May 18, 2005
The New York Sun
has asked a question that I think we should all be asking ourselves in light of Newsweek's article about Qur'an desecrations
Do Muslims really revere the Koran so much more than Christians and Jews do the Bible? It would seem so. They certainly act as if they do. Think of the Salman Rushdie affair. For years this Muslim-born novelist was threatened with death all over the Muslim world for parodying certain episodes in the Koran. A Christian or Jewish novelist who did the same with the Bible would get yawned at.
Indeed, that Muslims do take their religion more seriously is, sociologically speaking, the case. The percentage of observant Muslims in any Islamic country is considerably higher than that of observant Christians in the West or observant Jews in Israel.
The problem is that we don't think people will get that upset about attacks on their religion. After all, people in the US routinely attack religious beliefs as old fashioned, silly, superstitious, etc. And the people they are attacking -- Christians, Jews, Mormans, Hindus, etc. -- sit by and take it. Muslims aren't going to take it.
I think that's one reason Newsweek was so slow to retract the story -- they couldn't believe that people got that upset. "It's just a book," they think.
The reactions of Muslims across the world should also be an indictment of Christians here in the US. When someone desecrates a Qur'an, there are riots. When someone desecrates a cross, they get government money. Bible mistreatment abounds, because people don't have any respect for it.
If Protestants are true to their ideal of sola Scriptura, then we should be incensed when the Bible is mistreated or abused. We believe that it is the very Word of God -- as the Muslims believe the Qur'an is. They take the Word of God seriously -- Christians in the US treat it as something that is disposable. Something taken for granted. Certainly not something we build our lives and faith around.
And that is the problem with the state of Christianity. We've developed beyond our reliance on the Word of God. We've lost our first love. And it shows in our inaction -- in everything from global poverty to our lack of evangelical efforts at home and abroad. Church membership is considered a right that should never be witheld or revoked (I may have more on the subject of church discipline later on this week -- Al Mohler is covering it in detail). There is no cost. There is no obligation. There is no duty. And we have people sitting in church pews who know nothing about their faith, and do nothing in it's cause.
Posted by: Warren Kelly at
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I hear your frustration and to an extent, I agree with you. However, when I look at the greatest injustice ever, the crucifixion of Jesus and all the events surrounding it, I am reminded of how Jesus himself reacted. In Matt 26:50, he rebules Peter for his anger and gives a stern warning about living and dying by the sword. In Matt 27:12,13, Jesus remains silent while being accused. What was He trying to teach us here?
When you say the "bible is abused", are you talking about someone's written copy? Can't only believers abuse Scripture through our acts of disobedience? Does not true desecration happens at the hands of the very people for whom the Word of God was written?
I do agree with you about our apathy but Im not sure I agree with you as to what our reaction should be. On the political and social side, yes we should continue to safeguard our constitutional freedoms. On the spiritual side, we need to realize that the Word of God lives in us, Psalm 119:11. We need to pray for those who do not know what we know, who do not have what we have and who will not be where well be someday unless they find the Hope that springs eternal.
Posted by: Terry McCann at May 18, 2005 10:19 AM (3HZMI)
I think the true desecration is when we who claim to be Christians ignore it's precepts and live more according to the dictates of a modern philosophy than Biblical teachings.
I think that the biggest problem I have with Bible desecration is not that we don't riot and protest, but that we aren't even offended. And we are expected to be offended when similar things happen to other faiths (and we should be).
Posted by: Warren at May 18, 2005 03:47 PM (a64K1)
I look at it this way. Regardless of your religious beliefs the words printed in a book are just words printed in ink, no matter if they come from a divine source. An action against the book it's self does nothing to alter the words or their meaning. So even if you totally destroy the book, drag it through mud, urinate on it burn it or flush it, the words and meaning contained in the book live on. I do believe we should be respectful of other peoples beliefs and make an effort to not trample on them, but the actions of a few people in desecrating the Koran does not amount to an endorsement by the US Government against Islam. The widespread desecration of the Bible by the Saudi Government and most of the Followers of Islam is an official endorsement against Christianity. Should I be offended and speak out or protest? No because no matter what they do, the truths contained in the Bible will stand, they can do nothing to alter that.
Posted by: JIm at June 04, 2005 01:25 PM (n+UM/)
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