Once Upon A Bohri

Loosing My Religion – Part 1


Quest For Knowledge

In my late twenties during the peak of my religious fanaticism, and on the quest to quench those burning questions of life with the true answers, available only in the esoteric books of Haqikat and Taaveel, I started attending many sabaqs taught by the Bohra clerics, eventually culminating in those that claimed to reveal the secrets of creation death and the afterlife. In those moments of pious obedience, among other things, I learnt of the true nature of many of our beliefs. In one of the sermons we were told to completely disregard all that we had learnt about astronomy and were handed sheets of paper which laid out the structure of our entire universe – seven planets and the sun in a perfectly circular (not elliptical) orbit, around the Earth. In yet another sermon which explained the creation of humans, we were told that man, literally, in matter of days emerged from muddy puddles on the surface of the continents, that we were completely unique creatures, fallen from heaven for denying the existence of ‘the supreme creator’, and the world and everything around us is built as a ‘factory’ to help us redeem ourselves of our sins and ascend back to our rightful home in the sky, all we had to do was accept the creator Allah, and follow the Dai with unquestionable reverence. We are also repeatedly told that the crimson colour of the sky comes from the blood of the youngest son of the martyr Hussain, during the narration of his sacrifice.

Now, it is a fact that that humans and chimpanzees share 98.5% of DNA, and chimp babies and human babies are structurally extremely similar in adolescence. The early embryonic development of the human foetus shows ample similarities with that of mammals, before the differentiations in the later stages of development.  The fossil records and numerous other observations very clearly solidify the theory of evolution as a fact. There is no argument in the scientific community about this, in less than a century of Darwin’s “Origin of Species”, the debate was over. How do I reconcile this non-opinions with the ‘truths’ that I am being taught by the Bohra clerics?

The geocentric theory of the solar planet was squashed by Copernicus a few centuries ago. Kepler proved that the orbits of the celestial bodies was elliptical. Today modern astronomers have excellent orbital models and that can predict with precision the trajectory and position of a planet in space-time. We have sent numerous satellites to distant planets, rovers have landed on the surface of Mars amongst many other accomplishments by the space exploration complex, fuelled by the science of astronomy. The geocentric theory, where the earth is the centre of the solar system suggest a completely different orbital model altogether. Just imagine the consequence of having miscalculated the orbits of the celestial bodies in relation to each other, would all those satellites and rockets reached their destination? How does one reconcile these contradictions?

The scattering effect of light through a prism is an easy enough demonstration of the nature of light. We learn this in 5th standard, we don’t need to be a scientist to understand the crimson sky of dusk.

To any moderately educated rational mind, these concrete evidence based observation of the world will easily nullify these ridiculous claims of the Bohra Islamic clerics, yet I, having drunk the Kool-Aid and being completely invested in the cult, parked away the cognitive dissonance that ensued as a result of these sabaqs, by denying the evidence based observations of ‘Dunay nu Science’, and settled to put my unfaltering faith in the dogma, completely giving up on reason and rational. But the dissonance never died, it festered, bidding its time.

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