Listen, we don't have time to get into just how long and ridiculously wars have been carried out in the name of religion. Do we? My editor is shaking his head. Anyhow, the Religions of the World 301 analysis of the whole thing is that most major religions essentially were founded upon—and should continue to be—an attempt to theologize order from chaos, love from violence, a common purpose from human misunderstanding. Like all of the Abrahamic faiths, Islam is at its core a religion of tolerance, subservience, compassion, intellectual inquiry and equality. At its inception, it provided laws that attempted to eliminate what had been savage social atrocities, and it preached an unprecedented respect for women, as well as other human beings who had been historically marginalized.
However, as we have seen with a few other religions, Islam has been hijacked by a loud and obnoxious few who have radicalized and misinterpreted the Koran for political means. Of the many voices (such as Reza Aslan's—also noteworthy) speaking about a religion that logically could not possibly be entirely made up of misogynist anti-capitalist evil is Amanda Roraback. Roraback is giving a lecture titled "The Theft of Islam" for the Center for Inquiry, an organization that has historically challenged ignorance in order to promote rational thought, inquiry and compassion. Just like the original intent of religion. See how it's all connected? Even if you're not a foreign-policy nerd, a thoughtful inquiry into the violence emanating from Islamist countries is worth looking into. And if you're playing the game of what will happen next in the world, this is one lecture you can't miss.
"The Theft of Islam" with Amanda Roraback at the Costa Mesa Community Center, 1845 Park Ave., Costa Mesa, (714) 327-7525; www.cfiwest.org. Sun., 4:30 p.m. $6; free for Friends of the Center.
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