Saturday, September 16, 2006

Religion of Perpetual Outrage

Hot Air has the latest on the hysterical reaction by members of what Michelle Malkin calls "the religion of perpetual outrage".

Note the drawing of the Pope that's circulating on Muslim websites and read the translations.

If it weren't so pathetic, and dangerous, it would be worth a shake of the head that Muslims in Gaza and elsewhere are venting their anger by throwing firebombs at Greek Orthodox churches. The Greek Orthodox, of course, have nothing to do with the Pope. Maybe it's just that Orthodox and Catholics are both Christian, and that's all that matters to the adherents of the religion of peace.

We wait for wiser and cooler heads in the world's Muslim communities to call for an end to what really is another embarrassment for Muslims everywhere.

Protesting the Pope

Muslims around the world are outraged that in his meeting with "representatives of science" at the University of Regensburg the Pope said this:

In the seventh conversation edited by Professor Khoury, the emperor touches on the theme of the holy war. The emperor must have known that surah 2, 256 reads: "There is no compulsion in religion". According to the experts, this is one of the suras of the early period, when Mohammed was still powerless and under threat. But naturally the emperor also knew the instructions, developed later and recorded in the Qur'an, concerning holy war. Without descending to details, such as the difference in treatment accorded to those who have the "Book" and the "infidels", he addresses his interlocutor with a startling brusqueness on the central question about the relationship between religion and violence in general, saying: "Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached". (Emphasis mine)

The emperor, after having expressed himself so forcefully, goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable. Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul. "God", he says, "is not pleased by blood - and not acting reasonably is contrary to God's nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats... To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death...".

The decisive statement in this argument against violent conversion is this: not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God's nature.

Muslims are incensed that the Pope would dare to quote a 14th century emperor who suggests that some of the teachings of the prophet were "evil and inhuman". The proper response, of course, if one finds the Pope's words offensive, is to show that the words he quotes are false, but it's not obvious that this is the tack very many Muslims have chosen to follow. Instead, they seem to be intent on confirming by their actions exactly that in the Pope's message to which they most deeply object.

The fact is that conversion by compulsion and threats is indeed evil. The use of violence to spread one's religion is indeed inhuman. If this misrepresents Islam then Muslims should point out the error. Instead they engage in the sort of protest that gives people of common sense every reason to believe that threats and violence are exactly what Islam is all about.

Muslim students burn an effigy of the Pope in India.

Michelle has more.

Father/Daughter Talk

A friend digs out this venerable tale from his file and passes it along. It makes a nice companion to the piece we posted yesterday titled Does Poverty Make America Immoral?:

A young woman was about to finish her first year of college. Like so many others her age, she considered herself to be a very liberal Democrat, and was very much in favor of the redistribution of wealth and heavily taxing the "haves" to give to the "have nots".

She was deeply ashamed that her father was a fairly conservative Republican, a feeling she openly expressed. Based on the lectures that she had participated in at school, and the occasional chat with a professor, she felt that her father had for years harbored an evil, selfish desire to keep what he thought should be his.

One day she was challenging her father on his opposition to higher taxes on the rich and the addition of more government welfare programs. The self-professed objectivity proclaimed by her professors had to be the truth and she indicated so to her father.

He responded by asking how she was doing in school.

Taken aback, she answered rather haughtily that she had a 4.0 GPA, and let him know that it was tough to maintain, insisting that she was taking a very difficult course load and was constantly studying, which left her no time to go out and party like other people she knew. She didn't even have time for a boyfriend, and didn't really have many college friends because she spent all her time studying.

Her father listened and then asked, "How is your friend Audrey doing?"

She replied, "Audrey is barely getting by. All she takes are easy classes, she never studies, and she barely has a 2.0 GPA. She is so popular on campus, college for her is a blast. She's always invited to all the parties, and lots of times she doesn't even show up for classes because she's too hung over."

Her wise father asked his daughter, "Why don't you go to the Dean's office and ask him to deduct a 1.0 off your GPA and give it to your friend who only has a 2.0. That way you will both have a 3.0 GPA and certainly that would be a fair and equal distribution of GPA."

The daughter, visibly shocked by her father's suggestion, angrily fired back, "That wouldn't be fair! I have worked really hard for my grades! I've invested a lot of time, and a lot of hard work! Audrey has done next to nothing toward her degree. She played while I worked my tail off!"

Her father slowly smiled, winked and said gently, "Welcome to the Republican Party, honey."

Moral Inferiority

Dennis Prager writes consistently interesting columns. His latest makes the argument that Islamic morality is inferior to that of the West. He states that:

[E]very country that calls itself "Islamic" is morally inferior to just about every country in North America, South America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, almost every Asian country and many African countries.

At first this may cause an eyebrow to lift given the Western world's obscene greed, lasciviousness, and violence, and the Muslim's contrary emphasis on personal purity, but read his argument at the link and see if you don't agree that he makes a strong case.

I might want to take his thesis a step further and say that not only is Islamic morality inferior, so is Islamic culture. Since the 13th or 14th century the Muslim world has produced little or no great art, architecture or music, and it's literary efforts have been uneven.

They manufacture little that the world wants and produce only what Western technology and expertise is able to extract from the ground beneath them.

Their scientists have made no contributions to human well-being or knowledge since the middle ages.

Indeed, their single genius seems to be in producing as leaders religious extremists skilled in thinking up ways to torture and kill both infidels and their fellow Muslims. Too much of Muslim culture seems based upon punishment, retribution and revenge. Until they can break out of this mind-set they will probably float through history, drifting from one war to another, while the rest of the world increases the cultural distance between it and them - that is, unless the Islamist extremists get their hands on the ultimate infidel-killer, nuclear weapons. If they do, then we'll all be thrown back into the 7th century. The difference will be that the remnants of Western civilization will start over and try to regain some of what has been lost. The Islamists will be content to stay where they are, killing each other.

It's tragic that what the Muslim world needs most they also seem most resistant to - the Gospel of forgiveness, grace, freedom, redemption, and love.