What’s The Problem With Islam?
Let’s agree from the very beginning: I am not a scholar of religious texts used by the three “western” major religions. However, I am fairly familiar with the Old Testament as I attend Sabbath services where each week a portion of the Torah (Bible) is read. Through the years, I have become somewhat conversant with its contents.
Having said that, I further admit to not having read any of the New Testament. It’s not out of a lack of respect for Christianity, it’s simply because my personal needs have been met elsewhere. I’ve been to many services in different branches of Christianity and have enjoyed them even though they do not relate directly to my needs. I have noticed the many similarities in the music, ceremonies, etc.
While I have never attended a religious service at a mosque although I have visited a number of them in other countries. I haven’t read the Koran. (I did read John Krakauer’s excellent book on the Mormon faith, but that is the extent of my understanding of that religion).
So what’s the problem with Islam? What makes Muslims (the Arab portion primarily) get so upset when anything derogatory or something they might consider derogatory concerning their religion is written or created in other forms by non-Muslims?
Fair question I believe.
Could it be the basic teachings of the religion and the lack of a history resembling Judaism or Christianity in its many forms?
From the very beginning Judaism has questioned the Bible and subjecting it to interpretation and reinterpretation. First there was the Mishnah: the Midrash: and the two different sets of the Talmud and commentaries. In other words, the words have been reinterpreted.
Reinterpreted and discussed.
Meanings changed to fit the times and circumstances as civilization moved forward. Not only have the biblical stories been questioned as fact and not teaching opportunities, the understandings have brought about different interpretations, which have manifesting itself in the various branches of the faith.
So too with Christianity. Since Martin Luther attacked the idea that G-d’s indulgences could be purchased and his translation of the Bible from the Latin into a more understandable German, Christianity has evolved – at least in most cases (not withstanding the literal believers of these translations from Latin to German to English) (Not that Luther was a saint: in fact as he aged, he was the worst type of anti-semite).
Hence the Reformation and breaking apart of the faith into different branches. From the Church of England, to Lutheranism, to Presbyterian to Baptist, to……
Even the basis for the New Testament – the Catholic branch – continues to evolve and change with new interpretations of scripture. Each Pope has either moved the faith forward or backward according to his beliefs. What cannot change is the situation that once the thought process has moved and modernized, it cannot return to where it was. So while it isn’t important –to me- to consider the Christian stands on marriage, abortion, stem-cell research, homosexuality, et al, there is a movement within the Christian faith to move forward. Otherwise we will continue to see the number of regular church attendees continue to shrink.
What is the problem with Islam?
In my opinion, it is the lack of a Reformation, the lack of criticism of the word of the Prophet as interpretived by the Sunni’s and Shia among others into a more modern view of life. In modern society, we do not stone people to death; we do not cut off arms of suspected thieves, we do not allow so-called honor killings, etc.
This lack of reinterpretation linked with the autocracy under which the majority of Muslim followers live, (read Arabs) has fomented the anger and lack of progress of those societies where Islam is the “Way of Life”. Modern, more sectarian Islamic societies such as those found in places like Turkey are now taking their places among the nations. Others like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan and more are having difficulties in dealing with the realities of the 21st Century.
This is not to absolve the Turks, who for 800 years brought progress in science, mathematics and art to the Western world while at the same time keeping their people under the thumbs of despots. Only the understanding of Ataturk about how the Turkish people could join the modern world was his country able to bring needed change. His wide-ranging reforms in social, cultural and economical aspects propelled Turkey into the modern world.
Elsewhere, particularly within the Arab world, this just hasn’t happened! Even today, we do not see Mullahs standing up and widely criticizing so many of the practices we in the West find disgusting and abhorrent.
So should we be surprised when a poorly made (check it out on You Tube) video clip would so anger the illiterate mobs who are unable to read or write? Or to think clearly or independently? These uneducated Arab masses whose only knowledge is of the Koran as they’ve been taught or memorized.
We can’t blame either Bush or Obama who have openly supported democracy and independence from dictators for what is happening in the Mid-East today. Blame instead the Mullahs who have no intention in bringing their people into the modern world.
This too will fail.
Modern technology and the Internet will be the engines, which have the greatest opportunity to move these middle-aged societies into the modern world. Even the mullahs attempt to stop the Internet and education of women in Iran is destined to fail. Progress cannot be stopped.
But for now, the Islamic world will continue to be angered with any supposed slight they might deem as incorrect. Just last week, these crazies reinstituted the “fatwa” against Salmon Rushdie again even though the illiterate have no idea who he is or what he’s written.
Until then, we in the West will have to put up with the crap.
All thanks to the Koran.
Filed under: Uncategorized