People always ask why atheists concentrate so much on Christianity and not on any other religion; notably Islam. I’ve been considering writing on Islam, and it’s not that I have a fear of offending anyone, it’s just a question, for me, of how to present it properly; to give as an objective view as I’m able.
I’ve been in the Middle East. In fact, I’ve spent a lot of time there in the past, from North Africa to Iraq – and everywhere in between. I want to focus more on the culture of those countries where I’ve been and how the specific culture has defined the religion.
That’s right, it’s the culture that will inform us more of what Islam is in a specific country than the religion itself. We, in the West view Islam as being a religious war between two factions: Shiite and Sunni. But it’s much deeper than that. It would be, here in the West as describing Christianity as Catholic or Protestant.
In the Middle East, it’s more tribal than religious, not that different from here in the West. There are different factions of Sunni and Shiite as there are those of Christianity here. What we are exposed to though is as if it were as simple as one versus the other. Anyone having spent time in the Middle East would say, as I am, its not as clearly defined as those journalists would have us believe.
None of those reporting on anything in the Middle East are on the inside. They are reporting only those facts they are told by either side. As always, we should all be skeptical.
One thing I don’t want to do is inflame anyone based on someone else’s religious belief. As with those that are Christian, I think we could all say that Muslims are not violent. Although there are cultures within Islam that are repressive, we should all consider ourselves at the same time.
I don’t think any of us can look upon Islam as a monolithic belief anymore then I cf those followers of Christ. There are too many subtitles in each religion that should be considered that have to do with the culture of those believers.
Before we damn anyone for their belief, we all need to look more inward.