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Is Christianity A Greater Threat Than Islam?


Neon Genesis
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If there's one thing that the anti-theistic atheists and fundamentalist Christians agree on, it's that they both agree that Islam is a greater threat to America than Christianity is. Both groups see moderate Muslims as part of the problem rather than the solution because they claim moderate Muslims "enable" religious extremism by continuing to defend their faith and both groups take a "convert or kill" solution to solving the problems with radical Islam. But is it even true that radical Islam is a greater threat to America than radical Christianity? As Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos fame argues in his book, American Taliban, the Religious Right and fundamentalist Islam both share many of the same values and goals. They both think science and religion are incompatible with each other. They both see secular culture as a threat to their way of life and they both see their religion as the one true way to salvation. They both wish to impose a religious theocracy on the rest of society and they both wish to oppress the rights of women and gays and other minority groups. The only real difference between radical Islam and the American Taliban is in their methods. Radical Muslims use more overt violent methods to get their way while radical Christians use fear tactics and their political influence to enact laws that restrict freedoms. When al Qaeda attacked the U.S. on 9/11, Bush did far more to take away our freedoms than Osama bin Laden ever did such as expanding government authority to allow him to spy on whichever citizens they want to and passing the Patriot Act which essentially defines anyone who disagrees with the government as a terrorist, even innocent homeless people. Not to mention that Bush fully admitted to torturing terrorist suspects even though most of them actually hadn't committed any crimes and gleefully said he would do it again if he could.

 

The only thing that seems to keep radical Christians from using violence is our secular government and that the majority of Americans are enlightened enough that they wouldn't allow such a thing, but radical Christians certainly aren't above their own honor killings to get their way when they can use it, such as in the case of the Uganda kill the gays bill, or their methods to stop abortion by murdering abortion doctors. Radical Christians rant and rave about how the evil socialist atheists are on the rise and how Muslims are supposedly threatening to impose sharia law on American culture yet it's next to impossible for someone to become president without giving lip service to Christianity. When fundamentalists freak out over their conspiracies about Obama being a secret Muslim even there's no proof of that, imagine how their reaction would be if an actual Muslim ran for president. Given that the U.S. in spite of its economic problems is still one of the most powerful nations of the world and that fundamentalist Christianity still has a powerful influence on American politics, it seems to me that radical Christianity is a far greater threat to American culture than radical Islam, which ironically is used as an invisible bogey man to justify radical Christianity's theocratic goals. Which religion, Christianity or Islam, if any, do you think is a greater threat to the "American way of life"?

Edited by Neon Genesis
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Which religion, Christianity or Islam, if any, do you think is a greater threat to the "American way of life"?

I think the danger is extreme xenophobia whether Christian, Islamic Jewish, Hindu, secular or whatever.

 

George

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If there's one thing that the anti-theistic atheists and fundamentalist Christians agree on, it's that they both agree that Islam is a greater threat to America than Christianity is. Both groups see moderate Muslims as part of the problem rather than the solution because they claim moderate Muslims "enable" religious extremism by continuing to defend their faith and both groups take a "convert or kill" solution to solving the problems with radical Islam. But is it even true that radical Islam is a greater threat to America than radical Christianity? As Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos fame argues in his book, American Taliban, the Religious Right and fundamentalist Islam both share many of the same values and goals. They both think science and religion are incompatible with each other. They both see secular culture as a threat to their way of life and they both see their religion as the one true way to salvation. They both wish to impose a religious theocracy on the rest of society and they both wish to oppress the rights of women and gays and other minority groups. The only real difference between radical Islam and the American Taliban is in their methods. Radical Muslims use more overt violent methods to get their way while radical Christians use fear tactics and their political influence to enact laws that restrict freedoms. When al Qaeda attacked the U.S. on 9/11, Bush did far more to take away our freedoms than Osama bin Laden ever did such as expanding government authority to allow him to spy on whichever citizens they want to and passing the Patriot Act which essentially defines anyone who disagrees with the government as a terrorist, even innocent homeless people. Not to mention that Bush fully admitted to torturing terrorist suspects even though most of them actually hadn't committed any crimes and gleefully said he would do it again if he could.

 

The only thing that seems to keep radical Christians from using violence is our secular government and that the majority of Americans are enlightened enough that they wouldn't allow such a thing, but radical Christians certainly aren't above their own honor killings to get their way when they can use it, such as in the case of the Uganda kill the gays bill, or their methods to stop abortion by murdering abortion doctors. Radical Christians rant and rave about how the evil socialist atheists are on the rise and how Muslims are supposedly threatening to impose sharia law on American culture yet it's next to impossible for someone to become president without giving lip service to Christianity. When fundamentalists freak out over their conspiracies about Obama being a secret Muslim even there's no proof of that, imagine how their reaction would be if an actual Muslim ran for president. Given that the U.S. in spite of its economic problems is still one of the most powerful nations of the world and that fundamentalist Christianity still has a powerful influence on American politics, it seems to me that radical Christianity is a far greater threat to American culture than radical Islam, which ironically is used as an invisible bogey man to justify radical Christianity's theocratic goals. Which religion, Christianity or Islam, if any, do you think is a greater threat to the "American way of life"?

Neon,

You make some great points but let's separate fundamentalist Christianity from radical Christianity. They are *NOT* one and the same. Radical Christianity is nothing different, more or less, than radical Islam. They just use different methods to the sometimes common end. Much of what you talk about such as killing abortion doctors, Uganda kill the gays, etc. can be traced to radical Christianity. To say radical Christianity is a greater threat to American culture than Islam could have some merit. One, radical Christianity takes to the extreme (and wrongly so) what the Bible teaches, much like radical Islam does the same with their Qu'ran (Koran). The worst aspect of radical Christianity is it causes confusion and give a bad name to true (Biblical) Christianity. This is what causes the lumping of fundamentalist and radical Christianity into a single group.

 

I believe I disagree with your statement "it's next to impossible for someone to become president without giving lip service to Christianity". I don't believe Obama ever did this as the largest contingency of Believers voted against Obama for that reason. He didn't resonate with Christians in any way, shape or form.

 

Lastly, (Biblical) Christianity is *NOT* a religion, it is a relationship. Look up the word 'religion' in the Bible sometime. You find very few references and most of those references cast religion into a negative light. It is my opinion that both radical Christianity AND radical Islam are both threats to the American way of life. Combined, this is definitely a problem.

 

Doug

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Doug, I see all faith as being a relationship, a relationship between each human being and the Divine. My perspective is that once it is insisted that the relationship must conform to certain patterns as laid down by interpretations of particular "holy" books, than the (personal) relationship begins to become a religion. Such "religion" is then not far from becoming a threat, a threat in manifold guises. Maybe seeking to decide whose threat is greater is missing the point?

 

All the best.

Derek

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Neon,

You make some great points but let's separate fundamentalist Christianity from radical Christianity. They are *NOT* one and the same. Radical Christianity is nothing different, more or less, than radical Islam. They just use different methods to the sometimes common end. Much of what you talk about such as killing abortion doctors, Uganda kill the gays, etc. can be traced to radical Christianity. To say radical Christianity is a greater threat to American culture than Islam could have some merit. One, radical Christianity takes to the extreme (and wrongly so) what the Bible teaches, much like radical Islam does the same with their Qu'ran (Koran). The worst aspect of radical Christianity is it causes confusion and give a bad name to true (Biblical) Christianity. This is what causes the lumping of fundamentalist and radical Christianity into a single group.

 

 

While not all fundamentalist Christians support killing gays and many are good and honest people, the majority of fundamentalist Christians continue to oppose gay rights to some degree and the only real difference between radical Christians and many "mainstream" fundamentalists is that the "mainstream" fundamentalists fear the political backlash they would get if they vocally supported killing gays. But many American evangelical Christians were shown to have connections with the Uganda kill the gays bill like Scott Lively and Exodus International and Rick Warren has also been called into question for his role. Homosexuality was banned in Texas until it was finally legalized in 2003 but the Texas GOP Platform had recently proposed re-criminalizing homosexuality in Texas and "mainstream" fundamentalist politicians like Ron Paul have also voiced support for bringing back sodomy laws and fundamentalist Christians continue to support keeping sodomy laws in the U.S. military. The same is true for abortion. Most "mainstream" fundamentalists might not openly state their support for killing abortion doctors, but by continuing to refer to abortion with derogatory terms like "the culture of death" and Bill O'Reiley repeatedly referring to Dr. Tiller as "Tiller the baby killer", the "mainstream" fundamentalists are basically shouting fire in a crowded theater and fanning the flames for extremist actions.

 

Case in point, awhile back a crazed gun man went on a rampage and shot a bunch of innocent people at a Unitarian Universalist church because he saw them as "false" Christians and was blaming the gays and liberals for his inability to get a job and went on rampage after reading a bunch of books by Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reiley saying the same sort of crazy things. More recently we had the crazed gunman targeting Gabriel Giffords in Arizona after Sarah Palin had posted posted crosshairs on her Facebook page and telling her readers to "lock and load." Then you had the cases where after Obamacare was passed into law, Tea Partiers started sending death threats to politicians and cutting off the gas line to their houses just because they were upset that a law they didn't like got passed. The mainstream fundamentalists might not vocally support murder but they're trying to get away with shouting fire in a crowded theater by later saying they didn't literally mean there was a fire in the theater and they were just being metaphorical when they shouted. I recommend reading the book American Taliban for further details on these and other horror stories about the dangers of the Religious Right in America.

Edited by Neon Genesis
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