Stephen Prothero (of whose writing that I have read I have enjoyed) has called for moderate Christians to take a stand against that insane bunch of pseudo-Christians in Florida who plan on burning copies of the Qur’an on 9/11 (see his CNN.com article here). Since I have little means of doing so it seemed most evident that this blog would be a good place to say something. One idea that I find very helpful was proposed by James McGrath on his blog–instead of burning the book let’s take some time to read a bit of it.
I have read bits and pieces of the Qur’an and I have read enough on Islam to be familiar with it (which is more than most people I know). I have learned a few things over the years: First, every religion has their extremist. Osama bin Laden is not the only or even the best representative of Islam. When Pat Robertson speaks, or John Hagee, or the late Jerry Falwell, many of us Christians blushed. Yet when bin Laden “issues a fatwa” against “the great Satan” we automatically take his word as a representative of Islam. We would never, ever, ever let Muslims say the aforementioned extremist speak for all of us so why do we ignore those Muslims who say bin Laden and other extremist do not speak for them?!
Second, the Jewish-Christian Scriptures have a whole bunch of embarrassing passages! I know the apologist amongst us do not think so but no matter how many helpful interpretations of the “genocide” in the Book of Joshua that I read it still makes me a bit uneasy to read the relevant passages. Our Scriptures can be a bit difficult at times but oddly enough we always point toward John 3.16 or some other nice, “loving” passage to say “this is what Christianity is about at the core, don’t judge us by the more difficult passages.” Yet, when a Muslim says the same thing about the Qur’an we denounce them as apologist and say that the book is full of hate and calls to jihad. Sorry, but this is not fair or consistent.
Let us remember that loving our Muslim neighbor does not equate to abandoning our Christian confession. In fact, it is part of it. As others have said so I repeat: I am sure that if Jesus was with us today he would retell the parable about the Good Samaritan. He would make it the “good Muslim” and he would likely preach in on 9/11 at Ground Zero. Christians, let us remember who our first allegiance is toward. It is toward Jesus who let his enemies crucify him while asking for the Father to forgive them. It is not to Mars the god of war, or to the deistic pseudo-god of American religion, but to the God who we know as the Creator and Lover of the world.