"Culture of Death"
There's some guy filling in for Sean Hannity on Hannity's radio show. Dunno the guy's name. I came in at the very tail end of the show and I don't know how the conversation started, but he was having some utterly insane discussions with callers. I'll see what I can remember.
The difference between them [Muslims] and us [Christians] is that they
worship death and we worship a baby.
Well, let's see. Christians made THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST, a film about a guy getting graphically tortured and then executed by crucifixion, one of the biggest money makers of all time.
Muslims worship an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, immanent god. Christians worship an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, immanent god. Muslims believe Jesus was one of the greatest of all the prophets and will return at the end of time to lead the forces of good in battle against the forces of evil (yes, Jesus does this, not Muhammed, according to Islamic eschatological tradition). Christians believe Jesus was the greatest of all prophets and will return to lead the forces of good in battle against the forces of evil. Some Muslims have interpreted their holy book to command holy war against unbelievers, while mainstream Islam rejects such interpretations. Some Christians have interpreted their holy book to command holy war against unbelievers, while mainstream Christianity rejects such interpretations.
The difference between Islam and Christianity is like the difference between Coke and Pepsi. They're slightly different from each other, but they're far more alike than same. To those outside the traditions of Abraham (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), Muslims and Christians castigating each other is kind of like someone who drinks water watching Coke and Pepsi drinkers act like they're totally different from each other. They both drink caramel-colored, sugary, carbonated soda beverages, and yet the claim that they have nothing in common! The difference between Muslims and Christians is little more than the difference between drinking Coke and drinking Pepsi.
Caller: God wanted 9/11 to happen--
Caller: Well, God could have stopped 9/11 if he wanted to, so He must have
wanted it to happen, you know, to bring us back to Him--
Host: That's a very dangerous idea. God didn't make robots. He didn't want
9/11 to happen.
Let's go over my free will argument one more time. God controls everything. Moreover, he controls the preconditions for everything. 9/11 could not have happened if God did not create this particular world, in this particular universe, with these particular physical laws, populated by these particular people at this particular time, etc., etc. If God didn't want 9/11 to happen, he could have changed any number of things to make sure it didn't. There's no way out of this, theists. There is nothing outside the purview of your God and so there is no way, whatsoever, that you can deny his responsibility for every single thing that happens.
Muslims live in a culture of death, where if you blow yourself up you get to go
to Heaven and have seventy-five virgins.
No. Muslims live in a culture of oppression, where they have seen the immense power of the West used to take away their resources, prop up unjust governments, and act in its own self interest without regard to the well being of the native Muslim population. Does this justify blowing up the USS Cole or flying planes into the World Trade Center? No. Is this "blaming America first?" No. Taking responsibility for what you have done is not blame. The US and Britain have, in large part, created this situation through ruthless, exploitative policies in the Middle East. Failing to recognize this in order to avoid "blaming America first" merely ensures that the problem will not get solved.
Let me say it again: Muslim extremists do not hate our freedoms. They hate our policies and our hypocrisy.
Muslims no more live in a "culture of death" than do Irish Christians in Northern Ireland, Americans during the American revolution (the Boston Tea Party is a classic act of terrorism), First-century Christians being marched into the collosseum to fight a lion and then die and go to Heaven, or Crusaders marching off to free the Holy Land. Christianity has been used to justify all sorts of terrorism and killing, such as the Inquisition, the Salem witch trials, and the Holocaust, which had its roots in two thousand years of Christian antisemitism.
Muslims are fighting an oppressive power the same way the Zealots (first-century Jewish terrorists) fought against Rome and the same way oppressed peoples have fought throughout all of time against a more powerful enemy. Islam encourages such behavior no more but also no less than Christianity, Judaism, or any other rigid set of beliefs.
The "culture of death" is not a product of Islam. It is a product of oppression. Were places reversed, and America a nation with a majority Islamic population and the Middle East predominantly Christian, we would be hearing about how Christians live in a "culture of death" right now.