Thursday, September 9, 2010

International Read the Qur'an Day

I’m lucky enough to have a copy of the Qur’an on my bookshelf at home. I have, at times, started reading it, but I have yet to have the patience to read it in its entirety. (I have read the Bible in full, however, plus the Book of Mormon, so it’s not that I’m unfamiliar with religious texts.)

I’m going to start reading it again, if for any other reason to do something in reaction to “International Burn the Koran” day, as to be observed Saturday by a tiny flock of mock Christians in Florida. I’m funny that way – I think people ought to read a book before they decide to burn it.

Will I find things that are unsettling? Likely. There are some rather unsettling things in the Bible as well – I’ve been teaching the Old Testament to a group of ten-year-olds all year and have had to address the issues of polygamy, harlotism, animal sacrifice, murder, the slaughter of innocents during wartime by what are supposed to be the “good” guys, plus a lot of other stuff.

It’s okay. I’m smart enough to sort the good from the bad. I’m smart enough to ponder what I read, try to figure things out, and pray for guidance (yes, I pray) in understanding stuff that I find difficult. So the Qur’an isn’t likely to present challenges I haven’t encountered scripturally – or spiritually – before.

Many millions of people seem capable of reading and following the Qur’an without becoming bloodthirsty. The same can be said of the Bible. So I don’t anticipate having my Christian faith shaken by reading the book or having my overall positive outlook on the Muslim religion shaken by reading it. I base that on my reactions to reading the Bible – and some of the violent stuff contained therein.

The Florida church is, of course, within its free speech rights to burn whatever books it pleases. The church's pastor, Terry Jones, currently seems to be waffling on whether the book-burning will go through.  I object, however, to them insisting on exercising this right, given the holy nature of the book they want to burn. If they were burning Books of Mormon, I’d be equally upset – though you can imagine the event wouldn’t be getting as much media attention. In this opinion, I’m aligned with the LDS Church, which announced yesterday that:
A key tenet of our faith is to accord everyone the freedom to worship as they choose. It is regrettable that anyone would regard the burning of any scriptural text as a legitimate form of protest or disagreement.

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