Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Not One of Us

We should all know how this plays out. An atrocity is committed in which innocent people are killed, maimed and injured. The perpetrator of this vile act either self-identifies or is identified by others as a Muslim. Many commentators -- particularly fundamentalist Christians -- immediately put two and two together. If the person committing the act is Muslim and the act itself can be defined as terrorism, then it's more than "obvious" that Islam is a violent religion and that ALL Muslims are suspect.

But this definitive exercise in "logic" breaks down when the shoe is on the other foot. If a self-identified (or one identified by others) Christian commits terrible atrocities of violence that kill, maim and injure innocent victims, we are told that we must NOT conclude that Christianity is a violent religion and that all Christians should be just as suspect.

Why this difference in analysis? It is because it is plain as day that anyone who says they are Christian, but commits these types of terroristic atrocities, isn't really a true Christian after all! If the person isn't truly a bona fide Christian, then we can't attach their crimes to the flock of the truly faithful.

Here's what Alex Pareene of Salon has to say about this dubious argument:
Here's the thing about that: The same is true of all self-proclaimed Muslims who commit acts of terrorism.
It is an excellent point. If Christians believe they can wave a magic wand in order to disassociate themselves from their wrongdoing brethren, then this same magic potion should work for Muslims too!

Somehow though, it rarely works that way! Muslims are forced to embrace the terrorists among them, while Christians quickly toss their terrorists over a bridge.

This funky bit of twisted logic doesn't apply only to terrorist either. Many evangelical Christians apply this same methodology to believers who have left the fold.

If you spend any amount of time at the Fallen From Grace blog, ex-Christian pastor and now agnostic Bruce G. reports about the numerous emails he receives each day from people who declare he was never a genuine Christian to begin with. From their myopic perspective, a true Christian could never walk away and, by voluntarily deciding that Christianity no longer makes sense to them, this proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the ex-Christian was never a real Christian at all.

Funny how that works.

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