Is Islam a religion of peace?

Sure, just like Catholicism is a religion of peace, and like monarchism, liberalism, and communism are ideologies of peace.  They each propose a desired order which, once universally implemented, will remove strife and bring tranquility to some area of interest.  In a Muslim, or Catholic, or liberal society, there will still be personality clashes at home and at work, and there may still be disagreements on secondary or unrelated issues, but Islam/Catholicism/liberalism itself will be exempt from dissent.  Each ideology regards its universal implementation as good, as something to be strived for.  In no case does the outside world have a right to be left alone to its perversity and injustice, although some of ideologies do limit the means their adherents may use to impose them, and Islam is not historically distinguished as scrupulous or unscrupulous in this regard.  Islam, Catholicism, monarchism, communism, and liberalism all endorse coercion and violence to uphold their values in at least some circumstances.

Few religions or ideologies are not peaceful in this sense.  Fascism and social Darwinism recognize strife as an ineluctable and perhaps ultimately even positive part of human existence.  Anarchism and Leftism refuse to think past their current rage to envision an order that would actually satisfy them.  Such non-peaceful ideologies are rare, and therefore interesting.

A friend once asked me if I thought Islam is a religion of peace, and I answered that Muslims regard Sharia the way we Westerners regard “human rights”.  Respecting human rights isn’t optional for any society; it’s basic justice.  If we see some country violating human rights, we feel obliged to move in and start breaking things, even if that country wasn’t provoking us particularly, and we don’t feel that this makes us aggressive.  The other country is the aggressor for violating human rights.  That’s how they feel about Sharia.

21 Responses

  1. This is a great post.

    I’m trying to imagine any vaguely mainstream outlet in which it would not be greeted by howls for your blood.

  2. That is one of the ways liberalism and Islam are similar, they both consider it licit to wage jihad on the unbelievers. As opposed to Christianity, which only sanctions defensive violence (e.g. the crusades).

  3. You’ve made a good comparison, now I realize the full depth of fanaticism and savagery of Islam.

  4. It’s a religion of peace theoretically for those inside the Ummah who follow the Sharia, but this is the same for every religion. No religion promises its own reign of terror and torture upon its adherents.

    Interesting the link between Islam and Modernism, in that both are universally justified in expanding through the sword, whereas Christianity may only expand through witness.

  5. Imagine a world where Catholics control the first world and its wealth and power. Leftists take over a little country in south Africa and open up abortion mills, assisted suicide clinics, and Kulak extermination camps. Do we share our values by peaceful witness, or do we move in and start breaking stuff?

  6. For a mental excercise, replace “human rights” with “democracy” in that last paragraph.

  7. this would depend on your theory of international relations. I am very wary of intervention in foreign nations on moral grounds. Of course, I’d see any baby killers within the borders of a Reactionary State shot. But immoralities in distant lands, perhaps we need to rely on God to sort them out. Overextending has a bad history for the empires involved.

  8. Did Islam learn its doctrine of doing bad things to unbelievers from Talmudic Judaism?

  9. @Bonald

    Did the legitimate government of this South African country request our aid?

  10. @Bruce:

    That’s an interesting possibility, but I think it’s more likely that Talmudic Jews and Muslims both got it from the same place.

  11. […] tackles Is Islam a religion of peace? Peace occurs when the outcome of a conflict is easy to predict. So sure. Every religion is a […]

  12. Sociology majors aren’t required to take engineering classes, so why are engineering majors required to take sociology classes? My college sociology professor was a big fan of Anarchism, so I asked her, when two citizens of a Anarchist nation have a dispute, how do they resolve it? She replied, “There won’t be any disputes in an Anarchist society because everyone agrees on everything.”

  13. Shouldn’t we refer to peaceful Muslims as “cafeteria Muslims?”

  14. Bruce:

    Shouldn’t we refer to peaceful Muslims as “cafeteria Muslims?”

    I think that misses the point of the OP, which is that Islam is in fact a religion of peace in very much the same way that (e.g.) liberalism is peaceful. As long as the global Caliphate rules everywhere, apostates are executed as the traitors they are, and dhimmis keep in their place, Islam is as peaceful as a dove. The same goes for liberalism: as long as everyone expresses unequivocally obsequious liberal piety in all matters, liberalism will leave you alone and let you live in peace.

    Of course one difference is that a settled global Dar-Al-Islam is rationally, coherently conceivable; whereas a settled global Dar-Al-Liberty is not even a rationally coherent idea.

    So there is a sense in which liberalism is uniquely violent and incapable of peace, compared to things like Islam and Catholicism.

  15. […] points out that Islam actually is a religion of peace, as long as the entire world becomes subject to a […]

  16. Zippy, Yes my comment was beside the point of the OP I think it was just a suggestion for a one-liner response to the common claim that Muslims are peaceful. Since people are familiar with “cafeteria Catholic”, Cafeteria Muslim seemed apt.

  17. Sociology majors aren’t required to take engineering classes, so why are engineering majors required to take sociology classes?

    I’m late to the party on this comment. A better question is “why are engineering schools permitted to be units of universities?” Welding schools are not part of universities. Medical schools are. Auto mechanic schools are not.

    These distinctions are absurd. Universities should consist of liberal arts departments and nothing else (including sociology). Roughly, universities should consist of those parts which are currently the most money losing. If engineers feel some need to be well-rounded, then let them enroll at night or before they go to engineering school or after they go to engineering school. Or whatever.

    Also, physicians should not be permitted the title “Doctor.” On pain of public flogging.

  18. […] all religions want peace, as Pope Francis says?  Probably yes, but that doesn’t imply what His Holiness thinks.  The more interesting question is whether there is a single arrangement of peace that all […]

  19. […] referring to the one actually-existing God, both in their speaking and their worship.  I have also affirmed that Islam is a religion of peace, at least in the same sense that Catholicism and democracy are peaceful.  It aspires to a state of […]

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