Do you respect Islam more than Christianity?

I’ve noticed that atheists don’t seem to critisise Islam as much as Christianity. Why the double standard?

Posted: August 14th 2007

SmartLX www

Christians should not feel unfairly targeted by atheist writings. If Christianity is the religion most often mentioned, it’s for two reasons.

One, the majority of English-speaking countries with full freedom of speech have a Christian majority. People write about what they know and what is close to them.

Two, to shift the focus, the majority of English-speaking countries with a Christian majority have full freedom of speech. An expression of atheism in many countries with other religious majorities, particularly Muslim, can attract legal prosecution and even attempts on the author’s life. This wrath can even extend into the free countries; look at what happened to Salman Rushdie in England.

Therefore in terms of material, author motivation and personal safety, it’s just easiest to write about Christianity right now. That said, the majority of authors do their best to use Christian aspects as examples of wider issues of religion.

If you’re a Christian, don’t immediately take criticism of Christianity personally. The specific example is not usually the point. Look at what it’s being used to say.

Posted: November 29th 2007

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Russell Blackford www

Some of us, including me, spend time worrying about, and criticising, Christian belief of various kinds because Christian leaders and Christian ideas have the most prestige within our particular societies (Australia, in my case).

However, Islam is more troubling in some important ways. Here’s one.

Some kinds of Christianity have adapted well to liberal principles involving the separation of church and state. Christians often emphasise the individual relationship between the believer and God. Thus, some of them can find, within their own belief systems, the ability to distinguish between religion and politics and to eschew the use of the state’s coercive power to impose their beliefs on others. They can pursue their own spiritual salvation even while living within a non-Christian society.

Some fundamentalist Christians do not accept this concept, and seek to create a theocracy. Also, it is arguable that the Vatican merely gives lip service to the idea of a separation of church and state, while seeking to impose a specifically religious morality. However, it’s worse than that with Islam.

It’s not clear that Islam to date has been able to embrace the concept of a church/state separation at all. Accordingly, current forms of Islam appear to sit badly with liberal ideas about the role of society and the state vis-a-vis religion. We’re still awaiting an Islamic reformation that could overcome this problem.

Posted: August 19th 2007

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vjack www

Do I respect Islam more than Christianity? Absolutely not. Both emphasize faith, thus wallowing in irrationality. Both have caused many forms of harm to civilization. Both need to be overcome as humanity moves toward a post-religious existence.

My blog explicitly focuses on “opposing Christian extremism in America” because I am tired of Christian Americans pointing the finger at Muslim extremists without being willing to consider the Christian extremists in our midst. This is not a double standard but an effort to call attention to a seriously neglected phenomena.

Posted: August 17th 2007

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brian thomson www

I’d agree that the critics we see are typically more qualified to talk about Christianity, both from personal experience, and because they live in countries where there is more public awareness of the details of Christianity. If you criticise a specific aspect of Islam, e.g. treatment of women or non-Muslims, you are liable to get a Qur’an quote in response.

The Qur’an is perfect and beyond criticism, and can be quoted from to back almost any position you can think of. So, we have the Hadiths, written by the rulers to suit their own agendas, and that is the core of what Islam became: as it developed, it enshrined the kind of bigotry discussed by others here, and (at the same time) became utterly intolerant to criticism of its basic tenets.

This is not some atheist propaganda: it falls under Apostasy in the Hadiths, and is punishable under Shariah law. Even where Shariah law is not in effect – e.g, the UK – those who speak out against Islam are in genuine danger: example . The paucity of published criticism of Islam says nothing about how many doubting Muslims there are, too afraid to speak out, never mind leave Islam. Someone who speaks out from the “inside”, such as Hashem Aghajari, is doubly deserving of an audience and respect for his courage.

Personally: I have criticized Islam quite a lot (in my writing), but in one sense it’s harder to write about creatively, because it’s so obviously and grossly nuts. By analogy: if Christianity can be compared to “a person with mental issues”, describing Islam’s flaws is like calling someone “mad”. It’s so far “out there”, anything you say immediately sounds unsubtle, disrespectful and biased, even if you try hard to be fair. I might be prepared to “intellectually respect” Islam in my criticism, but they haven’t given me much to work with. 8-/

Posted: August 17th 2007

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flagellant www

If you see atheists criticising Christianity, this is because they are more familiar with the topic, it being the most popular religion in the West and Australasia. I, myself, am a recovered Christian but I am more scathing about Mohammedanism than Christianity. I have often written: ‘All religions are silly; some are nasty.’ While I think there are nasty aspects to some Christian religions, Mohammedanism is irredeemably nasty. Here is something I’ve written elsewhere:

The sillier aspects of Mohammedanism include not drinking alcohol or eating pork; perhaps the nastiest aspect is the attitude to women. Consider this passage from the Koran, ‘the unfalsifiable word of God…’:

Men have authority over women because God has made the one superior to the other, and because they spend their wealth to maintain them. Good women are obedient. They guard their unseen parts because God has guarded them. As for those from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them, forsake them in beds apart, and beat them. Then if they obey you, take no further action against them. Surely God is high, supreme. (Sura 4:34).
This stanza, taken with others from the Hadith (some further sayings of the prophet), purports to justify:
  • Male superiority
  • Female subservience
  • Violence against women
  • The requirement for women to dress so as not to inflame male passions and
  • Polygyny (more than one wife), but not polyandry (more than one husband).

No, Mohammedanism isn’t very nice. It’s horribly sexist. If you would like a little more, see Richard Dawkins’s article written just after 11 September, 2001.

In giving my answer, I have, throughout, used my standard term ‘Mohammedanism’ rather than ‘Islam’. It is a measure of my contempt for the faith that I refer to it in a way that is anathema to members of the faith. This is no ‘double standard.’

Posted: August 17th 2007

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John Sargeant www

Trust me they do criticise – in particular have a look at Sam Harris “End of Faith”.

Yet when most of us live in countries where professed faith is mainly Christian it is not surprising that attention can be focused on that religion. But increasingly secularism is under threat from those promoting Islam to have a legal standing in Europe.

But we are critical of all religions, and 9/11, 7/7 has focused attention on Fundamental Islam.

Posted: August 17th 2007

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Atheists shine their critical-thinking skills on all brands of religion, including Islam, thus exposing to the light of reason the element commonly shared by all religions which is that they are based on the supernatural of which there is no evidence.

Searching youtube.com will show videos made by atheists criticizing Islam. In addition, Christopher Hitchens and Ayaan Hirsi Ali (former practitioner of the Islam brand) are very vocal atheists in their criticism of Islam in their speaking engagements and books. Some atheists are very concerned about the violence to which Islam is connected at present. Christianity was once a very violent religion also, but it became tamed through the centuries. With warfare so technologically advanced at present, many atheists are concerned that we do not have the time to wait for Islam to become moderated as Christianity did.

However, many at this site are much more familiar with Christianity because we were brought up in it and/or we move in circles where the majority of people profess Christianity. Therefore, Christianity is often focused on, for no other reason then it is the particular religious brand that we most commonly see being practiced in our day-to-day lives, thusly deserving our focus in keeping our countries secular.

Posted: August 16th 2007

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