The Rise and Decline of Islam
“A pathological love of power” is the enemy of liberty no matter where it is found. This issue is massively complicated. There are elements of nation building, religion, ancient hatreds, and fear. What the speaker calls “Political Islam” is a virus that is infecting the US through the machinations of the leftists. Those people who protest for safe spaces and trigger words are the very same vein of people allowing that virus to go unchecked. According to the speaker it’s time for Islam to move out of the stone age into modern times and it’s time for modern Americans to see and know, and accept, that political Islam is – in fact – out not to just change their way of life, but to take it away all together.
Islam rose and rose. It took science then expanded on it. But something happened. I think it is the propensity of those in power within Islam to take the liberty away from others. One of the strongest examples of this is how women are – not just treated – but thought of. At the same time they also think that men are so weak that they cannot control themselves when faced with a woman’s hair, or face.
I will say, I am for modest dress in both men and women. I think most men feel the same way. A smart women knows that mystery attracts a man for the long-term. Women in parts of Islam often wear a headscarf commonly known as a hijab. Less commonly women are veiled or put in a burka but more commonly we see the hijab. Women can’t drive in some countries or go to school. Women in these situations are not free to choose to wear the hijab and are not free to drive or to get an education. That’s not part of Islam, that’s part of political Islam.
Take it Off! Or not…
Because of this distinction even discussions on the hijab get heated when had between Muslim women.
I personally don’t see the hijab as oppression. Religious clothing has always been around. It might have been a bone necklace for the shaman, or a staff for the prophet and through the ages it has stuck around. I see no difference between a woman who wants to wear a hijab and a nun who wears a habit. But notice I use the important word “wants” indicating choice. Priests wear their colors and Mormons their temple garments. These are all examples of religious clothing. I only object to force or the force of law being used to make people do this. Women are getting beaten, raped, and killed because they aren’t properly dressed in some Muslim majority countries.
It isn’t the hijab in and of itself that is oppressive but rather the motivation behind wearing it. That’s the interesting thing about religious clothing, it’s an outward sign, supposedly, of inward things. But that’s only true if the motivation of the wearer is pure. If you force a woman to wear it, she’s not pure, she’s a prisoner. If she wears it because she likes the colors or because it’s easier than doing her hair in the morning, she’s not pure. Neither is the person pure who forces her to wear it. For it to be any kind of useful symbol of actual inward things it must be done with complete freedom of mind and heart by the individual wearing it.
Bill Maher likes to say that the problem isn’t radical Islam but that it’s just Islam. I don’t think that’s true. But – it almost is. Islam is heading down a road that will lead to its own demise. They think that robbing people of their liberty will force those people to live righteous lives. Those of us who study human nature and the human desire to be free know what the end result of that will be, their own demise.
Islam and Science, Science and Freedom
It’s popular to point out what a great religion Islam is by drawing attention to the history of science in Islam. The key word is “history” because as a group they seem to be less and less science minded. The more radical factions are finding that science runs afoul of their religion and science will always lose. Science and religion may conflict, but science and God don’t have to. But that’s a discussion for another day.
Islam has clearly declined, the course of history demonstrates this. They have gone from being men of science to being the men who blow up precious archaeological sites.
What Political/Radical Islam has done is push down innovation, push down women, and push down the growth that comes from liberty. Invention requires a certain level of freedom and autonomy to work.
Those who belong to a more radical form of Islam might read what I’ve written above and think it is “Islamaphobic” (in quotes because that’s not a real thing) or anti-religion or anti-Islam or anti-hijab. They can only conceive of criticism as being against the entire ball of wax. If a woman wants to wear a hijab that does not make her religion bad anymore than a nun in her habit. If a Christian preaches that men should not be gay, that’s fine, but if they try to force that through law then it’s not.
I’ve often said that laws do not prevent behavior, they just provide a means of punishment for those who engage in certain things. If laws prevented behavior there would be no murder because it’s against the law. But not killing was one of the 10 commandments so God saw a clear need to bring it up. If the only reason someone isn’t killing is because the law and in their heart they want to kill (not likely a scenario I know) then they aren’t doing anything righteous. If a woman is wearing a hijab so she won’t get beaten then her wearing it isn’t a sign of anything wonderful.
It’s a simple and very consistent pattern of mine, that of liberty. Chosen personal restrictions on behavior, even if motivated by strong religious dogma are just fine because they represent the road of choice that person has made. This is the reason our founding fathers understood that church and state should be two different powers and that the force of law should not become the force of religion. Thinking spiritualists understand that this accomplishes nothing in terms of making people better.
All I’m saying is that for any religion to be true it must also be free.