‘Mohammed and his immediate successors were warlords who, when chance offered, massacred their non-conforming prisoners; Jesus was not, and did not. Mohammed specifically wanted to assimilate the state to the kingdom of God; Jesus says his kingdom is not of this world. Although a number of Muslims argue that Islam respects the value of all human beings, religious history shows that Islam neither did so nor has learned to do so; some would argue that Islam would cease to be Islam if it was prepared to accept pluralist liberal democracy. And the word “pluralist” matters: many Muslims (as in Egypt) may accept a “democracy” amounting to dictatorship of the majority, but not that pluralist democracy whereby other religions are even tolerated where there are Muslim majorities. It seems thus far apparent that in the real world the larger the number of Muslims in the population, the more killings for blasphemy, apostasy, proselytizing by non-Muslims, there will regularly be. Which is not to suggest that the number of the violent is necessarily large: rather that the number of condoners, whether or not intimidated, is very substantial.

And there is not only denial of religious pluralism. There is the insistence on the subordination of women and the acceptance of slavery. In both these cases Christianity has (again) learned better; Islam has not and its scriptures bear out that it cannot. And the same can be said about freedom of thought. Though philosophy did quite well in the early Islamic period, thereafter it was in effect closed down as incompatible with theology.’

from a recent review of Miroslav Volf, FlourishingWhy we need Religion in a Globalized World (Yale U.P. 2015)  by Professor John Rist

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