Converting to Islam

September 4, 2014

Like many in the West, I am concerned about the number of young people, especially now European and American, who are joining the Islamic ISIS/ISIL band in the Mideast, and would want to make sure that any potential convert to Islam understands what he or she is getting into.

Islam Is Not A Moral Religion

First I cite Immanuel Kant who declared that Islam was not a moral religion,* but rather an “extortionist” religion.**

* See the first General Remarks, Par. 8.4, to Religion Within The Bounds Of Reason Alone.

** Ibid., 4th General Remarks, , Par. 7.3. My comment: an extortionist religion might conceivably still require a person to obey the moral law or face severe punishment (although this is not the case with Islam). But despite such emphasis on the moral law, the religion, as forced, would still be extortionist and thus immoral (potentially). Indeed extortion makes Islam more of a mob or Mafia religion.***

*** I am especially taken now with the notion of the “jinns“, i.e., invisible beings made of smokeless fire per Mohammed. These jinns are very helpful in ensuring compliance with rules and regulations on the part of Muslims. For example, in the bathroom or latrine only the left hand can be used to tidy up, and the jinns (and also demons) love messing around with filthy things and places, and they will be on hand to watch the Muslim in the bathroom and to see if he or she violates the rules when alone. And, of course, the Allah will know everything.****

**** It is also interesting to learn of one of the ways that Mohammed confirmed that the being claiming to be Gabriel was an angel and not a jinn: Mohammed was with his wife when the being called Gabriel appeared to him (although his wife could not see it). Mohammed had his wife get undressed, something any jinn would have enjoyed watching. But the Gabriel departed, and so Mohammed realized that this Gabriel could not be a jinn and so must be an angel from the Allah.

Here I want to go further than Kant and show that Islam is not merely amoral or only extortionist, but in fact is an immoral religion, at least in its core.

Islam Is An Immoral Religion, Conceptually Speaking

In the section of the Quran containing the “Instruction of Young Moses” (Sura 18:60-82) we find that the Muslim’s Allah has instructed one of his Messengers/Agents to slay a young, innocent boy. When Moses see this murder he is horrified and objects. He is told he must have patience. Later Moses is informed that the boy would have grown up to become a burden on his pious parents, who are now relieved of such unhappiness through the boy’s death, and who will  give birth to a new boy who will be and remain much more supportive and obedient. While not explicitly stated, it is easy to infer that since the young boy has (of yet) done nothing amiss, he will inherit a paradise at the Final Judgement. As a result Moses “realizes” that what looks like an immoral act is actually “moral” for the outcome for all concern is very good (for the parents and the boy), and he can conclude that things are not always as they seem,* and now he can be willing to withhold judgment until the end result is known, i.e., practicing patience in judgments.

* Such thinking is impossible (at least conceptually) in the Christian religion because of such scriptures as John 5:1-18 where Jesus asserts that no command of God can be understood to inhibit an immediate act of love.** And no such verses as these (requiring a moral interpretation for all commands of the Allah) can be found in the Quran.

** This is not to say that the Christians have not ignored this throughout the ages. Much of this, I think, is due to the unwarranted authority conveyed by the Christians to what they call the Old Testament, and which I basically ignore as immaterial to a Christian. I look at these scriptures as of interest only to the extent that they are helpful in understanding the context of the appearance and language of Jesus. In fact Kant did not even think of Judaism as a religion as rather “a state in search of a land.”

Accordingly the Muslim is in a situation where the moral law of common rationality is not a conclusive guide with respect to understanding and interpreting alleged commands of Allah.

Comparing Mohammed And Joseph Smith

The recognition of the immoral/extortionist core of Islam here should give any intended convert pause to reconsider. And in this regard I would recommend that the dictation of Mohammed (allegedly from an angel named Gabriel) be compared with the revelation of the American Mormon, Joseph Smith (supposedly also aided by an angel, this one named Moroni*). It will be found that Joseph Smith is so similar to the reports from and concerning Mohammed that Smith could easily be thought a copycat, but with a major difference: Smith’s story is far more comprehensive and plausible than that of Mohammed.** This is partly due to the superior science of Smith’s day, e.g., that the sky was not an upside-down metallic bowl and that meteorites were not chasing jinns and the existence of the Western Hemisphere.

* Smith was the only person able to see and deal with Moroni, just as Mohammed was the only person to see and deal with Gabriel.

** See here for more information on Smith and Mormonism. Even though Smith’s story is certainly false (due to DNA evidence among other things), it means that a fraud could beat the being Mohammed reported seeing and hearing, and calling itself an angel (Gabriel). My recommendation to the Europeans is to include in the schools a course on looking at the world’s religions and to include detailed presentation of the “revelation” of Smith. And while no specific reference need be made, it should become clear to any thinking student (Muslim or not) that Smith and Gabriel are worth comparing with each other, and if either is fake (and Smith most certainly is), then both could be fake. And certainly a major course for the youth should be a consideration of how people can discern whether a particular teaching is actually revealed by God. For this see Discerning The Divine. Much of this is based on the work of Immanuel Kant.

See also One Take On Islam.


Postscript 1

I have often wondered if I have been too severe in my analysis and moral criticism of Islam and its scriptures (and I am not a student of this religion). An opinion column on ISIS by Thomas Friedman in the New York Times of December 6, 2014, however, suggests that I have not been off base in this regard.

Postscript 2

For more on this subject see an earlier blog on Christianity and Islam and the question as to whether they are dangerous.*

* When we assert that Islam has an immoral core we are not speaking of the mass of Muslims themselves who are surely no more moral or immoral than non-Muslims. We speaking of a core that would enable a Muslim to engage in an immoral act, e.g., forcing someone, e.g., a woman, to do something against her will, i.e., treating a woman as one would a pet; that would be immoral.

Postscript 3

And by the way, anyone thinking that atheism would be a good alternative to religion in general should consider the Lectures for Young Atheists. .

Postscript 4

I continue to think that the increasing number of gay marriages in the West will show the Islamic and the rest of the world that the West counts women as equal, for now marriage is not a man and a woman, but before anything else it is two persons, i.e., total equality before the law. See God’s Left-hand Joke.

Author contact: pmr#$, replacing #$ with @

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