Saturday, July 31, 2010

Time to Stop Villifying Muslims and Islam

The other day the head of the Anti-Defamation League, Abe Foxman, joined Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich in condemning the Islamic center and mosque planned for New York City -- even though the city's mayor, Michael Bloomberg welcomes it.  What saddens me about the ADL response, which includes casting aspersions on the project because of its unknown funders, is that I once worked for the ADL office in Santa Barbara, coordinating its "No Place for Hate" campaign -- an effort that was designed to overcome misrepresentations and bring people together.  But the New York situation isn't the only one at hand.  There is an attempt to block the building of a mosque in Murfreesboro, TN, an effort that has been aided and abetted by politicians who are running for office on an anti-Islam platform.  Remember that the current Lt. Governor, who is running for governor, has suggested that maybe Islam isn't covered by constitutional protections, because its a cult and not a religion.

Then, beyond politics, there is a whole host of Christian groups and churches that have chosen to attack Islam.  Yes, Islam has its share of terrorists and it was an extremist Islamic group that perpetrated 9-11.  But, one shouldn't tar and feather an entire religion, one that is adhered to by more than 1 billion people, for the acts of a minority of its adherents.

So, consider the preacher who has proclaimed that he is going to hold a special service where he'll burn the Koran.  Now, how is that an example of Christian love?  Then there are the so called Christian "specialists" on Islam, who have been shown not to understand this religion, and to have even falsified the nature of their understanding.

Robert Parham has written a very helpful essay for Ethic's Daily that speaks to this problem, sharing two Baptist voices that are trying to counter this problem.  It is time, these leaders say, for Christians to refrain from slander, and engage the issues with honesty. With this, I'm in total agreement. 

It is time for those Christians (and others), whether they are politicians, preachers, or whatnot, who have cast inappropriate aspersions on Islam and Muslims, to put aside vilification, take a humble stance toward the other, and begin conversations that will lead to understanding and hopefully bring peace. 

41 comments:

Gary said...

I'm against lying about anyone. But I am very much in favor of telling the truth about everyone. The truth is that wherever Islam gains power, Christians, and other religions are persecuted. Islam will tolerate no rivals. And they make no secret of their ambition to conquer the world for allah.

If America allows Islamists to proceed with their plans unopposed, as advocated by Cornwall and virtually all other liberals, someday it will be illegal to be anything other than Muslim in the USA.

Muslims don't care at all about the US Constitution, and will eliminate it as soon as they are able to do so.

As long as people see Muslims through the rose-colored glasses worn by Cornwall and other liberals, Muslims will continue their quest for world domination.

Dan Bayer said...

A good word Bob - I know a number of Muslims (some of whom do not particularly get along with each other) but all of whom are strongly opposed to radical Islam and their terrorist activities -

Unfortunately it is the radical Islamists (like radical extremist Christians) who capture the spotlight and use the spotlight as a platform from which to vilify the whole of the other religion -

Perhaps what we should do is to round up all extremists from all religions and drop them all off together on some deserted island in the middle of as ocean and leave them there to do their thing and then the rest of us could live together in peace -

Gary said...

Dan Bayer,

You are part of the problem. You are naive.

David Mc said...

Gary,

Perhaps you are part of the problem, along with Westboro and their ally Dove World (hate) Outreach. I'm sure you're not convincing anyone here that hate is the answer. More likely you're convincing non-Christians we are not of God. We want to look through the eyes of Jesus. They are wide open to the truth. You are not.

Gary said...

David Mc,

What is Jesus' answer to the Muslim goal of world conquest?

Should Christians have fought in WWII? Or should they have submitted themselves to Hitler? And advocated that others do the same?

David Mc said...

Go ahead with your self-fulfilling prophesy. I expect you to play chicken little when Koran sales spike next month.

Where was Sweden in WW2?

David Mc said...

This is pretty poor timing while we have a surge and hope Afghanistan citizens join our effort. 63 US dead last month. How many have to die for your hate? They to date have far more dead and injured innocents.

John said...

As for Aisha's age, there seems to be substantial evidence that she was likely older than Mary when she consummated her marriage with Mohammed. http://www.ilaam.net/Articles/AyeshasAge.HTML

As for killing all Muslims because some are murderers, the logic is absurd, leading to the conclusion that all Christians should be killed for the atrocities committed in the name of Christ, all Europeans should be killed for the atrocities committed against the rest of the world, all Americans should be killed because of the atrocities committed by Americans, all Africans should be killed for the atrocities committed by them, etc, etc.

You cannot rationally or morally condone punishing a person for someone else's crime, or punish a whole class of people for the crimes of a few of their members.

Unless you belong to the Klan and hate is the only guide to your conscience - then any pretext is good enough to kill or oppress anyone who is different or who disagrees with you.

John

David Mc said...

Can the note "From Sweden" have its 3 instances of profanity changed to their non-vulgar versions? What would that be, "make love to" or "fornicate with"? George Carlin would respond to a declaration of "$%#@- you" with a "thank-you".

David Mc said...

"What is Jesus' answer to the Muslim goal of world conquest?"

What a silly question. Do you consider Muslims to be your enemy? Who is this one God they pray to? You're walking on sacred ground. You don't defend yourself against innocent persons, or use them as shields.

Gary said...

David Mc,

Why is it a silly question?

I usually consider people to be my enemy who tell me that their goal is to conquer the world and force everyone to convert to their religion.

Muslims pray to allah, which is NOT the God of the Bible. allah is a false god.

I have no idea what the remainder of your post means.

David Mc said...

Matthew 5:44

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_in_Islam

According to Islam, God, known in Arabic as Allah, is the all-powerful and all-knowing Creator, Sustainer, Ordainer, and Judge of the universe.[1][2] Islam puts a heavy emphasis on the conceptualization of God as strictly singular (tawhid).[3] God is unique (wahid) and inherently one (ahad), all-merciful and omnipotent.

"No vision can grasp Him, but His grasp is over all vision. God is above all comprehension, yet is acquainted with all things" (Qur'an 6:103)

Islam teaches that God as referenced in the Qur'an is the only god and the same God worshipped by members of other Abrahamic religions such as Christianity and Judaism. (29:46)

According to Francis Edwards Peters, "The Qur'an insists, Muslims believe, and historians affirm that Muhammad and his followers worship the same God as the Jews [see Qur'an 29:46]. The Quran's Allah is the same Creator God who covenanted with Abraham"

I'll throw you a small bone-

Islam vigorously rejects the Christian belief that God is three persons in one substance (see Trinity). In the Islamic conception of God, no intermediaries between God and creation exists and God's presence is believed to be everywhere, and yet he is not incarnated in anything.[17]

Gary said...

David,

I don't care what muslims say, allah is not Jehovah, not the God of the Bible. Anyone who says they are the same does not know what they are talking about.

David Mc said...

I'm now shown this is a waste of time (loss of time) due to the ignorance of your suppositions-

Muhammad's God is the same as Jesus' God. Ludovico Marracci (1734), the confessor of Pope Innocent XI, states:[20]

That both Mohammed and those among his followers who are reckoned orthodox, had and continue to have just and true notions of God and his attributes, appears so plain from the Koran itself and all the Muslim laws, that it would be loss of time to refute those who suppose the God of Mohammed to be different from the true God.

John said...

David,

I agree with you that trying to reason with a racist is a waste of time. They interpret events and Scripture throughout a hate-filled ideological prism which is incomprehensible to me. Their minds as well as their hearts are sealed off from the Christian commands to love one another, including our neighbors, and even our enemies. The lesson of the Cross (sacrificial love and unconditional forgiveness, even unto death)q is just as incomprehensible to them.

We all have our limits.

John

David Mc said...

He got me reading a bit though. Muslims traditionally have 99 names for God, and this one caught my eye-

13 المصور Al-Musawwir
The Evolver, The Fashioner of Forms 59:24

Thought it was interesting.

Gary said...

Islam denies the Trinity, which is clearly taught in the Bible. Islam denies that Jesus is God, another Biblical doctrine. It is impossible to rationally conclude that the god of Islam is the God of the Old and New Testaments.

Gary said...

John,

Why do you call me a racist? And doesn't making that judgment violate what you think Jesus taught?

John said...

Courtesy compels me to respond. Not a judgment at all. You shamelessly exposed yourself.

"Eventually, white people will take matters into their own hands. Illegals will start having their houses burned, and some will be killed. Which is what happens when the government refuses to obey the law."

Interesting that this would be your rant in a conversation about illegal aliens. Sounds like someone is threatening a good old time lynching! In your paranoia you can help but reduce such a complex set of issues down to struggle between white people and everyone else.

But if I analyze your arguments on most issues upon which we disagree, I can see that your position comes down to the same basic premise, for you its all about the struggle between God's chosen race of ultra-conservative white Christians, against blacks, Mexicans, Arabs, Muslims, Catholics, Jews, liberals, homosexuals, etc. The fact that you seek to buttress your hatred of these groups with Scripture does nothing to hide your agenda. In fact, your arguments fit quite well with the agenda claimed by the Nazi's and the KKK.

All the while you turn a blind eye to the core of Jesus' teaching about love, forgiveness and neighborliness. And to Jesus most often repeated teaching: "Fear not!"

Like I said engagement with hate is a waste of time.

John

David Mc said...

Actually John, that was Pope Innocent XI's opinion rather than mine. I'm compelled to believe we have "fear of other genes" and that the tendency to hate those different is somewhat natural. Only engagement with an open loving heart can "cure" us of these afflictions. Exactly what Jesus prescribes.

Gary, the human race has been unceasingly slaughtering innocent persons based on the hate of a few. How can we stop this ugly cycle? If you have so much faith, doesn't it give you any courage to trust in the Lord and do His will? Even in the face your perceived danger or death? Do you have children/ grandchildren? Most persons at least keep their hate veiled. Your broadcasting is extreme. I can only guess you're crying out for help on these matters. I assure you, I have faith you'll never win this debate with true followers of Christ.

Sorry if I seem condescending, but this baseless hate is pretty absurd.

Gary said...

Loving your neighbor seems to now mean tolerating whatever anyone wants, with certain exceptions. If you object to Mexicans coming into the US illegally, you're a racist. If you object to the Muslim's goal of world domination, or just acknowledge such a goal exists, you are not only a racist, but a religious bigot as well. If you have a moral objection to homosexuality, you're a homophobe. If you have a moral objection to abortion, you hate women. If you believe Genesis is historical, you're anti-science. The only thing you are allowed to object to, with impunity, is the intolerance of those who oppose the liberal world-view. Somehow, you can do that, and still love your neighbor. And that is where we are now, at least amoung those who think of themselves as "progressive", which I'm pretty sure Cornwall, John, and David Mc would.

Glenn said...

Perhaps some context would be helpful.

1. "If you object to Mexicans coming into the US
illegally, you're a racist. '

No, but if one advocates cutting off all immigration (as you have done in previous posts) or suggest that unless the government passes reforms of your liking that white people will start burning down houses and killing non-whites (as you have done in previous posts) then those views certainly confirm a degree of xenophobia and racism on your part.

2. "If you object to the Muslim's goal of world
domination, or just acknowledge such a goal
exists, you are not only a racist, but a religious
bigot as well."

No, but if you refuse to acknowledge that most, if not the vast majority, of Muslim's do not embrace a vision of world domination and insist that Muslim's do not share the same rights to freedom of religion and expression under the U.S. Constitution that you claim to revere so much, and if you consistently insult and denigrate other Christians who fail to see their faith in the simplistic black and white terms that you do then that confirms a certain degree of religious bigotry on your part.

3 "If you have a moral objection to homosexuality,
you're a homophobe. If you have a moral
objection to abortion, you hate women."

No, but if you insist that homosexuals should have less rights than yourself under your beloved constitution because that would somehow be dangerous to heterosexual marriages and children then that confirms a certain degree of homophobia on your part. Also, having a moral objection to abortion does not mean that you hate women. But trying to control the reproductive rights of women simply because you do not agree with them suggests a certain lack of empathy towards women's issues.

4. "If you believe Genesis is historical, you're anti-
science."

No, but .... Well, O.K. you might be right on this one. If you think the universe, Earth and all life was created in 7 literal days in light of all the scientific data we have available to us today, then yeah I guess I would consider your position anti-scientific. To be fair, I guess I would say that you're not so much anti-science as that you are someone with a very poor understanding of how science and the scientific method works. That's not to say that I don't understand why it is important for you to hold this type of viewpoint regarding Genesis since I am well aware that the relevance of your particular brand of Christianity collapses once Genesis is no longer viewed in a literal manner.

David Mc said...

Trivia questions-

1. How much does the US have to borrow to deploy one US peace-keeping soldier for one year?

2. What method did/does Osama Bin Laden choose to defeat the West?

Gary said...

Glenn,

You began every response with "No", but you should have begun with "Yes" because your responses confirmed my points.

I don't love the Constitution. I use it to my advantage when I can(which is becoming increasingly difficult due to the actions of the government).

If you are correct, and the majority of muslims oppose the stated goal of many muslims to rule the world for allah, then they have a strange way of expressing it: silence.

Freedom of religion to muslims means that they get to conquer the world for Islam. Your gullibility is not an effective deterrent to that goal.

I have not denigrated other Christians on this blog. I have denigrated people who claim to be Christians, but are not. You included, if you make the claim.

Homosexuals already have all of the rights to which they are entitled. But those rights do not include changing the definition of marriage, or forcing others into associations with them.

Despite the conclusions of the Supreme Court, women have no right to murder their unborn babies.

I think I understand the scientific method well enough. I understand it well enough to know that much of what is called "science" nowadays, particularly on the subject of evolution and the history of the universe, is actually philosophy pretending to be science. I also understand the basic dishonesty of those who claim their philosophy is science in an effort to silence people who disagree.

And yes, without an historic Genesis, Christianity is a falsehood. I find it interesting that people like you, John, Cornwall and David, want to pretend that you take the Bible seriously, when it is so very obvious that you don't. At least it is obvious to me and other Bible-believers. It is even obvious to some who used to pretend they were Christians, but have now realized that they can no longer hold contradictory views and maintain what they view as their integrity. But you and your buddies have yet to face the facts.

David Mc said...

I have denigrated people who claim to be Christians, but are not. You included, if you make the claim.

Own it, and wear it as a badge of honor Gary.

Did we really miss your birthday Gary, or was that a joke?

Anonymous said...

Gary doesn't love the constitution, he only uses it to his advantage when he can. How Un-american!! Perhaps the government should look into revoking his citizenship. Based on his contempt for the constitution, I assume that he would never pledge allegiance to the flag since this would make him a hypocrite. (It would also make him a communist in the eyes of his fellow conservatives.) I also wonder whether Gary has any area of biblical doctrine where he has any uncertainty what-so-ever or if he is completely confident in his ability to unerringly interpret scripture in such a manner that allows him to classify anyone who doesn't hold the exact same theology as he does as "not Christian?"

John said...

Nicely done Glenn.

See what I mean - the dialog really accomplishes nothing, except to continue the process of unmasking the already exposed.

"I don't love the Constitution, I use it to my advantage when I can."

What happened to all that drivel about the Founder's intentions? In truth your diatribe on all issues is all about attempting to accomplish your hateful ideology. Come to think of, it this appears an apt description of your regard for Scripture - use it when it furthers your agenda of hate - ignore the parts that oppose hate.

John

Glenn said...

Gary said, "I have denigrated people who claim to be Christians, but are not. You included, if you make the claim."

My how Christ like. Seriously though, I am rather upset to find out that some hooligan has altered my Bible so that it no longer includes Jesus' commandment to "denigrate those who do not share your viewpoint." Mine mistakenly reads, "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you." I will be writting a very sharply worded letter of complaint to Zondervan immediately.

Gary said...

If you believe Jesus when he said, "love your enemies", then why don't you believe him when he says that "from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female"?

Glenn said...

Well Gary,

Unlike your theology, mine doesn't require me to relinquish my intellect and take everything written in the Bible, literally. By the way, if I take Genesis literally, God didn't really create them male and female "from the beginning." God only came up with Eve after Adam failed to find an adequate helpmate from all the other animals. If Adam would have been satisifed with a Koala bear as his helpmate I have to assume, according to a literal reading of the Bible, God would have left it at that. Since I've answered your question, maybe you could answer mine. Since you believe Jesus when he said, "from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female", then why don't you believe him when he says, "love your enemies?"

David Mc said...

Trivia answers-

1. How much does the US have to borrow to deploy one US peace-keeping soldier for one year?

= $1,200,000 Add that to all the cash that has "disappeared" and given away. Oh, there's over a million Pakistani's now homeless from floods. What a pool for recruiting!

2. What method did/does Osama Bin Laden choose to defeat the West?

= bankrupt them, and create fear, hate and the desire for blind vengeance.

John said...

Glenn,

Your interpretation of the creation story, that God made a mistake by not creating females at the same time as males, sounds vaguely sacreligious. Are you suggesting that the literal meaning of this story is that God intended Adam to mate with animals or with a variety of animals, experimentally? Or that human procreation was not part of the original plan? Or that the failure to create women was an oversight. (That goofy God, Yahweh, he can be so clueless sometimes, and so absent minded other times! What's to be done?!)

Absurdities aside, I cannot understanf why reasonable educated peopel feel wedded to purely literal interpretations of the first 11 chapters of Genesis.

Gary said...

Glenn,

LOL! Adam mating with a Koala bear???? How long did you have to go to seminary to get that stupid?

I believe in loving your enemies because Jesus said to. I have trouble doing it, but I believe in it. One of the differences between us is that I believe EVERTHING Jesus said.

Gary said...

John,

Genesis is written as history, and meant to be understood as history. That is why we take it literally. There are spiritual lessons there as well, but if you dismiss the historicity, you miss the spiritual lessons as well as the historical. In your case, you have missed it all.

Glenn said...

But, Jesus. It's me, Gary! How can you say you didn't know me??? I believed everything you said! I just didn't put it into practice.

John said...

But Gary would say he got the important ones right, like how many days it took God to create the universe. Those nambi pambi commands like love of enemies, and forgiveness, and compassion, and neighborliness, well those are for other Christians, ones with less backbone and less moral fiber.

John

Gary said...

Glenn and John,

What evidence is there that you love your enemies? Got any proof? How do you know you are really loving your enemies?

What evidence is there that you love your neighbor?

What evidence is there that you are right with God?

Was Jesus loving his enemies when he drove the money changers out of the temple?

Was Jesus loving his neighbors when he told them that they were in danger of going to hell?

David Mc said...

I doubt you'll get an answer Gary-

Matthew 23:5 "But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments. etc, etc

I could be a witness for John if needed someday (don't know Glenn as well). I'd give Gary the benefit of the doubt and stay silent either way. I think this is St Peter's job though?

Anonymous said...

The Saudis in the program "were so excited because, for the first time in their lives, they had dialogue with Christians and Jews," ... "They all said that this [experience] should be expanded."

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2010/0803/In-Saudi-Arabia-a-landmark-welcome-of-a-Christian-scholar

John said...

David,

You are too kind. Thnk you.

Now I will have to try harder with Gary.

John

John said...

Gary,

I assume you wanted answers to your questions:

I know I love my enemies because I care about them and do not wish them ill - I just wish them stopped from doing the evil that they do. I flinch and react in genuine horror at the evil which they suffer and pray that they receive forgiveness and mercy from those who would seek retribution against them.

I know I love my neighbors because I wish my neighbors well, I hope they are and continue to be happy and ever closer to God, and I do not covet their blessings, I only hope some of it shines on me and mine - and I hope my good blessings are a blessing to those around me. When my neighbor is treated unjustly I am on his side, seeking vindication.

I don't know what it means to be right with God. I do know that Jesus died to secure my relationship with God. Is that enough? I do know that I spend a great deal of time with God, seeking to know what God wills for me. Beyond that I trust that God will do for me what God determines is best for me. And I hope that when people see me they see God at work in my life. That is the best that I can do.

Jesus always loved his enemies. Driving the money changers from the Temple was a symbolic act, it had nothing to do with love for one's enemies. I think it was about teaching believers to focus on their relationship with God and to avoid allowing mundane fears such as money and power to distract from what is important. I also think it might have been about driving out those who try to control access to God - especially by perverting doctrines (such as ritual purity laws) in order to control and exploit others who only wish to commune with their God.

Jesus was always loving his neighbors, even when he warned them not to judge others, not to insult others, and not to be angry with others; even when he warned them that their bad actions carried bad consequences.

John