What Defines 'Religion'?

Just as leftist-influenced Western religion has abandoned the search for spiritual transcendence, Islam similarly does not provide a path to spiritual transcendence, either, Bynum asserts. Islam does not qualify as a religion, she argues, because it lacks the essential qualities and attributes of religion. Muslims are not free to establish a relationship with Allah but are required to recite prayers in a specific format and direct them to an object -- the Kaaba, a cube-shaped building in Mecca that is the most sacred site in Islam. In Islam, strict rules regulate all behavior and Islamic worship is merely unquestioned obedience. Lacking is any quest for truth, acknowledgment of reality, or historical verification. The goal of Islam is complete control over the mind and the physical body and its functions. Bodies and minds are controlled with no nourishment for the soul.

With no outlet for individual expression in Islam, creativity does not exist nor does anything that would capture the human heart or spirit. No quest to discover Allah is required because he exists merely to be obeyed. Piety is enforced by conformity to Islamic doctrine with sinners severely punished or killed to uphold the community’s purity. Islam’s goal is complete submission, which stifles curiosity, creativity, motivation, and individuality, plus denies the truth.

In Islam, history begins with Mohammed. Nothing that occurred prior to his existence is of any value, thus history is revised and knowledge rendered meaningless. Islam requires cultural genocide because culture is an obstacle to establishing Allah’s authority on Earth. No concept of G-d-given free will and tolerance exists. Individual thought makes no difference because only the decrees of Islamic doctrine have value.

Islam requires complete self-denial and robot-like functioning as part of a collective: the umma, or Islamic community. Behavior is mandated by the shariah, which makes law and morality one and the same. Islam does not recognize the state as a higher authority and requires ultimate jurisdiction in all worldly matters. No explorations of and independent conclusions about justice and judgment exist as the shariah explicitly outlines every aspect of existence and sanctions forced marriage, child marriage, polygamy, death for apostasy, dhimmi status for non-Muslims, and other rulings and actions outlawed in other societies. Islam is the highest value, with no room for mercy or compassion. Islamic doctrine is immutable, unquestioned, and does not bend to any human circumstances.

Because of all these characteristics, Islam is not a religion, Bynum concludes, as it places ideology above life itself. It fails to advance individual morality, sacrificing the individual for the collective. It is unable to preserve wisdom because it denies everything but Islamic beliefs. It fails to foster peace and social harmony and instead requires perpetual war with non-believers. It weakens the family as the foundational unit of society by promoting polygamy. It is not transcendent in purpose, as its highest purpose is to perpetuate itself, and it has little meaning beyond rituals.

Islam cannot stand with the other religions of the world as a belief system that relates humanity to spirituality and to moral values and imbues life with meaning, Bynum writes. Instead, Islam is a supremacist, totalitarian, theo-political-legal ideology that engages in constant war with non-believers, controls the lives of its believers who are unable to question or relinquish its mandates, and fails to provide spiritual nourishment and to promote social harmony.

Just as the secular humanism of the Left diminishes man, Islam similarly diminishes man through its hatred of non-believers and its emulation of its brutal, murderous prophet as the ideal specimen of a man. Thus, leftists who assert their nonreligious and non-spiritual agenda and diligently work to eliminate G-d from the public square -- including prohibitions against religious observances, holidays, symbols, and prayer -- are allying with Muslim efforts to demonize and supplant non-Muslim faiths. Both represent a danger to Western society, and in particular the United States, which was founded on a core belief in G-d and the transcendent power of spirituality. Both Islam and the left’s secular humanism are godless ideologies that undermine Western values and civilization.