Thursday, September 9, 2010

I'm still against burning Qur'ans, but wouldn't a "No bombing, decapitating or otherwise disfiguring or killing people" festival be nice

While we rightly criticize the provocation and call for a change of direction on the part of the group in Florida, more people than actually go to that church were killed and wounded by Islamic martyr wannabees in Russia today.

I say this as a "religious" person: we get into trouble when our holy things become more sacred in our eyes than the human being, made in the image of God. In Christian understanding, we are loved so much that the Son of God shared our nature to suffer with us and be sacrificed for us.

But Christians and Muslims are two sides of a coin, at least phenomenologically.

On our side, Western Christians have so trivialized God that we have no inhibitions about mocking or desecrating things that some people see as signs of the divine. I once read an article in which a Christian writer kept invoking "the Protestant hermeneutic of iconoclasm" - big words for "we have fun being jerks around religion." God becomes an excuse for the self-indulgent.

On the other side, Islam renders God so severely mysterious as to banish the divine presence from humanity, mocking and desecrating people - telling them to blow themselves up to score points with the hidden God, cutting off heads on videotape while shouting "God is great!," etc. God becomes an excuse for the sadistic.

I agree with Muslims who are outraged about the Qur'an burning. They are being insulted and provoked in this case. But I am also tired of their whiny global excuses for violence, the unholy cruelty they inflict even upon one another.


Jill said...

My take is that the guy and his congregation/followers have the right, as U.S. citizens, to burn the books. The real question is, "should they?" If they truly are Christians it's certainly not the best witness.

TLF+ said...

Correct - he has the right but, to honor Christ, should not do it.

Muslims, on the other hand, have no right to air piracy, terrorism, willful attacks on non-combatants, kidnapping...

Elder Oyster said...

I'm not sure how I feel about the idea of burning copies of the Qur'an.

I agree it boils down to a question of Christian Liberty; My scruple is does the strategy warrant playing the Liberty Card?

While still being undecided (different than being on the fence), I think the strategy has its merits. It is a gutsy way to raise questions about the "religion of peace," that we needed to be thinking about, oh, yesterday.

For example, if the burning will inspire the murdering of soldiers serving the US overseas, would there be similar reprisals if the shoe was on the other foot?

On the other hand, my American and Christian sensibilities pine for something other than book-burning to make the point.

So, I'm torn.