I’ve heard the oft repeated meme that Islam is a religion of peace, and that the terror unleashed upon the world is not representative of the vast majority of Muslims. I’m willing to believe that for the simple reason that were we to have a majority of the over 1 billion people who identify as Muslim committing acts of terror, the things we deal with now would be minor. If most Muslims were committed to violent jihad there would be no place to hide. We would be engaged in global guerrilla warfare all day every day. I must infer from the fact that this isn’t happening that most Muslims are not willing to kill people for the advancement of their religious ideals. But that is not the same thing as believing most Muslims are committed to peaceful coexistence with anyone who is not Muslim or those who oppose Islamic ideology. The question is one of utmost importance to the future of the world.
I know the secular West has done its best to take the teeth out of religion. God is dead is a pretty explicit cannon shot in the face of religious ideologies. But there is also the blurring of any remaining religious systems of thought into a homogenous blob that attempts to domesticate them. Nietzsche was killing religious thought with nuclear weapons; the radioactive religious leftovers at ground zero decided to tame it. All roads lead to God. All religions are basically the same and noble in their effort to bring about unity of mankind; love and peace. But religious ideologies have proven to be remarkably resistant to nukes and to assimilation. Islam is impervious to Nietzsche and to secularization because it sees itself as it really is; a competing worldview with as much right to its claims of truth as anyone else’s. Nietzsche proclaimed that all claims about the nature of truth were power plays designed to elevate the group making the claim. What he seems not to notice is that while he was fiddling with his own brand of jihadist nuclear weapon, he set it off in his own face. For what greater power play could there be than to claim God is dead? What great truth claim could anyone make than Nietzsche did? And so he taught us we should disregard his own claim as a mere attempt to gain power over us. There is a big bang for you. And the secularists did no better when lumping all religions into one thing that has no real edges. The problem with their claim that all religions are the same is the same as Nietzsche; it is a statement about the nature of reality that by its very nature elevates itself above all the other claims. In other words the secularist attempt to lump all religions together is itself a religion; a set of beliefs that has no foundation better than any of the religions it attempts to dethrone. Muslims and other people of faith can see the hypocrisy and the search for power in these claims. Their truth is able to compete on the field of ideologies along with every other ideology. If the nukes and the blurring lines didn’t touch them you can be sure that mocking them as a people stuck in the stone age won’t effect them either.
Now to the real question. Muslims are not going to give up their ideology; is their ideology compatible with peace? We know that in the history of the world there have been ideologies that were not peaceful and could not coexist within the civilized world. They had to be defeated. The case for Islam is very complex. If Islam is going to continue as an ideology it can only go one of two ways. Either Islam conquers the world or Islam conquers itself. The first scenario is obvious. It means that persistent insistent conversion of all people through any means necessary is an Islamic principle, core to the ideology. There is no negotiating with this Islam. The second scenario is that Islam rejects any coercive form of conversion and instead decides to depend upon the attractiveness of its core beliefs to bring people into its way of life; to make more Muslims. This may be possible. At this moment there are obviously more non-violent Muslims than violent Muslims. But where is the rejection of the violent means of advancing Islam? If I am to believe most Muslims are non-violent because there are not more terrorist attacks in the world, I must also believe that a majority of over 1 billion people raising an outcry against the portion of their religion’s people who are violent would be very loud and clear. Very loud and clear. If extremist Christians were regularly blowing up abortion clinics all over the world in some wrong headed and perverted version of Christian belief, would Christendom police itself? Would Christians attempt to uncover their plots and bring these terrorists to justice? Or would they sit back and allow these bad apples to advance their agenda without implicitly supporting them. Would they say to themselves that abortion is a very bad ungodly thing and, while they would never blow up a clinic personally, is it really so bad that one less abortion clinic is in the world and one less baby butcher is alive?
It is going to take active rejection of evil for Islam to prove that it is peaceful. Just as I would expect Christian churches to separate themselves from anyone doing evil in the name of Christianity, I believe mosques must do the same. There must be a movement to seek out and stop Islamic terrorists by people who follow Islam. It must be worldwide and it must be soon. I’m afraid the silence of the mass is already too deafening and ominous and may mean that either Muslims are not sure about what their religion demands of them or know that it demands extreme and violent activity that they themselves are not willing to carry out, but they are glad to have someone else do in the name of their god. The non-Muslim world should not accommodate Islamic coercion. No threat ever led to a valid conversion to any ideology. We should encourage Muslims who see this and accept this point to speak up loud and clear. This generation will not pass away before we find out what Islam really is.