In a recent opinion piece in the New York Times Slavoj Zizek continues the meme that a fundamentalist of any religion is essentially the same. Well, me and the facts would like to disagree.
Zizek from the beginning displays his ignorance of the differences between Christianity and Islam. He writes, “Fundamentalists do what they perceive as good deeds in order to fulfill God’s will and to earn salvation; atheists do them simply because it is the right thing to do.”
Now sure that sounds good and allows him to jump from that point to illustrating why Europe’s secular nature is best for everyone, but it is completely wrong when discussing Christianity.
The very basis of the Christian doctrine is that no matter how good you are, you cannot earn your salvation or even God’s favor. The core belief of Christianity is that Christ died for us, satisfying our debt to God – we need only to accept that.
This concept differs dramatically from every other religion on the planet, which teaches essentially “do enough good and you will be rewarded.” On this point I agree with Zizek. This mindset does allow one to be led away from basic morality to doing things to fellow human beings because “God” deemed it neccessary.
But just for fun, why don’t we look at the most recognizable fundamentalist from both Christianity and Islam and compare them. This should help us illustrate whether both are “equally evil.”
Christianity: It is a toss-up, but I think Pat Robertson edges Jerry Falwell.
Islam: Clearly the winner is Osama Bin Laden.
In a tale of the fundamentalist tape, Bin Laden clearly out classes Robertson.
Number of People Killed:
Bin Laden – upwards of 4,000
Robertson – none that we know
Stupid Things Said:
Bin Laden – depends on availability of video recorders in Afghan mountains
Robertson – depends on availability of 700 Club on your television
Biggest Impact on a Nation:
Bin Laden – essentially ran Afghanistan and influenced several other Muslim nations
Roberston – 17 people watch the 700 Club, 15 are reporters waiting for him to say something controversial
Seriously, weigh it how ever you want (even in terms of treatment of gays) and clearly Islamic fundamentalist are a much larger danger. While Christian fundamentalist may be annoying and arrogant. Which one would you want for your neighbor? That should answer the question.