Monday, September 24, 2012

Will the Real 'Religion of Peace' Please Stand Up? President Obama and the Question of Islamic Terror

Faced with yet another recent outbreak of violence and murder in the Mid East, this time incited by an unflattering YouTube video of the Prophet Mohammed, the Obama Administration is once again plagued with the dilemma of how exactly to label this type of brutality.

Unlike his predecessor who commonly identified these forms of evil as "Islamic Terror," President Obama has repeatedly and emphatically denied that Islam--as a world religion--is in any way a source of the problem.

Following his long-standing policy, President Obama has again insisted that this recent outburst of sudden violence, resulting in the brutal and violent death of a US diplomat, does not fit with the real "Religion of Peace."  Islam, as his formal policy goes, is a religion of tolerance and peace. These sorts of outbursts, we are told, simply do not fit the paradigm.

One wonders how much longer the Administration expects the general public to be patient with this kind of reasoning. Let's consider this matter more deeply.

Philosopher of religion Anthony Flew (1923-2010) identified an informal fallacy that he dubbed the "No True Scotsman" fallacy. (No surprise there, Flew was British of course!) In this maneuver, a claimant denies that a universal category is ever truly broken by a given counterexample that stands against his claim. Accordingly, no exception could ever be given that denies his own general rule. Here is an example of how it works:
Smith: All Scotsmen are loyal and brave.
Jones: But McDougal over there is a Scotsman, and he was arrested by his commanding officer for running from the enemy.
Smith: Well, if that’s right, it just shows that McDougal wasn’t a TRUE Scotsman.(1)

If Smith claims that all A are B, and Jones produces a counterexample of A that is non-B, Smith simply denies that Jones' example truly represents A rather than altering his own categorical universal. 

I think it is apparent how the Obama Administration has committed this logical fallacy over and over again. Each and every time that Islamic-related violence fans its deadly fires, we are told that these incidents don't represent the "true Islam." If the malefactors are ever identified as Islamic at all by Obama or his Press Secretary, we are told that they do not represent the "real version" of Islamic religion.

But given that the counterexamples seem to proliferate monthly and ubiquitously around the globe, one wonders where exactly this "religion of peace" paradigm can be found in the first place. Bin Laden (we are told) didn't represent the "real" Islam when his henchmen slammed jetliners into the World Trade Center. Nor Al Qaeda. Neither did Saddam Hussein when he released biological agents on his own people. Nor Ahmadinejad when he repeatedly threatens Israel with extinction. Nor did Al Zarqawi. Nor Hamas. Nor do the current massacres of Syrian civilians. Nor the bombers of Christian churches in Nigeria and Kenya. Nor any other Salafist jihidist groups for that matter.

Accordingly, it seems impossible for the Obama Administration to admit that Islam is, at best, a deeply flawed and tragic imposter of a "religion of peace." Any time a counterexample is given to add evidence that Islam is an intrinsically violent and dangerous religion, that counterexample is passed off as being "No True Muslim."

Perhaps it is time that we recognize the religion of Islam for what it is. 

(1) http://www.iep.utm.edu/fallacy

Matthew Everhard is the Senior Pastor of Faith Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Brooksville, Florida. Follow on Twitter @matt_everhard.


1 comment:

  1. Matthew - your point is spot on but I would have to disagree on a couple of minor points: while President Bush did call it a "war on terror" he repeatedly referenced Islam as a "religion of peace."

    And this is the real issue that politicians refuse to address in today's politically correct world: Islam has never been a religion of peace from its founding until this very day. It is a religion of the sword that believes its adherents must engage in jihad to rid the world (or subvert) what they term the 'kafirs' (infidels).

    Jews are referenced as pigs while Christians are viewed as dogs. As such, there is no place for intellectual discourse, especially when this religion prohibits its practitioners from leaving the faith under penalty of death. There can be no discussion of the historical accuracy of Muhammad because to discuss negative historical accounts of his life is considered blasphemy, again under the penalty of death if a fatwa is issued.

    This is a religion whose goal is a worldwide Islamic caliphate. The West it appears has lost its moral will to fight this threat because it has over time become increasingly more secularized and multi-cultural in nature. This loss of moral vision is directly rooted in the move from Judeo-Christian values as a society.

    This latter point in my opinion stems from the failure of those who make claim to the term "Christian" to both proselytize locally and domestically. The great Commission has become the pathetic omission. Most "Christians" (and I don't consider them such though they're given church memberships just for showing up) don't witness Christ and His gospel because they are basically Biblical illiterates. Somewhere the church lost its understanding that its purpose was to grow them up to get them out. Instead, church members are lazy, fat, and happy.

    While the Greek word for church (ἐκκλησία ekklēsia) means 'called out ones,' most could be described as looking like the world, talking like the world, and behaving like the world. 1John 2:15 tells us that to love the world is to be absent of the love of the Father. James 4:4 calls them adulterers and adulteresses. The shepherds embrace pagan symbols (Christmas) and pagan goddesses (Easter), justifying themselves just as the ancient Israelites did before the collapse of the northern and southern kingdoms. Additionally, there are extraordinary popular "brands" of "Christianity" promoting a prosperity gospel with false prophets, false apostles, laughing revivals, speaking in 'tongues'), etc. which have no historical pedigree in Christian history.

    Interestingly, in Deuteronomy Yahweh promises that He will bring the sword, the pestilence, the famine, and the plague. In the last 30 years we have seen the rise of Islam threatening the West (sword), economic destruction resulting in extended high unemployment (famine), record droughts (pestilence), and HIV-AIDs and MRSA (plague).

    We live in dark times indeed. I recognize I've gone on a bit of a rant but it is relevant if we're to discover the root cause of the issue. The removal of prayer from school, the 10 commandments from public locales, etc. are but indicators of the depths we've reached. In return we've aborted 50 million babies, built a massive porn industry, fornication is everywhere, gambling is legal, and homosexuality is now the norm.

    Yet God will raise up a remnant who will testify without shame for His glory alone. Let judgment begin in the house of God.

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