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Islam is like all religions?

Reader comment on item: [The Issue of Compulsion in Religion:] Islam is What Its Followers Make of It

Submitted by Bill Sweeney (United States), Sep 29, 2004 at 15:35

Mr. Pipes:

In your article titled, "Islam is what its followers make of it," you made a statement that, as a devout Christian, I found troubling. You wrote, "...Islam - like all religions - is whatever believers make of it." I won't get into a long theological debate over this, but aren't you painting with a broad brush here? Obviously many have perverted the Christian faith, but it's almost always (unlike Islam) the vast majority of true Christians that point out their heresy. Believers in the Bible, know that (like the verse that you quoted from the Koran), we can't form doctrine from a single verse, especially if that verse is taken out of context. We believe, as Peter wrote - "...know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation..." (2 Pet 1:20) We can see this "reinterpretation of scripture" occurring right now regarding homosexuality.

Unlike Islam, we debate and argue over chapter and verse. In fact there was really no single "Reformation," the Christian church is constantly reforming itself, constantly denouncing and casting out apostates as we're commanded to do - "If anyone is causing divisions among you, give a first and second warning. After that, have nothing more to do with that person. For people like that have turned away from the truth. They are sinning, and they condemn themselves." (Titus 3:9-11) The Bible is so clear about what constitutes right and wrong, good and evil... that (for example), homosexuals are reduced to inane arguments like, "those verses are outdated..."
I'm sorry if it seems that I've been overly-defensive, but I'm fed-up with moral-equivalence (i.e., "The Israelis are no better than the PLO," "Christianity is no better than Islam...")

I still look forward to your very insightful articles, thank you.
Submitting....

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Daniel Pipes replies:

I take your point and was not implying a moral equivalence; but as you indicate in your response, Christianity has changed monumentally over the centuries, and that's what my comment was referring to. I am a historian, not a theologian, and focus on change over time.

DP

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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