2010 September 11 Saturday
Koran Burning An Intolerant Act?

Says OneSTDV: the Koran burning by itself is a morally neutral act of symbolic aggression.

Two main points. First, many conservatives have condemned this act as "antithetical to American ideals," appealing to the liberal reconstruction of American history as primarily a tale of religious persecution and not the industriousness and insight of our Founding forebears. And while inherent freedoms ultimately underpin this great nation, we can't simply acquiesce to any ideology that comes upon our shores. A book burning is an aggressive, nonviolent act against foreign and, more importantly, destructive ideologies such as Islam. To preserve itself, a nation must rigidly define its own boundaries and its own autonomy - a truism ultimately American in its conception.

Second, devout Christian Palin defines this act as "mean-spirited religious intolerance". Of course, such a characterization reflects the liberalization of modern Christianity. One can never project emotions onto ultimate truth; truth exists independent of our wants, desires, and tender sensibilities. To Christians, the truth of Christ should exist solely as a revealed doctrine of objective reality. To assert the validity of Christianity and, concordantly denounce any competing religious doctrines as false isn't "intolerance" - it's logical consistency. If Christianity is the ultimate truth and not one of many paths to truth, then everyone else worships a false God, an act of blasphemy. Pointing out this ostensible conclusion has now become "intolerant" in our diversity-tinged society.

That even Sarah Palin condemns Koran burning illustrates the extent to which even supposed conservatives accept the morality and irrational emotionality of left-liberalism. What a bunch of wussies to object to burning the book of a religion that they think false and wrong.

Is it intolerant to assert that a religion's set of beliefs are wrong in fact? Intolerance is an unwillingness to allow someone to have a difference in opinion. Burning their religious text does not constitute intolerance. Rather, it is more in the form of a complaint or a heavily symbolic way of stating that the belief is harmful or wrong.

The irony here is that Islam itself is intolerant. The base text of Islam includes statements from its founder instructing them to kill non-believers. Sam Harris has collected some quotes from the Koran about non-believers. Here's an excerpt of very intolerant quotes about non-believers from the Koran.

"Slay them wherever you find them. Drive them out of the places from which they drove you. Idolatry is worse than carnage. . . . [I]f they attack you put them to the sword. Thus shall the unbelievers be rewarded: but if they desist, God is forgiving and merciful. Fight against them until idolatry is no more and God's religion reigns supreme. But if they desist, fight none except the evil-doers"(2:190–93).

"Fighting is obligatory for you, much as you dislike it. But you may hate a thing although it is good for you, and love a thing although it is bad for you. God knows, but you know not" (2:216).

"They will not cease to fight against you until they force you to renounce your faith—if they are able. But whoever of you recants and dies an unbeliever, his works shall come to nothing in this world and in the world to come. Such men shall be the tenants of Hell, wherein they shall abide forever. Those that have embraced the Faith, and those that have fled their land and fought for the cause of God, may hope for God's mercy" (2:217–18).

Sam on the Koran:

On almost every page, the Koran instructs observant Muslims to despise nonbelievers. On almost every page, it prepares the ground for religious conflict. Anyone who can read passages like those quoted above and still not see a link between Muslim faith and Muslim violence should probably consult a neurologist.

While Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians are allowed to live as (more heavily taxed) inferiors under Muslim rule the believers in other religions are supposed to be killed unless they convert to Islam. These sentences burn up when a Koran burns. And we are supposed to object to such burnings?

The scriptural basis for the treatment of Jews and Christians vs. the treatment of other non-Muslims consists of the following verses from the Qur'an:

For Jews, Christians, and other people (e.g. Zoroastrians) with a scripture given prior to the Qur'an (after which no scripture can be recognized, since the Qur'an is the final revelation) the verse is:

Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya [poll tax] with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued. (9:29)

For other non-Muslims, the verse is:

But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers [Islamic prayers five times a day] and practice regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful. (9:5)

The book instructs Muslims to kill us. Not all are willing to pay the costs that come from doing this. But the Koran teaches intolerance. An intolerant attitude toward non-believers permeates the book.

Update: To all the people who criticized the Florida pastor for proposing to burn the Koran: Did you demand an end to the Piss Christ artwork? Why was that okay and this isn't?

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2010 September 11 04:42 PM  Civilizations Clash Of


Comments
Stephen said at September 11, 2010 7:41 PM:

At its core, this current frenzy is about the member of one religious gang trying to piss off another religious gang.

What we need to do is to set aside an island where the gang members can fight it out. Make it a sin for gang members to sit at home praying (or burning stuff) when the other gang controls the island. Give everyone who wants it a one way plane ticket, then let evolution take its course. Kinda like a giant eternal CTF-game.

WJ Alden said at September 12, 2010 2:34 AM:

I've come to the conclusion that the real problem with multiculturalism isn't that American students spend too much time learning about foreign cultures, but too little, because the little that Americans do learn is inevitably sanitized to make every non-European foreign culture seem charming, peace-loving and exotic. Americans get taught that Africans and Arab have strong family ties, but few are taught what this really means: female genital mutilation and forced childhood marriages, often between close relatives, to the point where over 50% of marriages in some Islamic countries are between first cousins.

This is the kind of ignorance that people like Howard Zinn have exploited for decades, focussing on the negative aspects of American history while conveniently ignoring the reality that, imperfect as America is, it is still far better than the rest of the world - including those parts (Siberia, Austria-Hungary) that Zinn's own parents fled. Little surprise that feelings of patriotism decline even as students know less than ever before about real American history. The civics surveys I've seen conducted by various philanthropies come back with depressingly low averages - though conservatives/Republicans consistently

So by all means let us do more to teach multiculturalism to Americans - so long as it's the honest version. Given the pre-eminent role of ethnic lobbies in politics today, I suspect that will be unlikely. In fact, that's why multiculturalism and diversity is so fundamentally dishonest. A diverse classroom is one where just about every significant topic is off-limits to serious discussion because it will inevitably offend someone. That's why my advice to students today is when minorities begin criticizing American culture in a classroom to start criticizing their's in turn - to defend our culture by a negative reference to their own. Send the message that if honest criticism of their culture is off-limits then so is the usually dishonest criticism of ours.

ASPIRANT said at September 12, 2010 2:35 AM:

I agree that it's a double standard to act appalled when that minister dude shows his distaste for the religion, I even agree that Islam as it is practiced now is WAY more violent, and is by no means a peaceful religion. I mean, they're calling for our downfall from within our citadels, and yet anything we say against them is wrong.

But the left is going to come back and call you out on your own double-standard, because the bible has a lot of crap in the old testament just like this. Slaughter and genocide are praised there. You have to be prepared to keep consistent, or they will feel entitled to dismiss everything you say. This era's chosen mythology holds bigots in the same position as demons or evil faeries of previous ones, and if they suspect you of being one it's over.

I guess it's not worth thinking about, because the mythology will come crashing down on its own pretty soon. I've come to peace with that. Now if someone could only show me how to come to peace with the inevitable riots..

no said at September 12, 2010 8:49 AM:

Aspirant,
Christians believe that the New Testament supersedes the Old Testament.

Double Ought said at September 12, 2010 10:16 AM:

"Now if someone could only show me how to come to peace with the inevitable riots.."

Are you planning to be involved or do you want to avoid them?

WJ Alden said at September 12, 2010 12:58 PM:

"But the left is going to come back and call you out on your own double-standard, because the bible has a lot of crap in the old testament just like this."

Superceded or not, the Bible, unlike the Koran, does not endorse violence against non-believers on every page. But more important than what's in a given religion's scriptures is how its believers put the Word into practice. Very, very few Christians and Jews are advocating stonings or genocide for non-believers. It may well be that many/most/all believing Muslims feel some tension between a desire for tolerance and peace, on the one hand, and a sympathy, at minimum, for what its scriptures incessantly implore them to do, in order to be true, upstanding members to their faith. With violence so central to its scripture this tension will always exist. The only workable route for the West is quarantine. The Constitution requires us to allow native citizens to believe in any religion they so choose, but we're under no obligation to allow members of any religion to immigrate here.

I have noticed this with Mormons and polygamy. Polygamy was a central aspect of the LDS Church in its earliest days, and while there is scripture explicitly revoking the doctrine, many Mormons feel like it is a fictitious scripture forced upon them by the government. Thus they often have sympathy for its practitioners, feeling that they are following God's word, which all Mormons (except the 80% of men who'd leave for want of wives) would be practicing were government and society more accepting. To be fair, the LDS Church leadership itself has shown no such conflict: it automatically excommunicates any member found to be practicing plural marriage.

Randall Parker said at September 12, 2010 1:11 PM:

Aspirant,

It is intellectually lazy of the Left (though par for the course) for them to say the OT and the Koran are morally equivalent. Sure, OT has some stuff in it that would be problematic if Christians actually saw themselves as the Jews of the OT. But first of all, they do not see themselves that way. They see the NT as superceding much that is in the OT. Jesus was not a government leader. This enables Christians to take a far narrower view of the role of religion in affairs of the state.

Plus, the OT is nowhere near the threat to non-believers that the Koran is. The difference is like the difference between midget league and major league.

OneSTDV said at September 12, 2010 5:02 PM:

Auster has written a lot about the distinction between the OT (admittedly it has some crazy stuff in it) and the Koran as well as the the salient differences between Jesus and Mohammed and how this manifests in their adherents' belief.

@ RP:

"That even Sarah Palin condemns Koran burning illustrates the extent to which even supposed conservatives accept the morality and irrational emotionality of left-liberalism. What a bunch of wussies to object to burning the book of a religion that they think false and wrong.

Is it intolerant to assert that a religion's set of beliefs are wrong in fact?"

I got some flak for this from some moderates at my blog, so I'm excited to see you agreeing. To me, it just seems damn obvious.

Randall Parker said at September 12, 2010 6:55 PM:

OneSTDV,

I am not sure they are aware of this but they are basically privileging all religions because they are religions. They expect us to treat major religions with reverence. I see no reason why I should be restricted just because other people believe superstitions.

One of Larry Auster's readers suggested that someone put the Koran into a bottle of urine. What a great idea. The liberals had no problem with Piss Christ. So how can they object to doing the same to Islam's holy book? Turns out Piss Islam is not an original idea.

Engineer-Poet said at September 13, 2010 6:29 PM:
Double Ought said at September 12, 2010 10:16 AM:

"Now if someone could only show me how to come to peace with the inevitable riots.."

Are you planning to be involved or do you want to avoid them?

Very significant choice of poster name there.

Rioters who plan to involve me better be ready for my violent opposition.


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