The Parallels of Radical Muslims and Christian Extremists

“We are at war against infidels…I ask all Islamic nations, all Muslims, all Islamic armies, and all heads of Islamic states to join the Holy War. There are many enemies to be killed or destroyed…the final aim of which  is to put Koranic law in power from one end of the earth to the other” – Ayatollah Khomeini 

But it is dominion we are after. Not just a voice. It is dominion we are after. Not just influence. It is dominion we are after. Not just equal time. It is dominion we are after. World conquest. – Rev. Thomas Ice

In case you’ve been living in a cave, some Korans were included in a pile of materials that were incinerated by the United States military. U.S. Gen. John Allen, Commander of American and NATO forces in Afghanistan, said the books had been mistakenly given to troops to be burned at a garbage pit at the U.S. military base in Bagram, which is north of the Afghan capital, Kabul. Allen said that the books had been pulled from the shelves of a detention center library that adjoins the base because they contained extremist messages or inscriptions. He also acknowledged it was a mistake, and the moment they found out, the activity was immediately stopped. Apologies, including one from President Obama, who said that the burning of Korans and other Islamic reading material that had been tossed in a pile of garbage was an accident.

Apology Not Accepted…

Five days of chaotic street battles have left more than 30 people dead, including two U.S. military officers. There have been firebombings, grenades launched, multiple calls for the death to all Americans, and Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naqdi, Commander of Iran’s Basij force, said

“Nothing but burning the White House can relieve the wound of us, the Muslims, caused by the Burning of Quran in the US. Their apology can be accepted only by hanging their commanders; hanging their commanders means an apology”

I experience so many thoughts and emotions every time I read a story like this. Radical Muslims often call for extreme consequences to a plethora of actions, many of which should not even be worthy of any reprisals. Yes, the Islamic faith is complicated and, as with Christianity, there is also a fair amount of misunderstanding and misinformation – especially among their own ranks.

As an atheist activist, I am frequently confronted by angry Christians and confrontational Muslims. However, I have yet to meet, in person, an extremist Christian or a radical Muslim. I have gotten into heated debates, have received hundreds of death threats via email, including this seventh Fatwa I received last year,

You have published and spoken against Islam. You have insulted the Quran. You have committed blasphemy against the Prophet Mohammed. You have been identified as one who reaches far to incite others against Islam. For your crimes you have been sentenced to death according to our law. You will soon see your end for your crimes.

–The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is execution— Quran 5:33

We have sent instructions to all Muslims wherever they are to execute this sentence without delay in order that it be known the penalty for those who dare insult the sacred beliefs of the Muslims.

There is no God but the true God; and Mohammed is His prophet

For more hate mail, but a copy of my book. The last chapter is exclusively hate mail. But in person, even the most vitriolic confrontations I have had were not with radicals or extremists, and this is evidenced by the fact that I am still alive.

Pot, Meet Kettle…

When stories like the calling for the burning of the White House and the murder of our Commanders hit the news, the extremist Christians are among the first to cry out at the barbarism of radical Islam. They scream that we are all in danger and that Islam must be wiped from the face of the earth before they kill us all, etc., etc. If you doubt this, you are either being willfully ignorant or have not perused the extremist Christian websites, of which there are many. Same goes for radical Islamic websites. Contrary to what radical Muslims and extremist Christians would love for the rest of the world to think, it is not the infidel who is calling for the deaths of believers.

Most of us don’t give a shit, one way or another, if someone chooses to follow Islam or Christianity. The majority of Christians and Muslims are peaceful people, at least here in the States. Most of us would like to see the dangerous doctrines that allow for the justification of atrocities toward human rights and acts of terrorism eradicated, but I know very few unbelievers who call for the eradication of living, breathing human beings just because they believe in a god. No, that honor goes to the radicals and extremists of Islam and Christianity, and in many third world nations, these two factions are mainly killing each other.

Lex Talionis At WARP Speed…

Lex Talionis is the technical term for the concept of “an eye for an eye,” and it addresses the basic issue of the punishment fitting the crime. Many believe this is a biblical principal, but it dates back to Hammurabi and points previous, having been adopted by Judaism, then Christianity and finally, Islam. It fits these religions because it speaks to the dark underbelly of their theology as it pertains to the transgressions of their holy laws. It is, as I stated, justice at its base. You blind someone, you are blinded. You kill someone, you are killed, etc. Most civilized societies have evolved beyond this to the more humanitarian – many having abandoned capital and other forms of punishments such as the cutting off of a hand for stealing, etc.

Not Radical Islam, though, and while Christian extremists remain guarded due to the bad press the faith has garnered by virtue of the Crusades and the carrying out of the instructions put forth in the Malleus Maleficarum, they are making their desire for a return to more barbaric forms of punishment toward the infidel and biblical transgressors known at increasingly alarming rates. But radical Islam has no shame in metings out punishments that are far beyond the scope of the crime, taking Lex Talionis past the boundaries of its definition.

This is the logical conclusion for any theocratic society, particularly those who espouse the teachings of the Abrahamic faiths. The very fact that radical Muslims issue death threats for cartooning Muhammad, burning a Koran or any one of several perceived crimes committed by women – including the horrific offense of getting raped – is testament to this.

More Equal…

Many Muslims try to defend their faith by saying that these punishments are not part of Islam. Islamic apologists are often heard explaining the actions of radical Muslims as not being the “true spirit of Islam.” However, when one considers the words in the Koran and the actions of many of their followers, it would appear that they are. This is no different from the Christian extremists who take the words of the bible as literal commands to commit a host of atrocious acts. What is the difference between flying a plane into a building and bombing an abortion clinic? Poor examples of Islam and Christianity? Think about that for a minute before you answer…

The moderate Muslims who condemn the terrible acts committed by the radicals are no different from the progressive Christians who condemn similar acts of the extremists in their camp.  Peaceful Muslims and Christians are to be commended for their disdain toward the violent aspects of their religions, of course. I have long been addressing the need for mainstream Islam and Christianity to do a better job of this. They may be good people, but they are poor representatives of their respective faiths on a fundamental level according to the actual words that are in their holy books.

Moderate, mainstream Christians and Muslims are generally peaceful people, but their customs and traditions still make them very different. This is not a bad thing, as diversity is one of the things about humanity that I find to be one of our strengths. However, as much as the radical Muslim and the fundamentalist Christian maintain their belief that they are diametric opposites, they are more alike than their peaceful counterparts.

Freedom…

Radical Muslims and extremist Christians are not interested in the premise of freedom that the United States was founded upon. I will give radical Muslims credit for honesty, though. They make no bones about the fact that they do not believe in freedom of choice. Extremist Christians, however, are more devious. They go through great lengths to rewrite our history to incorrectly reflect that the original intent of the founding fathers was nothing short of a theocracy.  There is a quote that is often mistakenly attributed to Sinclair Lewis,

“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.”

The original quote came from Yale Divinity School Professor Halford E. Luccock and does not include a reference to the Christian cross, but the common one in circulation is, nevertheless, accurate. The end result of radical Islam and extremist Christianity is one in the same. World domination by means of fear and intimidation. For radical Islam, fear and intimidation comes through loud and clear every time one of their leaders calls for something like burning down the White House and killing our commanders for burning one of their holy books, or any one of the thousands of similar calls-to-arms that spew forth from the mouths of their leaders every year.

Radical Islam and extremist Christianity teach that their gods are to be respected without question. But respect does not come through the use of fear and intimidation. Respect is something to be earned through actions that are beneficial either to society as a whole, or to an individual or group of individuals. This is a concept that is lost on the radical Muslim and the Christian extremist, who expect respect for their respective faiths just for the sake that they exist. Religions are what their adherents understand them to be, and that understanding has a lot to do with what how leaders of those religions interpret their holy books. If you have a batshit crazy religious leader, you end up with a group of batshit crazy believers.

This is as true for extremist Christianity as it is for radical Islam. They can yell and scream that they are opposites, but in the end, the two are not so different, after all.

  7 comments for “The Parallels of Radical Muslims and Christian Extremists

  1. February 26, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    Great post. I find it alarming that so many people in our country are so quick to point out the negatives to radical Islam, but are blind to the same negatives in Christian extremists. Theocracy is theocracy–when religion has all the power, I can’t think of one example where the society upheld the traditions of modern liberalism and pluralism. People like Rick Santorum are as dangerous as any other extremist. What concerns me, is as you said, they work their way into power a little more subtly than perhaps Islamic extremist. However, at the end of the day the level of intolerance is quite similar.

    • Dave The Sandman
      February 27, 2012 at 3:47 am

      Actually I would argue that the Dominionists and stealth theocrats of the GOP/Religulous Reich Axis in the US are by far the greater of the two evils.

      A rabid Islamist at least grew up and was raised in a state that was already subject to 6th Century moralities and laws. They are arguably a product of their environment.

      The stealthy dominionist scumballs of the US are actively seeking to overturn or usurp a democratc egalitarian system that was set up to ensure they never held power. They also re-wrte history to do this, thus dragging the good works and reputations of men like Adams, Jefferson, Mason and even Lincoln in the mud, twisting their words and writings to their own ends. Dishonesty, corruption, lies and insurrection, all carried out with malice aforethought. And while they smile, they murder while they smile. While their followers blow up abortion clinics and shoot down their staff, these scumbags wheel out the No True Scotsman and have the DHD allocate all resources to chase down the 6% of actual terrorism that is attributed to muslms and ignore the 94% that isnt.

      So….now I ask you….which of them is the worse?

  2. JJ7212
    February 26, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    One thing I usually tell ‘conservative’ christians is that they’re doing it wrong. There is nothing conservative about the bible. It’s those hard core fundamentalist that I have more (tongue in cheek) respect for. At least they know about commitment and how to do what they’re told. It’s completly fair to pick on the fundamentalists because they are the true manifestaion of their religions. I don’t know what else can be said about it. The average christian in America is weak christian. Same goes for American muslims. Weak, and non-thinking. Atheist get refered to as ‘arrogant’, but I’m not sorry about it because I’ve given much more thought to these ideas than those who are trying to defend them.

    I like Al’s voice of reason because he thinks and makes me think too. He doesn’t tell me to accept his opinions on faith. In fact he has a great medium here for debating ideas. I find this blog much more engaging than any church or mosque could ever offer.

  3. machintelligence
    February 27, 2012 at 8:12 am

    If “eye for an eye” justice is what the Radical Islamists are after, just give them a stack of bibles and a can of gasoline. This will not be effective, however, because those burned copies of the Koran were idols. Apparently, since they are forbidden to have holy images, they view the book (not its contents) holy.

  4. minxatlarge
    February 27, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    In my opinion, the definitive analysis of religious violence was by Mark Juergensmeyer in “Terror in the Mind of God”, 2000.

  5. ConcernedJoe
    February 28, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    It boils down to this:

    The invisible but nevertheless omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, and perfect god of the Abrahamic religions needs minion humans to do the enforcing of his laws and his need for unwavering honor and respect in all things regarding him.

    Humm… got to make one stop and think about it.

    In further news tail wags dog.

  6. October 3, 2012 at 6:01 am

    Most of the things you state is supprisingly appropriate and that makes me ponder the reason why I hadn’t looked at this in this light previously. This piece really did turn the light on for me personally as far as this specific subject matter goes.

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