Sunday, September 03, 2006

The War on Terror



I drive busses for Blacksburg Transit. Recently we had a policeman speak to us about terror, one of the best presentations I have ever heard. He was cogent, timely, humorous at times, interesting, informative, and no-nonsense. I learned an awful lot about terrorism which I shall not share with you over a blog. However, it did make me think a bit about Bush and his policies.

Here is where I net out: Bush may or may not be doing most things right in the war on terror. The war in Iraq may or may not be correct, immigration policies may or may not be correct, etc.

But one thing I do know: I know next to nothing about terrorism. Ja, I learned a bit recently. However, I still know very very little. So who am I to critique Bush about the way he's fighting it? I have very little respect for people who bad-mouth the war in Iraq and insist we pull out immediately (a very bad idea, I should think; that would almost be worse than never having gone in in the first place), and have no constructive alternative. Such people are spineless, and like little children, are trying to get attention in a bad way. So I say, don't give them media coverage. Such people are likely to say that we can appease the Islamic extremists. Really? Apparently we don't remember Neville Chamberlain who almost single-handedly managed to promote Hitler's agenda beyond even his wildest dreams. What was Chamberlain's strategy? Total capitulation. Did it work? Of course not. It's like giving candy to a kid: Hitler was just going to keep at it, asking for more.

One thing I'm not so sure about, and I'd be interested in your opinions, dear readers. The question is this: does orthodox Islam require jihad? Are the extremists really extreme, or are they the ones interpreting the Koran correctly? This is surely not a superfluous question, or an ignorant one. If the liberals are right about Islam being the Religion of Peace, as Ann Coulter would say, then why is it that such a gigantic majority of terrorists are Muslim? There's a special episode of The West Wing which uses the following analogy: Muslim extremists are to Islam as the KKK is to Chrisianity. I submit to you that this may be incorrect. In other words, please comment on the following analogy: these Muslim extremists are to Islam as committed orthodox reformed Presbyterians are to Christianity. Naturally, I'm not accusing Presbyterians of terrorism; what I am saying is that maybe the extremists have it right, according to the Koran.

Here are some quotes to ponder, from the Koran. Now I know that if there are any Muslim readers out there, you will object saying that this is in English. So be it. I don't understand Arabic, and most of my readers probably don't, either.

Surah IX, Repentance. Verse 4. Excepting those of the idolaters with whom ye (Muslims) have a treaty, and who have since abated nothing of your right nor have supported anyone against you. (As for these), fulfil their treaty to them till their term. Lo! Allah loveth those who keep their duty (unto Him).

Verse 5. Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

Verse 6. And if anyone of the idolaters seeketh thy protection (O Muhammad), then protect him so that he may hear the word of Allah, and afterward convey him to his place of safety. That is because they are a folk who know not.

Verse 7. How can there be a treaty with Allah and with His messenger for the idolaters save those with whom ye made a treaty at the Inviolable Place of Worship? So long as they are true to you, be true to them. Lo! Allah loveth those who keep their duty.

...

Verse 29. Fight against such of those who have been given the Scripture as believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, and forbid not that which Allah hath forbidden by His messenger, and follow not the religion of truth, until they pay the tribute readily, being brought low.

...

Verse 41. Go forth, light-armed and heavy-armed, and strive with your wealth and your lives in the way of Allah! That is best for you if ye but knew.

...

Verse 122. And the believers should not all go out to fight. Of every troop of them, a party only should go forth, that they (who are left behind) may gain sound knowledge in religion, and that they may warn their folk when they return to them, so that they may beware.

Verse 123. O ye who believe! Fight those of the disbelievers who are near to you, and let them find harshness in you, and know that Allah is with those who keep their duty (unto Him).

What is your verdict? I find Verse 123 to be particularly telling. Christianity says the opposite: turn the other cheek. Furthermore, while it may be there, I do not find instructions in the Koran that say that this fight is spiritual and not physical. Yes, Christianity is a fight; but Paul makes it clear in Ephesians 6 that our battle is not against flesh and blood but against spiritual enemies. Consequently, our warfare is spiritual in nature, and not physical. The Koran does not appear to have such mitigating sentiments.

In Christ.


 
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16 Comments:

At 9/04/2006 07:16:00 AM , Blogger une_fille_d'Ève said...

Very interesting, and a subject which I have pondered some, but sadly have no insight into. We'll be studying Islam in my Religion class this semester, so I enjoyed reading what you said, and I'm interested to hear what other people have to say. I wouldn't be surprised if my teacher presented Islam as a religion of peace.

And I haven't welcomed you back yet, so welcome back! I'm happy to see you around blogosphere again - discussions have gotten a little more lively and interesting once again. :-) Where'd you disappear to this summer??

 
At 9/04/2006 06:45:00 PM , Blogger Susan said...

Wow. I never had any idea that the plural of bus could also be spelled "busses," but Dictionary.com approves of your spelling choice :).

I'm admittedly ignorant about the War on Terror and therefore avoid making emphatic statements. I see good that has come from it and I see our incredible deficit that rises every day. The fiscal conservative in me cringes, the freedom-lover in me applauds advances made and Sadaam overthrown. Summary? I'm glad I'm not president :). I do agree completely that suddenly pulling out is one of the worst things we could do right now. Let's remember Vietnam :).

Yes, I would say orthodox Islam requires Jihad. One thing of interest, though, that I was pondering as reading the quotes you provided - and then Mother Dear said the same to me after reading them - was that people could just as easily pull quotes from the Old Testament that would make it look like Christianity is a religion of death. So we must be careful when examining quotes and such. A text without a context is a pretext.

 
At 9/06/2006 08:03:00 PM , Blogger Adrian C. Keister said...

Reply to Hannah.

Thanks for the welcome back... to my own blog. ;-)]

Reply to Susan.

I'm very glad I'm not President.

True, people could pull verses out of context from the OT and claim God was a god of death. The problem with that, though, is several-fold. First, God was using Israel to punish the nations, and not torturing them or oppressing them. Second, like I said, we have the Ephesians quote to point out the spiritual nature of our warfare. That is what appears to be missing in the Koran. I invite anyone to find such mitigating quotes.

In Christ.

 
At 9/07/2006 08:27:00 PM , Blogger une_fille_d'Ève said...

The inference there (in case you didn't catch it) was that I was welcoming you back more to the blogosphere than to 'your own blog'. But, take it as you will. :-)

 
At 9/07/2006 08:33:00 PM , Blogger Susan said...

True, people could pull verses out of context from the OT and claim God was a god of death. The problem with that, though, is several-fold. First, God was using Israel to punish the nations, and not torturing them or oppressing them. Second, like I said, we have the Ephesians quote to point out the spiritual nature of our warfare. That is what appears to be missing in the Koran.

Exactly. Quite true.

By the way, I recently heard an interesting interpretation of the slaughtering of the Caananites, from a redemptive-historical perspective. Just as the Israelites were commanded to kill the unbelievers in Canaan, so our command now is to kill all the unbelievers of the world. But, not in the sense you're thinking. Our mission is to work towards the death of the natural man, that unbelievers may be made alive in Christ and put on the new man. For I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. . .

 
At 9/12/2006 08:44:00 AM , Anonymous Chris H. said...

Adrian,

Interesting question. I might submit that in a way it does not matter who is interpreting Islam correctly, since Islam itself is a made-up religion, a politically inspired imitation of the corrupted "Christianity" in Arabia. Muhammed was either deceived or a deceiver, and the Koran is a disjointed collection of abstract but religious sounding verses all "dictated" to one man, not unlike the Book of Mormon.

Therefore, even though I tend to agree with you that the Koran itself advocates violence and the conflation of political power with spiritual commitment, I am happy for the "moderate" Muslism to interpret Jihad as an "internal struggle," or whatever they say, since the whole project is based on false revelation to begin with.

In other words, there is no "orthodoxy" to be found in the first place. Islam is what Muslims make it, and so for humanitarian reasons, I want them to make it peaceful, even if that contradicts some of the original sentiments.

Therefore, we should encourage reform in the Muslim world, and if that means falsely spiritualizing what are obviously violent texts, so much the better.

Better yet would be that Muslims embrace the God who did not come to condemn the world, but to save the world through the weakness and death of His own dear Son. That concept is UTTERLY foreign to them, as it is foreign to human nature. Islam reinforces our fallen human desire to win and have power; Christianity calls upon us to crucify it, even with Christ.

Hope that all makes sense.

Yours, Chris H.

 
At 9/15/2006 11:38:00 AM , Blogger zan said...

What Chris says summerized a lot of how I believe. It also reminded me of a book I read that was by a former Muslim turned Presbyterian Christian. I don't have the book anymore, but it was very educational. I think it was called, "The Christian Guide to the Koran."

 
At 9/16/2006 09:40:00 PM , Blogger Adrian C. Keister said...

To continue this discussion, please tell me what you think of this link:

http://www.btgh.org/messages.php?action=
Story&message_id=367&PHPSESSID
=4c7efc38b80afd7cbf0ada8fe8444564.

I hope you can follow that link.

In Christ.

 
At 9/18/2006 04:49:00 PM , Blogger Susan said...

To anyone else attempting to follow the link: copy it line-by-line and it should work. Or click here :).

I had read the article before (linked from Lane's blog, perhaps?). Most interesting (and novel to me) were the highlights of the Qur'an's view of Jesus. On the same wave length, this was a particularly sad-but-true statement:

In all honesty, some Muslims beliefs about Jesus are closer to the Bible than the beliefs of some people who call themselves Christians. Some so-called Christians, including even some pastors and scholars, do not accept that Jesus was miraculously born of a virgin, or that he worked mighty miracles by divine power, or that God spoke to the writers of the Bible. Muslims are closer to Christian belief than are misguided pseudo-Christians who have slipped away from biblical revelation into secularism.

The author did an excellent job outlining the main difference between Christianity and Islam (I might add, or any other religion): Islam is a works-based religion. The concept of grace is utterly foreign to non-Christians (laughing as I stop, check, and confirm that I just said virtuously the same thing that Chris did).

Now here's a related quote from yesterday's sermon at my church: The Gospel is the opposite of moralism.

Think on that for a while :).

 
At 9/18/2006 07:58:00 PM , Blogger zan said...

Susan, I laughed when I saw that you created that link. So much easier than typing out the whole address. I wish I was as computer savvy as you.

That article a few chapters of the book I read summerized.

I couldn't find who wrote it. Anybody know?

 
At 9/20/2006 08:28:00 AM , Blogger Adrian C. Keister said...

Reply to Chris.

Great stuff, there. I agree. And I'm not sure I can really add to it, so I'll just TIOC myself.

Reply to Zan.

Which book?

In Christ.

 
At 9/20/2006 11:18:00 AM , Blogger zan said...

"The Christian Guide to the Koran."

I think that is what it was called. I gave that book to my mom and don't have it on hand. I can't be sure that that is what it was called. It was something like that. I don't remember the author, either. He was a former muslim turned Christian Presbyterian.

What does TIOC stand for?

 
At 9/20/2006 11:23:00 AM , Blogger zan said...

Sorry for the mixed up comment above.

"That article a few chapters of the book I read summerized."

Wow. I sound like Yoda. I must have been really scattered or tired. That was very unclear.

I meant to say that the article you linked to reminded me of the book about the Koran. The article summerized a few chapters in the book.

 
At 9/20/2006 11:27:00 AM , Blogger zan said...

I looked on amazon and found the real title.

It is call, "Understanding the Koran: A Quick Christian Guide to the Muslim Holy Book," by Mr. Mateen Elass.

 
At 9/20/2006 08:00:00 PM , Blogger Susan said...

TIOC = tie it off cordially

'Tis Adrian's invention for a cordial and final way to end a conversation that has come to a close.

 
At 9/23/2006 04:09:00 PM , Blogger Adrian C. Keister said...

Reply to Zan.

Ah, I see you found your book. Excellent.

In Christ.

 

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