Spanish translation of this article here.
Cultural psychology: How Islam managed to stay medieval for 1,400 years
By: Nicolai Sennels, Psychologist
While almost all other cultures changed from primitive and medieval to democratic and egalitarian societies, one culture has managed to keep even its most brutal and backward traditions and values for 1,400 years until today. Still today, the majority of Muslims prefer to live by values that can be traced all the way back to the desert tribes in which the founder of their religion lived. Getting to know life in Muslim families and societies is like traveling back to the time of Muhammad. Here one finds shocking laws and traditions that are obviously criminal and inhumane — but for some reason accepted — in our otherwise humanistic culture.
While non-Muslim scientists invent new fantastic medicines and technologies daily; discover the most amazing things about the universe, its building blocks and inhabitants; and Western voters and politicians have created the most humane, rich and free societies in world history – most Islamic countries are still amputating limbs for theft; stoning women and homosexuals; heavily inbred; denying people free speech and democracy; and contributing absolutely nothing when it comes to science, human rights or peace.
What are the cultural psychological factors making Islam able to stay medieval for 1,400 years?
One main factor is that while all other religions allow their followers to interpret their holy scriptures, thereby making them relatively adaptable to secular law, human rights and individual needs, Islam categorizes Muslims who do not take the Quran literally as apostates. And according to Islamic law, the sharia, apostasy is to be punished with death. The sharia thus makes it impossible for Islamic societies ever to develop into modern, humanistic civilisations.
The fact that Muslims deviating from the Quranic world view are to be punished has the direct consequence that scientific facts conflicting with the naive and childish world view held in pre-Enlightenment cultures are suppressed. Together with massive inbreeding — 70 percent of Pakistanis, 45 percent of Arabs and at least 30 percent of Turks are from first cousin-marriages (often through many generations). This has resulted in the embarrassing fact that the Muslim world produces only one tenth of the world average when it comes to scientific research, and are dramatically under-represented among Nobel Prize winners. Fewer books have been translated into Arabic in the last thousand years than the amount of books translated within the country of Spain every year.
Within Islam, faith and tradition is obviously valued far, far more than inventions and discoveries that would ease suffering and lead to a more reasonable understanding of the complexity of the universe and the potential of its inhabitants.
Another powerful defence mechanism within Islamic culture is found within Muslim child rearing. A very real threat of violence and even death is over every Muslim child’s head, should he or she decide to choose another life style than that of its parents. Even if the parents allow their child to choose his or her own religion — or none at all — other Muslims are dedicating their lives to kill them. Together with the wide use of violence and even torture within Muslim families, the horrific amount of daily family executions of Muslim youth is enough to keep the vast majority from even considering escaping the way of the sharia. The Quran’s and the Hadiths’ many promises of hellfire to those who go against Muhammad’s orders and example scares many from leaving the culture that brings them so much suffering. I clearly remember how several Muslim inmates at the prison I was working in as a Psychologist expressed what seemed to be compassion, when I told them that I do not believe in Allah.
In order to further make sure that children grow up to follow the same patterns as their family, many of them are subjected to mind-numbing repetitions of Islam’s exceedingly violent scriptures, making many of them ticking time bombs wherever they live.
Muhammad’s teaching that Muslim females can only marry Muslim males — often within their own bloodline — further bolsters the culture of his followers against outside influence. The fact that the wives are kept like slaves (in that they can only divorce if they are set free by an Islamic authority) keeps them from escaping the religion and very often violent husbands, leaving them with very few freedoms and rights. Should they choose to run away or divorce, they will in most cases be cut off by their family and the often violent father is entitled to the children. Because they are categorized as outcasts and have had no or very little right to educate themselves, the possibility to sustain themselves is strongly limited. On top of that, many will live with a death sentence over their head for the rest of their lives for having insulted the family’s honor.
Almost all Muslim women are thus threatened or even forced to fulfill their responsibility of continuing and passing on the Islamic culture, including its many misogynistic aspects. And the marriage rules within Islam makes sure that non-Muslim influence is not invited into the family.
View on non-Muslims
One basic principle within Islam is hating and harming non-Muslims. The Islamic scriptures are full of dehumanizing propaganda against us, and contain dozens of orders for Muslims to suppress, harm and kill atheists and followers of all other religions. The devaluation and demonizing of non-Muslims can easily be compared to the wartime propaganda spread about the enemy by governments in order remove their soldiers’ psychological hindrances that would otherwise keep them from attacking the opponent. Not surprisingly, Muslims are not allowed to take non-Muslims as friends.
Thus keeping a mental and physical distance to people from other cultures, Islam prevents its followers from being influenced and inspired by our less barbaric values.
Another cultural psychological factor enabling Islamic culture to remain unchanged in a globalised world with all its possibilities concerns Muslims’ ethnic pride. No matter how ridiculous or embarrassing it may seem to the outsider, most Muslims are proud of being Muslim and a follower of Islam. According to Islam they are destined to dominate the rest of us, and we are so bad that we deserve the eternal fire. Working as a psychologist in prison, I heard how the Muslim inmates talk about their non-Muslim victims — and their victims were always non-Muslims, unless it concerned women or rival gangs — and I have no doubt that there exists a severe and widespread racism against non-Muslims among Muslims.
The cultural osmosis
Islamic culture thus has several defence mechanisms that prevents it and its followers from being influenced by non-Muslim values. At the same time, Westerners expressing pride in our country, culture or faith are immediately branded as racists, nationalistic or intolerant.
At the same time, we in the West have a longstanding tradition of tolerance and openness, together with the multicultural agenda pushed by the Left, the Media, EU and UN. The cultural osmosis can therefore go only one way: Islam stays where it is, while it drags the West back into medieval darkness, with its limitation of free speech and pre-enlightenment-style acceptance of religious dogmas and sensitivities.
This article was first published on JihadWatch.org.