Monday, April 30, 2007

Radical And Moderate Muslims

"And I must say, this goes to the whole point about the moderate/radical Muslim difference: it doesn't exist.

The Koran is a radical text from start to finish. So called moderates cherry pick their theology from the Koran, but the problem is that these alleged moderates cherry pick over and leave out the very things that Jefferson, Adams, and we modern Americans face: violent Jihad, Muslim aggression, subjugation of non-believers, slavery, and world domination."

I read this comment on a discussion of Christopher Hitchens’ “Jefferson Vs. The Muslim (Barbary ) Pirates. I couldn’t respond to it. But, it reflects a common perspective; that Islam is by nature a radical and violent religion. I can agree that definite doctrines of the Koran can only be interpreted that way. Unlike Jesus, who I think did, I don’t believe that Mohammed saw himself as the foundation of a worldwide religion that would last beyond a millennium. But, I don’t believe that there is no distinction between moderate and radical Muslims. Aside from the manifest fact that not all Moslems behave this way (we’d have a present planetary calamity on our hands if they did), this commenter says “that these alleged moderates cherry pick over and leave out the very things that Jefferson, Adams, and we modern Americans face”. They do exactly that. That’s why they are “alleged” moderates. People allege that they are moderates because they are not hard about killing the infidels.

So, we can talk about the message of Islam, but to accuse all people who identify themselves as Muslims is false, ungracious (Jesus was big on grace, you may recall), and imprudent. It’s false and ungracious for obvious reasons. It’s imprudent because these people have expressed a disinclination to this violent, radical behavior, and this piles them in with the urgent adversary that we need to highlight, distinguish, and deal with. We don’t want to divide “us” (non-Muslims) from “them” (Muslims) We want to divide violent from non-viloent Muslims. Why do “moderate Muslims “cherry pick?” Why have they spurned a path that a strictly fideistic submission to the defining document of their religion advocates? An ostensibly, though not actually philosophically, denuded response might try to slide by the assertion that they want to side with some basic morality, without bothering to offer how such a morality might be justified.

But, I’ll tell you right out front how I believe the neglect of the violent directives of the Koran are “cherry-picked” out. I believe in a natural law that God has endowed all men with the knowledge of. We know what’s clearly right and clearly wrong. We are naturally cautious in our approach to that knowledge. And we act in defiance of it only in unadorned self-interest or utter surrender to a religious/philosophical dogma, that incidentally is not necessarily theistic. In The Bible, the book of Romans describes a basic knowledge that all men are endowed with, and the book of James describes sin a not doing what is known to be right.

All wrong action takes this same route: I’m a passionately anti-abortion Christian, but anti-abortion violence perpetrators and people like the Topeka, KS Baptist group wich pronounces divine judgment on all but a few like them and travel to protest honoring children slain in gun-violence, are “Christians” who behave in definitively unChristlike ways. Incidentally, Christopher Hitchens, whose article sparked this comment, is a fairly seething scorner of all religious belief. Do we want to indict people who have responded to their God-given sense of what is moral on the mere basis of the name, “Muslim?”

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