Islam is a bit of a bogey to a lot of people at the moment. Is being Islamic an inevitable path to being spiteful to other faiths Buddhists, aetheists and agnostics?
I would suggest not. If you think it is consider the following.
- When the World Trade Centre was attacked, television cameras showed Muslims in Pakistan celebrating in the streets. This may incline one to believe that it is religion for the heartless. It undoubtedly contributed to thoughts of revenge in many citizens of the USA. However, in training for fire situations on board ships, I was shown a video of the Bradford Football Ground Fire disaster. While people were being burnt to death less than fifty yards away, teenagers from that town were jumping up and down in front of the camera with big grins on their faces, celebrating the occasion as though they were at a party. This is what happens when excitement is allowed to overcome compassion.
- A Pan Am Boeing 747 plane fell out of the sky in pieces when a bomb concealed in a suitcase exploded and everybody on board died. A little earlier a United States navy ship had killed everybody on board an Iranian plane when they fired a missile at it over the Persian Gulf. The Pan Am bombing is widely seen as an act of revenge. People in the west may argue that the first was a mistake and the second a despicable attempt to seek justice. However, an overworked Swiss air traffic controller, in a situation when phones he needed were out of action, made a mistake and two airliners, one a freight flight and one containing many Russian passengers collided over southern Germany. A Russian relative of victims murdered the Swiss air traffic controller. He then served a prison sentence but in his home town, and probably in many places in Russia, many regard his act of murder as heroic. This is what happens when men let their grief overcome their compassion.
Muslims often say their religion is about justice but as there is no evidence we evolved from some state of justice, quite the opposite in fact, then it seems wrong to deny the truth of evolution to propose a substitute which encourages a blame culture.
One could of course argue that in order to justify cries for justice from his believers, God released devils at Bradford. This was done to prove that there are worse people than the Pakistani Muslims, (though note these incidents happened in reverse order to that), because for instance, the laughing boys were near to the victims but still untouched by the sadness. The above applies if you accept the references in the Koran and the New Testament to God releasing devils.
The pages on Law are useful to refer to at this point.
My belief is that people are basically good in the ‘content’ sense, but that suspicion drives them toward alternative states of mind. Most Muslims are almost certainly as confused as anyone else though, like many religious, hoping something they have read or been told is true, that they will find happiness ultimately. My concern is that in doing so they may seek to deny truths which are inconvenient. On the other hand a Muslim who writes frequently to my local paper insists that Muslims have no problem with the science, (he himself is at university studying science).
In any event, as people who turn from Islam are traditionally condemned to death, it is difficult to see how Islam can avoid being labeled a cul de sac. Once in, the operative principle is that you cannot get out. This makes it sound more like a cult than a religion. There is an advert on UK television for a bank called the Nationwide which starts by showing a man at another unnamed bank. He asks why he is paying such a high interest rate on his borrowing. The bank manager, played by a UK comedian, says that the low interest rate he was promised when he joined the bank was just like a big fat juicy worm on the end of a fishing line and once caught, like fish, customers were plonked in a keep net where they would pay higher rates of interest. Religions promise a lot to believers and when they dominate a society, children have no option but to be educated to become believers. This means that entire societies could be thought of as being in the keep net. The original converts were tempted by offers of paradise and life was poorer in those days and less known of science so in a way, it was a natural thing to believe. However, would they convert nowadays, if they realised they were forcing all their descendants to accept the same ideas. Certainly there are lots of lapsed Muslims.
It is sad that fish in the nets of religions get angry with those who are swimming outside the nets in a more natural environment.
So Islam is not evil, but like Christianity, with its claim of woe unto those that leave it, it is a rather cunning prison that is made difficult to escape. If you were God, though, then if you wanted everyone to believe they were sinful, or fallen from a state of previous grace, then the first thing you would do, like societies building prisons, would be to devise a way to imprison them and punish escapees.
That appears to be what each of the books of the Middle East god are about, (Bible or Torah, New Testament, Koran and Mormon Tablets), making a prison and then telling you you have to serve a sentence. Bible and Torah by your Jewish race, New Testament because of the state of sin of all humans, the Koran by refusing to allow you to leave alive, the Book of Mormon by demanding you pay for everything you have done but stating no sum you pay can ever pay it all.
That must seem pretty watertight to the Governor of the prison.