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God Is Not Called Allah, And Muhammad Is Not His Prophet

Persian School. Mohammed Preaching his Farewell Sermon
(Persian School. Muhammad Preaching his Farewell Sermon. Source)

1) Introduction

Is Canada a democratic country? Do Canadians have freedom of speech? Can citizens of this country peacefully worship God in the way their conscience tells them to?

Ever since I was a young boy, I have been told that the answer to all the above questions was: "Yes". Have things changed? Is Canada still a democratic and free country? The only way to find out is to make a kind of scientific experiment. In other words, I will now say out loud what I believe, in a calm and respectful way. Then I will observe what happens.

2) Do you adore the Holy Banana, or the Holy Pumpkin?

As I've said elsewhere, we can take a silly but correct metaphor of a society where some people adore the Holy Banana, and some adore the Holy Pumpkin. If that society is free and democratic, then the Holy Banana worshippers can say publicly: "God is the Holy Banana!" And of course, the Holy Pumpkin worshippers can say: "God is the Holy Pumpkin!"

Now, because of the existence of Logic and Reason, this means that Holy Banana worshippers must also have permission to say: "God is not a Holy Pumpkin!" And of course, Holy Pumpkin worshippers must be able to say they don't believe in the Holy Banana.

This is the same for Catholicism. I firmly believe that:

God is called Jesus Christ, and the Catholic Church is His only true Church.

Logically, this means I also believe:

God is not called Allah, and Muhammad is not His prophet.

Of course, I would understand if Muslims were extremely angry, if I came inside one of their mosques, and started screaming that! That would be un-democratic and disrespectful. But in my church, in my private conversations, and also in the public square, I have a right to say such things.

(By the way, some people tell me "Allah" just means "God" in Arabic, but the Koran's "god" is obviously not the God of the Bible, hence my title.)

3) Is Islam violent, or is it just that all religions are violent?

First, some disclaimers. I'm not a Sociologist, I've haven't thoroughly studied Islam, I don't speak Arabic, and I haven't read the whole Koran (or Qur'an). Is Islam a violent religion? I don't know for sure, but I do have certain opinions, and I will continue to research this topic. Please feel free to contact me if you notice any mistakes or if you have additions to suggest.

Second, it is obvious that if God doesn't exist, or if God did not speak to Muhammad, then Islam is a lie. This is the same for the Catholic religion: if God doesn't exist, or if God is not Jesus Christ, or if Jesus did not found the Catholic Church, then Catholicism is a lie. When a mere mortal claims to be God, or claims to have spoken to God when that isn't the case, bad things happen. Truth is good, lies are bad, and lies often lead to violence.

Because there are so many different religions, and because most of them make contradictory claims, then logically all religions are false, or at least nearly all of them are false. I personally am extremely worried by religious obscurantism, which I think is on the verge of destroying Western Civilization. Irrationality can only lead to evil. In that sense, I claim that most religions are violent and should be discouraged, in a peaceful and respectful way, mostly by encouraging education.

4) Is Islam violent, or is it just that some Muslims are violent?

FN MAG / M240G
The Disciples Of The Holy Machine Gun (Source)

It is quite possible for a religion to officially teach hatred and violence. If you don't believe me, just start up a new religion, say "The Disciples Of The Holy Machine Gun". Then write a book that says we should kill everybody who disagrees with us, and claim that God dictated that book to you!

Since bad religions exist, all countries must monitor religions, to make sure none of them start spreading spiritual pollution. But the scientific study of a religion requires that we make a distinction between the official teachings of that religion, and what is said and done by some people claiming to be members of that religion.

Let's take an example: Catholicism. The Catholic Church teaches, in a crystal-clear and unambiguous way, that parents do not have a "right" to murder their own children. Nevertheless, right here in the Province of Quebec, many "Catholics" claim the contrary, including many Priests and Bishops (at least by their sins of omission). If right here in Canada, there can be such a disconnection between the official teachings of a religion, and the behaviors of people claiming to belong to that religion, then with greater reason the violence of some persons who claim to be Muslims is not in itself sufficient to judge Islam.

So how could we find out if Islam is in itself violent? In order to examine the official teachings of Islam, we need to find out who has the authority to teach officially what Muslims must believe. But as far as I know, there is nothing in Islam that corresponds to the Catholic concept of a Pope. On top of that, I don't think there is a book giving the official interpretation of the Koran, the way there is a Catholic Catechism that gives the official Catholic interpretation of the Bible.

I'm quite willing to study the official teachings of Islam, and give here my opinion as to whether they encourage violence or not. But first I need to find out where to go to get the official teachings of Islam. (Please note that even if there wasn't a recognized source for the official teachings of Islam, that would not necessarily mean that Islam is non-violent! That would only mean that we would have to monitor every mosque (or Imam, or madrassa, etc.) as a potentially distinct religion.

5) Should the State have to prove that Islam is violent, or should Islam have to prove it is non-violent?

One of the questions that needs to be asked is: "Who has the burden of proof?" For citizens, the burden of proof must be on the accuser. In other words, citizens must be considered innocent until proven guilty. But for religions, I claim it should be the other way around. A religion should have to prove it is non-violent, before it is given any permission to open temples and schools, and spread its doctrine publicly. In other words, a religion should be considered guilty of encouraging violence (and other ills), until it proves its innocence.

(Of course, a bad religion like "The Disciples Of The Holy Machine Gun" could teach that lying to the State is "good". That religion would then be willing to say whatever the State wanted to hear. So some amount of perpetual monitoring of all religions will always be necessary, for example to know what exactly is being preached in the sermons inside those temples, and what is contained in the books used in those religious schools, etc.)

How can this "Proof of non-violence" be established? A good start is that a religion should have to show that all of its members must adhere to truths such as:

the right of all citizens and religious communities to religious freedom must be recognized and respected
[CCC, #2107]

Terrorism threatens, wounds, and kills indiscriminately; it is gravely against justice and charity.
[CCC, #2297]

The Church, because of her commission and competence, is not to be confused in any way with the political community [...] The Church respects and encourages the political freedom and responsibility of the citizen.
[CCC, #2245]

God cannot deny himself, nor can truth ever contradict truth. Consequently, methodical research in all branches of knowledge, provided it is carried out in a truly scientific manner and does not override moral laws, can never conflict with the Faith.
[CCC, #159]

6) Conclusion

Boy holding canary in birdcage
(Source)

I've been told that many years ago, coal miners used to put cages with canary birds in the mineshafts. If the canary stopped singing, it meant the miners were probably in great danger (among others of carbon monoxide poisoning).

Are our democracies in danger? Well, if I were you, I would worry if I stopped singing:

God is not called Allah, and Muhammad is not His prophet.

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