5 Illogical Arguments Against Islam

How the media uses logical fallacies to forge a relationship between Islam and extremism.

As a kid, when I didn’t want to eat my fruits and veggies, my parents always said, “Think of all the kids starving in Africa!” This argument, however convincing, was deceptive. Instead of providing facts about why fruits and veggies are good for our well being, parents often choose to appeal to their kids’ emotions — a type of logical fallacy.

But parents are not the only tricksters. Media pundits, journalists, and public figures commonly use logical fallacies as tools for persuasion and duplicity. In the wake of the attack on the Paris-based satire magazine Charlie Hebdo, influential figures have used logical fallacies in an attempt to forge a relationship between Islam and extremism. Let’s examine some of them:

1. Rupert Murdoch: “Maybe most Moslems [are] peaceful, but until they recognize and destroy their growing jihadist cancer they must be held responsible.”

This fallacy is known as “Guilt by Association.” Murdoch is asserting that all Muslims, even the peaceful majority, should be held accountable for the crimes of the gunmen who carried out the attack at Charlie Hebdo. This logical fallacy tries to prove that because you have something in common with the criminals, you must also be one of them. It is an irrelevant and flawed argument, because it fails to show that all Muslims support extremism. Although this argument may seem harmless, it can prove dangerous for Muslims living under the shadow of rising Islamophobia in Europe.

2. Bill Maher: “When there’s this many bad apples, there’s something wrong with the orchard.”

I’ll label this one a “False Analogy,” because it wrongly compares two ideas, leading to a false conclusion. In his statement, Maher argues that Islam and extremism are one. Since extremists are using Islam as an excuse to kill people, Islam’s teachings must be fueling the extremist ideologies.

Therefore, Maher concludes that the entire religion — with more than a billion followers — is malicious based on the actions of a few. By doing so, not only is Maher detracting from the underlying issues of extremism, he is also guilty of overgeneralization. By pointing to Islam as the problem, Maher is ignoring the political and social motives that guide most extremist beliefs.

3. Richard Dawkins: “Some useful idiot will claim it had nothing to do with religion.”

Well known atheist Richard Dawkins tweeted this statement after he posted a link to the news about the Charlie Hebdo attack. By connecting the violence in Paris to religion, he is using the “Taboo” fallacy and declaring that any other justification for the attack is off the table.

Some atheists, like Dawkins, use this fallacy because it serves to undermine religion and bolster their argument that religion plays a vital role in enticing people to be violent. In fact, this fallacy doesn’t prove anything, because terrorism is a very complex issue and religion is but one factor in the bigger scheme of things. This argument merely impedes on people seeing the larger picture.

4. Don Lemon: “Do you support ISIS?”

According to a poll from last year, 16 percent of French Muslims support ISIS. CNN anchor Don Lemon interviewed Arsalan Iftikhar, a prominent Muslim attorney, after the Charlie Hebdo attack and asked him what he thought of the poll. While Iftikhar explained that the poll highlights a complex issue within the Muslim communities in France, Lemon interrupted and asked him to be more specific — going so far as to ask him if he supported ISIS.

This example is not exactly an argument, but it is an inquiry that begs a black or white response — a type of fallacy. Instead of focusing on the complexity of the issue, Lemon tries to boil it down to this: either you support ISIS or you are against it. This type of reasoning detracts from the underlying problems.

This is also a “Genetic” fallacy because Lemon’s question has a presumption built into it. Iftikhar identifies as a Muslim so Lemon assumes that he must have a stance on ISIS.

5. Steve Emerson: “Parts of London, there are actually Muslim religious police that actually beat and actually wound seriously anyone who doesn’t dress according to Muslim, religious Muslim attire.”

Emerson is the “terrorism expert” who made headlines over the last few days after making preposterous claims on Fox News about a city in the UK, which he describes as teeming with Muslim extremists. Emerson uses the “Big Lie” fallacy — a tactic that gained popularity after Adolf Hitler used it against Jewish people in Germany.

The “Big Lie” fallacy is also a form of propaganda filled with assertions so outrageous that people hesitate to question their credibility. People ask, “Who would make up such a blatant lie?” Fortunately, in Emerson’s case the British authorities stepped forward and called out his farcical claims immediately.

*   *   *

Logical fallacies may seem benign — and most of the time we are quick enough to catch them and save ourselves from being fooled. But they can also be callous. The use of logical fallacies can be extremely misleading, only there to promote an agenda. They infiltrate our minds, shape our thinking, and distract us from the real issues at hand.

In the book, Everything’s an Argument, Andrea A. Lunsford notes a keen distinction between people who seek the truth and people who seek to persuade. She argues that those who seek to persuade sometimes do so by abandoning reason, fairness, and truth. Instead of arguing to win the case, we should strive to find common ground, look at the underlying issues, and come to a solution that benefits all.

Image courtesy of pixinoo / Shutterstock.com.

Huma Munir
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  • Michael R

    Just read the biography of Mohammed, he spent half his prophet tenure steeped in blood, the details of which are not dinner party conversation. He beheaded a whole Jewish tribe, the Banu Qurayza. He took women as sex slaves after slaughtering the men. He ordered/supported about 40 assassinations, including 10 poets who wrote critical verses against him.

    If you want to know why Christianity is far less likely to inspire violence, just compare the biographies of Jesus to Mohammed. You will then understand why violence persists in the Muslim world. It’s not rocket science. It’s patently obvious to anyone not swayed by motivated reasoning.

    • Sam

      What biography is that?

    • nwcolorist

      Years ago I read a biography of Mohammed and there was nothing in it about him assassinating critics, beheading Jews, or trafficking in sex slaves.

  • Martin Hughes

    It doesn’t help the cause of logic if you confuse false statement with fallacy, which is drawing conclusions not supported by the the points already made, the premises.
    Murdoch’s argument depends on the premise that Muslims should in some accept that ‘Islamism’ is theirs, presumably meaning that it has much in common with prevalent Muslim beliefs. If this premise is true, Murdoch’s conclusion follows validly. Perhaps it is not true.
    Maher is saying something like ‘1. In all cases where it is true that a huge number and proportion of the adherents of a certain idea are horrible then there is something horrible about the basic idea 2. A huge number and proportion of the adherents of Islam are horrible 3. There is something horrible about the basic idea of Islam.’ This is a logically valid argument, not a fallacy, but both the premises are questionable, and the second might well be treating numbers which are tiny – lethal Islamists being very, very few – as if they were huge. But this is falsehood not fallacy.
    It would be idiotic, says Dawkins, to say that religion plays no part. This time the inference ‘nothing else plays a part’ would indeed be fallacious, though I’m not all sure that D attempts that inference.
    Lemon asks a question about Isis. A question is not an argument so there isn’t really a fallacy. He may have asked it in a bullying manner but that’s a question of ethics rather than logic.
    Big Lies or wildly false statements are false statements, not invalid arguments.
    Logic is indeed terribly important. Logic depends on recognising the distinction between a false statement and an invalid argument.

  • Daniel E. Bond

    This essay contains the old “its too complex and subtle” dodge. Most Muslims live peacefully. How do they do so in light of the instructions given them in their sacred text? Is it just a rope-a-dope until an opportunity to conquer and subjugate presents itself? Oh, that can’t be – its much more complex and subtle than that. Does Islam need to revise its sacred text? Blasphemy. Muslims must decide these things among themselves, and present an honest set of answers to the world. Of course, other religions have struggled with the same, but this is Islam’s hour.

    • Sam

      “[I]nstructions given them in their sacred text”.

      What instructions?

      • Daniel E. Bond

        It seems OnFaith did not post my prior reply, so here’s my new attempt.

        The Quran:

        Quran (2:191-193) – “And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out. And Al-Fitnah [disbelief or unrest] is worse than killing…

        but if they desist, then lo! Allah is forgiving and merciful. And fight them until there is no more Fitnah [disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allah] and worship is for Allah alone. But if they cease, let there be no transgression except against Az-Zalimun (the polytheists, and wrong-doers, etc.)” (Translation is from the Noble Quran) The historical context of this passage is not defensive warfare, since Muhammad and his Muslims had just relocated to Medina and were not under attack by their Meccan adversaries. In fact, the verses urge offensive warfare, in that Muslims are to drive Meccans out of their own city (which they later did). The use of the word “persecution” by some Muslim translators is thus disingenuous (the actual Muslim words for persecution – “idtihad” – and oppression – a variation of “z-l-m” – do not appear in the verse). The actual Arabic comes from “fitna” which can mean disbelief, or the disorder that results from unbelief or temptation. Taken as a whole, the context makes clear that violence is being authorized until “religion is for Allah” – ie. unbelievers desist in their unbelief.

        Quran (2:244) – “Then fight in the cause of Allah, and know that Allah Heareth and knoweth all things.”

        Quran (2:216) – “Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not.” Not only does this verse establish that violence can be virtuous, but it also contradicts the myth that fighting is intended only in self-defense, since the audience was obviously not under attack at the time. From the Hadith, we know that this verse was narrated at a time that Muhammad was actually trying to motivate his people into raiding merchant caravans for loot.

        Quran (3:56) – “As to those who reject faith, I will punish them with terrible agony in this world and in the Hereafter, nor will they have anyone to help.”

        Quran (3:151) – “Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers, for that they joined companions with Allah, for which He had sent no authority”. This speaks directly of polytheists, yet it also includes Christians, since they believe in the Trinity (ie. what Muhammad incorrectly believed to be ‘joining companions to Allah’).

        Quran (4:74) – “Let those fight in the way of Allah who sell the life of this world for the other. Whoso fighteth in the way of Allah, be he slain or be he victorious, on him We shall bestow a vast reward.” The martyrs of Islam are unlike the early Christians, who were led meekly to the slaughter. These Muslims are killed in battle as they attempt to inflict death and destruction for the cause of Allah. This is the theological basis for today’s suicide bombers.

        Quran (4:76) – “Those who believe fight in the cause of Allah…”

        Quran (4:89) – “They but wish that ye should reject Faith, as they do, and thus be on the same footing (as they): But take not friends from their ranks until they flee in the way of Allah (From what is forbidden). But if they turn renegades, seize them and slay them wherever ye find them; and (in any case) take no friends or helpers from their ranks.”

        Quran (4:95) – “Not equal are those believers who sit (at home) and receive no hurt, and those who strive and fight in the cause of Allah with their goods and their persons. Allah hath granted a grade higher to those who strive and fight with their goods and persons than to those who sit (at home). Unto all (in Faith) Hath Allah promised good: But those who strive and fight Hath He distinguished above those who sit (at home) by a special reward,-” This passage criticizes “peaceful” Muslims who do not join in the violence, letting them know that they are less worthy in Allah’s eyes. It also demolishes the modern myth that “Jihad” doesn’t mean holy war in the Quran, but rather a spiritual struggle. Not only is the Arabic word used in this passage, but it is clearly not referring to anything spiritual, since the physically disabled are given exemption. (The Hadith reveals the context of the passage to be in response to a blind man’s protest that he is unable to engage in Jihad and this is reflected in other translations of the verse).

        Quran (4:104) – “And be not weak hearted in pursuit of the enemy; if you suffer pain, then surely they (too) suffer pain as you suffer pain…” Is pursuing an injured and retreating enemy really an act of self-defense?

        Quran (5:33) – “The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement”

        Quran (8:12) – “I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them” No reasonable person would interpret this to mean a spiritual struggle.

        Quran (8:15) – “O ye who believe! When ye meet those who disbelieve in battle, turn not your backs to them. (16)Whoso on that day turneth his back to them, unless maneuvering for battle or intent to join a company, he truly hath incurred wrath from Allah, and his habitation will be hell, a hapless journey’s end.”

        Quran (8:39) – “And fight with them until there is no more fitna (disorder, unbelief) and religion should be only for Allah” Some translations interpret “fitna” as “persecution”, but the traditional understanding of this word is not supported by the historical context (See notes for 2:193). The Meccans were simply refusing Muhammad access to their city during Haj. Other Muslims were allowed to travel there – just not as an armed group, since Muhammad had declared war on Mecca prior to his eviction. The Meccans were also acting in defense of their religion, since it was Muhammad’s intention to destroy their idols and establish Islam by force (which he later did). Hence the critical part of this verse is to fight until “religion is only for Allah”, meaning that the true justification of violence was the unbelief of the opposition. According to the Sira (Ibn Ishaq/Hisham 324) Muhammad further explains that “Allah must have no rivals.”

        Quran (8:57) – “If thou comest on them in the war, deal with them so as to strike fear in those who are behind them, that haply they may remember.”

        Quran (8:67) – “It is not for a Prophet that he should have prisoners of war until he had made a great slaughter in the land…”

        Quran (8:59-60) – “And let not those who disbelieve suppose that they can outstrip (Allah’s Purpose). Lo! they cannot escape. Make ready for them all thou canst of (armed) force and of horses tethered, that thereby ye may dismay the enemy of Allah and your enemy.”

        Quran (8:65) – “O Prophet, exhort the believers to fight…”

        Quran (9:5) – “So when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captive and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush, then if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, leave their way free to them.” According to this verse, the best way of staying safe from Muslim violence is to convert to Islam (prayer (salat) and the poor tax (zakat) are among the religion’s Five Pillars). This popular claim that the Quran only inspires violence within the context of self-defense is seriously challenged by this passage as well, since the Muslims to whom it was written were obviously not under attack. Had they been, then there would have been no waiting period (earlier verses make it a duty for Muslims to fight in self-defense, even during the sacred months). The historical context is Mecca after the idolaters were subjugated by Muhammad and posed no threat. Once the Muslims had the power, they violently evicted those unbelievers who would not convert.

        Quran (9:14) – “Fight against them so that Allah will punish them by your hands and disgrace them and give you victory over them and heal the breasts of a believing people.”Humiliating and hurting non-believers not only has the blessing of Allah, but it is ordered as a means of carrying out his punishment and even “healing” the hearts of Muslims.

        Quran (9:20) – “Those who believe, and have left their homes and striven with their wealth and their lives in Allah’s way are of much greater worth in Allah’s sight. These are they who are triumphant.” The Arabic word interpreted as “striving” in this verse is the same root as “Jihad”. The context is obviously holy war.

        Quran (9:29) – “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.” “People of the Book” refers to Christians and Jews. According to this verse, they are to be violently subjugated, with the sole justification being their religious status. This was one of the final “revelations” from Allah and it set in motion the tenacious military expansion, in which Muhammad’s companions managed to conquer two-thirds of the Christian world in the next 100 years. Islam is intended to dominate all other people and faiths.

        Quran (9:30) – “And the Jews say: Ezra is the son of Allah; and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah; these are the words of their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved before; may Allah destroy them; how they are turned away!”

        Quran (9:38-39) – “O ye who believe! what is the matter with you, that, when ye are asked to go forth in the cause of Allah, ye cling heavily to the earth? Do ye prefer the life of this world to the Hereafter? But little is the comfort of this life, as compared with the Hereafter. Unless ye go forth, He will punish you with a grievous penalty, and put others in your place.” This is a warning to those who refuse to fight, that they will be punished with Hell.

        Quran (9:41) – “Go forth, light-armed and heavy-armed, and strive with your wealth and your lives in the way of Allah! That is best for you if ye but knew.” See also the verse that follows (9:42) – “If there had been immediate gain (in sight), and the journey easy, they would (all) without doubt have followed thee, but the distance was long, (and weighed) on them” This contradicts the myth that Muslims are to fight only in self-defense, since the wording implies that battle will be waged a long distance from home (in another country and on Christian soil, in this case, according to the historians).

        Quran (9:73) – “O Prophet! strive hard against the unbelievers and the hypocrites and be unyielding to them; and their abode is hell, and evil is the destination.” Dehumanizing those who reject Islam, by reminding Muslims that unbelievers are merely firewood for Hell, makes it easier to justify slaughter. It also explains why today’s devout Muslims have little regard for those outside the faith.

        Quran (9:88) – “But the Messenger, and those who believe with him, strive and fight with their wealth and their persons: for them are (all) good things: and it is they who will prosper.”

        Quran (9:111) – “Allah hath purchased of the believers their persons and their goods; for theirs (in return) is the garden (of Paradise): they fight in His cause, and slay and are slain: a promise binding on Him in truth, through the Law, the Gospel, and the Quran: and who is more faithful to his covenant than Allah? then rejoice in the bargain which ye have concluded: that is the achievement supreme.” How does the Quran define a true believer?

        Quran (9:123) – “O you who believe! fight those of the unbelievers who are near to you and let them find in you hardness.”

        Quran (17:16) – “And when We wish to destroy a town, We send Our commandment to the people of it who lead easy lives, but they transgress therein; thus the word proves true against it, so We destroy it with utter destruction.” Note that the crime is moral transgression, and the punishment is “utter destruction.” (Before ordering the 9/11 attacks, Osama bin Laden first issued Americans an invitation to Islam).

        Quran (18:65-81) – This parable lays the theological groundwork for honor killings, in which a family member is murdered because they brought shame to the family, either through apostasy or perceived moral indiscretion. The story (which is not found in any Jewish or Christian source) tells of Moses encountering a man with “special knowledge” who does things which don’t seem to make sense on the surface, but are then justified according to later explanation. One such action is to murder a youth for no apparent reason (74). However, the wise man later explains that it was feared that the boy would “grieve” his parents by “disobedience and ingratitude.” He was killed so that Allah could provide them a ‘better’ son. (Note: This is one reason why honor killing is sanctioned by Sharia. Reliance of the Traveler (Umdat al-Saliq) says that punishment for murder is not applicable when a parent or grandparent kills their offspring (o.1.1-2).)

        Quran (21:44) – “We gave the good things of this life to these men and their fathers until the period grew long for them; See they not that We gradually reduce the land (in their control) from its outlying borders? Is it then they who will win?”

        Quran (25:52) – “Therefore listen not to the Unbelievers, but strive against them with the utmost strenuousness…” “Strive against” is Jihad – obviously not in the personal context. It’s also significant to point out that this is a Meccan verse.

        Quran (33:60-62) – “If the hypocrites, and those in whose hearts is a disease, and the alarmists in the city do not cease, We verily shall urge thee on against them, then they will be your neighbors in it but a little while. Accursed, they will be seized wherever found and slain with a (fierce) slaughter.” This passage sanctions the slaughter (rendered “merciless” and “horrible murder” in other translations) against three groups: Hypocrites (Muslims who refuse to “fight in the way of Allah” (3:167) and hence don’t act as Muslims should), those with “diseased hearts” (which include Jews and Christians 5:51-52), and “alarmists” or “agitators who include those who merely speak out against Islam, according to Muhammad’s biographers. It is worth noting that the victims are to be sought out by Muslims, which is what today’s terrorists do. If this passage is meant merely to apply to the city of Medina, then it is unclear why it is included in Allah’s eternal word to Muslim generations.

        Quran (47:3-4) – “Those who disbelieve follow falsehood, while those who believe follow the truth from their Lord… So, when you meet (in fight Jihad in Allah’s Cause), those who disbelieve smite at their necks till when you have killed and wounded many of them, then bind a bond firmly (on them, i.e. take them as captives)… If it had been Allah’s Will, He Himself could certainly have punished them (without you). But (He lets you fight), in order to test you, some with others. But those who are killed in the Way of Allah, He will never let their deeds be lost.” Those who reject Allah are to be killed in Jihad. The wounded are to be held captive for ransom. The only reason Allah doesn’t do the dirty work himself is to to test the faithfulness of Muslims. Those who kill pass the test.

        Quran (47:35) – “Be not weary and faint-hearted, crying for peace, when ye should be uppermost (Shakir: “have the upper hand”) for Allah is with you,”

        Quran (48:17) – “There is no blame for the blind, nor is there blame for the lame, nor is there blame for the sick (that they go not forth to war). And whoso obeyeth Allah and His messenger, He will make him enter Gardens underneath which rivers flow; and whoso turneth back, him will He punish with a painful doom.” Contemporary apologists sometimes claim that Jihad means ‘spiritual struggle.’ Is so, then why are the blind, lame and sick exempted? This verse also says that those who do not fight will suffer torment in hell.

        Quran (48:29) – “Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. And those with him are hard (ruthless) against the disbelievers and merciful among themselves” Islam is not about treating everyone equally. There are two very distinct standards that are applied based on religious status. Also the word used for ‘hard’ or ‘ruthless’ in this verse shares the same root as the word translated as ‘painful’ or severe’ in verse 16.

        Quran (61:4) – “Surely Allah loves those who fight in His way” Religion of Peace, indeed! The verse explicitly refers to “battle array” meaning that it is speaking of physical conflict. This is followed by (61:9): “He it is who has sent His Messenger (Mohammed) with guidance and the religion of truth (Islam) to make it victorious over all religions even though the infidels may resist.” (See next verse, below). Infidels who resist Islamic rule are to be fought.

        Quran (61:10-12) – “O You who believe! Shall I guide you to a commerce that will save you from a painful torment. That you believe in Allah and His Messenger (Muhammad ), and that you strive hard and fight in the Cause of Allah with your wealth and your lives, that will be better for you, if you but know! (If you do so) He will forgive you your sins, and admit you into Gardens under which rivers flow, and pleasant dwelling in Gardens of ‘Adn – Eternity [‘Adn (Edn) Paradise], that is indeed the great success.” This verse refers to physical battle in order to make Islam victorious over other religions (see above). It uses the Arabic word, Jihad.

        Quran (66:9) – “O Prophet! Strive against the disbelievers and the hypocrites, and be stern with them. Hell will be their home, a hapless journey’s end.” The root word of “Jihad” is used again here. The context is clearly holy war, and the scope of violence is broadened to include “hypocrites” – those who call themselves Muslims but do not act as such.

        • Daniel E. Bond

          I must add that my source is TheReligionofPeace, a web entity with Glen Roberts as its editor

          • Sam

            At least you admit that it is not a neutral source.
            And I highly recommend that “The Message of the Quran” by Muhammad Asad, free all over the place as a pdf. One of the selling points for me on that translation was the salafi banning of it Saudi Arabia.

            Now for a bit of history, the Meccans had an issue with Muhammad even after his exodus from Mecca and continued their assaults on him and his followers even in Yathrib.

            Also, I think that your interpretation is agreed upon with the al-Qadean, ISISian, and Talibanie scholars. Such a representation does much to support their false jihad and the idea of the need for constant and never-ending warfare, hence why they would kill other “false” Muslims because Muslims like Malala Yousafzai, Michael Muhammad Knight, Malcom X, and their ilk are bad for them. They need the West and Muslims to believe what you have shown. Without that, without a more historical and honest understanding of Islam their authoritarian genocidal cause falls apart.

            I actually saw a really good movie about this recently out of Pakistan, Khuda Kay Liye. The entire film is available on YouTube for free if you wish to see it.

            Last thing, I am not sure what your personal beliefs are but I think we can both agree Luke 22:36 (And He said to them, “But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one.”) does not imply that Christians should always war, correct? But if you use that verse as it is then surely you could attempt to make that argument. Many verses are useful for this purpose when you pull them from their context and meaning in order to manipulate it to mean what you want rather than the text itself.

            The website Scriptures On Fighting the Enemy has nicely collected these. (And since the Bible is conveniently Old and New Testament anti-semites could also use this list to “prove” how “the Jews” are actually out to conquer the world or some such.) Here are some examples:

            “If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments, and perform them … you shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely. I will give you peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and none will make you afraid; I will rid the land of evil beasts, and the sword will not go through your land. You will chase your enemies, and they shall fall by the sword before you. Five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight; your enemies shall fall by the sword before you.” Leviticus 26:3

            “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” Luke 10:19

            “For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power.” 1 Corinthians 4:20

            “No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and of good courage …” Joshua 1:5

            “Blessed be the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle – my loving kindness and my fortress, my high tower and my deliverer, my shield and the One in whom I take refuge, who subdues my people under me.” Psalm 144:1

            “It is God who arms me with strength, and makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of deer, and sets me on high places. He teaches my hands to make war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze … I have pursued my enemies and overtaken them; neither did I turn back again till they were destroyed, I have wounded them, so that they were not able to rise; they have fallen under my feet. For You have armed me with strength for the battle; you have subdued under me those who rose up against me.” Psalm 18:32

            “The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? The Lord is for me among those who help me; therefore I shall see my desire on those who hate me. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes. All nations surrounded me, but in the name of the Lord I will destroy them.” Psalm 118:6

            “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him I will trust. Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feather, and under His wings you shall take refugee; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.

            A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you. Only with your eyes shall you look, and see the reward of the wicked. Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your habitation, no evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; for He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.

            They shall bear you up in their hands, lest you dash your foot against a stone. You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, the young lion and the serpent you shall trample. Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him, and show him My salvation.” Psalm 91:1-16

            “The Lord is a Man of War; the Lord is His name … Your Right Hand, O Lord, has become glorious in power; Your right hand. O Lord, has dashed the enemy in pieces. And in the greatness of Your excellence you have overthrown those who rose against You; You sent forth Your wrath which consumed them like stubble.” Exodus 15:3,6

            “Therefore understand today the Lord your God is He who goes before you as a consuming fire. He will destroy them and bring them down before you; so you shall drive them out and destroy them quickly, as the Lord has said to you.” Deuteronomy 9:3

            “… since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you.” 2 Thessalonians 1:6

            “When my enemies turn back, they shall fall and perish at your presence. For You have maintained my right hand and my cause; You sat on the throne judging in righteousness.” Psalm 9:3

            “God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day. If He does not turn back, He will sharpen His sword; He bends His bow and makes it ready. He prepares for Himself instruments of death; He makes His arrows into fiery shafts.” Psalm 7:11

            Other examples are:

            “Happy is the one who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks.” Psalms 137:9

            “I will execute vengeance in anger and fury on the heathen, such as they have not heard.” Micah 15:5

            And these are Jesus direct according to the New Testament:

            “Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” Matthew 10:34

            “But these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and kill them in my presence.” Luke 19:27

            So as you can see it would be fairly easy for someone to prove how Christianity and Judaism are clearly (italics need to be used there) violent blood thirsty religions (and we haven’t even touched Revelations yet). But the question is would it be honest ? Would such a portrayal of Christianity, Judaism, Jesus, or God be accurate? Likely many an atheist would say yes (lol) but what about Christians and Jews? Would they agree with such a “misinterpretation” of the Bible? Even if you did find some who did would you consider the other 99% to be guilty of crimes that those few commit, regardless of how much media time they receive? Or would you see that those are the crazy few and that the reason such groups (like the Lord’s Resistance Army) commit such horrors has less to do with God, the Bible, and Christianity and more to do with personal agenda’s, ego and the desire for power?

            Now regarding your quotations and interpretations of the Quran I highly recommend “The Message of the Quran” by Muhammad Asad. He is exhaustive in his foot notes both historically and linguistically. He does an excellent job elaborating on the root and use of jihad. If you would like I can go ayah by ayah if you wish and respond so let me know if that is what you would like. Either way I hope that I have provided some insight and some food for thought.

            Best wishes.

          • Daniel E. Bond

            Sam – Thank you for your response. I am a Unitarian Universalist, and I am not inclined to be an apologist for any particular religion, but I do wish to understand them. Any social movement that has gained historical significance displaced some other ways of thinking. When matters of conscious collide, violence often erupts. This is particularly true when the matters of conscious involve entire codes of conduct, and practical matters such as personal domination/submission, livelihood, property ownership, dignity, and ultimate fate. A critical and constant question for any religion is its humility. To avoid the self examination humility presupposes, many religions anchor themselves in things placed beyond question, such as sacred text, final prophethood, the vitality of mystic experience, and other such notions. Leaders of good faith in any religion recognize the danger arising from such anchoring, and seek ways to prompt humility and reflection within their faith. It seems to me that Christians have more ways to achieve this, in light of the New Testament, than do Muslims. Perhaps Muslims need a New Testament. I’m serious about that. I know it would be a great leap for Islam to accept that revelation is not closed, and that God’s final prophet did not have the final say, but that is what I hope comes to be.

          • Sam

            Interesting take.

            An atheist argument would be that any revelation, final or ongoing, would not fulfill the humility requirement you speak of. Any such revelations itself would be the height of inhumility.

            On the other hand the continuing acceptance of revelation and the ongoing hierarchy of some individuals being closer than others to God (or gods or whatever ones preference is) leads to the inhumility of Koresh’s, Jones’s, Shoko Asahara’s, Moon’s, and so forth. It is interesting that in Islam a non-continuation of Prophethood but a continuation of other divine guidance is one of the results of the Shia-Sunni split and also prevalent in a number of Sufi schools.

            So closing the book, as it were, on direct revelation puts a road block in the way of such abuses. The idea of the Quran being the final word has most assuredly lead to a ridiculous amount of pedantic behavior while also being used as a tool to abuse making minimums maximums and vice versa.

            The idea of any approach or idea being able to be used for abuse has been made clear via history whether Islamic, Buddhist, Christian, and just as I am sure one day UU will be used as such. If someone wants to oppress and hurt others they will use whatever tool is at hand regardless of how misshapen it is for the task.

            And regarding the idea of an Islamic New Testament I find it hard to understand the context that you approach that subject with as you seem to not really know what is in the Islamic “Old Testament”. Most likely what is being looked for is there and in the hadiths, but again anything can be turned to abuse lest we forget Jesus said:

            “But these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and kill them in my presence.” Luke 19:27

          • El Cid

            What you have demonstrated above is called the ‘Fallacy of Contextualization’. Such a fallacy is by defination a false illogical argument, a rhetorical fallacy: An argument that seems valid at first, but that depends on unsound or flawed reasoning.

            Sam, details this false reasoning in his own way, below.

        • nwcolorist

          Interesting comments, and possibly true. But in the end it all depends on the overall context, which is lacking in quotes listed

  • TXSage44

    One could conceivably–though not successfully before an impartial jury–argue that the “Five Illogical Statements Against Islam” are wrong; to say that the statements themselves are inherently illogical betrays a total inability to understand the fundamentals of logical argument. One so lacking in logical ability arguing against demonstrable facts suggests that Huma Munir is either a Muslim apologist or a liberal.