It’s social difficulties, mental illness, financial problems, and American depredations in the Middle East—anything but religion.
Anything but religion. Is Coyne right, or is his view an expression of impatience with bringing nuance and complexity to a discussion of religion and violence (especially Islam and violence)?
There is, afterall, a school of thought out in the world that can be summed up this way: Mohammad was a violent prophet who produced a violent book that nurtures a violent religion. To complexify Islam is to short-circuit the moral energy required to resist it.
Obviously, I’m not of this school. But the draw of it is undeniable and pervasive, not just among New Atheists, but especially on the American right.
Are they right?
Are people like Wright (and myself) distorting this issue by complexifying it?
With regard to Islam and women, for example, though I see nuances, I’m much more open to broader generalizations about Islam as a whole. I simply cannot bring myself to muster resistance to anyone who says that Islam is a patriarchal religion. Indeed, with regard to patriarchy, contemporary Islam is far more patriarchal than, say, most Western versions of contemporary Christianity (and I think that Christianity is very patriarchal). In fact, I would go so far as to characterize Islam, generally, as patriarchy on steroids.
But is Islam an inherently violent religion?
In spite of 21st century jihadism, I think that is a much more debatable proposition.
What say you?