Religious Differences

A new-to-the-Charlie-Hebdo-discussion commenter on the MENSA forum said, in part:

The day will come when we understand that the problem is not Islam but ALL religions. It was mentioned that Islam will use deadly force against those with a different ‘flavor’ of Islam. Do we forget of Christians killing each others on Belfast because of different ‘flavors’ of Jesus?

A reasonable Christian as a reasonable Muslim is one that does not follow the teaching of their sacred book. The old book of Christians asks to stone those that work on Saturday, the new one ask to abandon your father, mother and siblings. The Quran asks for the killing of apostates.

I replied,

@Luis, you’ve got some misapprehensions in your comment here.

You wrote: “The day will come when we understand that the problem is not Islam but ALL religions.”

I have seen this technique used countless times to give “cover” to someone criticizing Islam by attacking “generic” religions as if they were all the same. (This won’t impress jihadists, by the way; they’ll kill you anyway.)

Do you suppose that the Quakers and the Taoists and the Sikhs are running around killing people for perceived insults to their faiths? Of course are differences between religions, and those differences are in some cases deadly.

You wrote: “Do we forget of Christians killing each others on Belfast because of different ‘flavors’ of Jesus?”

No, because that wasn’t what the conflict was about. Because of the history of Ireland for the past four centuries (including England’s habit of suppressing one religion in favor of another), the two groups fell out on ethnic lines that largely aligned with their Catholic or Protestant faiths. But the real issue was home rule versus independence. Even hard-left Wikipedia notes that “[t]he conflict was primarily a political one, but it also had an ethnic or sectarian dimension, although it was not a religious conflict.”

There were terrorists killing people. But in their minds, this was over independence from the UK, not killing in order to please or revenge their God.

You wrote: “A reasonable Christian as a reasonable Muslim is one that does not follow the teaching of their sacred book.”

Two problems here: First, you are misunderstanding the relationship between Old and New Testament. No one teaches that the Old Testament stories must be followed as rules for living. Even when thousands were killed by the Popes’ agents during the Inquisitions, they were doing this for reasons of (brutal) political control and not relying upon Leviticus et seq. for their justification.

Incidentally, the total number killed during the Inquisitions (over several hundred years), the total number killed during the Irish Troubles (over about nearly four decades) and the total number killed by Islamic jihadists in the past week are all about the same: around three to four thousand each.

The second problem here is that Christians use the Bible, Jews use the Torah as their Written Law, but Muslims have multiple sacred works: The Qur’an is the dictation from the Angel Gabriel (Jabreel in Arabic) but no words or deeds of the Prophet Muhammad. Shari’ah law is derived from those words and deeds, and they are in al Hadith and Sunnah. It is al Hadith that demands the killing of apostates.

In fact, any Muslim who uses the Qur’an alone as the source of law and good behavior is himself considered an apostate by mainstream Islam. This is the “Qur’an Only” sect, a tiny (less than 1% portion) of Islam under pain of death in several countries.

What you WILL see are countless apologists referring to the Qur’anic assertion that “there is no compulsion in Islam” (from sura 2:256) knowing full well that the Hadith, the source of Shari’ah law, firmly repeats that “anyone who changes his religion [from Islam], kill him.” (al Burkhari hadith)

It is worth noting that the very next sura after the “no compulsion” one damns all non-Muslims to Hell: “As for those who disbelieve, their patrons are false deities. They bring them out of light into darkness. Such are the rightful owners of the Fire [of Hell]. They will abide therein [forever].” (from sura 2:257)

Even the other oft-cited no compulsion sura (18:29) has a similar next sentence. They quote this one: “Then whosoever will, let him believe, and whosoever will, let him disbelieve” skipping over the rest of the sura: “Lo! We have prepared for disbelievers Fire. Its tent encloseth them. If they ask for showers, they will be showered with water like to molten lead which burneth the faces. Calamitous the drink and ill the resting-place!”

==============/ Keith DeHavelle

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