I've been unsure if I'd find the right words to express how I've been feeling about Islam. Of all people I have to thank for my changing views of the "Religion of Peace", would you believe me if I told you it was the President who got me thinking about it in the first place?
It started back when Bush had a Ramadan celebration at the White House.
How odd that he was the first, I recall thinking. One would think that surely Clinton would have had the first celebration, but maybe the White House was booked full (after all, it's the holidays, and rooms fetch a premium at that time of year) during the Clinton years.
I couldn't quite put my finger on what bothered me about it, until one of my brothers in this blog pointed it out (Samuel or Webster, sorry guys, I can't remember which of you it was): to speak and act as if Islam is a legitimate religion is intellectually dishonest. Now, I'm certain that those weren't the exact words used, but that's the gist of it.
See, Judaism, Christianity and Islam are the "big three" - the three largest monotheistic religions, and furthermore, all claim to worship the same God. That, my friends, is the rub. We know quite obviously that Jews and Christians worship the God of Israel: the one true God. We share a common faith heritage, namely what Christians call the Old Testament. I'm not a scholar on Islam - yet - so I can only speak in generalities of what I know of that religion, through limited study and personal observation, and the Quran.
I've read certain passages of the Quran and it advocates beliefs and actions that are inconsistent with the one true God as revealed in the Old and New Testaments. To claim that the same all-powerful, all-knowing God would offer such different guidance (on even seemingly mundane topics, such as divorce) is illogical. My growing conviction is that the religion of Islam is false. This doesn't mean that there aren't many very good Muslims who certainly just want to raise their families in peace and in fear of God.
Personal observation over the last twenty years also leads one to the natural conclusion that the violent tendencies of Islam - in the name of Islam - are incompatible with the one true God; not, however, that one needs twenty years of history to come to that conclusion. Apologists will of course suggest that there are extremist elements in all religions, yet, Jews and Christians (nor Hindus or Buddhists, for that matter) aren't routinely killing "infidels" in the name of their religion. It just doesn't happen.
So what does this mean? I'm not sure yet. I'm planning on diving into some reading on the topic, that's for sure. Before I become inflexible in my resolution, I need to be sure that the evidence supports my position. I am left contemplating three thoughts. First, that when the President has a Ramadan celebration at the White House, or when well-meaning people accept Islam as a valid religion like their own, there is some damage being done: Truth is being devalued. Second, there's a whole other group of well-meaning people who erroneously view current events as a struggle for the "soul of Islam" - some ideological battle being waged between extremists and every other normal practicing Muslim. And third, that tyranny cloaked in religion is still tyranny - and our deference to religious sentiment is extremely dangerous. We give religious beliefs a pass, because of our heritage and the overwhelming connection people have of religion being something positive. That religion in the form of Islam is a source of wrong is something that people must realize before they are able to cast off their politically correct shackles that don't permit criticism of religious beliefs.