Religion of Peace?

[On 02/26/06 I changed the title of this entry.  I did so not because I feared personal retribution from radical Muslims but because I feared for Christians in less safe parts of the world, like Nigeria. –  Funky]

"Cast of ‘Will and Grace’, in fear for their lives, go into hiding after lampooning Christians.

"Oh. Sorry. I meant ‘Danish cartoonists, in fear for their lives, go into hiding after lampooning Muslims’"

Ah, Mark Shea has such a way with words.

I’m getting real sick of all the news surrounding Mohammed-gate. I really have nothing substantial to add to millions of opinions on the net, so I’ll keep this short. These "foaming Bronze Age fanatics" (Mark’s phrase) who are throwing a temper tantrum over some bloody cartoons, combined with the great number of Islamic terrorists, are really changing my view of Islam. I’ve been trying very hard to accept Islam as a religion of peace and give people the benefit of the doubt when they say that the nutjobs are the exception and are perverting the religion. However, the more often I see stuff like this, the harder that is for me to believe. I’m starting to susepct that Islam has always been a fanatically violent religion and that the peaceful sects we see today are splinter groups. IOW, they’re the fluke, not the psychos. I hope someone can prove I’m wrong.

Addendum: The Catholic League‘s response to all the hubbub is worth quoting in its entirety.

"The decision of most mainstream media outlets not to reprint or show the controversial cartoons is the right one: the Catholic League sides with the U.S., Britain and the Vatican in denouncing the inflammatory cartoons. Regrettably, the decision by the media not to offend Muslims is motivated by fear, not ethics. Worse than this by far is the violent reaction, and calls for violence, that have sprung up all over the Muslim world. This is pure barbarism."

"Whenever the Catholic League criticizes a work of art, cartoon, movie or TV show, we are told that (a) we’re the intolerant ones (b) what is offensive is in the eye of the beholder (c) art is supposed to make people uncomfortable (d) no one can criticize anything until they have seen it (e) protests have a ‘chilling effect’ on free speech (f) it’s not real anyway, and (g) get over it. So why have Muslims been spared this lecture? Because the extremists in their ranks—and they are not a tiny minority—have shown they may respond with beheadings."

"Why, according to the Washington Post, did European newspapers reprint the cartoons? It was ‘not their love of freedom but their insensitivity—or hostility—to the growing diversity of their own societies.’ The Los Angeles Times says it won’t reprint ‘these insensitive images.’ The Miami Herald boasts that it ‘must take great care not to offend.’ The New York Times says it is wrong to publish ‘gratuitous assaults on religious symbols.’ The San Francisco Chronicle says ‘insulting or hurting certain groups’ is wrong. Both CBS and NBC say it isn’t necessary to show the cartoons in order to report on them. CNN even went so far as to say that it ‘has chosen not to show the cartoons out of respect for Islam.’ Now if Catholicism were treated with such sensitivity and respect, we would have to shut down the Catholic League."

"Ethics, not fear, should guide the media. As for Muslims offended by the cartoons, they should learn what a civilized response entails."

Addnedum 02/11/06: Greg, at the Discerning Dilemma offers some interesting thoughts.

"First off, Islam does not mean ‘peace.’ It means ‘submission’, and the peace that comes from that submission. Islam itself, not necessarily its adherence, plain and simply is not a religion of peace. Mohammed was a warmongering lunatic. In the centuries after Jesus Christ died, Christians hid in the catacombs for fear of their lives, yet being willing to give up their lives (if things happened that way) as witnesses to Jesus Christ (in fact ‘martyr’ actually means ‘witness’). In the centuries after Mohammed died, his followers A) had to keep the masses from reverting to their old ways under threat of death, and B) went on a campaign of blood across North Africa and into Spain."

"Now how about today’s Moslems? The majority of them are not like that, and love peace and freedom. The majority of Moslems are peaceful folks. In other words, they are polar opposites of Mohammed. They are dissidents and good for them, too. When a Catholic dissents, they contribute to a decaying society and a culture of death. When a Moslem dissents, they lead a life of serenity and maybe even freedom."

Comments 17

  1. Sean wrote:

    I have to agree with you. My estimate of the number of so-called “religion of peace” muslims has fallen drastically. And psycho is the exact word I’ve been using on my blogposts about this subject. Although, I like the “Mohammed Can Bite Me” meme. Maybe we should try and make that a badge that people can display on their blogs like the Danish flag that many are sporting today. I think a good “Mohammed Can Bite Me” blog button image would become quite popular. :)

    Posted 09 Feb 2006 at 6:55 pm
  2. Funky Dung wrote:

    It’s certainly tempting. 😉

    Posted 09 Feb 2006 at 7:07 pm
  3. Steve Nicoloso wrote:

    You guys are braver than I am. I won’t be a martyr for free speech.

    Posted 09 Feb 2006 at 7:51 pm
  4. Sean wrote:

    Wow! What a great press release from the Catholic League. I like them, but they usually sound pretty bombastic and over the top to me at times. That’s usually because I’m listening to their head honcho actually talk as opposed to reading their stuff. I like him, but he has bombastic in-your-face style that’s not at all like this press release. Kudos to them and him!

    Now I have to rethink things. When my postings are more confrontational and bombastic than the Catholic League’s then there is some re-examination in order. 😉

    Posted 09 Feb 2006 at 10:21 pm
  5. Tom Smith wrote:

    I too have been recently thinking about the claims of Muslims that theirs is a religion of peace. It seems to me that the best way to evaluate this claim is to look at the history of Islamic civilizations. Although the amount of violent conflict in the history of Islam is high, the number of conflicts which were begun as a matter of religion seem to be small, leading to the conclusion that Islam isn’t essentially a violent religion. Then again, it’s possible that current Islam bears no resemblance to historical Islam.

    Posted 09 Feb 2006 at 11:21 pm
  6. Jerry Nora wrote:

    I’m with Tom and Fr. Tucker at Dappled Things in taking a more qualified look at the religion. Christianity has sometimes seen widespread cultural distortions of its core tenant by believers. I like people to take their time before judging my faith, and prefer to extend the same courtesy to others.

    I must say that many folks aren’t making that easy now…

    Posted 10 Feb 2006 at 1:23 am
  7. Peter wrote:

    Until now, I think a lot of people in the West were willing to give Muslims the benefit of the doubt on this whole “religion of peace” thing. But with all the riots and violence, Islam has lost a lot of currency in the Western world.

    Furthermore, I think the absolute best thing we could do right now would be to pull all of our military out of Muslim lands and then just ratchet up the criticism and cartoons. Islam needs that junior high school experience of suddenly realize that the world is full of people who think it’s stupid, and it will have to figure out a way to deal with that. Christians figured it out, for the most part, and are able to leave peacefully with neighbors who think their religion is silly. It’s time for Muslims to learn the same thing.

    Posted 10 Feb 2006 at 7:08 pm
  8. Jim McCarville wrote:

    There are 1.4 billion folowers of Islam in the world, mostly in Asia and many in the US. Certainly a lot of them, say 1 or 2% have been demonstrating against the cartoons. I find it amazing that we who have been trying for so long to separate the radical and moderate ideologies are now ready to insult 100% of them at this time.

    Most people argue that since the press can get away with the characterization of Christianity in denigrating ways, therefore, the rest of the world needs to get with the program. While no one wants to take out the “freedom of the press” clause, that doesn’t excuse the right of anyone to be crass and stupid about anyone’s else’s religion, even Christianity.

    One more note, most people define the argument about the “denigrating” aspect of the display of the cartoons. We need to understand that the followers of Islam object to any characterization of the prophet. It has roots in Moses law not to make graven images because images tend to detract from the message and focus on the messenger.

    Only a couple of days ago you wrote that you never intentionally want to offend anyone with your blog, then please think twice about the message you want to send.

    Posted 12 Feb 2006 at 11:31 pm
  9. Funky Dung wrote:

    “Only a couple of days ago you wrote that you never intentionally want to offend anyone with your blog, then please think twice about the message you want to send.”

    Fair ‘nuf. There’s always room for improvement, and constructive criticism is always welcome. :)

    Posted 13 Feb 2006 at 2:29 am
  10. Funky Dung wrote:

    “Certainly a lot of them, say 1 or 2% have been demonstrating against the cartoons.”

    Speaking more broadly of Islamic violence, it’d be interesting to know whether the majority is performed by a tiny minority. To wit, is Islam a religion guided by an inherently violent book, the Q’uran, or does the Q’uran preach peace, making the violent sects aberrations or even heresies?

    Posted 13 Feb 2006 at 2:37 am
  11. Funky Dung wrote:

    BTW, I fully meant to offend those who’d be offended to the point of acting out violently. Perhaps it’s not the most Christian thing to do, but let there be no doubt about what I intended. On the other hand, in acting out on my frustration with those schmucks, I neglected to factor in peace-loving Muslims who might take offense.

    A rule, I leave my mistakes up for public view. I’m hoping that anyone who stumbles on them will read the comments and subsequent posts and see the process of sanctification at work. As I struggle with my faith and strive to nurture it, I pray that my life will more closely reflect Christ’s influence in it. That’s not an overnight deal. Perhaps someday someone will be positively influenced by reading about my mistakes, failures, struggles, and, hopefully, eventual triumph.

    Posted 13 Feb 2006 at 2:54 am
  12. Jim McCarville wrote:

    i don’t actually understand the first sentence, but am intrigued by the second.

    One can ask exactly the same question about the bible and not get any clearer an answer. While I can find many examples that encourage war (I came with a sword…the plagues, the wars etc.) I would welcome someone pointing out a passage in the bible that actually condems war.

    Posted 18 Feb 2006 at 3:48 am
  13. Jim McCarville wrote:

    Admirable policy as you publish mistakes. I would hope to be so open.

    Regarding your question about whether the Q’uran is a violent book or a book of peace. I tried to ask the same question about the bible in my earlier post. I don’t think there is a simple answer.

    Posted 18 Feb 2006 at 3:57 am
  14. Funky Dung wrote:

    “i don’t actually understand the first sentence, but am intrigued by the second.”

    What I meant was that I wondered if the majority of the violence was being perpetrated by a small minority of Muslims.

    Posted 18 Feb 2006 at 4:03 pm
  15. Jim McCarville wrote:

    Think of any mass demonstration that you want in the US. What percent of the population do you think actually participate?

    Even in the days of the Vietnam war protests where the numbers were very large, it was still a very small part of the population that would show up – either pro or con. Organizers would make great efforts to get large numbers of people to show up, but TV would focus on only on the most outrageous. I suspect it is the same here.

    So, if you divide out the number that don’t participate, and then divide out those engaged in the most egregious behavior, you are probably down to 1 or2/10ths of 1 percent.

    But even if it were 50%, why do I think it is so dangerous to to retaliate with rhetoric?

    For the first time since the start of the Iraq war, ordinary people are beginning to classify the entire religion as irredemable? Whether it is intentional or not, that is a necessary precursor to justify the use of weapons of mass destruction.

    Posted 18 Feb 2006 at 10:20 pm
  16. Jim McCarville wrote:

    “A rule, I leave my mistakes up for public view. Im hoping that anyone who stumbles on them will read the comments and subsequent posts and see the process of sanctification at work.”

    Leaving up your mistake in this case, if you really believe it is a mistake, may not cost anything to you, but may cost a Christian in Syria or Nigeria with their life. Unless you take it down or make some other admission, this policy sounds akin to robbing the bank and spending them money so someone will point out to you that it is wrong to rob a bank?

    Posted 26 Feb 2006 at 8:35 pm
  17. Funky Dung wrote:

    I don’t get the bank robbery bit, but the point about Syria and Nigeria is one I hadn’t considered.

    Posted 26 Feb 2006 at 10:27 pm

Trackbacks & Pingbacks 1

  1. From Ales Rarus - A Rare Bird, A Strange Duck, One Funky Blog » “Jesus, the Koran, and the Gospel” on 24 Mar 2006 at 12:37 pm

    […] Islam’s in the spotlight more than ever these days. If you’re in the Pittsburgh area and you’d like to hear about Islam’s relationship with Christianity, you’ll want to come see Fr. Mitch Pacwa tomorrow. […]

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