A church in Gainsville, Florida, USA, has started an international campaign to make 9/11 (11 September) an “international burn the qu’ran day”. They even have a Facebook fan page dedicated to it (I am NOT going to supply a link to it). The small church is called ‘Dove World Outreach Center’ and pastor Terry Jones is unmoved by growing international outrage at the planned burning of 150 copies of Islam’s holy book.
The Quran, according to Jones, is “evil” because it espouses something other than biblical truth and incites radical, violent behavior among Muslims. You can do a Google search for news of this event, and how even the US military is running a bit scared as they fear reprisal attacks by militant Muslims all over the world (inspired not by the qu’ran, but by hatred for the West and for those opposed to Islam).
I am not going to comment on the ramifications of such madness, although my head is spinning at how much damage one small church could potentially do around the world.
My only simple question is a spiritual and theological one: Would Jesus burn the qu’ran?
There may be debates about whether Jesus would be inclusive towards Muslims or not. I think he would have been, but I can see how some Christians would read their Bibles in such a way that indicates that Jesus would have excluded them from his friendship circle. There may be discussion about whether Jesus would have tried to engage with Muslims. I think it’s clear he did engage with people from other religions, and always did so with respect, tolerance and love. But again, I can (only just) see how some people read their Bibles and gain a different, more strident picture of Jesus. There is certainly debate about what Jesus taught us to do in relation to other religions. I see Jesus instructing us to engage, to be loving and respectful. I can see how others would interpret the Bible to say we should proselytise and point out error in other religions, and protect ourselves from contamination.
But all of these debates aside, I still have just that simple question: Would Jesus have burnt a qu’ran?
I cannot fathom any interpretation of the Bible or understanding of the nature of Jesus that would allow one to answer ‘Yes’ to that question. Pastor Jones might be right in his interpretation of Biblical truth (I think he’s not), but I cannot believe that burning a qu’ran is a Christ-like response.
I want my Muslim friends to know that anything that happens at ‘Dove World Outreach Centre’ this 9/11 weekend is not done in my name. I am a Christ-follower and I am abhorred that something like this could be done in the name of Jesus. What would Jesus do? I think He is weeping right now…
Salaam. Shalom. Peace be among us all.
7 thoughts on “Would Jesus burn the qu’ran?”
Well, for my 2c worth, I think Jesus would be inclusive in his fellowship, but exclusive in his claims of divinity.
I think in Jesus’ repsonse to this (if I can be that bold, and possibly almost blapshemous) might be something like this:
A Dove World Outreach member is mugged in Fort Lauderdale. As he lies on the road a pastor walks past, but he has a preaching engagement, and is too busy to help. A deacon walks by, but he is visiting a elderly woman in the church, so he doesn’t stop to help. A muslim cleric walks by, stops and bandages his wounds, takes him to hospital, and pays for his stay in a hotel while he recovers.
Who then is your neighbour?
Read two excellent responses, and impassioned pleas here: http://brianmclaren.net/archives/blog/two-impassioned-responses.html
Jesus teaches us to go out and convert people to christianity. What these people want to do is wrong
Would Jesus burn the Qu’ran? NO …Jesus preached the Kingdom is near and he was crucified for all.
Would Jesus weep? NO…..Revelation clearly shows us that He is coming back as an All conquering King!.. He has wept enough and He is coming to Judge the Second time round
Does the Qu’ran preach violence? YES Surah 2 :190 – 194; 216; 244; Surah 4:74; 89; 91; Surah 5:33;51
Did Jesus include the Muslims when He preached? YES Neither Jew nor Greek…the Muslims only started as a religion 600 years later
Gareth…..The Muslim would riffel the mans pockets and not help….they are sinners trap in a false religion that condones violent crime…if you are able…read the Qu’ran
I have read the qu’ran, and own a copy. And although there are a few passages that could be interpreted as promoting violence, there are also other interpretations of those passages. The same is true of the Bible, of course.
Read, for example, Deutronomy 7:1-2, which ends: “…the LORD your God delivers them before you and you defeat them, then you shall utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them and show no favor to them.” OR “Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known man intimately. But all the girls who have not known man intimately, sparefor yourselves.” (Numbers 31:17-18). To understand these verses, you need to understand the context and the flow of Scripture and God’s plan in history – but more of that some other time.
The overall message of the Bible is one of peace, reconciliation and non-violence. My friend, Fiona Brennan-Scott reminded me today that Genesis 21:17-20 clearly shows God love, mercy and provision for Hagar and Ishmael. The same is true of the qu’ran. There are clear prohibitions of murder, “…Take not life, which Allah hath made sacred, except by way of justice and law: thus does He command you, that ye may learn wisdom.” (Al-An`am 6: 151) and “Nor take life, which Allah has made sacred, except for just cause. And if anyone is slain wrongfully, We have given his heir authority (to demand Qisas or to forgive): but let him not exceed bounds in the matter of taking life; for he is helped (by the law)” (Al-Israa’ 17: 33). According to the qur’an, killing any person without a just cause is as big a sin as killing the whole humanity (and saving the life of one person is as good deed as saving the whole humanity – see Al-Ma’idah 5: 32).
The verse most people quote to show violence in the qur’an is “kill them wherever you find them…” (Surah Al-Baqarah 2: 191 and Surah An-Nisaa’ 4: 89). But you should read these verses in their textual and historical context. Start with just reading both in context:
“Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah loves not transgressors. And kill them wherever you catch them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out; for tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter; but fight them not at the Sacred Mosque, unless they (first) fight you there; but if they fight you, kill them. Such is the reward of those who reject faith. But if they cease, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. And fight them on until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in Allah; but if they cease, let there be no hostility except to those who practice oppression. The prohibited month, for the prohibited month, and so for all things prohibited, there is the law of equality. If then any one transgresses the prohibition against you, transgress ye likewise against him. But fear Allah, and know that Allah is with those who restrain themselves.” (Al-Baqarah 2: 190-194)
“They but wish that you should reject Faith, as they do, and thus be on the same footing (as they): so take not friends from their ranks until they flee in the way of Allah (from what is forbidden). But if they turn renegades, seize them and slay them wherever ye find them; and (in any case) take no friends or helpers from their ranks. Except those who join a group between whom and you there is a treaty (Of peace), or those who approach you with hearts restraining them from fighting you as well as fighting their own people. If Allah had pleased, He could have given them power over you, and they would have fought you: therefore if they withdraw from you but fight you not, and (instead) send you (guarantees of) peace, then Allah hath opened no way for you (to war against them). Others you will find that wish to gain your confidence as well as that of their people: every time they are sent back to temptation, they succumb thereto; if they withdraw not from you nor give you (guarantees) of peace besides restraining their hands, seize them and slay them wherever ye get them; in their case We have provided you with a clear argument against them.” (An-Nisaa’ 4: 89-91)
These verses do not give free permission to kill any one anywhere. These verses refer to a time when Muslims were attacked by the non-Muslims of Makkah on a regular basis. They were threatening the Muslim community of Madinah. You could even say that there were constant terrorist attacks on Madinah and in this situation Muslims were given permission to fight back against the “terrorists”. These verses are not a permission for “terrorism” – rather they are a warning against the “terrorists.” But even in these warnings you can see how much restraint and care is emphasized.
It is important that we study the religious texts in their proper context. When these texts are not read in their proper textual and historical contexts they are manipulated and distorted. It is true that some Muslims manipulate these verses for their own goals. But this is not only with Islamic texts, it is also true with the texts of other religions. Christianity has a horrible history of violence done in the name of God and on the basis of Biblical interpretation.
Great news today – the burning of the qu’ran has been called off. The news report I read said that this was done because the Pastor achieved an agreement with a New York imam about the position of the planned “mosque” (actually a community centre) near the 9/11 bombing site at the World Trade Centre.
I thought the pastor was on a Biblical crusade about truth and evangelistic zeal. Now we discover it’s really all about the location of a building?
Not in my name. Not in my name!