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Published:December 2nd, 2009 10:44 EST
In Defense of Religion part I: Islam

In Defense of Religion part I: Islam

By Sean Beelzebul

In defense of religion part I: Islam

As a part skeptic and part believer (agnostic), I see the arguments from both sides and believe a little from each. The first part of this series will be a defense of Islam, from a primarily political and historical perspective. In my last few articles I endeavored to write about the US and its relations with Islamic nations. I explained that from the fundamentalist perspective in any religion, much harm can be caused. I also mentioned that when the fundamentalist sect of Islamic Wahhabism took to power it caused a change in Islam. This change, ushered in war. In later parts of this series I will criticize Christian and Western extremism, but in this article I will flesh out this critique and defense of religion.

The fundamentalist Wahhabism sect originated within Sunni Islam in Saudi Arabia in the 19th century.  Although some scholars attribute the origins of Osama bin Laden`s extremism to be the Egyptian Sayyid Qutb, I disagree. Although, I certainly think that figures like Qutb, the artist and intellectual who was executed by the Egyptian government certainly did not hurt the inspiration of the extremism of today, I believe it grounded more in Wahhabism.  The Wahhabi sect brings to Islam a new approach. Strict exegesis is employed and the methods used to perform these interpretations are primarily literal. When fundamentalist Christians read the Bible literally they often come to violent conclusions, and the same holds true for Islam. Completely ignoring Mohammad`s clear disposition on his respect for Judaism, the Patriarchs and Christ, extremist sects have waged war against them. Naturally it does not help, that the Quran expresses love for the Gnostic Christ that most Christians have forgotten, but it does do Abrahamic religion justice with its metaphorical, spiritual, and religious message.

There is a problem here. People are dying in the name of Islam the wrong way. While it`s true many Muslims are clearly being punished unfairly by their enemies, I`m afraid this has only facilitated the spread of a more and more literal interpretation of the Chastisement by Fire ".  Revenge is certainly not what Mohammad taught, he taught peace and righteousness, and he only acted out of self-defense. Mohammad the man, is the least opaque of all Abrahamic religious figures, we should have the best idea of who he was. Mohammad was the messenger who through beautiful words, and incredible knowledge of battle defended his people and created a religion of submission to God, the ninety-nine names that describe the universe, being, and the ineffable knowledge that requires so many names in the first place. I also fear that sectarian strife has eliminated our collective unconscious to the extent where extremist sects of Islam have submitted themselves to politics, revenge and emotion and not God.  In addition, the arrogance of the West has only facilitated this by so much generalizing, and assuming that Islam has always been a violent religion. In closing, if you are to be angry with these views, please respond to them, but at least wait until I go throughout the globe and discuss how religions have deteriorated elsewhere.

In Defense of Religion Part II: Buddhism in the last article we accessed and defended the religion of Islam, and urged readers to not categorize all Muslims