Is Lt.-Gen. Flynn Right that Islam is not a Religion?

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

The new National Security Adviser to incoming President Donald J. Trump, Lt.-Gen. Michael Flynn, has called Islam a “cancer” and maintained that it is a “political ideology” masquerading as a religion. He made this generalization about the religion of 1.6 billion people out of the 7.4 billion humans on the planet, i.e. 21.6% of everyone alive. Moreover, because of high birth rates in Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia, the proportion of the world that is Muslim will increase dramatically through the 21st century, so likely they will be a third of humankind.

Michael Flynn: Islam Is A ‘Cancer,’ ‘Political Ideology’ That ‘Hides Behind’ Religion

One of Flynn’s arguments is that Christians don’t kill people in the name of Christ. But of course they do. Christian president George W. Bush said God had made him president, and Bush told French president Jacques Chirac that he went to war in Iraq because Iraqis are the Gog and Magog of the Bible, barbarian hordes menacing Christendom. I wrote at the time of this revelation,

“a bewildered French President Jacques Chirac told a journalist in a book published this spring that Bush had tried to enlist him in the Iraq invasion one last time in February, 2003, by emphasizing that the threat of Gog and Magog had gathered in the Middle East against the West and only overthrowing Saddam would forestall a catastrophe of biblical proportions . . .

“Chirac called a Swiss theologian to have him explain what this Gog and Magog was whereof Bush spoke. Chirac complained that the problem with people in the Bush administration was that none of them knew anything about the really existing Arabs. Chirac reads Arabic, and he used to ask the Bush people he dealt with to name one Arab poet. None could. France has been directly involved in the Arab world since Bonaparte invaded Egypt in 1798, so French political leaders could only lament the earnest evangelical nonsense spewed by crazies who had taken over Washington.”

A majority of US air force pilots who bombed the bejesus out of Iraq for 8 years thought of themselves as Christian warriors putting down a Muslim horde, just as Bush did. Indeed, American evangelical militarism is well-documented by social scientists.

I’m not sure why it is worse for American Christians to kill Iraqi families from the skies than for Muslim fanatics to wield less high tech weapons.

I have also pointed out that the Christian “Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda initiated hostilities that displaced two million people . . .”

As is common among these Washington gadflies with extreme views such as Flynn, he is not consistent. He seems to be in the back pocket of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan , a big supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood and of Hamas in Gaza, and leader of a country of 75 million . . . Muslims. (There is nothing wrong with all this, it is just weird that Flynn supports Erdogan and Turkey’s pro-Muslim Justice and Development Party or AKP, while demeaning all Muslims as a “cancer” and denying they belong to a religion).

So is Islam a religion? I guess it would depend on how you define a religion and who gets to do the defining. Anthropologist Clifford Geertz put it this way:

“A religion is a system of symbols which acts to establish powerful, pervasive, and long-lasting moods in men by formulating conceptions of a general order of existence and clothing those conceptions with such an aura of factuality that the moods and motivations seem uniquely realistic.”

Islam would obviously fit this definition.

In American law and practice, it is the Internal Revenue Service that defines a group as a “church,” i.e. organized religion, because it has to determine whether groups are eligible for tax exemption. These are the criteria the IRS uses:

Distinct legal existence
Recognized creed and form of worship
Definite and distinct ecclesiastical government
Formal code of doctrine and discipline
Distinct religious history
Membership not associated with any other church or denomination
Organization of ordained ministers
Ordained ministers selected after completing prescribed courses of study
Literature of its own
Established places of worship
Regular congregations
Regular religious services
Sunday schools for the religious instruction of the young
Schools for the preparation of its members”

Again, Islam obviously meets these criteria, with a recognized creed (“there is no god but God and Muhammad is is prophet”), forms of worship (5 daily prayers, Friday communal prayers), forms of religious governance (mosque congregations), formal code of doctrine, distinct religious history (I have written a lot on this subject), clerical corps who undergo seminary training, literature of its own (Qur’an, hadith), mosques, regular religious services (communal prayers), and schooling for youngsters.

In fact I am not aware that the IRS ever had any question but what Islam is a religion (“church”) according to American law.

Not only is Islam a religion, but the US courts have even recognized Santeria as a religion, and overturned municipal statutes forbidding adherents from practicing animal sacrifice. Santeria is an assimilation of Yoruba religion to Roman Catholicism in the Caribbean, and if it is a religion in American law, then Islam certainly is.

Ironically, Flynn’s line on Muslims being a political movement rather than a religion is exactly the one the ayatollahs in Iran use to deny Baha’is their religious rights.

So everything Flynn said is false. Christians have made piles of bodies as high as mountains in committing violence against non-Christians, ever since they took over the Roman Empire. Islam is experienced as a moral and spiritual good by over a fifth of humankind, not as a cancer. Muslim radicals are a tiny fringe and not representative of the religion as a whole. And the religion is really a religion by any definition you would want to pick, not a political grouping.

You only hope that all these crackpots Trump is elevating to the highest offices in the land have been shining us on all these years with their lunatic theories and that once in power they’ll start acting like responsible adults.

44 Responses

  1. The problem with a lot of Americans, as I see it is their limited education when it comes to world history and other religions.

    Any one who considers Islam a cancer is sorely missing a few chapters of history. there are people who abuse Islam and use it for their own political purposes just as there have been Christians and still are who abuse the Christian religion, using it to advance their political agenda. They’re all nut bars in my opinion and perhaps ought to get a room together. They might be surprised how much they have in common.

    This general may be bright in some areas but in my opinion, he is simply another ignorant person.

    The Americans voted for Trump or failed to vote. I wish them the best of luck. The real trouble will start when all those Americans who thought Trump was going to make life better for them find out he lied. I’m sure most of them have guns also.

    Glad I live in Canada.

  2. You would think that to a cancer cell, a healthy cell looks like a cancer cell, and a fellow cancer cell looks like a healthy cell.

  3. Speaking from a UK perspective, clearly religion and politics have always been firmly intertwined. Centuries ago the clergy had enormous power and all but ran the country. Even today in the UK the queen is the head of the church of England as well as being the nominal ruler of the country. I suppose in the end its who makes laws that the rest of us have to abide by where failure to do so carries an enforceable penalty. We have plenty of laws in Western societies made by religious edict which have been carried on down through the centuries and are still in force today. As I understand it, Sharia law associated with the Muslim faith, is still producing absolute laws which have to be followed by everyone regardless of their own faith. It would seem therefore, that Flynn might have a point although its exaggerated to bolster his argument. For all Saddam Hussein’s faults, he was of the idea that religion ends at the mosque door and he managed to run a secular society where women were not marginalized and subjugated by fanatical clerics. In other words he kept religious nutters firmly under control. Sadly, this was not what the Americans, we British and other wanted for Iraq, so Saddam had to go and he, like Gadaffi, was murdered with full connivance of the West. As a direct result religious extremism is rampant all over the middle East and the lives of ordinary people are horrendous.

  4. Juan,

    Perceptive stuff but the last paragraph reminds me — admittedly inexactly — of what von Papen expected of Hitler. In the current national milieu, I think, failure to conform to Godwin’s Law is a travesty. Not a criticism of your article at all; rather, a note of desperation being struck.

  5. “You only hope that all these crackpots Trump is elevating to the highest offices in the land have been shining us on all these years with their lunatic theories and that once in power they’ll start acting like responsible adults.”

    I wouldn’t bet on it.

  6. Author Juan Cole’s definition view of religion is rather limited . The religious concept goes far deeper than that

    The root of the three Abrahamic religions (Judaism , Christianity and Islam) is the same. The Muslim scripture mentions the names of 24 Biblical prophets by names

    American rightist politicians who hate Islam have been weaving fearful fantasies and distorted image of Islam, which reflected their own brutal colonial history of occupying America itself

    Western scholars denounced Islam as a blasphemous faith and its Prophet Muhammad as the Great Pretender, who had founded a violent religion of the sword in order to conquer the world. ‘

    In Mummers’ plays ( for example) prophet Muhammad was presented as the enemy of Western civilization,

    This inaccurate image of Islam became one of the received ideas of Europe and now America and it continues to affect Western perceptions of the Muslim world.

    The problem has been compounded by the fact that, for the first time in Islamic history, Muslims have begun to cultivate a passionate hatred of the West (Look at Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria and Libya ).

    In part this is due to European and American behaviour in the Islamic world particularly in Palestine and in brutal invasion of Iraq

    It is a mistake on the part of West to imagine that Islam is an inherently violent or fanatical faith, as is sometimes foolishly suggested.

    Islam is a universal religion and there is nothing aggressively oriental or anti-Western about it.

  7. “You only hope that all these crackpots Trump is elevating to the highest offices in the land have been shining us on all these years with their lunatic theories and that once in power they’ll start acting like responsible adults.”

    Please Juan — I need more hope than that.

  8. “…Christians have made piles of bodies as high as mountains in committing violence against non-Christians, ever since they took over the Roman Empire…” and fellow Christians too

    • These tiny groups of terrorists in all religions do not represent the values of their respective religions, their actions are overtly anti-divinity, and can only be condemned.

      There can be no justification for the killing of innocents, for attacks on civilians and public institutions. While criticism of the State of Israel, like that of any other state, is legitimate and justifiable it cannot excuse—in any way, shape or form—anti-Semitism, which is likewise anti-Islamic.

      In fact, recognized Muslim scholars (Sunnites and Shiites alike) along with the overwhelming majority of ordinary believers firmly condemn the violence of extremists and the actions of Salafi jihadists, wherever they raise their ugly heads. The world must hear this message, and the Muslims must repeat it continuously. About this we must be perfectly clear.

      Western military intervention is never far behind.
      We quite often tend to overlook the root cause of cross border based and international terrorism.
      Terrorism has been successfully used to justify increased military operations abroad once public opinion had been primed to accept it (as the jihadist threat had become plausible at home).

      So intense is the demonizing of Muslim extremists today that, in dealing with individual suspects, everything seems to be permitted.

      While it is normal to detain persons who are acting suspiciously in order to forestall terrorist actions, the arrest and indefinite preventive detention of individuals without respecting their right to a legal defense cannot be considered legitimate.

      Today, men who are imprisoned do not know what they are accused of and without judgment.

      They find themselves in a judicial “black hole” where all is permitted in the name of the “terrorist threat.”

    • Anti-Muslim voices, like anti-religious perspectives of all kinds, are not necessarily phobic.

      And to be sure, a similar list could be assembled with people whose agendas are anti-Christianity, anti-Jewish, and so on.

      But as a new report from the Center for American Progress argues, anti-Islam rhetoric in particular has lately become a powerful shaper of American discourse.

      When Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik planted a bomb in an Oslo government building, killing eight people, and later killed 68 others (mostly teenagers) at a Labor Party Youth Camp in Norway’s Utoya Island, fingers immediately were pointed at a possible Al Qaeda or “jihadist” connection.

      But in the days that followed, the motivation for Breivik’s horrendous terrorist attacks became chilling clear through his 1,500 page manifesto: to fight the “ongoing Islamic Colonization of Europe.”

      In his manifesto, Breivik made citations to numerous American “experts” and bloggers whom he considered experts on Islam’s “war against the west,” including prominent anti-Muslim writers and pundits like Robert Spencer (of “Jihad Watch”) and Pamela Gellar (who writes the blog Atlas Shrugs)—both of whom are co-founders of the organization “Stop Islamization of America.”

  9. Religion is an important human need which cannot easily be discarded or pushed to the sidelines, no matter how rational or sophisticated societies are.

    None of us can dismiss religion as irrelevant to the chief concerns of our century.

    The religious instinct is extremely powerful and can be used for good and ill. We must, therefore, understand it and examine its manifestations carefully in all cultures.

    Our dramatically shrunken world has revealed our inescapable connection with one another.

    We can no longer think of ourselves as separate from people in distant parts of the globe and leave them to their own fate. We have a responsibility to each other and face common dangers.

    It is also possible for us to acquire an appreciation of other civilisations that was unimaginable before our own day.

    For the first time, people all over the world are beginning to find inspiration in more than one religion and many have adopted the faith of another culture.

    For example after centuries of virulent Christian anti-Semitism, we see Jewish and Christian scholars attempting to reach a new understanding.

    We will never be able to see either our own or other peoples’ religions and cultures in quite the same way again.

    The possible result of this has been compared to the revolution that science has effected in the outlook of men and women throughout the world.

    But why Islam seems to be outside this circle of goodwill and, in the West at least, to have retained its negative image.
    People who are beginning to find inspiration in Zen or
    Taoism are usually not nearly so eager to look kindly upon Islam, even though it is the third religion of Abraham and more in tune with our own Judaeo-Christian tradition.

    In the West we have a long history of hostility towards Islam that seems as entrenched as our anti-Semitism, which in recent years has seen a disturbing revival in Europe.

    At least, however, many people have developed a healthy fear of this ancient prejudice since the Nazi Holocaust.

    But the old hatred of lslam continues to flourish on both sides of the Atlantic and people have few scruples about attacking this religion, even if they know little about it.

    The hostility is understandable, because until the rise of the Soviet Union in our own century, no polity or ideology posed such a continuous “challenge to the West as Islam.

    When the Muslim empire was established in the seventh century CE, Europe was a backward region.

    Islam had quickly overrun much of the Christian world of the Middle East as well as the great Church of North Africa, which had been of crucial importance to the Church of Rome.

    This brilliant success was threatening: had God deserted the Christians and bestowed his favour on the “Muslim” infidel?

    Even when Europe recovered from the Dark Ages and established its own great civilisation, the old fear of the ever-expanding Muslim empire remained.

    Ideas read from the books of Author Karen Armstrong

    • I think that your concluding description of what happened during the Middle Ages illustrates a great irony:
      When the Islamic world was up and the Christian world was down, the former, basking in the brilliance of its civilization and advanced economics, could have told the latter, “We’re obviously superior, so it is rational for you to convert.” And the latter, living in mud and squalor, could cry back, “This is a test from God – and those of us most cruel and rapacious will lead us back and get you bastards!”

      And 500 years later, exactly that had happened, and the West now basked in its rationalism and capitalism and lectured the Islamic world on the rationality of surrender, and Qutb and bin Laden and whatever maniac is running ISIS now could say, “This is a test from Allah – and those of us most cruel and rapacious will lead us back and get you pigs!”

      And maybe they will, and all this will start over again. The problem here is that whoever gets on top gets lazy and complacent… because that’s actually the better life that we all aspire to build for our children, in all our societies. And someone else will be gunning for them and their wealth. It is insanity to have a world of rich races and poor races looking to screw each other over, to exploit any weakness, to rob with pens or with guns.

      This particular cycle – under various religious labels – has been going on at least since the Persian invasion of Greece, and no one has learned a damn thing in 2500 years.

  10. One of your best blogs, Juan. Just yesterday I was thinking that religion and militarism do not work together, by any standard of consistency. Now you give us the phrase “evangelical militarism” that states this hypocrisy perfectly.

    The figure 7.4 billion for global human population is shocking, when I consider that when my father was born, in 1911, global population was around 1.7 billion. That was enough people to give us great works of art and music; enough scientists to build the foundations of modern physics, chemistry, and mathematics; and, sadly, enough soldiers to fight the Great War. Adding more people to the planet will not solve any problems; it will make all problems worse.

  11. “You only hope that all these crackpots Trump is elevating to the highest offices in the land have been shining us on all these years with their lunatic theories and that once in power they’ll start acting like responsible adults.”

    Trump is intent on doing everything he said he would do on the campaign trail. He’ll find the right people to do that.

  12. The leopard does not change its spots.

    They will act like the lunatics they are – now drunk on power – and a lot of people are going to get hurt.

  13. Islam is not a religion when your definition of ‘religion’ is Christian; just as with the Christian extremists’ flip-side, Wahhabism in which ‘religion’ is Islam. In the era of post-truth words mean what you want them to mean… don’t bother with archaic concepts like ‘definitions’ & ‘dictionaries’.

  14. Yes everything that Flynn said is a big Lie. It appears that the GOP has decided to come out in the open. They let the world know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the party has no concept of morals or ethical standards. They support themselves and the interest of those that financially support them only. The rest of the people in the world are nothing to the GOP. Trump has done nothing more then drag out into the open what the GOP has quietly supported and planed for years. Thus all of the things that you have seen Trump do and say all of his Administration will do also, for all are now seeing the inner most thoughts of the GOP.

    Yes I know harsh words and for some still in denial shocking. I served this country as well as my brother and my Father. I am the last one alive, it is a terrible tragedy to see this once great country turned into a Fascist style Government under GOP rule. I and many other veterans swore an oath to protect the US Constitution. I can not speak for the other veterans but that oath I took was for life for me. If called upon to protect it I will. I hope numerous veterans will see the wisdom to do the same.

    • I’m more scared of the rank & file Id Monster freed from any rational restraint than I was of the GOP’s reliable oligarchs. The cheapness of Trump’s campaign will be seen by all ambitious demagogues as a model for getting into power without having to compromise with the saner capitalists. More successful than Sanders’ model, which still required the followers to actually contribute what for them was a lot of money. Money exists in politics solely to buy attention. Trump found a monstrous alternative: direct appeal to the attention of that darkest part of our selves long silenced by civilized order and the hard lessons of past fanaticism.

  15. The main strategist planning the Iraq invasion of 2003 was the atheist, Dr. Wolfowitz, not the Christian fundamentalist, President Bush. The Leo Strauss influenced neocons are atheists who find evangelical militarists useful for the actual fighting just as Saudi political elites find Wahhabism useful for recruiting freedom fighters/terrorists.

    • Well, Neocons are mostly Zionists. So the question is whether Zionists are actually Jews. You could make a good case that the early Zionists were cynics at a time when any demagogue could use his ethnic identity as the basis for building a secessionist revolution on one’s own turf, but Jews were clearly out of luck. The Zionists took that secular nationalist formula and twisted it to fit the Diaspora. Machiavelli once said that in order to become a great prince, one had to find a people in great trouble… and he listed Moses as an example. I think Strauss was an admirer of Machiavelli. And I suspect those American Jews who became Neocons in the ’70s envied the aggressive identity politics of Israel and even some American ethnic groups.

      I even see this cynical hijacking of religion by the new buzzword, the “Alt-Right” or White Nationalists. Compare Steve Bannon’s endless nattering about “Christian civilization” and the evils of multiculturalism with the on-line manifesto of Norwegian mass-murderer and Islamophobe Anders Breivik. They talk robotically about religion not as faith and practice, but as a political culture that can exclude everyone else, a hybrid of turf and race.

      In truth, that’s not different than when Hitler routinely invoked “Gott.” Lutheranism and Catholicism meant nothing to him. Religion as the establishment of a monopoly of power under a patriarchy he could usurp meant everything.

  16. Damian Lataan

    He’s confused. He’s thinking of Israeli Zionists who think the land they are stealing from the Palestinians was promised to them by God.

  17. Marion Delgado

    Ironically, people like him tend to be supported by the Unification “church’s” vehicles like The Washington Times.

    • Marion Delgado

      the thing is, Moon was a fascist party member during the war. After the war, his network of fascist war criminals buying their way out of prosecution – which tied in to a group supported by the US and staffed by Nazis, the World Anti-Communist League – created several enterprises, and the so-called Unification Church was literally just one of their political outlets. A combination of a wave of fad interest in New Age cults, PLUS, and more importantly, the way the UC could be used as a vehicle to launder stolen money being siphoned out of Japan, produced the phenomenon that became the UC/Washington Times/various front groups complex we see now.

  18. The extent of ignorance is truly appalling. The general clearly has not read the Bible and has not noticed hundreds of verses that prescribe violence and genocide against non-Jews. link to

    He does not seem to have heard of the Crusades when various groups of Christians poured into the Middle East with the explicit aim of fighting and killing Muslims. They destroyed practically any Jewish colonies they came across on the way, and massacred tens of thousands of Muslims and Jews when they conquered Jerusalem.
    link to

    He does not seem to have heard of the Inquisition, the Puritan Revolution, or wars of religion in Europe. He has not heard of European wars of conquest in Islamic lands, which were often accompanied with horrendous violence. As one example, when Albuquerque captured Goa he ordered the massacre of the entire Muslim population. According to Heritage History, “As soon as the Portuguese were in entire possession of Goa, Albuquerque directed that the Muhammadan population, men, women and children, should be put to the sword.” Albuquerque proudly wrote home about his conquests, adding: “I burnt the city and put everyone to the sword and for four days your men shed blood continuously. No matter where we found them, we did not spare the life of a single Muslim; we filled the mosques with them and set them on fire…” He boasts that he did all that for the glory of Christ.

    European Christians were involved in the two World Wars when they engaged in industrial scale killing of tens of millions of fellow-Christians, as well as six million Jews and hundreds of thousands of Muslim soldiers who fought on the side of Britain in the wars.

    This is not meant at pointing a finger at Christianity or excusing the violence committed by Muslims, especially by various terrorist groups in recent history. Sadly, all religions are guilty of having committed violence in their history. However, one expects someone who is going to serve in a very responsible position as the National Security Advisor to the president of the only remaining super-power to try to push for peace and reconciliation, rather than spreading uniformed message of hatred.

  19. By Flynn’s standards, all Christians are raving lunatcs based on Westboro Baptist Church. And using Adam Lanza, Dylan Roof and those guys arrested in Kansas who wanted to blow up a mosque as a base, all white males are bloodthirsty mass murderers.

    • What Flynn is doing is separating (recklessly not carefully) those Moslems of use to America and his own avarice from those who are not. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Turkey, they are willing to pay the right people in America to get to be the ones who direct our airstrikes, not those who get airstruck. Obviously these Islamists are sure they can forever protect themselves from this growing monster of American bigotry that they feed with their bribes, but I don’t see why.

  20. Juan, Flynn is a dangerous ideologue (talk about ideologies!) but to be accurate: he did not say that Islam is a “cancer,” he said it spread LIKE a cancer. Now this may sound like a distinction without a difference, but the statement comes in the context of his assertion that Islam is by its very nature a violent ideology that spreads quickly–like a contagion. His key and most glaring error is not to such the analogy with the spread of disease etc…but with the equation islam=ideology. He neither has the training, nuance or imagination to grasp the difference between the two, and this is the heart of the problem. Here I would go to a different Geertz essay, from his “Ideology as as Cultural System:”
    “The function of ideology is to make an autonomous politics possible by providing the authoritative concepts that render it meaningful, the suasive images by means of which it can be sensibly grasped.[41] It is, in fact, precisely at the point at which a political system begins to free itself from the immediate governance of received tradition, from the direct and detailed guidance of religious or philosophical canons on the one hand and from the unreflective precepts of conventional moralism on the other, that formal ideologies tend first to emerge and take hold.[42] The differentiation of an autonomous polity implies the differentiation, too, of a separate and distinct cultural model of political action, for the older, unspecialized models are either too comprehensive or too concrete to provide the sort of guidance such a political system demands.” SO… For Geertz, culture and religion are “symbolic templates” that we absorb by osmosis from childhood and with which we automatically make sense of our world. Ideology is a reaction to modernization’s assault on this template, and the response: a deliberate effort to politicize these templates, to move from culture to ideology and politics. For those who experience and advocate this metamorphosis, the latter forever changes the original religion and culture–transforming it into something that deliberately oppose modernizing (Western) ideologies but at the same time absorbs and reproduced the very concept of ideology. This is a superb explanation of Islamism, as differentiated from Islam itself. The general you quote wouldn’t have a clue how to make sense of this explanation of shift from culture/religion to ideology, nor its implications. He just jumps to the “ideology” part of the equation, and thus, ironically, while at the same time highlighting the intensity and distorting effects of ideological thinking in the society he wishes to defend.

  21. The folks who carry guns for ISIS and Taliban would probably say they were fighting for Islam. The folks (notably those in the USA) who make support for Israel “part” of what they call Judaism doubtless say they support Israel because of “being Jews” or because of “Judaism”. In each case, a large and active group of people take action in the world that affects many lives and sometimes ends them, in the name of a religion or of a group often associated in the general mind with a religion.

    What’s to choose between them as to that understanding? Ideology or religion?

  22. Faith was related to some morals. , if you read the 10 amendments you can figure what kind of people Mosses was talking to , the others who came after that and people saw them as a prophets were but an adjusters . Why Jessus ask people living in the same community to love each other’s . Coz of hatred that Rabi’s flourish among them * , the hatred was not against the occupiers ( Romans ) . All in all , human age up till now marks more than 250 thousands year , the manuscripts started since 7000 thousands year , the one God culture that emerged in Iraq and Eygpth not more than 3000 thousands year , by religions doctrine all the people before went to hell . Discovering god like discovering united state although the people were native Americans the whole world call them red Indians coz Mr Colombus was going to bring spices from India and by mistake landed some where on Atlantic Ocean . When we read about goddess in metsopotamia and the relation amongs them ,we may understand the idea behind the monotheism .

    • link to

      Superb kaleidoscopic history of religion, from an English nun- turned-scholar Karen Armstrong

      Here, her basic message is that “religion is highly pragmatic. We shall see that it is far more important for a particular idea of God to work than for it to be logically or scientifically sound.”

      In an extraordinary survey, Armstrong traces the development of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam from their inception to the present day, and shows how they were created and shaped by their historical surroundings–which, in turn, they helped form and alter.

      Although this approach is standard among religious scholars, Armstrong uses it to particular advantage in underscoring the historical correspondences among the three faiths- -for example, examining the messianic fervor that surrounded the career of the Sabbatai Zevi (the 12th-century rabbi who built up an enormous apocalyptic cult among diaspora Jews prior to his imprisonment and conversion to Islam) in light of the early Christian response to the crucifixion of Jesus or of Jeremiah’s prophecies about the destruction of Jerusalem.

      It’s particularly in the mystical traditions, according to Armstrong, that the different faiths corroborate each other–in large part, she says, because the mystical apprehension of the divine is more abstract and therefore less dependent upon the traditional symbols by which most religions distinguish themselves.

  23. Good post with some great comments. I have to say that I find all religions lacking in much, if any, factual basis. This is even more true of Christians. At least Muhammad was a real person with a real, documented written history. But both religions base their “faith” on written documents where the true authors are unknown. Jesus might not have even existed and Mohammad was apparently illiterate. As one individual stated in their comment religion is an important human need. The problem comes when you have the human need that many individuals have; to feel superior to others. That is part of why these politicians spout their demogoguery. It really is nothing but hate speech. And Pence seems to overlook that he wasn’t really elected because people hate Islam. They just want decent jobs and health care. But this nimrod has latched on to Trumps bandwagon to carry out his personal religious extremism. I personally think all public displays of religion should be outlawed and all tax exemptions done away with.

    • Shukran Jack……Thomas Aquinas in his great work the “Summa Theologica,” he says

      yes, now here are some proofs to show that something brought something into existence when there could have been nothing.

      But then he pulls the rug out from under our feet and says, but we don’t know what it is we’ve proved. All we’ve proved is the existence of a mystery.

      We have no idea what God is. And that’s basically the way religion was left at the time.

      Religion wasn’t about answering questions that we could answer perfectly well by our powers of logos, of reason and science.

      Religion has been helping us to deal with aspects of life, facts of life for which there are no easy answers.

      whether we like it or not, the vast majority of human beings on the planet wants to be religious, want to live in relation to transcendence.

      And it seems to me that you don’t want to wipe out a species or to exterminate it.

      You want to nudge it, perhaps, into a more healthy form of evolution, if I can put it that way, and I don’t like the aggression of freethinkers .

      I think that in our very polarized, dangerously polarized world, we can’t afford yet another divisive discourse that puts us at odds with one another the West against the East or Muslims against the Christians

  24. Fanatical rightist politicians in the West want a total ban on Sharia law

    This would ban the application of even personal religious practices such as daily Prayers, Charity (Zakah), Haj , Fasting etc

    Personal and private ritual practices have become a political issue in several non-Muslim majority countries, with a petition to ban Sharia practices and councils

    Are the Shariah Laws given in the Quran (example follows) political? And radical?

    Should American or European rightist politicians throw them out of the Quran and ban the Muslims from following them even in their personal daily lives at home

    For example the following verses from the Quran talk about cleaning (ablution) before prayers, charity etc

    Quran Chapter 4: Verse 43

    “O ye who believe! Approach not prayers with a mind befogged, until ye can understand all that ye say,- nor in a state of ceremonial impurity (Except when travelling on the road), until after washing your whole body.

    If ye are ill, or on a journey, or one of you cometh from offices of nature, or ye have been in contact with women, and ye find no water, then take for yourselves clean sand or earth, and rub therewith your faces and hands.

    Quran Reference 5:6

    O ye who believe! when ye prepare for prayer, wash your faces, and your hands (and arms) to the elbows; Rub your heads (with water); and (wash) your feet to the ankles. If ye are in a state of ceremonial impurity, bathe your whole body.

    [4:101] When ye travel through the earth, there is no blame on you if ye shorten your prayers, for fear the Unbelievers May attack you: For the Unbelievers are unto you open enemies.

    The following talks about writing a will before death

    [5:106] O ye who believe! When death approaches any of you, (take) witnesses among yourselves when making bequests,- two just men of your own (brotherhood) or others from outside if ye are journeying through the earth, and the chance of death befalls you (thus).

    [7:31] O children of Adam, you shall be clean and dress nicely when you go to the masjid (mosque).

    And eat and drink moderately; Surely,

    Allah does not love the gluttons.


    Those who rehearse the Book of Allah, establish regular Prayer, and spend (in Charity) out of what We have provided for them, secretly and openly, hope for a commerce that will never fail:(29)

    The following is about congregational prayer on Fridays


    “O ye who believe! When the call is proclaimed to prayer on Friday (the Day of Assembly), hasten earnestly to the Remembrance of Allah, and leave off business (and traffic):

    That is best for you if ye but knew! (9) –

    And when the Prayer is finished, then may ye disperse through the land, and seek of the Bounty of Allah: and celebrate the Praises of Allah often (and without stint): that ye may prosper. (10)”


    And they have been commanded no more than this: To worship Allah, offering Him sincere devotion, being true (in faith); to establish regular prayer; and to practise regular charity; and that is the Religion Right and Straight.

    Are these scriptural regulations politically or ideologically threatening?

  25. One side says Islam is merely a political system. The other side says Islam is merely a religious system. The truth is Islam is a religiopolitical system. You cannot make the separation between religion and politics in Islam according to historic, orthodox Islam.

Comments are closed.