On How to Treat Islam and Muslim People

From some of the recent stories that have been circulating about how some pastors have treated the Islamic faith, the Koran, and Muslim people, you would think that these people rejoice in the idea of Muslims going to Hell. The Crusades are apparently not so dead as we had hoped. Any story of a Muslim converting to the Christian faith that I have heard of involves two things: 1. the sharing of the gospel; 2. an outpouring of love. Perhaps the one single thing that speaks to Muslims most powerfully of all is the love of Jesus Christ in action two thousand years ago. One thing is certain: we will not see any conversions of Muslims to Christianity through making fun of their religion, burning the Koran, or flaunting our Western prosperity in their faces. Understandably, these actions make them very upset (though I do not mean to imply that the Muslim attack in Paris was justified: if there is one thing that I have learned about the Muslim faith, it is that Muslims are DEADLY serious about their faith, and they cannot laugh about it). They are the incredibly stupid actions of people who apparently think that they do not have enough attention, and want to become martyrs. I suggest a different approach. Build relationships with Muslims, and show them love and kindness. Show them hospitality (this speaks volumes to someone from the Middle East).

Although I don’t tend to get political on this blog very much, I will say that Ron Paul’s stance on the sovereignty of other nations makes a lot of sense to me. He argues that one of the main reasons that Muslims hate the West so much is because we interfere all the time in their political affairs. We would never tolerate the kind of interference from someone else that we regularly dish out to all the world. What makes us think that Muslim countries are rejoicing when we offer to “help?” Ron Paul argues that our interference with Middle Eastern politics is one reason why 9/11 happened. It is difficult to gainsay Paul’s conclusion on this point. Protect ourselves? Sure. Interfere with other nations? I would prefer not.

21 Comments

  1. Rowland ward said,

    January 28, 2015 at 2:18 pm

    The thrust of this comment is right on the money. Thank you for making it

  2. roberty bob said,

    January 28, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    Let’s see now . . . “to the shores of Tripoli!”

    United States President Thomas Jefferson declared war on the Barbary states because they were demanding unreasonably high tribute of merchant ships in Mediterranean waters, which our nation was unwilling to pay. For refusing to pay the tribute, the Barbary states seized our merchant ships and enslaved our crews while demanding exorbitant ransoms. Our marines fought on the shores of Tripoli to put an end that bullying!

    Yes, all of this at the turn of the 1800s.

    Who was interfering with whom?

    Aside from that, we’ll have them over for dinner . . . as you suggest.

  3. Jay Ryder said,

    January 28, 2015 at 3:00 pm

    I have a very strong dislike for these all or nothing approaches to foreign policy. To say, “one of the main reasons that Muslims hate the West so much is because we interfere all the time in their political affairs” is to not an adequate reason to become isolationist.

    Radicalized Muslims hate our interference because their goal is to set up nations governed by Sharia Law that oppress and enslave people who disagree with them. As for those who do agree with them, their women and children will also face oppression.

    The absolute worst thing that can happen for us AND for moderate Muslims in other nations is for us to be uninvolved! The policies of the Obama administration are just a foretaste of what will happen if we disengage entirely.

    However, do we need a much different approach to our engagement, because our lack of understanding and cultural awareness has backfired so many times, even though most of those problems could have been foreseen.

  4. Justin said,

    January 28, 2015 at 3:06 pm

    Jay, when you say we need to be involved in Muslim countries’ politics in order to stop their women and children from being oppressed,

    1) Who is the “we”? I, as an American, do not consent to being taxed in order to send our weaponry and soldiers into their lands to try and police their religion. I think it is immoral to tax Americans by force in order to try and quell Muslim extremism by means of government military. Wouldn’t it be better for us Christians to send armies of missionaries ready to die for the gospel? How many evangelicals or Reformed are going to these places to reach the Muslim world? Too few… far, far too few.

    2) Has any of our government military force in Muslim lands over the past 60+ years stopped any oppression of women and children? Honest Q, cause I can’t think of any…

  5. greenbaggins said,

    January 28, 2015 at 4:02 pm

    RB, you are confusing two situations that are very different. If someone kills an American for being an American, no matter where it happens, I expect and desire repercussions to happen. Similarly with Americans being “bullied” somewhere else in the world (this is the situation with Jefferson). What I am referring to are situations where one nation has a dispute with another nation (and neither the nations or the dispute is directly related to the US), and we feel absolutely compelled to step in and “help.” Oftentimes, we only make the situation worse. Now, if two nations actually ask for arbitration unsolicited, because a third party is seen to be unbiased, that’s another matter entirely. I’m talking about forcing our help on nations that may or may not be interested in our “help.”

  6. greenbaggins said,

    January 28, 2015 at 4:07 pm

    Jay, two things in response. Firstly, I do not advocate an isolationist position, as that is commonly understood. We have a global economy. We are involved economically with all nations. I would say that “isolationist” has too broad a meaning in today’s political world. I just do not believe in interfering with other countries’ own sovereignty, especially if that country has done nothing to the US. Again, I would point out here American hypocrisy: we would not allow ANY other country to come and meddle in our internal affairs. What makes us think all the other nations out there are just begging for our interference? Secondly, I do not advocate either a complete uninvolvement, as I laid out in my previous comment to RB. I have no problem with free speech. I have no problem with diplomacy. I have a problem with unsolicited interference with other nations, especially if and when that nation poses no threat to us.

  7. Greg said,

    January 28, 2015 at 11:07 pm

    For many decades the Establishment has persisted ad nauseam with the false assertion that “non-interventionist” is synonymous with “isolationist.” In terms of trade, an isolationist would not be willing to engage in international economic relations, whereas a non-interventionist would. The terms clearly represent two different concepts.

    For a somewhat related post see yesterday’s: http://kimriddlebarger.squarespace.com/the-latest-post/2015/1/27/the-unintended-consequences-of-making-the-world-safe-for-dem.html

    We (at least I will) now return to our regularly scheduled biblical readings and studies…

  8. Jay Ryder said,

    January 29, 2015 at 1:00 pm

    Lane, thanks for the response. I would agree that mostly other nations are not “begging” for “our interference” (loaded terms?) — but ironically, I heard on MSNBC this morning that the movie American Sniper was being shown in Baghdad last week, and the Iraqi’s were standing up and an applauding whenever Chris Kyle took out one of the bad guys. Not trying to provoke a rabbit trail, but I think sometimes people make claims that are far too simplistic, especially with regard to this subject.

    The most basic question is how then would an non-interventionist have approached Nazi Germany in World War II? (just as one example). Certainly, there are parameters for when countries who have the ability and resources to step in MUST act and no longer sit back passively watching as thousands (and even millions!) of image bearers are slaughtered.

    What I do think might make for a helpful thought experiment though is to further explore the notion of “we would not allow ANY other country to come and meddle in our internal affairs”. Because 1st intervention is not about being “allowed” to do something. It is about whether the intervention is morally right. Of course, no dictator or tyrant is going to “Allow” another country to intervene on the behalf the very people he is slaughtering or oppressing. And also, this would be a helpful thought experiment, because, at this time in history it may very well seem quite impossible to imagine that any other country ought to intervene our country’s internal affairs. — However, what if a version of the ISIS caliphate is able to leverage the ridiculously deceived populous of this country (the same blind guides who elected Obama!) into adopting Sharia Law and becoming an Islamic State government and now a savage dictator was running/ruining our country? Or what if something similar to Hitler’s Germany happened, but instead of Jews being targeted, now it’s Christians who are being imprisoned and slaughtered ? Would we then think it strange or wrong or immoral if our former allies decided to intervene??? Would we not want them to be willing to intervene!? I would!

    Just a few thoughts to grapple with.

  9. Bob S said,

    January 29, 2015 at 10:37 pm

    Jay, MSNBC is wrong usually about 100% of the time, Faux News about 50%. Iraq was not a threat to America; i.e it was not and is not a constitutional war. And Kyle sounds like a bit of a blowhard if Jesse Ventura can prevail in a lawsuit against him.

    Read Pat Buchanan’s argument/book that we should have let Germany and the USSR fight it out rather than get involved in WW2, which was direct result of Wilson getting involved in WW1.
    Stockman makes the case for the latter as well as anybody else.

    Or checkout Andrew Sutton’s Wall Street and Hitler.
    Some things never change and Wall Street is still running the country regardless of who is in the Casa Blanca.

    The Sunni ISIS – who are our allies in the covert unconstitutional attempt to oust Assad in Syria – are also a direct result of our ousting the secular (Sunni) Hussein in Iraq and putting a Shia govt. in place. The Sunni reaction was ISIS. And the moderate Iraqi Sunnis would rather have the Shia govt. fight the radical ISIS instead of beating up on them, so connect the dots.

  10. Jay Ryder said,

    January 30, 2015 at 10:21 am

    Bob S. – wow, so many examples of why I cringe when theologians start to wax on about politics and global affairs. Comments about Fox and MSNBC-ad hominem. Comments about US going into Iraq-red herring. Comments about Sunni ISIS-strawman. Conspiracy theory about Wall Street and Hitler-revisionism.

  11. Tim Harris said,

    January 30, 2015 at 8:12 pm

    Revisionism is thinking the US entered WW2 to rescue Jews. There is no evidence for this whatsoever.

    Based on what we knew, we should have either stayed out, or joined Germany to deliver a quick knock-out of the Soviet Union. Instead, we allied with the greatest criminal state in all of human history, allowing them to sack 3/4 or Europe, and start a pointless 50 year “cold war.”

  12. Bob S said,

    January 30, 2015 at 9:51 pm

    Whatever, Jay.
    And if I don’t get paid to be a theologian I’m not one.
    And maybe you have never heard of any alternatives to the “God bless America” pov.
    If you care to get more substantive, we can talk, but for now,
    ciao

  13. Alberto said,

    January 31, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    Aside from the wisdom or lack thereof for involvement in foreign affairs the past decade, I don’t think Ron Paul speaks for Muslims. I take Ron Paul’s comments with a grain of salt. Even if he does say something true, it’s best to hear it from someone else that comes off saner.

    If you want to know why the radical types do what they do, then listen to what they say and those who assess them seriously. If you want to know what a peaceful Muslim thinks and says, then listen to them; listen to Shabir Ally or Hamza Yusuf. It’s not hard to find their opinions, and Ron Paul is not their interpreter or advocate. Additionally, being acquainted with what thoughtful Muslims say shows respect for them.

    The other thing to keep in mind is that some Muslims don’t like their rulers (different sects, a lack of Islamic obervance, etc.), and therefore by association their American ally.

    Since people bring up meddling, the attempt to evangelize Muslims in Muslims countries would be viewed as meddling as well. But I guess if individuals or churches do the meddling and not the state, then it is OK? Not that I’m against evangelism to the Middle East, but meddling (as used here by some) takes on more forms than one. And you can take it as certain that sending “an army of missionaries” would be viewed as a threat to parts of the Muslim world and as a reason for attacking Americans who send them.

    As for the sovereignty of those Muslim nations, it certainly is a violation of their sovereignty to send missionaries into their countries and attempt to subvert the state religion.

    HOLD UP! Am I dreaming or did Tim Harris say the US should have allied with Nazi Germany? Is he a Ron Paul (or Rand Paul) supporter?

  14. Trent Whalin said,

    January 31, 2015 at 9:43 pm

    Jay,
    To add to Bob’s comments, libertarians would argue that the USSR would have taken care of Germany and had done so. Though as a minarchist and someone who thinks that we should not help any nations and if they have problems they can just kill themselves as oppose to killing themselves and us, I must state the libertarian as utterly naive. Though the lend lease program, we gave a few thousand tanks, millions of ammo rounds, etc. etc. Hitler could have taken the USSR and it wasn’t soviet resolve alone (if at all), that pushed him back, it was our helping seeing how Hitler had take over nearly everything west of the Urals where all their industry and food were.

    As for the rest of the thread, I agree to a degree. As stated before lets just stand back and let them blow each other up. We’ll be rid of the extremist through the survival of the smartest. As for the cause of 9/11, Paul like other libertarians love to pick and choose from complex issues to support their humanist (people are good) philosophy, and I say that as a minarchist myself. Some cultures are more savage than others, and Islam is one of them. So as the article says we mustn’t stoop down to their own savagery.

  15. Bob S said,

    February 1, 2015 at 1:36 am

    OK, Alberto. You tell me what Osama bin Laden himself said about the reasons for 9/11.

    Likewise demonstrate that either one of the Pauls ever talked about supporting the Nazis. Rand, crass opportunist that he is, has never and if he hasn’t, that his father would, is pushing the limits of credulity.

    Prescott Bush, G.W. Bush’s grandfather? That’s a different story.
    But you can take the red pill yourself and see how far the rabbit hole goes.

    Just like the arminian tall tales about the reformed faith and calvinism, the alternatives to the oligarchy we are saddled with now, are not quite the boogeymen they are made out to be.

  16. Alberto said,

    February 1, 2015 at 5:23 am

    Bob,

    Sorry if I gave the impression that Ron or Rand have said that. It’s just that I’ve come across Paul supporters (usually Ron Paul supporters) that have said some things that puzzled me, including things that sounded like complaining about Jews at best or anti-Semitic remarks at worst. So when Tim said we should have joined Germany, I was once again puzzled and thought that perhaps he is a Paul supporter. But no, I’ve never heard either Ron or Rand claim we should have supported Germany.

    As an aside, it sure is funny watching Ron Paul speak critically of the US on Russian TV.

    If you think I’m Republican, then your mistaken. I can also assure you that I don’t claim to be politically conservative or a supporter of the Bush family/dynasty. So the Bush remarks don’t move me one way or another; anyway, part of the Bush family is of Mexican descent now. They wouldn’t fit well into the whole pure Aryan race thing, just like me. Also, I prefer to stay out of holes. : )

    As for Muslims, there is nothing for me to say. There are reputable experts in foreign affairs and Islam that can be consulted. There is nothing for me to add.

  17. Tim Harris said,

    February 1, 2015 at 4:59 pm

    Alberto, you should be more careful in reading what people actually say. I said we should have EITHER stayed out of the war, OR, given that we went in, it would have been less bad to ally (along with Finland, Romania, Slovakia, Italy, and Hungary) with Germany rather than with the USSR.

    Moreover — and Americans can’t seem to get this idea into their heads, so badly propagandized they have been: though it is demonstrably true — we did NOT enter the war nor ally with the USSR to rescue Jews. It is that myth which should be identified as revisionism.

    Remember, the ethical evaluation of an action at a point in time must take into account only what was known at that time, not a quasi- omniscient perspective that is gained only much later.

  18. Alberto said,

    February 1, 2015 at 9:27 pm

    Hey Tim,

    I’m well aware that US did not enter the war to save Jews. Having turned away a boat which contained many, only to die later in Europe, I am well aware of this. At least among people I know, I don’t know of any who claim we entered the war to save Jews.

    Ok, either stay out or join Germany. But that joining Germany part is pretty disturbing, since I am not aware of ANY credible people that have put forward your position. Maybe I have been fooled or am uninformed. You have much work to do in order to enlighten us, because I’ve never heard anyone state your position; even simply based on the available information at that time, I’ve never heard anyone say what you say except for anti-Semites or people accused of being anti-Semites. Maybe I’m too isolated?

    Also, many of us who are not white aren’t really sympathetic towards people who view us as less than dogs, to put it mildly. As for Jews, I’m sure your position would not be well received; it could be used as evidence of Christian anti-Semitism to see remarks like this on a Christian blog.

    I’m done with this.

  19. Jay Ryder said,

    February 2, 2015 at 10:20 am

    Bob S. – you challenged me to “get more substantive”, but I already have.
    It’s just that no one has engaged those “more substantive” issues and instead have chosen to derail the substance of my queries.
    The first of which is does non-interventionist mean that we have no moral duty with regard to the protection of other image bearers because we elevate “state sovereignty” above all concerns of foreign affairs.
    The second of which concerning whether or not any future condition that may befall the USA in which we would surely welcome the invention of our allies of today (ie, imposition of Sharia law or imprisonment & extermination of Christians)?

    Those are the substantive questions that I posed, but which you have left alone. The other topic that might further this sort of discussion is a study of Just War Theory (maybe Lane has done this in the past though?).

  20. Scott said,

    February 2, 2015 at 4:07 pm

    “He argues that one of the main reasons that Muslims hate the West so much is because we interfere all the time in their political affairs. We would never tolerate the kind of interference from someone else that we regularly dish out to all the world. ”

    The difficulty is this same nominal group acts the same way. E.g. the recent Iran/Iraq war, with over 1 million dead was intended to interfere with the political affairs of another nation. The 9/11 terrorist killings attempted to crash the U.S. government. Historically, the Battle of Tours in 732 was an attempt to interfere in the political affairs of other nations.

    The premise does not take into account the possibility that a clear and present danger may exist outside a nation’s borders.

    Or the responsibilities of a leading nation to defend and protect lesser nations from invasion and attack against which they are helpless.

    The politician’s view extends to the absurd, e.g. Israel does not have a right to act on missiles pointed at it on the Golan Heights, only miles from its border, because such would interfere in the sovereignty of another nation. (even though that nation is under under military occupation by various outside factions), etc.

    “What makes us think that Muslim countries are rejoicing when we offer to “help?” Ron Paul argues that our interference with Middle Eastern politics is one reason why 9/11 happened.”

    Of course the United States has given huge amounts of humanitarian aid, and the argument ignores any basis for gratitude for that.

    But to even imply that the massive terrorist killings of 9/11 against innocent civilians, by ambush, without a declared war is justified,
    is irresponsible.

    And illogical, and dangerous.

  21. Tim Harris said,

    February 9, 2015 at 10:15 am

    Well “Alberto” @18, it’s hard to see how raising this ethical possibility would be antisemitic, since, as we both agreed, the Semite question was not on the table at the time the decision was made.

    Americans were strongly isolationist until Pearl Harbor, after which things moved quickly. So the fact that the question was not debated is easy to understand.

    The reason usually given is, “Germany declared war on us.” True; but what if they declared war, and no one showed up?


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