Any discussion of the following subject reminds me that, in order to have even a chance of being in the ballpark of a correct conclusion, it’s necessary to be able to analyze information properly, rather than simply to gather it. The will and ability to do this has become essential—not just to “win” an argument, but for personal and national survival.
After I posted Discover the Networks’ “The Muslim Brotherhood’s Strategic Goal for North America” on my Facebook page, one of my friends pointed out that Christianity has a violent history as well. My response:
In order for an individual to examine the tenets of any faith, that person must look at the foundational work establishing that faith. Before the Bible was made available to the everyday Christian, the Church leadership–meaning the Roman Catholic Church clergy–dispensed doctrine and interpreted in whatever manner they saw fit.
After Johannes Gutenberg’s invention, the Bible was mass-produced, making it available to all who could read it–and, most importantly, translated from Latin in other European languages. It is no accident that Christianity was radically transformed and Reformed after that.
A similar reform—or reversion– is happening to Islam with respect to its doctrines and, subsequently, its adherents.
One of the Founders of these two religions commanded his followers to love God with all one’s heart, soul, strength and mind and to love one’s neighbor as self; the other commanded his followers to convert non-believers at the point of the sword or make them pay the unbelievers’ tax.
As each set of followers have become more and more familiar with the foundational doctrines of their respective religious beliefs, each has begun to behave more in accordance with those doctrines: one set has become less totalitarian almost to the point of zero and the other, more aggressive and violent.
The Bible and the Koran are objective documents with historical contexts readily available in this information age. It is up to the individual to make himself/herself familiar enough with both–if desired–in order to come to a cogent conclusions about each.
Naturally, my friend mentioned the genocides committed in the name of Jesus. Of course, the crimes of the prior millennium’s Church are well-known and acknowledged:
Christian missionaries of Europe fell into error and sin back when they were bent on converting the natives of all lands–not by the act of leading others to Christ, but by making Christianity about something other than Christ, His Sacrifice, Resurrection and the purpose of the foregoing. The European missionaries bound up Christ in themselves and their own ethnicity.
Christians have used Christ to justify all kinds of sin—much easier to do when it was illegal for non-clergy to read the Bible. However, these crimes do not take anything away from the quality of the Gospel; they only speak to the quality the imperfect human beings proclaiming it. Again, were such missionaries following the Bible or ignoring the inconvenient parts when they trampled non-Christian cultures? And was the Islamic group Boko Haram following the Koran or ignoring it when the group abducted hundreds of non-Muslim girls from a Nigerian school?
A little thinking-through of things won’t hurt. On the contrary, it might save our lives.
Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2009; the second edition in 2012. Her new novel, Arlen’s Harem, is due in 2014. Help her fund it and help keep her blog alive!