I don't like Islam

There, I said it. I think of myself as a liberal humanist, so although I don’t much care for any religion this is a jarring admission for me.

The first thing that needs to be said is that I have no problem with individuals who follow Islam, any more than I do with individual Christians, Jews, Buddhists, etc. That is, I think they are misguided as to the nature of the universe but I am not much interested in arguing with anyone about it unless it impinges on my freedom to opt out of religion (e.g. when Christians argue that this is a Christian country, I will argue with them about that). So, if it is not obvious to the reader, I am completely opposed to any antagonistic behavior directed at Muslims just because they are Muslims. I also have no problem with the various ways Muslim women dress, as long as they choose to dress that way. I assume that those that I see around me in the U.S. have the freedom to make those choices. I am also opposed to tightening immigration standards for Muslim countries as is currently being attempted, because I regard it as mistreatment of individual Muslims who should be presumed innocent.

But I do have problems with Islam as a cultural institution. Here are the main issues:

  1. Apostasy - just the notion of apostasy is anathema to me, let alone enforcing its ban by murder. This is apparently supported to this day by many religious authorities.
  1. Lack of central leadership - it seems to me that pretty much anyone who is persuasive can get himself a following as a “religious leader” and declare that the Quran says this or that and therefore those people over there need to be killed. Even actual trained religious leaders seem to be free to have their own interpretations of much doctrine. This structure makes modernization* and reform nearly impossible. (Yes, there is lots of unreasonable stuff in the Bible, especially the old testament; hardly anyone follows any of that any more and quoting those things is a good way to ridicule the one on homosexuality that is still occasionally trotted out - viz. that scene in West Wing that everyone loves to cite. In other words, our culture has moved on from those restrictions without losing the core of the religion.)

  2. Treatment of women - again, it varies across Islam, but is there any Muslim country or region where women have anything like equal rights? Even the worst treatment of women is supported by passages in the Quran and/or the commentaries. If specifics are desired we can discuss that below. Also I realize much of this behavior stems from tribalism as much as religious fervor (and the two are hard to tease apart, at least for me).

There may be other serious issues but these are the ones that concern me the most. I’m not going to talk about terrorism. Just about every group on Earth has engaged in some kinds of terrorist acts in the course of time, and current terrorism is certainly not limited to Islam. So if possible I would like to keep that off the table. Discussion of Islam is important, if for no other reason that sheer numbers of adherents.

*Modernization of Islam to me means separating religion from tribalism and the politics of power. The worst excesses that are “justified” by adherence to Islam would not have to be associated with that religion if there were some body that could say “these writings were from a different time and no longer apply because reasons.”

OK, open up the gates. Prove to me that I am wrong to be concerned about these issues; or prove the opposite. I have slim hopes but it would be nice if rancor and hatred could be held to a minimum herein. I am far from an expert in Islam, commentary is welcome from those who are, either from study or practice or both.

Prepare for the hordes of virtue signallers to pit you.

Anyways people have daft ideas about religion and are willing to excuse abhorrent ideology if it’s coupled with a prayer and a dietary restriction. Or potential votes.

I don’t like Islam either. That isn’t a problem. The problem is xenophobia and racism towards minorities.

If you just say “Yeah, your religion is dumb, but you’re welcome to the same rights and privileges I enjoy because we’re all just people” that’s cool. When you say “I don’t like Islam and therefore you are subhuman and deserve nothing, because you believe something dumb” you’re a bad person and I don’t like you.

Do you make that same distinction? Nobody has a problem with you disliking Islam, which, after all, is just an idea. The issue I (and others) have is with mistreating Muslims, who are people.

Bosnia is a just slightly Muslim majority country with equal protection for women under the law. Of course they also tend towards being ham eating, cigarette smoking, alcohol drinking, American loving Muslims so it’s different culturally. :wink:

You might want to look at this Politifact discussion that points out some of the others with records that aren’t as bad as you think, including having had female heads of state. Bosnia doesn’t make get covered in that article but they flirt with the line between Muslim plurality and majority. Overall the situation isn’t as bad as the broad brush approach takes.

Christianity still has a big split along the line of central authority. There were those who protested against the papists along with lots of killing. Part of that protest was directly related to the notion that everyone could read and understand the Bible for themselves without interpretation by the central authority. That notion still largely exists in the Protestant denominations although there are some that have more centralization than others.

We’ve done this a million times.

I would just encourage this: if you want your opinion to be taken seriously, don’t offer these half-ass, autodidact “I read a wiki link and a Sam Harris book” understandings of Islam. Read a real book or two that isn’t a political polemic.

Is “virtue signaller” the new “SJW”? I’ve been seeing it more and more on FB.

If so, I don’t get it… isn’t it reasonable that some people really actually oppose bigotry strongly, and may just happen to disagree with you (or other critics of “virtue signallers” and “SJWs”) about how prevalent it is? Why must those who disagree be dishonest, or attention seeking, or otherwise not genuine in their views?

This was a little unfair. The OP cabined his criticisms much more intelligently than the typical post in this fashion.

But your comments on central leadership, reform, tribalism, Quranic support for the treatment of women–these all reflect a pretty shallow grasp of the subject matter, IMO. So if the subject interests you, I encourage you to read a couple of good books. Karen Armstrong is a good place to start.


Islam, like Christianity, can be practiced many ways. Some you would probably be ok with and some you would not. There is nothing inherent to Islam that says it has to do the things you hate. There are Christian sects you would probably find objectionable. In the case of Islam it is mostly shitty theocracies who use the religion to maintain control. Fix them and you will “fix” Islam.

For instance here are women at Tehran University prior to the 1979 revolution. You’d be hard pressed to distinguish them from women on any Western college campus.

Islam aside, I’m curious about the lack of central authority critique. Are religions with central power more liberal than ones without? I’m not sure if it would make a difference, but if it did I would expect the opposite. Adherence to tradition and hierarchy are conservative ideals. Yes, if the authority is liberal then the religion may go liberal faster, but if the authority is conservative then it’s negated. If there’s no leadership the religion is free to move with the individual cultures.

I think it means, “I want to be able to say awful things without facing criticism, so here’s a nasty jibe I can throw at people who criticize me that implies they’re not sincere, so they’ll shut up and I can go back to saying awful things without facing criticism.” It has the advantage of brevity.

I don’t think anyone who values human life, equality, reason and civilisation could NOT have a problem with Islam (or with any religion, but I digress).

Living one’s life according to outdated scriptures is just ridiculous in today’s world, and Islamic teachings are less compatible with progress than most.

No sensible person would pit anyone for expressing misgivings about Islam.

As others have said, that doesn’t mean discriminating against people who believe (as long as their religion doesn’t cause them to act in a manner that is worthy of discrimination). But for all that, I can’t help thinking less of people who are openly religious. It’s just a natural human reaction. If somebody is proud of valuing superstition over reason then I immediately know I am unlikely to see eye to eye with them.

What exactly would “going liberal” look like? Pope Francis does’t sound like he’s going to make any proclamations about gay marriage anytime soon but outside of that would it be female priests?

If people are name calling without understanding the argument or point of view then they are either being dishonest or lack the ability to comprehend the argument and should work to fix the deficiency.

You realize that his is true of Christians and Christianity as well, right? Anyone who wants to start a church can start a church. There is no central authority or doctrine that is “the one and only” for Christians.

Your issue would seem to be with Fundamentalism. Christian Fundamentalism, if allowed to regress to the extent that Wahhabism has, would be barely indistinguishable from Islamic Fundamentalism.

Deuteronomy 13

Since Martin Luther, much of the Christian world lacks central leadership.

I’m unaware of the part where Jesus said that women should have equal rights. That was an invention of the 19th and 20th centuries, by humanists.

On the other hand, there’s plenty of material in both the New and Old Testaments which require that women are to be subservient to men, are to hide their hair, etc.

Okay… though I have no idea what this has to do with my post.

Weird … if the OP is down on religion in the general sense … why pick on Islam specifically … meh …

I’m thinking the OP is suffering from “The Bleakness” that is all too common this time of year of the typical football fan in his neck of the woods … so much promise back in August … so much disappointment already in September … yet again a long foggy winter hoping “next year” …

It answers your question.

Each religion is different.

Which name-callers are you calling out and criticizing? Those who use “virtue signallers” and “SJWs”? Or someone else? Did I call someone a name without realizing it?

Not everything is about you.