Homo Psychosis, the Cult of Sacrifice, and the PC Virus
If one is going to engage in comparative religion, one needs to exit history and take a martian's-eye view of the situation. From that trans-historical viewpoint, the Judeo-Christian tradition emerges not as religion, but the cure for religion. Allow me to explain.
The default religion of human beings is the practice of human sacrifice (cf. here and here). This is a pathological virus planted deep in the heart of the human species, which has been given insufficient attention by both theologians and morally relative anthro-apologists. Virtually all primitive cultures and ancient civilizations engaged in it. For reasons I try to explain in my book, there is something spontaneously "holy" or "sacred" in the taking of innocent human life.
For example, Aztec religion centered around the sacrifice of thousands of innocent human beings a year. As such, it was the disease it sought to cure. Again, taking the martian's-eye view, humans are a sick and troubled species. They especially need a cure for their priomordial religion.
Obviously, the foundation stone of the whole Judeo-Christian tradition -- where it all begins in the timeless archetypal realm -- is the injunction against human sacrifice, when God tells Abraham not to kill him a son out on Highway 61. Superficially, Christianity may be seen as a resuscitation of the sacrificial motif, with the murder of the innocent Jesus, but in reality, this is clearly intended to convey the idea that when we murder innocence, we murder God. The crucifixion of Jesus is meant to be the last human sacrifice, in such a way that our murderous impulses are sublimated. (Bailie's Violence Unveiled: Humanity at the Crossroads extends the idea of Jesus as universal scapegoat for our sacrificial violence.)
Unfortunately, Islam seems to involve an explicit reversion to the sacrificial motif, and a return to "mere" religion. If one reads the Koran, one is struck by how frequently Allah instructs his followers to murder in his name. While Christians have obviously behaved badly in the past, there is nothing in the actual Christian message that justifies it. As such, the Biblical text is ultimately "self-correcting." Not necessarily so with the Koran. There is nothing in the Koran that categorically forbids the Islamists to do what they do, and much that encourages it. Far from engaging in some kind of religious aberration, the Islamists are not just following the letter of their law, but the spirit of human "religiosity" in general.
Political correctness is a specifically western perversion of Christianity, since Christianity is the religion that elevates the ultimate victim to the status of Godhood: in the bi-logic of the symmetrical unconscious, God is the innocent victim and the innocent victim is therefore God. (Importantly, I am not speaking here theologically and consciously, but anthropologically and unconsciously; because of the influence of Christianity, people in the West develop different unconscious assumptions about mankind, even if they are not explicitly religious.)
Therefore, improperly understood, this Christian cognitive template puts in place a sort of cultural "race to the bottom" in competition for who is more oppressed, and therefore, more godlike. One can see how Jesus' truly radical message that "the meek shall inherit the earth" can be perverted to mean "the victim shall be all-powerful." The demagogic John Edwards campaign was almost entirely based on this perversion.
Once you understand this dynamic, you see it everywhere. What we call the "news" is almost entirely shaped by this unconscious template. For example, the Democrat presidential race is pitting one liberal victim group against another, with bizarre but predictable consequences, e.g., the gynecidal Ted Kennedy has "victimized" women by endorsing the black candidate, who is probably not really a victim anyway, since his father was Kenyan, even though all Africans are by definition victims; four years ago the press tried to paint John Kerry as a victim of the noble men he victimized with his grotesque anti-American rhetoric; and so on. You can also see that the sub-prime mortgage "crisis" is mostly a crisis if you believe that it is the government's job to rescue victims who are victimized by their own bad economic judgment (Tom Sowell touches on this today).
People who actually practice Christianity don't generally have this confusion. Rather, it is only secular types who are nevertheless parasitic on the deep structure of a specifically Christian phenomenology.
Once victim status is secured, then any behavior is excused and sanctioned. This is how, say, the Palestinians (and the left in general), always "get away" with such bad behavior. For once you are the victim, you are virtually omnipotent and can do anything with impunity. Like OJ, you can murder someone, but if you can manage to depict yourself as the victim, you are innocent. A victim is always a bully, and the unscrupulous person seizes victim status in order to mask his aggressive bullying, spuriously converting sadism into righteousness, e.g., Jimmy Carter, Al Sharpton, et al.
One of the problems with political correctness is that it is not just a weakness of thought, but a defense against thought. In other words, "dangerous" thoughts that threaten to undermine the PC world view are pre-emptively attacked.
Ironically, it is much more difficult to wrestle with weak ideas and thinkers than strong ones. This is because different minds reflect different levels of cognitive development, and while someone at a higher level possesses all of the capacities of the lower, those on a lower level literally have no point of contact with the higher. In the Darwinian sense, ideologies compete for minds, so leftism has a huge advantage, given the weakness and flabbiness of most minds.
For example, it is easy to disprove to a logical thinker that the sun does not revolve around the earth, much more difficult to prove to a primitive thinker that the earth doesn't rest on the back of a giant turtle. Likewise, it is easy to prove to a logical thinker that men and women have intrinsic differences, that hurricaines have nothing to do with man-made global warming, or that most poverty and criminality are caused by bad values, but impossible to prove these things to a PC mind. (This new book by Sowell, Economic Facts and Fallacies, absolutely demolishes every irrational liberal cliche about the economy.)
In fact, not only does the PC/primitive mind not understand your arguments, but they convert and distort what you are saying into something that reflects their own childish level, and then project it back into you. Therefore: you don't care about the environment, you just want to enrich corporations; you don't care about actual economic principles, you just want tax cuts for the wealthy; you are only against affirmative action because you hate blacks; you are for privatization of social security because you just want to enrich giant mutual fund companies; you want America to prevail in Iraq because you are an imperialist racist; etc., etc., etc. Pure projection to which it is practically impossible to respond in an effective way, any more than you can convince a three year-old that the moon doesn't follow them when they walk. You just have to wait until they grow up.