I was listening to an interview with U.S. Representative André Carson on NPR yesterday. Carson is one of only two Muslims in Congress and was being asked about the violence that is connected with the Muslim faith.
Congressman Carson was giving the standard moderate Muslim response that the texts in the Qur’an that command violence are taken out of context and don’t apply anymore. I blogged extensively on this a few months ago, showing without a doubt that the Qur’an and Muhammad commanded murder and violence and that no contextual timetable was set for these commands.
What you have is a case of Muslims, like Congressman Carson, who simply do not believe the Qur’an and/or do not follow it. Then you have Muslims, like ISIS and others, who do believe it and who are following it. (For the record, moderate Muslims are great people! They just don’t believe in Islam’s holy book or it’s founder’s commands.)
The media has made this sound so offensive, so bigoted, so prejudiced. When in fact, it’s a simple matter of reading a religion’s sacred text (that they claim has authority from God and they claim they believe) and then pointing out those who are following this text (like ISIS), and that this text presents a fundamental problem. Presidential candidate Ben Carson made this point and now is being called out by sections of the media to cancel his campaign and to retract his remarks.
I applaud his response to the subsequent criticism, saying like John Rhys-Davies recently did, that “Our Real Problem Is Our Politically Correct Culture” (The whole clip is good, but I’m referring particularly to 1:17…to play, click the small white triangle in the lower left below)
I wish our culture was mature enough where things that are true can be spoken. Where political correctness wasn’t a higher value than talking about the truth. If you disagree with Ben Carson, that’s fine, but have you read the Qur’an? If you haven’t, please be quiet. If you have, please explain how what Ben Carson said, or what I’ve shared in previous posts, is incorrect.
In the NPR interview, Congressman Carson went on to say that many religious texts get misused, like the Bible. I’m also tired of this knee-jerk, flippant, uninformed response that I hear from so many when the subject of ISIS and the Qur’an are brought up. Read the Bible and you find this statement simply isn’t true, which I blogged about very specifically here. And as a side note, if a kid steals from a store and says “Well Billy stole too,” it does not get the kid off the hook from stealing from the store. But this argument seems to work every time for Muslims when asked this question.
What someone does with a text is one thing. What a text actually says is entirely another. I am honestly astounded people can have these conversations and be taken seriously without having actually read the Qur’an or the Bible.
I have a friend who grew up as a Muslim in Iran and who became a Christian. He had to flee Iran because his father was trying to kill him (something the Qur’an commands him to do) and the Islamic authorities were trying to imprison him, where he’d be beaten and tortured. I interview this friend here about his experience. I have to keep his name anonymous because he received death threats from Muslims in Lansing, MI where he lives after I posted the article the first time using his name.
My anonymous friend says over and over: look at the countries that are always at war…they are all Islamic countries. Syria being the next to make the news for this. Now look at non-Muslim countries, they are not always at war. This is not a coincidence! These are theocratic countries whose holy book commands them to kill and be at war.
Call me a bigot, call me prejudice, call me whatever you’d like. I know I am not those things, I am actually simply one who studies religious texts. If you’d like to study religious texts and join me in this conversation, please do.
My purpose of this is not to incite Islamophobia or to incite ethnic racism or anything of the sort. My point is to clearly show that moderate Muslims are “moderate” because they don’t actually follow the Qur’an. Like I’ve already said, these moderate Muslims are great people and we have no reason to be “phobic” of them. They are Islamic culturally, but do not hold to their holy book and most whom I’ve met, including hearing the interview from Congressman Carson himself, are actually universalists or pluralists, believing that all religions actually teach the same things. They follow the Golden Rule, not the Qur’an or Muhammad. Congressman Carson said so himself in the NPR interview and I have personally heard this from several of my moderate Muslim friends. It’s their way of dodging the questions about the commands for violence in the Qur’an by simply saying “We’re like everyone else.” A true Muslim should not tell you they are like everyone else. They should try to convert you to Islam, if they really believe it is true. Saying you are like everyone else means you don’t actually believe in anything.
As someone who loves Jesus, I plead for these “moderate” Muslims to leave the following of the Qur’an and to find the God that they already say they espouse: the God of love; but his name is Jesus! Jesus is the one teaching the things that moderate Muslims say they follow, not Muhammad. So why not be consistent and just follow Jesus instead?
Don’t take it from me, or from Ben Carson.
Take it from Jesus and take it from Muhammad. Compare their lives. Compare their teachings. Compare their actions. Compare the way they attracted their first followers and the ‘incentives’ and persuasion they used.
Everything is right in the texts of the Qur’an and of the Bible for all to access.
Or you know what, we could just ignore all of that and say everything is the same. Because that’s a great way to become knowledgeable and find truth and live and have an intelligent society.
All foods are the same.
All colleges are the same.
All students are the same.
All cars are the same.
All doctors are the same.
All hotels are the same.
All women are the same.
All men are the same.
All books are the same.
All movies are the same.
All religions are the same.
No they’re not.
Please stop saying they are.
Author of Beyond the Battle: A man's guide to his identity in Christ in an oversexualized world
Host of the The Flip Side Podcast
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