What Makes Islam So Successful? separated into a linked outline. I thought it might be useful to break each of the elements into separate posts. Here are some of the key components of the package of ideas (or bundle of beliefs) known as Islam:
1. A standardized version of the idea-collection is written down.
2. The Quran includes instructions for its own spread.
3. The idea-collection includes instructions for its own preservation, protection, and duplication.
4. Islamic doctrine commands its followers to create a government that supports it.
5. Permission to spread the religion by war.
6. Lands must be conquered.
7. The idea-collection provides new soldiers by allowing polygamy.
8. It is a punishable offense to criticize Islam.
9. You can't leave Islam once you're in.
10. Islam must be your first allegiance.
11. Dying while fighting for Islam is the ONLY way to guarantee a man's entrance into Paradise.
12. You must read the Quran in Arabic.
13. You must pray five times a day.
14. The prayers involve moving together in time.
15. A woman is in a thoroughly subordinate position.
16. The only way a woman can guarantee her passage into Paradise is if her husband is happy with her when she dies.
17. Allah gives Himself permission to edit His own work.
18. The Quran uses the carrot and stick to reinforce behavior.
19. Islam provides a huge and inspiring goal.
20. Non-Muslims must pay a large tax.
21. A Muslim is forbidden to make friends with a non-Muslim.
22. The Quran counsels the use of deceit when dealing with non-Muslims.
23. Islam must always be defended.
24. Islamic writings teach the use of pretext to initiate hostilities.
25. The explicit use of double standards.
26. It is forbidden to kill a Muslim (except for a just cause).
27. If Muslims drift away from Mohammed's teachings, Allah will end the world.
28. The message in a standard Quran is difficult to decipher.
What should we do with this information about Islam? That's a good question. For some, the solution is to hate Muslims, but that doesn't make any sense. Most Muslims had no choice in their religion, and many of them don't know as much about their own religion as you now do.
I think the best thing any of us can do is to simply help other non-Muslims learn about Islam. Because Islam is so successful, its teachings are becoming more and more influential on the world stage, and its built-in aggressiveness should be curbed. But the only way it can be curbed is if enough people know about it. The way we understand Islam determines what policies we collectively endorse or reject about it.
So first, learn more about it. And then share what you know with others. And let them know what they can do about it too. To learn more, I suggest you first read the Quran. This is the version I recommend.
Learn more about the details of Islamic doctrine here.
If you'd like to do something more, start here: What Can You Do About It?