“Beyond the bestseller lists, however, a new survey shows there is indeed a significant gap between Christians and those Americans who are in the “no-faith” camp. For instance, most atheists and agnostics (56%) agree with the idea that radical Christianity is just as threatening in America as is radical Islam.” — from this news article
“For instance, most atheists and agnostics (56%) agree with the idea that radical Christianity is just as threatening in America as is radical Islam.”
Just as threatening? Really?
Apparently the abandonment of religious faith can lead some to subscribe to other Articles of Faith, including the one that says “all religions are the same” or “all religions mean the same thing” or “all religions are equally dangerous.”
Well, it is now time for that old Gedankenexperiment, that Thought-Experiment. You normally fly, as an airline hostess or steward — or, if you prefer, we can make this hypothetical one in which you are a regular passenger, say, on a small commuter plane, New York to Nantucket.
Now over the years you have gotten friendly with the pilot (or if you are part of the crew, on a big plane, both pilot and co-pilot). Good, steady fliers. You like them. As it happens, one of them has recently gotten religion. He used to be a sometime churchgoer, but now he’s really very serious about religion. On flights with layovers, he doesn’t party, but goes to his room and reads his dog-eared Bible. He urges you, occasionally, to “look into it for yourself.” He no longer drinks nor carouses, not that he ever did very much of it. In short, he’s a little like Mitt Romney outwardly, not terribly entertaining, not the life of the party, and you think he’s told you how proud he is that his son has gone off to do missionary work for a Pentecostal church in Africa, or possibly even some remote island in Indonesia.
Do you worry more about flying with him than you did previously? No.
Now vary the hypothetical. Same airline. Same pilot or co-pilot. Only in this case the pilot (and co-pilot) are not Christians who became even more devout, but were born into Christianity and have now discovered Islam, and have become fanatical in their new faith. Or perhaps — this is, after all, a hypothetical — they were originally rather casual Muslims, possibly of Iranian background, people who fled Khomeini’s Iran, or “secular” Muslims who came from India and went to school in the West, and who have now been seen reading the Qur’an, and re-reading it. They have even — you notice — now grown beards.
Well, any problems with this? Anything about what these fellows read and re-read in their Qur’an, and what they may read or re-read in the Hadith and Sira that they do not carry about with them, but certainly have at home in book form, or can get online at a click or in a clin d’oeil, that makes you nervous, and more than nervous?
You know the answer to that.
And if you are an atheist (as I am), you should not be pretending to believe — as the latter-day would-be successors to Bertrand Russell of “Why I Am Not a Christian,” such people as Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins with their one-size-fits-all indictment of all religions equally, would have you believe — that Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, and all the other varieties of those belief-systems we call, in the case of Islam most carelessly and inaccurately, “religions,” are essentially the same thing, with the same effects on their adherents. They aren’t.
And if you pretend that they are, and that there is no problem with any of them in particular, then I insist that the next time you have a chance to fly with a Muslim pilot, on a plane full of Infidels, you jump at the chance.
How can we find out? Well, let’s ask the airlines. I’m sure they will be glad to tell us what Muslim pilots they employ, on which routes — so we can be sure to take advantage of, or to carefully avoid, their flights.
Which choice do you think most people will make?