An Apostle on Muslims

September 21, 2010 | 46 comments
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Yesterday, I read the following comments on Muslims by an LDS Apostle:

I am aware it is not without a great deal of prejudice that we as Europeans, and Americans, and Christians in religion and in our education, so called, have looked down upon the history of Muhammad, or even the name; and even now we may think that Islam, compared with Christianity as it exists in the world, is a kind of heathenism, or something dreadful…

… For my part, I hardly know which to call the idolatrous side of the question, unless we consider Islam Christianity, in one sense, and that which has been called Christianity, heathenism.

Islam included the doctrine that there was one God-that He was great, even the Creator of all things, and that the people by right should worship Him. History abundantly shows the followers of Muhammad did not take the sword, either to enforce their religion or to defend themselves, until compelled to do so by the persecutions of their enemies, and then it was the only alternative that presented itself, to take up the sword and put down idolatry, and establish the worship of the one God; or, on the other hand, be crushed and cease to be, on account of the idolatrous nations around them; they seemed to act on the defensive, although it might legally be considered aggression.

The Greek and Roman Churches, which have been called Christian, and which take the name of Christian as a cloak, have worshiped innumerable idols. On this account, on the simple subject of the Deity and His worship, if nothing more, I should rather incline, of the two, after all my early traditions, education, and prejudices, to the side of Muhammad, for on this point he is on the side of truth, and the Christian world on the side of idolatry and heathenism.…

…Inasmuch as He and His Father are organized with body and parts, with limbs, joints, flesh, and bones, that are immortal and eternal, they have no part or lot, or communication whatever, with that imaginary being which is recognized in the principal creeds of Christendom as their God, a god without body, parts, or passions. Therefore, in that sense, in the very foundation of their creeds, they are idolators; and instead of saying that Islam prevailed against Christianity, and that Christianity was in danger of being done away by its prevalence, we would rather say, that where Islam prevailed it taught and established one truth at least, viz., the true and living God, and so far as this went, it did preserve people from worshiping idols. And had the crescent waved on the tower of London, or on the church of St. Paul, instead of the cross, and had the Muhammedean religion been enforced instead of the Roman religion that was enforced for a series of generations, and had tradition riveted what the sword enforced, then that nation and the surrounding nations would have been worshipers of one true God instead of idols; they would have recognized it in theory at least, whether they would have recognized it in theory at least, whether they would have worshiped Him in spirit and in truth or not. But now they do not recognize Him in theory, for they acknowledge as their god an imaginary being without body, parts or passions.

… The Muhammedean operations, in the hands of the descendants of Abraham and Ishmael, seem to have warded off that deception and mystery of iniquity in some measure, so that it has not entirely overrun their country, morals and institutions. Though Muhammedean institutions are corrupt enough, and need reforming by the Gospel, I am inclined to think, upon the whole, leaving out the corruptions of men in high places among them, that they have better morals and better institutions than many Christian nations; and in many localities there have been high standards of morals. There are, no doubt, sections of country, and different localities in Asia, where the people have not walked strictly according to the regulations and laws given by Muhammed, and observed by his true followers.

…We would do well to look into the bearings of the history of nations, and the dealings of God with them, as impartially as we can, at all times, and cull out all the good there has been, is or may be, and acknowledge the hand of God in all things, in His dealings with the nations as well as in other things. I acknowledge His hand even in this Gentile reign, whose corruption I have been hinting at. It has had its day, which has been a long and dark one; the nations have groaned under its sway; all nations have felt its withering power; all nations have been deceived by its darkening and mysterious influences, they have groaned in ignorance and corruption under the hand of oppression, and tyranny, and wrong, until the head and heart are sick, and they are ready to wake up and seek something better.

I haven’t included the full text of the address this comes from, which is principally a criticism of the idolatry of traditional Christianity, but if someone can guess which apostle, I’ll be glad to point the source (and I will provide the citation regardless before closing the comments).

Given the amount that is said both in the news and in public forums like T&S, I thought the comments above were an interesting counterpoint to today’s debate.

[I should also mention that I have made some small changes in the text to normalize terms and spellings.]

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46 Responses to An Apostle on Muslims

  1. JotaG on September 21, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    Parley P. Pratt

  2. Dan on September 21, 2010 at 8:08 pm

    Kent,

    On the following part:

    History abundantly shows the followers of Muhammad did not take the sword, either to enforce their religion or to defend themselves, until compelled to do so by the persecutions of their enemies, and then it was the only alternative that presented itself, to take up the sword and put down idolatry, and establish the worship of the one God; or, on the other hand, be crushed and cease to be, on account of the idolatrous nations around them; they seemed to act on the defensive, although it might legally be considered aggression.

    Do you have any authoritative history on this period of Muhammed? I’m honestly not well versed in that part of history.

  3. Sean on September 21, 2010 at 9:27 pm

    Parley P. Pratt. Google makes this an unfair exercise :)

  4. Kent Larsen on September 21, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    It is indeed Parley P. Pratt. From a discourse given Sept. 23, 1855 in the Salt Lake Tabernacle.

    I had hoped that the changes I made would slow people down a little (I made the changes only to modernize the names Mahomet to Muhommad and Mahometanism to Islam).

    I found this in The Contributor, the YMMIA magazine from the 1880s.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=aNURAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=editions:HARVARD32044100172352&lr=#v=onepage&q&f=false

    The text starts on page 95.

  5. Alison Moore Smith on September 22, 2010 at 2:10 am

    Kent, I thought this was interesting, but what points do you see as countering “today’s debate”?

  6. H. Ross on September 22, 2010 at 2:17 am

    Dan,

    The activities of the Muslims during and after the death of Mohammad are detailed here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muslim_conquests

    Elder Pratt makes interesting points but I have to disagree on his comment that Muslims were… on the defensive. They were quite expansionist up until around the nineteenth century as the Europeans gained the upper-hand. But perhaps he was only considering the more recent history of the 1800s.

    If you want further details, you can check Encyclopedia Britannica or do a Google search.

  7. Ardis E. Parshall on September 22, 2010 at 2:58 am

    Thank you for this, Kent. “Today’s debate” seldom recognizes Islam as a genuine religion, instead casting it entirely as a politico-criminal enterprise. Here PPPratt acknowledges Islam as a brother religion in the literal family of Abraham, noting that in at least one limited way — its knowledge of the true God — it is superior to corrupt Christianity. Even while he points to failures of Islam and of Muslim society, his tone throughout is calm and even respectful, without the slightest tinge of fear or hatred or fanatic scorn that too often mars “today’s debate.”

    It will be easy for commenters to pick these lines apart to emphasize PPPratt’s recognition of Islam’s failings while completely missing the rational and respectful tone. I appreciate that tone most of all.

  8. Chino Blanco on September 22, 2010 at 4:04 am

    As someone who owns the $100 boxed DVD set from their Amsterdam conference, I think it would behoove politically-concerned Latter-day Saints to read this piece at religiondispatches.org about the “World Congress of Families”:

    http://www.religiondispatches.org/archive/politics/3334/can_mormon_glenn_beck_unite_the_christian_right/

    Paul Mero, Sheri L. Dew and Russell M. Nelson introduce each other and share the dais when they’re overseas at WCF conferences.

    And if you’re familiar with what’s been happening at the UN re family issues (in a Mormon context), there’s really no need to summon the ghost of Parley P. Pratt.

    United Families International. Family Watch International. UFI, in particular, maintains NGO status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC) and works to “educate” UN ambassadors and delegates on root policies affecting the family.

    Policies that these para-Mormon activists freely admit are more in line with the goals of conservative Islamist regimes than with U.S. goals at the UN.

  9. wondering on September 22, 2010 at 4:23 am

    So is the best we can do to combat ignorant, unfair anti-Muslim arguments to trot out an old address full of ignorant, unfair anti-Catholic arguments?

    Also, it’s worth noting that when this address was given over 150 years ago, Muslim fundamentalism was small and the modern Islamist movements were still far in the future. I think it is these movements that most people object to, rather than to Islam per se.

  10. Dan on September 22, 2010 at 6:01 am

    wondering,

    Also, it’s worth noting that when this address was given over 150 years ago, Muslim fundamentalism was small and the modern Islamist movements were still far in the future. I think it is these movements that most people object to, rather than to Islam per se.

    Good point. However, it seems many today conflate the Islamist movements with all of Islam, as if all of Islam is evil. When someone makes the claim that Islam is a political movement as opposed to a religion, this is why such a response is needed.

    H. Ross,

    Thanks for sharing that. Having reviewed several wikipedia pages on that period, I don’t see Mohammed’s own actions to be expansionary, but rather defensive and based on his and his group’s survival from tribes that wished him death. Perhaps those who followed after him decided to expand.

  11. RogerDodger on September 22, 2010 at 6:45 am

    Modern muslim-haters, whipped up by the right-wing media and blogosphere, see all of Islam as monolithic, at war with us, evil, ragheads or worse. They make no distinctions between nations, movements, secular vs. religious states or anything else. My kids grew up with muslim kids. If you haven’t had a muslim kid at your dinnner table while you said an LDS blessing on the food, you haven’t lived. I’m grateful my kids have learned to judge muslim people the same way we want to be judged — as individuals. I fear, however, that the hate that is being spewn around these days will take more than a generation to heal. I appreciate the church’s behavior towards muslims and I just wish more of the members would try to understand and/or emulate it.

  12. Abu Casey on September 22, 2010 at 10:01 am

    This is interesting, but calling the worship of a disembodied God idolatrous does nothing to elevate Islam above Christianity, as any debates (if there ever were any) about the embodied nature of God have been long since settled in favor of an equally disembodied God in Islam. His basic point fails due to a poor understanding of basic Islamic doctrine. There may have been groups that worshiped an embodied God, but like Mormons, they would have been in the minority.

  13. The Only True and Living Nathan on September 22, 2010 at 10:53 am

    Modern muslim-haters, whipped up by the right-wing media and blogosphere, see all of Islam as monolithic, at war with us, evil, ragheads or worse. They make no distinctions between nations, movements, secular vs. religious states or anything else.

    Where do you see this? I see this accusation leveled against the Right by the Left far more than I see it expressed by the Right.

  14. Charles on September 22, 2010 at 11:43 am

    I have lived in Saudi Arabia among the beduins. In my experience they were very generous and open hearted people.

    But this is not to give all of Islamic society a pass. In particular, there is one thing where Pratt is just not correct. Islam has almost never been passive except in times of utter defeat. It has nearly always taken the aggressive role, militarily, whenever its adherents were able to organize sufficiently to do so.

    In addition, in modern “islam” there is a conflation between social and cultural concepts and the religion. This conflation makes things that are not originally part of the religion, now a sacrosanct thing that must be honored. These cultural alterations to the religion are sometimes very oppressive and sometimes add to the degree of violence that Moslems will tolerate or even practice.

    Finally, in modern Islam, there is a huge element of basic Nazi propaganda. I don’t have a poll, but I met many many moslems who believe that there is a worldwide plot of international Jewish bankers, politicians and industrialists who evilly rule the world– particularly over God’s people – the Moslems, to amass wealth and power. The modern crusades that have been apparently victorious against them (starting in about the 1800’s) are entirely funded by this international cabal of mostly Jews and (and some Christians), and it is the right and responsibility of Islam, in the name of Allah to overthrow this order of things. It is a religious duty to perform in the Name of God and it is necessary to bring about the great War that is prophesied to come that will make all things right. (This is like the apocalyptic vision of the coming of Christ).

    This propaganda which is massively imposed upon the population without significant rebuttal, is enhanced by the lack of any other eduction generally and is confirmed in the mind of the Moslem observer by the lack of employment, particularly among young men between 15 and 32, and grinding poverty that they generally experience. These problems are not because they are overcrowded, uneducated, disorganized or because they live in places that are barren and difficult — no. I it because of the international plot against them.

    Pratt completely misses the boat on this, but then.. it really was not his objective to describe Islams flaws, was it? He had his eyes elsewhere.

  15. H. Ross on September 22, 2010 at 11:44 am

    Dan,

    That’s fairly true about Muhammad. He preached in Mecca before being forced to leave by the pagans. He then went to Medina and preached some more and gained a following. It would be many years before he conquered Mecca.

    Why are we talking about Left and Right? We don’t need a political lens to read Elder Pratt’s talk. There is some good in every religion and he has justly pointed that out.

  16. Ardis E. Parshall on September 22, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    H. Ross, commenters are talking that way because they can neither separate themselves from current rhetoric nor imagine that PPP could have had a valid view different from their own. That’s always the difficulty in reading historical texts, isn’t it?

  17. H. Ross on September 22, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    Ardis, that’s true. People tend to get set into their viewpoints and can’t put themselves in others’ shoes…

  18. Hans on September 22, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    Charles said:

    “In addition, in modern “islam” there is a conflation between social and cultural concepts and the religion. This conflation makes things that are not originally part of the religion, now a sacrosanct thing that must be honored. These cultural alterations to the religion are sometimes very oppressive and sometimes add to the degree of violence that Moslems will tolerate or even practice.”

    Good thing we Christians don’t have this problem and it’s isolated to Muslims, right?

  19. brian larsen on September 22, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    ‘Amen’ to Hans. Look at the long line of colonization (and aftermath) undertaken by ‘Christian’ nations in both ancient and modern history. Surprisingly, a large portion of society can’t apply to themselves the same criticism they launch at others.

  20. DavidH on September 22, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    Yes, I am glad that Christianity is a religion of peace. One that would never spread itself by the sword (or implied threat of the sword). Remind me again, how did Christianity come to be the dominant religion in the western hemisphere?

  21. Raymond Takashi Swenson on September 22, 2010 at 6:04 pm

    Part of the context of Elder Pratt’s statement was that it was a common theme of the critics of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young and the Mormons to compare them to Mohammad and the Muslims. The announcement of the practice of polygamy just a few years before made the connection inevitable. Pratt is turning the tables on the critics and asserting that being called similar to the Muslims and dissimilar to the Christian churches of the day (1855) was not necessarily a bad thing.

    The Christianity of Pratt’s day included many churches that openly endorsed imperialism (the Church of England) and racism, with the Southern Baptists specifically asserting the Bible’s endorsement of slavery in order to justify their own dissent in support of that institution. The Protestant churches of America were actively hostile to Catholicism and Catholics (especially Irish), in addition to Mormons, who were seen as including many “foreigners” (British and Northern European) and constituting, in the eyes of some, a new, inferior race of mankind.

    On the other hand, there were virtually no Muslims in the US in 1855, and certainly none of them had lifted a hand against a Mormon or any other American (not since the confrontation with the Barbary Pirates decades earlier). So one can understand why Pratt would feel a positive inclination toward Muslims compared to the hostile Christians who would soon launch a military expedition against Utah.

  22. grego on September 22, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    Raymond,

    Thumbs up!

    -=
    Charles,

    “Basic Nazi propaganda…” and all that. Perhaps, they are not the ones who have been misled and lied to?

  23. danithew on September 22, 2010 at 9:55 pm

    This morning in the New York Times I read about a director named Sonia Nassery Cole and her effort to shoot a movie in Afghanistan. When I read the introductory lines of the article, my jaw just plain dropped:

    Sonia Nassery Cole knew that shooting a movie on location in Afghanistan could get her killed. The most vivid reminder came a few weeks before filming, she said, when militants located her leading actress and cut off both of her feet.

    Here is a link to the article.

    Now I know that many people would immediately say that this is “not Islam” and I would even agree with that. But the problem is that today the “not Islam” version of Islam is far too prevalent – to such a degree that I wonder who in the Muslim world really gets to define Islam and what Islam is about.

  24. brian larsen on September 23, 2010 at 7:38 am

    danithew,

    Really? Your jaw dropped? Afghanistan isn’t the safest of places these days.

    “Far too prevalent” – meaning, in the news? I wonder if that actress was Muslim. The film was critical of the Taliban.

    “I wonder who in the Muslim world really gets to define Islam and what Islam is about.” So do they, that’s a main reason their fighting. Better hope the good guys win.

    Also, this has happened in Christian history as well. Explore some of the relations between Christian nations during the Middle Ages.

    Let’s not brush this off as finished. Let’s promote sympathy and understanding. It is serious – that’s not in question.

    Hear about Muslim fear to visit NY for the same reason?

  25. brian larsen on September 23, 2010 at 7:45 am

    danithew,

    Maybe you were referring to the feet getting cut off. That is abhorring, sad, sick. Agreed. Again, I don’t think that’s in question.

  26. danithew on September 23, 2010 at 8:18 am

    Yes Brian – I knew that Islamic militants were often very capricious and brutal – but in an effort to prevent a film from being made, someone took the decision to track down a leading actress and cut off her feet.

    That, in my mind, is taking their war against culture to a different level.

  27. Dan on September 23, 2010 at 9:30 am

    danithew,

    what different level? In a war for the hearts and minds of the Afghans, you do what you gotta do. We think it’s acceptable to have the collateral casualties of innocent people in order to win their hearts. Why doesn’t anyone question how Christian we are?

  28. danithew on September 23, 2010 at 9:58 am

    Dan, I simply haven’t been aware that previously Islamic militants specifically target an actress who was scheduled to do a film. That’s unusual.

    Also, the slicing off of a hand or foot is one of the traditional Islamic hadud punishments – but it is supposed to be a punishment for theft.

  29. Olive on September 23, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    With all due respects to my ancestor, Bro. Pratt, I seriously doubt he had even an inkling about the terrors that went on in the Middle East, and still go on in our time, in the name of Islam. These things are just now being spotlighted in our times. We may have started out in similar fashion, but I don’t see many Christians stoning people to death and killing their daughters in righteous anger because they went on a date with a man. However, these things are still happening every minute in the Middle East.

    These kinds of apologetic posts are rife in the ‘naccle lately, and I just can’t tolerate people comparing our past with their present.

  30. Ardis E. Parshall on September 23, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    Olive, I don’t see anybody comparing our past with their present, even if their present is represented as myopically as you paint it. Some of us are attempting to see this the way PPPratt meant it when he said it, not twisted and deformed through a presentist, anti-Islam lens. So sorry you find that intolerable, but that’s your problem, not ours.

  31. danithew on September 23, 2010 at 7:16 pm

    Why is the link on my name in previous posts re-directing people to Times and Seasons? I have never inputted it that way.

  32. Alison Moore Smith on September 24, 2010 at 11:02 am

    #7

    “Today’s debate” seldom recognizes Islam as a genuine religion, instead casting it entirely as a politico-criminal enterprise.

    In my experience, it is “radical Islam” that is characterized this way — although I’d call it religious-politico-criminal. I’ve rarely seen it discussed *without* the religious aspect. In fact, most of the time, this is what I see:

    Person 1: **Radical** Islam isn’t a religion of peace.

    Person 2: You bigot. Islam is so a religion of peace.

    Equivocation at it’s finest.

    …without the slightest tinge of fear or hatred or fanatic scorn that too often mars “today’s debate.”

    Certainly “today’s debate” includes incidents that Pratt didn’t encounter or imagine. (And I’m unsure that he was remotely versed in the tenets of Islam.) You know, like radical Islamists running planes into skyscrapers and killing thousands of people. Generally speaking, such behavior tends to bring fear, hatred, and scorn from those targeted and victimized. Personally, yea, I have contempt for those who murder scores of innocent people.

    Since the “fear,” “hatred,” and “scorn” of radical Islam comes directly from things like blowing thousands of people to smithereens, a better barometer would be to see what PPP has said about murderers and what tone he used in such circumstances. Or maybe something much less egregious.

    Pratt once determined to preach on the steps of a church that wouldn’t let him inside. He was asked not to, he did it anyway. They egged him “until he was well besmeared.” He called that a “shameful outrage,” wrote an essay about the scandalous treatment, and took the guy to court. He won $47.

    I’m willing to surmise that Pratt would probably at least classify today’s RADICAL Islamist movement as being a tad worse that “a shameful outrage.” I’d guess his “tone” — when dealing with the radical Islamists WE are dealing with — wouldn’t be quite so accepting.

    #23

    But the problem is that today the “not Islam” version of Islam is far too prevalent – to such a degree that I wonder who in the Muslim world really gets to define Islam and what Islam is about.

    Agreed. In addition, there are far too few in the “is Islam” camp who remain silent on the acts of the “not Islam” camp. But, as a Muslim friend said to me, “Of course they are silent. Look what will happen to them if they speak up?”

    Exactly.

  33. palerobber on September 24, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    #32

    your experience is certainly out of the ordinary….

    googling “Islam isn’t a religion of peace” returns 4660 hits.
    googling “Radical Islam isn’t a religion of peace” returns zero.

    where are all these carefully qualifying, unfairly accused non-bigots?

  34. palerobber on September 24, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    or to use the more common wording….

    googling “Islam is not a religion of peace” returns 120,000 results.
    googling “Radical Islam is not a religion of peace” returns three.

    and one of those three actually reads:

    Islam is RADICAL. Islam is NOT a “religion of peace”.

  35. danithew on September 24, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    I like very much what Alison wrote. I just want to add a few points.

    Yes, Islam is a genuine religion. The fact that a group or a belief system is identified as a religion does not mean that everything about that group or belief system should be automatically embraced, appreciated, respected. A religion may contain elements and traditions that are false or even abhorrent.

    Mormonism certainly recognizes that general negative reality about this world and it’s religious systems.

    It is necessary to study the religion of Islam and in the course of that study it is perfectly legitimate to be skeptical or critical of that religion and to point out any factors/doctrines/institutions within that religion that are problematic or even dangerous.

    Some of the radical (violent) Islamic elements that we are willing to criticize are actually part of the “real Islam” in the sense that they are entrenched in the sacred texts that have been around and have been studied and followed by Muslims for many centuries.

    At times the two hadith collections most revered by Sunni Islam read like a war manual. These hadith collections are called “Sahih Bukhari” and “Sahih Muslim.” They are available in English translation and they were translated by a believing Muslim. You may be able to find them at your local library. They certainly are available at the University of Utah library.

    Within these hadith collections, mixed in with hadith that deal with many other topics, are all kinds of war policies that are attributed to Muhammad. There are instructions about how war booty, taken from a vanquished enemy, should be divided among the Muslim warriors (mujuahideen). There are instructions that a Muslim warrior, even in the thick of battle, should cease to attack any enemy that converts audibly to Islam. There are instructions about how to determine whether a town/village/city is Muslim or not (do you hear the adhan in the morning?) – thus determining whether that locale can be attacked by the Muslim armies. Etc. They are quite specific and to a certain degree, comprehensive. It is very clear that in talking about jihad, these texts are discussing warfare against non-Muslims rather than some kind of internal individual purity struggle.

    The same hadith also describe some of Muhammad’s activities during the course of battles. He was sometimes present and in at least one situation was at least slightly wounded. He expresses the wish that he could be a martyr not just once but many times over – as he teaches that the rewards for mujahideen who die in battle are the greatest rewards that can be given in the Islamic afterlife.

    So we have to be careful not to simply accept or assume that because Islam is a religion, that it is “a religion of peace” or that everything about war in Islam is defensive in nature. If the Islamic attitude towards warfare and violence were merely defensive, then Islam would not have expanded so quickly and to such a great degree, so far outside of the Arabian peninsula.

    In his book “Milestones” (also available in English translation), Sayyid Qutb mocks the idea that Islamic war is always defensive war. “Milestones” consists of excerpts from Qutb’s encyclopedic (in length) commentary on the Qur’an. We may not like much what Qutb has to say, but he was straightforward and open about what he thought and believed as a Sunni Muslim. An English translation of Milestones is not hard to acquire and is quite inexpensive.

    People who say that Islam is strongly connected to politics and militarism aren’t just making that up. They aren’t lying. It’s a historical fact. I’ll concede that many of those voices that are out there demonstrating in the streets are shrill and nasty in the way they approach this. However, that shouldn’t deter us from making our own investigation into these sources and even by speaking with our Muslim friends and neighbors. It isn’t unreasonable to read Islamic texts and then ask Muslims if they believe the things that we are reading in those same texts. The sources are available and we can examine them for ourselves.

    And yes, there are reasons for very serious concern.

  36. Bob on September 24, 2010 at 10:57 pm

    #32 &#35: The world has many radicals__many are violent. Those people must be handled. But putting labels on them will not help. Calling them Radical Muslims, Arabs, Jews, whatever__will only lead to endless wars with billions of people. It is better to just fine out who the radicals are, why they are violet, and remove them. Too many innocent people now die for no good reason.

  37. SUNNofaB.C.Rich on September 24, 2010 at 11:57 pm

    this particular discourse has about as much historical significance or modern application as Brigham Young bragging about all his wives.

  38. Dan on September 25, 2010 at 7:27 am

    danithew,

    So we have to be careful not to simply accept or assume that because Islam is a religion, that it is “a religion of peace” or that everything about war in Islam is defensive in nature. If the Islamic attitude towards warfare and violence were merely defensive, then Islam would not have expanded so quickly and to such a great degree, so far outside of the Arabian peninsula.

    Dan, exactly how in Christian theology does it end for non-Christians? Don’t they either convert or die in flames? Is that not in our scriptures? Here’s D&C 29:

    14 But, behold, I say unto you that before this great day shall come the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall be turned into blood, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and there shall be greater signs in heaven above and in the earth beneath;
    15 And there shall be weeping and wailing among the hosts of men;
    16 And there shall be a great hailstorm sent forth to destroy the crops of the earth.
    17 And it shall come to pass, because of the wickedness of the world, that I will take vengeance upon the wicked, for they will not repent; for the cup of mine indignation is full; for behold, my blood shall not cleanse them if they hear me not.
    18 Wherefore, I the Lord God will send forth flies upon the face of the earth, which shall take hold of the inhabitants thereof, and shall eat their flesh, and shall cause maggots to come in upon them;
    19 And their tongues shall be stayed that they shall not utter against me; and their flesh shall fall from off their bones, and their eyes from their sockets;
    20 And it shall come to pass that the beasts of the forest and the fowls of the air shall devour them up.
    21 And the great and abominable church, which is the whore of all the earth, shall be cast down by devouring fire, according as it is spoken by the mouth of Ezekiel the prophet, who spoke of these things, which have not come to pass but surely must, as I live, for abominations shall not reign.

    My point is that practically all major religions think very poorly of non-members, seeing them eventually die for not belonging to their faith. It makes it easy to justify any kind of action against other religions. And don’t even think that our military hasn’t had a strongly Christian vibe to it as it has gone into Afghanistan and Iraq. There are numerous examples of Pentagon leaders (including Rumsfeld) using Biblical scriptures to keep morale up. That we kill Muslims with weapons that tear up their bodies into little pieces, but through the “legal” means of state warfare shouldn’t make you think that we’re somehow better than they. We’re trying hard not to make this a war between two religions, but I gotta tell you, it’s going down that direction. Give it another terrorist attack or two and there will be few Christians who won’t want to take it out on their local Muslim neighbor.

  39. SUNNofaB.C.Rich on September 25, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    I did a couple tours over in Iraq with the army and didn’t notice any sort of “Christian vibe” I also didn’t notice anyone on our side saying “God is great” while sawing peoples heads off

  40. Dan on September 25, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    I also didn’t notice anyone on our side saying “God is great” while sawing peoples heads off

    that’s because we don’t use saws, SUNN. We use machine guns. Same result.

  41. SUNNofaB.C.Rich on September 25, 2010 at 8:12 pm

    We don’t machine gun prisoners down out of a sense of “Christian duty” so No, that comparision is B.S. Dan.

  42. Dan on September 26, 2010 at 8:09 am

    when did we suddenly talk about prisoners? About those, no, we simply torture them to death.

  43. SUNNofaB.C.Rich on September 26, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    We don’t do that in the name of Christianity. That was the point.

  44. Dan on September 26, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    actually we do. The most fervent proponents of the war on terror are the ones who believe torture is okay and who also believe that our freedom comes from Christianity. We’re killing them to defend Christianity. But I’m glad you agree that we’re torturing them to death. I’m not going to say anymore. I am constantly sickened by discussion with you SUNN. You always take the topic into sick territory.

  45. Tim on September 26, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    “We don’t machine gun prisoners down out of a sense of “’Christian duty…'”

    It sure looks like we do to me–consider:
    Scriptures on U.S. military weapons. Really? You betcha!

    http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/us-military-weapons-inscribed-secret-jesus-bible-codes/story?id=9575794

  46. SUNNofaB.C.Rich on September 28, 2010 at 8:02 pm

    Brilliant, Tim. A hidden code in the serial numbers on a certain type of scope that nobody really noticed (including probably just about everyone who uses them) effectively turns OIF and OEF into holy wars waged by Christian crusaders (including guys like me who aren’t even Christian?). Might wanna lay off the mountain dew and microwave burritoes… just a thought.