Disco Inferno

One would think the Golden Rule would be sufficient to prevent a Christian from burning the holy book of another religious group, but this appears to not be enough for Pastor Terry Jones in Gainesville, Florida who plans to go ahead with plans to mark the anniversary of Sept. 11th by burning a number of Korans. While I think common courtesy, loving one’s enemies, and respect for the human conscience would all be in operation here, I think there is another reason why Christians wouldn’t want to take such an action; God has Muslims around for a purpose.

To understand why that is, I think Joe Carter proposes an interesting thought experiment in a recent post on First things:

Imagine that you (a devout Christian, Jew, Mormon, Hindu, etc) are shown a button and are told that if you press it, all knowledge of the Koran will cease to exist. Every text version across the globe will instantly disappear and any passages that were memorized will be forgotten. Muslims will not otherwise be affected other than their having no recall of the words of Allah as collected by Mohamed.

Would you press the button? How would you justify your decision? Would your decision be different if you had to make it solely based on the teaching of your faith and not on received cultural assumptions?

As a Christian I most decidedly would not press such button because I believe that God Himself places the powers that be (which include nations and people groups) in the world for a purpose, that purpose ultimately being to bring Himself glory and maximize the number of people who would come to know Him. As the book of Daniel so eloquently puts it:

“Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever,for wisdom and power belong to Him. “It is He who changes the times and the epochs; he removes kings and establishes kings; He gives wisdom to wise men and knowledge to men of understanding.”Daniel 2:20-21

Ultimately as a believer I must accept that anyone who has power or influence in this world does so for a reason – because God allows it. In the Old Testament we see a number of nations raised up and utilized by God for His purposes – Egyptians, Babylonians, Persians, etc. All ruled for a time, had a place in God’s overall plan. This has always been the case and always will be. And the result will always be the same – God will get glory, His truth will be advanced, and His people will triumph. What is often forgotten is that everyone who exists is necessary to this end, whether they believe it or not and this includes all follow the Koran.

Now this does not mean our response as believers is passivity, because we are here for a purpose as well – but our purpose isn’t to eliminate people God chose to exist but to represent truth in our prayers, our lives, and our words and so play our part in maximizing the number of those who will experience the ultimate reality of eternity with God.

So if offered such a button the answer is ‘no’; as is the answer to the request to help burn a stack of Korans.

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7 Responses to Disco Inferno

  1. kenetiks says:

    I’ll have to agree. I would not push the button either. Although obviously for wholly different reasons.

    Why anyone would do this is beyond me. I understand the Draw Muhammad Day and the reasons behind it. But I think the willful destruction of any knowledge or literary work is too much.

  2. Justin says:

    I think burning the quran is a decidedly unChristian thing to do. Great post, Jack. I fully understand the sentiment behind it, but that’s what we’re supposed to overcome as Christians.

  3. jackhudson says:

    Thanks for the post kenetiks – just out of curiosity, why would you ‘not push the button’?

    And if the button included all religious belief, would you push it then? Why not?

  4. kenetiks says:

    Thanks for the post kenetiks – just out of curiosity, why would you ‘not push the button’?

    And if the button included all religious belief, would you push it then? Why not?

    I couldn’t push it. It’s not up to me to forceably delete memories from another person. I could also not force my views onto another person. It’s the same reason I do not ever wish anyone to “pray I find god”. The person doing the praying is attempting to alter my consciousnesses, my reasoning faculties and my ideas to force their views and beliefs onto me. Irregardless of my belief that this will never work anyway; the intent of the person is the same, a sort of mind slavery.

    I would not delete all religious belief for much the same reason. Adding that, the holy books have had impact on our literary and cultural history. I think the work of trying to alter the cultural artifacts that do harm to others through better education is a more productive endeavor than simply forcefully flipping a switch, even if we could.

  5. Roddy says:

    “The person doing the praying is attempting to alter my consciousnesses, my reasoning faculties and my ideas to force their views and beliefs onto me. Irregardless of my belief that this will never work anyway; the intent of the person is the same, a sort of mind slavery.”

    It depends on what they’re praying for. It’s what they’re thinking that matters. If they’re praying that you “find” God then they probably only want you to discover what they believe to be true is actually true and start believing.
    If they’re praying that God makes you believe in him… then that’s a very different thing

  6. kenetiks says:

    Roddy says:
    December 22, 2010 at 7:38 am
    It depends on what they’re praying for. It’s what they’re thinking that matters. If they’re praying that you “find” God then they probably only want you to discover what they believe to be true is actually true and start believing.
    If they’re praying that God makes you believe in him… then that’s a very different thing

    It appears that your post was not well thought out.

    For example.

    First, in either case let’s first assume that you are praying to “god”. In this case we’ll further assume it’s the christian version. Which really doesn’t matter I suppose.

    Second let’s take both roads and see where they lead.

    A. You are praying I “[i]find god[/i]”.
    B. You are praying god “[i]directly changes my mind about his existence[/i]”.

    In the case of A, we see that your intent is to have god himself directly intervene and [i]actively[/i] make me [i][b]dismiss everything I know in favor of one proposition over another[/b][/i].

    In the case of B, we see that your intent is to have god himself directly intervene and [i]actively[/i] [i][b]replace everything I know in favor of one proposition over another[/b][/i].

    In either case, your direct intent is the same and the outcome is the same.

    Your intent is for the creator of the entire universe to suspend the natural order of said universe and by direct action, [b]FORCE[/b] me to believe [i]or[/i] force me to think differently. The effect is one in the same, a genocide of my brain cells. Also, in both, this would entail much more sweeping implications because this might also have the effect of altering my personality to have the desired effect and thus I [i]would no longer be me[/i].

    This would also have serious implications for christians as well because this [b][i]directly[/i][/b] negates the christian principle of [i]free will[/i]. One could simply go around praying for anyone to think differently about anything and thus altering peoples consciousness [i]at will[/i].

    Of course, this would only [i]be a problem[/i] if prayer actually worked, which it thankfully doesn’t but still does not escape the reasonable principle that the person praying is attempting to commit an act of intellectual and psychological slavery.

  7. kenetiks says:

    It appears I’ve forgotten where I was posting.

    Face/Palm

    BBCODE NO, HTML Yeah…

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