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The Problem With Islam

OK, that's a slightly misleading title. It should be "One Of The Problems With Islam." Or "My Problem With Islam." Or, "One Of My Problems With Islam." But I pride myself on snazzy titles, and the more accurate versions just ain't got that swing.

Anyway...

I've said many a time that I am an agnostic. Although raised Methodist, I do not consider myself a Christian (an opinion shared by quite a few Christians who've known me). I find most religions and their belief systems somewhat silly, and have no problems laughing at them when I feel like it. (My favorite example: every Mormon I've ever met has been a fine, upstanding, honorable, decent, respectable sort, but they INSIST on sending out teenagers with name tags calling them "Elders." I just can't take seriously a barely-post-pubescent less than half my age who goes by that title.) Of all the belief systems I've been exposed to or looked into, the only one that I came close to accepting was Deism -- and even they seem a little kooky to me.

Anyway, back to Islam. When it comes to freedom of religion, I consider myself an absolutist -- whatever one wishes to practice, fine, as long as it doesn't intrude on the rights of others. I believe that the First Amendment, which explicitly guarantees the freedom OF religion, also implies a freedom FROM religion. If someone doesn't wish to practice a certain faith (or any faith at all), that is legally protected as well. And no religion has the right to have the government enforce its tenets.

At our beginning, though, the presumption was that this was a predominantly Christian nation, and that colored the early interpretations. We still have some legacies kicking around today -- Sunday being a "day of rest," Christmas as a legal holiday, "blue laws" restricting certain forms of commerce on Sundays, and the like.

I'd like to see the "Blue Laws" go away permanently, but for most of the rest, I can live with them. Christmas has evolved beyond a purely Christian holiday (witness all the furor every year about "the reason for the season" and "put Christ back in Christmas" and the like -- a lot of Christians recognize it's become a largely secular holiday, and don't like it), and it's a good time of the year for a big day off. Plus, with it being so close to New Year's, it's a nice way to polish of the year -- in what's generally a crappy time weather-wise.

And Sundays? We need a day off. Why not Sunday? It's worked out well so far. And we've added Saturdays (thank you, Jews and labor unions) for "the weekend." Let it ride.

A lot of our laws have some basis in religion, especially the Judeo-Christian tradition. Heck, of the Ten Commandments, four are commonly enforced by civil law. (Using the Anglican, Reformed, and other Christian breakdown listed there.) I've already mentioned the Sabbath Day; laws against murdering, stealing, and bearing false witness are also very common.

Of the rest, "adultery" is generally bad for a society as a whole. It tends to wreck the family dynamic, and that is one of the keystones for society. The same goes for "honoring" your parents. "Coveting" is a "gateway sin;" it tends to lead toward breaking other commandments and laws, and is a good thing to avoid. So while I don't think they should be enforced by laws, they're pretty good advice.

That leaves just the first two -- "have no other gods before me" and "no graven images." To me, those are simply laying groundwork for the rest. That is where the authority for all the rest derives from. "Why shouldn't I boink my neighbor's wife, if she's willing, too?" "Because I'm God, and I say don't."

So of the Ten Commandments, those fundamental laws that underpin Judaism and Christianity (and, allegedly, Islam, but they're pretty damned sloppy about a few of those points -- a subject for a whole 'nother posting, if I feel like it), almost half of them are enshrined in law (exactly half, if you count those states that still have anti-adultery laws on the books). So, does that make the US a Christian (or Judeo-Christian) nation?

(A quick aside: whenever I see or hear "Judeo-Christian," I want to start impersonating Harry Belafonte: "Ju-DAY-o! Ju-DAY-AY-AY-o! Judeo-Christian, what de hell is dat?")

No. It means that, as a society, we have looked into the past for inspiration on how to set up our society, drawn from a variety of sources, and found that some of the rules of the Ten Commandments make a hell of a lot of sense, and adopted them -- after stripping them of their theological trappings.

That's how you make a secular society. Not a Christian society, not a Jewish society, not a Judeo-Christian society ("Christ, he come back, and he gonna be pissed!"), and not an atheistic society.

(OK, no more Harry Belafonte riffs. At least here. But now I'm thinking of making a full-blown "Banana Boat Song" parody now...)

Most religions can not only survive, but thrive in a secular society. While some might covet (there's that word again...) the power that comes with having official state sanction, with their tenets having the force of law, it's a two-edged sword: there's no guarantee that some day a Henry VIII might come along and upset the apple cart. No, it's safer for all parties to keep a modicum of distance between the sacred and the secular.

OK, that's over 900 words to lay the groundwork for the whole point of this thesis: the problem is that Islam isn't simply a religion.

Oh, it's a religion all right. But it's also a form of government and an entire society as well. (It might also be a floor wax and a desert topping as well -- I'll leave that up to the real experts to answer.) Islam is the answer to all things -- and must reign supreme in all matters.

That is utterly antithetical to a secular society.

I have no problems with Muslims practicing their faith. I reserve the right to snicker at them when I feel like it (like I do all other faiths -- oh, Jews, thank you for leaving more bacon for the rest of us! Bacon is indeed proof that God loves Gentiles, too!), but I feel no great need to ban their religion.

But I do have problems with the expression of aspects of their faith as it infringes on others. Such as how it demands that all people -- even non-Muslims -- obey Sharia law. For example:

  • The banning of interest on loans.
  • The requirement of two male Muslim witnesses to obtain a conviction of rape.
  • A Muslim man's word is given twice legal standing than a Muslim woman's -- and non-Muslims may be excluded entirely.
  • The "Jizya" tax paid by non-Muslims for the privilege of living under Muslim law.
  • The complete and utter subjugation of women.
  • The death penalty for homosexuals.
  • The penalties -- up to and including death -- for things like apostasy and heresy and "insulting Islam."

That's the fundamental problem with Islam -- in its purest form, it simply will not tolerate any challenges to its authority. It must be held above all other considerations, systems, authorities, governing bodies, institutions, or belief systems.

To deny that supremacy is to insult Islam -- and that is a capital offense under Islam.

What Islam needs, above all, is a "reformation" like Christianity and Judaism underwent. Unfortunately, the Christian parallel fails, because there the reformers went back to their source material and found just how far the Catholic Church had strayed from its roots. With Islam, the dominant forces -- the militant Islamists -- are actually being exceptionally faithful to their source material.

That is the fundamental cause of the War On Terror -- it really is better described as "the War Resisting Militant Islam." For some, it's a religious calling -- their own faith requires them to stand against it. For some, their way of life would be drastically affected, and they won't stand for it. For some, the aggressions of militant Islam demand answering (see 9/11 for but one of many examples). There are even some who see this as a racial matter. And some fit into more than one category. But they have one thing in common.

There's a saying among Islamic apologists that "Islam means peace." As nice as that sounds, "Islam" does not mean "peace." It means "submission." Submission to Allah, and all his laws.

We will not submit.


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Comments (29)

Actually it appears to be t... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Actually it appears to be the religion of losers. What other 'religion' wants to roll everything back to the 16th century?

No not really.... (Below threshold)
ron:

No not really.

And Sundays? We need a day ... (Below threshold)
Lewis Eliou:

And Sundays? We need a day off. Why not Sunday? It's worked out well so far. And we've added Saturdays (thank you, Jews and labor unions) for "the weekend." Let it ride.

Friday and Saturday are the "weekend" Sunday is the first day of the new week. Perhaps if you are wrong about such a simple fact as that, you may need to re-examine your studies about the existence of a loving God that created you. Agnosticism implies that God needs to prove Himself to you. Maybe try to prove to God that you are here instead. Good luck and good fortune, Lew

Hey, Lewis: the weeks are a... (Below threshold)

Hey, Lewis: the weeks are an endless cycle. You wanna declare that Sunday is the first day and that "weekend" is inappropriate for Saturday/Sunday? Be my guest.

My employer defines Monday as the beginning of the week, and Sunday as the end. So do most businesses. Take it up with them, you putz.

And thanks for defining my own description of myself. "Agnostic," to me, means "I don't know." It could mean that it's unknowable by me. It could mean I haven't been convinced one way or another.

You don't get to put words in my mouth, then tell me I'm wrong. So I don't fit your definition of "agnostic?" I'm heartbroken. Since you, by your own words, aren't one, you don't get to decide what it means.

If God sent you to me to bring me His message, he picked a really, really crappy messenger. 'Cuz as an evangelist to this heretic/heathen, you suck.

J.

JT, the first amendment doe... (Below threshold)
Zelsdorf Ragshaft III:

JT, the first amendment does not guarantee freedom of religion or freedom from religion. The amendment states Congress shall make no laws regarding the establishment of religion. No national church of the United States. Then read the 10th Amendment. States are not so limited. I know what the Supreme court has decided, but that is not what the constitution says. The document was not written in legalese, it is in plain English so citizens can understand what it says. The Supreme court is supposed to decide cases based upon whether or not they fit the constitution, not make the document fit the situation.

<a href="http://newsweek.wa... (Below threshold)
James H:

This is worth a read, Jay Tea.

Yes, Lew, Jay Tea defines S... (Below threshold)
James H:

Yes, Lew, Jay Tea defines Sunday as the end of the week specifically to insult your god.

Lewis, the word "end" can r... (Below threshold)

Lewis, the word "end" can refer to the front as well as the back.

Zel:Which religion... (Below threshold)
James H:

Zel:

Which religion would you like your state to establish? And which religion's free exercise would you like your state to restrict?

Oh, James, that's a cornuco... (Below threshold)

Oh, James, that's a cornucopia right there. I was suspicious at first, because it's from NewsWeak, but once I got into it a little...

That's a keeper, chum. A big keeper.

J.

Mind clarifying there, Jay ... (Below threshold)
James H:

Mind clarifying there, Jay Tea? First thing I came across today.

I do think there's a bigger point to be made, and one often lost in critiques of Islam -- that Muslims are perfectly capable of living side-by-side with Christians, atheists, and agnostics in a secular state.

I commute to work aboard by subway, and most days at least two or three Muslims (identifiable by their hijab or, more rarely, their chadors) are on the train car with me. From what I can tell, they pretty much mind their own business and don't give a damn what I or anybody else think fo them. They're just on their way to school, work, etc., etc., and minding their own business.

Dittos, Jay.I thin... (Below threshold)
Mark Clifton:

Dittos, Jay.

I think the folks who work so hard to eliminate our "Day-o" heritage never consider what would happen if they got their wish.

Nature abhoring a vacuum and all, and considering human history, we would NOT get a "western" first-world atheist society. We would get one of the other four major religions: Judaism, Bhuddism, Hinduism, or Islam.

Probably not Judaism since it doesn't proselytize, and besides, it has (ugh!) a personal God who gives (double-ugh!) Commandments!

Regarding the others...
We have just celebrated Independence Day. Our American experiment was founded on the concept of "human rights" - "We hold these truths to be self-evident..."

As a result of our system of government based on human rights, hundreds of millions of people worldwide have enjoyed a quality of life unmatched in history.

Question: when in history, and where on Earth did the concept of human rights originate? And did any of the five major religions have anything to do with this novel idea?

Parting shot: "Socialism" ought to be called "looterism." It violates two of the Ten Commandments: "Thou shalt not steal," and "Thou shalt not covet...anything that is thy neighbor's." Theft by proxy via force of government is still theft.

Here Rev Lee Ward Wright l... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Here Rev Lee Ward Wright let me save you the trouble.

Republicans didnt have a problem with dark skin people worshipping Islam until a black man became President

RE; 11James, I rem... (Below threshold)
epador:

RE; 11

James, I remember a line from The Addam's Family, something about Wednesday being dressed normally being her Halloween costume, because she was going as a serial killer. Appearances can be deciving, especially on the underground.

'The Problem With Islam'</p... (Below threshold)
914:

'The Problem With Islam'

One of them is that we hve a president trying to subject us all to it.

JamesH: "I commute to work ... (Below threshold)
Drago:

JamesH: "I commute to work aboard by subway, and most days at least two or three Muslims (identifiable by their hijab or, more rarely, their chadors) are on the train car with me. From what I can tell, they pretty much mind their own business and don't give a damn what I or anybody else think fo them. They're just on their way to school, work, etc., etc., and minding their own business."

But JamesH, that is not a "real" test of the "tolerance" of Muslims.

The "real" test would be how they would treat you if they were in a Muslim dominated nation.

I'll attempt to post a link (if I can find it) of an article written by a liberal writer some years back who spoke the way James H did about Muslims he (the writer, not JamesH) encountered in everyday life.

This liberal writer and his Muslims "friends" would have very "enlightened" discussions about their relative faiths and the problems associated with those faiths.

When the liberal writer asked his Muslim acquaintences about what they (the Muslims) thought of the liberals critique of Islam, one acquaintance casually remarked to the liberal that this discussion was fine here in the US, but if they were in a Muslim country, he would have to kill him.

Needless to say, the liberal was quite taken aback by this statement. The liberal asked the Muslim if he really meant to say that he would have to kill him (or would be justified in killing the liberal), and the Muslim reaffirmed this statement.

Quite eye-opening for the liberal. I'll keep looking for the link.

Every calendar I've ever ow... (Below threshold)
Jim Addison:

Every calendar I've ever owned, and ever calendar ever displayed in any place I've ever worked, shows Sunday as the first day of the week, not the last.

~~~~~

Are you sure this is a "religion" to which the post refers? Sounds more like some barbarian pagan death cult . . .

Islam was invented by a hyp... (Below threshold)
OLDPUPPYMAX:

Islam was invented by a hyper-arrogant, would-be dictator, thief and pedophile for the purposes of making him wealthy and powerful. Period. The "religion" he cobbled together was based upon a poor understanding of the bible and a good understanding of the nature of his fellow thugs. Mohammed decided that it would be "God's will" that he kill anyone who disagreed with him or stood in his way, steal all of their stuff, enslave their female family members and move on to the next house. Apparently the "God" who had become his bestest buddy preferred this to 14 hours of daily prayer and a vow of poverty. Pretty lucky, huh??!!

Islam is a theo/politico fa... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Islam is a theo/politico faith. It has it's liniage to the bastard son of Abraham and Sarah. Ismael was banished from the promised lands.

James H. I do not worry about the three Muslims you see on your train ride. I worry about the thousands that are planning death and destruction on us because we are who we are. It is one thing to think people are sinners or infidels, it is another to take it upon yourself to kill them. I have no patience and/or trust for Islam at this time in my life. When two groups of Muslim's wants to build a 13 story Mosque at ground zero in New York City, that is without a doubt the Muslims rubbing our noses in our freedoms. ww

It has it's lin... (Below threshold)
It has it's liniage to the bastard son of Abraham and Sarah.
That's what they claim, anyway. IMHO, it's kind of like when a session drummer who sat in on a one-day dubbing session to fix a track laid down by Ringo Starr, claiming to have been a Beatle.
JamesH: "..Muslims a... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

JamesH:
"..Muslims are perfectly capable of living side-by-side with Christians, atheists, and agnostics in a secular state."

Actually, they aren't capable of that. Unless they are apostates; for which they may be killed in accordance with Islamic law.

That's the fundamenta... (Below threshold)
John S:

That's the fundamental problem with Islam -- in its purest form, it simply will not tolerate any challenges to its authority.

That's why Jesus gave us the thermonuclear bomb.

islam is incompatible with ... (Below threshold)
TexBob:

islam is incompatible with Western culture and it never will be until the West submits.

JamesH:"..Muslims ar... (Below threshold)
DSkinner:

JamesH:
"..Muslims are perfectly capable of living side-by-side with Christians, atheists, and agnostics in a secular state."

Isn't that one of their tenets; to lie when you don't have the numbers, waiting for the time when you do have the numbers?

Jay Tea, firing on all cyli... (Below threshold)
Red Five:

Jay Tea, firing on all cylinders as usual. I'm sure glad you dumped that paying gig and came back here.

...the first amendment does not guarantee freedom of religion or freedom from religion. The amendment states Congress shall make no laws regarding the establishment of religion. No national church of the United States. Then read the 10th Amendment. States are not so limited.

Zelsdorf, while that technically may be true, the practice of the several states has been to fashion their constitutions "in the likeness", if you will, of the US Constitution. Meaning that generally, states will not restrict citizen freedoms any more than the federal government does. Granted, there are exceptions to that generalization (Taxachusetts, Kalifornicate, and Illannoy come to mind), but then, all generalizations fall apart at some point.

Interesting. I'm not going... (Below threshold)
James H:

Interesting. I'm not going to win this one with you guys, I suppose.

My point is this: We have millions of Muslims in this country who do a lot of things and don't do a lot of things. They pay their taxes. They worship on holy days. They drive cars and hold jobs. They also don't bomb churches, don't chant "death to America" and don't act violently toward their neighbors.

People in this thread seem dedicated to the idea that all Muslims -- not merely the extremists -- are activel inimical toward the West. I just don't think that's the case.

Make of it what you will.

I certainly concede that th... (Below threshold)
Jim Addison:

I certainly concede that the vast majority of muslims worldwide are normal, peaceful people who subscribe to a "moderate" islam.

That's not the issue at all, though. In the case of kooky Christian deviant cults, the more mainstream denominations point out the incorrect interpretations the extremists rely upon, and reject their apostasy.

But in islam, it is the moderates who are the apostates, and the extremists who are in fact correct in their interpretation of their scriptures. There is no message of love and peace there, only submission and violent death to those who resist, and the treatment of women as chattel.

The muslims permit no serious theological questioning of the basic tenets laid down in the 7th Century. They wouldn't tolerate a Council of Nicaea or Trent, a Reformation, a Vatican II - mere attendance at such a conference would demand a fatwa against you.

Perhaps this accounts for the distinct silence of the "moderate" muslims in fighting the extremists, if the radicals were indeed trying to usurp the true faith.

Sure, there are a majority of "moderate" muslims - who sit on their hands and do nothing to stop the extremists. They have opted to be spectators instead of participants in any debate over islam. If they abstain, the extremist minority wins, and that is what is happening in the world today. When you decide to vote "present," you are forfeiting any right to complain about being tainted unfairly by association with the winning side.

The #1 problem with Islam f... (Below threshold)

The #1 problem with Islam from the start is that it not only declares that it's the absolute truth, but its intolerant hate-filled god orders all believers to expand the territory it rules via Sharia (The Way), which demands absolute political superiority of Muslims over non-Muslims and men over women. This 7th cent. mindset is frozen into Islam's holy books and is totally incompatible with our Western values, hence Muslims moving to the West are forever conflicted, and become ticking time bombs and potential enemies of the country they're in. Study Islam's history from its rise and spread free anytime with the Historyscoper and see for yourself how the mindset works at http://go.to/islamhistory

Here Rev Lee Ward Wright le... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Here Rev Lee Ward Wright let me save you the trouble.

Republicans didnt have a problem with Islam until a black man became President.




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