I've made a couple of comments here and there, but really tried to stay out of the debate because, honestly, it doesn't really affect me and I don't have the energy to be able to fight battles that aren't mine.
A couple of days ago, however, I received the most hateful, hate-filled, email from someone I thought was above such things. Someone, as a veteran and a pastor, I thought should have known better. The email, obviously one of those chain letters, but with his own diatribe attached, is so vile that I can't repost it here. But the gist of it was that we should cover the site of the "Ground Zero Mosque" in pig blood so the Muslims won't want it. And more so, we should just throw pig blood at anyone who uses a prayer rug or wears "Muslim" head coverings. (I know, that alone is pretty vile, but the language of the email was just disgusting.)
My dear wife, the kind, loving soul that she is, tried to remind our pastor friend that "They will know we are Christians by our love." His response was "you have no idea" and "they want to kill all Christians" and "maybe instead of telling me off maybe you should do your homework", and various other things that sounded like he'd heard them on Fox News.
Well, Mr. Preacher friend, we have done our homework, which obviously you haven't. I have read the Qur'an and I know what it says. Which obviously you haven't. Here's some things I've found, I will share them with you so maybe next time you will know what you are talking about:
Just like the Bible or any other writing for that matter, context is everything. Taking a word or a sentence out of context, you can claim it means anything. But in context is where it's true meaning lies.
So, mr. pastor man, you say the Qur'an says to kill Christians? Where does it say that? Oh, right here, you might say, pulling up a passage such as 5:51 which says:
"You who believe, do not take the Jews and Christians as allies: they are allies only to each other. Anyone who takes them as an ally becomes one of them – Allah does not guide such wrongdoers.”
But when you read the context, you know, the whole story that this verse is just a part of, you see clearly that it's about a camp of Muslims that is under assault by an enemy that is composed of Christians and Jews (not ALL Christians and Jews, just the "local" ones in this scenario, get it?) In fact, it's not even talking about devout Christians in this situation, but some that are obviously acting like idiots. Passage 5:59, part of this story, says:
"People of the Book, do you resent us for any reason other than the fact that we believe in God, in what was sent down to us, and in what was sent before us, while most of you are disobedient?"
Ok, you might say, but what about 3:85 that says:
"He that chooses a religion other than Islam, it will not be accepted of him and in the world to come, he will be one of the lost."Well, yeah, that says if you don't believe in Islam you are going to "hell". How is that different from where Jesus said "I am the way, the truth, and the life..."? Obviously Islam will claim to be the only way, just as Christianity does.
Yeah, you say, but what about 2:191 that says:
"...Slay them where you find them..."Obviously that refers to anyone who is not Muslim! Well, no, mr. pastor man. Again, you haven't done your homework and you're taking it way out of context. The story here is that early Muslims, upon migrating to Medina, were in a battle for their lives. They were fighting just to stay alive. Yes, it says to 'slay them', but guess what? it also says:
2:193 - "...if they cease, let there be no hostility except to those who practice oppression."In other words, 'when they stop trying to kill us, stop killing them'. The story here is "acting in self-defense" in this particular situation.
OK, smart guy who actually reads, you might say, I've got you this time. 9:29 says:
"Fight those who believe not in God nor the Last Day..."Sigh, I say, context context context. The verse before is referring to pagans who are trying to attack the mosque. It's about defending their "temple" against an enemy who wants to destroy it. Again, self-defense in a particular battle.
We can go on and on and on. There is a lot of verses in the Qur'an that talk about killing and fighting and destroying. Taken out of context, you can claim they mean anything. But guess what? The Bible has a lot of verses about killing and fighting and destroying, too.
But you, mr. pastor man who went to Bible college (or at least claimed you did), should know that. If I point out verses from the Old Testament where the Israelites were taking the promised land and were ordered to kill every child and woman and animal when they took a city, you would give me a long list of reasons why God told them they could do that. True Muslims will have the same answers for what is in their writings.
The point here, mr. pastor man, before you go out throwing pig blood on innocent people, maybe you should do your homework and actually know what they believe. Should we characterize all Christians by the actions of the Westboro Baptist church (the ones who picket soldier's funerals with signs that say "God hates f**s")? Do you , mr. pastor man, want your church lumped in with them? No. Then neither should you lump all Muslims in with a small group of terrorists.
Ok. Rant over.
In full disclosure, I am a Christian. I do not agree with the writings of Muhammed. However, though I wish everyone could understand and believe as I do, I understand that others have made their choice of what to believe and I feel they should be free to do so and be free to practice the religion of their choice as long as it does not lead to harming other people.
I do not feel that all religions lead to the same god, or the same heaven. I believe Christ is the only way to find peace, forgiveness, and eternal life. But Muslims, Jews, atheists, and all others who have made a conscious choice of what they believe, are not my enemies. We are all children of God, no matter what we believe, and as such I feel everyone, all people, should be treated with love, respect, and dignity.
Yes, I know there are terrorists out there who thump their Qur'an and say they are doing what it says. That they feel they are going to be rewarded with they blow themselves up in a suicide bombing. And I know that many good young Americans have died at their hands. I know that, and am deeply distressed by it. But when you look at what the terrorist groups are saying the Qur'an says, you will see they are making the same mistake my pastor friend is, taking things out of context. And I feel they represent all Muslims as much as Westboro Baptist represents all Christians: not at all.
And, yes, I believe the "Ground Zero Mosque" should be allowed to proceed. They need to replace the one that was inside the Twin Towers. (Yes, there was a Muslim prayer room in the Twin Towers. Look it up.)
Ok, now my rant is truly over. Hate me if you want. I don't care. I'm a Christian, so I love you whether you like it or not!