Sunday, February 17, 2013
How To Judge A Religion
I haven't watched a single episode of "The West Wing", I'm pretty sure my Mom has a few seasons on DVD but that's immaterial to the discussion of today's post. Unfortunately there is this common idea that every religion is peaceful, and while that works for Buddhists, Hindus and Sikhs, it fails when it comes to the big 2, Christianity and Islam. Whenever Muslim Terrorists do something horrible to people The Media is quick to say "Wait a second, not all Muslims are bad, after all you wouldn't say that all Christians are bad because of The KKK now would you?". Which is sound logic, they're 100% right, just because a handful of Muslims blow up a bus or fly a plane into a building it is still NOT a reason to indite an entire religion. HOWEVER, you examine what the religion teaches and you discover that the actions of that handful are consistent with the teachings of said religion...well...then you can indite the entire religion. So in this post I'm going to show you all how to judge a religion, shall we begin?
The common practice is to judge a religion BASED on it's followers. Well the fatal flaw in that is if you base anything on it's followers you're bound to find a few people with some screws loose. So how do you go about judging a religion? Well first we have to establish what a religion is. A Religion is an organized group with a core set of dogmatic beliefs they hold as truth, who engage in worship of an object, being, or idea. This is what separates Religion from Philosophy. Philosophy is merely an ideology one can hold to without holding to it in it's entirety. Also Religions are exclusive, Philosophies are not, granting that whatever philosophies you hold too don't contradict each other.
Example, I am a Christian (obviously), however I also subscribe to a few Jungian philosophies, as well as Skinnerist and a few others but those are the big 2 in my book. I can subscribe to those philosophical ideas without discounting my Christianity or rejecting it. However I cannot claim to be both a Christian and a Muslim, as both religions OPENLY contradict each other. Furthermore philosophies are not considered truths as religious dogmas are. Philosophies are open to discussion and interruption, and parts of it can be rejected WITHOUT rejecting the whole. You cannot rejected an essential part of Christianity and still call yourself a Christian.
This is one of the MAIN reasons why I'll NEVER accept Scientology as a religion, because it has few dogmatic beliefs, NO focus of worship and claims that you can be a Scientology and a follower of another religion, like John Travolta claims to be a both a Scientologist and a Roman Catholic (Right...). Anyway with all that preamble let's get back to the topic at hand, how do you judge a religion?Well I've broken down 3 categories and sub-categories to judge a religion.
#1: THE PROPHET
Every religion has one. The Prophet may NOT be someone who received a revelation from a being greater than them, The Prophet maybe the being themselves, but ultimately The Prophet is the person who came up with the religion, the first one, the one who taught everyone else. So why are they first on the list? Well imagine you're in a court room and the witness is called to the stand, you find out the witness is a crack addict who was high at the time when they witnessed a murder go down. Now I'm not saying that crack addicts can't speak the truth, but find out the witness was high while witnessing something would certainly cast doubt on the case at hand. Hence why The Prophet is important, finding out who a person is will ultimately establish why they believe and teach what they do. So since we're on the topic, let's look at Jesus and Muhammad.
When Muhammad had his first encounter he was under the impression that he was demon possessed and it was only after his wife convinced him that he was in fact a prophet did Muhammad start believing he was. Fair where fair is due, seeing an Angel probably is a terrifying experience, but no one in The Bible who were prophets of God thought something evil was occurring when encountering God's majesty. Jesus, being God in the flesh KNEW what He was doing and began His father's work teaching in the temples and so on. Jesus never killed anyone nor taught that anyone should be killed, in fact Jesus taught forgiveness as well as submission to the authority of the land as long as it didn't infringe on Christian principles. Jesus was never married but taught that marriage is between one unrelated man and woman. Jesus never wore women's clothing. Jesus never taught that women were inferior to men. Muhammad married and had sex with a 9 year old girl, claimed to have received revelation when wearing that 9 year old girl's clothes, killed and ordered the deaths of MANY people, married several women at the same time, MORE than his followers were allowed to, married the wife of his adopted son, taught that over throwing the government is good regardless of what government it is.
So if you met one of these men, which would be more credible? The person who needed to be convinced he was a prophet after thinking he was demon possessed OR the person who knew he was a prophet and began their work as such as soon as possible? No question, the 2nd one, after all you wouldn't want to have a prophet who wasn't 100% sure they were in fact who they claimed to be.
#2: THE TEACHINGS
This is IMPORTANT! How else can you judge a religion if you don't know it's core values and beliefs? After we look at The Prophet we must examine what The Prophet said and affirmed. The most important thing in any religion is THE ULTIMATE goal. Some people worship gods to find favor with them so they can be granted something, money, power, respect, whatever the case maybe, ALL religions have an end game, a purpose, a reason why people follow it. In Christianity, the ultimate goal is worship God through Jesus Christ, by doing so we'll be allowed into His presence for all eternity, failure to do so will get you rejected from His presence for all eternity. Jesus makes this abundantly clear in John 8:21, 3:16-18 and 14:6. So Christianity teaches that The ONLY way to Heaven is by believing Jesus Christ is God in The Flesh. What does Islam teach? Well Islam teaches that dying in jihad is a sure fire way to get into Heaven Quran 4:47, 3:157,9:29, 9:5,9:123 and many others afterwards.
Clearly Muhammad is teaching the murder of people NOT based on their actions, but rather on their beliefs. Does The Bible encourage Christians to attack people based on their beliefs? Nope. Jesus never fought anyone and Jesus is the example for ALL Christians, Muhammad is the example for ALL Muslims and here he is encouraging his followers to murder people for what they believe. Interesting, so all the Muslims who ARE killing people for their beliefs are behaving exactly like their prophet, that's consistent, all the Muslims who aren't are not behaving like Muhammad which is inconsistent BUT A GOOD THING! Jesus never murdered anyone therefore Christians don't murder anyone.
But let's back up a bit, just because Muhammad killed some people doesn't mean he's bad, after all David killed Goliath and David was a man after God's heart. Right you are, however Goliath's people were attempting to invade Israel, and all people have a right to defend themselves. Israel was attacked they fought back. Muhammad however does NOT declare that there must before a first offense before blood is shed, he merely calls for the shedding of blood due to what people believe. However since the image above gives us a reference we'll focus on racism. Neither religion teaches racism. However The Bible does make a mention of slavery which was extremely different than the slavery endured by American in the 1700s. However Muhammad talks about taking slaves during Jihad, which not only includes taking people but their property, their wife, children. Funny isn't that exactly what The KKK desires of African Americans? Disregarding them as 2nd class citizens and subjecting them to a tax where they are humiliated...interesting The KKK sound more Muslim than they do Christian Extremists.
But let's go to the verse were just about every Racist goes to to justify African American slavery, The Curse Of Ham *insert dramatic music here*. First of all, let's consider a few facts, Noah cursed Canaan, who is the father of the Canaanites who lived in the land of Canaan (modern day Israel), who God ordered to be killed (Deut 7:1-2, 20:16-17), and the land of Canaan is a good distance away from The Middle Passage (which kidnapped people from North West Africa), I fail to see how this can apply to Africans. One could argue that Africans are descended from the Canaanites but slave owners had NO way of testing DNA to see if such was true (furthermore there aren't any Canaanites to compare it to). So the idea that the systematic murders and kidnapping of African Americans is somehow Biblically supported is laughable and would only work on someone who was looking for the thinnest reason to be a racist. Furthermore comparing The KKK's Anti-Christian behavior to the religious mandate of Muslims to KILL those who don't believe is clearly a misunderstanding of what these religions teach.
#3: THE PEOPLE
The followers of ANY religion are ALWAYS it's biggest sell, regardless of the prophet or it's teachings, THE PEOPLE will ALWAYS be the biggest sell. As Ghandi once said;
"I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."
So regardless of what a religion teaches THE PEOPLE are it's face (unfortunately). So when looking at ANY religion you have to examine it based on the 1st two, who was their prophet, what does he teach and do the people line up with it? First and foremost you have to ask the people if they even know their faith (and unfortunately with many nominal Christians, they don't), which means you have to know before you ask. For example The Bible says,
"18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men." - Romans 12:18
"14 Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord."- Hebrews 12:14
And then you see a person who calls himself a Christian being needlessly offensive and mean to people, you can call him out on his hypocrisy. Jesus did this a lot in The Bible to The Pharisees. So obviously if The Bible tells us to be at peace with all men, SHOULD Christians physically assault someone for not believing the way they do? SHOULD a Christian be able to be friends with someone of another faith? Well The Bible says ALL MEN, so of course, I can be friendly to Wiccans, Muslims, Mormons, Catholics and so on. However can a Muslim be friends with a Christian or a Jew? Well The Qu'ran says;
"O you who have believed, do not take the Jews and the Christians as allies. They are [in fact] allies of one another. And whoever is an ally to them among you - then indeed, he is [one] of them. Indeed, Allah guides not the wrongdoing people." - 5:51
The Qu'ran says that Christians and Jews can't be friends. So if Muslims take Christians and Jews as friends, then clearly they're not following what their religion teaches. And there are several verses similar to this 3:28 and 4:144 that prohibit Muslims from becoming friends with Christians. BUT let's play fair and discuss a similar Biblical verse; 2 Cor 6:14
"14 Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?"
This verse is talking about cooperation between Christians and False Teachers within the context of The Church (can also be applied to marriage as well). The Church of Corinth believed that cooperating with false teachers would help them and Paul was discouraging them from this practice. This verse isn't telling us that we cannot befriend a person of another faith, if that were the case then Jesus would have been here for nothing as Jesus befriends drunks, hookers and tax collectors (who later stopped being drunks, hookers and tax collectors).
If we see someone say something offensive about Christ and a Christian kills that person, we should look at what The Bible says about that behavior. Does The Bible approve of the murder of those who insult Christ?
"11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you." - Matthew 5:11-12
Let's look at the behavior of the Christian prophet when He was physically assaulted and verbally insulted;
"34 But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves." - Luke 23:34
So if Christians are verbally assaulted and our prophet is verbally insulted, based on the example and teaching of our prophet we are told to rejoice and be glad, OH BUT IT GETS BETTER;
"44 But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you," - Matthew 5:44
WOW! HOW VIOLENT!! Our Prophet told us to PRAY FOR OUR ENEMIES?! WHAT?! Well of course He did, because that's what He did (that's a little thing called consistency). Is this the kind of teaching that'd lead to The KKK? NOPE! But what does The Qu'ran say about insulting Muhammad? Bukhari 59:369. Interesting that Muhammad wanted that man killed and MANY of his followers offered to kill him. By example, if a person insults Muhammad, a Muslim must be prepared to kill that person. Is this the kind of teaching that'd lead a person to fly into a building? Yep.
Furthermore, let's look at The Muslim afterlife, 72 virgins and ALL you have to do is die in Jihad, and PRESTO automatic admission into Heaven;
"Each time we sleep with a Houri we find her virgin. Besides, the penis of the Elected never softens. The erection is eternal; the sensation that you feel each time you make love is utterly delicious and out of this world and were you to experience it in this world you would faint. Each chosen one [i.e. Muslim] will marry seventy [sic] houris, besides the women he married on earth, and all will have appetizing vaginas".- Al-Itqan fi Ulum al-Qur'an, p. 351
Wow...Muslim Heaven sounds like a massive orgy (also make a note that women aren't promised 72 virgin males and ever moist vaginas in Paradise...interesting). So you promise a group of guys a heavenly, massive orgy where 72 eternally horny virgin females are waiting for them and their penis will NEVER go soft (perhaps Allah has a stash of viagra somewhere) and all they have to do is be willing to die in the name of Allah, specifically killing unbelievers. After all, Muhammad said;
"Fighting has been enjoined upon you while it is hateful to you. But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah Knows, while you know not." -2:216
"I would love to be martyred in Al1ah's Cause and then get resurrected and then get martyred, and then get resurrected again and then get martyred and then get resurrected again and then get martyred."-Bukhari 52:54
Muhammad says the the best man among them is the man who rides head first into battle seeking death...Muslim 20:4655
With statements like this from their prophet and his followers, it's no wonder why Muslims are known for suicide attacks. After all they're only following the example laid out by their prophet and his followers.
So when we look at ANY follower of ANY religion we need to look at the example set by their prophet as well as the teachings. If the people don't behave like their prophet and follow the teachings, the religion isn't wrong, it's the people. Unfortunately there are Muslims who do follow Muhammad's example, unfortunately those are REAL Muslims, and the Muslims who don't fortunately for the rest of us are NOT real Muslims. On the flip-side people who behave like The KKK are NOT Christians and can't even be considered a branch of Christian Terrorism, because nothing about what they do relate to any of the teachings of Christ. Once again an ignorant statement is thwarted with logic, reason and references...this gets tiresome sometimes. Peace in Christ all, I have another article to write after this one. Later everyone!