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The message is missing in Islam

Reader comment on item: Advice to Non-Muslim Women against Marrying Muslim Men
in response to reader comment: Sid

Submitted by Prashant (United States), Jan 1, 2019 at 06:40

Dear Dr Pipes,

As a Hindu, I am very privileged to see something good in many religions of the world. In Christianity, I see the emphasis on love and service. I see Jews as the first people to systematically codify monotheism. They call themselves the chosen people but they do so most beautifully with humility and without bravado. Hindus, of course, are the main proponents of the idea that all paths as long as they do not harm others go to the same God. Many other religions of the world, similarly, have some central ideas to latch on to when all else falls apart.

Unfortunately Islam missed the bus. And that too for its own doing. As our fellow reader Freebird wrote, Islam is full of contradictions. It is well known that many Quranic verses contradict earlier verses. That Islam contradicts itself is not much of a problem. All religions make contradictory statements. It is mathematically impossible to come up with a set of rules that are both complete (can prove everything or its negation) and consistent (leads to no contradictions). So all religious books including Quran will either be incomplete or self-contradictory. No shame there.

The saving grace of all religions is their core message. Christian message of love and service, Jewish message of reflective monotheism, and Hindu message of sufficiency of all good paths fit the bill. When a religion offers a core consistent message, it can survive for ever as long as that message is intact.

Unfortunately, we cannot say the same thing about Islam. Islam's core message is very stringent and is not defensible. By its own admission, Islam's core message is 'stubborn non-idolatry and monotheism'. That is bad news. You see humble versions of non-idolatry and monotheism are defensible but stubborn versions of them fall apart. Lot of people -- Muslims included -- often entertain agnostic and atheistic thoughts. If we are stubborn and militant about one single God, we leave no breathing room for us and others when we are in our deny-the-existence-of-God phases. Islam, for example, has to either call Stephen Hawking (who was a good sinless human being and an atheist) a sinner worthy of punishments or fall apart in contradiction.

Islam is trapped in its own straight jacket. Excessive amounts of rules and regulations force the followers to lose track of whatever the core message could have had.

If Islam reduces its reach to its five pillars and becomes less stubborn about everything else, it can be a pretty OK religion. Emphasis on charity can be Islam's core message. The modest version of Islam that we all want to emerge will be born out of its five pillars combined with a milder version of monotheism.

Submitting....

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