Christians vs. Muslims
January 12, 2009 Leave a comment
Most people in the US are aware that there is an amazing diversity of religious beliefs and forms and observances not only in our country, but all over the world. Religions come and go over time and their continuity depends mostly on how ardent they are, and how strongly they proselytize their beliefs to others.
Most of us also know that Christianity and Islam are the top religions. Christianity leads the pack with an estimated 2.1 Billion adherents, followed closely by Islam with an estimated 1.5 Billion believers. What may surprise some though is that Secular Humanists, Agnostic, Atheists as a group fall in third place with an estimated 1.1 Billion people professing that they believe there is no God. Hinduism follows in forth place with about 900,000 to 1 Billion faithful. What surprised me was that Judaism is in 12th place with only about 14 Million believers.
Another thing that continuously amazes me is each of the primary religions splits into many, sometimes hundreds, of smaller groups with different practices, and each one of them believes with every fiber of their being that theirs is the only ‘True’ belief and expression of that belief. Past beliefs or religions now tend to be labeled ‘Myths’ although at the time of their heyday many of those people would swear theirs was the only ‘True’ belief.
One thing we do know though by logic alone…only one or none could be true. That is true for the whole of religious beliefs…now or in the past. Christianity now has the upper hand in the United States, but Muslims are increasingly poking their heads up and asking for recognition and for consideration of their religious views and practices. Not too many people know that Muslims are reproducing at a rate at least double of that of Christians.* and if we can refrain from killing each other off, Muslims will surpass Christianity as the largest religious body in the world probably in this century.
England is already experiencing problems with their high percentage of Islamic followers. They are asking for their own court system and want to be the ones who dole out justice to their Muslim brethren for a number of offences such as wife beating and intolerance of homosexuality. How England will deal with this problem is up in the air at this time, but one needs to remember that as the population grows, these people will be able to elect their own into the political body now in power.
Now I am not writing this to knock the Muslims, I am only using them as an example of religious ambition to political control. They think (know?) that theirs is the only true and real religion on earth…and they want everyone to acknowledge and bow to their God. Connected to this recognition is following their religions laws and practices. How should we as a country deal with this problem when it finally hits us (and it will)?
When this country was forged our founders had the good sense to separate the church and state in political affairs…this has benefited this country more than most people know. Think back to your history classes in school and remember what life was like under religious state control in Europe in the Dark Ages. The churches, Catholic and Protestant and Muslim made miserable leaders, and the worst of what they have done isn’t even well known…except to scholars.
The religious right in this country (Evangelical Fundamentalists Protestants) has taken over the Republican Party and although they no longer control the White House (soon) they control many local, state, and national political positions. This in itself is not a problem with me, what bothers me is that they are slowly using their power to move us closer to their own outmoded or just flat wrong religious interpretations of law. Since most of these people believe that the Bible is totally inerrant they think everybody should live and think ‘their way.’
Does this not sound creepily similar to the Islamic way of thinking? The Christians are already doing in our country what the Muslim’s are trying to do in England and meanwhile the US population of Muslim’s continues to grow…and they proselytize their faith just as much as Christians do…or maybe more.
No religion of today has arguments which are unequivocally superior to any other. None of them have any supporting empirical evidence which is stronger than any other. I was brought up in a Christian environment so I tend to follow a Christian ethic, with all the baggage that entails. People that are brought up in different religions are going to follow their own ethic, with all that entails. Problem is that Christians and Muslims don’t see eye to eye on anything and there is a long-long-history of conflict (killing each other).
Is the solution to the coming problem to let one side rule over the other? We all know how well that works in the Middle East. Perhaps a better, more civil and less deadly answer would be to keep ALL religion out of politics. Is that even possible?
When we look at the many diverse religions we should notice that they are all incompatible. To put it bluntly; they can’t all be true, but they can all be false.
*In 1997 futurist John Gary stated that Islam is the fastest-growing of the major world religions. This is mostly driven by the higher birth rates in the third world. 1-22-09 corrected typo