Thursday, January 31, 2008

Dealing With an Alien Belief System

One of the problems in this Post-9/11 world is defining exactly how one feels about the Islamic religion. Isn't it patently unfair to condemn a large part of the world's population for the actions of - - - A few? How can we say “a few?” Do we limit this to those Muslims who actually had first-hand participation in the airliner hijackings and destruction of great buildings? Certainly this would be equally unfair. Those participants had a great deal of support, command structure and financing to speed them on their way to martyrdom.

At the same time, it is just too pat to classify Islam as “a religion of peace,” without examining the face it presents to the rest of the world, its writings, and the world wide effects of that movement.

I view the images of the 11SEP2001 attacks, and the aftermath of suicide bombers elsewhere in the world. I see some worthy, intelligent women who have had the courage to slough off the “traditional” Islamic restrictions on women and who have made genuine contributions to society. At the same time, we hear of the many thousands of their equally bright sisters who are still confined, restricted, and oppressed by hundreds of years of custom solidified into draconian law. I see the images of throat slashings and beheadings of some who fail to toe the strict line of Islam. These make me wonder if there isn't some, some SMALL justification in the argument to slaughter them in their millions, for simple self-protection. No, I certainly would not argue for genocide by race, nor wish to wipe out an entire people because of religion.

At the same time, I see most of the Muslims in this area, quiet, decent individuals, who have jobs and families and who are really good neighbors. Those I know personally are not wild-eyed radicals, wanting to wipe out all the world's other religions and kill those who do not embrace Islam.

I have no real answers to the problems posed by trying to live in the same world as the Islamic religion. I seriously doubt that any one person has all the answers. It is valuable, though, to read some well reasoned thoughts on the topic; to hear an arguably sane voice crying out through the background noise.

Let me share a source with you. Roger W. Gardner of the Political Grind Network, has written a piece called “Wrestling With Mohammed ,”
which asks, “Is Islam a religion of peace or an imminent fascist threat?” It was first published back in October 2007 and I recommend it highly.

No, Mr. Gardner doesn't have, nor claim to have, all the answers. He does present what seems a rational viewpoint, which may help some others to organize their feelings on this topic. It certainly gave me food for thought. I'll not try to synopsize the article. It would be futile and unfair to cut-and-paste Mr. Gardner's thoughts into my blog. Click the above link, take several minutes to read it and form your own opinion. I really believe it'll be worth your while.


Don Gwinn said...

I think I'd be better off reading more of your thoughts. He doesn't seem to have put much thought into it at all, actually. He started with the idea that Islam is evil and went looking for a set of facts to prove it. He settled on describing the life of the founder and ascribing that man's moral failings to the millions upon millions who follow the religion hundreds of years later.

The weird part is that while he's doing that, he's cherry-picking the sunniest parts of Christianity's history and ignoring all the horrors it's spawned over the centuries to prove the other half of his agenda--that Christianity is good, nay, great, nay, the standard to which social movements and religions must aspire.

From the point of view of a man not tied to either religion, it doesn't look very thoughtful.

HollyB said...

I respectfully disagree. I read the article and have given it a great deal of thought.
I have issues with ANY organized religion. I call myself a Recovering Church of Christ, for goodness sake.

But, I think the point Gardner was making was that Christianity has evolved over the centuries. And the atrocities committed in the name of Christ were NOT the failings of Christ, but rather the failings of his FOLLOWERS. His words and teachings were twisted during the inquistion and any other time when people were forced to convert to Christianity or were persecuted for not worshiping in a proscribed way.

Whereas in Islam, when a person is killed or enslaved or treated as less than human for not being Muslim, those actions are based on teaching from either the Koran [the words of Mohammed] or the hadith, the collected traditions and teachings of the early Imams.

Mohammed taught his followers to kill, steal, lie, and cheat to advance the cause of Islam. Christ taught his followers to love the sinner and hate the sin. Not all preachers today teach that, but that is the fault of the PREACHER, not Christ.

Also, Gardner spke about the INTOLERANCE of Islam vs the tolerance shown in the countries commonly known as Western Civilization. Did you not understand his point about mosques here and no Christian reading rooms there? Foot baths here and no new Catholic cathedrals there? Super Mosques here and no Temples allowed there?
When the Muslim Countries, where Religion is the Law, begin to show TOLERANCE for Judaism and Christianity, then we can begin to believe the claim that Islam is a religion of peace.

Anonymous said...

I agree partially with what Don said. Roger mentioned the "forced female genital mutilation." However, Roger never mentioned Christianity's "forced male genital mutilation," known as circumcision.

It's ingrained in our culture such that we don't use such words to describe it.

Other than that, I agree with Roger's analysis.

Good blog, btw, linked over from Matt a long time ago.

HotConflict said...

Islam an "Alien" belief system?

The articles of Faith in Islam are basic:

Believing in God (arabic Allah)Believing in Angels,
Prophets (all of them)Adam NoahMoses Jesus and Muhammed

Believing in the Books (all of them) Torah Bible Psalms Quran
Believing in the Day of Judgement
Heaven and Hell as punishment and Reward.Eternal Life and Finally that all of this is based on the fate or Destiny that the Lord has planned.

These are the Fundamentals of faith for Muslims.

Perhaps the problem is that the media and even some Christians and Jews are trying to make Muslims so "ALIEN" when there are a lot more things in common.

Can we change the way we perceive Islam in the West ?

Please visit the website where they talk about perception and framing oif issues from different points of view.
One of the best website about The War on Terror from a Muslim in the West!

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