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My Take: It’s time for Islamophobic evangelicals to choose
September 15th, 2012
10:00 PM ET

My Take: It’s time for Islamophobic evangelicals to choose

Editor's Note: Brian D. McLaren  is author of "Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road? Christian Identity in a Multi-Faith World" (Jericho Books/Hachette Book Group). 

By Brian McLaren, Special to CNN

I was raised as an evangelical Christian in America, and any discussion of Christian-Jewish-Muslim relations around the world must include the phenomenon of American Islamophobia, for which large sectors of evangelical Christianity in America serve as a greenhouse.

At a time when U.S. embassies are being attacked and when people are getting killed over an offensive, adolescent and puerile film targeting Islam - beyond pathetic in its tawdriness – we must begin to own up to the reality of evangelical Islamaphobia.

Many of my own relatives receive and forward pious-sounding and alarm-bell-ringing e-mails that trumpet (IN LOTS OF CAPITAL LETTERS WITH EXCLAMATION POINTS!) the evils of Islam, that call their fellow evangelicals and charismatics to prayer and “spiritual warfare” against those alleged evils, and that often - truth be told - contain lots of downright lies.

For example, one recent e-mail claimed “Egyptian Christians in Grave Danger as Muslim Brotherhood Crucifies Opponents."  Of course, that claim has been thoroughly debunked, but the sender’s website still (as of Friday) claims that the Muslim Brotherhood has “crucified those opposing" Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy "naked on trees in front of the presidential palace while abusing others.”

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

Many sincere and good-hearted evangelicals have never yet had a real Muslim friend, and now they probably never will because their minds have been so prejudiced by Islamophobic broadcasts on so-called Christian television and radio.

Janet Parshall, for example, a popular talk show host on the Moody Radio Network, frequently hosts Walid Shoebat, a Muslim-evangelical convert whose anti-Muslim claims, along with claims about his own biography, are frequently questioned.  John Hagee, a popular televangelist, also hosts Shoebat as an expert on Islam, as does the 700 Club.

Many Christian bookstores that (used to) sell my books, still sell books such as Paul Sperry’s "Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington" (Thomas Nelson, 2008). In so doing, they fuel conspiracy theories such as the ones U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minnesota, promoted earlier this year.

In recent days, we’ve seen how irresponsible Muslim media outlets used the tawdry 13-minute video created by a tiny handful of fringe Christian extremists to create a disgusting caricature of all Christians - and all Americans - in Muslim minds. But too few Americans realize how frequently American Christian media personalities in the U.S. similarly prejudice their hearers’ minds with mirror-image stereotypes of Muslims.

Ambassador's killing shines light on Muslim sensitivities around Prophet Mohammed

Meanwhile, many who are pastors and leaders in evangelicalism hide their heads in the current issue of Christianity Today or World Magazine, acting as if the kinds of people who host Islamophobic sentiments swim in a tiny sidestream, not in the mainstream, of our common heritage. I wish that were true.

The events of this past week, if we let them, could mark a turning point - a hitting bottom, if you will - in the complicity of evangelicalism in Islamophobia. If enough evangelicals watch or try to watch the film trailer that has sparked such outrage in the Middle East, they may move beyond the tipping point.

I tried to watch it, but I couldn’t make it halfway to the 13-minute mark. Everything about it was tawdry, pathetic, even pornographic. All but the most fundamentalist believers from my evangelical Christian tribe who watch that video will be appalled and ashamed to be associated with it.

It is hate speech. It is no different from the anti-Semitic garbage that has been all too common in Western Christian history. It is sub-Christian - beneath the dignity of anyone with a functioning moral compass.

Islamophobic evangelical Christians - and the neo-conservative Catholics and even some Jewish folks who are their unlikely political bedfellows of late - must choose.

Will they press on in their current path, letting Islamophobia spread even further amongst them? Or will they stop, rethink and seek to a more charitable approach to our Muslim neighbors? Will they realize that evangelical religious identity is under assault, not by Shariah law, not by the liberal media, not by secular humanism from the outside, but by forces within the evangelical community that infect that religious identity with hostility?

If I could get one message through to my evangelical friends, it would be this: The greatest threat to evangelicalism is evangelicals who tolerate hate and who promote hate camouflaged as piety.

No one can serve two masters. You can’t serve God and greed, nor can you serve God and fear, nor God and hate.

The broad highway of us-them thinking and the offense-outrage-revenge reaction cycle leads to self-destruction. There is a better way, the way of Christ who, when reviled, did not revile in return, who when insulted, did not insult in return, and who taught his followers to love even those who define themselves as enemies.

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Yes, “they” – the tiny minority of Muslims who turn piety into violence – have big problems of their own. But the way of Christ requires all who claim to be Christians to examine our own eyes for planks before trying to perform first aid on the eyes of others. We must admit that we have our own tiny minority whose message and methods we have not firmly, unitedly and publicly repudiated and rejected.

To choose the way of Christ is not appeasement. It is not being a “sympathizer.”

The way of Christ is a gentle strength that transcends the vicious cycles of offense-outrage-revenge.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Brian D. McLaren.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Islam • Opinion

soundoff (8,500 Responses)
  1. Rogue

    A hundred and sixty pages! Well, I'm not going to add much more to what's been said already so I'll just leave this here to waste a few moments...and add to the pile. lol

    September 17, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
  2. Colin

    This morning there was a knock at my door. When I answered the door I found a well groomed, nicely dressed couple. The man spoke first:

    John: "Hi! I'm John, and this is Mary."

    Mary: "Hi! We're here to invite you to come kiss Hank's ass with us."

    Me: "Pardon me?! What are you talking about? Who's Hank, and why would I want to kiss His ass?"

    John: "If you kiss Hank's ass, He'll give you a million dollars; and if you don't, He'll kick the guts out of you."

    Me: "What? Is this some sort of bizarre mob shake-down?"

    John: "Hank is a billionaire philanthropist. Hank built this town. Hank owns this town. He can do whatever He wants, and what He wants is to give you a million dollars, but He can't until you kiss His ass."

    Me: "That doesn't make any sense. Why..."

    Mary: "Who are you to question Hank's gift? Don't you want a million dollars? Isn't it worth a little kiss on the ass?"

    Me: "Well maybe, if it's legit, but..."

    John: "Then come kiss Hank's ass with us."

    Me: "Do you kiss Hank's ass often?"

    Mary: "Oh yes, all the time..."

    Me: "And has He given you a million dollars?"

    John: "Well no. You don't actually get the money until you leave town."

    Me: "So why don't you just leave town now?"

    Mary: "You can't leave until Hank tells you to, or you don't get the money, and He kicks the guts
    out of you."

    Me: "Do you know anyone who kissed Hank's ass, left town, and got the million dollars?"

    John: "My mother kissed Hank's ass for years. She left town last year, and I'm sure she got the money."

    Me: "Haven't you talked to her since then?"

    John: "Of course not, Hank doesn't allow it."

    Me: "So what makes you think He'll actually give you the money if you've never talked to anyone who got the money?"

    Mary: "Well, He gives you a little bit before you leave. Maybe you'll get a raise, maybe you'll win a small lotto, maybe you'll just find a twenty-dollar bill on the street."

    Me: "What's that got to do with Hank?"

    John: "Hank has certain 'connections.'"

    Me: "I'm sorry, but this sounds like some sort of bizarre con game."

    John: "But it's a million dollars, can you really take the chance? And remember, if you don't kiss Hank's ass He'll kick the guts out of you."

    Me: "Maybe if I could see Hank, talk to Him, get the details straight from Him..."

    Mary: "No one sees Hank, no one talks to Hank."

    Me: "Then how do you kiss His ass?"

    John: "Sometimes we just blow Him a kiss, and think of His ass. Other times we kiss Karl's ass, and he passes it on."

    Me: "Who's Karl?"

    Mary: "A friend of ours. He's the one who taught us all about kissing Hank's ass. All we had to do was take him out to dinner a few times."

    Me: "And you just took his word for it when he said there was a Hank, that Hank wanted you to kiss His ass, and that Hank would reward you?"

    John: "Oh no! Karl has a letter he got from Hank years ago explaining the whole thing. Here's a copy; see for yourself."

    From the Desk of Karl
    1. Kiss Hank's ass and He'll give you a million dollars when you leave town.
    2. Use alcohol in moderation.
    3. Kick the guts out of people who aren't like you.
    4. Eat right.
    5. Hank dictated this list Himself.
    6. The moon is made of green cheese.
    7. Everything Hank says is right.
    8. Wash your hands after going to the bathroom.
    9. Don't use alcohol.
    10. Eat your wieners on buns, no condiments.
    11. Kiss Hank's ass or He'll kick the guts out of you.

    Me: "This appears to be written on Karl's letterhead."

    Mary: "Hank didn't have any paper."

    Me: "I have a hunch that if we checked we'd find this is Karl's handwriting."

    John: "Of course, Hank dictated it."

    Me: "I thought you said no one gets to see Hank?"

    Mary: "Not now, but years ago He would talk to some people."

    Me: "I thought you said He was a philanthropist. What sort of philanthropist kicks the guts out of people just because they're different?"

    Mary: "It's what Hank wants, and Hank's always right."

    Me: "How do you figure that?"

    Mary: "Item 7 says 'Everything Hank says is right.' That's good enough for me!"

    Me: "Maybe your friend Karl just made the whole thing up."

    John: "No way! Item 5 says 'Hank dictated this list himself.' Besides, item 2 says 'Use alcohol in moderation,' Item 4 says 'Eat right,' and item 8 says 'Wash your hands after going to the bathroom.' Everyone knows those things are right, so the rest must be true, too."

    Me: "But 9 says 'Don't use alcohol.' which doesn't quite go with item 2, and 6 says 'The moon is made of green cheese,' which is just plain wrong."

    John: "There's no contradiction between 9 and 2, 9 just clarifies 2. As far as 6 goes, you've never been to the moon, so you can't say for sure."

    Me: "Scientists have pretty firmly established that the moon is made of rock..."

    Mary: "But they don't know if the rock came from the Earth, or from out of space, so it could just as easily be green cheese."

    Me: "I'm not really an expert, but I think the theory that the Moon was somehow 'captured' by the Earth has been discounted*. Besides, not knowing where the rock came from doesn't make it cheese."

    John: "Ha! You just admitted that scientists make mistakes, but we know Hank is always right!"

    Me: "We do?"

    Mary: "Of course we do, Item 7 says so."

    Me: "You're saying Hank's always right because the list says so, the list is right because Hank dictated it, and we know that Hank dictated it because the list says so. That's circular logic, no different than saying 'Hank's right because He says He's right.'"

    John: "Now you're getting it! It's so rewarding to see someone come around to Hank's way of thinking."

    Me: "But...oh, never mind.

    September 17, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • HAVE MUD WILL TRAVEL

      That's a long story to explain authority. More believable in the Scriptures.

      September 18, 2012 at 3:43 am |
    • GodFreeNow

      Very well done.

      September 18, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  3. KP

    Reblogged this on News on Modern Day Slavery and commented:
    "If I could get one message through to my evangelical friends, it would be this: The greatest threat to evangelicalism is evangelicals who tolerate hate and who promote hate camouflaged as piety.

    No one can serve two masters. You can’t serve God and greed, nor can you serve God and fear, nor God and hate."

    September 17, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • George Orwell

      @ KP – The rub is, I'm not sure you and your Evangelical friends would always agree on what "hate" is. You sound very rational. But here's a thought. Oft times, most of us can agree on what the term "hate" means. Though somehow it has now become a noun. But sometimes it is merely code for "I don't agree with your ethics, and I have no strong rational agreement against it, so I will dismiss your beliefs with a mere inference of real or imagined intolerant thinking on your part". Better to deal with specific issues where you might disagree with someone. However, I don't wish to jump to conclusions, let me check my Newspeak dictionary with regard to the term. God forbid I run afoul of the thought police. Oops. I said God. Now I did it.

      September 17, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
    • Adam

      Well said!

      September 17, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • HAVE MUD WILL TRAVEL

      The PUblic Servant yawmakers sure know what 'hate' is, though. They give it to the Masters all the time.

      September 18, 2012 at 3:25 am |
  4. halloweenthoughts

    i suspect this means that zombies and robed prophet followers will be added to the scary costumes collection this halloween! well maybe not zombies – since they were already there.

    September 17, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • forceddestiny

      the worst part is they make themselves so easy to manipulate with their violent, non-intelligent response to one person goading them on, and are not educated nor informed to understand that someone was just trying to get their goat – and succeeded – so now they put their whole tribe at risk because of one goat's beatings – and threaten a whole nation on people who are not goats nor goat herders. they take blame for actions of hate against usa even when they have no idea if their guilty or not. that is the weirdest thing. such ignorance is hard to fathom in this day and age for many, but i suppose not for many more. hard to be intelligent and watch this stuff – maybe we should all read different books not so violent and judgmental in nature – or better yet, actually discover things like ice-ages, and cosmic alignments, and such and so forth, instead of basing our passions on destiny written in the past that could obviously be changed in future – if it is man-made in any form.

      September 17, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • Adam

      To forceddestiny:

      "they" are mobs of emotional people. Here in USA, since we are sort of individual people, we do our "mob" thing individually! Like killing Muslims and Sikhs (because they look like Muslims) and burning Mosques.

      September 17, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
    • Adam

      To see some mob action here in USA, see the following
      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NutFkykjmbM&w=640&h=390]

      September 17, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
    • Len

      Adam
      That would be guns that make us individual "mobs", right?

      September 17, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
    • forceddestiny

      i think they are mobs or manic persons whom are acting this way because there will be big earthquakes in that area soon.
      people tend to act manic (emotional and irrational perhaps could fit) when electromagnetic changes occur that could also be electromagnetic earth changes by earths inner signals – or it could be something else – seems to be catching though – some of the weirder things i've seen lately – i mean – these people are probably mentally ill to some degree don't you think? Makes you have to observe in deeper realms of thought to fathom beyond fear or sarcasm – and then you delve into science and psychology and politics and geophysics – and perhaps someone should teach these robed maniacs to breath and say ohmmm ... or would that put them at risk too – weird people – must be the weather and the geology and biology and the hugest display of manipulation on display today.

      September 18, 2012 at 12:17 am |
    • forceddestiny

      i think they are mobs of manic persons whom are acting this way because there will be big earthquakes in that area soon.
      people tend to act manic (emotional and irrational perhaps could fit) when electromagnetic changes occur that could also be electromagnetic earth changes by earths inner signals – or it could be something else – seems to be catching though – some of the weirder things i've seen lately – i mean – these people are probably mentally ill to some degree don't you think? Makes you have to observe in deeper realms of thought to fathom beyond fear or sarcasm – and then you delve into science and psychology and politics and geophysics – and perhaps someone should teach these robed maniacs to breath and say ohmmm ... or would that put them at risk too for trying to teach them – weird people – must be the weather and the geology and biology and the hugest display of manipulation on display today.

      September 18, 2012 at 12:20 am |
  5. Jon

    I have been stationed in Guantanamo bay, and learned about the Koran and Islam is a cult, it is not a peaceful religion. Talked with people who have left the religion and they all say it is an evil intolerant religion. The bible preaches love one another, the Islam Koran preaches violence and to kill anyone who is not an Islam. After being around the Islamic people they are trying to infiltrate our country to destroy it from the inside. The Islamic religion started out as peaceful but as it caught on it became more and more violent. Meanwhile the Bible has started out kinda of violent but has moved to a message of acceptance and peace. People keep trying to make excused for the Islamic faith but believe me it is nothing more then a cult and extremist organization. My point look at the middle east, every other religion gets their prophets made fun of but no one attacks things or kills people. But with Islam talk about Mohammad and they come unglued. And it is not the first time it has happened. These middle east people who cant over throw a evil dictator, but talk about Mohammad and they could destroy any organization. They talk about how America has insulted their religion but yet they burn our flags, step all over our flags, and insult our country everyday.

    September 17, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
    • niknak

      How accepted do the gays feel?
      Or the blacks before them?
      Or the woman before them?
      Your bible is just as f_ed up as the koran.
      The fundies would love to turn this into the xtian version of Saudi Arabia and are working very hard at it too.
      A mind is a terrible thing to lose, to religion........

      September 17, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      @ niknak – yeah, the bible is full of nastiness – no doubt about that. And in no way am I defending fundie Christians. But, by and large, their faith – however misguided I believe it to be – does not involve rioting and burning and killing because someone posts a photoshopped pic of jesus. Fundamentalist islamist militants were responsible for 9/11 – not evangelical christians. Personally, I think all religion is ludicrous and simply a tool to manipulate the ma-sses. But really- give me fundie christians over fundie muslims any day of the week.

      September 17, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
    • niknak

      That is just because Xtianinity went thru their time of rage before CNN and instant news.
      Go back about 500 years and draw some cartoon that depicted jeebus like in that movie and you would have had some nastiness cast upon your azz for sure.
      They are all crazy, and violent, and won't hesitate to kill your children to prove to you how much they love their god and follow jeebus' teachings.
      I would never let a religious person near my family, they are like pitt bulls, you never know when they will go off the rails and kill.

      September 17, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • Joe

      @ niknak the article is talking about recent time related events this is not an article that deals with Christian oppression of 500 years ago... and besides if a religion committed atrocities in the past it is not an excuse for another religion to do the same... nowadays we area a much more civilized society we have technology and access to instant information therefore these acts are less excusable than 500 years ago... there is a BIG difference

      September 17, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • Alpa Chino

      Nice try at a deflect, Joe

      Too bad you so wrong.

      September 17, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • Joe

      Nice try trying to be smart but if you don't express your opinion it means you cannot justify it or defend it hence the smartass reply that doesn't say anything

      September 18, 2012 at 12:05 am |
    • truth be trolled

      "Nice try trying to be smart but if you don't express your opinion it means you cannot justify it or defend it hence the smartass reply that doesn't say anything"

      Now see, Joe, there you go again. Please read your "sentence" slowly and see if you still think it makes any sense. This is why they let you go from the Evangelical Fortune Cookie Co..

      September 18, 2012 at 12:26 am |
    • Joe

      @troll Read these sentences. You are retarded.

      September 18, 2012 at 2:42 am |
  6. darnell

    If the treacherous other religions like christianity judaism, catholicism and help destroy the vile israel, and submit to the glory of islam, stop waging war against the noble muslims, they would not have to resort to defending themselves fromt he constant defamation

    darnellwiltrout0903@rocketmail.com

    September 17, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
    • HAVE MUD WILL TRAVEL

      Are you an agent or a double agent?

      September 17, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
    • HAVE MUD WILL TRAVEL

      Maybe have a stake in the New World Order?

      September 17, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
  7. JE

    What a concept: the truth.

    The past few years have been illuminating–and nuts.

    President Obama is elected and suddenly everyone goes nuts. The man could rescue a little old lady from a burning building and 'so-called evangelicals' will come up with some snide (awful) remark/twist. Romney could kick a little old Muslim lady in the shins and evangelicals would cheer.

    I'm Christian but I am disgusted by the crap coming from the so-called Christian right.

    I listen to Moody Radio at times but much more rarely nowadays because I know it will only be a matter of minutes before I am likely to hear yet another snide remark. I will not listen when Janet Parshall is on.

    Obama is a Christian. Muslim-Americans have been living peacefully in and contributing to this country for decades. People who make nasty comments about other people (myself included) are not acting Christ-like in any way, shape or form.

    Just read the New Testament. The only people Jesus criticized were religious people who didn't love their neighbors or their enemies or who didn't forgive (as all of us have been forgiven 'our sins' by God).

    Hate isn't 'good news'.

    September 17, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • HAVE MUD WILL TRAVEL

      Didn't Moody inc fall into DISPENSATIONALISM?

      September 17, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • JE

      Now, however, this is not to be confused with D.L. Moody (the founder). I love his sermons. He came from a humble beginning and LOVED God and people.

      September 17, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
    • HAVE MUD WILL TRAVEL

      Yea or nay?

      September 17, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • JE

      I don't even know what that means. It sounds like some kind of crazy legalistic thing.

      September 17, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
    • niknak

      I guess you did not get the memo from the xtian right.
      Hate, it's whats for dinner.

      September 17, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
  8. Jeff

    Finger pointing at Christians? But how do Muslims feel towards pagans?..... This article as the depth of thinking consistent with a 5 year olds.

    September 17, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
    • HAVE MUD WILL TRAVEL

      BM is a thinly veiled (HA!) opportunist chasing the moolah on ye olde caravan trail.

      September 17, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • JE

      What do you think Jesus meant when he said love your neighbors, love your enemies, forgive, give all you have to the poor, do unto others as you would have them do unto you, go ye into the world?

      Oh. He must have meant: call other people names, look down on everyone else, hate (like the devil)...act exactly like the devil...

      That must have been in it. I should probably buy a new copy of the Bible; mine doesn't resemble what's coming from evangelicals these days (well, except when Jesus points out the behavior of the Pharisees).

      September 17, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
  9. forgiven

    New American Armband:

    We have not god but Jehovah
    and JESUS is his messager

    September 17, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • Irena

      Why would an all-loving god need to forgive anything?

      Oh, your Christian one isn't loving? Got it. America isn't a Christian nation, fortunately, and religion is in decline. Get used to it.

      September 17, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
  10. Azmond

    Islam was constructed by the Catholic Church to hold territory for Rome , fight the Jews and thin the population of non Catholic Christians . It just ran off its leash , is all . Islam's job was to take and keep Jerusalem ...

    September 17, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
    • Locus

      Where is the evidence? Seriously, I would like to know if there is any truth to this statement

      September 17, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
  11. Azmond

    Islam was constructed by the Catholic Church to hold territory for Rome , fight the Jews and thin the population of non Catholic Christians . It just ran off its leash , is all . Islam's job was to take and keep Jerusalem .

    September 17, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
  12. forgiven

    New American Arm Band:
    We have no GOD but Jehovah
    and JESUS is his messager

    September 17, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
  13. Jill

    Fear during a time when "Death to America" is being broadcasted on our TV screens from many countries' violent uprisings and an ambassador has been murdered (related to the video or not) is to be expected. But, allowing fear to conjure up our own mob mentality of hatred/intolerance toward an entire group of people will not help. Would it have been a better solution to kill all Germans during the Nazi regime (or were some/many of them decent people who we are very pleased to have on our planet?), or to allow witch hunts or lynching to continue to run rampant instead of defending innocent people being viewed as a collective cancer? As a Christian, I believe that if you call yourself a follower of Christ, then you have to strive, or at least ask God to help you strive, to follow the example he left for us and love the world the way he calls us to....praying for your enemies, loving your neighbor, turning the other cheek just to name a few. There is nowhere in the Bible that I can think of where Jesus says anything about allowing fear of a few to turn to hatred of many. That being said, I don't know how to reconcile my faith with defense of our country's freedoms and rights if I were to be making the high up political decisions or battling it out over seas. If I were on the front line against someone who wanted to murder me and my family, I would not try to love them to death. If those of us not fighting/serving in the military or making defense decisions can follow Christ peacefully in our own lives and treat people with love and respect, perhaps that's all we can do and perhaps that's really helpful (especially considering the fact that one Coptic-Christian not living that way instead created a bitter video that sparked a horrific reaction). I can't judge the reactions of people full of fear, however, or who's family members are losing or have lost their lives to this conflict and in defense of our free country and livelihood, or who died on 9/11/01. This is a complex issue indeed!

    September 17, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • Religion is not healthy for children and ALL LIVING THINGS

      Since you believe in an invisible all-powerful deity, as do the muslims, how about this... lets destroy every christian and muslim and whoever has the most powerful god will be resurrected. Then we'll know for sure which one should be worshipped. If none of you are brought back, the world can begin to live in reality.

      September 17, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
    • Jill

      In your opinion, the world should be without people who believe in a higher power, or just all Christians and Muslims? Do you have any Christian or Muslim friends or relatives? You wouldn't mind if they were all killed or ceased to exist? That's somehow an improved way of thinking verses what's going on in the world right now? Ever seen bad things happen among people who don't profess to have any faith, or just among religious people? Could it be a human nature thing rather than a faithful person thing?

      September 17, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
  14. a-muslim

    Once again, you need to study Islam properly and the history. All your assumptions are utterly false. Islam is a peacefu religion. Yes, i agree that there are some muslims who act with violence, and there act may not be in-line with islamic teachings. There are car accidents, so then don't blame the car, or the passengers, blame the driver. The truth and beauty that I have seen in Islam is in no other religion. And a true religion from God is difficult to follow. But if you follow Islam you will attain paradise. Choice is yours. Once again choice is yours and time is running out. There are plenty of proof that Muhammad is the prophet of God and Quran is the words of God. May Allah guide you.

    Also to let you know that I am an American Muslim, and love peace and hate violence. I would try to stop all violence and source of violence. Ignorance is another source of violence. Islam's Sharia Law protects five things: Life, Property, Religion, Intellect and Family. "know it before you say it"

    September 17, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
    • HAVE MUD WILL TRAVEL

      nah, leave it overseas.

      September 17, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • HAVE MUD WILL TRAVEL

      False doctrine for the kids in jail. Cuz it FEELS good. Just ol' fashioned carnality.

      September 17, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
    • Islamaphobe

      I have yet to meet a Muslim that will say they do not believe the Quron in its entirety. Could you be the first? Don't you fear that your Muslim brothers will kill you and then Allah eternally punish you for contradicting the Quran? Don't be deceived, here is just a small token of your faith:

      Quran (2:216) – "Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not."

      Quran (3:151) – "Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers, for that they joined companions with Allah, for which He had sent no authority".

      Quran (5:33) – "The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement"

      Quran (8:12) – "I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them"

      September 17, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
    • Tom

      If what you're saying truely is the case, Where is the rebuke from your religeous leaders?? Also, why are most of the leaders of Islamic countries chosing to comment on the video which is the opinion of one person, rather than on the violence done by many people resulting in destruction of property and loss of life?

      September 17, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • Icabod

      Well, seems to me is those 5 are the core beliefs, you should go be a missionary there since they have 2 of the first 3 wrong.

      September 17, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
    • Salim

      @Islamphobe You should have explained the context of those verses. Those verses are related to history when enemies of Islam cheated or broke the treaties and waged war. When someone is killing you it will be foolish to receive all the attack.

      Now lets visit bible: Luke (19:27) But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them–bring them here and kill them in front of me

      In few other postings there was mention about Freedom of Speech. Hurting others with lies is not freedom of speech. Isn't this pure bullying ? This country always had anti bullying policies in place. Why double standards when it comes to Islam ? weird !!!

      September 17, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • HAVE MUD WILL TRAVEL

      salim, that's part of a parable of a king on earth, and you KNOW how they can be! .........'Luk 19:11 ¶ And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable,'

      September 17, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
    • Murica

      Don't blame the car or the passengers? A disproportionate number of Anti-American extremists are Muslim. This certainly doesn't mean that all Muslims are this way, but you cannot say that other religions are equally violent, other religions simply don't have so much terrorist activity.

      September 17, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • Religion is not healthy for children and ALL LIVING THINGS

      Proof? You got proof that your God exists? Well thats a horse of a different color! Why don't you share this proof with the world so we can all worship your god?

      You say you would stop all violence and the source of that violence. The source of the violence which took the lives of four of your AMERICAN BROTHERS was ISLAM! Now... what are you going to do about it my American Brother?

      September 17, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      @ a-muslim: just look around the world. The followers of your religion of peace are the most blood-thirsty, crazed, primitive, and irrational nutbars going. Seriously: calling for the murder of a cartoonist? Moronic followers of a moronic religion.

      September 17, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
    • a-muslim

      @Islamaphobe and all other:
      All these verses i have read and understood from the history and occasion of revelation and from theological perspective. You may know, that there are verses that say:

      (5:32) ...if anyone slew a person―unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land― it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if anyone saved a life it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people.

      (2:256) Let there be no compulsion in religion. Truth stands out clear from Error; whoever rejects Evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all things.

      It takes years to understand many verses. You and I can just randomly quote verses from Quran or Bible or Gita to prove or disprove something. We need to have an overall understanding of the religion before we can go into the depth of a verse. There are plenty of muslim scholars who have examined these verses and still call Islam a religion of peace. Why?

      Let's say you know calculus, then you know dy/dx, is the derivative of y(x) w.r.t. x. But if someone just knows basic algebra and not calculus, he will say dy/dx is same as y/x, you cannot make him understand dy/dx unless he goes thru a basic training of calculus.

      You need to know the basic theology of Islam. I guess people are lazy to read or get to know before jumping into conclusion.

      You see as you read Quran, you will find that there are great advices and goodness in the message of the Quran, calling to goodness time and again and asking the reader to apply his intellect that God has given him, and then you may find a few verses seeming contradictory. What's going should be your question– and that should lead to further quest. Then we must follow the rule: on matters of serious illness ask a doctor and not a journalist. But if you keep asking the journalist, then you know your intellect is at risk. Go to a mosque and ask a real knowledgeable muslim.

      Quran says – Jesus is not son of God, Would you wonder why or just say it is false?
      Quran says – Mary and Jesus are pious servent of God and so is Muhammad. would you wonder why or just say it is false?
      Quran says – that Quran is the word of God. would you wonder why or just say it is false?
      Quran says – we have created you all to test how you perform. would you wonder how or just say it is false?
      Muslim says – Quran is a miracle. would you wonder why and how or just say it is false?
      There 100's of miracle that Propet Muhammad performed to establish the point that he is a prophet. Propet Muhammad also prophecised many things that happended. Would you search for some of them and try to rationalize or just say they are false?

      You are a man(or woman) and man(or person) of intellect and God created you with the best of forms. Please please and I urge all of you to ponder over life and this creation, take away your prejudice and reach the real God whose mercy is the cause of our existence and do not spread corruption on earth. And yes, Quran also advices us time and again to not spread corruption on earth.

      May God guide us all.Ameen!

      September 18, 2012 at 1:57 am |
  15. forgiven

    " One nation under GOD" Our GOD.The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Allah is not the same god as ours and Islam is not the faith of our fathers. We have watched satan/the spirit of the anti-christ move thru history. He caused Pharaoh to kill the first born of the Hebrews, yet our GOD made a way for Moses. Satan filled the Promised Land with enemys to this very day. He caused Herod to kill the first born of the Jew's in the times of Christ. Hitler shed the blood of the jewish children and now Islam is sheading blood even the blood of their own children in Jihad. Sounds like blood sacrifice to me. Anybody hear the words of the Cleric at the victory rally of the new pres.of Eqypt that the Muslim Brotherhood placed in power: Our new capital is Jerusalem or we will die as martyrs at its threshold. They then chanted Millions of martyrs march to Jerusalem.... I know the author thinks we should be nice, turn the other cheek. Heck, maybe have some move in next door. Let's get some into office...ops. If we don't stand up now with our friends Israel, we can just lay here in the warm bed of Islamophobia. It is easyer to roll us into bodybags that way.....I love this republic,for which it STANDS

    September 17, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      Check my post below. YOUR God is no more substantive than any other made up fairy tale. It's your us vs. them mentality that is whole problem in a nutshell. You're part of the problem masquerading as part of the solution.

      September 17, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
  16. AtheistSteve

    An Egyptian student(a kid) put a link to the video that has all the muslims heated up on his facebook page. He has been arrested and charged with disdain for religion which carries a 2 year prison sentence. The new muslim brotherhood gov't in Egypt is even more oppressive than Mubarack's was. The kicker here is that ALL relgions are worthy of disdain or ridicule and should be challenged at every opportunity. Your one true God is your one true delusion. You're welcome to it but not at the expense of others who don't share your view.

    September 17, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
  17. Day Dreamer

    The question Mr McLaren fails to address is why do Christians ignore and forgive those that promote tawdry and offensive material against them in the media (i.e. turning the other cheek), whilst Muslims feel the need to riot and murder?

    Every morning news bulletin has another story of violence perpetrated by Muslims somewhere in the world.

    Does that not warrant a genuine fear of a clear and present danger?

    How many Christian nations are currently seeking to obtain a nuclear capability and threatening to exterminate their neighbors?

    September 17, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • Greenspon

      Name one Christian nation other than the VatiCan. And no, the US is not one.

      September 17, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
    • Islamaphobe

      I have yet to meet a muslim that will say they do not believe the Quron in its entirety. They all believe every word of it and fear sudden death and then hell for contradicting it in any way. Don't be deceived, here is just a small token of their faith:

      Quran (2:216) – "Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not."

      Quran (3:151) – "Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers, for that they joined companions with Allah, for which He had sent no authority".

      Quran (5:33) – "The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement"

      Quran (8:12) – "I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them"

      September 17, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
    • JE

      This country was created by murdering the native peoples and then dragging people from another continent over here to work the land (separating families, treating them like cattle, cross breeding them, raping/abusing/murdering them).

      Racism is alive and well in this country.

      We as a nation are just very good at looking at ourselves in a mirror that doesn't reflect reality (lynching?). Hello. People in this country gathered with horrible signs of Obama. Talk about CRAZY racist nuts.

      September 17, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • HAVE MUD WILL TRAVEL

      Well, je, Darwin was a man for his times and the elitist educratists bought it. He made racism respectable by denying Noe. Apostate and all that sort of tawdry business.

      September 17, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
    • HAVE MUD WILL TRAVEL

      JE, note 'condemned', also......'Hbr 11:7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.'

      September 17, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
  18. Ed

    One thing clear is this. The Author spoke the truth, and sincerely i am a christian. I go to church and i am so scared of what i hear from my fellow christians. I can't even talk anymore because its beyond Appalling. A lot of christians in America, don't have a muslim friend, cant tolerate one and form opinion that are unbelievable. Yes I am a born Again christian, but sincerely if this is how christ walked the earth and spread his gospel, no one would believe him. If we are trying to preach the gospel to the muslims, how do we expect them to listen, when Hate is written over us all. Learn from the story of Jonah, God told him to talk to some people he hated, and he disobeyed simply because he knew if he went ahead. They would repent...

    September 17, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
    • Up Your Rear Admiral

      Ed, I'll see you in the rapture capsule with the unicorns. Don't forget your nose ring – the big steel one that I padocked the chain onto when we were practising for the uplifting.

      This time, though, close your mouth when the big flush starts so the brown floaters won't go in like they did during the last practise.

      September 17, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
    • YoozYerBrain

      Hi Ed.
      ADAD(yahweh) the SUMERIAN THUNDER GOD thanks you for your credulousness and appreciates the fear the priests have instilled in you regarding him. HOWEVER, you should know that the first commandment sums it all up for ADAD/yahweh, see cuz ADAD/yahweh is actually #3 in the Sumerian pantheon behind Enlil and AN. YOU are only perpetuating the racket the abrahamic priests have going. Since AN has never been DIS proved to exist, you are probably screwed. Sorry, just readin history here man....you're worshipping some guy said he was the son of the 3rd place deity. No wonder they scream so loud about it, they have an inferiority complex.

      Fight the fear ED! Be real! YoozYerBrain!

      September 17, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
  19. Patrick Stair

    I don't see you working as a Missionary in Saudi Arabia or Iraq. I don't see you explaining the Word of God about Jesus Christ the Son of God or Mohammed "The Prophet" and what the difference is. I don't see you explaining the difference between the god of the koran, Allah, or the True and Living God The Father, God The Son, and God The Holy Spirit, The Blessed Trinity. I have never attacked one muslim who burned the Holy Bible or blasphemed Christ, even when the Koran does so by putting the Blessed Savior as lower than Mohammed. But, I guess since you say it is us Christians fault and we have all these phobia, it must be so....

    September 17, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
    • Greenspon

      Patrick you can be the first to throw a match at the next Salem event.

      September 17, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
  20. HAVE MUD WILL TRAVEL

    Methinks the Semites are smarter than americult's best and brightest intellectuals.

    September 17, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.