Is it unacceptable to wonder if the world might be much better off if Islam had never existed? As far as I know, we are in possession of no contradictory data since Churchill's crack about the dreadful curses with which Mohammedanism burdens its votaries. Vanderleun's snidebar reminds us of their
"improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement, the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men" (Churchill).
Just sayin'. The same could be said of Christianity, but only by someone as incredibly courageous, intellectual, historically informed, and unconsciously Christianized as, say, Bill Maher.
Yes. For example, Chesterton expresses it well when he speaks of how "Any agnostic or atheist whose childhood has known a real Christmas has ever afterwards, whether he likes it or not, an association in his mind between two ideas that most of mankind must regard as remote from each other" -- specifically, that there is a deep relationship between infant and Cosmos, or between the impotent baby and the omnipotent Creator.
We often hear liberals claim how their latest power grab is All About the Children -- which it usually is, in a perverse and destructive way -- but they are nevertheless what Chesterton calls "psychological Christians" even when they aren't "theological ones." They are the form without the content, the intelligence without the wisdom, and especially the sentiment without the substance. I mean, consider our children's Soup Nazi, Michelle Obama.
Now, think about Obama, who boasts that America is one of the largest Muslim countries in the world, but sends the bust of Churchill back to Mother England. How nutty is that?
So, we have a choice: Obama or bust. We'll take the bust back, please.
Rebecca Bynum writes of how, in the Christianized west, there are distinctions between God, religion, and the political order. Not so in Islam, where these three are permanently fused: "Islam has effectively replaced God. Since for Muslims the only allowable method of finding God's will is obedience to Islam, for all intents and purposes, Islam is God."
This is what troubles me about evangelical predestineers, because if their doctrine is true, it is literally the case that there is no distinction between God and creation, therefore man = God. In other words, if everything I do and think is a direct result of God's will, how am I distinct from God? I am no longer an individual, nor do I have any rights or duties, since I am just a divine cat's-paw.
Think again of how this differs from orthodox Christianity, in which the most helpless thing in the world -- the human infant -- is of ultimate value. In Islam it is the other way around, i.e., it preserves the downside-up reality that Christianity is here to invert: "Like a hive of bees, the group must be protected by the sacrifice of the individual. Islam is the queen for which all individuals sacrifice" (ibid.). Who needs it?