I have always been, and I shall always be, an infidel.
I have read much (certainly not all) of Islam's holy texts. While I see excerpts that sound very pleasant, the vast majority of what I read scares the hell out of me.
When I look out at the Islamic World, all-too-often I see Muslims who obviously read the same texts, and who obviously understand them the same way I do -- and who obviously consider to be their sacred duty before their Creator the fulfillment of the very commandments and traditions that I find most ghastly and offensive.
I shall resist that to the death.
I would like to say that submission to such evil, for any length of time, simply is not in me, but what scares the hell out of me is that perhaps it is.
The terrorists and fanatics who perpetrate these acts are, after all, not monsters, but are fellow human beings, and if such evil is in them, then perhaps it is in me as well.
Certainly, humanity has proven time and again that the best of attributes are within us, as are the very worst. Far removed in space and time from Islam we see this, and know that it is a universal trait of humanity. Is it any surprise then that we find within the Islamic world kind, loving, friendly -- beautiful -- people, as well as rabid criminals?
If humanity's future is to be better than our past, then we must reach out to good people, wherever we find them, and acknowledge their beauty. We must be partners with them to get past humanity's common history.
The alternative is what those fanatics work so hard to establish: Hell on Earth.
This is not a theoretical issue.
I am acquainted with people that I have met on-line. They are Muslims. While I have liked them right from the start, I now realize that they are more than acquaintances: ours is a budding friendship.
How can I speak honestly about Islam without driving them away? -- because, that is exactly what humanity must do to survive: speak honestly about not just Islam, but about other things as well, without driving each other away.
Understand, I don't care what the fanatics think. They have declared themselves to be humanity's enemy, and only they can change that.
But, if the good people of the world are divided against each other in the face of evil, then that would be the real terror; that would be Hell on Earth, and the terrorists would have won.
Invited is the question: How on Earth can history get past people like us?
This post is dedicated to my Muslim friends: as our Creator lives, I am reaching out to you.
Help me, please.