Nicolai Sennels: How Islam managed to stay medieval for 1,400 years

Cultural psychology: How Islam managed to stay medieval for 1,400 years

Posted by Nicolai Sennels on October 30, 2013

While almost all other cultures changed from primitive and medieval to democratic and egalitarian societies, one culture 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 in time 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.