In Brief—In this letter to a Christian reader in the Middle-East, the author discusses Christianity and Islam, the similarities and differences, particularly as they deal with females.
I don’t address you by name since I suspect it might place you in greater danger than what you already face. Being a professed adherent to Christianity in a predominantly Islamic area makes your life a challenge.
That said, this letter will present a different sort of challenge to both religions. I suspect your devotion to Christianity will incline you to reject the ideas I put forth on Christian belief even as you may agree with what I have to say about the problems with Islam. Nevertheless, I will proceed. The rest is up to you.
Adherents to Christianity make up about 32% of the religious believers in the world. Islam accounts for about 22%. That leaves about 46% who hold different beliefs. Are they wrong? What do you believe the non-Christians think of the Christian religion? Didn’t God give us this brain we think with? Is it possible that all religious believers are wrong?
Fundamentalist Christians—probably even many mainline Christians—believe that men must have dominance over females. Females must defer to men to allow or not allow them to have control over their own bodies, over their own reproductive health.
Some believers such as many Roman Catholics oppose not just abortion but contraception, the prevention of pregnancy by scientific means. Both contraception and abortion are permitted by America’s constitution regardless of what men or a religious group may say.
Fundamentalist Protestants frequently oppose abortion and some even oppose contraception as well. This is despite the American constitution permitting both. This is a scientific matter, not a religious one.
Females are allowed to work although they don’t earn the same as a male holding the same or similar job. Females are allowed to own property, to make their own contracts as long as they are legally adults, to be educated, to drive, show their hair and more. Sure, there are some instances in which the men in their lives prevent their women from exercising many such freedoms, but those instances are few and the Christian religion does not prevent this.
Belief in a deity is not mandated in a western society. People are allowed to believe or not to believe under the American constitution. This is wise allowing all to benefit. Indeed, the American constitution forbids religious belief to be a qualification for holding public office although several states still have such an illegal requirement among their laws. By law, this cannot be enforced.
The Contrast of Islam—
As noted earlier, some Islamic countries are more modern, but all have one thing in common: the drive to insulate Islam from anything resembling a critique of the religion, whether the criticism is internal or external. Thus, for the vast majority of Muslims, Islam remains stuck in the past.
I must emphasize that we must not assume that all Muslims are terrorists. The overwhelming majority of Muslims simply want to worship their god and are largely believers who are too often the target of those who are determined to use the Quran and Hadiths to gain power and prevent anything they believe to be an insult to their version of the Islamic religion. This is particularly true with regard to the strict Sunni Wahhabism supported by Saudi Arabia. We see the barbaric result in ISIS and the Taliban. Indeed, the Islamic State (often referred to as ISIS) is retarded and frozen in the past.
Islam is a famously male-centric religion. In many Islamic countries, adult females are required to cover their hair if not their faces and are often forced in puberty to submit to genital mutilation. Daughters, some quite young, must marry a man chosen by their parents. Depending on country, females are often forbidden to work outside the home and cannot get a meaningful education. Females may not even be permitted to drive. They must get permission from a male member of the household to leave the house. Their inheritance rights are limited or absent. Interfaith marriage is forbidden. Legal standing is usually less.
Putting aside the abhorrent issue of honor killings, despite what apologists may say, females are essentially slaves without full rights of their own. Indeed, the Taliban condone stoning to death for a female suspected of infidelity.
Thus, compared to females in the western world, females in most Islamic countries have severely limited rights, to say the least.
Whether Islamic or Christian, the belief in Allah or God is illogical. A look around at the real world shows us death, suffering, disease and injustice everywhere, yet the religious believer is convinced that their deity is good, all-powerful and all-seeing. They believe that this deity, his son or another heavenly power will act in mankind’s behalf to assist the believer or to escort him/her into a perfect realm to bask in the deity’s presence for all eternity. Realty is ignored.
Consider this: if the deity gave you a brain to think with, surely that deity will be aware that you might use that brain to deny his existence. Thus, the deity has created a flawed human by its own action. Can that deity therefore punish its own creation for its having created a flawed being? Logic clearly says “No.” To level punishment for the deity’s own act is evil and wrong. What about moments of doubt? Think logically about it.
Male and female, humans are evolved creatures who must stand on their own feet and face the world as it is, not as they wish it would be. You have the power, not some religion or some religious figure.
I wish you peace and the best. Most of all, I wish you independent thinking.