The Challenge of Islam
Updated: Nov 4, 2019
It is a pretty rare occasion that I agree with much of anything Bill Maher says, but he has surprised me lately with his boldness to challenge his fellow Liberals' ideology and philosophy dealing with Islam. Now, let me be abundantly clear that I absolutely love Muslims, I just have major issues with Islam. Like Maher, I am challenging and discussing ideas, not people. The latest round table discussion of Maher's involved Ben Affleck and Sam Harris, who is a well known atheist and critic of religion. Mr. Harris began his segment on why Liberals should take a closer look at Islam and treat it with the same criticism given to Christianity when Ben Affleck jumped in calling him a racist. The discussion got pretty animated from that point on in a clash between pathos (emotional appeals) and logos (logical appeals). Unfortunately neither Maher nor Harris cited the Qur'an, Hadiths or 1,400 years of Islamic orthodoxy to prove their point, but rather modern statistics and polls and therefore they kind of missed the forest for the trees. But still, the segment was lively and I hope prompts a more open discussion in our society rather than the PC taboo currently in place. The Algemeiner published a stinging rebuttal of Afleck's ill-conceived arguments here, Jihad Watch posted a very informative commentary here and Sam Harris also followed up with a post on his website here that is an interesting read. Indeed, Afleck even secured the "Dhimwit of the Month" spot at the highly recommended Religion of Peace website (a clever pun- a Dhimmi is a subjugated infidel under Islamic law). Previously Bill Maher clashed with Charlie Rose by pointing out the ideological differences between Christianity and Islam. You can watch that short exchange on YouTube here. Shortly after Maher's comments, Islamic apologist and historical revisionist Reza Aslan was interviewed on CNN and "corrected" Maher. He asserted that Islam is nothing like Maher thinks and even stated that female genital mutilation is a "Central African problem, not an Islamic problem." Of course Aslan fails to mention that out of the four mainline branches of Islam, two of them mandate female circumcision (FGM) while the other two simply recommend it. The fact that the Hadiths (the second most important and revered writings in Islam next to the Qur'an) twice call for the practice apparently is of little consequence to Aslan in his version of the truth. A full rebuttal of Aslan's misleading arguments can be found here.
What is critically important for us as believers to be aware of is that Islam is growing in acceptance while simultaneously disdain for Christianity grows. I don't think it is our job to reverse that trend necessarily, but rather reach out in love and share the Gospel message despite that trend- especially to Muslims. Our response should be meek, yet bold evangelism, not political activism or public outrage.
UPDATE: Dec 3, 2014 For a short, informative video rebuttal of Afleck's notion that a "small minority" of Muslims are extremists, check out Ben Shapiro's presentation here proving that extremists are actually the majority. UPDATE: Mar 12, 2015 Came across this three minute video clip taken from a Muslim conference proving that even "moderate Muslims" believe in the most extreme and violent teachings of the Qur'an.
UPDATE: Jun 22, 2015
The Hoover Institute summarized over 40 years of analysis on the fundamental Western misunderstandings of Islam and the Middle East in an article called Islam Through the Looking Glass. It's a good read to understand how dangerous Western wishful thinking has been since the end of World War I.
OTHER RESOURCES: For a quick "webucation" on the truth of Islam, check out these sites: thereligionofpeace.com
Another resource is the ministry of Usama Dakdok who speaks on this topic all over North America warning Westerners of the truth of Islam. His ministry website is: thestraightway.org
Yet another great ministry is run by Samy Tenagho who teaches exclusively on how to witness to Muslims using biblical and Qur'anic parallels. You can find his ministry on the web here:
Other resources I can recommend are Secrets of the Koran by Don Richardson, any book by author Mark A. Gabriel and materials put out by William Federer. Richardson is a famous missionary, Gabriel was an Islamic historian who converted to Christianity and Federer is a researcher who summarizes Islamic history quite well. You can watch a brief (45 min) summarization of Federer's 6 hour lecture on the history of Islam here. One last recommendation would be author Joel Richardson (no relation to Don) who will challenge your view of eschatology regarding Islam with his books The Islamic Antichrist and Mideast Beast.