Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Dialogue on the Mosque/Islamic Center

I've been involved in this dialogue on Facebook. I imagine it mirrors many others that are occurring. All names have been changed, except mine. I also strongly suspect this sort of reasoning is what eventually led to the Japanese internment camps during World War II.

Abe: I wonder if the same people who show sympathy towards the mosque near ground zero would support a Nazi "community center" near Auschwitz...?

Jed: I would, but the difference is that the holocaust never actually happened.
That was sarcasm for those of you easily offended.

Abe: Haha! I would've known that, but it would've been fun to see how people responded!

Jed: That's one of the many reasons that I love you.

Bill: Here's an interesting perspective if you have 12 minutes:

Dan: Listen to the youtube comentary by Keith Olbermann that Bill gave the link to.. Lets think before we act.

Bill: Otherwise, this may hurt my friendship with my Muslim neighbor.
And my Jewish neighbor is across the street and my Mormon neighbors a couple houses down. Really.

Abe: I probably won't get the chance to sit down and watch without distrations until tomorrow, but I will do it!

Bill: Thanks. I think you'll be glad you did.

Abe: I will definitely let you know!

Beth Do it Abe, it's worth it. And then read Matthew 5 (and Luke 6)

7Blessed are the merciful, ...
for they will be shown mercy...
9Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God.

38"You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth."But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor[h] and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies[i] and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Jack: I wonder what the sediments about building anything Muslim there would have been on 9/12? I'd feel better about it if maybe the "religion of peace" would help rebuild the Christian church that was destroyed on 9/11.

Abe: First off, it's interesting to me that no one has directly answered my original post.

Secondly, "Park51 will grow into a world-class community center, planned to include the following facilities:.
a mosque, intended to be run separately from Park51 but open to and accessible to all members, visitors and our New York community". This can be found at the planners website.

Like I said originally... to me this is akin to Nazis wanting to put a Nazi community center near Auschwitz. I am not Jewish, but even the thought of it angers me.

I think we have shown mercy, we have loved, and we have shown peace towards the American-Muslim community. I just think the placement is distasteful. The arguments seem somewhat contradictory. One side says "As Americans we should respect the Muslim community"... shouldn't the opposite be the same? If it is so offensive to so many people, shouldn't the Muslim community respect the Americans? Then this leads to morals, how do you decide what's right; is it majority rules... on and on...

Sounds like a good philosophical discussion for this year Beth!

Well, this is something that I could spend WAY too much time on right now, and I need to fire up the grill!

Bill: I didn't answer your original post because I didn't equate Nazi philosophy with overall Muslim philosophy. But then I would separate Muslims from Muslim terrorists just like I would separate Germans from Nazi terrorists.

Beth: Thanks for making this important distinction, Bill. I wouldn't want anyone to confuse the Ku Klux Klan or the Church of Jesus Christ-Christian or any other Christian Identity group with Christianity. In the same way, I know some Moslems who are dismayed that so many in the U.S. identify Islamic extremists with Islam.

Beth: Abe, regarding "distasteful" placement: again, listen to Olbermann, 5:56 to 8:24. Thanks for the good philosophical discussion we're having now, Abe! Enjoy your dinner... : D

Abe: I guess what it boils down to, for me, is that if the situation was reversed and I was in their shoes, I would back off. It doesn't matter that I think I should (and do) have the right to build there. The fact is that there are some very ...real hurts that people still have. If something offends your brother, truly, then don't do it! That's how I try to live, but maybe it's silly for me to expect others to at least TRY to do the same. For example, I would not knowingly drink around an alcoholic. Is it my fault that he's an alcoholic? No! Is it my duty to not add temptation to his life? That could be debated but I would say, as a Christian, YES!

I don't think it should be forced to move somewhere else, but if they truly care for those that are hurt by it, then they should do it on their own. Like I said... if Christian extremists had done something similar and were now wanting to build a church (even though the church is not for extremists) I would say that the tasteful thing would be to move elsewhere. And as an addition to show good faith, I would do what Jack recommended above.

Jack: First of all, "Islam" is more a society than a religion. Their world view more racist than Hitler ever dreamed of:
"When people talk as if the Crusades were nothing more than an aggressive raid against Islam, they seem to forget in the strangest way that Islam itself was only an aggressive raid against the old and ordered civilization in these parts. I do not say it in mere hostility to the religion of Mahomet; I am fully conscious of many values and virtues in it; but certainly it was Islam that was the invasion and Christendom that was the thing invaded." ("The Way of the Desert" The New Jerusalem)

Lisa: Amen its so wrong and just plain disrespectfull on so many levels!

Jack: “The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naive forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget.”

Beth: ‎@ Jack: Then God must be pretty naive! ; )

Jeremiah 31:34
No longer will they teach their neighbors,
or say to one another, 'Know the LORD,'
...because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest,"
declares the LORD.
"For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more."

Isaiah 43:25
"I, even I, am he who blots out
your transgressions, for my own sake,
and remembers your sins no more.

Hebrews 8:12
For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more."

Jed: I think it would be more Muslim is to Muslim Terrorist as Nazi is to Nazi Gestapo. There were plenty of Nazi fanatics that wanted nothing to do with the persecution of the other groups. They just wanted to undo the terrible treaty they were under from the first world war. That said, I doubt you would ever get the chance to see a Nazi store in any town that was near a death camp.

That said, I'm all about smaller government and I personally think that the only permit that you should have to get is one stating a building is safe to inhabit. Or let the neighborhood vote on it. It would be more just and fair if they decided rather than us.

We could always do a straight trade. We'll allow Muslim proselytizing if the Muslim states allow Christian Proselytizing. I love things that are fair...but I would allow that we don't have to kill a bunch of innocent civilians in their work place in their most populous city before we build a YMCA on that spot. That would be ridiculous.

Jack: Too many of us have bought into the PC propaganda on Islam; that it is a "religion of peace". Please take the time and study it's violent history and what Sharia law really means, especially to women.
Oh, and Beth, you are absolutely right, God does completely forgive and forget, we however are not God and should be wise as serpents but gentle as doves. If my daughter is abused by a babysitter, I will forgive the babysitter but wisely not forget that sitters name or ever let that person near my daughter again.

Bill: So, Jack, should we also study Christianity's violent history?

Jack: Sure, but study it correctly; compare Jesus' teachings and actions compared to Mohamed's teachings and actions. Then study those who faithfully followed each.

Bill : OK, Jack, I will. Also, I haven't really weighed in on what my opinion of the mosque/cultural center is. While I believe it is completely legal and allowable, I'm not sure it is the wisest thing, considering the emotions running rampant in our country since 9/11.

I know this is somewhat out of context, but I think it could apply. 1 Corinthians 10:23-24 "You say, 'I am allowed to do anything'—but not everything is good for you. You say, 'I am allowed to do anything'—but not everything is beneficial. Don’t be concerned for your own good but for the good of others."

We all should be careful in our use/display/playing out of our freedom.

Jack: Agree.

Beth In our fallenness, each one of us tunes into a different wavelength that the Word is broadcasting, and even then we "miss the mark." Some of us are tuned to Matt. 10:16, and the command to be shrewd, but we can be suspicious or fearful in... response. Others of us tune in to 1 John 4 , and the ideal that perfect love casts out all fear, but we become careless or rash. God has placed us together in His kingdom, and uses each of us to sand away the imperfections of the other so that we might be balanced, whole and perfected.

My goal is not to be God, but to be like His Son, whose courage and shrewdness took him even to the Cross. (cf. Augustine, the cross as the devil's mousetrap). As I read scripture, I often see Christ's love overcoming fear and hostility. I see his wisdom as a divine rather than worldly prudence, so that his shrewdness never capitulates to alarm.

"A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the student to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master...So do not be afraid of them... Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny[d]? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows... Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." (Matt. 10)

These are hard words for us all.

Jack: You're right, I'm not that spiritual and not really sure I want to be. My job requires me to be very "shrewd" and vividly remember the sins of others or I do not come home to my family (I am a corrections officer at a IL. state prison and a...m around humanities worse everyday). I'm willing to die for my faith, just not willing to die for being naive so some Chicago gang-banger can impress his homies. I can forgive each one of the inmates, treat them with more dignity and respect than they deserve (and have for themselves), but I NEVER forget why they are in prison and what they are capable of doing. You know, I don't feel any conviction for thinking this way, sorry.

Abe: This is interesting...

Jack: Here's to everyone that refuses to drink the PC kool-aid!!!!!!

Beth: I hate kool-aid, PC or any other flavor. ; )

Abe, who is the fellow who is speaking on this YouTube clip? What are his scholarly credentials? I'm just curious. Why should we accept him as an authority? Consider: a Moslem might have read a lot of Bart Ehrman and Marcus Borg and written as if those voices expressed what all Christians believe; but you would (I expect) challenge such a position. Could the same thing be happening here? I am not in a place to evaluate, only to ask questions.

Does it strike anyone else as strange that comments have been disabled for this clip, when the group that has it up claims to be doing apologetics? The speaker seems to be a better polemicist than apologist.

He makes great use of that image of the Moslems overtaking New York, (5:09-5:32) and it is quite powerful. But what would a Moslem think of this image? Two wrongs don't make a right...

How would you respond to this discussion?


Eric said...

Here is an article from the Wash. Post you might find interesting:

can't say I'm in total agreement with it but it does raise an interesting point.

Beth B said...

Thanks, Eric, Krauthammer makes a good argument--the first good one I've heard!

I appreciate the analogy with the Carmelites. It's sad to me that the Jewish community was unable to move to the next level of healing, that would have allowed--even welcomed--the prayers and goodwill of the Carmelites, but I understand that grief has its own timetable. Maranatha: some day there will be no more tears! I also understand that without the Holy Spirit, some kinds of healing are impossible.

What upset me in this Facebook exchange (and in other exhanges I have read and heard) is the attitude of fear that some of the interlocutors are perpetuating.

You know of my friendship with some Persians, and the joy we had when A. accepted Christ. If we as Christians cannot be bigger people, and have more confidence in our Lord than what the imams and mullahs are offering, then what is this "good news" we claim to have?

So, I'm not surprised when Americans who aren't Christians are afraid of foreigners and worldly powers, and turn inward to protect themselves, physically and emotionally. I am disappointed, however, when it is impossible to tell the difference between Christians and non-believers.