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kaaba332I know just enough about Islam to embarrass myself at Ramadan parties. Half of what I learn confirms Islam’s common ground (good and bad) with Judaism and that other one.

That common ground is especially fun when evangelical grandma takes the Belief-o-Matic Quiz and learns she’s 70 percent Muslim.

Then there are the differences, and they can go pretty deep. While cruising a webpage titled Effective Islamic Parenting, I came across this intriguing difference in a list of “General Laws of Development”:

An infant child comes into the world perfectly good and only becomes other than perfectly good while growing into adulthood due to the influences upon him/her during their years of development.

Compare to a passage I’ve quoted before from evangelical radio minister John MacArthur in his book Successful Christian Parenting:

The truth is that our children are already marred by sin from the moment they are conceived. The drive to sin is embedded in their very natures. All that is required for the tragic harvest is that children be allowed to give unrestrained expression to those evil desires.

In other words, children do not go bad because of something their parents do. They are born sinful, and that sinfulness manifests itself because of what their parents do not do.…There’s only one remedy for the child’s inborn depravity: The new birth — [to be ‘born again’].

Anyone out there with enough knowledge of Islam to confirm that it does not include a doctrine of inherent human sinfulness? If so, it’s a pretty fundamental difference, and one I did not know.

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Dale McGowan is the author of Parenting Beyond Belief, Raising Freethinkers, and Atheism for Dummies. He holds a BA in evolutionary anthropology and a PhD in music.