No one loves a good insult like me, but I don’t particularly agree with the Dove World Outreach Center’s decision to hold a Quran book burning on September 11th.
Don’t misunderstand me, they can do it. No one should stop them, and anyone who tries to hurt the people involved should jump off a cliff instead, though I doubt there will be much trouble, what with “between 500 and 2000” armed members of the militia Right Wing Extreme handling security (because that is what Jesus would do). What could go wrong, right?
I even like insulting Muslims and Islam. I am still an ardent supporter of Draw Mohammed Day (already gearing up for May 20th of next year).
But there is something fundamentally different going on here. The first strike is the lack of originality. “Oh, I don’t like something… I’ll burn a symbol of them.” Total lack of creativity.
The second strike is the fact that rather than pointing out a problem, it is blatantly iconoclastic. Iconoclasm is the destruction of symbols… which is something Muslims do… and I hate when they do it.
The third strike is that Christians ought to be reading the Quran. I have noticed how woefully ignorant of Islam Americans are throughout this whole debacle over the Ground Zero (er, two blocks away) Muslim community center (or if you’re watching Faux News: “mosque”).
On one side, you have these people saying they hate Islam but know nothing about it. On the other side, you have people who also never read the Quran who are trying to argue that Islam is a peaceful religion no different than any other.
Both are wrong, and both groups of people should shut up when it comes to things they know nothing about.
I, on the other hand, have read the Quran. I know that it condemns me to death and an eternity in the lake of fire on every other page (no exaggeration). I know it’s basically a rehashing of the Old Testament and an even looser interpretation of the New Testament (but in their version, Judas is crucified in place of Jesus, and Jesus is explicitly and repeatedly defined as not a God or God’s son, which would be so below Allah… I dunno, sounds more plausible to me…).
And yet, I have no urge to burn my Quran.
At the core of my ideology is to add more to the world. Even if I could erase all religious texts on Earth, I wouldn’t. It would make the world less rich. We should be adding more to our base of knowledge, not trying to redact it. Book burnings are censorship, an attempt to physically destroy knowledge (though it is merely metaphorical in this instance, because they are only burning a few of the billions of copies of the Quran that are in existence).
But you know what? To stop a book burning from happening is also censorship. The only time I would physically want someone to step in is if an angry mob descended upon a library with torches, and this is clearly a bring-your-own-book burning. You can do what you want with a Quran you own.
[Mine is in my bathroom, which is way more offensive and original than burning it.]
Finally, I’m not even surprised. Christians have a long history of burning books, going back to the burning of heretical scrolls by Christians at Ephesus (Acts 19:19). It wouldn’t be Christianity without the blatant intolerance and destructive tendencies. Then it would be Buddhism.
But if you’re going to make a statement, have some balls and don’t hide behind a small army. What kind of frightened wimps are you that you claim to believe in heaven, but you’re afraid to die? The whole thing makes a very weak case for Christianity, but it does make atheism look better and better by the minute.