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- The Role of Religion in History & Society
Religion is Harmful - Islam Edition
In previous installments in this series I talked mainly about the harm that Christianity causes society, primarily focusing on how it harms and even sometimes kills, children. I had, at the time, planned on doing the next installment about gay marriage however gay marriage was made legal by the Supreme Court and so it seemed unnecessary to talk about and this series was scrapped.
I've decided to bring the series back and focus on a subject that some atheists in the West seem reticent to talk about, namely Islam. Now personally I don't talk about Islam much because I was raised a Christian and escaped from that religion, so I believe I have some insight and know what I'm talking about when it comes to Christianity more so than Islam. However that doesn't stop me from condemning or speaking out about the details I do know about certain brands of Islam.
A Religion of Peace?
Just like with Christianity Islam bills itself as a religion of peace while it's holy scriptures and history tell a story of conquest, bloodshed and hatred. The difference between Christianity and Islam today is that while secular Western society has castrated the once blood-thirsty and torture-happy religion of Christianity and brought it into a new age of reason and enlightenment the same cannot be said of Islam. Even mainstream Muslims often support morals and teachings that seem utterly abhorrent to us in the West.
Usually these practices and morals are protected behind the veil of multiculturalism however that is because the meaning of multiculturalism has been diluted over the years. Originally multiculturalism was the belief that cultures could come together under one set of laws, under one government, and exist in harmony with it. We wouldn't judge the Irish or the Chinese for their odd customs as long as those customs fit within the law of the land.
Now America has always struggled against xenophobia, racism, and ethnic tension but over the centuries we have become a melting pot of cultures and ethnic backgrounds. But modern multiculturalism, often preached by far left progressives, seems to put forth the idea that we are not allowed to judge another culture at all, under any circumstances, even if what they are doing flies in the face of everything we stand for and is objectively horrific in it's results.
Naturally I reject this, because it is this doctrine, along with political correctness, that is used to label anyone who criticizes Islam as an Islamophobe or racist. Islam, Muslims, are not a race or even a single ethnic group so it is genuinely nonsensical to say that anyone criticizing Islam and Muslims must therefore be a racist. Such tactics are meant to shut down the conversation shielding Muslims as if they are some severely oppressed minority.
Of course the main harm that Islam does in in inspiring terrorism. While yes the causes pushing people to terrorism might include sociopolitical ones or even the invasion of those countries by people they want to expel but it would be naïve to ignore the part that religious identity and religious delusion play in terrorism. Often times members of terrorist groups will cite directly verses from the Koran openly admitting that part of their hatred stems from the religious delusions they have come to believe.
The Bible is, of course, also filled with bloodshed and directions from God to do horrendously evil things but as I said, with the exception of a few fringe groups, Christianity has left those verses behind. Modern Christians reject those calls to violence and tend to focus on other more positive parts of scripture. While some Muslims also do this, the liberal and moderate Muslims, there are millions and millions who do not.
The Koran has calls to smite the necks of infidels which inspire acts of barbarism such as beheadings. Yes, in the 21st century, we are still dealing with people so evil and sick that they would behead another human being. We are dealing with an ideology that drives young Muslims to blow themselves up often times targeting other sects of Muslims. In this way Islam actually does more harm to other Muslims than it does to people from the West. It is other Muslims which suffer most under the insanity of extremist Islam.
But the violence and cultural depravity of certain brands of Islam are spilling out into the West as migrants come to Europe. While some of these migrants are people seeking refuge and safety from their war torn terrorist haunted part of the world some are not so innocent. And even those who are merely fleeing, or those born in the West, can sometimes find themselves seduced by the extremists. We have seen a number of people from the Western world self-radicalize. There have been stories of citizens in Europe who go off to fight for Isis.
Unfortunately the authorities in European countries are hesitant and afraid of condemning certain acts committed by Muslims even those which seem to stem from clear cultural differences. There have even been stories of sexual assaults and rapes being all but ignored by authorities who feared being accused of racism if they arrested the Muslim suspects.
This is scary and is clearly caused by the overly politically correct fear of condemning Muslims. I'm not saying that Islam itself condones abusing girls, although Islam certainly does not condemn hitting your wife, but that FEAR of speaking out against Muslims is a way in which this religion is doing harm to the world. Fear of accusations of racism and fear of terrorist reprisals are beginning to impede investigations of crimes and infringe upon the right to free speech across Europe.
Even here in America we have had attempted terrorist attacks. A right wing group hosting a “Draw Mohammed” exhibit to exercise their freedom of speech and expression was the target of a terrorist attack that ended with the two would-be Islamic radicals shot dead. While you may utterly disagree with what this right wing group stands for and believes I would hope that anyone who believes in free speech would support their rights to draw cartoons of the prophet Mohammed no matter how heretical, insulting or profane.
Yet not everyone in the West seems to agree with some of the far-left throwing people that Draw Mohammed under the bus as if they were ASKING FOR IT. Some even call such blasphemy hate speech, as if in a country with freedom of speech and freedom of religion we are not allowed to blaspheme a god we don't believe in.
Of course in Paris there was also an attack on the cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo which sparked a great outpouring of support from around the world. However again there were some who acted as if they had it coming and there was the disgrace of nearly every news report in America blurring out and censoring the drawings of Mohammed when they aired the story.
It is disgusting and morally outrageous to me that Islam holds the world in such a death grip and that certain people on the far-left will defend the outrage of Muslims as if it is justified. Islam, like Christianity before it, needs to join the modern secular world. It is not hate speech to insult someone else's ideas or someone else's religious figure. In America we don't blink twice when Jesus is insulted. When Jesus shows up on Family Guy we don't get outraged and go and shoot Seth Macfarlane or call for his death or his job or his arrest.
For us to bow to the superstitions of Muslims and cower in fear at their threats at the cost of our freedoms is SHAMEFUL.
Treatment of Women
Women are thought of very differently in Middle Eastern cultures and cultures touched by Islam. There are many places, for instance, where large percentages of the population believe that a woman should be beaten or even executed for cheating on her husband. A Pew Research poll, for example, found nearly 89% of Muslims in Pakistan liked the idea of stoning as punishment for adultery. It is shocking the way women are treated in certain Muslim countries which have a genuine patriarchy set up.
Not only are women in some places in the world kept covered at all times, in some places from head to toe, but in some areas they are not permitted to go to school or learn how to drive. Women are literally kept “in their place” in these societies and apparently within the teachings of these branches of Islam, that place is an inferior and uneducated one. In some backwards countries women even have their genitals mutilated although this can include certain Christian countries in Africa as well. The reason for doing this is to reduce the pleasure a woman can have.
This sort of barbarism is frightening to me especially in this modern age of technology. And what scares me is how many people will preach that criticisms of Islamic doctrine are somehow indicative of racism or generalization. The 0.8% of the American population that is Muslim may not be so primitive as those in countries who want homosexuals stoned to death. However even in Britain somewhere around 71% of the Muslim population do not think homosexuality should be tolerated.
It is one thing to say that their culture is different but when it is genuinely oppressing people and supporting horrifically barbaric ancient laws all grounded within their religious belief I think it would be stupid NOT to condemn them. Multiculturalism does not mean that we allow horrible beliefs to hurt other people and it doesn't mean we cannot criticizes the beliefs of people half way across the world.
These are just a few of the ways that Islam is holding back our species from moving forward. It is even lagging behind Christianity in almost every way, from the treatment and tolerance of gays to women's rights and of course Islam far out performs Christianity in terms of global terrorism. To make matters worse it is often other Muslims that suffer under Islam be it from car bombs and suicide bombers or from being oppressed and not allowed to go to school or show your face in public.
Even here in the West the dangerous influence of Islam rears it's head through self-radicalizing terrorists and attacks on those who freely criticize or insult Islam. To make matters worse fears of being called an Islamophobe or racist have frozen some members and institutions of our societies and stopped them from speaking out or acting when Islamic radicals do horrific things.
Of course not all Muslims or Islamic ideas are the problem but that should not stop us from speaking out about the millions who do hold to dangerous or oppressive beliefs.
We must condemn religious extremism and oppression wherever we see it. We must be free to speak out against superstitions and beliefs that we see as harmful or wrong in some way. It doesn't take years of study to see that Islam has a profoundly negative effect on the world today and that hopefully by engaging Islamic ideas and speaking out we can tame Islam the same way that Christianity has slowly been tamed and then some!
Thanks for reading!