Monday, December 19, 2005

I know what I want for Christmas!

This.
I used to wear WWJD bracelets quite a bit when I was younger, so I gotta dig it.
And I'm only 10% joking, since it is clear that the violent tendencies for Islam are a logical conclusion from its teachings. Last but not least, let me register yet further disgust for the Palestinian people, who recently fired off AK-47s into the air in celebration and handed out candy on the streets. No, I'm not talking about September 11th, though the same thing happened then too. I'm talking about when Ariel Sharon fell ill w/ a minor stroke. Is it a noble thing to celebrate in such a way when a man has a debilitating illness? Sickening.

Speaking of bombs, the bomb was safely removed from near our house. We had to leave at 9 am on the coldest day yet of the year and go to a friend of a friend's house. So it was us, 3 Chinese ladies speaking sometimes in Chinese and sometimes in Chinese-accented Japanese, and their two kids in a super-cold house w/ only this heated table covered in blankets. We sat around the table covered in blankets and tried not to think about how our legs and backs were aching (Aubrey and I, that is. Don't know how the Chinese ladies' backs and legs were holding up). Seriously, that's one thing that I can maybe get used to here, but never like - sitting on the floor so often. Can't take it.

Mon-Wed I'm going w/ Aub to her schools and we're continuing the telling of the Christ-mas story (I'm sorry, I meant to say "solstice story"). It's great b/c like maybe 3 kids/teachers have ever heard the real meaning of Christ-mas. It's sad on 2 levels. 1) Nobody teaches the kids about Christ-mas, and so they won't learn about Christ. Which means that they may never hear of the One Who can save them from their sins. 2) Nobody teaches them about OTHER religions/worldviews either. Just a thought - it's for DANG sure that my kids (God willing) will know what Ramadan, Rosh Hashanah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Emperor Day, etc are.

4 comments:

troy said...

I keep waiting for Hamas, Al Aqsa Martyrs, and Islamic Jihad to get ticked off at each other and basically destroy themselves gang-war style. I wonder how many of the people (i.e., non-militants) are peaceable, rational humans who feel captive to these thugs. Those would also be the ones who don't take all of Islam seriously or those who are christian.

Merry Chrismahanakwanzadan!

Ok, all joking aside, I'm all for giving the kids all the information they need to make their own decision. As painful as it may sound, I'm not a big fan of "christians" who are christian because it's trendy (though it's not these days) or because they grew up in the church or "why not, dude?"

Anonymous said...

"And I'm only 10% joking, since it is clear that the violent tendencies for Islam are a logical conclusion from its teachings."

Come again? Last I checked the phrase "shall be put to death" shows up quite a few times in the bible. Jesus may bring the good news, but he's dogmatically the same as the god who torments people with evil spirits, hardens the hearts of men, demands animal sacrifice, and orders his followers to exterminate other peoples, women and children included. Inquisition? Crusades? Salem witch trials? How much do you want to bet that the majority of murderers in American prisons are christian or believe in the christian sense of god?

There are a lot of violent muslims, but there are many more peaceful ones. Christians are no different. Violence is not a logical conclusion of the teachings of either religion; in religion there are NO "logical" conclusions. Religion is not logical. Violence is culturally independent of religion. It has just so happened that many places where Islam thrives also have otherwise terrible cultures. Extremism and literalism are a problem, no matter the stripe. Both christian and islamic extremism hold that everything is black and white and there is no compromise. But that extremism springs not from the religion itself, but is an urge already present in the people who exhibit it; religion becomes a vehicle.

As for the children of Japan, try not to feel too sorry for them because no one has sat them down and told them about Jesus and how He can save their immortal souls. Believe it or not, some people have a pretty hard time swallowing that they not only have an immortal soul, but that the only way for it to avoid an eternity of agony is to believe in a physical manifestation of God that came to earth 2000 years ago on the other side of the world, looked nothing like them, spoke neither their language nor the language in which He is now most commonly discussed, and otherwise had nothing to do with their own culture at that time.

--Max

p.s. Merry Christmas.

Benjamin said...

When I first saw the shirt, I thought it meant "What Weapons of Mass Destruction"?

:)

Rhology said...

Max,

Let me first say that I really appreciate your comments. Obviously we are quite a bit different in our worldviews, but I continue to invite and accept w/ gratitude your comments - they make my life more interesting, and lately they're making it a LOT more interesting! And Merry Christmas to you!

I have a few comments and a few questions for you.

On WWMD:
--the phrase "shall be put to death" shows up quite a few times in the bible.
>>True, it does. Are you sure you're familiar enough w/ *where* said phrase appears to make the judgment that it is the same context in Xtianity as it is in Islam?
That phrase and all the other oft-cited objections, some of which you mentioned, where God commands the Israelites to wipe out a people group and such, were indeed commands, *from God Himself* and *to a specific people at a specific time*. It was to Joshua and the ancient post-Exodus Israelites that God gave specific and time-and-place-limited commands to kill people, yes, even women and children. And at 1st glance, you're right - it does seem horrible to us. But remember what making a judgment like that does - it makes US the judge of God. Romans 9 says, "But who are you, o man, to talk back to God?" He is gracious to keep us alive even to this very moment though we sin against Him every day - the Epistle to the Colossians says "He was before all things, and in Him all things hold together." He doesn't have to do that, but He does. The same idea holds for the other things you mentioned: "...the same as the god who torments people w/ evil spirits, hardens the hearts of men, demands animal sacrifice," etc.
Besides that, the Canaanites that were wiped out by express command of God were living such vile and contemptible lives (w/ religious practices that included temple prostitution and child sacrifice, two things I doubt you'd approve of) that God says the land itself "vomited them out."
Also, please note that those explicit kill commands are no longer given by God - to everyone living in the time after Jesus, we have the commands of Christ Himself and the New Testament to guide us. May I ask if you believe that one could take any command of Jesus Christ or the New Testament and reasonably believe it to mean that it's OK to kill 3000 innocent civilians in a time of peace just b/c you think they offended God? Or that it's OK to cheer the sudden illness of a rival national leader (and I'm partially talking to myself here - I should personally be less glib about the illnesses of certain politicians or world figures)?
Finally, as for the Islam link, please note that the Koran gives commands to wipe out "unbelievers," which includes ALL NON-MUSLIMS. Do you realise that Islam's first 200 years consisted of widespread MILITARY propagation? North Africa, for example, was highly Christianised when the Muslims swept in and forcibly subdued the people there, killing some and converting most. Just b/c most Muslims (percentage-wise, and "most" = 50.0001% or greater, though it’s really more like 90%) don't take the commands of the Koran to mean that they should constantly wage war until their enemies are converted or killed does not mean the Koran doesn't logically lead to that conclusion. We can only know that through analyzing the text of the Koran, not thru examining the (admittedly) imperfect lives of its adherents.

--There are a lot of violent muslims, but there are many more peaceful ones. Christians are no different.
>>Really? Could you show me a sizeable portion of the world Christian population (ie, those who hold to the Bible as their rule of faith) who demonstrate anywhere near the propensity towards murderous terrorist action that the world Islamic population does?


--Inquisition? Crusades? Salem witch trials?
>>If you respond, would you mind posting how many "infidel dead" you believe there were in each of those historical events? By "infidel dead" I mean those who were intended to die by violence and were targets. Then, would you mind posting the death count for the following historical events?
1) The Massacre of the Armenian people by Turkish death squads 1900-1910.
2) The Conquest of North Africa in the first 200 years of Islam's existence.
3) The March to Vienna's gates by Suleiman the Magnificent (Turkish leader) in the 16th century.
4) The invasion of Iberia by the Moors (Muslims) from 800-1200 AD.
5) The current religious persecution climate in place in Saudi Arabia.
6) The national cleansings of Stalin and Mao Zedong.
I know, #6 aren't Islamic phenomena, but they're useful for gaining perspective. If you want to compare body counts, I'm more than willing.

--Crusades?
>>I'm not saying I wholeheartedly support the Crusades, but I'm not like most. Do you recall that the Muslims started that which led to the Crusades, by *conquering* (militarily) the Holy Land? Would you define that as a pre-emptive strike?

--How much do you want to bet that the majority of murderers in American prisons are christian or believe in the christian sense of god?
>>I'm not a betting man, myself, but let me ask a clarifying question. Do you mean to ask how many confess to believe NOW or confess to have believed when they committed their crimes? And since these men are convicted murderers (which is a sin that I think you would agree is worse than lying about one's true religious actions), how much do you want to trust what THEY say when measured against the possible consequences of misjudging such a question as your eternal destiny?

--...in religion there are NO "logical" conclusions. Religion is not logical.
>>May I ask how you came to that conclusion and what you mean by it? As a follower of Jesus Christ for 12 years, I can assure you that Xtianity is indeed logical - its very logic is what led me to reject atheism and become and stay a Christian in the first place!

--Violence is culturally independent of religion.
>>You have made this bare assertion w/o any supporting argumentation, and I don't know how you could make it, since I can think of 4 counter-examples off the top of my head and also note that you may well be close to contradicting your earlier statement when you objected to Xtianity b/c of its ‘murderous history.’
Counter-examples:
1) John Walker Lindh, aka "Johnny Bin Walker," the American Taliban. Converted TO Islam and THEN became a terrorist.
2) Richard Reed, the Shoe Bomber. Ditto - 1st converted THEN became terrorist.
3) Radical Israeli terrorists, according to a PBS expose here (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/israel/view/)
4) The countless other *self-described* Islamic terrorists, such as Palestinian suicide bombers, who blow themselves to Hell for religious fervor.
Culture is undivorceable from the culture's religion, but if you think it is, could you please explain how?

--Extremism and literalism are a problem, no matter the stripe.
>>This is also a bare assertion that comes undone when you think about it. Just assume for a moment that the Bible's teaching *does indeed* assert that anyone living *right now* should love their neighbor as themselves and that one should never act in aggressive violence. If one were to take that teaching EXTREMELY LITERALLY, would s/he be such a danger to society?
Given that s/he would not, it is clear that it is not the extremISM or the literalISM that is the problem, but rather the *content* of the message.

--Both christian and islamic extremism hold that everything is black and white and there is no compromise.
>>Would you be willing to compromise on that statement, or do you believe it to be black and white?

--But that extremism springs not from the religion itself, but is an urge already present in the people who exhibit it; religion becomes a vehicle.
>>On this we can certainly agree - Xtianity teaches that all men are slaves to sin unless set free by the Savior of mankind, Jesus Christ. As slaves to sin, they are also slaves to the devil, who "has taken them captive to do his will" (2 Timothy 2:26).

--As for the children of Japan, try not to feel too sorry for them because no one has sat them down and told them about Jesus and how He can save their immortal souls.
>>How can I not? They are enemies of their Creator, God, and nobody has ever told them that explicitly.

--Believe it or not, some people have a pretty hard time swallowing that
>>I've been telling people about Jesus for 10 years... believe me, I have NO difficulty believing that.

--a physical manifestation of God that came to earth 2000 years ago on the other side of the world, looked nothing like them, spoke neither their language nor the language in which He is now most commonly discussed, and otherwise had nothing to do with their own culture at that time.
>>And yet many OTHER people w/ cultures yet more foreign to Jesus' own have come to believe in Him in droves. Certainly the modern Chinese culture is not much farther away than is modern Japanese culture, and thousands come to faith in Jesus Christ every DAY in China. And all the same things that you said about Japan are true in China. So it is difficult to see what your point is. The Aramaic spoken in Israel 2000 years ago isn't too similar to *English* either, you know.

Once again, I appreciate very much your openness to reacting to what I set out here. Merry Christmas to you as well!