I enjoy getting comments on my blog posts. Many add informative extras to what I was writing about. But sometimes I read a comment that makes so little sense, my only reaction is a bewildered "huh?"
Such as this one, submitted in response to "Of all the crazy religions, is Islam the most dangerous?"
I was a big fan, but now you lost me. Now you just seem racist to me. Sorry. I'm no fan of religions, any of them, but it's fundamentalists that are the problem. I don't like it when people target any particular group. The Muslims I know would completely disagree with your interpretation of their faith. Sorry.
First, how is it possible to be racist when Islam isn't a race? Islam is a religion. Devotees of Islam belong to various races. I criticize Christianity a lot. Does it make sense to call me a racist for doing so?
Second, the commenter failed to address my question. Which is a fair one.
Sure, most Muslims don't engage in violence in the name of their religion. But neither do most adherents of any other religion. However, it's reasonable to ask why those who kill others in the name of their religion so often are Muslims.
Yes, it can be argued that these terrorists are simply using their religion as an excuse to carry out violent politically-motivated acts.
This doesn't explain the special proclivity of Muslims to engage in violence when it clearly is motivated by religious belief, though. As noted in my previous post, members of no other religion riot if someone burns their holy book or draws insulting cartoons of the religion's founder.
Andrew Zak Williams does a good job of addressing the "racist" charge in his New Atheism should be able to criticize Islam without being accused of Islamophobia.
Surely, rational discourse should be permitted to tiptoe cautiously along the hallowed corridors of the house of Islam without the guards frogmarching it out, bellowing allegations of racism and bigotry. Cannot we not agree that the real issue is whether the critiques of Islam proffered by today’s prominent atheists are correct?
For instance, does Islam fall short when it comes to women’s rights? Does it trample free speech while enforcing its own precepts, by the sword if necessary? By all means, apologists may disagree with the likes of Harris and biologist Jerry Coyne. But what signal is sent by a refusal to permit the issues to be even debated?
One can dream up allegations about any religion that are so obscene that no beliver should be expected to respond. But take the suggestion that Islam has some way to go before it promotes gay rights beyond the level of a misnomer. Or that its holy book, taken literally, demands an embrace of violence and reprisals that wouldn’t be tolerated by any humanist ethos.
These allegations, on their face, are wholly consistent with observation. What’s more, its tenets and precepts have real consequences and repercussions for all of us. What is it that leads apologists and liberal writers to nevertheless consider that Islam shouldn’t have to answer these charges, and that those who bring them are merely dressing their bigotry in a cloak of intellectualism?
I'll feel a lot better about Islam when Muslim leaders around the world overwhelmingly denounce violence in the name of their faith whenever and wherever it occurs. So far, they haven't.
This tells me that we need to keep asking whether Islam is a particularly dangerous religion.