In the mid 1980’s, I decided it was time to decide, once and for all what my religious beliefs were. After a year of theological study and research, and pretty much a lifetime of questioning, I left the church of my childhood. In doing so, I became an apostate to that particular religion, and accordingly, my eternal soul will be judged severely when the Judgment Day arrives. Yup---I’m goin’ to hell. I’d spent the first 22 years of my life really trying to believe this particular theology. I went to church, listened to the stories, sang the songs, but I always wanted to know “why?” I assumed that if God gave me the mind He did, then He expected me to use it, but my questions were never exactly appreciated the way I thought they should be, nor answered very clearly.
After 9/11, like many Americans, I realized that I didn’t know very much about Islam, other than some splinter groups really hated us and seemed bent on destroying us. Can I hear a “well…duh…where have you been for the past 20 years?…” I toddled off to the library in an effort to educate myself, and lordy…the book I picked up, 800 plus pages; it started roughly 2000 years ago and was really, painfully detailed. I made my way through the beginnings, but didn’t get too far past Muhammad’s early life, before I sort of gave up. More and more books all purporting to “explain” Islam arrived on the shelves of the local bookstores, but I began to notice that depending upon the author, each book took a very different slant. Not knowing what I could read for an unbiased description of the religion left me relying on whatever information was being fed to me through the media. And we all know how reliable our media is! Because of my own previous religious research into Christianity and religion I grew up with, I’d developed a healthy skepticism for authors of religious based books that want me to believe them without question.
Fear God and The Shadow of the Muslim Sword by Mr. Pat is a book that could serve as a wake-up call to the western world. (Mr. Pat is a pseudonym for Patrick Roelle, whose bio you can read HERE.) The book attempts to explain Islam and the Muslim world. And mostly, it shows us that, in its very heart, Islam is pretty much unexplainable. The holy book, the Qur’an, wasn’t written until years after the death of its prophet, and was one of at least 25 different versions. All other versions were destroyed when this one was accepted, and its acceptance wasn’t based on the content, but because it was written in the dialect of Muhammad’s tribe. Muhammad’s Hadith, a biographical book about his stories and instructions that with the Qur’an comprise the laws of Islam wasn’t written until 130 years after his death. And who knows how much folklore had added to his tales by that time? Add to that the nuances of the Arabic language, where a verse in the Qur’an can be completely interpreted in two entirely different ways, with both interpretations correct and its just impossible for this western mind to understand the pull this religion has on its followers. Are there no Muslims who ask, “But…WHY?”, as I did of my childhood church?
After 9/11 and the worldwide Muslim extremist attacks that have occurred since then, I think a lot of people feel worried about the burgeoning Muslim populations. Mr. Pat explains my concerns better than I can in the following passage:
“…If we take the low side of the Muslim community’s own estimate, we can assume there are 6 million Muslims in America. If we make another assumption that only 10 percent are inclined to violence against secular society, that means there are 600,000 radicals in our midst. If we further assume that only 10 percent of the radicals have the discipline to carry out their beliefs through action that still leaves 60,000. And, if we further assume that only 10 percent of those have the means and the opportunity, we have 6,000 men and women freely roaming this country who would think nothing of carrying a tactical nuclear weapon in the back of a van and setting it off in Times Square of in the stands of the Super Bowl. Our politically correct society that believes racial profiling and waterboarding is un-American needs to come to terms with the reality of the figures.”
This book explains the basis and meanings behind what modern and moderate Muslims say, as well as what sharia law is, and what it means for a society that follows it. (Here’s a little hint, rape is not a crime in Islam for a man. Sharia assumes the woman enticed the man, and rape is fornication, therefore, the woman is flogged.) Mr. Pat explains clearly the differences between Judaism, Christianity and Islam. This is a slim volume, but it is packed with research, including 194 footnotes. The author attempts a non-biased approach to the discussion, but really, when you read examples such as the one I just cited, it’s pretty hard to remain unbiased.
Fear God and the Shadow of the Muslim Sword is a fascinating, serious attempt to explain the inexplicable. We would be well advised to take notice.
My rating: (Which should be higher, but the book sort of freaked me out)