One of the interesting defenses of Islam I have heard goes like this – both of the other monontheistic religions (Judaism and Xianity) were more primitive in the past, and both went through a reformation to make them more balanced, relevant, and gentle.  Since Islam is a younger religion (having been started by Mohammed around 600 A.D.), it hasn’t had the chance to reach this "normalizing milestone." 

In a recent Washington Post article, Salmon Rushdie calls for such a reformation for Islam.  Much of what he is calling for sounds like a great positive move away from the harshness of fundamentalist Islam.  But what really caused me to think was the main difference between what Rushdie is calling for an the Christian Reformation of the 1500’s. 

Rushdie calls for Islam to stop viewing the Koran as the infallible word of God, while the Christian reformation was a call BACK to authority of the scriptures.  Why this difference?

Because the Xian scriptures, when taken literally, are a call to righteousness by faith, love, peace, and forgiveness.  The Koran, when taken literally, is a call to Jihad, violence, righteousness by servile obedience to law, and justice with little mercy.