Disregard for truth leaves us weak and vulnerable
I have a simple solution to the problem of Islamic terrorists…actually of any kind of terrorist. Simple, but not easy. Yet it is a lasting solution, and considering what’s at stake, well worth the effort.
The proposals and suggestions on my Facebook news feed run the gamut from love them as Jesus does to send every last one of ‘em back to Syria. But though I’m sure others are making the case, I haven’t seen anything about seriously addressing the motivation behind the murderers’ madness…the ideology that drives the idiocy of believing your god will reward you for killing the innocent.
Truth never mattered more than it does now. Ideas and ideologies have consequences, as we saw once again last Friday, this time in Paris. Men willing to randomly pick off strangers then blow themselves to smithereens don’t do it just for the heck of it. I know you know that. We all know that. Doesn’t it make sense then to deal with the root of the problem instead of just endlessly lopping off branches? To expose, confront, and counteract the seeds of falsehood from which all this murder and oppression sprout?
If Islam is true in what it teaches, then these men were doing the will of God.
kill the idolaters wherever you find them. Arrest them, besiege them, and lie in ambush everywhere for them. – Surah 9.5
The idolaters/polytheists/infidels are you (most likely) and I – all non-Muslims. Those who want to defend Islam cite other passages in the Quran that project a more peaceful, inclusive image. But what they don’t understand is one of the evidences against the truth of this religion and worldview. The Quran is internally inconsistent. Early on in Mohammed’s career as a religious leader he exhibited and taught a magnanimity towards unbelievers because he expected them to be convinced of the revelation that had overtaken him. When they instead ran him off on a rail he changed his tune.
Though Islam teaches that the Quran is a direct revelation from God dictated to his servant Mohammed, it’s painfully obvious that it is a very humanly authored book. A god who contradicts himself or progressively comes to know truth cannot be the source of truth.
But the problem is, too many of us don’t seem to really care about what is true, or have bought into a false definition of truth, so that what is true for you can be untrue for me. That’s just nonsense. But it’s this of lack of sense and disregard for truth that leave us vulnerable to lies and dangerous ideologies.
So my solution to eradicating terrorism is to seek, value, uphold, treasure and propagate TRUTH. Let’s not be so flaccid in our bending over backwards to avoid offending anyone that we collapse like a spineless rag doll, and in our weakness get tossed and chewed up by our baser instincts untamed by truth. Our commitment to and codifying of freedom of religion in the United States was never meant to devalue the importance of religious belief or support a pluralism that says all religions are equally valid.
Instead, unlike Islam, and rooted in the Christian worldview, it’s born of the true proposition that God loves and values each individual and will not force himself on any of us. So neither can we force anyone to believe in him, nor should we try. We should, however, do our best to lovingly persuade others of the truth that has convinced us, for their eternal good as well as the good of our society. And the safety of our nation.
A disregard for truth in a pluralistic culture leaves us weak and vulnerable to those who think they have the truth and that it gives them the right to subjugate or kill those who disagree.
Are these commands in the Qur’an really any different from some of what is in the Bible?
For example, if your son, daughter, wife, or friend tries to convert you to any other religion, you should not listen to him, feel sorry for him, feel compassion for him, or protect him. You must kill him. (Deuteronomy 13:6-11)
If a man tries to convert anyone in his town to any other religion, you must slaughter the entire city–man and animal. Then you must burn the entire city to the ground. (Deuteronomy 13:12-16)
If anyone in your town converts to any other religion, you must lead him to the city gates and kill him. (Deuteronomy 17:2-5)
I realize that there are numerous explanations that Christians give as to why these verses are in the Bible, what they may really mean, and in what limited manners they might have been applicable. However, Muslims generally use the exact same justifications to get around ayah such as the one you cited: it was superseded by another revelation/covenant–it was relevant only in that specific culture–it was only because they had to protect themselves from the corrupting influence of pagan cultures.
They are very different, Jon, and there are important distinctions to be made. The God of the Bible never commanded his people to kill unbelievers “wherever [they] find them.” In Deuteronomy 13 his concern is that his people not be led away to worship other gods, a prospect so threatening to their good and his plan that he decreed they were to take the drastic measure of killing those among them who were attempting to entice them away, a grave sin for which those individuals were punished. And then, “all Israel shall hear and fear and never again do any such wickedness.”
All the people in the city had turned away from the true God to worship false ones. God’s relationship with and activity concerning the Israelites at that time was so important to his plan of redemption for all of mankind that he deemed such fear-inducing punishments were necessary.
Whether or not Muslims use the same justifications does not affect my argument. What counts is how believable is the asserted justification. It can be shown that Mohammed’s attitude towards unbelievers, and subsequently his “revelations”, changed after he was rejected, so much so that he resorted to violent conquest. So the “no compulsion in religion” teaching was superseded by the “kill the idolaters wherever you find them” one, traceable not to any extenuating circumstances but merely to his failure to peacefully advance his religion.
What’s more, one must look to the evidence for the reliability and historical credibility of each of the “holy” books. The Bible is well-attested by other sources and the archeological evidence, whereas the Quran maintains that what the authors of the New Testament wrote, in the first century, by eyewitnesses or their associates, in the city and surrounding area where the events occurred, was false and that 600 years later Mohammed knows what really happened. It also claims that Jesus was never crucified, a fact virtually undisputed among historians and biblical scholars.
In addition, comparing the lives and teachings of Mohammed and Jesus makes clear that there is quite a disparity between Islam and Christianity.