Thursday, September 09, 2010

A Good Alternative This Saturday

Tragically, this Saturday, on the 9th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, a Florida church will be holding a "Burn a Quran Day".

I've blogged previously on why I think this kind of demonstration shows how some Christians have a lot in common with the terrorists they claim to oppose. In fact, I think events like "Burn a Quran Day" means the terrorists win. (The aforementioned post will explain what I mean).

(Interesting sidenote- over at Essence Restored, Will McCorkle writes about how this demonstration shows America's solid commitment to truly free speech. Kudos to Will for finding the silver lining.)

For a moment there was a ray of hope that the burning wouldn't take place. Not because Pastor Terry Jones had seen the light or anything, but because General David Peraeus, Commander of American Forces in Afghanistan, said that such a demonstration could put American troops in danger. For a day or so Jones claimed to be rethinking the burning because of his respect for our troops.

I'm glad Jones is concerned about our soldiers' safety, but it would be nice if he had equal concern for the picture this would paint of Christianity. After all, his church is ironically named "Dove World Outreach Center". The dove is a universal symbol of peace, but burning another religion's holy book is neither peaceful nor an effective outreach for the gospel. So it's already clear where his priorities lie.

During the Labor Day weekend, an idea for a peaceful alternative demonstration occurred to me, but before I could put a blog post or a Facebook group together, someone beat me to it, and frankly, I couldn't be happier that they did.

The pastor of a UCC Church in Gainesville (where God lived for a few years, before Tim Tebow graduated) has proposed a "Read the Quran Day". I'm going to participate, and I hope you will, too.

The best alternative to the kind of ignorance and hatred displayed by Terry Jones and his church is education. Grab a copy of the Quran from your local library or look it up online. If you'd like to go the extra mile, pick up a copy of Islam for Dummies (written by one of my professors from my Butler University days, Malcom Clark).

Take some time to educate yourself and you'll see that Islam is a beautiful religion and we have nothing to fear from Muslims. Sure, there are violent extremists, but we have them in Christianity, too. They're called the KKK. To say nothing of televangelists who joyfully advocate bombing our enemies (not exactly how Jesus said to deal with them).

If you're still against Islam, that's certainly your right, but at least you'll understand what it is you're against. As GI Joe said, "knowing is half the battle".

To see the deep irony of the Quran burning, check out this parody commercial. (Warning- some NSFWish language here)


Shane Raynor said...

You and I agree that the Koran-burning is not a good thing. But where I disagree with you is the "we have our extremists too" argument. We do, to a degree, but not on the same level of Islam. Name one majority Christian country that makes it illegal to convert to Islam. How about a Christian country that executes people for such conversions? Are Muslims denied entry to any cities within Christian countries? Not that I know of. But as a non-Muslim, I can't visit Mecca. Do you really believe for a minute that Christian women as a whole are treated the way women are treated in Muslim societies? It's not the same thing, Matt. While I agree with you that there are peace-loving Muslims, I would not call it a beautiful religion.

Steven Carr said...

'Take some time to educate yourself and you'll see that Islam is a beautiful religion...'

I like the people burning best.

That is the most beautiful part to me.

Chapter 111
The power of Abu Lahab will perish, and he will perish.
Abu Lahab will die and be plunged in flaming Fire. His wife will have on her neck a halter of palm fiber.
His wealth and gains will not exempt him.
He will be plunged in flaming Fire,
And his wife, the wood-carrier,
Will have upon her neck a halter of palm-fibre.

Education is the only way to overcome ignorance.

Many Americans simply have no idea how Muslims go to mosques and recite chapters about people burning in Hell.

But this ignorance can be fixed by simply getting then to read the Koran.

Only education can persuade Americans of the beauty of Islam.

What other religion devotes whole chapters to people burning in Hell?

But Americans are just prejudiced against Islam, and it takes a lot to get them to overcome their prejudices and actually look at the people burning bits of the Koran.

Steven Carr said...

I should point out that Ahu Lahab was an enemy of Islam, so you can understand Muhammad looking forward to seeing his enemies burn in Hell.

Unknown said...

I respect christianity but steven can you tell me the meaning of u know the meaning of Islam? Islam meaning of Peace.peace doesnot means only for Muslims is for whole universe.I admit we Muslim didnt follow the priciple rule of Islam thats why we suffer every corner in the world.

Unknown said...

At least you will get to watch people burn in Hell from the comfort of Heaven.