Serious public religious discussion is all but impossible these days. It seems that to hold any serious religious belief is to offend those who don’t hold that particular belief. And the more seriously you take your faith, the more offensive it is. How has American civil society come to this horrible place? Why can’t people have serious but courteous religious discussions where the participants are not hell-bent on spinning every nuance in their own favor? How did we get here? Public education.
We have been educated into this position by our public education system and universities. It is because this phenomenon of intolerance is so widespread that we must look to an equally widespread source. When we follow the money, it leads to public education. Things were not always this way. The change has occurred over the past 40-50 years.
The problem we are experiencing is religious ignorance. We are a religiously ignorant people and that ignorance makes us fearful of philosophical/theological differences. People are afraid of what they don’t understand. How has this ignorance come about? Younger people do not have the experience to know how things used to be. The ignorant don’t understand what they don’t understand. For the most part younger people only know how things are now. They don’t know what they haven’t been taught.
If you were born after about 1965 you will have no personal experience with what I am talking about because your entire life and your experience in public education and college has been inculcated from a perspective that is significantly different than those who were born and educated earlier than that. However, the issue is not a matter of age, but of history and education.
The American revolution of the 1960s has proven to be quite successful in changing the world.1 And at the same time the general or common philosophical, religious and political views and ideas about the world have also changed. But here’s the fly in the ointment: the cultural revolution of the 60s intended to teach peace and mutual toleration, but the actual result has been continuous war, increased crime and violence, the multiplication of drug abuse and identity crises, the dumbing down of the population, and a decided decrease regarding the toleration of other people and any opinions that differ from liberal immorality. It seems that the more our schools and universities teach peace and toleration, diversity and multiculturalism, the less of it there actually is.
On the ninth anniversary of NineEleven, the destruction of the World Trade Center by Islamic terrorists, we have a small Christian church in Florida that is going to hold a public Quaran burning. Why are they doing this? The church pastor, Terry Jones, says that the purpose is to reveal the character of Islam. How will it do this? The burning is intended to make Muslims angry in order to show how they handle anger. Already, we see that protesting Muslims tend to handle anger like immature children who throw a temper tantrum when they don’t get their own way. Except these are adults with guns.
On one level it is a bad idea to intentionally make people mad. But on another level, how people handle anger and frustration does in fact reveal a lot about their character and maturity. On the one hand it seems insane to inflame violent people. But on the other hand, it serves to identify to the watching world exactly which people are insane enough to engage in violence and hatred against those who disagree with or anger them.
The Christian Bible teaches that people are to love their enemies and to fight them with random acts of kindness and service for their own good in order to win them over to the love and teachings of Jesus Christ.2 The Koran, on the other hand, teaches no such thing—quite the opposite, in fact. And that is why Muslims do what they do when they are angered.
“The Koran contains at least 109 verses that call Muslims to war with nonbelievers. Some are quite graphic, with commands to chop off heads and fingers and kill infidels wherever they may be hiding. Muslims who do not join the fight are called ‘hypocrites’ and warned that Allah will send them to Hell if they do not join the slaughter.”3
This kind of violent teaching and behavior must not be permitted in the public arena because it is dangerous. Burning Korans publicly, on the other hand, may be stupid and insensitive, but it is not dangerous in and of itself. In America, we are free to do such public protests as burning our own American flag, or the Bible, or other books as acts of free speech. We understand that those who engage in such public antics are trying to make a political point.
And what point are these Koran burners trying to make? That Islam is an inherently dangerous religion when it is taken seriously. The more seriously Islam is taken, the more dangerous it is for non-Muslims because it does not teach religious toleration. It teaches religious and political domination. We can talk about whether Christianity teaches the same kind of things later, but for now it is important to understand—regardless of what any other religion teaches—that the Koran is itself internally and inherently violent and is opposed to the kind of political freedom we enjoy in America.
The toleration of serious Islam in America may, if Islam is successful in its stated intentions impose Shariah law to the whole world, bring about the end of American religious and political toleration. Shariah law is not tolerant of other religions, but calls for conversion to Islam or the death of other religious adherents who fail to convert. Yes, it allows for both Jews and Christians to coexist with Muslims as a special case. But it mandates that Muslims treat Jews and Christians as Dhimmi, second class citizens subject to special taxes and disparaging treatment, as part of that coexistence.4 The intention is to diminish Judaism and Christianity as much as possible, while tolerating their existence, until the whole world is converted to Islam.
For some unpublicized reason almost every major media outlet and elected politician in the world refuses to acknowledge these simple, plain facts about Islam in contradiction to the overwhelming evidence that Islamic peace is the peace that comes from political and military domination by intimidation, extortion and force. Indeed, intimidation, extortion and force are the instruments of both Islamic evangelism and peace.
Rather than burn the Koran it would be much more beneficial to reveal as objectively as possible exactly what the Koran teaches about things like religious toleration, the treatment of Jews, Christians (Dhimmi), and those perceived as enemies. Don’t burn your Koran, read it for Christ’s sake. And if you need a copy that is actually readable, get a copy of A Simple Koran, which presents it in it’s historical order. Why change the order of the chapters/suras? Because correct interpretation of the Koran dictates that later verses trump earlier ones.