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.