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My Take: It’s time for Islamophobic evangelicals to choose
September 15th, 2012
10:00 PM ET

My Take: It’s time for Islamophobic evangelicals to choose

Editor's Note: Brian D. McLaren  is author of "Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road? Christian Identity in a Multi-Faith World" (Jericho Books/Hachette Book Group). 

By Brian McLaren, Special to CNN

I was raised as an evangelical Christian in America, and any discussion of Christian-Jewish-Muslim relations around the world must include the phenomenon of American Islamophobia, for which large sectors of evangelical Christianity in America serve as a greenhouse.

At a time when U.S. embassies are being attacked and when people are getting killed over an offensive, adolescent and puerile film targeting Islam - beyond pathetic in its tawdriness – we must begin to own up to the reality of evangelical Islamaphobia.

Many of my own relatives receive and forward pious-sounding and alarm-bell-ringing e-mails that trumpet (IN LOTS OF CAPITAL LETTERS WITH EXCLAMATION POINTS!) the evils of Islam, that call their fellow evangelicals and charismatics to prayer and “spiritual warfare” against those alleged evils, and that often - truth be told - contain lots of downright lies.

For example, one recent e-mail claimed “Egyptian Christians in Grave Danger as Muslim Brotherhood Crucifies Opponents."  Of course, that claim has been thoroughly debunked, but the sender’s website still (as of Friday) claims that the Muslim Brotherhood has “crucified those opposing" Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy "naked on trees in front of the presidential palace while abusing others.”

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

Many sincere and good-hearted evangelicals have never yet had a real Muslim friend, and now they probably never will because their minds have been so prejudiced by Islamophobic broadcasts on so-called Christian television and radio.

Janet Parshall, for example, a popular talk show host on the Moody Radio Network, frequently hosts Walid Shoebat, a Muslim-evangelical convert whose anti-Muslim claims, along with claims about his own biography, are frequently questioned.  John Hagee, a popular televangelist, also hosts Shoebat as an expert on Islam, as does the 700 Club.

Many Christian bookstores that (used to) sell my books, still sell books such as Paul Sperry’s "Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington" (Thomas Nelson, 2008). In so doing, they fuel conspiracy theories such as the ones U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minnesota, promoted earlier this year.

In recent days, we’ve seen how irresponsible Muslim media outlets used the tawdry 13-minute video created by a tiny handful of fringe Christian extremists to create a disgusting caricature of all Christians - and all Americans - in Muslim minds. But too few Americans realize how frequently American Christian media personalities in the U.S. similarly prejudice their hearers’ minds with mirror-image stereotypes of Muslims.

Ambassador's killing shines light on Muslim sensitivities around Prophet Mohammed

Meanwhile, many who are pastors and leaders in evangelicalism hide their heads in the current issue of Christianity Today or World Magazine, acting as if the kinds of people who host Islamophobic sentiments swim in a tiny sidestream, not in the mainstream, of our common heritage. I wish that were true.

The events of this past week, if we let them, could mark a turning point - a hitting bottom, if you will - in the complicity of evangelicalism in Islamophobia. If enough evangelicals watch or try to watch the film trailer that has sparked such outrage in the Middle East, they may move beyond the tipping point.

I tried to watch it, but I couldn’t make it halfway to the 13-minute mark. Everything about it was tawdry, pathetic, even pornographic. All but the most fundamentalist believers from my evangelical Christian tribe who watch that video will be appalled and ashamed to be associated with it.

It is hate speech. It is no different from the anti-Semitic garbage that has been all too common in Western Christian history. It is sub-Christian - beneath the dignity of anyone with a functioning moral compass.

Islamophobic evangelical Christians - and the neo-conservative Catholics and even some Jewish folks who are their unlikely political bedfellows of late - must choose.

Will they press on in their current path, letting Islamophobia spread even further amongst them? Or will they stop, rethink and seek to a more charitable approach to our Muslim neighbors? Will they realize that evangelical religious identity is under assault, not by Shariah law, not by the liberal media, not by secular humanism from the outside, but by forces within the evangelical community that infect that religious identity with hostility?

If I could get one message through to my evangelical friends, it would be this: The greatest threat to evangelicalism is evangelicals who tolerate hate and who promote hate camouflaged as piety.

No one can serve two masters. You can’t serve God and greed, nor can you serve God and fear, nor God and hate.

The broad highway of us-them thinking and the offense-outrage-revenge reaction cycle leads to self-destruction. There is a better way, the way of Christ who, when reviled, did not revile in return, who when insulted, did not insult in return, and who taught his followers to love even those who define themselves as enemies.

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Yes, “they” – the tiny minority of Muslims who turn piety into violence – have big problems of their own. But the way of Christ requires all who claim to be Christians to examine our own eyes for planks before trying to perform first aid on the eyes of others. We must admit that we have our own tiny minority whose message and methods we have not firmly, unitedly and publicly repudiated and rejected.

To choose the way of Christ is not appeasement. It is not being a “sympathizer.”

The way of Christ is a gentle strength that transcends the vicious cycles of offense-outrage-revenge.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Brian D. McLaren.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Islam • Opinion

soundoff (8,500 Responses)
  1. Tony

    Brian...answer me this, is there ANY other religion that considers ALL others, other then their own kind not worthy of life unless they convert? Have you seen ANY other religion have extremist that literally kill hundreds of thousands of people in the name of their religion in the "modern age"? Look at what NOT being a Islamophobic got 6 US Marines in the past 3 days...they were killed by people they trained and trusted.
    What the US needs to do is STOP sending money to the Islamic countries, close the embassies, deport ALL middle east people that are not citizens of this country and STOP immigration from those countries into the US.
    Point to be considered...If what Brian is saying is true in this article and that these extremist are not the majority, then why don't the non-extremist control the radicals? There are only 2 answers...1) That they are not willing to give up the lives of their own for the greater good the way they expect American troops to, or 2) Once again, they are lying are have the same beliefs as the extremist but pretend not to in order to create a false sense of trust which is what has been happening (green on blue murder). In either case, we need to leave these countries to destroy themselves, stop letting Americans die to protect these people that aren't willing to protect themselves and secure the boarders of the US.

    September 17, 2012 at 10:35 am |
    • FelixCat

      Let's see, I can think of at least one other that thinks I am not worthy of life after death unless I convert. And treats me differently in this life because of it. But why quibble.

      September 17, 2012 at 10:39 am |
    • Tony

      FelixCat...Which religion is not saying that you don't have a right to live, but LITERALLY killing thousands of your kind as a matter of doctrine???

      September 17, 2012 at 10:43 am |
    • Tony

      ...hurt feelings is NOT death, really bad comparison but nice try.

      September 17, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • Jmacq1

      Actually if you follow the Bible precisely as written instead of selectively interpreting it, there'd be a WHOLE lot more people getting killed in this country on a regular basis. Primarily women and gays via stoning to death.

      September 17, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • HAVE MUD WILL TRAVEL

      tony, next thing you know the lost will be demanding the ol' literal, metaphorical debate. Throw em a parable, ha ha ha

      September 17, 2012 at 11:02 am |
    • rabidmob

      @Jmacq1 That's the problem of course, you can't follow the Bible to the word as it is contradictory, at least in a linearly temporal sense.

      September 17, 2012 at 11:34 am |
  2. puddintane

    I can put a negative comment under most any rock video at youtube and immediately be attacked by ordinary Westerners with hate speech – profane calls to shut up, buzz off and die, because I'm obviously a minority.

    September 17, 2012 at 10:34 am |
  3. Jack

    This is the most ABSURD article I have read in CNN in a long time, and let me tell you that CNN has been very PRO-ISLAM lately... But this article gets the golden ribbon for C R A P... We are not afraid of Islam based on assumptions, we are afraid of Islam based on FACTS, based on what we see every single day. WE DO NOT WANT OUR COUNTRY TO TURN INTO THE SAME MESS AS THE MIDDLE EAST. We are willing to respect the faiths of others AS LONG as others RESPECT OUR WAY OF LIVING!!! We do not want sharia here, so enjoy drinking and partying and enjoying life as we see fit, and all that is at RISK with the massive colonization of Islam and Muslims.

    September 17, 2012 at 10:31 am |
    • ME II

      @Jack,
      I am not aware of any violent protests from Muslims in America.
      While they may very well be just as offended over this idiotic movie, we haven't seen the violence. Perhaps more faith in and understanding of your neighbors, would help prevent the very thing you fear.

      September 17, 2012 at 10:35 am |
    • FormerMarineSgt

      Jack – you're a perfect example of who the article was talking about.

      September 17, 2012 at 10:39 am |
    • Jmacq1

      Me II: In point of fact, we also haven't seen or heard of violent protests in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, or many other Muslim-dominated countries. By and large, the protests have been taking place in countries that are either in a recent or perpetual state of political turmoil and/or where the general citizenry has serious problems with poverty and lack of education.

      The nations where the average Muslim enjoy a higher standard of living and (presumably) better education have apparently been relatively peaceful. Intelligent folks might be able to draw a certain correlation here....hmmm. Could it be that poverty and lack of education might be more fundamental root causes of Islamic violence than the religion in and of itself? Hmmmm,,,crazy talk, I know.

      September 17, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • ME II

      @Jmacq1,
      Excellent point. Although, I would have to say that I was surprised to hear about protests in Australia. Not sure how that fits.

      September 17, 2012 at 11:04 am |
    • skarphace

      Me II: it fits because the protests in Austrailia were non-violent and therefore completely democratic.

      September 17, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
  4. oldbikerbeatch

    Ah yes, another pious Muslim apologist, speaking in such conciliatory tones – shall we all join hands and sing Kumbyah around the campfire? Oh, what's that burning in the fire? An American Flag? A bible? Or is it a beheaded Christian? No, it's just an American soldier and a diplomat – don't worry, WE have a loving, peaceful President who will apologize to the mideast and make certain there are no weapons available for those bad American soldiers to hurt the peaceful Muslims with...

    September 17, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • Lisa

      There was no apology from any president. That is a fabrication.

      September 17, 2012 at 10:29 am |
  5. Doc Vestibule

    Is there such a things as "dogmatophobia" for those of us who fear anyone who blindly adhered to religious dogma?

    September 17, 2012 at 10:25 am |
  6. Reality

    Only for the new members:

    Putting the kibosh/”google” on religion to include Mormonism:

    • There was probably no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • There was probably no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    prob•a•bly
    Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    Added details available upon written request.

    A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

    e.g. Taoism

    "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "

    ضع kibosh / "جوجل" على أساس الدين لتشمل المورمونية:

    • ربما لم يكن هناك أي أسس إبراهيم اليهودية والمسيحية والإسلام هي غير موجودة.

    • ربما لم يكن هناك أي موسى دعائم اليهودية والمسيحية والإسلام ليس لديهم قوة العزيمة.

    • • مشكله في بلاي
    ظرف: بالتأكيد تقريبا، بقدر ما أحد يعرف أو يمكن أن أقول.

    • لم يكن هناك أي فشل غابرييل الإسلام كدين. فشل المسيحية جزئيا.

    • كان هناك أي فشل أي عيد الفصح المسيحية كدين تماما.

    • لم يكن هناك أي موروني المورمونية هو ليس أكثر من عبادة الأعمال.

    • المقدسة / التبجيل الأبقار، الآلهة القرد والطوائف، وبالتالي التناسخ الهندوسية كدين فشل.

    • الدهون بوذا هنا، جسد جديد نحيل تماثيل بوذا هناك، في كل مكان يجعل بوذا للا على البوذية.

    وأضاف التفاصيل المتاحة بناء على طلب خطي.

    بحث سريع وضع kibosh على أي مجموعة أخرى تطلق على نفسها دين.

    على سبيل المثال الطاوية

    "أصول الطاوية غير واضحة. تقليديا، يعتبر لاو تزو، الذي عاش في القرن السادس ومؤسسها. الأسس الفلسفية لها في وقت مبكر والمعتقدات والطقوس في وقت لاحق طريقتان مختلفتان تماما من الحياة. اليوم (1982) الطاوية يدعي 31286000 أتباع.

    تقول الاسطورة ان تصرف بطريقة صحيحة ولدت لاو تزو بواسطة نجم اطلاق النار، وقاموا في بطن أمه ل82 سنة، وولد
    ============================================================================================
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    September 17, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • ....

      BULL SH IT ALERT

      September 17, 2012 at 10:39 am |
  7. Grim

    While individual muslims are good people, the culture and religion as a whole tends to teach intolerance and their spiritual leaders do incite their followers to acts of violence (e.g. Iranian cleric raising a bounty for Salma Rushdies murder). Most evangelicals are not outright inciting violence but I agree with Mr. McLaren that Evangelicals are spreading lies and prejudices against muslims. I don't mind unadulterated facts but lies are intolerable. Evangelicals do not only spread lies about muslims but also target other faiths such as Mormons. It is too bad that Evangelicals cannot follow Christ's teachings more fully by loving their neighbours as themselves and following the commandment Thous shalt not Lie.

    September 17, 2012 at 10:22 am |
  8. irock

    I dont fear islam, I feel I am smarter than your average sheep. We do pray to Jesus Christ for help daily. What does concern me is I reserve my right to not be overly religious if I dont want to. And anyone that tries to force me to do anything I dont want to do is liable to die doing it. My family and I are prepaired for the worst but hope for the best. Islam is not welcome in my house or family and never will be. Mainly for the way they treat each other. We cant respect someone that does not respect themself as well as others. My women will never be beeten or given away and will allways have say so in their matters. They are my equall.

    September 17, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • this guy

      You follow THIS "I feel I am smarter than your average sheep." with THIS "We do pray to Jesus Christ for help daily." and THIS " Islam is not welcome in my house or family and never will be." ?!?!?!?!?!

      This is a prime example of someone who does not get it.

      September 17, 2012 at 10:25 am |
    • irock

      And I loves me some bacon! I could have bacon on bacon, Thats how much I love bacon.

      September 17, 2012 at 10:27 am |
    • irock

      no i followed it with I loves bacon.

      September 17, 2012 at 10:35 am |
    • FelixCat

      And even in THIS country, women weren't your equal until 1920. Progress happens slowly. Patience.

      September 17, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • this guy

      ooohhhhh, now i see....you're an idiot.

      September 17, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • irock

      You are no better than the muslims that guy, condemning and name calling over something as simple as bacon. I bet your mama has some made for you upstairs.

      September 17, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • HAVE MUD WILL TRAVEL

      irock, you still have to rule and BTW how is an XX supposed to understand and XY? It's not in them. Science proves it.

      September 17, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • Daniel Morgan

      "how is an XX supposed to understand an XY? It's not in them."

      Now that is funny...

      Thanks for the laugh.

      The reverse is also appropriate.

      September 17, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • irock

      Well, this is a sticky subject. I agree the man rules simply because things will either not get done or be screwed up, But in my case while I make a comfortable living, My wife knocks it down so what ever honey wants she gets even if she wants to play boss for the day. I guess you could say I am not HER equill, monetarily anyway...

      September 17, 2012 at 11:59 am |
  9. Davin

    The group that has killed the most people in world history is actually atheists. Lenin, Stalin have killed more than anyone and they were avowed athiests.

    September 17, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • Lisa

      You'd have to change the actual numbers to make that true.

      September 17, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • WASP

      @davin: ok then do some homework and find where these men said " i am atheist."

      i know for a fact if you start around the year 330 C.E. you will find each pope was a terrorist in his own right. these war-popes ki11ed billions throughout history, so unless these "evil atheist leaders" you quacks keep babbling about were true monsters they don't hold a candle to religious violence. notice i didn't even have to add in all the other religions throughout history to trump your numbers.

      read true history, not that BS buybull.

      September 17, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • Len

      Davin
      The communists were anti-religion, just like all the "I'm not religious, I have a relationship with Christ" crowd these days. They're also totalitarian, just like Hitler and other dictators, as well as the brutal Tzars and Emperors of Russia and China before them. They killed plenty of their own people too.

      September 17, 2012 at 10:31 am |
  10. Davin

    Hey McLaren and CNN; The greatest threat to Islam should be Muslims who tolerate hate and who promote hate camouflaged as piety. But it's not because of all the Islamapoligists in the media. So all this killing and violence is justified because of that film? It is a result of America's religous intolerance? What happens to tolerance when you tolerate intolerance?

    September 17, 2012 at 10:19 am |
  11. Patrick

    Islamophobia ...REALLY???? Islam is all about murder & taking over the World, and they are very clear about it. Be afraid for your children's future. Be VERY AFRAID

    September 17, 2012 at 10:15 am |
    • FelixCat

      Buy a clue. "Islamophobia? Really? I FEAR ISLAM." You ARE an Islamophobe.
      There is none so blind as he who will not see.

      September 17, 2012 at 10:20 am |
    • Lisa

      Riddle me this –

      How many Muslims are there? And how many of them have engaged in violence?

      Every faith has it's extremists.

      September 17, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • biggerdawg

      Delix; Allow me to buy you a clue. Do a little research and you will see Islam is something to fear.

      September 17, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • FelixCat

      Have done so. Without presupposed conclusions. When you do selective "research" that only reinforces the beliefs you already hold, that's not research. Are there nasty people in the world? Yes. Are some of them Muslims? Yes. Does that justify paranoia or fear and hatred of over a billion people who, like you, are just trying to find their way through life? Hardly. Wake up.
      If you saw the attacks on the consulate in Libya as the "true" face of Islam, but chose to pretend that the pro-US rally that followed didn't happen, you're WILLINGLY blind. So be it. I wash my hands of you and this so-called discussion. Have a good day.

      September 17, 2012 at 10:32 am |
    • WASP

      @bittendog: truth educated people have much to fear from ALL religion. each side attempts to show themselves the victim, when they are both just as bad.
      the sad thing of it is, only the religious are fooled into believeing their side is winning or better than everyone else. lmfao

      September 17, 2012 at 10:39 am |
  12. founders1791

    There is no "phobia" at all, the REALITY is that there is a very long history of terrorism perpetrated by Muslims. Since the 1972 Olympics alone, nearly ALL the terrorist attacks THROUGHOUT THE WORLD ...were conducted by Muslims.

    It is called RATIONAL FEAR! ......these left wing nut case 'converts' to liberalism are as transparent as Obama

    September 17, 2012 at 10:12 am |
    • TheSchmaltz

      "nearly ALL the terrorist attacks THROUGHOUT THE WORLD ...were conducted by Muslims."

      Over half the terrorist attacks in America since 9/11 weren't conducted my Muslims.

      September 17, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • RDC

      You hit the nail on the head Founders1791. This article is another attempt at making us feel some kind of guilt for the barbarous acts of the Islamist extremists. We all know that all Muslims are not like this but by allowing it and being silent they are part of the problem. As an American and and Evangelical I will not feel guilty while these people murder our fellow citizens and government officials.

      September 17, 2012 at 10:29 am |
    • Daniel Morgan

      "nearly ALL the terrorist attacks THROUGHOUT THE WORLD ...were conducted by Muslims."

      Wow, you really need to learn to use that Google thing...

      September 17, 2012 at 10:30 am |
  13. Miguel

    it is me or this guy hates evangelicals because they hate muslims?

    September 17, 2012 at 10:12 am |
    • FelixCat

      It's you.

      September 17, 2012 at 10:18 am |
    • Len

      He's criticizing evangelicals because they hate Muslims. Big difference.

      September 17, 2012 at 10:18 am |
    • this guy

      He's saying Evangelicals blame Islam for violence but disregard Christianity when it's used for the same thing. Religous people are mostly hypocrites and make up their own form of their religion to justify their own actions.

      September 17, 2012 at 10:20 am |
    • Daniel Morgan

      Hey, FelixCat
      You nailed it !

      September 17, 2012 at 10:32 am |
    • rabidmob

      I am not aware of Christians running about in the streets murdering and pillaging in my lifetime, especially not for defamation of our religious figurehead.

      September 17, 2012 at 10:34 am |
    • Daniel Morgan

      "I am not aware of Christians running about in the streets murdering and pillaging in my lifetime,"

      Oh, you missed that Iraq invasion thing, when Bush and Cheney decided that 9/11 was a good excuse to invade Iraq to gain control of their oil, even when Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. Sounds like pillaging to me.

      September 17, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • rabidmob

      False comparison in so many ways. That was a murder of 3000 civilians and you compare that to this? Next of all the actions of a nation are not the same as the actions of a religion. This is their civilians rioting like this and doing it in the name of their religion.

      September 17, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • Daniel Morgan

      How many civilians and US troops did Bush and Cheney murder in their attempt to gain control of Iraq's oil?

      September 17, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • rabidmob

      What does that have to do with Christianity?

      September 17, 2012 at 11:19 am |
  14. this guy

    Blaming a religion for the crimes of humans is like blaming a knife for a stabbing murder.

    September 17, 2012 at 10:09 am |
    • truth be trolled

      "Blaming a religion for the crimes of humans is like blaming a knife for a stabbing murder."

      Hmm.. I think I smell a disgruntled ex Evangelical Fortune Cookie Co. "writer".

      September 17, 2012 at 10:12 am |
    • Mike

      Or, blaming Hitler for soldiers throwing Jews in an oven?

      September 17, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • this guy

      lol, no i just see the world a little differently and have come to the conclusion that humanity is the cancer that Earth has unfortunately developed.

      September 17, 2012 at 10:15 am |
    • this guy

      Hitler doesn't equal a religion. He used an ideal to brainwash many people. It doesn;t sound like many people blame his ideal, but the way in which he any many others wielded it as a weapon against different people.

      September 17, 2012 at 10:18 am |
    • this guy

      AND many others*

      September 17, 2012 at 10:18 am |
    • rabidmob

      You act as if animals don't cause suffering. I guess you've never seen a cat play with a mouse? We're not unique in our cruelty, we're just the only creature smart enough that we can be blamed for our actions.

      September 17, 2012 at 10:20 am |
    • this guy

      @rabidmob I completely agree. Humans are just like every other animal. We just have the capability to be both the worst and best kind.

      September 17, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • Daniel Morgan

      "humanity is the cancer that Earth has unfortunately developed."
      Wrong diagnosis.
      It is a virus.

      September 17, 2012 at 10:25 am |
  15. Atheism is Great for Kids and Grown-Ups Too!

    It's really best for all people including children to have an agnostic approach to god, and an atheistic approach to all religion. It keeps things simple for kids, and lets them be all that they can be. They just need to be taught that some things, like all religion, were just made up by salesmen and politicians from long ago. (Yes, charlatan folklore and spam started long before the Bible; what would make you think they hadn't?) And they need to be taught that other things, like God, we really don't know a damn thing about.

    Atheists have strong minds and don't need a religion. Many religious folk have the best intentions. But too often, religious folk run and hide their misdeeds within their religion (and by doing so, they disserve society). And too often, religious folk are easily offended when someone mocks their make-believe characters – and, as we can see they can get really CRAZY!

    Although there are many religious folk with good intentions – some selflessly helping others, religions and religious organizations are, as a whole, just big old clubs – each trying to out do each other and inspiring hate and division (often disguised as love) along the way. The problem is that people too easily buy into religion and don't realize how unfounded it all is. And when they buy into it, they buy into a lot of really old, really weird tenets that are nothing but harmful for the human species.

    Of course Islam is a crazy religion. But look at Christianity. Just look at all the things that Christians argue about amongst themselves today – abortion, men's and women's roles in the church, celibacy, contraception, acceptance of gays, etc. Most of these issues have their roots in the conflicted, unfounded tenets of early Christianity. Non-Mormons harp on Joseph Smith these days. But we really don't have any more proof at all to believe that Paul, the self-proclaimed "apostle" was anything more than an ordinary man who needed to make up religious "sales literature" to survive and spread his own personal beliefs. And yet a good chunk of the NT is attributed to Paul and accepted by many Christians. And a lot of what he wrote about has to do with many of the issues I mentioned above that have Christians fighting amongst themselves hundreds of years later. I don't buy any of it.

    Get a good cup of tea, and sit down and collect your thoughts. If you find it helpful to pray to a god (something you know nothing about), fine. But it is really healthier for the mind to leave behind all the characters that people over the centuries have invented or given powers to, for which there is little or no foundation. Because with those invented characters and powers – that's where division and hate join the little party in your mind. That's where, in your mind, you are inheriting the division and hate from ordinary politicians, lobbyists and salesmen from long ago.

    mama kindless

    September 17, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • this guy

      you forgot to add "mmmmmkay" to your sentences. lol

      September 17, 2012 at 10:10 am |
    • Miguel

      Lest remind them the "the division and hate from ordinary politicians" like Stalin, Mao and his class

      September 17, 2012 at 10:15 am |
    • JamesS

      Nice theory, but the Godless Commies and Fascists found things to fight about amongst themselves, too. Mao and Stalin slaughtered millions of their own people because of their atheistic ideologies. There's just no getting around the fact that (1) humanity is not perfectible and (2) it will find reasons to kill one another, belief in gods or not.

      September 17, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • quantumelf

      Excellent post. We just had a baby girl and if there is one thing I will do in this world, it will be not to indoctrinate her with some absurd belief system. I will teach her to question everything and make her own choices.

      As far as Islam goes, the text itself (Quran) is violence-filled and Muslims are quick to throw a tantrum based on their dogma these days. In the 14th century it was the Christians doing it based on their texts. It's simply a matter of who is at the forefront of violence at the present time. "Moderates" ignore most of the violent text and concentrate on the parts that allow them to co-exist with a modern society. However, as long as the text remains, it allows moderates to become radical.

      September 17, 2012 at 10:20 am |
    • Len

      Miguel & JamesS
      The Fascists were not "Godless" and, if anything, the communists were anti-religion, just like all the "I'm not religious, I have a relationship with Christ" crowd these days. Both were totalitarian, just like the brutal Tzars and Emperors of Russia and China before them. They killed plenty of their own people too.

      September 17, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • HAVE MUD WILL TRAVEL

      len, in the kingdoms of men a Fascist is always the 'other guy'.

      September 17, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • Antonio De La Ossa

      I agree, RELIGION is the problem!

      September 17, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • HAVE MUD WILL TRAVEL

      La Ossa, what religion is north Korea?

      September 17, 2012 at 11:24 am |
  16. Lost

    Many Muslims worldwide aren't free to study Islam fullly and without restriction, until they leave their nations. Sometimes it's best to step outside of your comfort zone, to gain a renewed aspect of your surroundings.

    September 17, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • Daniel Morgan

      Many Muslims in Isreal aren't free to study Islam fullly and without restriction, until they leave Israel.
      Many Christians in Isreal aren't free to study Christianity fullly and without restriction, until they leave Israel.
      Many Muslims in the US aren't free to study Islam fullly and without restriction, until they leave the US.

      September 17, 2012 at 10:19 am |
  17. craig

    Its not ilamophobia, it is understanding what is happening in the world and the violence that islam can breed in its members. Just go read the muslim brotherhood manifesto and you will understand what islam wants to do.

    September 17, 2012 at 10:01 am |
    • Daniel Morgan

      Well, since you know so much about it, how about telling us how many Muslims have endorsed that manifesto, and how many have rejected it.
      Be sure to provide links and references.

      September 17, 2012 at 10:12 am |
    • Laura

      Seriously Craig?! You realize that all religion can breed violence into a people if it is interpreted and preached by the wrong person/people? Christianity has a whole history of violence (um...pretty much all of its beginning history, The Crusades, HITLER, the taking of Jerusalem from the Palestinians, and, to an extent, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan). So before you preach about how Islam is so violent, you should probably realize that most RELIGION is violent. (There are some exceptions of very non-violent religions)

      And truthfully, you cannot sit there and say that a religion is to blame for a small subset of its people doing terrible things. You don't see Christianity condemned because of Hilter, although if it ever was to be condemned, that would've been the moment. Your comment is exactly what the author was talking about – ignorance and intolerance.

      September 17, 2012 at 10:15 am |
    • Peace

      To Craig you just answered your question by yourself, you said to go and read the Muslim brotherhood manifesto...and I want to tell you the brotherhood manifesto they don't represent the Islamic Religion they represent a party a group of people that have their have their own opinions of things.

      September 17, 2012 at 10:19 am |
    • HAVE MUD WILL TRAVEL

      laura, lying is violence to Truth with Repercussions!

      September 17, 2012 at 11:10 am |
  18. Marcus

    The U.S. was founded on "freedom of" and "freedom from" religion. If we suffer continual abuse from a religion,
    are we not willing to reinforce our rights of "freedom from" and eliminate that religion from our country? If your religion is
    placing you in that category, butt up and cover them up.

    September 17, 2012 at 10:00 am |
    • a slozomby

      its not about the protests or even if they think im the great satan. its the willingness to kill at the slightest provocation that is objectionable.

      September 17, 2012 at 10:05 am |
    • Jmacq1

      Have American Muslims been killing people in droves and the entire nation just missed it?

      No? I didn't think so.

      September 17, 2012 at 10:58 am |
  19. a slozomby

    repeatedly turning the other cheek eventually results in both sides of your jaw being broken.

    September 17, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • Kevin Alexander

      I wonder how many of Christ's bones were broken for you and for me during His crucifixion ? That's love.

      September 17, 2012 at 10:05 am |
    • HAVE MUD WILL TRAVEL

      kevin, zero. look it up.

      September 17, 2012 at 10:10 am |
    • Len

      Kevin Alexander
      Psalm 34:20 "he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken."

      John 19:33 "But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs."

      John 19:36 "These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: "Not one of his bones will be broken,"

      If any were broken then prophecy would not have been fulfilled and Jesus could not be the Messiah. Didn't they indoctrinate that into you along the way?

      September 17, 2012 at 10:15 am |
    • Joe G

      You do realize that the Romans didn't surgically insert the nail through Jesus' feet, right? I don't think those soldiers were very medically inclined.

      September 17, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • HAVE MUD WILL TRAVEL

      joe g, like abortionists they had a big practice.

      September 17, 2012 at 10:31 am |
    • HAVE MUD WILL TRAVEL

      len, Jesus made a big deal and rightly so, about prophecy when He strengthened John the Baptist's weakening resolve.

      September 17, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • HAVE MUD WILL TRAVEL

      kev, though the human race had a very good start, their capacity to execute their new found knowledge of right and wrong was completely absent, sorta dog like. Psalm 22.......'Psa 22:16 For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.'

      September 17, 2012 at 10:54 am |
  20. Kevin Alexander

    I am a follower of Christ, I do have real concerns about Islam and the message being spread and swallowed up by so many around the world. I even have co-workers telling me, right here in the U.S., "you just wait, you ain't seen nothing yet". They won't expound on what they mean but imagine it cannot be a good thing since the Koran teaches them, radical or not, to convert non-believers of Islam or else; this may not be word for word but it's close. I'll admit, it's difficult to love someone when you believe they have a desire to take your life; however, isn't this exactly what Christ said would happen ? We are to love them no matter what objections they throw our way.

    September 17, 2012 at 9:55 am |
    • a slozomby

      i will not follow christ's path of non violence when i know it will lead to my death.

      September 17, 2012 at 10:03 am |
    • FelixCat

      Then, friend, you're not a very good Christian. Just sayin'

      September 17, 2012 at 11:04 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.