Tuesday, May 17, 2011
A not-so-good defence of Islam
The following is what started out to be a post in the comments section in response to this article in the National Post. However, my post got longer as I continued composing it, so I decided to publish it here instead.
In a nutshell, the National Post article defends Islam against some of its most vocal critics. Below is my criticism of that defence.
This article engages in a number of curious arguments.
First, defenders of Islam and the Koran often cite examples in the Old and New Testaments to suggest that all religious texts have controversial passages. But wasn't Islam supposed to be an improvement on both Judaism and Christianity? Yet here's Islam trying to argue that it's just as bad as the others. Curious.
Furthermore, I think the New Testament holds up quite well against most other religious texts. What controversial war passages does it contain? Jesus is the most remarkable and peaceful man to have ever lived. I don’t think Christianity has much to explain away in its primary texts.
Regarding the Old Testament, which I believe Jews have to defend more than Christians, it does not contain laws telling Jews to deal violently with non-believers. Rather, it contains a history of how Jews had to deal with an otherwise Godless world in ancient times, and that often meant violence. The Koran, on the other hand, contains passages that specifically call for violence and intolerance against non-believers in general. They are not descriptive examples like those found in the Old Testament.
So, Islam, which was supposed to correct Judaism and Christianity, seems to go backwards, not forwards. And, as a Christian, I believe Christianity is the final answer, and that Jesus doesn’t need improving.
I also found the article to be curious because it cites interpretations of the Koran that advocate peace and equality -- and not the Koran itself. Doesn’t that lend credibility to those who criticize the Koran specifically?
Regarding the separation of church and state, Christianity has shown itself capable of such a distinction. Has Islam?
On top of everything else, the writers of this article seem to suggest that critics of Islam should be banned from Canada, just as other so-called champions of hate are. But when your own defence of your religion and holy text are so filled with curious bouts of logic and argumentation, do you really have a leg to stand on? I’m not so sure.