People who know nothing about Islam try to defend it just because they think of Islam as the underdog (an impression orthodox Muslims have carefully created), and good citizens everywhere instinctively want to defend any group (especially an underdog group) against discrimination or "racism" (even though Islam is not a race).
While Islam looks like other religions westerners are familiar with — Judaism and Christianity — and portrays itself as such, it is profoundly different in important ways.
In response to my statement, "Islam makes the attainment of political goals a religious duty," somebody said to me recently, "Christianity is a political religion too." Below is my answer to him.
This is why I'm worried about Islam's relentless encroachment far more than Christianity's:
- Plenty of people in America and Europe are already aware of the political dangers of Christianity, and have long ago taken steps to prevent it from taking over governments.
- In contrast, very few people in America and Europe know about the dangers of Islam, and, in fact, people are so reflexively against Christianity, they tend to favor Islam and give it the benefit of the doubt. When I talk to people about the most basic principles of Islam, I am often shocked at how little people know about this religion.
- Some Christians have political goals, just as some dog fanciers have political goals.
- But Islam is different in an important way: Muslims have a religious duty to work for political goals — it is a form of devotion and worship — and Muslims don't get to choose what goals they should strive for; the goals have been decreed by Allah. Mohammad was against living in monasteries or living a contemplative life. Muslims do not meditate. The way to show devotion to Allah is to fight for Islam. Literally (and politically).
- As far as I know, no Christians have expressed any desire to kill me. And it would have no doctrinal support from the New Testament if they had.
- Many Jihadis have openly expressed the desire to kill all Americans, many Americans have already been killed by them, and they have plenty of doctrinal support from the Qur'an to justify this killing.
- A Christian can leave Christianity any time they want.
- The penalty for leaving Islam is death.
- When Christians kill, it can only be in spite of Christian teachings.
- When a Jihadi kills, it is likely because of Islamic teachings, and they will tell you so openly and proudly.
- Christians sometimes push for the spread or protection of Christian ideas.
- Jihadis push to do away with hard-earned freedoms and replace the laws of free countries with a repressive, backward system (Shari'a law). It is a religious duty for a Muslim to relentlessly strive for the establishment of Shari'a wherever they are. Allah considers "man-made" governments (democracies, for example) to be illegitimate. The only legitimate laws are Allah's.
- Christian morality insists they tell the truth to all people.
- Islam's morality insists they tell the truth to fellow Muslims but to lie to non-Muslims if it can further the political goals of Islam.
- In battle, Christians will try not to kill innocent bystanders.
- Jihadis don't believe any kafir is innocent and they deliberately kill ordinary (non-military) citizens.
- For sinning, Jesus advocated forgiveness.
- For sinning, Mohammad advocated stoning and beheading.
- Jesus encouraged his followers to turn the other cheek when people criticized Jesus.
- Mohammad encouraged his followers to assassinate people who criticized Mohammad. Several people who had criticized Mohammad or Islam were killed by Mohammad's followers with Mohammad's consent and approval. One was even assassinated at his request for the sin of criticizing Islam.
- According to Christianity, the guaranteed way of getting into heaven is to believe Jesus died for your sins.
- According to Islam, the only way for a man to guarantee his passage to heaven is to die while fighting for Islam. By the way, these points I'm making about Islam are not a twisting of Mohammad's teachings; they are not an "interpretation" of Islamic doctrine. Well-read Muslims would agree with my statements. This is all based on mainstream Islamic theology.
Those are the main reasons I am more worried about Islam than Christianity. I used to think Islam and Christianity were very similar, but they are not. Why is Islam so different? The reason is historically interesting.
All other major religions were started within an already-existing state. Islam is an historical exception to this rule.
Any organized government will, of course, put a stop to violent uprisings of a rebellious political group. Christianity arose within the Roman Empire, for example. If Christianity had been a militant or political uprising — if Christianity had tried to take over the government — Rome would have killed or imprisoned all the followers. Probably many military or political religions did start up then, but we've never heard of them. They couldn't get off the ground.
But Islam arose in Arabia when there was no central ruling power. The whole area was comprised of individual tribes. Under those circumstances, the most efficient way to gain converts was by force. And that's how Islam came to be.
Mohammad borrowed many ideas from both Judaism and Christianity, and that's why it bears a superficial similarity to familiar religions. But it is fundamentally different. The circumstances of its time and place of origin led to teachings that were written down and declared sacred, and those teachings now rule 1.3 billion people.
Mohammad's life itself is an example of the principle (that when you don't have power, you cannot promote violence). When Mohammad first started Islam, he was one man with no political power surrounded by many others with their own religions and lots of power. He could not be belligerent or start any wars, so he used persuasion. In the first half of his career, using his persuasive skills, he gained 150 converts. In the second half of his career, he used warfare more and more as he gained numerical and financial strength. Using the "conversion by the sword" method, he gained tens of thousands of converts in the same amount of time. Converting by force is a more effective method if you can get away with it, especially if you can reinforce it with total control of government and the law.
Mohammad created a complete system that rules every aspect of life. But in order to make the system work, Islam must be the law of the land. It doesn't work, for example, to cover all your women so Muslim men are not sexually tempted by their bodies or faces if half the women in the country are not Muslims and walk around in shorts. For the system to work, every woman must be covered. And for that to happen, the government has to follow Shari'a law.
Mohammad used force to gain converts, and all his decrees and justifications for his actions were written down in the Qur'an, which are now memorized and studied by over a billion people, many of whom take the teachings to heart. The result is a powerful, unrelenting push for Islamic political power all over the world. Their percentage of the world's population keeps increasing.