Why so Few Muslims Convert to Christianity

by Steve Ray on April 8, 2010

Because they know there is a gun pointed at their head. This story is typical. Egypt is considered a moderate Muslim Arab country but it is still a capital offense to convert to Christianity. The only way to be a Christian is to be a visitor or born a Christian. I’ve talked with Muslims in Egypt about this a number of times and they think it is the proper way to keep their country Muslim.

Amid threats from family, Egyptians ex-Muslim receives conversion certificate
http://www.catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?storyid=2613
Maher al-Gohari, an Egyptian who quietly converted from Islam three decades ago, petitioned a court to change his religion on his ID card from Islam to Christianity. In response, the court asked al-Gohari to provide a conversion certificate, which the Coptic Orthodox Church has issued for the first time. Al-Gohari said last year that since his conversion became public, his younger brother has wanted to kill him: “he’s been waiting for me outside my building with a gun.”

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Brother Ed April 15, 2009 at 9:30 PM

Ah, yes. The lovely “religion of peace”

Kinana April 16, 2009 at 6:12 AM

Your friends say: ‘they think it is the proper way to keep their country Muslim.’

I agree with them. Islam is so inferior as a belief system that if there was a level playing field the ‘faithful’ would leave in droves – to anything else or to atheism. That is why the present Pope is always going on about reciprocity.

Such Muslims, as your friends, are cowards and weak and cannot stand the scrutiny of their belief system that other belief systems are subject to.

But they are good Muslims. As their founder Mohammed has said: ‘Whoever changes his Islamic religion, then kill him.’

debra froat April 18, 2009 at 1:26 AM

This is sad. I thought that Muslim conversion was supposed to be a voluntary act. Why would anyone want individuals to be unwilling members of their faith?

Bertrando Roselli April 18, 2009 at 1:33 PM

STEVE RAY HERE: I COMPLETELY DISAGREE WITH BERTRANDO, AS I SIT HERE IN ROME SIPPING A LEMONCHELLO IN VIEW OF THE DOME OF ST. PETERS :-), BUT I HAVE APPROVED THIS COMMENT FOR THE SAKE OF DISCUSSION.

debra froat said:
“Why would anyone want individuals to be unwilling members of their faith?”

Because when religions assume a public prominence, they are in any case just politics mixed with superstition (really BAD): politics for enpowering an elite of ambitious (and cruel) men, and superstition for enslaving common people’s minds.

Adhering to a religion is typically an act of submission and conformity to a social group controlled by some “good” guy that proclaims his special proximity (and “legitimate” power — but that’s obviously just a consequence of the benevolence of god ;-) ) to some god.

When the clerical elite says that the only authentic freedom is within its path, it’s just saying that the only way it can thrive and increase its power is through the control over people’s minds. I always wonder if there’s a limit to the unlimited arrogance of such hypocrites… :-|

Someone argued that religious leaders are just unethical atheists that cleverly control the minds of common people leveraging their ignorance and fear.

Clarification: religion and spirituality are two different things. Spirituality is transcendental sensitiveness. Religion is spirituality hijacked by politics; religion is an archaic way to control people inoculating via brute mental force a bunch of weird rules just to ensure they do not apply any critique to the acts of the elite. Theocracy is the ultimate cancer, when the political despotism lurking behind any religion becomes reality (a nightmare!).

As any other ideology/utopia, religions have absolute axioms (dogmatism) that are good for nothing but happily destroying any skeptical opponent (heretics, apostates, liberals and so on).

Religious leaders say that dissidents are evil, but they never say WHY they are evil; that’s simple: dissidents are evil because they undermine absolute rules, absolute power, absolute cruelty, absolute idiocy.

As countries like Turkey and France demonstrated, separation of church and state is the only way to ensure individual freedoms are preserved against rampant religious arrogance.

I live in Italy, a country that’s historically plagued by the influence of religion into the civil life and that’s currently experiencing a political attack from the Vatican state in the form of illiberal laws approved by a conservative parliament prone to the ingérence of the church. Do you remember the reactions of many european leaders and representatives against the recent speech of the pope which condemned the distribution of condoms in fighting AIDS in Africa? Well, every day Italy’s politics is bombed by such kind of messages from the Vatican, the only difference is that there’s no reaction from the political leaders, just deference and conformity! Is Italy still in contemporary Europe or is it plunging back into middle ages?

Paul W. Primavera April 8, 2010 at 8:52 AM

Wow, sound like Bertrando Roselli is just another liberal progressive denying any absolute Truth or Authority, all for the sake of having promiscuous sex whenever he wants without either the consequences of contracting AIDS from sexual perversion, or the responsibility caring for a baby caused by copulation with a woman (assuming that’s what he does – hence the condom comment).

Any time a liberal talks about freedom, he means license to do whatever he wants so long as someone picks up the pieces of the moral and spiritual wreckage he has made.

Oh yes, and here we go again with the spiritual versus religious argument. I do, however, agree that one can be spiritual without being religious. The devil is spiritual.

And yes, as Michael Voris said at Real Catholic TV, the right name for modernist, liberal or progressive IS heretic:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kr9nw6oOpPY

Apostate is also an apt descriptor.

Barbara April 8, 2010 at 11:12 AM

IOW, ‘truth is relative’. Well, if I decide that truth for me includes taking something that belongs to you, then you’re o.k. with that?

I didn’t think so. So, we agree that some truths are absolute; like ‘thou shalt not steal’.

Another example of why relativism falls flat, is to quote a dialog between Socrates and Protagoras:

Protagoras: Truth is relative. It is only a matter of opinion.

Socrates: You mean that truth is mere subjective opinion?

Protagoras: Exactly. What is true for you is true for you, and what is true for me, is true for me. Truth is subjective.

Socrates: Do you really mean that? That my opinion is true by virtue of its being my opinion?

Protagoras: Indeed I do.

Scorates: My opinion is: Truth is absolute, not opinion, and that you, Mr. Protagoras, are absolutely in error. Since this is my opinion, then you must grant that it is true according to your philosophy.

Protagoras: You are quite correct, Socrates.

Joe April 8, 2010 at 1:48 PM

“they [religions] are in any case just politics mixed with superstition (really BAD): politics for enpowering an elite of ambitious (and cruel) men, and superstition for enslaving common people’s minds.”

Sounds more like a description of atheistic regimes who in the 20th century oppressed religion in order to make conformity to the government the highest priority of an individual’s life and in turn slaughtered millions of people who would not conform. This guy, Bertrando, is simply regurgitating the philosophy of 19th century writer Ludwig Feuerbach. To quote Dr. Scott Hahn from Reasons to Believe:

“Feuerbach believed that human beings invented God because they needed a crutch and a consolation. God was their substitute for reason- a projection of their irrational desires in the face of inevitable death. The idea of God was, in Feuerbach’s view, especially useful to men who possessed power and authority, who were only too eager to use a divine mandate to justify their agenda. “God” was the wily monarch’s way of keeping the ignorant and superstitious rabble on their best behavior. To discredit Feuerbach’s ideas, it might be enough to point out that they profoundly influenced two other thinkers, Karl Marx and Friedrich Nietzche, who were the forerunners of communism and Nazism, two ideologies both godless and deadly. It was Feuerbach who made Stalin and Hitler possible, because he assured them that they acted in the absence of God…It turned out that godlessness was a much more useful weapon in the hands of a despot than God ever had been- even the fantasy “God” imagined by Feuerbach. Ideologues first fabricated God’s absence. Then they acted as if it were true. Their denial of even natural theology permitted them to flout the natural law with impunity. Their rejection of natural law, in turn, closed off reason’s natural pathway to God. But nature reveals God the lawgiver as well as God the creator.”

This is why the founding fathers of our democratic nation in America, even though they were not Catholic and were from many different religious backgrounds, could still agree that the God of philosophy or “natural religion” was the only explanation for self-evident truths or “natural law”- the idea that a creator had endowed all men and women with equal dignity and self-worth and therefore were entitled to basic human rights and authentic freedoms. ‘Without God anything is permitted’ as Dostoevsky once stated through his novel.

Have people abused the peaceful principles of their religion to oppress others, even Christians? Sure, although with Christians not on the scale some anti-religious bigots would like us to think. Most of the Church’s supposed oppression (crusades, witch-hunts, burning heretics, etc.) is actually based on false propaganda and exaggerated claims. One writer in the 19th century (his name escapes me) actually published the idea that the Church taught its members at one time that the world is flat. This was a blatant lie that made it into the collective pop-culture mind, but as historical records show the Church was familiar with the ancient Greek mathematics which proved the Earth is round (hence medieval artwork displaying Christ the King holding a globe). Individuals in the Church have sinned, even popes, but the Church is a hospital for sinners not a museum for saints. The faith remains pure and consistent because the Holy Spirit makes the Church infallible (meaning God won’t allow us idiots to screw up his message) but God respects our freedom so much he will allow us to fall from those gifts of truth and grace into sin. The Church is not always impeccable; it’s always in need of reform in terms of behavior but not doctrine. When church members stray from the doctrine society suffers, but when the authentic gospel is respected society flourishes.

Dictatorships only fall when saints rise to the occasion to do “warfare” to those who would oppress us with power. But real authority is not power to lord over someone but the power to serve others for their own benefit- even children realize that’s true with good parents. The official authentic teachings of Catholicism respect human freedom and contain truth, beauty, and goodness meant to help all people find authentic joy. If Bertrando has such problem with authority I suggest he stop paying his taxes, obeying traffic laws, or maybe mug a few old ladies in the park for cheap cash. Maybe the Church won’t arrest you but the government sure will. Good civil law has to be based on good moral law, and good moral law can only be written on our hearts by an absolute good lawgiver- and surprise it’s not the government. I’m sure Bertrando wouldn’t disagree with the absolute authority of his conscience though- maybe he thinks it’s infallible.

The Church actually paved the way for modern democratic principles, separation of Church and State, individual freedoms, and the development of the arts and sciences. Monks preserved classical learning in the dark ages and the cathedral schools laid down by Holy Roman Emperors became the basis for the modern university system. The Church helped to create the laws of evidence and the scientific method and encouraged the use of philosophy to show the harmony between faith and reason. The Church basically built everything good in modern Western civilization, so NO the middle ages were not exactly the backward period some bigots would like us to believe if you actually study the facts of history. In fact the most barbarous time in human history was the 20th century, ironically an age dominated by secular and atheistic dictatorships. The Church defends the weakest and most vulnerable against the culture of death which would like us to assume that certain persons just don’t have any rights- even the right to live. Sadly this occurs even in America. Democracy is not license for doing whatever you want, but freedom for the many to seek out the truth and the common good while preserving individual freedom.

Bertrando sadly seems blindly influenced by the rampant anti-clericalism typical of the so called “Enlightenment” period and the deeply prejudiced, anti-rational views of modern “thinkers” like Feuerbach.
To paint all religions with the same broad brushstroke is to make an uncritical generalization about others without paying mind to the differences between them or to see if one is more true than the other. He’s working on the assumption that all are false and evil but offers no facts, no citations, no logic. He offers nothing but an emotional, anti-religious rant based on nothing. He simply conforms himself to the narrow minded approach of his own philosophy without recognizing that it comes from a tradition of “thinkers” who came before him. Some “free” thinker.

“Clarification: religion and spirituality are two different things. Spirituality is transcendental sensitiveness. Religion is spirituality hijacked by politics; religion is an archaic way to control people inoculating via brute mental force a bunch of weird rules just to ensure they do not apply any critique to the acts of the elite.”

Oh really? Well, the word religion comes from a Latin root word meaning “binding relationship”. Religion is simply the sum total of truths and ordinances which we believe God has revealed so that we may be directed to know, love, and serve him. The Church was created by Christ (Matt. 16:18) so that we may have access to his Father. That’s the whole point of the Mass- through this tangible Jesus, especially in the Eucharist, we have a bloodline directly to the ultimate transcendent being. Bad religion is about superstition, false doctrine, and legalism. Good religion is about relationship, truth, justice, love, and peace.

The Catholic Church makes a very bold claim- that this transcendence cares about us enough to become part of our world and connect us to him so that we might be conformed to him and share in divine life and love. That’s concrete, clear, tangible, and awesome, and not anything like the wishy-washy spiritualism preached by those who want religion without any responsibility. It’s like Peter Kreeft once said to paraphrase him…people would like to think we are all spiritual bubbles floating on a divine froth instead of children of a Divine Creator who expects us to follow his will. It’s easier to feel good about an ambiguous divinity who demands nothing of us rather than a loving God who tells us to “pick up our Cross” with him. The former is an absentee landlord and neglectful parent. Either the Catholic faith is God’ revelation or ours; if it’s God’s then we must consider whether it’s really true because there is no other way to the transcendent Father except through Jesus- and God himself said that. Problem with modern tolerance is that it is simply permissiveness and indifference in disguise, and those who preach it fashion themselves to be absolutely right in their opinion. How intolerant!

“Turkey and France demonstrated, separation of church and state is the only way to ensure individual freedoms are preserved against rampant religious arrogance.”

Turkey has been guilty of persecution even in the modern era against minority religious and ethic groups. I believe it was the U.N. who recently declared them guilty of genocide against Armenians during World War 1, which of course the “tolerant” Turkey denies. France’s enlightenment rationalism led their intellectuals to slaughter scores of people at the guillotines- many of them innocent. Much of the secular blindness of Europe today is paving the way for radical Muslim domination in the future. Omar Qaddafi of Libya said Islam will prevail in conquering the western world not through the sword but by the indifference of the West.

“religions have absolute axioms (dogmatism) that are good for nothing but happily destroying any skeptical opponent (heretics, apostates, liberals and so on).”

Oh really? So standing up for truth is not something you try to do either? I guess standing up for truth is intolerant. We can either stand up for truth with gentleness and reverence as St. Paul says or be intolerant in our approach. That’s where free-will comes in. Dogma simply is Greek for “belief”. You can’t help be “dogmatic” no matter what position you take, otherwise your not alive or not thinking.

With all due respect, Bertrando needs a few lesson in history and logic.

Peace.

bill912 April 11, 2010 at 9:54 PM

Bertrando Roselli: Would you care to offer evidence to back up ANYTHING you posted? So far, it sounds like an emotional rant. And, as you probably know, emotions don’t have IQs.

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