The burning of the Quran by a Florida pastor triggered protests across Afghanistan and led to the death of seven U.N. employees.
Last year, the Rev. Terry Jones threatened to burn the Muslim holy book amid controversy over plans to build an Islamic center not far from Ground Zero in Manhattan. Political and religious leaders persuaded Jones to abandon his cause. But, on March 20, Jones reneged and streamed his distasteful stunt on the Internet.
The obscure Florida minister has been labeled a Christian fanatic with a particular disdain for Islam. It seems more appropriate to call him an attention-seeking lunatic.
No Bible-believing Christian would endorse such an action; it violates Christian principles.
Certainly, significant doctrinal differences exist between Christianity and Islam. The scriptures teach Christians to proselytize — but with conditions.
Peter, for instance, encouraged Christians to be ready to “give a defense” to anyone who asks about the faith, but to do so “with gentleness and respect.” Paul says, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”
Torching the Quran does not satisfy any of these stipulations. Furthermore, the heart of the gospel message is love — with Jesus urging Christians to love even their enemies.
Some Christians are uncomfortable with tolerance, fearing that it suggests some sort of compromise.
It is possible to be tolerant of beliefs without accepting or endorsing them.
Tolerance does not require silence.
It does demand respect for people.
All religions have fringe groups that misinterpret scriptures and tarnish the faith. Jones’ battle is not against the Quran but rather Muslim extremists who kill in the name of God.
Ironically, Jones’ actions could give credence to this movement.
Rather than burning the Quran or any religious text, Jones should read the Bible and practice its principles.