Pastor Terry Jones, of the Dove World Outreach Center of Gainsville, Florida, is in keeping with an ancient tradition of book burning. His proposed burning of the Koran on September 11, 2010, is not, for all its outrage, especially original, or even significant.
Amenhotep IV, Pharoah of Egypt (1379-1362 BC), became so averse to the established religion of his day that he abolished its priesthood, and defaced all public record of their gods. (True, no book burning incident is recorded.) He even created a new capital city, Amarna, in defiance of what he considered the false religion of the past.
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, instigator of the Ground Zero Mosque,
perhaps one of the greatest deceivers of our time.
The first actual burning of sacred scripture, in defiance of its authority, was actually in the palace of King Jehoiakim, in Jerusalem (609-598 BC). In the winter of his fifth year as king, the scroll of Jeremiah the prophet was burned before the king, on the hearth, in the presence of his administration (Jeremiah 6: 21-26). Thus the king showed disdain for the ‘anti-Zionist’ word of the Lord from the prophet Jeremiah–who had prophesied the Babylonian captivity of the Jews.
Then there is the famous public book buring in Ephesus (ca. 45 AD). It appears that the new messianic teachings of the Jew named Paul disrupted the occult business of the city. There was a gathering of people who had practiced magic. They brought all their books together, made a huge bonfire of them, and renounced the evil of their ways. In the name of Christ, in great fear, they torched thousands of dollars worth of “how-to” manuals (Acts 19: 17-20). Of course, Paul shortly made a quick exit from the city.
In more recent times, the late 18th century French revolutionaries, rebelling against centuries of Roman Catholic oppression, had many public burnings of Bibles, as well as breviaries and missals, all expiating “in a great fire.” Thus quoth the president of a national revolutionary society in Paris. Or, we should say, thus is quoted the same, by Buchez-Roux, in Collection of Parliamentary History, Vol. 30, pp. 200, 201. (This work is long out of print, and the reference is made in a 19th century protestant work, The Great Controversy.) The Collection of Parliamentary History itself is quoting the Journal of Paris, 1793, No. 318, and the Popular Society of the Museum’s president, who rejoiced to see removed from the world “toutes les sotteries qu’ils ont fait commettre à l’espèce humaine,” that is, religious books.
And more recently, we note that Bibles have been burned in Muslim countries for some time. It seems the US soldiers in Muslim countries like Afghanistan are not allowed to circulated Bibles to the people. Instead, such Bibles have been burned–by US military officers! All for the safety of the soldiers, of course.
Orthodox Jews have burned New Testament texts in Israel.
People burn things that are sacred to other people. They burn flags, buildings, books, and icons, images, and sometimes people even burn themselves. Muslims are very destructive of other people’s religion and national emblems, of course.
Like, Muslims can burn other nations’ buildings, but,
other nations can’t burn the Muslim book. Even Mayor
Bloomberg is more consistant than that.
And so it happens. While Laura Ingraham gave a wonderful testimony this morning about the current political, religious, and social context of Pastor Terry Jones and the Koran burning idea, the historical context was absent completely, as it will be in most commentary about Pastor Jones. (Laura continual got the data wrong, too, saying Jone’s has a congregation of 50 people, when it a congregation of 50 families. But, that’s a detail.) Desecrating what others hold precious is one of the most common expressions of humanity. Indeed, the roots are ancient, and, we must acknowlege, Jewish.
Here, now, on the beginning of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, let’s be very clear: The Jewish people were originally commanded to be absolutely intolerant of other gods. That is Torah. Within their borders, they were to allow no exceptions, no compromises, and no foreign ways. The unique thing about the Jewish establishment was the fact that they created the Jewish nation on foriegn soil. The previous inhabitants were to be expelled, utterly. This is bold and brazen approach to civilization, but, it was all in the providence of God. It was, in fact, judgment against the depraved, denigrating conditions of the immoral heathen world.
How such an approach applies in modernity, in a world of increasing social pressure, confrontation, and violence (thanks to Muslims), is a matter deserving serious attention. There are those who defend the right of Pastor Jones to burn the Koran; there are those who note the futility and dangerous affects of burning the Koran. One thing seems certain: Pastor Jones is forcing the issue, bringing rights and religion into focus with intensity as never before. The fear of Muslims, the great trembling before Islam, is evident. Compassion for others motivates the civilized world, but not the Muslims–who are not part of the civilized world, for their religion condemns it. The civilized world fears Islam, and the Muslims know it, and take full advantage of it. Their infantile temper tantrums, their basic violence of approach, is relentless. To appease them, to keep them from acting out, the civilize world continually indulges them, like a weak parent indulges the emotionally disturbed and miserable child. Pastor Jones is bringing this all to light, in a fresh way.
There may be some “moderate” pretenders amoung Muslims who will feign a certain tolerance for the poor bigot in Florida. They may even show compassion for the mistaken writhings of Christianity. This may be a moment for them to further advance their perpetual lie of “freedom of religion” in western countries.
But Pastor Jones’ message is that the Koran is a evil book, and it produces evil in the world. Pastor Jones, who has not yet called for the bull-dozing of mosques in America, wants to send the message that Islam is in fact not welcome in the free world, and Muslims need to return to their own countries.
If that is the case, then Christians must be willing to leave Muslim countries where they are not wanted. Certainly, the national people of any country have the right to express whom they want in their country and whom they don’t. That is the stuff of nationhood.
It does make you wonder about what exactly our military is attempting to accomplish in Afghanistan and in Iraq.