Wednesday, February 8

Respect for Islam?

If anything good is coming out of the Cartoon Wars, it is that many Westeners are re-examining their faith in the freedom of speech.

Yet we are still hearing calls for one and all to respect Islam. We have to ask if it is even possible to have freedom of speech and a respect for Islam at the same time. It is becoming more apparent every day that the freedom of speech and respect for Islam are mutually exclusive values.

To understand why this is so, look at what the freedom of speech involves. It suggests that one can say just about anything he wants, and not suffer any consequence. This is true, with the exception of false or misleading speech that results in someone suffering actual damages as a result of that speech. Suffering an injury because of truthful speech carries no liability at all. Most of us, when we think of free speech, probably have an image in our mind of some crazy person being able to spout off any off the wall theory that enters his mind, and we are OK with that.

But the freedom of speech has a more important function. It protects the truth. It allows anyone to investigate, learn the truth about anything and report it. The freedom of speech protects that person and allows the truth to come out.

As the Cartoon Wars demonstrate, Islam is not comfortable with either one of these two scenarios. No unauthorized discussion of Islam is allowed, as the repression of the Dutch movie "Submission" reveals. The official version only, please. Worse still, any truthful revelation about Islam is anathema for the Islamic faithful. If you do not believe me, try discussing Mohammed's nine year old bride with a Muslim.

Let's face it. Much about Islam is abhorrent to any reasonable person. The recent story about the executions of young women condemned by "sharia" law in Iran because they dared try and protect themselves from rape is, or at least should be, revolting to every decent person on the planet. All freedom loving Americans should cringe at that miscarriage of justice.

As the truth comes out about Islam, we find that Islam really is not deserving of respect, but of criticism. Muslims offer up their prophet Mohammed as an example to emulate and they offer up his teachings as the true revelation of God. If you look at the life of Mohammed, you will soon realize that there is nothing there worthy of emulation. Apart from the child bride aspect of his life, which reeks of pedophilia, Mohammed was a violent person. He is not the most bloodthirsty person who ever lived, but his life was violent. More importantly, his violence comes through in his writings, the Koran. None of this would be important if it were not for the fact that Mohammed is the founder of a religion.

This brings us to the second reason that Muslims offer up Mohammed as an example to emulate. He supposedly received the latest and truest revelation from God, the Koran. Yet, when we look at the Koran, we have to ask if this is truly a revelation from God. For starters, is the protrayal of God in the Koran a true portrayal of God?
In Islam, God is absolutely merciless, especially to non-Muslims. He is vengeful. Without resorting to other sacred scriptures, such as the Bible, we can ask if the portrayal of God in the Koran is in concordance with what we can surmise about God from using our own intellect, our observations about the world we live in, and similar observations about human nature. For example, an observation about the creation of the world would lead us to conclude that God has invested much in the creation. Does it make sense that vengeance would be the defining relationship between God and those of his creation who have chosen to not believe in him? God being the All Powerful Being that he is, one would expect no small amount of benignity towards those unbelievers. That is, one could expect that a God capable of creating a universe would make every effort to rescue the unbelievers from their unbelief instead of becoming an angry, vengeful God.

I will offer up another example. We could observe that we have a conscience. We could also notice that our conscience discerns between that which is good and that which is bad. If we as human beings have that capability, could we not also expect that God also would have that capability? If we understand God as a Supreme Being, we would have to understand him as being the Ultimate Judge between good and evil, and also the only one capable of living out the good. Thus, God is good in his thoughts and in his actions. The portrayal of God in the Koran is not the portrayal of a good God, but of an evil one. Thus, he is not God. In effect, a big difference between Christianity and Islam is the God that each religion worships. The God of the Bible is a loving God. The God of the Koran is a violent, vengeful God. Which one would you choose to worship? (The discussion of the existence of God belongs to a different discussion than this one.)

Islam deserves other criticisms. One expects that a religion provides for the better man. There is no evidence of that in Islam. The examples I see do not show me people worthy of emulation. The truth of the matter is that I see the opposite. I see cruel, evil, immoral people. This is not surprising since people tend to emulate the God they worship.

The reason that we need to have a critical understanding of Islam is to provide us with a defense against this ungodly teaching. It has been suggested that the Cartoon Wars are a power play by Iran and Syria, acting for all Islamic communities. The goal supposedly is to pressure the West into accepting "sharia" law. The idea would be that in the West where there are sizable Muslim communities, they should be allowed to practice "sharia" law and not be ruled by Western laws. If this is true, then Islam is trying to force the West to submit to Islam. We need to resist the imposition of Islam on us, if for no other reason than we find Islamic ideas to be constricting and tyrannical.

Finally, this raises another question. As Americans, how do we deal with a religion or philosophy that by its very nature is incompatible with our democratic ideals? Historically, we have answered that question by moving to the higher plane and not accepting that toxic teaching.

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