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12.15.2005    |    Choosing our myths
Islam is presented by its apologists as a "religion of peace", an Abrahamic faith that welcomes all to join, regardless of race, or social or economic status. Sounds like a great, ultimate democratic love-in, doesn't it?

My personal belief is that Islam is based on some rather fanciful readings of a long and bloody history of conquest, enslavement, and the tyranny of the imams wherever it has triumphed. Islam has failed as a culture, in all endeavors except war. The so-called "golden age" in Iberia simply was a period of relative tolerance, in which the ancient wisdom of the Greeks and Romans, as preserved by Christian monks, was re-discovered by the Moors and Arabs.

To be fair, about the fanciful aspects of Islam, Christianity is just as fanciful. Both require faith, belief in things unseen and unproven. The difference is that Christ was the ultimate peacemaker, while Mohammed was a warrior who killed all who did not submit.

So we choose our myths, and Christians claim to follow the Prince of Peace, Jesus. Muslims follow the example of the violent tribal chief Mohammed. To be sure, Christians have a long a violent history of their own, often in the very name of the Prince of Peace. But violence is not the default option for the Christian. Violence by a Christian, in the service of the good, is not forbidden, and in fact may be a Christian's duty in protecting the weak. Our savior's Passion, where He suffered unto death and forgave his torturers and killers, is stark evidence of the difference between Christianity and Islam.

Islam, as it has been practiced since its founding, uses violence as the first option in bringing infidels under its sway. This is among the prime directives for Islam -- defeating the "House of War", i.e. the non-Muslim world, and making it part of the "House of Islam (Submission)", i.e. Islamic territory under sharia, or Islamic law.

Those who lie, and call Islam a "religion of peace", are, at best, simply mis-translating "Islam", which, properly means "submission." This is the "peace" of Islam, the submission to the will of Allah, performing the various daily devotions and duties (e.g. dietary restrictions), charity, love of fellow Muslims, etc. This is a peace that is, by definition, restricted to those who are Muslim. While infidels may be tolerated, history demonstrates that it is only when they accept dhimmi status as, at best, second class citizens.

Faith is, or should be, a personal matter, and what you believe may be total hogwash to me, and vice versa. But it must come down to this: We each must be free to choose how to worship God; or even choose not to worship at all. Christian nations now provide that liberty. Muslim theocracies do not.

Muslims in America need to come to terms with these inconvenient facts, and start working to bring American values, especially freedom of religion, to Islam. The evidence on the ground, unfortunately, is that it is the other way around -- Muslim apologists keep whining about their civil rights and alleged slights, rather than work to reform their own communities.

We would, or should, welcome an Islamic reformation, when modern precepts of liberty and freedom can replace the violence. The question for Muslims of good heart, which I am certain are out there in the millions, is: When shall your voices for reform be heard? How long will you continue to be silent and let the mad mullahs dictate your faith?

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About this site and the author

Welcome. My name is John Luke Rich, (very) struggling Christian. The focus here is Christianity in its many varieties, its fussing and feuding, how it impacts our lives and our society, with detours to consider it with other faiths (or lack thereof).

Call this blog my way of evangelizing on the internet.

Putting it differently, we're only here on this earth a short time. It's the rest of eternity that we should be most concerned about. Call it the care and feeding of our souls.

I was born Jewish, and born again in Christ Jesus over thirty years ago. First as a Roman Catholic; now a Calvinist by persuasion and a Baptist by denomination. But I'm hardly a poster boy for doctrinal rigidity.

I believe that Scripture is the rock on which all Christian churches must stand -- or sink if they are not so grounded. I believe that we are saved by faith, but hardly in a vacuum. That faith is a gift from God, through no agency on our part -- although we sometimes turn a deaf ear and choose to ignore God's knocking on the door.

To be Christian is to evangelize. Those who think it not their part to evangelize perhaps haven't truly understood what our Lord told us in Matthew 28. We must preach the Gospel as best we are able. Using words if necessary.

Though my faith waxes and wanes, it never seems to go away. Sometimes I wish it would, to give me some peace of mind. But then, Jesus never said that walking with Him was going to be easy...

Final note: I also blog as Jack Rich on cultural, political and other things over at Wrong Side of the Tracks

Thanks for stopping by.