I'm pretty confident the violent fundamentalist Muslim nutjobs don't speak for all of Islam in the same way that the Westboro Baptist Church doesn't represent the mainstream of Christian thought.In response to a comment I made in response to Jeff's post, JB of B/X Blackrazor stated:
Personally, I'm more in favor of converting Christian extremists to Islam. Islam already teaches that Jesus was the Messiah; what more are they going to get from Christians?I'd like to take some time with this topic because not only is it important, but I believe it is relevant to the OSR. Many (if not all) of us have spent hours pouring over older editions of all sorts of RPGs. We have done so for a variety of reasons from creating retro-clones, to creating new RPGs based on older rule sets, to actually playing these older games, to using them as an inspiration for playing newer games. There are plenty of examples of OSR bloggers who have deconstructed the evolution of rules in an attempt to figure out which incarnation works best for them (see my current attempt to mess around with OD&D magic, for example).
The key here, is that without a close examination of these original documents, the OSR would not exist. The statements above by both Jeff and JB run counter to this fundamental truth about how we do our hobby. I have long read, enjoyed and respected both Jeff and JB so what I am trying to say is not meant to insult, diminish or dismiss either of these two. In fact, my respect for them is the very reason I am writing this post.
Statements like those made above demonstrate that those who have made them have not gone to the source material and spent time to understand them. I'm sure everyone of us can find examples of statements made by our fellow gamers about any edition of D&D which demonstrates that they have not taken the time to understand why people like to play different editions or even to read the rules of those editions. Even I am guilty of making assumptions about 4th edition without ever having sat down to read those rules.
In light of this, I'd like to invite both Jeff and JB (as well as all of us) to take some time to deal with the original source material for both Christianity and Islam. To give us a start, let me give you a short, comparative list of things Islamic texts say about Mohammed and what Christian texts say about Christ:
- Mohammed condones lying in three instances: war, reconciling people and husband to wife.
- Mohammed was involved in slavery and slave trade. He would use his profits to purchase warhorses and weaponry in order to wage war.
- Mohammed coercively forced conversion and prayer.
- Christ is both God and Man, of one essence with both the Father and the Spirit.
- Christ asked us to love one another — even our enemies.
- Christ sacrificed Himself for our salvation.
If we accept that Mohammed and Christ are the prime examples of what it means to be human and what our behavior as human beings ought to be to their respective followers, than it should be relatively obvious that warfare and the mistreatment of human beings (especially women) are legitimate expressions of Islam. Whereas they are foreign to a proper expression of Christianity.
To answer Jeff's comment, what we have deemed as "radical" in Islam is actually able to stand on very firm theological ground. Whereas there are peace-loving Muslims, there is no such thing as a peaceful version of Islam.
To answer JB's comment, Islam understands Jesus to be a prophet, but denies the crucifixion, the resurrection and His divinity. Whereas Islam insists that Allah is a distant transcendental being who is completely separate from his creation, Christianity insists that God Himself loves us so much that He took on our humanity, died with it, resurrected it and ascended with it into heaven so that we might be able to share in His very being and His eternity. What does someone gain from converting to Christianity? God Himself.