Freethinking for Dummies

Skepticism, secular humanism, social issues

Tackling Islam

I’ve written almost exclusively about Christianity on this blog when skewering religion. I think it is time to take on that other power house of a religion, Islam.

The world “Islam” has it’s roots in the Arabic sa la ma. The root of this means “To submit”. Therefore, “Islam” means submission, in particular, submission to Allah. A Muslim is one who submits (to the will of Allah). Allah is not a different god than the Christian one, but is the Arabic word for God.

Muslims believe that Allah is the god of Abraham, Moses, Jesus and all of the other prophets of the Old Testament. They also believe that their holy book, the Qur’an (literally “recitation”) was revealed to Muhammad by the angel Gabriel, the same angle who Christians believed revealed Jesus’ birth to Mary.

Islam, like Christianity, teaches of a day of judgement when all souls will be judged. Those that are deemed good will be ushered into heaven and those who aren’t will be tossed into hell to be tormented for their sins.

Unlike Christianity, Muslims do not believe that Muhammad was divine, but merely a man who Allah chose as his messenger. They also believe that Jesus was also a chosen messenger to the Jews. Collectively, the Jews and Christians are referred to in the Qur’an as “People of the Book” because they are considered to have been given divinely inspired messages; the Torah for the Jews, and the Gospels for the Christians. But, it is believed that these messages were corrupted by men and that God sent Muhammad with the true, correct, complete message to mankind.

That should give you some idea of why many Muslims feel that their religion is superior to Christianity and Judaism and how that feeling of superiority translates into their relationships with non-muslims. On the one hand, they respect the People of The Book, but on the other, they see them as misguided. This leads to much of the justification for the violence that radical Muslims advocate today, and to the reluctance of average Muslims to speak out against this culture of violence.

This is a reason that allowing Evangelical Christianity to take a strong hold on our public institutions, especially government leaders, is so dangerous. The last thing we need is a radical Christian majority agitating against the Muslim world. This can only lead to greater violence against American and Western targets and could conceivable lead to open warfare with states like Iran, America and Israel involved, two of which have nuclear weapons and one of which is trying as hard as it can to get them. This is a recipe for disaster.

The more societies become secularized, the safer they become from dogmatic, radicalized xenophobia. Islam and Christianity together claim over three billion adherents around the world, and in many countries like the U.S, Iran, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia, the religious elements have nominal to complete control.

The threat from radical Islam to world peace is great, but so is the rise of radical Evangelical Christianity in the U.S. We must insist that our government be lead by the democratic, rational and secular values and ideas that this country was founded on if we wish to have any hope of successfully and peacefully confronting radical Islam around the world.

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December 27, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

5 Comments »

  1. Thanks for being generous in your hatred. I was beginning to feel as though you didn’t care that others might employ more than their brain in this life.

    By His Grace.

    Comment by buttermilk80 | December 27, 2010 | Reply

    • Your reply is a perfect example of cognitive dissonance. You assume that just because I criticize your beliefs that means that I hate you. If I criticize someone who believes that communism is the best form of government that doesn’t mean that I hate them for believing that, I just disagree with their belief.

      Comment by jwalker1960 | December 27, 2010 | Reply

  2. [...] When I woke up this morning and checked my email, I saw that I already had a comment on my latest post. I think it is a great example of cognitive dissonance and I’d like to share it with you, along [...]

    Pingback by Cognitive Dissonance – A Practical Example « Freethinking for Dummies | December 28, 2010 | Reply

  3. You might be interested in the thoughts of a net friend of mine, who I’ll simply call JS. He’s a very nice person who has intensive focus on Islam and its extremes (Shia & Sharia). He holds (from what I can tell) a large degree of contempt for American focus on Christianity, to the exclusion of Islamic law in practice. He has pointed me to many articles that demonstrate the very real violence targeted at fellow Muslims for a variety of “crimes” (one of which I posted on my wall…a rather dated article about the hangings of two young gay men). His focus, to me, has been tunnel-vision, though I understand his point. He works often to persuade me to see his perspective (seldom seeming to realize that I *do* see…I just don’t advocate because that is not *my* focus – though I am JUST as appalled by the atrocities. I’ll try to remember later today to link you (privately) to some of JS’ & my discussions. :)

    Comment by Denise | December 28, 2010 | Reply

  4. You raise some important points in this article. I’d like to share a personal anecdote with you first, so as to piece together my comments on your article. I was raised in a moderately religious household, and though I was exposed to different forms of religion- different types Christianity, some Eastern thought, and finally, Islam, I ended up converting to Shi’ite Islam to honor my grandmother when I was 18. I can agree with you, at least personally, when you said that many moderate Muslims are hesitant or feel mixed feelings when it comes to criticizing fanatical Islam. The Muslims I knew mostly were like this, they either shied away from it as a topic, or some felt that Islam is being bullied and (of course, intertwine faith with colonialism and politics) such have mixed feelings about criticizing or speaking out against it. That Islam presses the fact that it is the final word of, and the perfect word of, the Abrahimic God, is probably the primary source of this. It’s religious narcissism, but much more than on an individual level. Many Muslims I’ve known do indeed believe that others are misguided and do indeed treat their religion as an absolute truth. This is something that is less apparent with Christians. I became an apostate when I reached 21, seeing the limits of the Islamic worldview while altogether coming to a point of total disbelief in theism. Since then (and this came as a result of intense personal exploration and lots of reading and life experiences), I’ve noticed just how close minded religion makes a person, and how religions that emphasize finality and truth AND seek to convert others can be particularly harmful. I’ve read the Koran a few times, and I think the fact that it distinguishes the holy crowd from BOTH Christians and Jews, and hurls criticisms and insults at BOTH parties instead of just one, allows for this particular intensification of a religious/cultural narcissism.

    Comment by Valjean | August 22, 2011 | Reply


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