time to write three books, warning the west
of the looming danger of Islamization of Europe. She said, “Through
these books I will die a little less.”
This is what derives people who do not believe
in an afterlife. They seek their immortality, by leaving a trace of
themselves. Painters, poets, writers, philosophers, inventors,
strive to die a little less through their work.
One does not have to be necessarily a painter
or a writer to become immortal. We can outlive our death and acquire
immortality through our deeds. Our deeds have a ripple effect and
their echo lasts for decades, centuries or even millennia after we
die. Abused people abuse! This abuse passes from one generation to
another. Acts of kindness also pass from one generation to another
and last. In this sense we are all immortal. We all live through our
So, the answer to your question, what will
happen to me after I die, is: I don’t know. My guess is that I cease
to exist. I return to nothingness just as I was before I came into
this world. However, like you and everyone else, I too seek
immortality. Unlike you I do not seek my immortality in a bogus
promise of a mentally deranged man and a pedophile, psychopath mass
murderer. That would be the acme of stupidity. I seek my immortality
through my deeds. I strive to leave a trace of myself in this world
– the best part of me. I do my best to ease people’s pains, to bring
joy where there is sorrow; to shed light where there is darkness, to
impart knowledge where there is ignorance and to spread
understanding where there is confusion. I have chosen my goal and
have determined my purpose of life. I want to be an instrument of
peace. I will not be fooled by spurious promises of the afterlife
but will cling to what is real and concrete. Goodness is real and I
strive to be good and do good.
Goodness will survive after we die. Of that I
can be certain. Can you be certain that your “soul” will survive
after you die? What if Muhammad lied? What else he said that was
true? You are the big loser because all you did in this world was to
plant hate and do evil. You came to this world and left it worse.
You took the evil that Muhammad brought and spread it. You wasted
your life chasing a wild goose and in the process brought more pain
and misery to mankind. You have made life hell for yourself and
others. You belong to hell, while I belong to paradise. My paradise
is right here. I want to render this world into paradise.
Dr Sohail: You say, “(Please, quote some authentic sources with references, NOT YOUR PERSONAL BELIEFS. Do refrain from quoting Muslim sources on this.)
Why should I quote someone else when I am
endowed with a mind of my own and can use it? Are we sheep to follow
someone else? Why can’t YOU use your own brain and say something of
your own and not quote a dead Arab of the seventh century? I give
you my opinion. If you seek the opinion of others, ask THEM.
Dr Sohail:I repeat
again, I'll debate you, at least once, on Islam but after a break.
Thank you again for clarifying the answer to my previous offer on public debate.
(P.S.: I'll not answer anything you write to me other than about the query above.)
Who said I seek debate with you or with anyone? I have written millions of words explaining my thoughts and have made them available on this site for free. You are most welcome to read them, pick what you want and leave what you don’t. If I debate it is to make everyone realize Islam is a lie. I want Muslims leave Islam because I care about them and I care about this world and everyone living in it.
Dr Sohail: Can you
kindly show me a link on your website, for verification, where
you've proclaimed to every reader that comes to your site that
you'll present yourself to die if any Muslim can successfully refute
ANY ONE of your arguments against Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)?
Thank U & Allah Hafiz,
I did not say this before but I say it now. If you or anyone can prove my charges against our psychopath prophet, I will come to any event that you Muslims may organized, knowing fully well that what you actually have prepared for me is not a public debate but my assassination.
I say this, not because I have any desires to die. On the contrary I love life and want to live it to the max. It is only by living that I can leave a trace of myself and “die a little less.” I say this because I am certain that no one can refute any of my charges against Muhammad.
Ali Sina is the Editor of Faithfreedom.org. He is has contributed in 'Beyond Jihad - Critical Voices from Inside Islam'. His latest book is Understanding Muhammad: The Psychobiography of Allah’s Prophet.