This may be preaching to the choir, but over at Choice in Dying Eric has a nice post called “Seeing Muhammed in Context,” a severe critique of Islam.
One thing I hadn’t known is that there seems to be some doubt about Muhammed’s existence:
There is now, apparently, some reasonable doubt that Muhammad himself, as the central figure of the religion, ever existed. At least Robert Spencer believes this to be so, and Tom Holland has pointed out that he is a shadowy figure whose name itself is not mentioned until much later than the time he is supposed to have flourished. The Qur’an, as the supposed revelation directly from God through the medium of an angel, is so obviously a pastiche cribbed from other sources, Jewish, Christian, Zoroastrian, and animistic, and it is, in itself, so unremittingly violent and fascistical in its attitude to believers and unbelievers alike that it does not deserve even to stand with other sacred scriptures, even though all of them have little credence as documents that have been inspired by an other than human sources.
Well, we all know the debate about the historicity of Jesus, but any reader with references to doubts about Mohammed’s should give some references below.
If you’ve read Reza Aslan’s bestseller, No god but God, which to my mind is a complete whitewash of Muhammed, you’ll see that Aslan manages to excuse every one of the Prophet’s reported deeds, including his raiding of caravans and his deflowering of a child bride. That is execrable, but it’s made Aslan is America’s #1 Muslim apologist. He is the go-to source for those who accuse critics of ”Islamophobia” and tout Islam as “a religion of peace.” After all, says Aslan, the true message of Islam has simply been deeply corrupted by its adherents in the last five centuries. But of course we are dealing with Islam as it exists, not as it was supposedly taught by its founder.
Perhaps nothing captures the essence of Muhammad so much as his sexual lust, and its exercise even upon the bodies of children. I was reminded of this by the story of the 8-year-old girl who was recently raped to death by her “husband” in the Yemen. It is important to bear her age in mind, for she was just one year younger than Aisha, one of Muhammad’s “wives,” whose marriage was consummated when she was only 9-years-old. Put Muhammad in that context, and does he seem one whit more worthy of respect than the Yemini pedophile who raped his supposed “wife” to death? Of course, we could pull a “William Lane Craig” on this story, and suppose that it is justified by God’s command. For if ethnic cleansing can be justified by a supposed command of God, why not the rape of an 8-year-old girl? But there is no reasonable argument that can justify either ethnic cleansing or the “marriage” of children, and using a god to justify either is to derogate from the supposed goodness of the god being imagined.
And his analysis of the appeal of Islam, to men at least, makes some sense:
Given the kinds of radicalism and violence to which Islam often gives rise, and the obviously “boys club” aspect of Islam, it is not surprising that young men might well find Islam an attractive proposition. A religion which consists largely in a celebration of masculinity, especially as these are expressed in military conflict and the oppression of women, would be all but irresistible to young men brought up in a culture where both their masculinity is challenged by the equality of women, and their colour, or their lack of achievement at school, have a tendency to relegate them to second-class status.