A church in Florida is planning a Qur’an burning. I can’t remember the last time I went to an old fashioned burning of any type. As a kid I read about Christians burning Beatles music after John Lennon stated that people placed the Beatles above Jesus. Rather than participating I wanted to sneak in a save as many of the records as possible. My allowance was a pittance and purchasing 45’s wiped me out every two weeks. I’ve always been a big fan of marshmallow roasting and weenie-roasts but a Qur’an burning? Why in the world would a group of Florida Christians hold a bonfire for Muslim holy books? Apparently because their pastor told them to do so. He is a believer than Islam is a religion of Satan and as such the Qur’an should be burned.
I believe this pastor (our kind can be a looney lot) is going about this in the wrong way. If he asked me, which he won’t, I would suggest he read, rather than set fire to, the Qur’an. Then I would suggest that he reread the New Testament, especially the parts about Jesus, and reassess his strategies. If he did this he might come away with a different plan of action for dealing with Islam. It is true that Islam is patently non-Christian. Islam sees Jesus as the second greatest prophet and an all around talented guy; but not God Incarnate. Islam is a religion of works and must-do’s, and Allah is capricious and far away. Islam is both a religion of peace and violence due to the Qur’an being written in a longest to shortest chapter form and utilizing abrogation at its core. The Qur’an is a list of revelations received by Muhammad over many years. These revelations were progressive and whenever a later revelation conflicted with an earlier one, the initial writing was abrogated in favor of the latest. The confusing part is determining the verses that have been abrogated. None of the abrogated verses were removed; so many conflicting revelations are included. This is the reason why Islam can be simultaneously hailed as being both peaceful and violence-prone.
O.K., so Islam is confusing, can be violent with sanction and doesn’t see Jesus as God. Color me a heretic and don’t sign me up. I am a follower of Jesus and I reject the Qur’an as being my holy book, but never in a million years would I take part in a Qur’an burning. If Christians want to engage in a witness to Muslims they must first make sure they are doing so in a Christian manner. Simply rereading the life and teachings of Jesus will provide a plan for both witness and dialogue. Nowhere in the New Testament does it teach to demean and do harm to another religion; yet Christians have used Scripture as justification for the Crusades and for burning people at the stake. Where exactly is that verse in Matthew? This Florida pastor should stop seeking publicity and reread his Bible. If he did he would save the matches, the O-Zone and, if it’s not too late, his standing as a witness of Jesus Christ. Burn one Qur’an and your witness goes up in flames as well.