Unless you've been hiding in a cave in Tora Bora, Afghanistan, you must have heard or seen the recent kerfuffle between Ben Affleck and Bill Maher/Sam Harris regarding Islam.
Many articles and opinions have been floating around since then and I have resisted the urge to weigh in on the matter, preferring instead to soak in as much as I can. However, like a hot Muhammara, the issue has been burning a hole in my stomach and I can resist no more.
If you've been following RoundSeventeen at all you know I'm not a big fan of organized religion. I have disdain for them all.
Last week I ripped the Hasidem, whose Jewish idiocy with regards to women, the refusal to turn a light switch on a Saturday, and ungodly attitude towards menstrual juices is surpassed by none.
No less stupid are the fundamental Christians who insist on handling deadly copperheads and rattlesnakes as a testament of their faith.
And don't even get me started on the Trinity, Immaculate Conception, virgin birth, and creationism. All moronic, all worthless and all taken on face value without a shred of evidence.
I have a disdain for religion, but that disdain is not equal. Because as Sam Harris so eloquently stated, when Ben Affleck wasn't grandstanding and shouting over him, "Islam is the mother lode of bad ideas."
The Five Pillars, Shahadah, Salat, Zakat, Sawm, and Hajj, I have no problems with. These are largely spiritual practices that do not infringe or affect others. If it were to stop there, fine.
But it doesn't stop there, because Islam is more than a religion it is a political and cultural phenomena that includes human being's worst practices:
* death for apostasy
* repression of women's rights
* death for homosexuality
* The Caliphate
* violent anti-semitism
These are tenets of Islam that are supported by the Quran and the Hadith. Before you reach for your Bible or Old Testament, know that I am very aware of the passages that are just as disturbing and just as violent.
Here's the difference, and it's a big one.
In the year 2014 AD, you don't find Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, or followers of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, piloting planes into buildings, strapping on suicide vests, or separating people's heads from their torsos in the hope of receiving 72 virgins in paradise.
More importantly, and this is the point Sam Harris was trying to make before Ben Affleck hijacked the stage, it is the ideas of Islam that merit our criticism, not the followers of Islam. Only by challenging these barbaric precepts do we stand any chance of moving past them.
Much like the imbecilic belief that we are center of the universe. Or dinosaurs roamed the land 6,000 years ago. Or that the sun revolves around the Earth.
Similarly, by failing to contest Islam, out of some misguided respect or political correctness, western liberals and progressives have conceded and in effect enabled the first steps in the long, slow march back to the Dark Ages.
It's not the direction I'd like to see us moving towards. Particularly since I am the father of two daughters.
Which brings me to one final point about the 1.6 billion peaceful, hardworking Muslims, who, according to Affleck just want to live their lives and go to the store and get a sandwich.
Great, get your sandwich, go home, be with your families and live your lives. However, I'm having a sandwich too. It might be pulled pork. It might even be topped with bacon. But what I eat, what I believe, what I choose to do with my life is none of your concern.
So if you subscribe to the abhorrent notion that Jews, infidels and homosexuals should be shot, or that it's acceptable to hit, rape or stone your wife, or that the laws of this land are meaningless when compared to the all-knowing, all-merciful laws of some imaginary Sky Daddy, I don't care what religious stripe you wear, there's a mighty good chance I'm not going to like you.
Sorry Ben, that's not gross.
That's not racist.
That's not me being prejudiced. Or pre-judging.
That's me judging.