Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Is Islam Evil? - Part IV

The website Answering Islam is devoted to promoting Christianity to Muslims by presenting objections to Islam, answering Muslim objections to Christianity, as well as providing a positive case for Christian beliefs:


There are a number of articles on this site (or available through links at the site) that raise the objection that Islam promotes violence and terrorism. I’m examining and evaluating one such article called “Top Ten Reasons Why Islam is Not a Religion of Peace” written by James Arlandson:


In previous posts, I have examined Arlandson’s reason number 10 and reason number 9:

In this post, I will examine reason number 8.
8. Muhammad in his Quran permits husbands to beat their wives.
4:34 Husbands should take full care of their wives, with [the bounties] God has given to some more than others and with what they spend out of their own money. Righteous wives are devout and guard what God would have them guard in the husbands’ absence. If you fear high-handedness from your wives, remind them [of the teaching of God], then ignore them when you go to bed, then hit them. If they obey you, you have no right to act against them. God is most high and great. (Haleem)
Plainly said, Sura 4:34 specifies that husbands may beat their unruly wives if the husbands "fear" highhandedness, quite apart from whether the wives are actually being highhanded. This puts the interpretation of the wives’ behavior squarely in the husbands’ judgment, and this swings the door to abuse wide open. This verse embodies a gigantic cultural and social step backwards and should be rejected by all fair-minded and reasonable people.
Thus, domestic violence sits at the heart of early Islam—in the life of Muhammad and his Quran. Islam is therefore not the religion of peace.
There are other possible translations and interpretations of Surah 4:34, so it is not certain that the Quran teaches that husbands should hit their wives under certain circumstances.

However, let’s suppose, for the sake of argument, that the translation used by Arlandson above is a reasonable translation, and that it is probably the case that this translation accurately reflects the original meaning of this verse from the Quran.

Mr. Arlandson needs to remove the beam from his own eye before attempting to remove the speck from the eye of a Muslim believer, for the Bible that he reads and believes to be the inspired Word of God, is filled with verses that promote sexisim and the use of violence in human relationships. 

Christianity, not Islam, was the dominant religion in the USA when our country was originally founded, and it remains the dominant religion in the USA in the 21st century.  Yet, domestic violence, intimate partner violence, violence against women, and child abuse are serious and widespread problems in the USA in the 21st century, despite over two hundred years of Christianity dominating American culture. 

In the USA:

  • One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.
  • An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.
  • 85% of domestic violence victims are women.
  • One in 6 women have experienced an attempted or completed rape.
  • There are 16,800 homicides annually due to intimate partner violence.
These facts are from the Domestic Violence Fact Sheet from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence: 

Child abuse is also a serious problem in the 21st century.

In the USA:

  • In 2008 there were 3.3 million reports of child abuse or neglect to child protective services agencies.
  • In 2008, Child Protective Services estimates 772,000 incidents of child maltreatment occurred (10.3 per 1,000 or 1 in 100).
  • Another non-CPS study (published 2009) estimated that 1 in 5 children in the USA experience some form of child maltreatment.
  • In 2008, an estimated 1,740 children died as a result of abuse and neglect (80% of those deaths were for children under 4 years old, 10% were children 4-7 years old).
  • About 59% of non-fatal child maltreatment was against children under 4 years old, and 11% was against children from 4-7 years old.
[From the Center for Disease Control publication: "Child Maltreatment - Facts at a Glance":

There are, no doubt, several reasons for these sad facts about the USA, but two factors appear to have obvious significance:

(a)   sexism in American thought and practice
(b)   the favorable attitude of Americans towards the use of violence in human interactions (including adult interactions with children)

Both of these American attitudes find firm ground in the teachings of the Bible, the sacred scripture of the Christian religion.  So, it should not be surprising that in the 21st century we are still struggling with serious and widespread incidents of domestic violence, intimate partner violence, violence against women, and child abuse.

Because there are several passages in the Bible that promote sexism and the use of violence in human interactions, including adult interactions with children, Arlandson’s own belief in the inspiration of the Bible [in Arlandson’s own words]:

embodies a gigantic cultural and social step backwards and should be rejected by all fair-minded and reasonable people.

In other words, if Surah 4:34 gives us a good reason to reject the inspiration of the Quran, then the many passages of the Bible that promote sexism and the use of violence in human relationships gives us a very strong reason to reject Arlandson’s belief that the Bible is the inspired Word of God.

A brief survey of the first six books of the Bible will be adequate to show that the sacred scriptures of the Christian religion promote sexism and a positive attitude towards the use of violence in human interactions.

Sexism and Violence in Genesis

To be continued…