My last post regarding the Orlando shooting garnered a fair bit of negative feedback. Not my most controversial post, but would probably make the Top 5. One of the biggest push-backs that I received stemmed from the fact that I focused on Evangelicals, and said little about Islam or Muslims. Most of the comments were something to the effect of, “This was a Muslim problem! Christians had nothing to do with it!” I dealt with the second part of this claim in my post. The first part of the claim is questionable. There’s conflicting reports about how devout the shooter was to Islam, but it seems certain that he had no real ties to any terrorist organizations and was not well studied in Islamic texts and traditions.
But, since the topic came up, I thought I would briefly share my views on Islam, and why I don’t spend much time talking about it here or on social media in general.
First off, my view of Islam is the same as Christianity – they are both ancient , man-made religions, based on supernatural beliefs and a pre-science ignorance of the world. Both have a dangerous and harmful devotion to their holy book, which they both consider “God’s Word”, and both religions have caused immeasurable harm throughout history and in the present day.
Christianity doesn’t get a special pass, as much as the majority of it’s devoted followers think it should. Most Christians will claim that their religion is the only TRUE RELIGION, the Bible is the one true WORD OF GOD, and Jesus is the ONE TRUE SAVIOR. If you were to talk to ask a Muslim from the Middle East about Islam, they would say the exact same thing about Islam, the Koran, and the Prophet Muhammad. What religion one belongs to is almost always a matter of geography and culture, not the validity of its truth-claims. Neither one is in “better” or “truer” than the other.
Some like to argue that the more extreme factions of Islam, such as ISIS and Al-Qaeda, are proof that it is a violent and “evil” religion. They seem to forget Christianity’s long, dark history of bloodshed, including the Crusades, Inquisitions, and slavery. Some are also unaware of the many modern day Christian terrorist organizations that, while not making the headlines, are nonetheless spreading fear and violence in many parts of the world. Both the Koran and the Bible contain horrible acts of violence carried out in the name of God, and both are used to justify violence today.
My lack of writing on Islam is not because I think it is a better religion, nor is it because I’m trying to be politically correct. I have a couple reasons for not covering Islam more:
First – I’ve never been a Muslim. I grew up in a Christian home, surrounded by Christian friends and relatives, was home-schooled through elementary and middle school using a Christian curriculum, went to a Christian college and was a devout Evangelical for many years. Christianity is what I know and what I feel the most qualified to speak on.
I’ve read the Koran, as well as several books on Islam, its history, central tenets and practices. I’ve also had hundreds of conversations with the Muslims that I work with. While this certainly puts me ahead of the general population in terms of how much I understand Islam, it doesn’t make me qualified to speak on it with any kind of authority.
Second – at present, Islam is of no real threat to the American way of life (despite what the right-wing media would like you to believe). Yes, there are the occasional terrorist attacks, but none of these have resulted in Muslims gaining any real power and influence in the US.
There are somewhere around 3.3 million Muslims of all ages living in the US, or about 1 percent of the total U.S. population. They have no real power or influence in government or in society. Most are content to just live in peace and go about their normal lives.
When it comes to democracy, conservative Christians are a far bigger threat than Islam, which is why I speak on it so frequently. If or when I start seeing the same from Islam, I’ll be happy to include them into the conversation. As of now, I have bigger fish to fry, as they say. It’s not that I’m “picking on Christians” while ignoring Islam – I just see Christianity as a much more pressing issue right in our country.
Hopefully this helps clear some things up. I may discuss Islam more in the future, but the main focus of this blog will always be Christianity. Thanks for reading.