I’m not sure you’re understanding the critical point I try to make in the article. I’m not saying Islam was spread by the sword or that the religion became popular only because of militarism. And I’m not saying Islam is wrong for having a Just War theory or for saying violence is sometimes right. I’m not criticizing militarism itself.

What I’m saying is that there’s a question here of Occam’s razor. Which is the simpler, more likely scenario, that Islam is true in that Allah exists and expects us to submit to him or that the main content of Islam reflects not the existence of any deity but just the formative, early experience of Muslims as conquerors?

I’m saying it’s easier to understand Islam atheistically, by positing that the emphasis on submission grew out of the fact that the early Muslims had to conquer Arabia to protect their religious reforms. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that social animals instinctively submit to each other in dominance hierarchies for evolutionary reasons, and that the evolutionary context is analogous to the military one which is crucial to Islam’s formative period.

Knowledge condemns. Art redeems. I learned that as an artistic writer who did a doctorate in philosophy. We should try to see the dark comedy in all things.

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