Sadly, there are many open minds out there which need to be closed for repairs. There are many people who take pride in their open-mindedness, but who are unable to make the most basic and elementary distinctions, be they mental or moral. They relish in their acceptance of all things, but end up accepting great evil.
Too many folks who think they are great intellectuals are in fact fools, in the biblical definition of the term. As G. K. Chesterton once reminded us: “Merely having an open mind is nothing. The object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid.”
The mark of a great mind is the ability to reassess, revaluate, rethink, and change course if needed. It not only takes a sound mind but great humility to have a profound change of heart and mind, to admit that you were wrong, and to change direction accordingly.
In the world of ideas, there are noted stories of those who have changed their minds. Obviously a religious conversion will usually result in a change of mind on many issues. For example, before my Christian conversion I was heavily into all the usual leftist ideas and agendas. But now my adherence to biblical Christianity has moved me away from so much of that ideology.
Another former radical lefty who I used to follow is David Horowitz. The onetime Marxist and editor of the radical Ramparts magazine in the 60s had a change of heart and mind concerning communism and the left. Now he is a proud conservative who has been fighting the leftists for decades.
In 1987, he and Peter Collier co-hosted a “Second Thoughts Conference” in Washington, and in 1989 they released Destructive Generation: Second Thoughts About the ’60s. They were among a handful of noted radicals who became greatly disillusioned with the left, and moved toward the conservative side of ideas and politics.
Famous atheists can also have a major change of mind, with one of the most notable being Antony Flew. His longstanding atheism was ultimately rejected when he claimed that a serious study of the evidence forced him to abandon his previous beliefs. I recount his story here: billmuehlenberg.com/2007/11/21/a-review-of-there-is-a-god-by-antony-flew/
Of course there can be changes of mind for the worse. For example, people can abandon Christianity for atheism, or for Islam, etc. And onetime conservative Christians such as Franky Schaeffer have abandoned both their conservativism and their Christianity.
But here I want to discuss another type of rethink. This is in my mind a very encouraging rethink, and I hope many others follow suit in this area. I refer to those who should have known better, but for various reasons were duped by Islam.
In this case a Christian apologist for Islam – a misguided dhimmi in other words – has had a major rethink, and has even apologised for his former stupidity when it comes to this political ideology. Mike Dobbins recently came out with a piece entitled, “The Critics of Islam Were Right: An Apology to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Sam Harris, Bill Maher and Other So-Called Islamophobes”.
While the entire article should be read, let me offer a few choice quotes from it. He begins with these words:
For years I was an apologist for Islam, as regrettably, many still remain. I only read books and believed those who painted Islam in a peaceful, glowing light. I made excuses for radical Muslims and lived in a flood of denial that religious teachings could still, in this modern age of drones and clones, motivate a person to commit evil. I criticized the numerous atheists including Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Sam Harris, and Bill Maher warning of the dangers inherent in Islamic doctrines, recklessly labeling them Islamophobes.
Today I’m writing to say I’m sorry, I apologize, and I ask for your forgiveness. We who have blindly defended Islam and called you Islamophobes are tragically wrong.
My mind first began to change last May when I read an interview by Sam Harris with Ayaan Hirsi Ali in which she addresses the misapplication of the term Islamophobia. This article, along with the seeds atheists planted over the years urging me to do more research, motivated me to delve into the religion. I read the Quran, many Hadith, the biography of Muhammad, the history of Jihad, and Islamic law. This is what I learned:
The critics of Islam are right. Islam is intrinsically, alarmingly violent, hateful and oppressive on a scale greater than all other major religions combined. To say that radical Islamists are motivated to commit atrocities and embrace oppression based on religious doctrine is the understatement of the century.
I, like most defenders of Islam, was ignorant, naïve, and in denial. I wrongly assumed all holy books have enough good messages to offset the bad. I wrongly assumed that, like Jesus, Muhammad promoted peace, love, and non-violence. I wrongly assumed criticism of Islam equates to criticism of all Muslims.
I like what he has to say next:
While I apologize to those wrongly labeled Islamophobes, my biggest apology is owed to Muslims. Muslims have needlessly suffered under oppressive Islamic religious and political doctrines as thousands of uninformed smearests like myself rushed to judge and silence critics of Islam. By not acknowledging the Islamic link to radical violence and hate, smearests have unwittingly allowed it to spread. The smearests, denialists, and the naïve have, unknowingly, turned their back on moderate Muslims and a reformed, peaceful Islam.
We who have carelessly thrown around the Islamophobe label including Glen Greenwald, Reza Aslan, and Karen Armstrong should lower our heads in shame and guilt. Few things are as morally depraved as attacking someone who criticizes Islam (Ayaan Hirsi Ali) rather than attacking the Islamic apostasy and blasphemy laws teaching Muslims they should kill her. We must now live with the knowledge that we’ve abandoned and betrayed our principles. Though we claim the mantle of human rights, free speech and equality, we lack the courage of our convictions when it offends someone. We make the cowardly lion look like Churchill.
In reality, those who criticize Islam, especially reform minded Muslims, are the bravest of the brave. They are literally putting their lives at risk by the simple act of criticizing the Quran, Muhammad, and Sharia. It is the critics of Islam who are working steadfastly for equality and human rights for Muslims as apologists wallow in denial.
But by no means take my word for it. You owe it to yourself to do your own research and see if you too find a connection between Islamic teachings and Islamic violence and hate. I challenge everyone, especially smearests, to read the Quran, biographies of Muhammad, the history of Jihad, and the political ideology of Islam.
Perhaps you too will notice the Quran’s recurring theme of hating non-believers and the desert like absence of loving and inclusive passages to offset the vile and violent ones.
Perhaps you too will notice how Muhammad’s violent life mirrors that of members of the Islamic State and that it would be dangerous for any person to follow in Muhammad’s footsteps.
Perhaps you too will notice how there is no separation of Church and State in Islam and that most Islamic governments place Islamic law above Secular law.
It would be one thing if Islamic doctrines said Muslims should love non-Muslims and love their enemy. It would be one thing if the prophet Muhammad preached non-violence. It would be one thing if Islamic Laws supported equality for women, minorities, freedom of expression, and valued human rights. It would be one thing if the Quran taught the golden rule.
It is because they do the complete opposite that I am now speaking out.
Just as there were millions of “useful idiots” in the West who defended barbaric communism during the Cold War, so too there are millions of duped dhimmis in the West today who forever defend and make excuses for deadly Islam. Fortunately some of the radicals left Marxism and joined those who knew of its immense dangers.
So too we have some folks finally waking up to the real nature of Islam. It is hoped that many others will do so soon. The fight against godless communism was a life and death struggle. And it is the same with our battle against Islam. If Islam prevails, we are all toast.
This is a major civilizational war which we are engaged in, and it is absolutely vital that we all be on the right side of this conflict. For many people out there, it may well be time for a serious rethink.