So its been discussed at some other places I visit that many of The New Atheists have a serious and irrational hatred of Islam above and beyond other religions. Sam Harris is perhaps the strongest example.
Given that Islam really had no effect on the lives of Harris and Dawkins as Christianity did, this seems the opposite of rational. Its not based on childhood trauma or even much personal experience.
Why is it that many of the most prominent atheists have this issue and why hasn't there been any sort of push back about?
This is just one article, but google is there if you would like more:
To be entirely fair...
I've read some of Harris work and I agree with much of what he has to say. I will admit I'm not a scholar and have not read the Koran. I suppose that will have to go on my to do list if I want to debate the details (somewhere after completing the tile job in my bathroom). Of those quoted sections I have read, my interpretation is that this is not a religion of peace, unless we're talking about the potential peace that would exist after all the infidels have been killed. That some or even most adherents of this religion would be peaceful, at this very moment, does not mean the religion itself is benign. From an outsider perspective, it is a very chaotic and dangerous (not just potentially dangerous) religion.
Not lacking in either critical thinking or writing skills, Harris does a fine job of defending himself.
Perhaps Harris would deign to deal with the mess in his own house first.
You are assuming he hasn't.
So, unless Sam Harris singlehandedly defeats Christianity in this county he isn't actually doing anything? You do know he has written stuff on it, right?
Harris may be a citizen of the U.S. but I think his house is much bigger. Besides, while xtianity may be a major PITA over here, it's not in most cases lethal. His comments on islam address a bigger problem. His comments regarding other religions address issues both here and abroad. He does what he can, where he can. By writing and speaking he generates interest which benefits us all. I say that even though I do not support all his positions.
I'm sure the religions/dictators/corporations/people/etc./etc./etc. would be quite happy if the rest of us were to take your parochial approach to life. It's much easier to crush the locals if you don't have to worry about outside interference.
To equate Islam with other religions is, wait for it, "barking mad".
Let's start with a very basic difference between Muhammad, Jesus and the Buddha. I'm not aware of the latter two engaging in any violence, but the former:
The idea of Muhammad as a military man will be new to many. Yet he was a truly great general. In the space of a single decade he fought eight major battles, led eighteen raids, and planned another thirty-eight military operations where others were in command but operating under his orders and strategic direction.
This simple fact destroys any pretense to sameness. But let's go on to examine Islam in detail:
Islamic texts encourage terror and fighting to a far larger degree than the original texts of other religions, concludes Tina Magaard. She has a PhD in Textual Analysis and Intercultural Communication from the Sorbonne in Paris, and has spent three years on a research project comparing the original texts of ten religions. “The texts in Islam distinguish themselves from the texts of other religions by encouraging violence and aggression against people with other religious beliefs to a larger degree. There are also straightforward calls for terror. This has long been a taboo in the research into Islam, but it is a fact that we need to deal with," says Tina Magaard. Moreover, there are hundreds of calls in the Koran for fighting against people of other faiths. “If it is correct that many Muslims view the Koran as the literal words of God, which cannot be interpreted or rephrased, then we have a problem. It is indisputable that the texts encourage terror and violence. Consequently, it must be reasonable to ask Muslims themselves how they relate to the text, if they read it as it is" says Tina Magaard.
That's cold, hard data. Let's now see how Muslims interpret their doctrine, compared to Christianity.
... all of the schools that are considered orthodox teach, as part of the obligation of the Muslim community, warfare against and the subjugation of unbelievers.
That's right. All schools of Islam have not been reformed since the head-chopping days of Muhammad himself. Violent jihad is still part of their doctrine.
God mandates ethnic cleansing?
Besides passages apparently celebrating warfare and ethnic cleansing as sanctioned by almighty God, the books of Moses also contain other passages jarring to modern sensibilities. God commands, for example, that Sabbath-breakers be put to death ...
But is the Bible really enjoining violence, both against nonbelievers and believers who commit sins deemed worthy of capital punishment? This question cannot be answered by an evaluation of the text alone, for that text does now and has never in history stood apart from the way believers have understood it and acted upon it. From that perspective, the arguments of Peters and D’Souza, and the many others who have said essentially the same thing, founder primarily upon one central fact: there are no armed Jewish or Christian groups anywhere in the world today who are committing acts of violence and justifying them by referring to these texts. Indeed, throughout history, these texts have never been taken as divine commands that either must be or may be put into practice by believers in a new age. All these passages, after all, are descriptive, not prescriptive. They nowhere command believers to imitate this behavior, or to believe under any circumstances that God wishes them to act as his instruments of judgment in any situation today...
In short, the consensus view among Jews and Christians for many centuries is that unless you happen to be a Hittite, Girgashite, Amorite, Canaanite, Perizzite, Hivite, or Jebusite, these Biblical passages simply do not apply to you. The Scriptures records God’s commands to the Israelites to make war against particular people only. However this may be understood, and however jarring it may be to modern sensibilities, it does not amount to any kind of marching orders for believers. That’s one principal reason why Jews and Christians haven’t formed terror groups around the world that quote these Scriptures to justify killing civilian non-combatants...
But the Bible has made people commit violent acts – hasn’t it?
"... certainly Christians have committed violent acts in the name of Christianity. But have they done so in obedience to Christian Scripture and the teachings of the various Christian sects, or in defiance of those Scriptures and teachings? During the Crusades, it became customary for those who joined the effort to be referred to as “taking up their cross,” echoing Jesus’ statement: “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross, and follow me” (Matthew 16:24).
But on its face, of course, this says nothing about war or violence of any kind, and has been understood throughout history as referring primarily to the Christian’s struggle to conform his life to the demands of the Gospel...
The fact that he must instead resort to the physicalization of passages about spiritual warfare only makes more obvious the fact that can have no recourse to any Christian martial tradition, or doctrine of warfare against and conquest of unbelievers.
In Islam, however, the situation is quite different.
... in contrast to the Bible, the Qur’an exhorts believers to fight unbelievers without specifying anywhere in the text that only certain unbelievers are to be fought, or only for a certain period of time, or some other distinction. Taking the texts at face value, the command to make war against unbelievers is open-ended and universal."
The key to understanding Islam is that it is dualistic, reflecting the transformation of Muhammad from a peaceful preacher to violent warlord. Hence in the Koran you find both peaceful and violent verses. Which one is true Islam? History suggests that the violent interpretation is true Islam.
But, in fact, it doesn't matter which is true Islam. What matters is whether the terrorists can make a compelling argument that they have the true Islam. And indeed that can and do. And because of that fact, we have to treat Islam as an ideology as dangerous as communism or nazism. It is totalitarian and imperial in nature.
Sam Harris: "Osama bin Laden... is giving a truly straightforward version of Islam, and you really have to be an acrobat to figure out how he is distorting the faith". Indeed.
Here are some good videos on Islam:
A Rational Study of Radical Islam, by Dr. Bill Warner
Dr Bill Warner Exposes Islamic History
Sam Harris The Problem with Islamic Fundamentalism are the Fundamentals of Islam
Islam - What the West Needs to Know
Sorry to bust your illusions, but the common mantra parroted by the media and our universities that Islam is a religion of peace is flat-out wrong. Western nations are paralysed by political correctness, to the point of suicide. Welcome to reality.
I should add the important caveat that recognising Islam's true nature, and how we treat Muslims in light of this knowledge, are two different things. The policy implications are a matter of personal opinion. At a minimum, I think we need to stop Muslim immigration into the West. Beyond that, it starts to get complicated. But awareness of the problem is our first priority.
That the holy books of both christianity and islam are loaded with violence and over-the-top penalties for sins against their beliefs is a well-established fact. Both religions have modern-day expressions of such violence as well. Whether there is an inbuilt media bias or not, I am not certain, but the level of violence with islam appears to be far more in evidence. Worse, islam acts far more often and far more violently against their own people: Sunnis against Shia, men against women, and the least slight against their religion is reason enough to react with angry demonstrations at minimum and more violence at most.
Fundamentalist christianity at least seems to be willing to listen to reason. Fundamentalist islam does NOT ... and therein is why I mean to keep a very wary eye on any untoward event associated with it.
I think it's reasonable to say, whatever historic actions, or whatever is said in the holy books, in the present time, in the present world, the barbarism of even popular Islamic leaders is unmatched by any other major religion. The Pope and plenty of others decry secularism, but on an organizational level, no one is advocating or doing killing of non believers (or believers with the wrong sect). Repeatedly (many times daily if you count all the incidents in the current Muslim world), killings are done, both large and small scale specifically because of current Islamic belief.
I myself have ready the Koran (anti apoletics is rather a hobby of mine) and while there are many passages throughout leaving no doubt as to the validity of war angasint all who oppose Islam, I am found just as many preaching peace and understanding to other religions (technically only christians and jews are mentioned). As for why I personally dislike Islam more it is because it is strong. Muslims actually follow their faith unlike most christians and this makes it exceedingly difficult to convert, change their policies, or to keep them from slowing down progress. It is not a matter of terrorism, there is even christian terrorists they simply do not get as much publicity. It is a matter of change, and how wont.