Wow - what a busy week! I haven't had time to do much thinking or reading, much less writing, so I apologize for the long delay. I took the time to watch Pat Condell's new video (see below), which discussed Britain's absurd banning of Geert Wilders based on his controversial film, Fitna. Curious, I tried to watch the film and found a very poor quality first half of the short film on YouTube. The second half had been removed already, so I didn't get a chance to see the movie in its entirety, but I don't think I really want to anyway. The movie is clearly inflammatory propaganda; I found myself winding up in loathing for Muslims as I watched. This is not to say that it isn't true. And I don't mean to say or imply that I disagree with the movie, or that I think its censorship in Britain was a good (or legal) idea.
But what I think I am saying is that the movie is dangerous. It is a ticking time bomb (a morbidly apt metaphor, I think) that only Muslims can defuse. I don't know many Muslims. Since there are fewer Muslims than atheists in the United States, I probably won't meet too many. The world is scared of Islam, and understandably so. Islam has done some terrible things. When people try to be fair and balanced, they also try to point out the evil that Christianity has done, but in my opinion, Christianity has been fairly civilized over the past few centuries. Sure, there were the Crusades and the Inquisition, but not only were those things centuries ago, they were relatively minor compared to atrocities that the Muslims are responsible for. Fairness also dictates that I point out the atrocities and murder that atheists have perpetrated, but I don't think that those apply. Stalin and Pol Pot (among others) were indeed atheists, but their reigns of terror and mayhem were not fueled by religious fervor so much as greed and basic evil. The current armies of Islam are motivated and informed specifically by their religion and their sacred text. And although the Bible contains hateful, violent passages to rival the Koran (which indicts both Christianity and Judaism), no one (except maybe Fred Phelps & Co.) really take that seriously.
Muslims take it very seriously. At least, that's what the world sees. I am sure that, because the world is still here and I have not been blown up or beheaded, the 1.14 billion Muslims of the world have not taken the words of the Koran completely literally. The world sees the acts of a very small percentage of Islam's very worst people. This is a major PR problem for the religion and only they can fix it.
I do not think that Islam is a religion of peace. I think that it is a source of evil ideas and ugly, ancient thoughts. I wish it would go away completely. I do not think that Muslims and Christians and Hindus are equally capable of keeping their religions to themselves. And I dislike the silly 'coexist' bumper stickers because they make all religions seem like equally valid life choices. I do, however, recognize that Islam is here to stay for the foreseeable future. As such, it really needs to get its shit together. All Muslims should see Fitna. They should recognize the problem and fix it. They should adapt to the times, take a cue from their arch-nemeses, the Jews, and keep their religion to themselves. Stop trying to preach. Stop trying to convert. Stop blowing shit up. Stop stoning people to death (stoning? are you kidding me?), wear the damn makeup, eat the damn bacon (this coming from a vegetarian!) and just live like a normal person already!
Sooner or later, I believe that Islam will lose its fire. As the culture of consumerism grinds on, iPods, broadband and Hulu will worm their way into the culture. Hate festers in confinement and isolation, but as these modern, Western conveniences and annoyances push through, they'll inject Islamic communities with warm, fluffy air. It may be profoundly unrealistic to hope that successive generations of Islam will have less hatred for Jews and women, but I like to keep a positive outlook. There isn't much else I can do. As I said, this isn't my problem. It's the Muslims'. And they have to decide what to do about it.