Saturday, October 13, 2007

Disingenuous dialog? Two can play at that game!

On the October 11th edition of Way of the Master Radio, Todd Friel and guest Robert Spencer of discussed the "disingenuous dialog" of a group of 131 Muslims scholars.  These scholars, who represent every sect of Islam, are proposing that Christians and Muslims work together to find a way to co-exist peacefully, citing both Koran and Bible verses supporting their pro-peace message.  Mr. Friel and Mr. Spencer then proceeded to criticize this Muslim council for failing to acknowledge the numerous passages in the Koran calling for the death of Christians and others deemed infidels by Islam.

Now, far be it from me to defend Islam.  I'm not giving them a free pass.  From my atheistic frame of reference, there is very little distinction between the various forms of theism.  They're all equally false and potentially dangerous, and for very similar reasons.  But this blog isn't about criticizing Islam.  It's about criticizing Way of the Master.  And they're Christians.

While criticizing Muslims for failing to acknowledge that their scripture encourages (or even requires) violence, cruelty, and murder, it seems that Mr. Friel is engaging in a nearly-identical game of disingenuous dialog.  The Christian Bible is also chock-full of passages encouraging violence, cruelty, and murder.  I could sit here all day quoting Old Testament war epics and ridiculously extreme punishments for relatively minor crimes (remember, folks: talking back to your parents is a capital offense), but I don't have that kind of time.  Besides, Mr. Friel would most likely dismiss them as being "old covenant" or "pretaining to those people at that time" and having no relevance to us.  Unfortunately for Todd, Jesus disagreed.  Old Testament laws, in all their absurd cruelty, were just peachy with Junior, according to Matthew 5:17.  In 15:4-7, he criticizes parents for not killing their disobedient children.  Todd, have your children always been obedient?  If not, have you killed them?  For shame!

Let's see what else we can find in the New Testament:

Matthew 10:34-37:  Junior came "not to bring peace, but a sword," and will set family members against each other.  Doesn't sound like anyone I'd want to follow.

Luke 19:27:  "But those enemies of mine who did not me to be king over them, bring them here and kill them in front of me."  How very radical Muslim of Jesus.  I'm sure his father is very proud of the little terrorist.  Chip off the old block, and all.

Luke 10:10-15:  God is a like slave-owner who beats his slaves "with many blows."  Junior apparently approves.

These are only a few examples.  The letters of Paul are particularly atrocious.  In fact, according to an objective analysis done by the folks over at Skeptic's Anotated Bible, there are 857 passages condoning cruelty and violence in the Bible, while the Koran contains a mere 494.  Granted, it's important to note that the Bible is a larger volume than the Koran, and in terms of percentages, the Koran does come out ahead.  But still, that's 857 splinters in Christanity's eye that really need to be addressed before criticizing Islam for exactly the same damn thing.

4 comments: said...

Alright. From a Chrstian standpoint, here are my responses:

Regarding Matthew 5:17, what Jesus says is that he has come to fulfill the law. What the law does is show a sinner their sin, it convinces us that we are in need of a savior to escape God's holy, righteous wrath. So what he means by "fulfilling the law" is that he is going to make it so that we are blameless and sinless in the eyes of God. Hebrews 8, ( especially verse 12, talks about this, that the old covenant of us being perpetually guilty is gone, and that the new covenant of belief in Jesus is here.

Regarding Matthew 15:4-7, you have to look at it in context. ( The reason that Jesus says this is because the Pharisees picked and chose which laws they wanted to obey, so Jesus was reprimanding them and telling them that if they wanted to the laws, they should keep ALL the laws. Obviously, this would cause destruction. They did not follow the word of God, instead, they followed tradition.

Regarding Matthew 10:34-37, Jesus is not saying that families will kill each other (although worst come to worst, they may- this happens in religious and non-religious families). He is saying that by believing in him, people in families will sit in discontentment with each other over religion. For example, if you folks at WOTM Watchdog were in the same immediate family as devout WOTM students, there would more than likely be feuds.

Regarding Luke 19:27, Jesus talks about hell. I'm sure you've heard this before, since you must listen to WOTM: God is so holy that anything unholy must be destroyed. Since he loves the perfect, he hates the imperfect. Example: environmentalists love the environment but hate pollution. Get the idea?

And regarding Luke 12:46, 47 (I think you got the verses wrong there), well, many other verses in the Bible support what I'm about to say (like the whole book of 1 John, James 2, Romans 6, 7, and 8). The New Testament continually teaches that without good works and continual striving to do good works, you can be sure that a person not meeting those criteria is not saved (in addition to, of course, a belief in justification by Christ Jesus). So, what Jesus is saying that a man who lives like there is no God yet professes that he believes in him will be thrown into hell.

I've obviously not heard of the Skeptic's Annotated Bible, but here's the difference between the "splinters" of Christianity and Islam. Well, first, I'm not even sure that the New Testament condones violence on this earth against a non-believer. I've never read that. However, here's the difference. Muslims carry out suicide bombings and such. But when's the last time you heard about a radical Christian kill tens of people? Not me. I don't ever recall such an article.

I'm hoping that I covered everything somewhat adequately. Don't mistake me, however. I am not here looking for a fight, I am just responding to some theological flaws in these arguments.

To WOTM Watchdog, I suggest that you take theology classes before you decide to post verses like these, which do require some background biblical knowledge. If that is not possible, please at least try not to take verses out of context, which is what happened to Matthew 15:4-7. Make sure to read around the verse first and make sure everything checks out.

BoxerShorts said...

...and I'm sure a devout Muslim could show up and explain how passages condoning violence in the Koran are matters of context.

Condoning violence is condoning violence, and both holy texts do it. You can whine about "context" all you want, but that doesn't change the facts that any literate person can clearly see.

henwli said...

To depart from reality, let's consider some aliens that want to get to know our culture before they make contact. So they download the Bible and try to learn about us as much as possible, go through it but... oh my, they didn't have the fabled DVD Herman Who that provides a master's level course in just 90 minutes for only $19.99! Or any other helper to tell that what the heck the book actually says. So they can't know how to read it! So they come down:

- GRONK! Hello earthling! You take me to leadergod!

- Wow, I KNEW the government was covering up something! Just a moment, I'll have to discipline my son first. He's having a hissy fit about his dang broccoli again.

- BRAXL! We help, make easy! Zonk!


Maybe I'm stupid (check), but reading through the Bible on my own is troublesome, and I find myself searching for other people's interpretations of sections. Now if I find different personal interpretations, will I just pick the one that suits me or just forget about it and read on? Or should I build my own? As an unbeliever I don't see the point in that, that would be me just pandering to my own needs. Am I just supposed to look for a "big name Christian" and accept what they say?

Why didn't God make a book for His people, but for a select few of them that would have to explain it to the masses? Wouldn't the concept of free will be most purely realized if we all just had our own, concise copy of His Book, started from equal grounds and could make up our own minds? Oh,OK, we messed it all up way back when, sure.

Maybe if you pray extra hard for me a cosmic frying pan will descend from the skies and bonk Satan right out of my skull and I will see the light.

Cheers :) said...

"Whine" about context? Who's whining?