Christianity is an awful religion. Although Christ largely taught acceptance and patience, most of the rest of the bible contains approval of large-scale human rights abuses. It’s because of the bible that people (even in modern America) can justify bigotry, misogyny, homophobia, and just about every other barrier to peace. But, as I’ve written earlier, Christianity is rather benign compared to Islam.
I’d rather live in a society that prevents gays from marrying than one that kills gays. I’d rather live in a society that tells rape victims that they can’t get abortions than one that kills them to preserve their family’s honor. I’m not saying that either societies are ok; both are horrible, but one is considerably more horrible than the other.
I’m American. I’ve lived in the US most of my life. Most of my atheist activism has focused on issues that are ever-present in these fifty United States. But sometimes I think that my “talents” may be better suited in my beloved Lebanon (although that country too is rather secular). In other words, I feel that American atheists should be more concerned with Islam than Christianity.
This isn’t to say that atheists and progressive anti-theists should disavow themselves with the struggle against Christian lobbies and aggressive churches, but that the focus right now should be to push Islam into the Sea. Call me an Islamophobe if you will, but first consider the following Hadith:
Nobody who dies and finds good from Allah (in the Hereafter) would wish to come back to this world even if he were given the whole world and whatever is in it, except for the martyr who, on seeing the superiority of martyrdom, would like to come back to the world and get killed again (in Allah’s Cause).
This Mohammedan teaching directly contradicts the Koranic prohibition against suicide. This is precisely the justification for why even educated middle class men from Islamic states fly planes into buildings. And when Muslims commit acts of suicidal terror in the name of Islam, what is the general response from Muslims?
It’s “Islam is a religion of peace” and “The Quran does not support terrorism” and “Jihad is a battle against your mind, not a battle against non-believers.” In none of these statements do I hear a criticism of a religion that allows men and women to become so radicalized against non-Muslims that they are willing to kill themselves in order to kill as many non-Muslims as possible. Indeed, Sam Harris, in his book The End of Faith, makes a compelling argument that there is no such thing as a “moderate Muslim.” Moderate Muslims would be calling for a reinterpretation of a religion that leads to suicide terrorism, not attempts to preserve Islam in its present form.
Christianity (largely) reconciled itself with the fact that slavery is evil even though god condoned it in the bible. In other words, Christians critiqued their own religion and changed it. For example, the Vatican now condemns capital punishment, despite it carrying out more executions than most people could comprehend. And while a lot of Christians still support capital punishment, they don’t condone stoning as a method, despite its use in the bible. Most Christians don’t believe that the woman is the property of her husband, despite the biblical insistence that she is. But, while Christianity has evolved to fit social standards of decency, Islam has held steadfast to 14th century beliefs.
When Samuel P. Huntington wrote about the Clash of Civilizations, I believe he accurately predicted events such as 9/11 and subsequent wars between the US and the Taliban, al-Qaeda, and other Islamist regimes.
It is because of the dangers of Islam that I call on Western atheists and progressive anti-theists to focus more of their effort on condemning the absurdities, dangers, and threats we face by those who adhere to a religion that calls for the death of those who condemn it. In other words, don’t condemn Christianity less. Condemn Islam more.
Besides, what kind of a life is worth living if you don’t have a fatwa threatening it?!