Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Islam and tolerance

I am against Islam. I do not believe Mohammad was a prophet of God, I do not believe the Qur’an was inspired by God, I do not believe Islam is a way of salvation, and I do not even believe that Islam is a “great” religion (unless we’re just counting numbers). In case this sounds terribly intolerant, don’t forget that Muslims have the same kinds of views toward Christianity. For example, according to the Qur’an, those of us who believe in the Trinity are blasphemers”, (Sura V.72) and those who reject Islam will be “Companions of Hell-fire” (Sura V.10). As an American, I respect Muslims’ right to disagree. In fact, I tend to respect peaceful Muslims who think I’m going to hell, much more than I respect those who call themselves Christians but deny virtually every fundamental tenet of the Christian faith (e.g. John Shelby Spong, Marcus Borg, John Dominic Crossan, and many others in mainline denominations).

But while I am against Islam as a religion, I love Muslims as individuals. I have never treated a Muslim with anything but kindness and respect. If I had Muslim neighbors, I would go out of my way to respect their views, to be kind and compassionate, and to assist them in personal needs. Not many years ago this would have been called “tolerance.” Unfortunately, tolerance now seems to have been redefined as a willingness to accept all views as equally valid and true, resulting in a refusal to judge other views as wrong. Some have actually carried this relativism so far that they refuse even to call Hitler or Saddam Hussein evil! This is not tolerance. This is absurdity! The fact is that the advocates of the “new” tolerance are usually only tolerant about those things that do not directly affect them personally. For example, if someone were to pour a pot of boiling water on them, they would be quite sure that was evil!