Five Stages of Resistance to the Truth About Islam


Think back to when it first really sank in that 1.6 billion people claim to be a member of a belief system that glorifies violence, that seethes with intolerance, and that claims to be a religion but the founder tortured and assassinated and beheaded people. Maybe it sunk in all at once in a big epiphany. Or maybe it sunk in slowly over several months. 

I don't know about you, but my life is divided at that point (when the disturbing truth finally sunk in). Before that moment, I lived in an Age of Innocence. But my innocence was gone forever. It was a big loss and I fought it. It started with a few quotes here and there that indicated that the fundamental nature of Islamic doctrine was intolerant and violent and that the "terrorists" were not taking anything out of context.

At some point, I read Sword of the Prophet by Serge Trifkovic. It was an honest expose of Islamic doctrine and Islamic history. But still I didn't want to believe it. If this was true, I had to stop doing what I was planning on doing with my life, and deal with this instead. If it was true, it was too big and too important to ignore. And I didn't want to give up the goals I had my heart set on. If Trifkovic was right, it would change everything.

So I tried to see if he was right. I was hoping he was exaggerating. I checked out a bunch of pro-Islam books at the library, I read "Question and Answer" sections on pro-Islam websites, and I bought a Koran. Oddly enough, the thing that made the most impact on me was the pro-Islam writings. The books from the library were all sunshine and rainbows. Not one mention of Islam's position about Jews. Not one mention of Sharia. Not one mention of warfare. Islam was portrayed as a completely benign religion. But I already had a Koran and could easily find disturbing passages, so instead of reassuring me, it bothered me.

And the Question and Answer sections bothered me even more. Some of them directly answered the kind of questions I had: Is violence inherent in Islam? What does jihad mean? Are terrorists following Islam? Their answers were very weak. Depressingly weak. Sometimes they even quoted the Koran but it made me think, "Out of that whole book, this is the BEST you could come up with?"

It took a few months for me, but the more I looked into it, the more convinced I became that Trifkovic was correct. My life would never be the same.

The reason I'm talking about this is because one of the most important things ordinary (non-military, non-governmental) citizens can do to protect the free world from Islamization is to talk to our fellow non-Muslims about Islam. But when you do this, sometimes you will come up against intense resistance — far more intense than seems reasonable.

When I was reading about the five stages of grief, it occurred to me that there is a strong parallel, and I don't think it's a coincidence. It is a kind of grief. When you finally accept the reality of Islam, you lose something important. It will overturn your world and set you on a new course. Before that happens, you have an intuitive resistance. You don't want to lose your innocence. You don't want to lose your pleasant illusion. So you fight against the acceptance with unusual intensity, like the people did in Elie Wiesel's village. They didn't want it to be true (that Nazis were exterminating Jews), so they didn't listen. It would mean upending their whole life.

Resistance and denial are only the first stage. These are the classic five stages of grief:

1. Denial and Isolation

As the article I've linked to above says, at first people try to "deny the reality of the situation." That's what we're running into when we first talk to people about Islam. I think that's why the resistance is more intense than seems reasonable. As the PsychCentral article says, this denial response is "a normal reaction to rationalize overwhelming emotions. It is a defense mechanism that buffers the immediate shock. We block out the words and hide from the facts. This is a temporary response that carries us through the first wave of pain."

2. Anger

This is the next stage of the process. The denial fades and the reality starts showing its ugly head. The world has serious issue here: The problem of Islam. The emotion of anger is an attempt to fight against this painful realization. The person you are trying to educate may direct their anger at you, or at the government, or at the facts, but anger is what they feel.

3. Bargaining

Maybe if we were nice enough to Muslims this problem would go away. Maybe if we pulled all our troops out of the Muslim world, maybe if we gave them enough small concessions like welfare, polygamy, separate swimming pool times, or whatever, we could all just get along and we could go back to our regular lives and forget about this whole thing. Maybe hatred itself is the problem and we could just love our way out of it.

4. Depression

At this stage, the emotions become more appropriate to the real situation. It is depressing to realize that Muhammad created an ideology that infects the mind and that contains instructions for its own spread using any means necessary and that it has already taken over a large portion of the earth. If that isn't depressing, I don't know what is.

5. Acceptance

Finally it really sinks in all the way. And life needs to be re-organized to take this new reality into account. When someone finally arrives at acceptance, what begins to arise is the question, "What should I do now?" Is there anything that can be done about it? When you see someone reach this stage, let them know what can be done.

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross discovered that people who get a terminal diagnosis or lose a loved one almost always go through these five stages. And I think people who learn that an ideology with 1.6 billion adherents calls for the violent subjugation of the entire human population to a system of law most non-Muslims would call horrendous also go through these stages. That's a big piece of bad news to accept.

Think about this the next time you get resistance in your conversations. Take it slow. Think in terms of small bits and long campaigns. Use the tools available to help people get through these stages and make it to acceptance. And have some compassion for people who haven't gone as far as you have through these stages. It's a tough road for all of us.

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.


בב 2:35 PM  

Excellent article, thank you.
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Anonymous 2:06 AM  

How very true. I don't know if I had denial so much as an intense, overwhelming shock. And embarrassment at your prior naivete. My life would never be the same. And certainly anger and depression. But that came as stage 2. Because once you learn and accept you assume few know. If I write to the media and politicians we can fix this. Just need to let them know. And then comes the realisation they already do..

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