If you think that you have just one life, think again. There's the life you think you have, the life others think you have and the life you really have- three lives!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Common Ground

This may seem a bit simplistic but sometimes when you stand back and look at something that seems complex, it really is quite simple:

I've been having a bit of an exchange of Sandmonkey's blog with an anonmymous poster who identifies himself/herself as a Christian and who insists that:
  • Islam wants to take over the world
  • Sharia is the absolute antithesis of Western ideals and values
  • Muslims hate the West so the West must hate Muslims
  • All Muslims are the same
  • There is no such thing as a moderate Muslim. Muslims who are moderates are not really Muslims and do not understand their religion.

Seems to me that this is very much what the Jihadis think:
  • The worldwide Nation of Islam must unite
  • The West is the absolute antithesis of true Islam
  • The evil West and their Zionist co-conspirators hate Islam and want to destroy it so Muslims must hate them
  • Islamic ideology is not flexible
  • Muslims who are moderate and who live in the West are Kafir and do not understand true Islam.

Then there are Christians who take this view:
  • Christianity preaches love and tolerance
  • The best way to deal with Muslims is on an individual basis and to show them love
  • Jesus taught us to forgive and to turn the other cheek

And there are Muslims who take this view:
  • Islam preaches tolerance of all races and religions
  • Islam is the religion of peace- violence and agression are un Islamic
  • The best way to deal with the current situation is to engage in dialogue with people of other faiths

Do you see a pattern here? Can you see the common ground?

Looking at it this way, the schisms are not between Islam and the West or Christianity but between those who have a rigid, fundamental, unbending view of their religion and the world and those who do not.

Just my opinion.


Anonymous said...

I don't agree with you on that, Suspect... but then you probably already knew that. I poll was released today that shows 74% of arabs in the ME support Hezbollah. Al Qaeda had roughly the same approval rating until a few years ago when they started murdering Muslims. There can be no tolerance or "other check turning" for people who think it's OK to commit murder.

I also don't think Christianity has anything to do with it, and should be left out of the discussion.

I was accused of being an Islamaphobe and for stereotyping arabs in that thread. I was also accused of being right-wing and a neocon.

I'm going to tell the truth as I see it, no matter what labels people put on me. A majority of muslim arabs support violent jihad. It shows up in EVERY POLL. EVERY TIME. It's not a "stereotype" or "islamophobia" to point out that arab muslims in the ME actually seem to believe what they tell us they believe.

The Usual Suspect said...

I agree that what you say is not Islamophobia. In fact I have a real problem with that term and the whole concept of Islamophobia. I think it has become overused and doesn't really mean anything. I don't believe there is such a thing but I do think that there are people who are intolerant. What do we call Muslims who hate Christians and Jews then? Do we label them Christianphobes and Jewphobes- no we don't.

Islamophobia is a sham and I try to avoid that term as much as possible.

Obviously I don't agree with you that Christianity should be left out of the discussion. If the discussion focussed on the political then yes- great- we could definitely leave religion out. But the fact is that many people see it as Christianity embodied in the progressive West versus Islam embodied in the regressive Mid East.

Polls are magical things and i don't hold much faith in them. I do however agree that Arabs seem to be really really vulnerable to propaganda- particularly the brand of propaganda employed by Al Manar and the likes and so would certainly say they support Hezbollah particularly since the recent war.

However, Arabs are not the majority of Muslims. Asian nations have the highest number of Musliims. Apart from that there are a lot of Christian Arabs as well. So, it is a bit of a fallacy to call all Arabs Muslims and all Muslims Arabs. The fact is that Islam is the most widespread religion in the world.

Anonymous said...

yeah but what you're missing is that there no christians who see christianity as mujahideen (not jihadis) see islam. basically, the rigity, while omnipresent, does not in the christian worldview ever extend to mass murder, kufr,and global domination. so essentially, christian rigidity and unbendingness is not dangerous to other people. unlike islam's.

just pointing out the flaws in ur own argument.

The Usual Suspect said...

Good point- very good point.
But isn't rigidity dangerous in other ways? Take for example the Jesus Camps- you are right these are not dangerous in the ways that the Jihadis are but they are still dangerous- especially to the poor young kids who are subject to what basically amounts to abuse at these camps.
In any case- I completely agree that nothing compares to the Jihadis

kinzi said...

Hi Us/Su, (can I all you Um something?)I'm really enjoying reading your old posts - I'll be looking for advice on dealing with teenage boys!

One of the reasons I collect blogs like your is to show Western Christians that there ARE moderate Muslims out there who just want to raise their families in peace.

But, points like Craig brought up are major concerns for me, as I see just as many Muslims who are convinced that Islam should dominate worldwide. It is very alarming, as for the most part, we Christians do turn the other cheek, and while moderates like you speak peace, another side marches forward to slap it.

In a Jordan Planet blog exchange we had a few months ago, a Christian blogger posted a story about a Muslim who converted to Christianity. OK, maybe not wise, but she was slammed to the point I was shocked that people I had been talking to for a couple years had that level of venom to spew, even writing her boss calling her to be fired. I discovered the playing field was not level; they could say whatever about my faith, but I had no right to question theirs. And I wasn't, I was just pointing out the inequality of the dialogue.

On that thread someone mentioned that part of the evening prayer for Muslims included praying for the destruction of Islam's enemies. One guy even said since Israel was an enemy and the US supported them, he prayed for the destruction of my country - and he LIVES there! I was, again, shocked. Jesus said to love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. It made me want to go back the the US and start warning people.

Anyway, for what it is worth, from a US Christian who speaks Arabic and lives in the ME. Blessings!

halalhippie said...

Great post, you summed up a very important issue.

And kudos for putting up w/all the Western Islam-bashers at the Monkey bin.

The Usual Suspect said...

Modernism is a growing movement in Islam and I believe that it is the way of the future and of Islamic reform. Ofcourse the wahabi mind set will never go away- but this is a war for Muslim minds.
A lot of my dearest friends are dedicated, practising Christians who exhibit tolerance and graciousness.I do not understand how some, who call themselves Christians, can be so full of hate. Just as I can not understand how some Muslims can also be so full of hate. For me hatred is what makes you one or the other- not which religion you are. I do not divide people on the basis of religion. I divide people on the basis of the characteristics they exhibit because I believe that all religions in their purity are good- humans are the ones who corrupt them and use them for hate.

Anonymous said...

I'm not an expert on religious issues, but it seems to me that reforming Islam is very difficulte tasks for moderate Muslims. I would like to point out just few main differences between two holly books: The Bible and Quran.
Let’s start with the origin of a problem, as I can see it: unlike Muslims, we don’t think that the Bible is written by God, but that it is book written by men, inspired by Holly Spirit. This fact gave us opportunity to argue with the meaning of the Script, to discuss it freely and to put it into context of a time.
One thing that came out of this, not so minor, is that on second Vatican Council it was possible to decide that all languages are equal in Catholic Church. Nowadays, you can pray, read Bible and have mass in all worlds’ languages.

Can this be done by Quran? Can you change it if it’s God's words delivered to Mohammed in Arabic? Can you make it equal all other languages to Arabic?

Another thing is controversy of, let’s say “main characters” of our books :)

In Christianity the Bible is consisting of Old and New Testament, which sort of overwrite controversial parts, by Jesus’ massages: turn other cheek, that you should love each other like we love ourselves, nobody is without sins and therefore cannot cast a stone, etc. Christianity was first global religion; for all mankind, not for specific nations. Generally, Jesus was first pacifist; he really was “lamb of a World”, he didn’t fight, he didn’t got married, he was committed to tell us his story and give us choice to accept it or not. I think we can agree that he can be considered a good guy, not only by Christian, but by all.

With Mohammed it’s a little bit different story; he was warrior, he fought wars, he got married with more than one wife.

Also, the let's say "scope" of books: in Christianity we don’t deal much with other in a way that we have some specific instructions what to do with people of other religions, only those that we must love them like ourselves. In one word, Bible is not strict manual on how to run your everyday life, but general instructions about life, about good and evil. The believers are supposed to try their best to fulfil it, using their reason and heart.

Therefore, all terrible things done in the name of Christianity cannot be justified by will of God, or by literal reading of Bible. Christianity don’t have any excuses for doing harm to anyone, while it seems to me, that in Islam, those who want, can easily

While, Islam, at least this is my opinion is to concern with those everyday aspects of life, it is in a way a manual on how to run your life and that’s why it is easy for those fundamentalist to justify their twisted logics by the verses of Quran. And as far as I know, there is not such commandment about absolute forbiddance of killing. Therefore, it is bad, but you can justify it by holly book.

Sorry for such long post and for grammar, but I was inspired :)
I didn’t mean to hurt anyone, if I have done so, I'm deeply sorry. I just want to point out few aspects that are intriguing me.