Harris begins the book declaring that Christians reject Islam for the same reasons atheists reject Christianity “The truth is, you (the Christian) know exactly what it is like to be an atheist with respect to the belief of Muslims…..Understand that the way you (the Christian) view Islam is precisely the way devout Muslims view Christianity. And it is the way I view all religions.”
Before the argument is addressed there is an observation that needs to be pointed out. It is true that Muslims and Christians disagree. Harris neglects the fact that most religions agree on many principals. I know this is not the thrust of his arguments. However, it is important to mention that while all religions disagree on some aspects we agree with many aspects of life. For the atheist, completely disagrees with all religions on almost all areas. Yet you see, just for example, Judaism, Islam, Zoroastrianism, and African indigenous religions all believe
There is only one God;
God is infinite, eternal, unchangeable, omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient;
God is personal;
God created the world and is not dependent on it;
God is transcendent;
God is imminent;
God is a moral standard.
Where most religions declare a god as the creator of the world, atheism takes a much different creation story. To the atheist the creation story goes something like this
“In the beginning were the particles and the particles became complex living stuff and the stuff imagined god.”
The above is the philosophy of atheism in the most simple format, here is a more complex view of atheism by Peter Van Inwagen in his essay “Quam Dilecta”
“There is no God. There is, in fact, nothing besides the physical cosmos that science investigates. Human beings, since they are a part of this cosmos, are physical things and therefore do not survive death. Human beings are, in fact, animals among other animals and differ from other animal only in being more complex. Like other animals, they are a product of uncaring and unconscious physical processes that did not have them, or anything else, in mind. There is, therefore, nothing external to humanity that is capable of conferring meaning or purpose on human existence, in the end, the only evil is pain and the only good is pleaser. The only purpose of morality and politics is the minimization of pain and the maximization of pleasure. Human beings, however, have an unfortunate tendency to wish to deny these facts and to believe comforting myths according to which they have an eternal purpose. This irrational component in the psyches of most human beings-it is the great good fortune of the species that there are a few strong-minded progressives who can see through the comforting myths-encourages and confidence game called religion. Religions invent complicated and arbitrary moral codes and fantastic future rewards and punishments in order to consolidate their own power. Fortunately, they are gradually but steadily being exposed as frauds by the progress of science (which was invented by strong-minded progressives), and they will gradually disappear through the agency of scientific education and enlightened journalism.”
When a Muslim and a Christian disagree over their religion it is like two baseball coaches arguing over balls and strikes, however when an atheist and a Christian disagree over religion it is like two people arguing over the rules of baseball. A Christians rejection of Islam is not even close to an atheists rejection of Christianity.