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"Formal religions are in general an assault on the personal
autonomy and sovereignty of a man!"—Michael Armstrong

The Essence of the Koran

The prevailing state of Islam and the Koran


Ed Smith on blog about Richard Dawkins remarks about Islam 2017-06-14

All religions come with an an instruction manual which explains how a believer should practice the religion. Some instruction manuals are benign to begin with and some have gone through a long reformation process which has turned them from malignant to benign. The trouble with all this talk about Islam is that the vast majority of Westerners are utterly ignorant of its essence and know absolutely nothing about it, so they allow themselves to theorize, like housewives discussing nuclear physics.

To understand the essence of Islam one just needs to read the Koran. There are numerous summaries of it, written by academic scholars, which give you the gist of the text without having to actually read it all yourself. The Koran has not undergone any reformation process and looks today exactly as it did when it was written. It basically dictates that the entire world must be coerced into converting to Islam, by force of the sword if it doesn't happen willingly, and that Infidels reluctant to convert must be killed, "struck at the neck", beheaded ISIS style. It also recommends that random Infidels must be killed at random in order to strike fear into the hearts of the others, so they convert willingly. If you want to understand random Islamic attacks, bombings, stabbings, shootings, etc, there is your explanation.

The reader of the Koran will be hard pressed to find any instructions on how to be kind, considerate or to respect any form of what we recognize as a basic human right. It's all about how to severely punish anyone who strays, in full graphic details. Stoning to death, the chopping off of limbs, beheading by sword... these are all Islamic practices that are carried out today in certain places in the world. If you want to see Islam in practice, even the "moderate" kind, just spend some time in a Muslim enclave in your country. You will witness women being treated worse than farm animals, little girls forced into marriage, honor killings... This is Islam. There is nothing whatsoever humane about it.

Obviously, the vast majority of the adherents don't behave this way, and just like in other religions treat the sentiments in the Koran as a religio-cultural metaphor, and just like in other religions they set their ethical and moral stance to be reasonably humane. Some even find a mission and prominence in promoting these otherwise troublesome strictures of jihad and punishment as not to be taken as literal but rather metaphorical and applying to the dark aspects of the inner man, and not literally to other people or outside agencies. These  are the prominent spokesmen for peace that get on TV interviews, bemoan the violence, and argue ardently that the "true" message of Islam is misunderstood and misapplied, and that Islam is an elegant and beautiful religion.

The threefold problem

Firstly, the religion of Islam is a more simple and virulent religion than the other major ones, especially Christianity. While it carries the Old Testament—comparable to the Koran in terms of what is at issue here—along like baggage or a foil, Christianity IS based on the New Testament and the idea that the "Covenant", tenor, approach and/or whatever, of the Old Testament has been superseded and replaced. Islam and the Koran has no "New" Testament, no humanizing upgrade.

Secondly, Islam has never gone through a major reformation like Christianity of shifting the foundation away from an unbroken line of Papal authority over to the Bible and the principle of sola fide. This shift enabled a huge infusion of humanism into Christendom, which was selectively fostered by the civil or secular authorities, and which continues to blossom in Western culture while the influence of Christendom wanes.

Thirdly, many if not most people that take the foundational documents seriously—most don't— as God's word, keep a foot in both of the camps above, the literal and the metaphorical. However, when a nudge come to a shove, even in opinion surveys, the results are appalling if not horrific. Most, even as they enjoy living in a Western culture under democratic law, live in an Islamic enclave, continue to get programmed in the Mosques, and default to favoring or defending Sharia Law, honor or infidel killings, and violent jihad.

A fourth factor may be that Jesus, with his humility and kindness, his teachings of mercy and forgiveness, is lurking in the influence background of Christianity. Islam has no Jesus as God.

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