If not for those two parts I would have given your post a ‘like’. I’m not even a Christian, but I’m getting sick of the relativistic tendency to group other religions together with Islam like that. Sure, Christianity has had and still has it’s darker sides as well, but it has proven capable to adjust enough during and after the Enlightenment to be able to live in relative harmony with the modern secular society and way of life.
In contrast, this challenge of modernity is one of the core reasons why fundamentalism and in extend terrorism is on the rise inside Islam. The doctrine of Islam is considered perfection itself by believers, and until the end of the middle ages this view was supported by the success and power of the Islamic world. The modern rise of the West has confused the superiority complex of Islam, and the question of why the Islamic world has fallen behind despite Islam being superior, is explained by the Islamic world losing it’s way and not following the pure Islam. In the eyes of the fundamentalists this return to the pure Islam is the way for Islam to make it’s big comeback and to withstand the challenges of modernity. The desire for a new Islamic Caliphate is a longing to the old Golden Age of Islam.
And then you get to the real problem. The early Islam was mostly, if not solely, spread by conquest through Jihad, which was started by the prophet Muhammed himself. It gives a justification for violence and holy wars that is unprecedented in any other major religion the world knows today. In no other religion was the topmost authority/founder (Jesus, Buddha, whoever) a warlord like Muhammed.
Frequently the Crusades are pointed at to “prove” that Christianity is just as bad in these matters, but this was 1) an answer to the military threat of Islam and 2) almost a thousand years after the founding of Christianity. A fundamentalist Christian will never see one of the war-hungry popes as a higher authority than Jesus Christ himself, who was pretty much a pacifist. Of course, one can point to Breivik, but that’s an isolated case. You’ll be hard pressed to find even a handful of comparable cases in recent times, while Jihadists exist by the tens of thousands at this moment, with even more sympathisers.
Anyway, other than that, great post. I think I especially dislike religion relativism because I often find myself defending Christianity, which I actually don’t want to do, since I have plenty of criticism on it myself.