A comment on The Struggle for the Soul of the West
A comment from a regular that I thought deserved to be a post. AoS.
Posted by: no mo uro

Long response, which I've posted before. Mods, if you don't like, feel free to excise.
The evidence suggests that they do like...
The current fashionable attitude amongst the atheist cultural elite which essentially lumps all devoutly religious people together is the problem, not the answer. The psychiatric term "projection" leaps to mind whenever I hear some atheist or agnostic, or even a member of one of the more exsanguinated and emasculated forms of Christianity or Judaism, attempt to draw parallels between fundamentalist Christians and radical Islam. It is the easy thing to do, and tempting, to conflate the Islamists and the religiously zealous of other faiths, but it will always be inaccurate, since there are major and irreconcilable differences apparent to those who attempt observe these faiths rationally and without bigotry towards religion in general and Christianity in particular.

First, at least in Europe and the U.S., the objections to Christian fundamentalists are almost always based on social, economic, and education industry snobbery, rather than mature, logically thought-out philosophical arguments or dispassionate, accurate assessments of facts on the ground. I am as likely as anyone to prefer attractive, witty, wise, composed sophisticates who are cosmopolitan and informed (and the bulk of devoutly Christian people fit into that category) to angry, fat, envious, ignorant, doctrinaire people (and it should be obvious that plenty of atheists that fit that description). Nevertheless, devout Christians (like devout Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, etc.) are not, despite a few silly forays into educational policy that are basically defensive in nature, and despite a few extremely isolated, statistically insignificant crackpots, a threat to the beliefs or values of anyone outside of their communities, nor to anyone's life or limb. Even their most proselytizing groups are not prone to using widespread organized force to spread or maintain their doctrines, and have not been so to any meaningful extent for centuries.

Second, the essential nature of Islam as a faith is different than that of other religions. The extreme austerity and abstraction of Islam, combined with the arbitrary justifications for otherwise immoral conduct brought about by what is an attempt to duplicate precisely the personality and life of Mohammed, create a contradiction that is unique among religions, and makes for a much more dangerous set of conditions than those produced in any other faith groups including and especially Christianity.

Among world religions, only Islam has such a high percentage of members who are aggressively, outwardly directed in their willingness to expand by the use of violence and oppression -- not as last means, but as a core tactic -- and are dominated by the need to seek out and, as matter not just of practice but of organizing principle, destroy all evidence of nonconformity. In truth, the nature of Islam, with its arbitrary, merciless, and impersonal god, resembles, ironically, a kind of formalized atheism more than anything else. Like atheism it is intolerant, condescending, devoid of humility, and often militant (see atheism in the USSR or Red China or North Korea). Like atheism, Islam is a preening, conceited, self-superior, pseudointellectual 'ethical culture' combined with a set of what are, in practice, unethical moral precepts -- and like atheism, these memes cannot be unbundled.

Much as there has never been or can be a truly free, democratic, and benevolent atheist nation, so too has there never been a truly benevolent Islamist one, and I suspect there never will be. A dispassionate look at the facts reveals that Islam, especially (but not only) radical Islam, is more like atheism than it is, despite its pretensions, like a religion. Most Muslims refuse to deal with this truth. Conversely, atheists demonize Christianity in an attempt to deal with their own inability to honestly resolve any cognitive dissonance created by their own philosophical similarities to Islam. This is the ultimate reason for projection by atheists in their attempts to draw an unfounded confluence between Muslim extremists and Christianity -- instead of seeing the log in their own eye. This is also why trying to draw a link between radical Islam and fundamentalist Christians is not the answer.
Posted by: Steve White 2013-01-21