Release Islam from the Middle Ages: Reform the Religion into one of Peace and Tolerance

In contrast to Islam’s teachings on peace and tolerance, battles and disputes between various factions from within Islam and clashes between Islam and the West have had no end, which not only causes endless violence; it also creates economic stagnation.


Christianity Used to Deprive Its People of Their Freedoms

Christianity went though a Period when the Church Possessed Power and Curbed Individual Freedoms

In Europe during the 16th century, Pope Leo X required an enormous sum of money in order to reconstruct St. Peter’s Basilica, and he began to sell the value of ‘remission from sin’, that is, Catholic Indulgence. Of course, the Bible has never contained any references to the idea that believers could purchase forgiveness.

In addition, the Holy Roman Empire, Catholicism’s home, also abused its influence to collect wealth from various regions, especially Germanic ones. Thus, the church became associated with political power, and fell into corruption.


Luther’s Reformation

A Number of Religious Reformers, including Martin Luther, Stood up to Change This Degenerate Situation

In 1517, Luther posted “95 Theses on Power and Efficacy of Indulgences” on the door of All Saint’s Church in Wittenberg, thus beginning his protest of the Roman Curia and its Indulgences. Reformers promoted Sola scriptura, claiming that the Bible was the end all and be all, and that the priesthood should universally conceive of an equality of all people before God. Thus, they attempted to restore faith between the church and its members.

Many Germans that disapproved of the Holy Roman Empire joined this movement, and they became known as the Protestants. Other reformers followed such as Calvin, which led to a pan-European religious conflict.

The Thirty Year’s War, which started in 1618, was especially dreadful. At the end of the long war, the Holy Roman Empire was in disarray, and the Germans had lost a third of their population.

After a stalemate, the war ended in 1648 with the Peace of Westphalia, a series of peace treaties stating that countries would not interfere with the morals and religions of opposing nations. Protestant Calvinism became officially recognized, and in the aftermath of that horrid war between people of different religious views, the survivors gradually began to accept the freedom of religious belief.


Protestantism, which Champions Wealth, Became the Origin of Capitalism

In contrast to Catholicism, which saw the accumulation of wealth as immoral, Calvinism, which had a profound impact on Protestantism, religiously championed the accumulation of wealth through hard work.

The German sociologist Max Weber held that Protestantism, which valued abstinence and hard work, became a catalyst for economic activity, and has played an important part in the establishment of modern capitalism.


Human Rights and Freedoms Have Value Due to Belief in the Existence of God

Even now in the Muslim regions, Islamic Law influences politics and economics as it did in the Middle Ages. Muslims need a revolution in order to secure a peaceful path to progress, which does not necessarily mean Westernization or Secularization.

If Westernization stands for insulting those with faith, as Charlie Hebdo did, then Westernization should not be considered desirable.

Human beings have rights precisely because they’re children of God. It’s the same for the freedom of religion and the freedom to express that belief. Thus, the value of human rights and freedoms originate from God.

Of course, terrorism in the name of God is not justifiable. Differences in faith do not mean that people with different views work for the devil; and atheists are simply people who don’t know the truth yet.

In this sense, although the violence of the Islamist extremists is now attracting attention, the West also needs to reflect on its actions.

Since the end of the 15th century, the West has expanded its colonial empire throughout the world, which has included the Middle East. It has treated colonized natives like slaves under white supremacist rule. In the 2003 Iraq War, the Iraqi casualties of the U.S. forces numbered into the several hundred thousands, and that figure included civilians. The sins of America and Europe have not been small.

Muslims ought to follow their own path toward modernization, and decide for themselves the value of human rights and freedoms based on their faith in God. If released from the curse of the Middle Ages, then Islam could become a religion of peace and tolerance in the truest sense of the word.

Release Islam from the Middle Ages: Reform the Religion into one of Peace and Tolerance
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