Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Dogma = Blasphemy = Evil by walford

As the latest outrage over Western lack of sensitivity to the piety of the Religion of Peace roils in the Islamic World, let us consider the concept of blasphemy. It is not merely desecrating the Divine. It is ascribing Divinity to the non-Divine.

Consider then the following statements I quoted in a piece written a couple of years ago for Accuracy In Media: “We knew that Bush is the enemy of God, the enemy of Islam and Muslims. America declared war against God. Sharon declared war against God, and God declared war against America, Bush and Sharon.”

Before he himself was killed by IDF rockets, HAMAS leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi said this in reference to a similar killing of the founder of a group unabashedly dedicated to destroy an entire country via bloodshed. In a contemporary quote, HAMAS’ website condemned a separate successful attack upon a trio who were on their way to what was called a “holy mission” to once again murder Israeli citizens in the pursuit of an entirely political objective.

It is noteworthy enough that Rantisi presumed to speak on behalf of a billion other souls without consulting them. But what makes this statement truly significant is that he – as a finite being – presumed to speak for the Divine, naming who the Almighty’s enemies are, what agenda the Infinite has in store for them and that deliberately killing men, women and children can be considered Blessed acts.

He was saying that his group’s enemies were, by definition, the enemies of God. In the other example, those who were about to blow themselves apart in the pursuit of taking civilians with them were on a mission from God. If this is not blasphemy, what is?

And yet, there is never any rebuke from other Muslims for the sacrilegious aspect. At most, some co-religionists will offer a mild admonishment for the latest suicide bombing. This is nearly always qualified by a justification to be lain ultimately at the foot of capitalism, the West, America and/or Israel. “Yes, it was bad what they did. That is not called for in Islam, but…” There certainly is no condemnation for characterizing such acts as ‘holy missions.’

The pious Iranian mullahs are currently issuing their indignation over certain manifestations of Western free speech. Yet, no Muslim has ever condemned as heretics those who invoked Divine guidance when raping virgins of the Baha’i faith before killing them, because the Almighty supposedly demands that those females who do not practice the One True Religion must not have their hymens intact when put to death as infidels. Similar justification was invoked when stoning women to death in Taliban Afghanistan – and likely continues in the Islamic Republic today.

One would think that smearing the name of a people and a religion would be bad enough when committing such barbarity. One would think that good Muslims would turn out in the streets over having such acts done in the name of the Almighty. Apparently this is trivial in comparison to some cartoons that utilized their Prophet’s image symbolically used to allude to a proclivity toward violence amongst Muslims [that then precipitated violence].

According to Islamic scholars, Muhammad is not to be pictorially depicted in order to avoid idolatry. If he were truly regarded as a humble flesh-and-blood human being who was Blessed and duly Called by the Almighty, it should not be possible to blaspheme him. Yet, when this image is used by others, the reaction is as if this man were himself a Divine entity. Who then are the idolaters here?

And lest I’m accused of picking on the Muslims, I have a problem substituting one form of dogma for another. Soon after 9/11, Ann Coulter wrote: “We know who the homicidal maniacs are. They are the ones cheering and dancing right now. We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.” When later confronted with this, she qualified it that she only meant those who were celebrating the 2001 deaths of 3,000+ Americans. Nonetheless, several years later, she had the following exchange with Alan Colmes on Fox News:

Colmes: Would you like to convert these people [Muslims] all to Christianity?
Coulter: The ones that we haven't killed, yes.
Colmes: So no one should be Muslim. They should all be Christian?
Coulter: That would be a good start, yes.

One major result of the Protestant Reformation was that the practice of ‘conversion by the sword’ was abandoned. This was not because Christians in the Western world became weaker in their faith. Instead, they revisited Jesus of Nazareth’s intentions and found that clerics were supposed to be facilitators and teachers, not the Almighty’s spokesmen. Furthermore, they came to understood that presuming to act in the name of God – for good or evil – is blasphemy.

Some even considered the possibility that the Almighty has existed long before our man-made religions. Consequently some came to accept that God is indeed all-powerful, generous and loving enough to make contact with every soul on this earth without man’s help.

Even those who practice religions that originated outside of the Middle East may indeed still be cradled in God’s Omnipresent Love even if they have never been exposed to a word of human dogma. Certainly there is no need to kill those who do not adopt our means of communing with the Infinite. Apparently Ann Coulter is among those Christians who join many Muslims in not realizing this.

When people see throngs of people setting fires and calling for severed heads because of some tasteless depictions of a man, it turns people away not only from Islam, but from all religions and thus from the Almighty as well. It has made it so that many associate making the declaration that ‘God is Great’ with a final act that is usually followed by indiscriminate slaughter. Consequently, many people consider belief in the Divine to be prima facie proof of blindness and stupidity.

Thus some people take this to mean that there is no objective source of truth and morality, so we may as well do whatever we can get away with. What results could be more evil?

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