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.