There is a prevailing notion among the American public, for better or worse, that there is something endemic to the Islamic faith that causes followers to “go nuts” and kill innocent people or spread the seeds of terror. Let’s run with this (what I consider misguided) idea for a bit. We can read in the Quran all about how the Prophet set up a wartime ethics system that, while not condoning wholesale slaughter, glorified the military profession and outlined proper conduct for soldiers. Likewise, there is a similar commendation of soldiers in the Christian tradition (onward Christian soldiers, etc.) that seems to indicate that at least some Christians recognize that God might be calling some of His followers to forcibly destroy the life in another. Of course, there are pacifist apologist traditions in both religions, but let’s for now run with the idea that both religions provide inspiration for militant thought and behavior.
Can we define terrorism, at least loosely, as the deviation from perscribed and proscribed ethics of wartime conduct? That is to say, the killing of innocents, guerrilla warfare tactics, fearmongering and threats against civilians, etc. are all considered terroristic acts. While we run many risks doing this, let’s evaluate the history of these two religious traditions through the eyes of contemporary American morality in regards to this definition of terrorism: for it is indeed a contemporary defintion. The historians out there will probably hate us for it, but evaluation of out-of-context deeds in terms of the morality of the person studying said deed is the popular conception of what should go on anyway. The question is now: Which religion has inspired more terrorism? Which religion has had its members commit more terrorist acts?
Perhaps those questions are not easy to answer quantitativey, but I think you’d have to agree that “Christianity” as a monolithic form is at least just as if not more so guilty for inspiring or simply allowing immoral terrorism than is monolithic Islam. I’m not talking about particulars here, I’m talking about cultural and societal trends. Christianity has a history of, if not inspiring, than at least being embraced by those who have committed some of the worst terroristic acts the world has seen. If this is the case, then I submit that it is okay to lambaste as ignorant those who claim Christianity has a moral higher ground over Islam and that Muslim believers are more prone to inspiring terrorism. In other words, the American public’s prevailing notion is incorrect.