Sunday, 23 June 2013

Dangerous fundamentalists - in Christianity and in Islam.

Preliminary notes:

1.    The word “Allah” simply means God. Christians in predominately Muslim lands naturally and easily refer to God as Allah, as did Jews who, for instance, grew up in lands such as Syria.

2.   There are many expressions of Islam. Some of them are mutually incompatible e.g. the deep seated arguments and fights between Shia and Sunni Islam.

3.   There are many expressions of Christianity. Some of them are mutually incompatible, e.g. the deep seated differences between Evangelical and Roman Catholic Christians. Evangelicals have been known to say that Catholics are not Christians, and Catholic dogma says that Evangelicals are not part of the “true Church”.

However I have come to the conclusion that despite their theological and historical differences, there is little to choose in practise between Fundamentalist Islam and Fundamentalist Christianity.

1.   Both insist that their sacred books (the Quran and the Bible) are not merely the word of God, but are in fact the words of God. (any discussion between fundamentalist Muslims and fundamentalist Christians about which of the sacred texts is the “true word of God” will have no more productive value than a pissing match).

2.   Both insist that their sacred books can only be truly understood in a particular language: The Quran in Arabic for Muslims, the King James (Authorised) version of the bible for Christians).

3.   Both believe that their faith can only be truly understood as it is interpreted by authoritative teachers (Imams or Pastors).

4.   Both believe that salvation is attainable by utter and absolute submission to Allah/God. No questions permitted!

5.   Both believe that: (a) men are superior to women; (b) the role for women is to submit to male leadership.

6.   Both believe that the ideal State is one which is governed not by secular law, but by Sharia law (for fundamentalist Muslims), or by “Biblical law” (for theocratic/fundamentalist Christians).

(One of these days I will also critique mainstream and liberal Christianity.)

But lest you should think that I am being extreme, please also read the following.

In all honesty I know hat some forms of Islam also assert that “women are for beating”.

So, it's not that I am pro-Islam or con-Christianity.    It's that I believe that the same "canons of criticism"  should be used with regard to the fundamentalisms in both faiths.

In short I assert that the beliefs of fundamentalist Christians and of fundamentalist Muslims are “peas in a pod” and that they are equally dangerous to human and democratic freedoms.

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