When I realized how much fun it was to criticize New Testament, I thought that maybe it would be equally fun to have a go at the Qur'an. Now that I've finished with Jesusianism, I am taking a look at Islarme, the Religion of Tears. I ran down to the local bookstore and got an English translation of the Qur'an, and was totally stunned to find that this so-called holy book starts off with some strange little poem called "Kaf". What happened to "In the beginning God..."? I knew immediately that this book would be a challenge, nothing like any normal, American book I've ever read. So I popped back down to the bookstore and grabbed a half-dozen or so other books to help me make sense of this stuff.
I'm not sure exactly how I'll put this together. It seems that it will be a series, which I expected, but not immediately about the Qur'an, which is a surprise. It occurs to me that perhaps most of the people observing my antics know as little about Islarme as I do, so I'll share what I learn here, as well as my thoughts on what I'm learning.
I've decided to start with The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Islam, Second Edition.
- Page xix, ¶1: "...if you're like most people, you might not know a great deal about Islam." If Islam is like most religions, then I don't need to know a great deal about it to know ahead of time that it's bullshit. By all means, believe in things for which you have not even a shred of a reason to believe in. But when you claim that such things have given you a message for me, then your beliefs are bullshit. I'll discuss morality and politics all day with you, but not with anyone else who, as far as I can tell, exists only in your head.
- Page xix, ¶3: "...the need for people to understand their Muslim neighbors and their religious and cultural traditions." I have no more need to understand Muslim religious and cultural traditions than I have need to understand Catholic religious and cultural traditions. Bullshit is bullshit, whether it's green or brown. I don't need to know what the bull ate to know that the end result was shit.
- Page xix, ¶5: "...there are those who view Islam as a potential rival for Western dominance..." See, this is the problem with religion in general: it's divisive. I object to the idea of Western dominance just as much as I object to racism, sexism, or any other kind of us-and-them-ism, regardless of how its supporters attempt to defend it. We're all just people. We all have the same needs, the same desires, the same joys, the same sorrows. No religion has ever brought everyone together; they're all the same, bringing a few together in order to exclude the rest.
- Page xx, ¶3: "Do you enjoy the works of Plato? These...are gifts from Muslim society to the West." No, they're not. Not any more than the abolition of slavery is a gift from Jesusianism to the West. They're gifts, yes, but not from any school of religious thought. They're gifts from rational people who recognized the need for the advancement of rational thought and social justice. Islam and Jesusianism just came along for the ride, like hobos jumping onto a train loaded with food.
- Page xx, ¶4: Many U.S. prison systems recognize the civilizing effect that Islam has on prison populations. Muslims have been credited with ridding neighborhoods of drugs and prostitution. Fair enough, but atheists have done a lot of good things too, and no atheist has ever killed anyone in the name of the non-existence of space fairies. Also, prostitution and much of the recreational drug market would not be the evils that they are if they were legalized and regulated, so I can't see that Islam has done us any good in these areas, any more than Jesusianism did us a favor in the prohibition era.