Is Islam a Religion?
Rebecca Bynum has released her new book titled Allah is Dead, where she argues why Islam is not a religion. Her concern is that by classifying Islam as a religion and giving it the tax exempt status, we are unwittingly supporting a belief system that aims to destroy us.
Bynum says it is much closer to ideologies such as material determinism, nihilism and even social Darwinism than it is to either Christianity or Judaism. In fact there are many similarities between Islam and Nazism and Marxism. All these three ideologies are totalitarian and believe ends justify the means.
However, what is religion and what is not is a complex question. No two religions are alike. There are some similarities between Judaism and Christianity because they share common roots. However, Hinduism is a lot different. Hinduism is a vast set of philosophies coming from many sages. There is a common thread going through them and that is why we classify them in one group and call them Hinduism. Hinduism is basically the collective philosophies of Indians.
Buddhism is also a philosophy. It is not even theistic. In Buddhism the belief in God is optional. However, we classify Hinduism and Buddhism as religion because they have moral and mystical teachings, which are the domains of religion. They also have rituals which is characteristic of religion.
Then we have Confucianism and Daoism. It is difficult to call these beliefs religion. Daoism has a mystical dimension shared by religions. Confucianism is entirely this worldly. The teachings of Confucius are about ethics and social order. There is no mention of God or revelation in Confucianism.
There are also animistic religions such as shamanism. The belief in these religions is focused on spirits and magical power. They don’t focus on morality and ethics. They focus on personal empowerment.
Islam is influenced by Christianity and Judaism and shares many features with these religions. However, it has a dimension that these two faiths don’t and that is its political dimension. While Jesus was clear that his kingdom is not of this world, Muhammad’s main objective was to conquer the world and dominate it. This goal is so paramount that for its achievement morality and ethics can be sacrificed. Muslims are allowed and even encouraged to break the rules of ethics and fairness in order to make Islam dominant.
The Bahai Faith also proposed a world government supervised by a Universal House of Justice, composed of nine elected men who are deemed to be infallible. In this Orwellian system of government opposition has no place. At the same time morality and ethics among Bahais is of paramount importance. They are even taught it is better to be killed than kill.
As you see religions come in all shapes and forms. Cults are also religion. We call them cult because their members are few and they have little power. Once they become powerful with millions of devotees they graduate as religion. Christianity was deemed to be cult when it was still at its infancy.
What is a religion cannot be well defined. Each person’s definition is different and there can never be a consensus. Should religion be theistic? In that case Buddhism cannot be defined as religion. Should it have one god or can it have many? Should it believe in afterlife?
I believe in Bugs Bunny. I worship his holiness Bugs Bunny dearly. I practice my religion by making a bowl of popcorns and watch his blessed cartoons any time I feel tired or not feel great. He gives me immense joy and I can forget all my problems. Tell me why my religion should not be recognized as a religion. I admit that there are not many practitioners in my church. Some children also believe in Bugs Bunny but unfortunately as they age, they lose their innocence, become distracted by other things and apostatize. Nonetheless I know for a fact that my faith is real. Why I cannot form a tax exempt church consisting of me, myself and my person? Does number matter? How many people should I proselytize so my church is recognized as a legitimate religion? My religion teaches me that animals are also humans. His holiness Bugs Bunny pbuh is a rabbit. I can recruit my cat and all the cats and dogs in my neighbourhood. Who can say no? Is that irrational? Maybe, but that is the beauty of faith. All faiths are irrational. That is why they are called faith.
This question will lead us to a slippery slope. It is better not to get into the discussion whether Islam, or any faith for that matter, is a religion or not. If their followers say it is, then we should accept it as such.
The problem with Islam is not because it is a religion. People can believe in what they want to believe. The problem with Islam is with its political dimension. Islam wants to take over the world through Jihad. Jihad has two wings – deception and terror. Islam has declared a war on Mankind. We must fight it. Islam must be destroyed not because it is a religion but because it aims to subdue us with terror.
Instead of trying to declassify Islam as a religion, something we can never do, we can easily ban its objectives. We can ban the Sharia and we can ban preaching most of the Quran because it incites hate and violence.
Islam is a chameleon system of belief. It is political but it operates as religion. It is religion but it has political goal. It intrudes in personal lives of all living beings, not just its believers. Even dogs and pigs are not spared from its onslaught.
We cannot attack Islam as a religion but we can attack it as a political system that is at odds with our constitution and at war with our system of government.
There is however, one thing that all religions share and that is the Golden Rule. Virtually all religions, no matter how diverse they are, have at their core the belief that one should treat others as one wishes to be treated. This Golden Rule is absent in Islam. In this sense Islam can be compared to KKK, Nazism and other racist supremacist groups. We can ban Islam because of this. If KKK can be banned why can’t Islam be banned?