Nov 4, 2022Liked by Aaron M. Renn

I agree with all that was said about Christianity and Islam. But I'm also going to throw out a theory that relative to Christianity, Islam isn't very well-adapted to win converts as a minority religion. Which we would expect to be the case, based on simple history, but there are a few things I notice as possible mechanisms of this.

For one, Islam objectively has a more difficult apologetics task. It's just harder to suspend disbelief that, of the world's religions, it has the strongest case for itself (this is of course even more true of Neo-Paganism, which is one reason it will always be just a LARP).

If you haven't ever tried to read the Quran, I recommend doing so, because it's enlightening. Mainly in how hard it is to read and take anything away from, and how unintuitively it's organized. Now, large sections of the Bible are hard to read, but also large sections of it (e.g. Genesis, the Gospels) are easy enough for a person of middling intelligence to read, at least if you skip over the genealogies. And in fact, among Muslims, reading the Quran is not a very well-established practice, though there is this strange tradition of "reciting the Quran" in the original Arabic, without comprehension, even among people who don't speak Arabic at all.

What all this means is that practice of Islam is more dependent on a supportive and reinforcing surrounding community, more dependent on imams. Though apparently, at community reinforcement, it is very good, probably better than Christianity. It doesn't work as well as a religion that you discover largely for yourself and choose to follow.

For the record, I also think that this is something Catholicism is bad at relative to American-style individualistic Protestantism (as opposed to State Church Protestantism), and it's why Protestantism is displacing Catholicism in Latin America. Catholicism does OK if it can convincingly serve as the One True Church, but as a single option on a large menu of Christian options, it's not very good at convincing people to come aboard. The only group it really manages to capture is a certain type of trad intellectual that the current Pope is committed to alienating (though that nonetheless is heavily overrepresented among conservative intellectual leadership). As EO becomes a more viable and less alien option in the West, I expect Catholicism's competitive niche will get even smaller.

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The problem with easy believe ism is exactly this

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