An Important Difference Between You and Your Friends


Sometimes when you talk to people about Islam, you are flabbergasted at the depth of their ignorance. But even after they know something about Islam and accept it, sometimes you are appalled at their seeming apathy about it. Why don't they jump in and want to do something about it? Are they stupid? Are they uncaring? What is wrong with these people!?

I believe we have discovered an important difference between those of us in the counterislamization movement and those who have not joined the fight: We are seeking two different kinds of happiness.

One kind of happiness is temporary and, from our point of view, superficial: Pleasure and comfort. To pursue this kind of happiness, you pay a lot of attention to how you feel, what you want, how nice your clothes are, how tasty your food is, how comfortable your car is to drive (or how it makes you feel to own it), etc. When you overhear conversations among these people, don't you sometimes want to say, "What's the matter with you people? Don't you know there's a war on! Right now innocent people are being beheaded! Who cares about a new restaurant!?"

If you can relate to that unspoken sentiment, you probably care more about the other kind of happiness — a kind of happiness that is long-lasting and profound: Meaning. Most of us in the counterislamization movement gain happiness by working for a cause outside of our own skin. Helping other people. Living a life of meaning and purpose. Doing something that matters. The happiness this gives is a feeling of fulfillment and satisfaction. Not comfort. Not pleasure.

Here's why this distinction is important for our purposes: When you talk to people about Islam — people who are not meaning-oriented — what you are presenting is discomfort. They want to turn away. It does not make them happy. And learning more about it will make them even less happy.

I think that's why I've had so much success educating people in personal conversations about Islam lately: A while back I switched from trying to recruit them into the cause and started focusing on just informing them, but doing it in way that "entertains" them (or at least interests them and preferably surprises and fascinates them). People with a pleasure-comfort orientation don't mind being entertained and interested and fascinated. And the information still sinks in. And when it comes time to vote or choose or decide, they will be more informed and will make saner choices.

I don't think we need to try to recruit people. I think we only need to inform people. And those who are like us — people who care about meaning and purpose, people who want to be profoundly happy and fulfilled by serving a cause — will come forward on their own. They will seek out more information. They will feel called to action.

Think about this as you talk to people. The person you're talking to might derive their happiness primarily from pleasure and comfort. Talking to them angrily about a frightening reality might not get through to them. Trying to wake them up by showing them a video of mass beheadings will make them not ever want to talk to you again.

For these people, and they are the majority, a different approach is needed. With an entertaining or interesting or even fascinating approach, they won't shut you out and solid information has a chance to sink in.

We have tools here to help you change the nature of your conversations. And you can read some of the conversations I've had here to see some of the things I've tried. And if you have stories of your own, I encourage you to share them with all of us at Talk About Islam Among Non-Muslims.

Citizen Warrior is the author of the book, Getting Through: How to Talk to Non-Muslims About the Disturbing Nature of Islam and also writes for Inquiry Into Islam, History is Fascinating, and Foundation for Coexistence. Subscribe to Citizen Warrior updates here. You can send an email to CW here.


Anonymous 1:12 PM  

I try to approach the subject by story telling, especially historical story telling, through past events and art history. Many people are interested in history but don't know much about it so they are open to listening. This way they don't feel threatened or uncomfortable

Elsa 5:21 AM  

I really appreciate this post on the 2 kinds of happiness - comfort happiness, and meaning happiness. Comfort happiness (no threat, no challenge) is also fear-avoidant happiness. Also inform, don't recruit. Yes. All this, by the way, also holds for the current situation - everything from treatments for the c-virus, to the dangerous shots, to climate, to . . . to . . . In other words, these are strategies that work.

RiverFred 8:04 AM  

Islam Defined:
Islamism believes that it is the duty of the faithful to impose medieval Sharia Law on the entire world under a Global Caliphate that will oversee and administrate the divine will as described to the Prophet Mohammad by Allah.
Muhammad (according to biographies of Muhammad written by Muslims for Muslims) raided caravans, led battles, tortured people, ordered assassinations, and personally oversaw the beheading of 800 Jews. He captured and held slaves. He raped women. He had sex with his favorite wife when she was nine years old. This was the messenger of Allah and he could do no wrong, the perfect man.

M 8:48 PM  

I love reading your articles, always educational. Thank you for taking the time to put your thoughts and experiences down for us, so we can learn from them! I particularly enjoyed this article. I want to be more effective, and I believe you're really on to something with your thoughts here. You are certainly right that we live during a time when so many are not truth-seekers, but rather happiness-seekers, and too many are self-centered, "me-centered", seeking their own happiness (even for a moments worth!). They don't want to be made to feel uncomfortable, they just want to be entertained. They are into avoidance big-time, anytime something comes up that threatens their comfort and pursuit-of-happiness journey.

Thank you for sharing your ideas on how to get better, how to adjust our approach. Keep writing! There are those of us out here who are "listening", and out here, adjusting, trying to follow your example. :-)

M in K.C.

Walter Sieruk 8:43 AM  

Once when talking with a man I've known some some years, he's even happens to be a lawyer. I brought up the subject of dangers of Islamic terrorism and offered to let him borrow an informative video documentary that I have on that topic .

In response, he raised his voice and adamantly said "I alreadly know as much a I care to know on that subject." Likewise, brother in law sitting with us added, also in an adamant way "That's exactly how I feel about that subject."

The response of those two men are a reflection of what the scholar on Muslim terrorism and political activist, Brigitte Gabriel ,wrote in her book entitled BECAUSE THEY HATE which reads "The West is ignorant and refuses to learn."

Walter Sieruk 9:56 AM  

In the book about the brutal and deadly jihad entity ISIS by Erick Stakelbeck which is entitled ISIS EXPOSED on page 78 in informs the reader that concerning this post 9/11 world with the threats and dangers for Islam’s violent ,and many times lethal ,militant jihad that “All of this means we’ve entering a fighting a personal – new phase in radical Islam’s war on the United States Will Americans glance up from their smartphones and put down their video game consoles in time to notice ?” To add to this, there distraction which is sports. Some sports are OK by some Americans take this frivolous hobby to the extreme. So much that they totally fail to see the whole picture about American in the things that really matter.

Therefore, the important topics as of Islamic terrorism are not seen by mat Americans who are distracted by such frivolous things as sports. It then needs to be stated that Karl Marx was wrong when he wrote down his claim that “Religion is the opium of the people.” From years of first-hand observations, I can keyboard the hypothesis that the real “opium of the people is sports”. For many Americans refuse to buy, read and study books about Islam and its militant and stealth jihad. As, for example, by the author Mark Gabriel who was a former Muslim and now a Christian and wrote the book ISLAM AND TERRORISM. Other scholars of this topic many also be very informative. As the writer and scholar of Islamic terrorism as Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer, Erick Stakelbeck and Brigitte Gabriel. Instead in investing their time of the suspect of Islamic terrorism some American invest much of their time focused on sports. That of course is their prerogative. Nevertheless, this still shows some kind of misplaced values about what really matter. As in this indicates wrong priorities about what really important in life. As Brigitte Gabriel, who is the founder and head of and wrote in her book which is entitled BECAUSE THEY HATE which reads “The West is ignorant and refuses to learn.”

Citizen Warrior 11:11 PM  

Not ALL of the West is ignorant, and whether someone refuses to learn is not fixed. It can be influenced by someone skilled. It depends on how it is done and the approach you use. Some people are more difficult than others, of course, and some can't be reached at all. But far more CAN be reached with the right approach.

So one way to think about this is: I tried (in whatever way naturally occurs to me) and it didn't work. Another way to think about it is: Okay, THAT approach didn't work. I wonder what kind of approach WOULD work? I wonder what skills I would need to learn to improve my success rate?

If you are up for trying the second category, here's a good place to start:

Article Spotlight

One of the most unusual articles on is Pleasantville and Islamic Supremacism.

It illustrates the Islamic Supremacist vision by showing the similarity between what happened in the movie, Pleasantville, and what devout fundamentalist Muslims are trying to create in Islamic states like Syria, Pakistan, or Saudi Arabia (and ultimately everywhere in the world).

Click here to read the article.


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