1258 CE was a terrible year. Before then, with the possible exception of China, the most highly-educated center of the world was in the Levant and in Persia, both of which comprise what most Americans today call the Middle East. At that time, Europe was a social and educational backwater. But in 1258 catastrophe struck with the arrivals of the Mongols. After sacking and destroying most of Baghdad and killing most of its people, the Mongols continued on to Damascus and even down into Egypt.

It might be accurate to state that if it weren’t for the Mongols’ creation of a power vacuum in the Islamic world, Europe may well have remained the pestilence-ridden backwater that it had become after the fall of Rome.

Today, violence wracks the Middle East…but only in those nations that are politically unstable. The stable nations — Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, Muscat and Oman, UAE, and Bahrain — are among the safest and most peaceful on the planet. Majority-Sunni Indonesia is thousands of miles away, but even with its third-world status, Indonesia has a lower homicide rate than even the safest American state (New Hampshire). After America’s (illegal and unwarranted) invasion of Iraq, up to a million refugees fled to Syria and hundreds of thousands more fled to Jordan…and all those refugees were welcomed as Islam requires. Most of those refugees remain in those nations today.

I stated all that to demonstrate that even though I am Christian, I am not ignorant of Islam, and have a very healthy respect for Muslims. Indeed (and unlike the trinitarian Catholic or protestant churches) the Church of which I am a member agrees with Islam and Judaism that only God is God, that there is no such thing as a “Trinity”, and that Jesus is not and never was God. For that reason, I tend to sympathize with Muslims and Jews when they face persecution or violence from those who claim to be Christian.

That being said, science — as with all else — was given to us by God. That means that there is nothing wrong with learning science and accepting what it tells us.

I sincerely wish you the very best on your journey through this life.

Retired Navy. Inveterate contrarian. If I haven’t done it, I’ve usually done something close.

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