“The followers of a belief or a person should never be measured by the greatness of the masses. Christianity supposedly has over two billion followers, but the majority of them have only the label in common. Whatever the belief system, the majority of its adherers are unconscious followers, devoid of the essence of their belief. They follow a belief as though following a soccer team, without knowing the why and how of it, without knowing its beginning, end or purpose. It is only a simple game that people primitively play for the purpose of boasting and self-promotion.

“Let’s take you, for example. You’re a Muslim, but do you know the actual teachings of Islam? No!”

“What do you mean no? I believe in Allah, I believe in the Prophet and the Quran. I accept that I will be accountable for my actions after I die. What else? I fast in Ramadan. I may not be able to perform my daily prayers but this is my own shortcoming, which either Allah will forgive or, I don’t know, that’s up to Him to judge... My failure to observe all the requirements does not mean I’m not religious or that I’m from another religion!”

“Honey, please try to understand what I’m saying. I’m not talking about whether you observe the requirements or not, I don’t even think these are the essentials! I think what matters most is the reason and extent of your belief, whether you’re a Christian, a Jew or even a totemist, it is the knowledge of your belief that matters…

“Think about it… People believe there is a god above the seven heavens who sits on a throne and controls the world from there! Or, a god that created everything and everyone then withdrew to his quarters to just watch and have no involvement at all. Or, a god that wasn’t pleased with his creation so he descended to Earth in the form of a human, and when people didn’t listen to him he said ‘well, stuff you all!’ and took off again!

“How is this god, who intervenes and who supposedly watches from afar, any different from the mythical Greek gods? In fact, how is the idea of a god who finds life in certain objects, or represented by certain objects, any different to the ideas of the totemists?”

“Excuse me, Jem, but I think you’re starting to fabricate things now… And frankly, I don’t think I want to continue talking with someone who compares my belief to the totemists!”

“Oh, come on, Gonul! Please try to be a little understanding… You’re an educated, cultured woman, but be honest, before Alph came along, had you ever given a serious thought to the God you believe in, which areas of your life He intervenes in and where He leaves you to your own judgment? Where and how He watches you, which events He organizes for you, where He chooses to be not involved? How your current existence is related to Him? Had you actually thought about any of this?”

“Darling, having not thought about these things does not suggest I don’t believe in them. We eat food, don’t we? In order to feed ourselves, must we always think about exactly how that food was formed or what kinds of processes it will go through after we eat it? It is enough for me to just believe in the existence of this power…”

“Sweetheart, I’m not saying your belief is inadequate! All I'm trying to draw your attention to is the fact that you don’t really know your ‘self’, your place in the universe and the future of your existence!

“There is no rule saying a blind man can’t walk! A man can walk with vision or without vision. In the case of the latter, he’ll simply depend on the directions given to him by others and walk on.

“The difference is the one who can see will be able to walk faster and hence reach his destination quicker, while the other will be much, much slower. One will see his direction, the other won’t…”

“Oh, for God’s sake, don’t make this a religious issue now, Jem! Religion is about faith that derives from one’s conscience. Nobody can pressure anyone to believe anything. People are free to either live the necessities of their belief or not… The consequences will be theirs to live!”

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