Yesterday’s Apes, Pigs & the Sabbath blog caused a small stir in a few discussion groups.
Some deleted it because I dared to raise the topic of Islam in “Christian” or “Biblical” discussion groups. Others launched into a tirade against religion, with some advising that we “rewrite” the Holy Texts to get rid of the evil they represent. All this in reaction to a simple request that “As we go to war against Islamic extremists, be aware of the religious roots!”
My editor (for The People of the Sign Trilogy) asked me why I left the topic so open, for people to draw their own conclusions, vs. clearly stating the outcome of my analysis. My answer was that it is more important to me for people to draw their own conclusions, vs. telling them what I think. But apparently a primer is needed.
ISIS/ISIL is driven by religious fundamentalism – but fundamentalism is a misnomer. It implies that they literally follow the Koran. They don’t. If they were to actually READ the texts upon which their love of hate is based, they would come to see that what they are doing is wrong – by their OWN moral code.
My blog dipped into the source texts, an advisable direction, as education is surely a major part of the solution.
The idea of re-writing the Koran, which a billion people fervently believe in, is in my view not only unrealistic, it is wrongheaded. These millions are already killing people for disrespecting their prophet – far better to understand and teach that the writings of their prophet condemn their actions. This is the approach that Jesus took with the Pharisees of His day, for example.
What I found most discouraging were the attitudes of condescension, ignorance, and frankly arrogance, from materialists insisting that there is absolute and conclusive proof against all the claims of those who believe in anything not easily measured by science. One would think that understanding where other peoples and cultures are coming from, and building reasonable bridges, would be an approach embraced by those who profess objective science to be a better path to truth.
By investing even a few minutes to read the blog, and discuss the topic as presented, we can be better armed for the next time the “Apes and Pigs” epithet is thrown down. We can see that there is no need to react like a pack of howling dogs to the poisonous red meat, whether in offense at the Antisemitism in evidence, or in disdain at the inhuman ignorance. One would be empowered to clearly show that the Source Texts which are being used to hurl this epithet say the opposite.
The Koran insists that Muslims show the utmost respect to Jews and their beliefs. The “Apes and Pigs” epithet originated as a description of the hypocrisy of Jews who claimed the benefits of adherence to the Sabbath law, while actually breaking it. Thus the Koran indicts anyone who would criticize a Jew for being Jewish – the exact thing extreme fundamentalists are doing. This would apply even more strongly to those who oppose a “Jewish State” – one that esteems the Sabbath command, against which the comments in the Koran clearly do not apply.
And this is but the very tip of the iceberg. If we were to study the historical roots of Islamic Antisemitism we find that a large share of the blame lies at the feet of the Christian community, for introducing such ideas FROM THE WEST into the Arab Muslim community. A key quote from the wikipedia article on Islamic Antisemitism sums this up with “Initially these prejudices only found a reception among Arab Christians and were too foreign for any widespread acceptance among Muslims.”
If we wish to work for peace, and promote the growth of a better society we cannot ignore, dismiss or demonize the beliefs and practices that led to our modern day. For those who do reject religion entirely to do so could be likened to trying to proclaim that you believe in evolution while rejecting the fact that we descended from inferior species, including pigs and apes. Instead of knee-jerk condemnation and uninformed reactions we must understand and overcome the negative trajectory of those elements of society with intelligence, detachment, and love. Educating the fanatic masses as to what their Holy Book actually says would begin to undo the appeal and power of ISIS/ISIL.
And we should make this a priority, because even though we should defensively resist such murderous cancer with force, we are not generally in a good position to be casting the first stone.