Response to: Which is Worse? Islam v. Christianity

A couple months ago Robert Karp asked this question. I initially meant this as a comment to that post, but it developed into something bigger, so a blog post makes more sense.

For the most part, Christianity has gotten past its bronze age stage. There are still pockets of severe repression, but not so much anymore. People make a lot of prayer in the classroom, commandments on church lawns, and "In God We Trust," but these things are nothing compared to what was going on a few hundred years ago.

Islam, on the other hand, largely has not moved forward. As you say, it is mostly contained to "third world" countries, which is true, but of late a lot of those folks have taken it upon themselves to emigrate to and challenge the customs of the 1st world countries.  The exception to the last sentence is the American born children of these people (or ones mostly raised here). They seem to have settled the clash between their religion and Western culture.

What would be dangerous to our society is if those backward ideas take hold. People say it can't happen here, but already in some European countries there are whole areas where it's simply not safe to travel if you're indoctrinated in the Western way. The most immediate problem is that of insular communities; those which might have an ultra fundamentalist Muslim majority, where police and other secular authorities are subservient to powerful clerics.

This actually already happens in communities with ultra fundamentalist Christian or Jewish orthodox majorities. It just doesn't get talked about much because they tend to keep to themselves. As far as I'm aware, there are no ultra fundamentalist Muslim majority communities as of yet (or Muslim majority of any level of piety for that matter), so whether or not they'd do the same thing remains to be seen.

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Comment by Albert Bakker on January 16, 2012 at 9:03am

How would that go then? First slay the infidels and then sue their corpses?

Comment by Unseen on January 16, 2012 at 9:27am

Are we reaping the whirlwind of decades of looney liberalism that thinks it's better to accept and even foster diversity than for immigrants to adapt and adopt local ways?

Comment by Albert Bakker on January 16, 2012 at 1:24pm

@ Unseen - Well I can't speak for the US, it seems to me that has never been the case there, but in the EU it was a policy that was shared by pretty much all parties. In the Netherlands the exception was the Socialist Party (SP) - they insisted on integration, learning the language, spreading the housing and so on, and they were vilified for that from left and right.

Like I said the plan was that they should go away after use. But they got children here, and in short their whole lives. They were already regarded foreigners in their country of origin. Plus yes, it was the sixties and seventies (the eighties were crisis years) so cultural relativism would have been more in fashion than it is today.

For the matter of global jihadism we inherited that to a great extent from the support of the mujahedeen as a proxy against the Soviet Union occupying Afghanistan. (And later use in Former Yugoslavia.) The First Gulf war (actually the second) and the stationing of US troops in the surrounding countries, was the trigger for al Qaida's global strategy. But the strategical foundation was already laid in Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation. In the spread of fundamentalism among immigrant youth in Western countries, Saudi money is instrumental.

Comment by Alison on January 16, 2012 at 5:07pm

Modern Islam seems worse to me than modern Christianity since I fear the ignorance of Islamic fundamentalist and Sharia Law more than I fear the ignorance of fundamentalist Christians.

Comment by Doug Reardon on January 16, 2012 at 6:53pm

Death or BongaBonga?

Comment by Ron V on January 16, 2012 at 7:33pm

Islam, hands down

Comment by Atheist Exile on January 16, 2012 at 10:47pm


Militancy, Jihad, propaganda, war, terrorism . . . watching the news, it seems that fundamentalist radicals are driving the Muslim agenda all around the world -- even though they're a minority in Islam. Take a look at where violence has been worst and the list will be almost exclusively populated by Muslim groups or countries. Although the majority of Muslims might be peaceful, Islam itself, via the Quran, advocates radicalism. The Quran repeatedly makes it quite plain that Allah takes a dim view of those who remain at home instead of joining the fight for Jihad.

Comment by Gary Thomas on January 16, 2012 at 11:40pm

In the US, homegrown islamist, former evangelicals and othe xians who convert to islam seem to be the most radical and dangerous members of the muslim community.

Comment by Michael Merritt on January 16, 2012 at 11:58pm

Seasidechap: Interesting, but I guess it makes some sense. If that third generation was growing up in the Internet age, they're still pretty malleable, easy to influence. With the Internet, I can see how it'd happen.

Barry Eckert: Hopefully history won't repeat exactly as it did. Actually, there may be some evidence that it won't. In the past month or so there have been at least two cases, I believe, where international pressure forced the hand of barbarism. But two isolated cases doesn't really mean anything.

Comment by Martin Brannan on January 17, 2012 at 11:01am

Instantly or historically?  I think however you slice it, they are equally bad.  Historically, Christians have probable caused more mayhem and disaster than Muslims, but as Yahweh's third child, Islam had a delayed start.  The Jews were first (if the OT is to be believed) to kill, rape, maim and subjugate in the name.  Then came Christians.  Now it is Islam's turn.  So, on the killing, maiming and subjugating front, Muslims are the biggest threat instantly.  

Does that mean that Christianity poses a smaller threat?  I don't think so.

While Christians are less prone at the instant to kill and maim and subjugate with violence, they are more subtle and more insidious making them, in a different but very real way, a huge threat to rational thinking and secular living.  State constitutional amendments declaring that live begins at conception and new state laws targeting reproductive rights of women; declarations of public policy based on religious dogma; affirming the nonsensical motto "in god we trust;" all these things are prevalent and possible because Christianity has changed it's tactics into those of subtle persuasion (read - coercion).

They are, in different ways, equally bad.


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