Courting Conflict

I sometimes wonder why we have to be circumspect about Islam. Could it have anything to do with the kind of violence we saw a few days ago? Are we not acting like an abused person who would rather not provoke their abuser? We must constantly censor ourselves, lest we give offense.

Well, I for one am tired of this. Islam has no special, sacral, protected status. The fact is that it is a false religion, plain and simple. Mohammed was not a prophet, the Quran is not a sacred text, and Islamic practice and belief are not beyond the pale of criticism and even outrageous satire. If Muslims don’t like those assertions, well, that’s too bad.

Of course, it’s true that none of those assertions are beyond the pale of criticism and even outrageous satire. Christians have been subjected to such for centuries. We have even perfected our own forms of self-satire and scathing criticism. There are for instance threads of Christian tradition that have not completely tossed out the sense of comedy and occasional absurdity found in the Scriptures.

To see that, however, and to live with the resulting conflict of interpretations, requires that we grow the hell up. So, to those who demand that we censor ourselves, I say piss off. It’s cowardly, it’s dishonest, it’s in any event pointless, for our enemies will always find a pretext for killing us.*

* We Christians are dropping like flies, by the by, to the tune of about 150,000 a year around the world. It’s called martyrdom, and is one of the few things promised us in this life as a matter of course. Martyrdom, of course, involves being killed. Blowing yourself up and taking others with you is not martyrdom, it’s murder-suicide. See Dante’s Inferno for a discussion of the details.

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