"Islam Conundrum" critique

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In response to 'The Islam Conundrum' published yesterday on AT, while the essayist's heart is in the right place — the critique of Islam and its relegation to a political ideology as opposed to a religion that deserves recognition by the West, the author goes terribly wrong. The author makes two claims about Islam that destroys its claim to respect and recognition. One, it conflates religion and political life. Two, it demands submission to Allah's will. But both of these critiques are the embodiment of the Elite's critique of all religion. It is the position of the ACLU.

First, a truly religious man of faith who takes his religion seriously, lives by it and votes by it. If he is elected to represent the people, he rules by it. This does not mean he rejects the Law of the Land that runs counter, it just means that he attempts to legally affect the law in a way that fits his view of the world. In America, at the founding, there were established churches in a majority of the states that lasted well into the first century of this nation's existence, Sunday blue laws were on the books until just recently, women didn't vote until the 20th Century, legal holidays were on Christian holy days, etc. Religion is one of the most [important] factors in establishing a people. Had most Americans not been Christian at the founding, but rather some multi—cultural or secular hodgepodge, there would not have been a founding. Even our deistic and more secular founding fathers understood just how much religion and faith determined the civil and political lives of the people. Look at the election rhetoric from the 1700s through the 1960s. Judaism, the father as it were of all monotheistic religions absolutely binds politics to religious law in the Jewish Commonwealth. But it is the difference between Judaism and Christianity on the one hand, and Islam on the other that makes the difference to which the author of this essay should have pointed.

And that leads directly to the second failure of this essay. The two great religions of the West, Judaism and Christianity, in their orthodox traditional forms, most certainly demand man's submission to the will of G—d. Judaism most certainly more than Christianity since Judaism demands absolute submission to G—d's Law. But a good Catholic is also submissive to Catholic doctrine. The difference though is not in the METHOD as the author wishes to suggest. He wants to say that a religion is bad because of the method of its faith. Per this logic, it is perfectly fine to 'believe' in something as long as you don't take the belief too seriously and are always willing to challenge its assertions. This is Protestantism and Reformism. It is not the method of Islam that is wrong. It is the faith itself.

This author is unwilling or incapable of saying what Robert Spencer, Andrew Bostom, Bat Ye'or, and I along with many others have said. The distinction between Islam and the Judeo—Christian world view is not in the fact of submission to the will of G—d or not. It is in the very ideology. In other words, it is not simply its method of submission and political authority that brands Islam as evil. It is Islam's and Mohammad's demand for world domination. Islam is a license to murder the infidel who refuses to be submissive. Neither Judaism nor Christianity, not in their historical and not in their most traditional forms, takes the view that the world must be dominated by a particular faith and even if this was someone understood to be the case, this goal is certainly not to be accomplished by the sword. Both of these great religions understand that only G—d can create Heaven on Earth as an eschatological affair. Until such time, it is for man to struggle with his faith and to persuade others that such struggle is based upon love and respect. Islam's view is that only Islam shall reign the world over, not just in some particular nation, and Allah demands, through his murderous prophet Mohammad (and this is simply the characterization demanded by Spencer's latest book which in turn is based upon authoritative Islamic sources), absolute obedience in this.

Thus, the proper indictment of Islam is not in its political machinations or in its demand for obedience. These are not new to the Judeo—Christian world. What is new is the substance of the religion: its creed, murderous ideology, and most importantly, its legal mandates for jihad. Failure to understand this leads otherwise good men to essentially rail against any serious man of faith, including good Jewish and Christian men and women. There just is no comparison.

David Yerushalmi  10 21 06

In response to 'The Islam Conundrum' published yesterday on AT, while the essayist's heart is in the right place — the critique of Islam and its relegation to a political ideology as opposed to a religion that deserves recognition by the West, the author goes terribly wrong. The author makes two claims about Islam that destroys its claim to respect and recognition. One, it conflates religion and political life. Two, it demands submission to Allah's will. But both of these critiques are the embodiment of the Elite's critique of all religion. It is the position of the ACLU.

First, a truly religious man of faith who takes his religion seriously, lives by it and votes by it. If he is elected to represent the people, he rules by it. This does not mean he rejects the Law of the Land that runs counter, it just means that he attempts to legally affect the law in a way that fits his view of the world. In America, at the founding, there were established churches in a majority of the states that lasted well into the first century of this nation's existence, Sunday blue laws were on the books until just recently, women didn't vote until the 20th Century, legal holidays were on Christian holy days, etc. Religion is one of the most [important] factors in establishing a people. Had most Americans not been Christian at the founding, but rather some multi—cultural or secular hodgepodge, there would not have been a founding. Even our deistic and more secular founding fathers understood just how much religion and faith determined the civil and political lives of the people. Look at the election rhetoric from the 1700s through the 1960s. Judaism, the father as it were of all monotheistic religions absolutely binds politics to religious law in the Jewish Commonwealth. But it is the difference between Judaism and Christianity on the one hand, and Islam on the other that makes the difference to which the author of this essay should have pointed.

And that leads directly to the second failure of this essay. The two great religions of the West, Judaism and Christianity, in their orthodox traditional forms, most certainly demand man's submission to the will of G—d. Judaism most certainly more than Christianity since Judaism demands absolute submission to G—d's Law. But a good Catholic is also submissive to Catholic doctrine. The difference though is not in the METHOD as the author wishes to suggest. He wants to say that a religion is bad because of the method of its faith. Per this logic, it is perfectly fine to 'believe' in something as long as you don't take the belief too seriously and are always willing to challenge its assertions. This is Protestantism and Reformism. It is not the method of Islam that is wrong. It is the faith itself.

This author is unwilling or incapable of saying what Robert Spencer, Andrew Bostom, Bat Ye'or, and I along with many others have said. The distinction between Islam and the Judeo—Christian world view is not in the fact of submission to the will of G—d or not. It is in the very ideology. In other words, it is not simply its method of submission and political authority that brands Islam as evil. It is Islam's and Mohammad's demand for world domination. Islam is a license to murder the infidel who refuses to be submissive. Neither Judaism nor Christianity, not in their historical and not in their most traditional forms, takes the view that the world must be dominated by a particular faith and even if this was someone understood to be the case, this goal is certainly not to be accomplished by the sword. Both of these great religions understand that only G—d can create Heaven on Earth as an eschatological affair. Until such time, it is for man to struggle with his faith and to persuade others that such struggle is based upon love and respect. Islam's view is that only Islam shall reign the world over, not just in some particular nation, and Allah demands, through his murderous prophet Mohammad (and this is simply the characterization demanded by Spencer's latest book which in turn is based upon authoritative Islamic sources), absolute obedience in this.

Thus, the proper indictment of Islam is not in its political machinations or in its demand for obedience. These are not new to the Judeo—Christian world. What is new is the substance of the religion: its creed, murderous ideology, and most importantly, its legal mandates for jihad. Failure to understand this leads otherwise good men to essentially rail against any serious man of faith, including good Jewish and Christian men and women. There just is no comparison.

David Yerushalmi  10 21 06