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More on the “Mosque at Ground Zero”

14 Aug 2010

Scott just commented on my previous post about the “Mosque at Ground Zero” or Cordoba House. He was troubled by the selective reporting of the Christian sources he had read which had not mentioned that the Muslims building the mosque were seeking to repudiate radical Islam.

I agree with Scott’s concern about these sources.  However, what is more troubling to me is that there are some Christian sources who DO mention this, but then immediately dismiss it with an argument like this:

  1. Quoting statements of extremist Muslims about world domination (that most Muslims would disagree with)
  2. Giving interpretations / applications of selected Quranic verses about “allowable deception” (that most Muslims would disagree with)

Then, they conclude (or strongly suggest) that the moderation of the Muslims building Codorba House is a deceptive front and that deep inside they are radical extremists that want to take over the world – and this is one of their early strategic moves.

How can Muslims argue against this?  Their protests become evidence of the insidiousness of their deception.  (As is typical with conspiracy theories, one turns evidence against into evidence for.)

For an example of this kind of argument, see David Wood (of Acts 17 Apologetics – http://www.acts17.net) in a YouTube video which has has almost 2.5 million views (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxFzFIDbKpg , also on his site http://www.answeringmuslims.com/2010/05/of-mosques-and-men-reflections-on.html with comments).

It deeply saddens me to see Christians doing this.  From a Christian perspective, I see this as wrong in three ways:

  1. It dismisses or disregards or even suppresses truth.
  2. It violates the Golden Rule – we would not want this “logic” used against us.
  3. It disregards the way that Jesus taught his followers to interact with others – even their “enemies” – which, it appears, is how these Christians view Muslims.  (Read Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7 in the Bible.)
2 Comments leave one →
  1. 17 Aug 2010 5:44 pm

    I purposely commented on the last post before reading this one so that my comment would not be “flavored”. I feel that the above makes some strong points against the spirit of the second half of my comment. It is for me a difficult issue, trying to determine what it means to love our enemies in this context. Would God have been honored by Israel supporting the building of asherah poles or a house to Molech in Jerusalem? I think the clear answer is no, that he hated such things. So how do we then move to and reconcile the unchanging character of God (jealous and holy) and Christ’s command to love our enemies, which was given in the context of Rome’s political and pagan colonialism, yet arguably with a personal, not national implication? It was clear that Christ’s kingdom was intended to be pre-political, something deeper rooted in the heart, but we, like the Muslim’s look forward to victory and the eradication of our enemies. I guess the question becomes to what degree do we push back and with what weapons do we fight in this period of waiting for the Lord’s return? You rightly point out that we look to the example of our Messiah for the answer to that, who defeated his enemies through a death on the cross, humility exemplified. Yet, God has rescued us to work with him in redemption of the planet, to fight against evil and testify to his glorious love, mercy and holiness. To which side does the Codorba house fall? Is the support of a Christian of its building a sign of grace and love or of cowardly failure to defend the name of our Savior? Thanks, for the sharpening, brother!

    • 23 Aug 2010 8:52 am

      Hi again Kyle,

      While some of the Old Testament stories are tough for us to wrestle with, as those like Christopher Hitchens take delight in pointing out, I would argue that comparing ancient Israel to the USA is not valid – there are too many differences.

      I would agree with much of what you say about Christ’s way and kingdom. In a sense, I think you answer your own question. How do Christ-followers “fight” their “enemies”? They follow his example that you mentioned. They follow his teaching:
      43“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy.44But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!45In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.” (from Matthew 5)

      I think you would agree with me that there are things that Jesus really does want us to fight against – things like human trafficking, injustice, poverty, etc. – but not against Muslims building a place to peacefully worship. We might disagree with them theologically. We might want to have interfaith dialog with them. But, in my opinion, it is very un-Christian to use power (political, social, financial, etc.) to prevent their free exercise of their religion.

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