Monday, November 16, 2009

Islam: A religion of violence?

The Sonlight forums have had a fairly lengthy discussion that arose when someone posted the following thesis statement and invitation for response:
From the Mouths of American Muslims: Praising the Ft. Hood Shooter . . . Here is evidence that true Islam is a religion of violence (by CNN!):

Your comments?
It took several hours to wade through the entire "conversation" and to think about what it all meant, but I finally came to a conclusion:
As you may recall, back in May and June of '07 I brought up Mark Steyn's book, America Alone. I was very concerned about the problem that [the original poster in this thread] has attempted to bring up here. And I will admit that, at the end of that set of conversations, I was still not settled at all in my mind. Indeed, I was still perplexed that, it seemed, so many of my forum-mates . . . were so "relaxed" about violent Islam.

If you go to , you will find the ice almost melted through. But, obviously, not quite.

Today I think it did melt. The conversation here finally did the trick.

I wrote back then,
Mark Steyn notes in America Alone that too few of us in the West are aware of the different sects of Islam--Wahhabi, Deobandi, Sunni, Shiite, Sufi. . . .

Steyn points out that Saudi Arabia, the great exporter of Islam worldwide at this point in history, exports Wahhabi Islam--the most "radical" and violent version.
What I realized today, here, is that we must, indeed, distinguish these various sects . . . Just as those of us who are "way" on the "inside" of Christianity recognize there are huge differences between Pentecostals and Baptists, Roman Catholics and Presbyterians, Episcopalians and Eastern Orthodox, Charismatics and United Methodists, Mennonites and Christian Reconstructionists, Old-Earthers and Young-Earthers, Theistic Evolutionists and Six-24-hour-day Creationists, a-millennialists, pre-millennialists and post-millennialists [and so on and so forth] . . . so we who are on the outside of Islam need to recognize the differences between Wahhabis (who are, indeed, the most "radical" and violent) and Sufis (from south Asia, who tend to be way "laid back") and Sunnis and Shias and all the rest. And, yes, even within each sect, and among the members of each sect, we need to recognize that there are going to be individual differences.

I had not thought of that before.

Just as we, if we are of an Old-Earth persuasion, hate to have someone from the "outside" tell us what we "have to" believe about creation, or if we are of a Brethren/Mennonite or even an historical Baptistic perspective on law and politics don't want someone telling us we "must" follow the teachings of Christian Reconstruction, or if we are paedo-baptists (i.e., people who believe in infant baptism) we take issue with those who tell us we are completely ignoring biblical teaching on the subject [and so on and so forth], so, too, we need to be careful about telling Muslims--or speaking of Muslims--as "having" to believe one way or another . . . "because the Q'uran teaches _______."

YES, some Christians are convinced the Bible teaches six-24-hour-day creation about 6,000 years ago. But others among us believe very differently. So, too: YES, some Christians are convinced the Bible teaches that all of civil society should be conformed to the civil law as outlined in the Old Testament. But others among us believe very differently.

So, too, with Muslims.

I see that, now.

And I thank [certain participants in this thread] for pushing the issue far enough . . . and [and certain] others pushing back hard enough . . . that I now see the analogy and think I can understand where I--and, I believe, our society as a whole--needs to go.

My conclusion: Mark Steyn was correct; he is correct: we need to learn far more about Islam . . . 1) so we understand where different people are likely to be coming from and, then, 2) to delve deeper to understand each individual person's perspectives.


Immediately after the above post, I then added the following:
I saw this cartoon in The Week:

I thought it provides a nice hat-tip to what I was trying to say up-thread. Personally, I think there is reason to do some "profiling"; at the same time, there is reason for discernment and caution.

Hope you can enjoy the cartoon!
Oh. And one last comment.

Somehow, what the Muslim guys in the video at the top of this post say reminds me of footage I've seen from (and of) certain demonstrators who claim to be the mouthpieces of the Christian God. Don't they do the same for you?

For example:

If you are reading this post in Facebook, you should know that the original is on my personal blog.
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