Tuesday, August 19, 2008

What's Wrong with Islam?

It's always a good idea to question your own religion. I was pondering the question of how I can be so sure that Christianity has it right. In fact, how can we be certain that Islam isn't the one pure worship of the one true God as it claims to be.

First, let's set aside the notion that Islam can't be the true Faith because it breeds terrorists. That argument can't hold water simply because there's no religion (including that most profound leap of faith, atheism) that gives rise to flawless people. No, clearly we can't judge a religion by what its claimants do, but we certainly must judge it by what it teaches they ought to do.

Now, please don't quote Jesus Christ's advice to the Disciples in Matthew 7:20: "By their fruits, you shall know them." I accept the truth of that statement, but in that context Jesus was not speaking of determining which religion is the true one, but which of His followers were the real ones. Christ wasn't questioning whether Christianity is true; He was telling His disciples how to ferret out those who falsely claim to be Christian. But again, my point is that a religion isn't true because those who claim to follow it are perfect, but because it teaches that they ought to be perfect. Behavior is important, but only so far as it reveals the true Christian, not because Christianity depends on the good behavior of those who call themselves Christians.

For each terrorist suicide bomber I might cite, a Muslim could point to a Roman Catholic pedophile in the priesthood. So (even though I might tend to agree with him about the flaws of Roman Catholicism) I can't convince him that Christianity is true because those who call themselves Christians are blameless or that Islam is false because those who claim to be Muslims are terrorists. The Truth is even simpler than this dichotymous view of good and evil. The simple Truth is just what Christianity teaches: "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."

When Jesus told the Pharisees (who presented Him the dilemma of how to deal with a woman caught in adultery), "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone," He wasn't saying, "Aw, c'mon guys! Adultery's not all that bad." (Of all people, Jesus knew just how serious adultery is, since on the cross He received the punishment for that sin, too.) Jesus wasn't dismissing adultery as insignificant; He was merely pointing out the logistical problem of perfectly executing God's perfect justice. The problem with casting the first stone is that there won't be anyone left to cast the last stone. Again, the Truth is: "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."

So the truth of a religion isn't based on what its followers do (since all adherents of all religions do abominable things and one could even argue the most heinous things are often done in the name of religion). The truth of a religion can only be judged by what it teaches that they should do.

And therein lies the error of Islam. The Quran teaches that allegience to Allah is the highest virtue - all other virtues are of less importance than this one central virtue. By making loyalty (not truth, nor honesty, nor kindness, but "loyalty") the highest of virtues, Islam also makes disloyalty the worst of sins. Thus, a Muslim may kill innocent people, but so long as he does it as a demonstration of his "loyalty" to Allah, he has acted honorably - even laudably, earning him a just reward in paradise. However, if a Muslim who has lived a morally blameless life dares to criticize a fellow Muslim (even the one who has killed innocent people in the name of Allah), he has been disloyal to Islam and his eternal reward is in doubt. Thus, Islam lends itself to moral inversion: lauding horrific criminals as holy men while at the same time restraining those who might otherwise oppose such wantonly criminal behavior.

The dirty little secret (which the main stream media struggles mightily to keep hidden) is: Osama bin Laden and the Taliban are the true Muslims, and the so-called moderates are the ones who've moved to the fringes of Islamic thought, being infected as they are with evil Western ideas. So the MSM searches high and low for a "moderate Muslim" spokesman to speak out against Islamic terrorism, but when the camera comes on, the spokesman's condemnation invariably falls short of a clear denunciation, and it moves quickly to a litany of the injustices suffered by Muslims. Why? Why are Muslims so slow to condemn such behavior among Muslims? Are they afraid if physical violence for speaking out?

Maybe, but (and I think more importantly) they're reluctant to speak up against fellow Muslims, not out of fear of retribution from terrorists, but out of devotion to terrorists. To speak ill of a fellow Muslim, even Osama bin Laden (or rather especially of a true believer like Osama bin Laden), is shameful. And such disloyalty to the Muslim brethren is, to the Muslim mind, far worse than any terrorist acts these criminals commit. The spectrum of Muslim outrage over Muslim terrorism stretches only from loud public support (surely you remember the dancing in the streets of Ramalla when the Twin Towers came down) to quiet private embarrassment.

Islam's promotion of loyalty as the highest of virtues is the central error of the Muslim faith. The belief that allegiance is all that matters is the hallmark of all tyrants. Allah is a tyrannical god.


Jerry said...

I am with you all the way here, but wonder if the apologetic doesn't still fall short (at least a little bit).

It would be the rare Christian who doesn't agree that man's chief end is to "glorify God and enjoy Him forever", which includes an assumption of "promotion of loyalty" even if it isn't "a belief that allegiance is all that matters".

While I understand that my allegiance to God is rooted in His attributes and revelation, to the outsider I can see how they would have a hard time differentiating between "our loyalty" and "Islamic loyalty".

Oh well, maybe I will think differently once the caffeine kicks in!

GUYK said...

It is not God that I have a problem with..it is those who propose to tell me what God wants me to do and then pass laws to force me to do it.

I contend and have contended for years that ALL organized religion is more about control of people than it is about worship of the creator. And I have found that I can worship my creator just fine sitting on my back porch..without a shaman wanting to control me..or try to shame me into parting with my money

Bag Blog said...

I agree. Jerry makes a good point too. Math 22:36-39 says that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind. This could be a pretty strong arguement that loyalty or allegiance to God is important. The next verse is that we are to love our neighbor as ourselves - now that is a big difference in Christianity and Islam. People through the ages have been good at pulling out one verse of the Bible and making it say what they want, but they disreguard the rest. Islamist do the same - all to justify their sins.

Do you think that Islamist believe that they are islamist by birth? Lots of people claim to be one religion or another simply because that is what their parents were. Isn't it interesting that Christians are suppose to be born again into newness of life - a new creation where there is no Jew, no Greek, no male, no female, etc? (Gal 3:28)

Bob said...

I agree. We're commanded to love God, but we have to understand that command as an invitation, not a threat. It's not, "Love God or else." But rather, "Let the love of God dwell richly in you."

Do I think Muslims believe they are Muslim by birth, you ask. Absolutely, by their own teaching any person born into a Muslim family is Muslim and it shames the family if he decides to cease being Muslim. It's honorable for the family to kill the apostate member of the family.

Thanks for dropping by and sharing. No argument from me about "organized religion" (though I can't resist pointing out that disorganized religion isn't a much of an improvement). Anyway, we agree: True worship is about your personal relationship with the Creator, not your affiliation with any particular organization.

Please don't think I'm endorsing fickleness. I can think of no greater compliment than to be called faithful. But our fidelity is a result of our relationship with the Lord, not the means. When Paul wrote, to the Ephesian church: "For by grace you are saved through faith...." he most certainly did not mean "For by grace you are saved through loyalty ...". We aren't saved because we're faithful, we're saved because we have the good sense to trust in the only One who is trustworthy (and then as new creatures in Christ we have the ability to become faithful). Faith (trusting God) makes the Christian; faith (loyalty to God) marks the Muslim. Hence, we are God's beloved sons; Muslims are Allah's loyal slaves.

ShalomSeeker said...

One of the saddest parts of Islam to me is that Allah is under no obligation to be loyal back. He is free to be completely capricious, lying to accomplish his purposes, breaking promises at will. Complete loyalty to an un-loyal God seems grievously misplaced to me.

Jag said...

"However, if a Muslim who has lived a morally blameless life dares to criticize a fellow Muslim (even the one who has killed innocent people in the name of Allah), he has been disloyal to Islam and his eternal reward is in doubt."

This is totally untrue. A Muslim would NEVER kill an innocent in the name of Allah. If he does, then he is to blame, not the 'morally blameless' person.

You people just come up with absurd scenarios and disparage Islam based on them. Go read the Quran by YOURSELF, not by what the internet, or the media tells you. Sheesh!