Thursday, September 16, 2010

Reverend Terry Jones: A Modern Apostle Paul or Just a Bigot?


When I first heard about Rev. Terry Jones burning Qur’ans, I thought that this was not the right thing to do.  I agree with Ron Paul that it is hypocritical for General Petraeus to warn Jones not to do it.  Our military actions in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan have done more to stir up hatred than if every church in America had a Qur’an burning.  My pastor preached on this and used passages such as Romans 12:14 which says, “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.”  I agree with this.

But then I remembered Acts 19:18-41 which says in part: “And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds. Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed… For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, which made silver shrines for Diana, brought no small gain unto the craftsmen…said…‘the temple of the great goddess Diana will by discredited, and her magnificence should be destroyed’…And when they heard these sayings, they were full of wrath, and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians. And the whole city was filled with confusion: and having caught Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul's companions in travel, they rushed with one accord into the theatre.”

I have thought of five similarities and five dissimilarities about the two incidents.

The Similarities between the Ancient and the Modern Incident

1.  Both incidents involved the burning of religious texts.
2.  The religion of the texts was a false religion.
3.  The texts were being burned by Christians expressing their belief that the text was of a false and dangerous religion.
4.  The burning resulted (at least hypothetically) in an angry response from those adherents to the false religion.
5.  The actual copies which were burned were owned by the people burning them.  (No one’s rights were being violated.)

The Differences between the Ancient and the Modern Incident

1.  Reverend Terry Jones basically admitted that was a bigot.  (see above video)
2.  The people doing the burning in Acts 19:19 were converts from the cult of Artemis.  By burning the scrolls, they were removing from themselves the temptation to be drawn back into it.  But Jones’ followers were not ex-Muslims.
3.  The silversmiths stood to lose a great deal financially from the burning of the scrolls.  The burning of the Qur’an probably would not have any such effect on the Muslims, even though Reverend Jones may have thought that it would.
4.  The people of Acts 19:19 did not try to negotiate with the silversmiths (nor did they lie about having done so).
5.  Jones did not actually go through with the burning. 

Conclusion

Ok this Jones guy is a little loopy.  But does that really mean that it’s wrong to burn Qur’ans?  I can’t accept that just because it makes them angry, that automatically makes wrong.  If he would have gone through with it, and if there would have been more violence because of it, I would put all the guilt on the Muslims, not Jones.  I’ll let you decide.

More food for thought…

What if you wrote one verse (such as the one that says it OK to beat your wife) on a piece of paper and burned it in private without telling anyone?  Would that be a sin? I’ll let you decide.

This unbalanced and biased report written by:

Matt Miller

No comments: