There are instances that one may use faith to accept things, and other cases where observable facts must settle issues. Religion in general relies, if not exclusively, at least primarily on faith. When you challenge a religious person about the reality of religion by saying, “I have to see it to believe it,” he may respond, “You have to believe it to see it.”
And when it comes to something of such great import as religion and its implications, I am hesitant to believe it first and hope to see its redeeming qualities later. Believing people’s claims without supporting evidence runs counter to reason. Simply because someone believes something, does not make it so. Even when over a billion and half people claim they believe Islam is the handiwork of a supreme creator and his book is the eternal charter of goodly life for all of mankind, I am not swayed.
To further explain, beliefs are private experiences and may have full validity for one individual, but others should not be expected to accept them unquestioningly. A person suffering from schizophrenia, for instance, may have conversations with all kinds of extraterrestrials and report seeing them. The individual may be fully and honestly convinced that his experiences are real. Yet his faith in the reality of his experiences does not constitute a proof of reality to those who are unable to verify them.
With respect to religion, one may be willing to accept its usefulness based on constructive roles it may play in serving society, without the need to be shown that it is indeed a mandate of life from the Supreme Being. Religion, at the very least, must have some tangible redeeming qualities. The Iranian’s ancestral religion, the Zoroastrian faith, was meritorious, for it preached three simple, yet extremely vital dictums of life: good thoughts, good speech, and good deeds.
Judaism, irrespective of the contention that it is a divine religion, introduced the greatly valuable Ten Commandments to civilize us. Christianity championed practices such as love and charity. Islam, by contrast, lacks any redeeming qualities. The book of Allah is a manual for violence, divisiveness and hatred. We see the proof of Islam’s lack of merit in the nonstop daily horrific acts of Muslims, all justified based on Islamic scripture.
Simply because someone claims he is a divine messenger and his discourse is dictated to him by a creator called Allah, it is not sufficient for us to abandon the observable proof needed and simply accept the claim even though the claimant and his message have inflicted great harm on mankind from day one to the present.
Many people adhere to religion because it provides them with comfort and a compass in life. It is these assumed benevolent features of religion that confer upon it a special status. Yet, concern with religious overreach has led societies to enact safeguards against that possibility. Some, for instance, feared that Christ was a rebellious Jew aiming to challenge the ruling Romans. Perhaps to assuage this fear, Christ emphatically proclaimed, “Render to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” To this day, there are those who still believe that the Christ was a mere social revolutionary.
In the case of Islam, there is no ambiguity at all. The mosque and the state were one and the same from the very start. During his lifetime, Muhammad embodied in his person all three branches of worldly secular governance — the legislative, the judiciary and the executive — as well as the religious domain. As a messenger of Allah, he transmitted Allah’s laws, adjudicated according to those laws, and implemented Allah’s design. He also prescribed a set of religious instructions for the spiritual life of the faithful.
As I have many times stated in the past articles, there is no such thing as “radical Islam.” I have refused to accept several organizations that seek to combat or expose the antics of “radical” or “extreme” Islam, because I know that it is not extremism that causes the violence…it’s mainstream, typical, normal, traditional, specified, canonical Islam.
In general, if those peaceful and non-violent Muslims make a herculean decision not to toe the line with active jihadists and come out of their comfortable shelters by spreading love and peace without ever resorting to violence while they condemn it whenever or wherever they see it, the world will welcome them with open arms.
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