“…but he who destroys a good book, kills Reason itself, kills the Image of God.”

Regular reader and local heathen Clifton sent along a link describing the mounting pressure Rev. Terry Jones is facing over his ill-advised “Burn-a-Koran Day”, due to be staged on September 11, 2010.

Jones, who is known for posting signs proclaiming that Islam is the devil’s religion, says the Constitution gives him the right to publicly set fire to the book that Muslims consider the word of God.

Gen. David Petraeus warned Tuesday in an e-mail to The Associated Press that “images of the burning of a Quran would undoubtedly be used by extremists in Afghanistan — and around the world — to inflame public opinion and incite violence.” It was a rare example of a military commander taking a position on a domestic political matter.

Jones responded that he is also concerned but is “wondering, ‘When do we stop?'” He refused to cancel the protest set for Saturday at his Dove World Outreach Center, a church that espouses an anti-Islam philosophy.

“How much do we back down? How many times do we back down?” Jones told the AP. “Instead of us backing down, maybe it’s to time to stand up. Maybe it’s time to send a message to radical Islam that we will not tolerate their behavior.”

Still, Jones said he will pray about his decision.

What do you want to bet that after he prays about his decision, he will come to the conclusion that this is a really good idea? Given that for most people, praying to your deity is just a way of reinforcing your decisions by granting them extra weight (cross-reference self-projection as God), unless he suddenly has a pang of conscience for fanning the flames of this religious crusade, he’ll come to the conclusion that his god is just fine with his plans. It’s a function of the Ouroboros aspect of prayer, as outlined in my Why Prayer is Nonsense series.

Forget the fact that burning books is an execrable practice carried out by cowards who feel threatened by ideas that contradict their own. Let’s say that it’s his constitutional right to burn books. There’s nothing, technically, wrong with burning a book, right? So why not get the bonfire REALLY going? I say, for every single Qu’ran that’s thrown in the pyre, a copy of the Bible (any translation will do, but especially the one Jones believes in!), the Torah, the Upanishad, Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species, Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion, L. Ron Hubbard’s Dianetics, and a VHS cassette of Jerry Maguire must needs be thrown in as well. Sound fair?

If Jones says “no way”, you know why. It’s not about getting back at Muslims that he feels hurt his country. It’s, instead, entirely about trying to do violence to one religion in furtherance of another, deepening the chasm between human beings that believe in Christ and human beings that believe in Muhammad. That chasm may have existed for a very long time, practically since Christianity and Islam split, but this entire escapade is about firing another salvo. It’s about subjugating one set of delusions in preference for another. It’s about fanning the flames of an existing physical conflict in which real human beings are dying over whose fan-fiction about Yahweh is better.

And that’s just ass-backward. Live and let live, and let whatever deity might actually exist prove it him/herself.

(Title quote by Winston Churchill.)

“…but he who destroys a good book, kills Reason itself, kills the Image of God.”
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14 thoughts on ““…but he who destroys a good book, kills Reason itself, kills the Image of God.”

  1. 1

    Yep. I saw this in the news and sat back waiting for your blog. lol

    After reading your comment about burning all books, of all views, I was reminded of the wisdom of Solomon. To avoid bias, to avoid risking the wrong decision, he determined equal treatment for all parties, knowing that the honest would try to compromise to minimize impact, while the guilty would carry through in order to hide their pride and shame.

    This Rev. Jones, if called to task, will either back down, realizing that what you say is correct: This is nothing more than a personal attack against people who are different; or, instead of backing down, he will push harder. Those who understand the wisdom of Solomon will see this for what it is, and no longer follow him.

    Sadly, the vast majority of church-goers are very poor Christians at best, and blood-spewing bigots at worst. The wisdom to see through veils of hatred are beyond them. Jones is just appealing to the ignorance of the masses with references to popular media and common bigotry.

  2. 2

    I couldn’t help but see the irony in “Dove World Outreach Centre” which neither embraces peace, nor the world’s plurality, nor attempts outreach in any recognizable way. I do hope that the moderates will peel away from him.

    But at the same time, imagine if the tables were turned. If an oppressed religion with heavy dogmas were to become radicalized. Like, say, imagine a shrinking Christian population base in a world turned to rationality, started bombing symbols of what they see as their oppression, e.g. buildings of science. Would the secular majority have anything to do with some radical idiot science-booster going around burning Bibles? No. Would it help the situation at all? Hell no. I’d do what I could to stop targeted Bible-burning in exactly the same way as I will with Qu’ran-burning. This has nothing to do with sympathy for one dogma over another, only for the real human beings that are going to get thrown into the meatgrinder of a holy war as a result.

  3. 3

    I don’t know if you’ve already seen the CNN video of his interview, (http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/09/07/florida.quran.burning/?hpt=Sbin) but at best he can pass for an idiot…a very bigoted idiot. Not only is he a poor Christian, he’s also stupid enough to attempt something that could offend approximately 1.57 billion people (counting only Muslims) which is about 23% of the population. He has complete disregard for the safety of soldiers overseas and fails to even consider the full extent of possible repercussions should he follow through with his ill-thought plan.

    I would be ashamed to have him living in my town, my province, or even just my country…it’s bad enough he’s on my continent. If he really wants to make an impact and send a message, he should stop proving to the rest of the world that some Americans really are that ignorant and find a more intelligent way to get his message across.

  4. 4

    I was with you till you got to burning Jerry Maguire movies. That is indefensible.
    That movie completes me.
    We should also preserve it to show our children that Cuba Gooding Jr. was once a respectable actor. They wouldn’t believe us otherwise.

  5. 5

    Cyberlizard, I have to object to destroying “I Love You to Death.” It’s the only movie I’ve seen in which Reeves is entirely believable. Plus it stars Kevin Kline and Tracey Ullman.

  6. 6

    I came to the same conclusion. Except smoke aggravates my asthma, so I propose gathering all those books (and any Keanu Reeves movie) and pissing on them instead. 😀 An idea for International Blasphemy Day, perhaps?

  7. 7

    Oh, and I think Terry Jones should be pissed on for providing yet another example of why my state is such an ass-backward hick town. At least there’s always Texas to take some of the heat off of Florida.

  8. 8

    I’ll defer to you on “I Love You to Death”; I don’t recall seeing that. I’m willing to change my opinions if sufficient evidence is presented. And Kevin Kline and Tracey Ullman are teh awesome.

  9. 10

    He was here in Germany, in Cologne, for quite some time, until his own congregagation ran him out of town. He was also fined €3000 for “falsely claiming to have a doctorate”. The US should think about something like like that. It would undermine the credibility of maniacs like Jones, without undermining his right to free speech (and free book burning, should he so wish).

  10. 11

    I have to object to destroying “I Love You to Death.” It’s the only movie I’ve seen in which Reeves is entirely believable.

    The most obvious response to this unbelievably false claim is Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.

    On topic, however, I kind of like the idea of these people organizing a book burning. It gathers all the morons in one place, making them easier to identify. Could we get somebody in the parking lot to take pictures of license plates of the attendees. Then we could find out who they are and notify their employers. (Hey, it apparently works in shaming people for going to porn shops!)

  11. 12

    Oh, no, no, no. There are moments in both Bill and Ted movies in which Reeves is clearly reaching for an expression of comprehension. Pale, largely mistaken comprehension, but comprehension nonetheless. There is no hint of neuronal sparking in “I Love You to Death.”

  12. 13

    Seems Jones has cancelled the book-burning after meeting with the Imam from the Not-Really Ground Zero Muslim YMCA. Evidently he’s going to move it, in exchange for Jones not doing the book-burning.

    I guess terrorism works.

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