Thursday, September 21, 2006

What Everyone Believes but No One Can Say

Virtually everyone in America, Europe and the Free World shares a single idea: atheists and evangelicals; Platonists, Greek Orthodox and Amish; Hispanics, blacks, and WASPS; Baptists, Catholics, and Marxists; hedonistic materialists, party girls, and comedians; Filipino postmen and Dutch engineers; gays, feminists, and high Church Anglican grandmothers. However, it is the nature of our times that this idea, shared by nearly everyone you know and nearly everyone they know, an idea our ancestors believed going back millennia, cannot be spoken in the public square.

This idea can be stated in many ways but it’s basically this: “Allah does not exist, Muhammad was not his prophet, and the Koran is not a holy book.”

Christians of all denominations believe this by the very fact of being Christians. Atheists believe Islam is superstition, as they believe about all religions. Western people have believed Islam is a false religion as a matter of course since Islam was founded in the 600s. This belief has never been controversial. It was part and parcel of being a Westerner and a Christian, a thread in the fabric of life, unquestioned and accepted and undisputable.

Despite 1400 years of near-universal understanding, this belief is today barred from the public square. In some parts of Europe, notably Belgium, to stating this openly could open oneself to criminal prosecution. Even in America it would be considered offensive and rude and insulting to announce this unspeakable but widely held belief.

Yet this is not rude or insulting in and of itself. It is a self-evident fact that unless you are a Muslim you do not believe in Allah or that an angel recited the Koran to Muhammad. It’s as plain and simple as that.

When did disbelief in Islam become an insult? How have we gotten to a point where no one can say what everyone believes?

To state publicly, openly, the obvious beliefs of billions of people – that Islam is a form of Arab tribal paganism disguised as monotheism – is all but impossible. We have become too “polite”, too “sensitive”, too “respectful” to say it. Yet we believe it and we know others believe it.

As a Christian neither I nor anyone I know is personally insulted that billions of people are not Christians, and as such, do not belief in the Incarnation and Resurrection of Christ. To non-Christians, Christ was an ancient Jewish sage executed by the Romans. I accept this. I don’t riot and kill people over it. This is part of living in the world.

If Muslims cannot accept that most people do not believe in the existence of Allah, do not believe Muhammad was a divinely inspired prophet, and do not believe the Koran is a sacred book, then we really are in a clash of civilizations. If Muslims in Pakistan cannot accept that the Catholic Pope and other Christian leaders and thinkers will occasionally, without even trying, insult and deny Islam, then we are in for a long and terrible conflict.


Blogger ttueoop said...

FANTASTIC post! Absolutely fantastic!

4:58 PM  
Blogger miriam said...

I think it's a bit more complicated than that. After all, Iranians are not Arabs. Still, you have a point there.

2:19 PM  
Blogger Peter said...

People in these oh-so-unified countries got killed for a long time, if they were stupid enough to publically speak against the Christian deity or the King. And today it is still illegal and/or bad taste, in these countries, to disrupt religious practices through blasphemy or other disrespect, or to do so on public television.

The lesson we should have learned from our history, is not that we all hate Allah, but that religious protection from the harassment of infidels has to be carefully balanced with freedom of speech, in order to protect the social order that so many of our ancestors have fought and died for. I think it's ok for them to be insulted, it's ok for them to protest, it's not ok for them to threaten/kill people about it.

6:26 PM  
Blogger Saleem Juma is a True Soldier said...

Are you an idiot? We are in the age of globalization are we not? Everyone needs sensibility, albeit Comedians. For Gods sake the man is a so called prophet of god, you say Muhammed did wrong, now look at your leader you cannot deny, you have no idea what Muhammed did and other than the Quran which I believe nor do I. But listen up, we shall be in conflict until you learn sensibility, and Muslims learn Comedy. There are bad people on both sides, you are on of them.

11:14 PM  
Blogger Thomas the Wraith said...

saleen juma - you're hopeless. Please go away. Isn't it prayer time or something? Isn't it time for you to go beat one of your wives?

8:08 AM  
Blogger leadpb said...

If not for antagonists such as Saleen Juma, your blog would not be so lively. He makes an excellet point that I have rarely seen explicitly stated by anyone: the striking lack of humor on the part of our Arab friends. A similar idea was set forth by [unknown author] when he mentions the "grimly incurious spirit of Islam". These observations have a direct bearing on the mindset of a tireless, undistracted enemy.

Such a crippled outlook would normally impare one's ability to function in society (or as a society), but something- apparently Islam- has managed to strip millions of their innate good humor even as they continue in their daily struggles. One might think that Desert Life- scarce resources and all of that- would induce a robust comedic spirit, but in this case it is wishful thinking.

Just as any Western individual with such an affliction is buffered by his fellow citizens, thus allowing him to function in society, so whole cultures may be "buffered" by adjacent groups. The problem in the present case is that most of the buffering is left to the infidels- we make every effort, sometimes with obscene "justification", to accomodate hostile and destructive mentalities.

Maybe there just isn't room for humor in societies that still stone women to death and cut off hands in the name of justice. Then again, I read that some muslims find those events humorous- or maybe uplifting is the word.

5:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"This idea can be stated in many ways but it’s basically this: “Allah does not exist, Muhammad was not his prophet, and the Koran is not a holy book.”"

Neither does God, Christ and the Bible. I know Christians who would be offended by that statement.

What I do agree with you, is on the level of hostility you get from Muslims and the resultant loss of civil liberties.

The only common ground I can think of is to abolish religion of all kinds.

6:18 AM  

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