What is your motivator?

Author: Mohammed Nazari

Brought up into a relatively religious Muslim family, I was taught to believe in God watching my every move. This was how my parents made sure I didn't do anything wrong when nobody was watching.

Any wrong doing, no matter how small, would be punished by going to hell, burning alive for eternity and suffering every single moment. On the other hand every good act would be rewarded by going to heaven, where the reward would be enjoying wine, rivers of honey and milk, the best of all in including female angels whom would never lose their virginity. I have never experienced a virgin woman and don't know what I am missing.

I am not sure what a good Muslim woman would get in heaven?

The rewards in heaven are normally the things that we never had or are considered as bad/haraam in this world. I recognized the deviation in standards between heaven and earth. I believe this inconsistency creates a poor system by which to live.

This tactic, the greed for heaven and fear of hell, worked well for some time. Till one day, when I was around age 10, I was hungry and snuck an apple, that my mom had not allowed me to have, something like the forbidden apple:) Although it did taste delicious, when eating the apple, the whole time I was worried about getting caught. A few hours after my mom found out that one apple was missing. She asked me if I had one. Worried about the consequences I lied and said: no.

Around that stage in my life I had become more religious and this was the first lie I can remember. My conscious was built around heaven and hell and affected me quite a bit. A few days after I did make a confession to a friend of mine, who referred me to his mom for advice. She was a very religious lady. She justified my wrong doing by introducing me to the concept of "white lie". This meant given the circumstances it was ok for me to lie. Basically what she taught me was "lying could be good or bad, pending the circumstances". And circumstances are open to negotiation, and everyone can have his/her own way of justifying it.

Chances would have been high enough that if I had told the truth to my mom nothing would have happened anyway. She was a loving mother, like most mothers.

The "White lie" was the best way of avoiding responsibility without feeling guilty
at the cost of losing the chance of learning "dignity" and ability to deal with the facts.

The following quote is from an American Nobel prize winner, physicist Steven Weinberg:

Religion is an insult to human dignity, without it good people do good things and evil people do evil things, but for good people to do evil things it takes religion.