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That's why it just might Collapse

Reader comment on item: When Sunni and Shiite Extremists Make War
in response to reader comment: a religion of peace... but not peaceful

Submitted by Ron Thompson (United States), Mar 24, 2016 at 20:08

jl,
Thanks for your provocative and interesting thoughts. You offer hopeful evidence on a question I have long pondered when you say that some in the Middle East are "secretly turning to atheism."

It seems logical to me that very many might decide to turn away from Islam because its teachings contradict their wish to live peacefully with their neighbors regardless of their religious beliefs. But how could we know how many feel this way when to show any hint of Atheism would place their lives in danger, and the West is too confused or pusillanimous to stand up to Islam and expressly offer support and solidarity, or even asylum, to those who wish to leave Islam and depart from its brutal commandments? Maybe they no longer think Mohammed is right when he say "Allah knows best"
whenever His teachings (as reported by Mohammed) conflict with the promptings of their own hearts.
So thanks for indicating what may be going on beneath the surface of suppression and conformism that defines the Muslim-majority world and the rantings of thousands of little Mohammeds.

While I understand that minority branches of Islam like Ahmadis, Bahai, and Ismailis do not produce suicide bombers, I also understand that for true believer Sunnis and Shia, they are regarded as no better than 'infidels', so must always live with some degree of danger in majority-Muslim societies. It also seems clear that their understanding of Islam conflicts with the commandments of the Koran and the demand of Sharia law for everybody, so I have some trouble understanding why they don't definitively break from Islam while still otherwise maintaining their beliefs as an entirely separate religion.

One other point. I am not quite as certain as you that the "culture" of Islam is so strong that it (the culture) cannot change decisively. It is one of the great dramas of History that the world of polytheism 1700 or 1800 years ago so completely gave way to monotheism - Although a disguised polytheism continued in Catholicism, everybody came to think of themselves as monotheists.

In our own day, vast numbers of people have drifted out of or decisively left what was still very strong religious belief for most people in the 19th and past the mid-20th century.
For a large and growing percentage of our population, Enlightenment or secular values as well as outright atheism has replaced traditional religious belief.

If Islam should become personified in peoples' minds as a Giant Bully, and people will stop siding with the bully by attempting to appease or not offend it, I think surprisingly vast changes in the culture of the Muslim-majority world, and in defiantly insular Muslim immigrant communities - the culture that now seems so immutable, so intolerantly and violently immutable - could actually change with surprising rapidity.

Submitting....

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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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