A Christian friend of mine was criticizing Islam due to the recent violence in response to that video that depicted Mohammed unfavorably. Islam is obviously wicked, violent, backward, horrible, etc. I replied to him in a way I often do. Sure, their violence is deplorable. But why are we talking about it? If you want to do some good in the world you should talk about yourself first. Are we doing anything that contributes to this behavior in the Muslim world? Yeah, quite a lot. We prop up theocrats in the Muslim world. Our actions led to the theocratic regime that exists in Iran. We prop up the Saudi dictatorship. We essentially created Hamas and Hezbollah. We install other dictators which cause people to become more fundamentalist and extreme. We invade them, which provokes more religious extremism. Yeah, what they do is worthy of criticism, but it's not our place to offer it. That's for their fellow country men. Let's focus on what we can do to improve the situation.
I stand by that position. But I have to admit that my friend still did have a valid point. You don't see this kind of thing among Christians. You can have art that shows someone urinating on a crucifix and you don't get people storming the museum and killing people. Christians are plenty violent. But they aren't violent for their faith so much. Obviously the US military has a lot of Christians, and they perpetuate a lot of violence. They are being violent for other reasons. What is it with Muslims? I can understand getting violent to repel a foreign invader. But a movie about Mohammed? Who cares? Christians may not like movies that portray Jesus unfavorably. They may protest. But they don't kill for it. What is the deal?
I have a Muslim friend from Pakistan, so I put this question to him. What's your deal, man? That's pretty pathetic.
His reply really opened my eyes. He first said that you stand outside of a culture and you judge it from your own perspective. You have no clue and yet you judge. You're in no position to judge. But let's see if I can help you understand. Let's suppose you walked in here today and told me you were going to kill your own family. I'd be alarmed, but I wouldn't become violent towards you. Now, let's take it up a notch. Suppose you tell me you are going to kill my family. I'll panic, but I'm not going to get violent. Now, let's suppose you actually go and kill my family. I'd be crushed. But I'd call the police. None of that would provoke actual violence from me.
But if you walked in here and insulted Mohammed I'd kill you.
Seriously, that's what he told me. The regard he has for Mohammed is much greater than what he would have for his own mother. He said anyone can understand if I'm standing next to my mother and you walk in, insult her, slap her, anyone can understand how that would provoke a violent reaction. But even the regard I have for my own mother is nothing next to the regard I have for Mohammed, and I am much more outraged at insults towards him.
I said "But Christians don't react to the crucifix with urination." He said if Christians don't genuinely care about Jesus the way we care about Mohammed and also the way we care about Jesus that's not my problem.
He says he's told many Christian people that they don't really love Jesus. Not like he does. He acts like Jesus is real. If Jesus were insulted or even if Moses were insulted Muslims will become outraged. Sure, Mohammed is another level of outrage, but it's similar for Jesus and Moses. Much more of a big deal than insulting family or even harming his family.
Like I say, it's not as if Christians are unwilling to be violent. Many Christians in the military are violent all over the world. But they aren't being violent for Jesus. They are violent perhaps for their own safety. Maybe they think Americans are at risk from foreign terrorists. It's a miniscule threat, but they'll be violent for that. My friend says he's unlikely to react to a threat, but will react to defend the honor of Mohammed.
It's easy to stand back and just say that violence is wrong. But when we hear of typical violence we understand the underlying causes. If someone insults your mother to your face it's easy to say you should ignore it. But we can understand that one person in 100 may not be able to ignore it and they may react with violence. It's not right, but it happens. But when it comes to insulting Jesus it never happens. Christians, at least in the US, don't seem to have that 1 in hundred case of a person that reacts with violence. The mother is real though. We all have or had a mother. She was/is real. Do Christians really act like Jesus is real? Because Muslims are acting like Mohammed is real.
I'm not knocking acting like Jesus isn't real. I don't think he was real. But we need to at least understand where Muslims are coming from if we want to comprehend and address whatever violence they engage in. They just act like they believe what they say and Christians in the US kind of don't.