A dear friend of mine posted some disturbing videos from Indonesia of people being stoned to death for one religious offense or another on her Facebook profile to highlight the terrible violence that religion continues to inspire. She changed her profile photo to
I found what I consider to be a much more accurate version of the Coexist sign above,
*by http://dailyatheist.deviantart.com/. Used with permission.
I’m not a graphic artist, but I’m sure if I had the talent I could come up with other signs that contained more “truthiness” that the Coexist one.
Of course, the Coexist message represents something to strive for and as such it serves its purpose well. If religious coexistence was a fact, we wouldn’t need the logo in the first place.
While I fully support efforts for peoples of all faith to coexist, my feelings, as I said in my response to one of the videos, is that to coexist we must see each other as fellow humans, not as believers and unbelievers and until we can throw off all vestiges of religions, that can never happen. As long as people allow religion to guide how they live their lives, the violence and hatred will continue. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try, but we need to be realistic about just how insidious the influence of religion really is and how very difficult it will be to change that.
A childhood friend on FB responded to my post, The Bible is the Literal Word of God; Except When Its Not. Here is what he said:
“have you read the Bible? or are you simply regurgitating ignorance from others? I have offered answers, yet I have not been taken up on this. Again, it is very irresponsible to propagate unsubstantiated opinions. Why this venom towards Christians and the Bible? If you wish to be an athiest be one, that is your right. Why the all out war on the belief of others. What is freethinking? Oh just freedom to think apart from responsibility and accountablity? Freedom from any form of religious thinking? Maybe free thinking should be folks who examine an issue and think for themselves. Not simply robots who cannot originate a though for themselves. Freethinking is a misnomer”
Yes, I’ve read the bible, cover to cover, at least twice, and many parts of it, the New Testament especially, many, many times over the years. It was this almost continual reading of the bible that made me see more and more contradictions that I just couldn’t rationalize away. Then I studied the history of the writing of the New Testament, how there were originally hundreds of gospels and competing camps of bishops supporting one version of the theology against the others. I learned about the political machinations that took place to arrive at the New Testament we have now. It was, totally and completely, cover to cover, created to fulfill political agendas of the most powerful bishops and the rulers who backed them.
Why do I have such venom toward the bible and the people who misuse it (I refuse to lump all Christians into one group as this would be irresponsible)? Ask Madeline Neumann, a 12-year-old girl whose parents, based on their religion, allowed her to die of diabetic ketoacidosis rather than save her life by allowing physicians to administer insulin and fluids. They thought prayer would save her. It didn’t. Ask the thousands of people who have been killed over the last 2000 years for their refusal to follow the prevailing version of Christianity. Ask the irresponsible ministers and political leaders who wish to brand homosexuals as immoral, second-class citizens. Ask the 156,000,000 women who’s reproductive organs are held hostage by a religiously motivated white, male, privileged class of cretins.
I wage an all out war on anything that conspires to take rights away from people. That includes holier-than-thou Christians, militant, closed minded Muslims, Zionistic Jews willing to steal and kill to get their land, white supremacists who wish to overthrow the U.S Government, wide-eyed, white, privileged Greenpeace and PETA people who would rater see millions starve and die of disease than allow GM foods and medicines tested on animals be developed that could save countless lives.
Christianity is my main focus because, almost without exception, all of the people in this country right now who would seek to take rights away from others self-identify as Christians and claim that their sense of morality comes from their religion. If things change and the largest group of privileged people in power become Muslims or Hindus or Wiccans, I’ll fight them just as loudly and forcefully.
I don’t claim to be able to tell people how to live their lives. As long as no one is being harmed, taken advantage of, or being forced either by law or by custom to kowtow to some group’s beliefs, then I say let people believe whatever they like. You can believe in God and Jesus, you can believe that Homosexuals will go to hell, but keep that belief within your churches and homes, don’t force it on others.
I don’t go door to door trying to get people not to believe in God. I don’t support any law that would outlaw any kind of religion or religious belief. I don’t lobby for my personal beliefs to be the law of the land, but don’t try to tell me that Christians aren’t doing that every day, in every town and state in the country. When the Christian majority (and yes, you are well over a 70% majority) tries to tell the rest of us what we can do and say and believe and think, then yes, I will fight for my rights and the rights of everyone else who are forced to listen to people tell us we are less American and less patriotic than they are because we don’t believe in their god. This country was founded on religious freedom (freedom for and from religion) and freedom of conscience, not on Christianity or any other religion. Yes, I will fight for that kicking and screaming, every fucking step of the way.
Here is an illuminating comment on my earlier post from a reader, Sas, and my reply:
- Thanks for this . I have been appalled by some men’s attitudes – I left Christianity hoping for an equal world and was horrified to see the same old crap in the atheist camp. ” girls are naturally less intelligent that’s why they go to church ” No you twat, church has free childcare and you don’t get touched up. Treat women right and they’ll join you. Also try to understand that liking men and sex doesn’t mean they will sleep with any man – ESP not the older ones who think we are gagging for a father figure… Comment by Sas | February 8, 2011 | Edit | Reply
- Ps lots of men don’t like sex and will make you feel bad for asking for it. Strangely they lie about that to their male friends. Comment by Sas | February 8, 2011 | Edit | Reply
- Sas, I agree with you completely. Men need to understand that just because a woman is sexually liberated doesn’t mean she will sleep with everyone, especially them. Yes, biology is powerful. Yes, males evolved to try to have sex with as many females as possible in order to pass on their genes. But to use this as an excuse to treat women solely as sexual objects is disingenuous and wrong. This only supports the theists’ contention that atheists are all amoral darwinists. We are moral creatures who have the benefit of intelligence and rational thought to rise above our evolutionary imperatives, especially when they interfere with our ability to responsibly interact with each other. Comment by Jay Walker | February 8, 2011 | Edit | Reply
A good friend of mine from my Army days has unfriended me on Facebook. He took issue with my post of the morality of sex acts. Here I present his message and my response. Other that my response to him, I don’t really have anything more to say about this, except that it make me very sad.
I saw your extremist writing on sex not being connected to morality. As a father and a husband, you should really be ashamed of yourself and deeply embarassed and you really need to get a grip on reality. I doubt that hurt spouses whose partners have commited adultery, or prosititutes whose lives have been destroyed or children who have been sexually exploited, or those suffering from aids or other veneral diseases would agree with your bizarre and warped views promoting sexual immorality on a wholesale scale. Your children are in deep trouble given your bizzare views. So given your criterea, I guess your ex “Holly” was justified in engaing in beastiality and other infidelities. I guess the the children victimized by pedophile priests are in the wrong and need to put up with having their persons violated by these perverts. I guess you want one big Soddom and Gommorah to prevail. I see through you and other perverts like you and that is this: You want a life of unrestrained immorality with no accountability or consequences. That is what you promote and I’m sure that is what you teach your children and you deride and insult any people AKA Christians, who disagree with you.
You are not the same person I was friends with and we have nothing in common and I want no part of what you espouse. As such, I do not want to have any further contact with you. Thanks.
Jay Walker February 1 at 7:32pm
You know, Holly cheated on me. She tore out my heart and ground it into the dust. But it wasn’t the sex, it was the betrayal of trust. It was taking me for granted.
I teach my children to respect each other and other people and to treat people as they would like to be treated (you know, that do unto others stuff from that bible of your). Most importantly I teach them to be honest, with themselves and with others.
I am all about accountability and consequences. I’m about adults being open and honest with each other about their feelings and emotions, their needs and their desires.
Immorality is lying, to yourself and to others. It is hiding the secret desires that you have and pretending that they don’t exist. When you are open and honest about everything then you can decide to act or not act on those desires, but if you do decide to act you must do so with the understanding and support and agreement of the one you love. If they don’t agree or support you, then you have a moral obligation not to act. The morality comes from your respect of one another. The immorality comes from disrespect, selfishness and disregard of other’s feelings and well being, not from the acts themselves. The actual act has no morality attached to it, only the intent and execution makes it moral or immoral.
I am sad that you choose not to have anything to do with me. I certainly don’t agree with your religious views, but I believe you have every right to believe as you choose and I would never let that fact that you believe in some things that I find disagreeable influence our friendship. Unless you have done me harm by believing as you do, then I have no reason to not be friends with you. You haven’t done me harm with your beliefs and I don’t see how I have harmed you in any way with mine.
You must do as your conscience tells you, but your reaction proves one of my main points about the religious: you may espouse forgiveness as a central tenant of your religion, but you don’t mean it and you certainly don’t practice it. The bible also teaches you to judge not lest ye be judged, but I don’t see much of that going on here either.
I don’t follow any book or writings and I don’t let anyone tell me what to believe so I don’t have anything to refer back to to justify how I live my life, only my espoused belief in honesty, truthfulness and respecting my fellow human beings. You may not agree with what I believe, but at least I have the honesty to live my life by own words. You, and those like you, on the other hand, don’t have the honesty to live by the words you claim to revere.
I’ll always consider you a friend, Ed, regardless if you don’t consider me yours. But I will respect your wishes and will leave you alone.
Sex is one of the most basic activities that we as humans engage in. Next to quest for water, food, and shelter, sex is the most compelling force that drives our actions and emotions. That may sound crass to some, but sexual desire takes many forms such as our longing for romance, companionship, affection, and love of other caring adults.
Here I define sex as responsible, consensual, non-coercive sexual and social relations between adults that takes place in private. This definition applies no matter if the adults involved be straight, gay, bi-sexual, transsexual, transgender, or polyamorous; monogamous or non-monogamous. No sexual act, as long as it is agreed to by all involved, is prohibited and all such sexual acts are considered morally neutral.
I say in the title of this entry that sex acts shouldn’t be a moral issue, but our sexual freedom is and should be. Just as access to shelter, water, and food are moral issues, in that no one can justly keep these things from us, so too is sexual freedom a moral issue. No one has the right to keep us from engaging in responsible, non-coercive and consensual sexual relationships with other adults, or dictate how those relationships must, or must not, be expressed.
There are many people who would try to deny the right of sexual freedom to others based strictly on their own, almost exclusively, religiously motivated beliefs. These people try to make a moral issue out of social and sexual relationships and activities that they have no compelling interest in. How are they harmed or affected by what transpires in petto between responsible and consenting adults? The reality, of course, is that they are not harmed in any way, and any effect the imagined sexual activities of others may have on them is their own issue to deal with, not a matter for public discussion and government interference.
I find it interesting that the same people who attempt to legislate sexual morality are often the same people who cry the loudest about the government interfering with their rights to own firearms, their access to health care, or trying to take away their precious social security and Medicare (where are government programs created by the federal government and which no one has an intrinsic right to).
These same people don’t want to be told by the government how to live their lives and yet they have no problems trying to get that same government to tell others what sexual acts they can and can’t engage in.
The right to practice sexual freedom, as I’ve defined it here, is an intrinsic right that no one except the parties involved have any compelling interest in or standing on. The kinds of relationships that responsible, consenting adults enter into, the sexual acts they engage in, and the various orientations and numbers of people involved in those relationships are sacrosanct as long as they are engaged in openly, honestly and without any coercion.
I’ve written here before about Christians who feel that they have a right to refuse to do their jobs if something about it conflicts with their conscience. Now we get to hear more about this from Idaho. A pharmacist in a Walgreens refused to fill a prescription, Methergine, which is a medicine used to prevent or control bleeding of the uterus following childbirth or an abortion. This was prescribed by a nurse practitioner from a Planned Parenthood clinic. The pharmacist would not fill it because the nurse practitioner refused to tell the pharmacist if it was being prescribed for an abortion, citing patient confidentiality.
If a person’s conscience is going to be an issue in being able to full carry out the duties of their chosen profession, then they are in the wrong profession and should find a new one.
Sadly, Idaho recently passed a law that gives pharmacists and other health care providers the right to refuse to provide any health care service or dispense any drugs that violates their conscience. Once again, the state is given preference to religious believers, believers who somehow feel they should be protected and excused from simply doing their jobs like the rest of us.
I just finished watching Crimes and Misdemeanors by Woody Allen. I’d never seen it before, nor many of his other movies. The only ones I’ve seen before were Zelig and Sleeper, and those back in college.
A very dear friend of mine suggested to me that I watch the movie, which I watched on Netflix. She also mailed me Hannah and Her Sisters, Manhattan, and Annie Hall, which I plan on watching in short order. She said that she thought that the themes explored in these movies were the same that I explore here in this blog and after watching Crimes and Misdemeanors, I have to say that she was right.
What I found most compelling about the movie was the struggle that the main character, Judah, has with himself between his life long rejection of religion and superstition and the Jewish religion that his father raised him and his siblings in. As a youngster he questioned his father’s beliefs and as a man, he openly rejected them, but after he commits a terrible crime, he is racked with guilt to the point of a mental breakdown.
At the end of the movie, he is at a wedding reception talking to Cliff, the idealist and romantic, played by Woody Allen. Cliff is despondent over a lost love and sardonically say, thinking about his brother-in-law who got the woman Cliff was in love with, that he was contemplating murder. Judah, knowing that Cliff is an aspiring film director, tells him that he has this great plot for a movie about murder with a twist.
“And after the awful deed is done, he finds that he’s plagued by deep-rooted guilt. Little sparks of his religious background which he’d rejected are suddenly stirred up. He hears his father’s voice. He imagines that God is watching his every move. Suddenly, it’s not an empty universe at all, but a just and moral one, and he’s violated it. Now, he’s panic-stricken. He’s on the verge of a mental collapse-an inch away from confessing the whole thing to the police. And then one morning, he awakens. The sun is shining, his family is around him and mysteriously, the crisis has lifted. He takes his family on a vacation to Europe and as the months pass, he finds he’s not punished. In fact, he prospers. The killing gets attributed to another person-a drifter who has a number of other murders to his credit, so I mean, what the hell? One more doesn’t even matter. Now he’s scott-free. His life is completely back to normal. Back to his protected world of wealth and privilege.”
Cliff, the idealist and moralist, says that the murder would never be able to live with what he did and, if he were directing that movie, he’d have him confess to the police, becoming the moral authority of the story. He says that it would be a great tragedy. Judah chides him by telling him that his ending only happens in the movies, he is talking about reality.
The meaning is clear, we can, and do, rationalize away those things that cause us guilt, or else we wouldn’t be able to live with ourselves.
I have written quite a bit here about cognitive dissonance, the theory that people, when faced with uncomfortable facts that contradict their world view, will resolve the dissonance by either accepting the truth and rejecting their world view, or rationalizing the facts away, so as to be able to live with themselves. The situation portrayed in the film is very similar, in that Judah had to rationalize away the crime he had committed in order to live with himself. After all, the reasoning goes, if he turned himself in he would destroy his family and himself end up in prison for life, and what would that accomplish; who would that benefit?
It is a very seductive and, in many ways, reasonable way of resolving the guilt he feels. Of course, this goes against our concept of morality. We believe that someone who commits a crime should be held accountable for it. Yet if that person is not the type to normally commit crimes, if they don’t pose a reasonable danger to anyone else, what really is accomplished by confessing and accepting the consequences? It is a tough nut to crack and one that rationalists and ethicists have been debating for thousands of years, and I certainly don’t think that I have an answer.
It is a fascinating topic for reflection and debate. What is the real reason for punishment for those who commit crimes? On the larger scale, it helps keep social order, but what about on a personal scale? It can give the victims a sense of justice, but isn’t that really just rewarding their desire for revenge? Of course, if the offender is a career offender, or has a pathological personality that drives them to commit crimes, then prison makes plenty of sense, and this is probably the case with many offenders. But what about those people who are basically good and decent, but are driven to commit a crime out of fear or mental anguish? Is the same penalty we would give a dangerous career criminal really appropriate for them?
The movie doesn’t answer these questions. Judah is shown as having moved on with his life, in fact, his life is better than ever. Cliff is left alone with his idealism, even though it has failed him once again. This is as real as it gets, and real life is messy and arbitrary and the film gets that perfectly.
I wrote several entries, here and here, this week about a shooting at a local high school in which a principle and assistance principle were shot by a student angry over being suspended. The assistant principle died and the student killed himself shortly afterwards.
Now we have news of another senseless shooting. This one involves U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona who was shot along with 12 others at a meeting she was holding at a grocery store in Tucson. A federal judge was also among those shoot. So far, 6 people have died, including the judge. The shooter, Jared Laugher, is in police custody.
There have been death threats against both Rep. Giffords and the judge in the past; Giffords for her support for President Obama’s health care bill and the judge for his ruling in an immigration lawsuit. It is too early to say if this shooting was motivated by either of this issues or who the intended target, if any, was.
I’m not a big propionate of gun control, but I do support laws to require background checks of people purchasing guns and laws requiring gun owners to properly secure their firearms. I believe that there should also be laws that will hold gun owners accountable for crimes committed with their firearms if it can be proved that they did not properly secure them.
For those who would assume that I am against gun ownership let me say that I don’t own a firearm, although I have on several occasions in the past. The only reason I don’t own one now is that I have teenagers in the house and I just don’t feel comfortable having one in the home. Personally, I enjoy target shooting and skeet shooting and once my kids are out of the house, I plan on purchasing a shotgun, rifle and possibly a handgun, all for target and skeet shooting.
To get back to the main focus of this post, it is unclear what the causes or solutions are for these sort of events. There will always be angry and violence prone people and they will always find a way to act on their violent impulses.
There are plenty of statistics to be thrown around. From the Brady Campaign and Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence we get:
In one year, guns murdered 17 people in Finland, 35 in Australia, 39 in England and Wales, 60 in Spain, 194 in Germany, 200 in Canada, and 9,484 in the United States. This seems to indicate that the number of people killed in the U.S. is disproportionally large compared to other western countries and when you run the numbers, they seem to bear this assumption out. I used estimate population for 2010 from the CIA Worl Fact Book and here is the number of people killed by guns per 1000 people in each country :
|Country||Percentage gun related deaths per capita
||Number of gun related deaths per 1000
|England and Wales||0.0006255168||0.6255168|
So the US has 5 times the gun related death than the next highest, Canada. I’d call that significant. The real question is what to do about it?
This, of course, is something that has been debated for decades and this particular incident probably will inspire more debate, but with a Republican controlled House of Representatives you can be sure that no real progress will be made to address the issue of gun deaths in America.
There has been a lot of speculation on the motives for this shooting on twitter with some people pointing to Sarah Palin’s web site that used to have a Rep. Gifford’s district on a map with a target on it. That was removed from the site today after the shooting. Wether it was removed out of respect for the congress woman and other victims or because a target has been eliminated is unknown, but some people are trying to infer the latter. There is also many who are promoting the idea that the shooting was politically motivated, but until the facts are in as to the gunman’s motive, we can, and should, assume nothing.
The new Speaker of The House issued a statement condemning the attack in which he said, “An attack on one who serves is an attack on all who serve. Acts and threats of violence against public officials have no place in our society.” I heartily agree.
My thoughts are with the victims and their families.
A criminal complaint has been filed against the owners of The Manhood Academy. This taken from one of the sites of my friend who is the one who has filed the complaint (Please excuse the profanity used by the people from The Manhood Academy, I don’t think the know how to talk civily:
The response received from you is nothing short of a direct threat, and has been treated accordingly.
Your response – for the public record –
[quoting me back to me]
Yep, that is what I said. You came HERE to THIS page and lifted images of MY child without MY EXPRESS WRITTEN PERMISSION FOR THE SOLE PURPOSE OF DISPARAGEMENT. And I called you on it. You are welcome to visit MY page at any time. YOUR website is LIKEWISE public. No imagery that is copyrighted by you was pilfered. Your “tutorial” eBook is, by your own words, FREE TO THE PUBLIC. And even with that, you were duly CITED as is expected under the terms of copyright laws. Further YOUR organization is SEEKING PROFIT. Mine is NOT.
“basically this crazy cunt is complaining about PUBLIC PICTURES, SHE PUBLICLY POSTED to gain attention for herself. never mind the fact that this hypocritical cunt is POSTING IMAGES FROM OUR SITE WITHOUT OUR PERMISSION. so she feels she can break the law with impunity because feminism told her that all legal consequences fall on the shoulders of MEN–just as we stated in our ebook. this is a perfect textbook example of that.”
<image of a lolzcat/icanhazcheezburger>
[quoting me back to me "Next up...I'm ignoring the vast majority of your "retort"]
<image of cutekitteh>
“OF FUCKING COURSE you’re ignoring it. you don’t have the mental capacity to debate us. no feminist does.
and if you can’t silence us through intellectual debate, the next best thing is to CRIMINALIZE US for daring to speak out publicly against the hypocritical gender policies of feminism.”
[quoting me back to me "Lastly, I will be in contact with your website's ISP for violations of copyright laws where I and my children are concerned. I don't rightly care that you "gentlemen" are misogynistic jerks with no self-awareness -- the blind leading the stupid, quite frankly. You all are free to believe whatever you choose. However, where you step beyond that right of personal conviction into infringing onto the rights of another? That is where the line is drawn."]
“yes, you’ve PUBLICLY POSTED YOUR PICTURES ON A PUBLIC FORUM, ALONG WITH THIS INFANT WHO YOU CLAIM TO CARE ABOUT PROTECTING THE IDENTITY OF–LOL–and suddenly you’re becoming self-righteous about people seeing you? typical feminist hypocrisy. meanwhile you have NO PROBLEMS violating copyright claims when it concerns OUR WEBSITE.
make sure you IMMEDIATELY remove any content you posted from this site. you don’t have our permission to use it, you crazy cunt.”
There is nothing I need to remove since nothing I have put up is in copyright violation – as you have said what you have posted is free public content – and you seek PROFIT for your SERVICES outside of the state of California. Again, HUGE difference.
[quoting me back to me: "Update: Letter has been sent - both to the ISP and to the LAPD. In reviewing the content more closely and upon consulting with some professionals in areas of law and criminal behavior, I learned that what is transpiring in that website is actually against the law. Usage of my images is minor, comparatively. So...the letter has been duly sent - and I'm posting this publicly so that nobody can claim "entrapment" or "surprise" by my notifying not only the ISP, but the legal authorities regarding what amounts to a HATE GROUP.
<image of cute kitteh again>
“just as we told you men–YOUR CIVIL RIGHTS are being threatened by crazy feminist cunts like this.
we warned you: feminists will always try to CRIMINALIZE FREE SPEECH. it’s the only way they can silence the opposition. in a feminists’s delusional mind, your MALE perspective amounts to “HATE SPEECH.” anything you say that STANDS AGAINST the entitlement mentality of feminism WILL BE CRIMINALIZED. in a feminist’s delusional mind, you are no different than Hitler, the KKK, islamic terrorists, etc.”
<image of Adolf Hitler; image of KKK; image of Middle Eastern terrorists>
“dear feminist cunt,
you are NO LONGER ALLOWED to post on this site. if you continue to stalk us and post “hateful” content, we will consider it CRIMINAL HARASSMENT and be contacting your ISP and local authorities regarding your “HATE SPEECH.”
[as we've always stated, feminists love to have their cake and eat it too; they want the protection of the law when it suits their selfish interests, yet they have no problem violating the law.]“
As is typical with people who try to spin truth, Professor Plum has confused what he has done (illegal) with what I have done (legal)…and has tried a blatant and direct threat this time.
Of course, I responded – especially since he pilfered images of MINE to use in a denigrative fashion against me – which he is NOW trying to construe as “stalking”
“Actually, I posted no images of your website. I stayed within the law by quoting and giving credit back to authorship. Specifically.
What I do in an art site that is nothing to do with your page here is not open for your discretion to post anywhere.
Further, your weak attempts at intimidation and pressure of silencing someone who exposes your “Academy” for the hate group that it is only brings forth a letter to the proper authorities – in this case, the LAPD. You took images from my page. Images that I own the copyrights for. For disparagement and insulting purposes.
You do not have that authority or that right. And you have been thusly reported.
You don’t like that? That’s your problem, not mine.
We’re through here. Blither on all you like…but every single comment you make is saved for documentation and reporting purposes. I don’t stoop to the level of abusers through tactics of insidious and implicit intimidation. I simply handle these matters through appropriate legal channels.
Now then. This is being filed as a direct police report to the Los Angeles Police Department – not a cc’d email, though the ISP will be notified as well.
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.