What’s Wrong with the World

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What’s Wrong with the World is dedicated to the defense of what remains of Christendom, the civilization made by the men of the Cross of Christ. Athwart two hostile Powers we stand: the Jihad and Liberalism...read more

Reiterating the point: Incommensurable evils

Back in 2007, which is a long time in blog-o-spheric terms, I wrote a post for W4 called "Incommensurable Evils." My point there was that Islam and decadent Western leftism are incommensurable. To try to decide which is worse is a classic apples and oranges comparison. One is worse in some ways while another is worse in other ways, and that's about all that there is to be said. It's anybody's guess (I didn't get into this question) which one is going to "win" in Europe and/or in America, or whether some better (or worse) alternative will rise up and conquer both. I don't deal in speculative history of that kind, so I'm not going to make any bets.

Since the question of obscenity has come up in the thread below in relation to the recent terrorism in Paris, I think it's worth reiterating the incommensurable evils point.

There is one group of people who think of Islam as, in some important sense, better than decadent Western leftism. They are wrong. These include Dinesh D'Souza, probably Peter Kreeft, apparently Bill Donohue, whom we were discussing in the thread, and, based on the dialogue in the comments on my post back in 2007, apparently no less a thinker than Jim Kalb.

They are wrong, as I argued in that post. It is a mistake to try to make up an abstract version of Islam divorced from its history, its traditions, and its practice, a kind of vague, benign monotheism (and let's not talk about Mohammad and his own actual practice), to credit this with whatever we think is good in historical Islam while holding it free of blame for evils perpetrated by historical Islam, and then to declare this "Islam" the winner in some moral contest with actual, historical leftism.

There is another set of people who think that, in an important sense, modern decadent liberalism is better than Islam. I'm afraid that to a large extent this group includes Robert Spencer, who has done so much good in researching the historical texts and teachings of Islam. Although I don't have the links at this time, I have previously disagreed with Spencer when he held that it was a bad thing for a Muslim taxi driver to ask two homosexuals engaging in public display of affection to get out of his vehicle. There was also a time when Spencer distanced himself from a pro-family, anti-Islam group because he learned that they were strongly opposed to the homosexual agenda and had done work exposing the disgusting horrors of "gay days" at Disney's theme park. I think that was a big mistake.

Similarly, when I expressed admiration (which I do not retract) for the courage and insouciance of the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists in not giving in to Muslim bullies, I did not in any way mean to condone those of their cartoons that were obscene. (Not all of them, and not even all of the ones that made the Muslims most angry, were obscene. As I said below, making fun of Mohammad and portraying him in a picture is a huge offense all by itself, and the obscenity issue is in an important sense orthogonal to Muslim demands of respect for "the Prophet.")

That point takes us directly to the question of alliances. Because it is impossible to say that either of these sets of evils is worse than the other, it becomes extremely delicate to know when, whether, and how to make alliances.

The first group of people--the ones who think Islam is better than modern liberalism--would definitely have us make alliances with Muslims. Presumably with all the good and non-violent Muslims. This, in fact, was the whole point of Kreeft's cringe-worthy phrase "ecumenical jihad." Of course, if their goal is to make alliances with Muslims against decadence, for modesty, etc., then they won't want to offend them. They may even use phrases like "the Prophet" un-ironically. (Sometime I should put up a post on all the reasons why using "the Prophet" for Mohammad is not the same as using the phrase "Jesus Christ.") They will be very concerned to tell us all how bad it is to be disrespectful of Islam. They will be quick to claim that Muslims and Christians worship the same God. Our intended alliances make a difference to what we are willing to say in a whole variety of contexts. Nobody who intends to go out and seek some sort of alliance in politics with Muslims is going to want them to be able to Google up "Islamophobic" comments by that person or group.

Similarly, the second group has its whole focus on opposing Islam and Islamicization and is therefore hoping to make alliances with atheists and leftists. For that purpose, they are going to be concerned not to upset those groups by making comments or other alliances that will be considered "homophobic" or even socially conservative.

The incommensurable evils position should lead us to have problems with both of these approaches. We conservatives shouldn't downplay our opposition to, say, the homosexual agenda because it might upset atheists whom we want to sign on to the anti-Islam cause. By the same token we shouldn't avoid opposition to Islam or pretend that Islam is peaceful, nor should we call for respect for Islam in the wake of Muslim terrorism, hoping to get together with Muslims to oppose Western decadence.

Both of these approaches are inimical to seeing things as they are, and seeing things as they are has never been more important, especially to those of us who want to do something good for what remains of Western civilization.

The extremely delicate part of all of this is that there will inevitably be moments when we should emphasize the badness of one of these ideologies more than the other. If I'm opposing a homosexual ordinance in my home town or trying to shut down a girlie joint, and if I see some Muslims at the town council meeting speaking out, I'm not going to go out of my way to drive them away. If I'm collecting signatures for some related petition, I'll collect their signatures. By the same token, it is my own opinion, reflected in the comments thread below, that opposition to obscenity is very much beside the point when it comes to talking about recent events in Paris. Moreover, it is not an endorsement of obscenity to praise the cartoonists' unbending opposition to Islam and refusal to back down.

Does this mean that I'm advocating making alliances with Muslims or with decadent atheists at times after all? I don't think so. I don't think that in either of those scenarios (hypothetical or real) what I'm advocating could be described as "making an alliance." It is rather a matter, a sometimes difficult matter, of knowing which evil to emphasize when. It's most of all a matter of knowing what not to say--knowing not to say that x is better than y or that x isn't really "so bad." It's also a matter of knowing what to say at some point or another--that is, being willing to offend either side at some time or other when that is what's called for.

For this purpose, it's a very good thing not to be running a single-issue organization or web site. W4, of course, has always and from the beginning explicitly stood against both the jihad and the forces of modern leftism, so we have never been single-issue. This puts us in an unusual position in which we try, to the best of our ability, to recognize a lack of perspective or tunnel vision either on the part of those who downplay the evils of Islam to oppose the evils of leftism or who downplay the evils of leftism to oppose the evils of Islam. Fighting incommensurable evils demands no less.

Comments (23)

Regarding actual Islam and girlie joints, those who think Islam is "better than liberalism" would do well to consider Islam as actually practiced in Rotterham. This hardly an isolated incident in Europe. The rape rate in Sweden has gone up progressively with the size of the Muslim population. Why? Turns out, well, ehhhhh Muslim men whose Islam hasn't been Disney-sanitized tend to believe that crap in the Koran about sexually abusing infidel women.

(While we're on the subject of sanitized religion, there's few things more precious among liberals than a middle class girl or woman who thinks modern Western paganism bears much resemblance to the practice of actual ancient Western pagans.)

Mike, there is a huge undercurrent of sexual perversity and pornography that runs beneath the surface in Islamic culture. The Muslim worldview has held a tragically distorted and unhealthy view of sexuality since it's inception. It doesn't take long when reading Muslim history and literature to see the massive hypocrisy.

With regard to the existential threat posed by the most devout Muslims, who want to destroy the West as per the logic of their scriptures, I suspect that eventually the West will no longer be able to live in it's current make-believe world. Our mediating institutions continue to preach the bizarre "religion of peace" narrative (Bush Jr. was guilty of this) about Islam. Political correctness seems to be a force that trumps everything, including rationality but especially common sense.

I would like to think that some people in France are being shocked into the reality of the consequences of their absurd ideology which has encouraged a flood of Muslim immigrants, and been subservient to their outrageous demands, which has emboldened the devout Muslims to further mayhem.

The Muslim worldview arose as a hegemonic response to Christianity (which spread through self-sacrifice, not forced conversion). Islam is based in power and control through violence, which is diametrically opposite Christian origins. I believe that so-called "moderate Muslims" are simply non-practicing Muslims, superficially following, to varying degrees, the traditional customs, diet, culture, and outward forms (the same phenomenon we see with many Christians, Jews, etc.). The true Muslim is the one who truly follows and obeys their holy book and it's doctrine.

Islam is as Islam does.

Arguably, the fate of the French magazine could be interpreted as an empirical experiment in contrasting the reactions to media blasphemy of Christians and Muslims. There were numerous blasphemous cartoons against Christianity, especially Catholicism, but the only reactions were (unheeded) complaints, themselves an exercise in the freedom of expression secularists hold so dear. This atrocity by Islam was by no means the first violent reaction of this unconscious "experiment".

I say this, because I have come across some of the secularists using these events as an opportunity to tar all religion with the same accusation of violence and to call for its general oppression, when in fact the data contradicts their subtext, the banning of Christianity, completely.

For this purpose, it's a very good thing not to be running a single-issue organization or web site. W4, of course, has always and from the beginning explicitly stood against both the jihad and the forces of modern leftism, so we have never been single-issue. This puts us in an unusual position in which we try, to the best of our ability, to recognize a lack of perspective or tunnel vision either on the part of those who downplay the evils of Islam to oppose the evils of leftism or who downplay the evils of leftism to oppose the evils of Islam. Fighting incommensurable evils demands no less.

Beautifully said, Lydia. Thank you.

there's few things more precious among liberals than a middle class girl or woman who thinks modern Western paganism bears much resemblance to the practice of actual ancient Western pagans.

Mike, the image you instigate is mind-boggling, and would be side-splittingly ironic if it weren't so sad: the wymen pagan satanists being "treated" to real pagan worship, including "ritual" gang rape.

I don't know the origin of the saying "all heresy starts below the belt", but it seems to be applicable presently.

I have come across some of the secularists using these events as an opportunity to tar all religion with the same accusation of violence and to call for its general oppression, when in fact the data contradicts their subtext, the banning of Christianity, completely.

DeGaulle, that's a great comment.

Thank you for this and the discussion in the other thread. They have helped me see through the clutter and come once again to the conclusion I had when I first heard of this recent attack, that of utter hatred of Islam and the feeling that France has started to reap what they have sowed immigration wise. I was beginning to feel as though Charlie Hebdo ought to be held criminally accountable for provoking this horror, but no, it's true that it would have happened even if the drawings weren't truly obscene. The terroristic tendencies of Islam and immigration policies of the West are the real problem here.

However, I think we can decry these images while being unsympathetic to the terrorists, and it should be a topic of discussion given the hashtag phenomenon.

I'll definitely decry any obscene images because they are obscene, regardless of whether they make anybody angry. I don't have a problem with the non-obscene mockery of Mohammad (e.g., saying "It's hard to be loved by idiots" or "100 lashes if you don't die laughing") published by Hebdo. Unless, of course, I'm just so naive that there is some obscene implication in those that I don't get.

I "get" the temptation to see Muslims as allies in the face of decadent liberalism. I was in a major city for a conference on the same weekend as a gay pride parade. It was a Sunday and I called a cab to take me to church. The driver was Muslim and he told me he was going home after he dropped me off because he didn't want to have to take anyone to the parade. He said "you are going to pray, to turn towards God, while they are turning towards evil." At that moment, I felt more kinship with him than my liberal colleagues who attended the parade and gushed about how "awesome" it was. Also, as I mentioned in the other thread, I have Muslim friends, colleagues, and relatives who aren't looking to cut anybody's head off or blow up buildings. They react to offenses the way we react to Piss Christ. Lots of talk, head shaking, and blog posts.

That said, the idea of looking for "allies" is still wrong-headed. We should get out of the mindset that we can only win with some weak-reed human political alliance. Either one we lean on is going to pierce our hands. We know how the story ends, and we know the church will be persecuted before it's over. We are call to be faithful, not successful in political or military terms.

I don't think in general that looking for allies is wrong-headed. Look at the Protestants and Catholics who work together on this very blog. There are always going to be "circles" of allies, of course, of various closeness. There are the allies who are one's fellow Christians and those who are merely "cultural" allies. Mormons fall into the latter category, for example. And there is always the interesting question of when and whether one is willing to say things that offend one's allies. For example, we don't engage in either Protestant-bashing or Catholic-bashing among the contributors on this site, but it's fine for a contributor to say that Mormons aren't Christians. In contrast, I noticed that during the Romney campaign several of my Christian friends (they happened to be Catholic) got very huffy against the statement that Mormons aren't Christians. They treated it as mean and offensive, and the political reason for their sudden conviction that Mormonism is merely a Christian denomination was...rather obvious.

I wouldn't want that to happen to me. That is, I wouldn't want cultural alliances with Mormons to make me feel like I have to say that Mormons are Christians! That would be a case of alliances causing theological confusion.

At the same time, I don't really have a problem with talking about making a cultural alliance with Mormons.

To my mind, Islam is in a strikingly different category. And here I suspect that you and I will disagree, CJ. However nice your particular Muslim friends are (and I do not say that in snark), the fact is that both by texts, by origin in Mohammad, and by its rich and lengthy history of doctrine and teaching, Islam is an inherently violent religion. Muslims need to convert, not to practice some watered-down version of Islam that is non-violent. This is why good, non-violent Muslims, particularly young males, are vulnerable to what is called "radicalization." It's the Muslim equivalent of "rededicating your life to Jesus," "getting serious about your Christianity" or "getting saved instead of just having religion." That, too, is why in Britain it has turned out that younger Muslims are _more_ radical than their immigrant parents. You could say that they are the fruits of a worldwide Muslim revival of authenticity. In fact, I think we do Muslims no favors by suggesting that they make up an ersatz Islam that is to historic Islam as, say, Unitarianism or contemporary Episcopalianism is to Christianity.

So this is why, while I'm in favor of some alliances, I'm not in favor of alliances with Muslims qua Muslims.

Just to clarify what I meant about seeking "allies" outside "the church," for the purposes of this discussion I would consider the church to be those who could recite the Creed and mean roughly what it meant to the council Fathers who composed it. Assuming a bunch of caveats, I would include small "o" orthodox Catholics, Orthodox, mainline Protestants and non-denominational Evangelicals. As you said, there's a next layer outside of that that includes LDS, JW, SDA, and Christian Science. I probably wouldn't oppose alliances with those groups either. What I really meant to get across was that we shouldn't get caught up in the mindset that we have to ally with either leftists or Muslims to "win." We should embrace the apocryphal statement attributed to Patton that if he were caught between the Nazis and the Russians he'd attack in both directions.

As for "moderate" Muslims, you're right, of course, that the best possible outcome is conversion. However, it's not realistic (though not limiting Providence) to expect all that many conversions. The next best alternative is for moderate Islam to become the majority practice in the West, combined with robust law enforcement and intelligence monitoring of the radicalizers.


I agree with everything you say to CJ, but I still can emphasize with his sentiment. Back in the days when I was just a commenter here, I remember suggesting that perhaps it was possible for Muslims to have some sort of "Reformation" and I pointed to Indonesia and to the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (Dr. Jasser's organization) as possible sources of hope. Of course, in both cases, the appeal is limited world-wide and I think in the case of Indonesia you have pointed out over the years the increasing radicalization of their Muslims -- proving the point that there is really something inherent in the Islamic religion that is problematic and incompatible with Western civilization.

I think this message is tough for Americans (and liberal Europeans) to absorb -- we want to believe that with enough goodwill and effort on everyone's part we can assimilate Muslims just like any other religion. I don't believe this is true and part of our efforts here must be to build the case for America that is convincing to the average 'man of the street' who probably hasn't given the issue much thought but might find the alternative liberal narrative about Islam (i.e. "the religion of peace") convincing.

Lydia, that's very true: good men who happen to be Muslims need to be brought out of Islam into Christianity, not to a nicer sort of "officially approved" version of Islam. Yet the pathway for some of them might legitimately lie through some nicer version of Islam as a stepping stone. Just as a pagan's path to the true faith might run through Mormonism, or through Episcopalianism (contemporary, of course :-)). I wouldn't want to actively discourage a person who has rejected violent Islam from embracing some mild version, especially if I thought that would increase my chance of keeping open the possibility of discussion that might soon also bring up Christianity as an option.

As you indicated in the other post, it really depends on context. In SOME contexts, especially dealing with those who are Christian and who aren't reflective of just how outrageous Mohammed's claim to prophet status is, mocking Mohammed might make some sense. In a circle that includes decent or even half-way decent Muslims, that might be pretty useless or counterproductive. Whereas if mind-numbed extremist Muslims are the "debate" partner, mockery might be just the ticket - as long as what you are aiming for is a show of extreme anger. It behooves us to think carefully about who is part of the conversation.

It is always difficult to know how far to seek allies. This is inherently a matter of prudence, a matter of looking at the particulars and judging on the basis of foreseen or probable consequences, because there is no PRINCIPLE that states "you may not walk alongside a non-believer when he is aiming for the same temporary goal you are aiming for." It is a good principle to rely on God, but it's not a good principle to rely on God to the exclusion of all intermediary instruments.

Tony, you raise a very interesting question: If one has a nice Muslim friend, is it a good idea or a bad idea to try to convince him that Islam is inherently violent? This might seem to have an obvious "no" answer, but what I'm going to say is that one would have to know the individual to see whether that might be a useful conversion technique using a reductio. We do it with atheist naturalists: If your worldview were correct, there would be no reason to try to be moral at all, since man is nothing more than atoms in the void. The intent there is certainly not to move the naturalist atheist to say, "By golly, you're right! I'm going to go out and bump off my grandmother for her insurance money tomorrow! After all, given my worldview, there is no morality. So glad you pointed that out!" Rather, the hope is that he will see the reductio and will reject his naturalism rather than rejecting morality. Might not something similar be possible with Islam? If one convinced the nice Muslim that his religion really does endorse all manner of atrocities, that might move him to reject his religion. I should add that such a technique, sad to say, is sometimes used by atheists against Christians in various ways. They try to convince Christians that, e.g., believing that people go to hell is really shocking and then to reject Christianity because Christianity teaches that people go to hell. Or they might use the Canaanite passages we have debated here against the Christian in the same way.

So that kind of thing sometimes actually _works_, and it's not illegitimate in itself to show someone that his worldview has bad logical consequences that he just hasn't realized before, in hopes of getting him to change his worldview.

It's a delicate thing, of course. Even with the atheist, there's always a danger that he _will_ just become more consistent and amoral as a result of your arguments. The same with a Muslim. It would be a terrible thing to think, "That guy went out and became a terrorist because I showed him the violence at the heart of Islam."

So whether to try this or not depends on the specifics of the situation. But it might sometimes be the right thing to do.

An even bigger difficulty is honesty. If some Muslim is convinced that "true Islam" is doing good works and having nothing to do with terrorism and that all the terrorists are following something that is not "true Islam," that's very convenient for me if I happen to by his neighbor, of course. But I think it would be a lie for me to tell him that. So I can't lie to him just because it would be convenient for me if he believed that. I think that's a major difficulty with what has been to a large degree the explicit and deliberate strategy of the American government (both Republican and Democrat administrations, I have to admit): We are supposed to construct this peaceful "Islam" and then try to use the power of suggestion to convince Muslims to embrace it. Pragmatically, this strategy has been an abject failure. But it is also just dishonest. So if I were talking to some Muslim friend and he said, "True Islam has nothing to do with terrorism," I would have to be very careful about what I said so as not to be dishonest. Maybe I'd have to do the inter-religious dialogue version of "How about them Yankees?" Something like, "Well, Jesus Christ taught us to love our enemies, so Christianity definitely teaches against anything like terrorist violence. Would you be interested in discussing the deity of Jesus?"

Lydia - My $0.02 is that I generally avoid the "is Islam inherently violent" question and go straight for "is Islam true?" In my experience, the violence question makes people very defensive, tu quoques start flying, and nothing constructive is accomplished. On the other hand, Muslims tend to be confident that the Quran is perfect, the Bible is corrupted, and that they can demonstrate this and rattle any Christian. If you can successfully resist that line of attack, they're more open to listening.

I've never been responsible for a Muslim converting to Christianity, but I have managed to correct some misconceptions and at least get them to take Christianity more seriously than they did previously, when they believed we were polytheists who believe in a corrupted book that's inferior to the flawless Quran. A missionary once told me that every Muslim he's worked with who reads the Gospel according to Luke in its entirety converts to Christianity. I take that with a grain of salt, but even if there's a kernel of truth to it, it's some evidence that the truth question is more fertile ground than the violence question.

If some Muslim is convinced that "true Islam" is doing good works and having nothing to do with terrorism and that all the terrorists are following something that is not "true Islam," that's very convenient for me if I happen to by his neighbor, of course. But I think it would be a lie for me to tell him that. So I can't lie to him just because it would be convenient for me if he believed that.

Funny thing about that: since Islam is wrong from day 1, is in fact a fake construct generated by Satan, there is no such thing as "the true and correct version of Islam" that is true to itself. It's a pack of lies in itself. There is a historically accurate version of "what Mohammed said", but there is no reason to think "what he said" bears a due and principled regard to how Islam "ought to" handle modern pluralism. It is, in that sense, no better than any New Age sect. Hence, if my neighbor wants to believe that the "best" form of Islam is peaceful and loving, more power to him. I don't feel any duty to correct his version against some historical standard. Unlike earlier false religions that started because of a dearth of real revelation to point the way, Islam is a set of heresies from Judaic and Christian antecedents. To be false to Islamic "original sources" is not to be false simply. Or any MORE false than historical Islam, anyway.

Of course we must not lie to our neighbor, even it that is very convenient. But we can certainly withhold information that wouldn't improve his situation if we came out with it.

Tony, you raise the very interesting question of whether a human construct, and particularly a _false_ human construct, can be said to have an essence.

There is an obvious sense in which the word "essence" is used somewhat loosely with regard to any human institution or tradition. Does Irish dancing have an essence? Well, not in the same sense that man has an essence, but in some derivative sense I think we could speak of the essence of Irish dancing or Congregationalism or jazz music, etc. It gets fuzzy, but when devotees of these various human endeavors argue about them and whether they are being true to what they originally were or "really are," etc., I think we can concede that there is _something_ meaningful that they are arguing about.

So then the question becomes whether this same perspective applies to _wicked_ human endeavors, such as horribly false religions. To take a different example from Islam, is there an "essence" of Satanism in something like the same sense that there is an essence of Congregationalism or jazz music?

I would say that the fact that Satanism is a wicked and false religion doesn't change the fact that it can have an essence in roughly the same sense that jazz music can have an essence--that is, there is something in terms of human culture and language that it _means_ to be a Satanist and that it has always meant, and one can't just pretend to change this at will. (It's closely related to the idea that we can just change the meaning of long-established linguistic terms.) So, for example, if somebody tells me that he's a Satanist but that what he means by that is that he likes bunny rabbits, I'm going to consider him a kook. More insidiously, suppose that someone says he's a Satanist and that he worships an angel who was never really evil but whom the Old Testament God misunderstood and kicked out of heaven on the basis of God's egotism. Now, of course, this is all lies from the beginning, but the point is that I'm not going to say, "Oh, that's a relief. The 'Satan' you worship is entirely fictional in my opinion, as is the 'God' who is his rival, but at least you won't be endorsing evil." I'm going to figure that Satan has deceived this person and that there is some sense in which he *really is* worshiping Satan, who *really is* evil. Because words have meanings, and Satanism does have in one sense an "essence" as a human endeavor. You try to worship the devil, you may well end up doing so.

You can run a similar example for Wicca or Baal worship or what-not.

So this creates a kind of difficult rhetorical situation. If someone says he worships Baal but that Baal is really a nice guy, I'm not going to want to seem to endorse this view of Baal and Baal worship. You can see the similarities to Islam, mutatis mutandis.

On the one hand, it is certainly difficult to see anything but an evil, indeed Satanic, essence in a religion that "inspires" fiends to use little 10-year-old girls as in the manner of that unspeakable incident in Nigeria.

On the other, recent words and actions of President Sisi of Egypt provide evidence that there may be some among them that are not entirely insane (I recently read an interesting theory that attributed much of the Islamic problem to the Mohammed-encouraged apparent practice of widespread first cousin incest).

Has anyone else formed any opinions of this man?

I don't know what to think of him (opinions vary as to exactly where he's going with his recent comments), but _if_ our hopes concerning his intention are realized, I would say that he is seeking to "reform" Islam beyond the point where it is recognizably Islam. It has always been a religion of conquest.

Lydia, you have a point. It would be silly to say "Islam is the belief in pink fairies". Islam is a real historical feature of mankind's cultural baggage. As such, it has a real history and a real core set of practices and beliefs.

Yet Islam has always been full of twists and turns of contradictions, because it was constructed by the father of lies, precisely in order to deceive: truths mixed with wrongness, by design, to fool men. This is quite different from Irish dance, or basketball, of course. Unlike most pagan religions, Islam was not formed by men trying to identify where the divine fits into what we see, though failing. So, Islam has its OWN contradictions built into it. As such, people legitimately trying to find truth and looking in Islam can find some things that go in one direction and other things that go contrariwise. There isn't any "sound" and "coherent" way to read the texts so as to make the whole thing line up with the truth. So people who read the texts one way, even if at odds with the historical sense of Islam, are not "doing violence" to the "real" meaning, they are rather doing violence to the main (core) readings give by the bulk of Muslims. And that's OK.

Sure, there can be a little loss of philosophical precision in calling people who believe in peaceful co-existence with others Muslims, but the loss is pretty small.

I always thought that there were two options for the formation of Islam: Muhammad made it all up, or he was visited by a devil masquerading as an angel.

No matter which one is the answer, this doesn't help the Muslims.

MA, you are right - either way, it doesn't help Muslims.

In addition, either way, it doesn't work out as a cogent, internally consistent body of thought. Whether it was a devil putting inconsistencies in there by design, or a devil "helping along" a set of delusions or frauds intentionally dreamed up by a man, there is no internal reality that all the parts must fit with coherently.

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