Monday, February 13, 2006

God and Man in the Middle East 

I know it's taken me some time, but my thoughts on the whole "Danish Cartoon" flap were fermenting for a while and I just haven't taken the appropriate time out to post on them. I apologize for the untimeliness of it all, but I think there are some things that need to be said that haven't been said enough in the fallout from the publication of the cartoons. Back in the beginning of this month, Jim Geraghty noted here that many serious American thinkers had grown impatient with Islam and thus were willing to blame Islam itself, a position he and Hugh Hewitt rejected as an inappropriate and counterproductive position to take. I have to disagree with Hewitt slightly here because as this link, this link, this link, and this link all help demonstrate is that Islam is a problem because it gets the basics about God and man wrong from the word "go".

In the end, what the reaction in much of the Middle East has demonstrated, that Islam has a fundamental defect that can only be addressed in a limited manner with the tools currently being employed by the secular world. The issue is one of theology, not sociology or economics or politics or other "sciences". If we want to truly understand the situation in the Middle East let us remember that Christ had to suffer humiliation for salvation to be effectual and comprehensive. Without this, true grace cannot be possible. God's grace makes a difference in how people view acts of humiliation and how they react to them. Theology matters, let us not forget this as we watch events in that tempestuous part of the world unfold.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Yes, as a matter of fact they do.... 

Hugh Hewitt asks here if the mainstream press goes home at noon on Fridays. The answer is "yes they do, why do you ask?" I will remind one and all that the Clinton white house did vital document dumps (Anyone remember Hillary's billing records from the Rose firm?) when no one was around to report and no one watched either. By the time the story got to Monday, it was "old news" and everyone just "moved on".

Monday, February 06, 2006

Why I entered the fray.... 

Much has been said about the kerfluffle over some "provocative" cartoons in the Danish press dealing with Islam and the prophet Muhammad. After reading The American Thinker, I was prepared to do my part to break up economic boycotts that had been called against Danish companies and the like. But after reading Hugh Hewitt, I had to stop and give serious pause for my actions.

I truly respect Hugh's opinion because he is so intelligent and because he is also a principled conservative too. His take was that while Danes and stupid cartoonists should be protected from violence, they should not have published their cartoons either. He was especially effective in demonstrating that there are millions of more secularized or moderate Muslims who have been painted with a broad brush unfairly. It is with gritted teeth that I have agree that the cartoons are offensive to Muslim sensibilities and unnecessarily provocative. Nevertheless, I felt I needed to take some action to support freedom of the press. This weekend, my wife and I made a relatively small purchase of some Danish products (a fraction of a pound of Havarti and some Danish fruit preserves). It isn't much, but it is entering into the fray. Here are my reasons for doing so.

1. I dislike economic boycotts and I was going to do my part to break this one. I think the use of a boycott is extreme and at the same time highly overrated. Go ahead and object to the cartoons, I don't blame you for doing so. Don't buy the paper that initially published the works, if you don't want to, but general economic boycotts don't make any sense and given the nature of the global economy we're in, don't make much sense.

2. I wanted to stretch my pallet a little bit and this instance provided me with the motivation to try something new.

3. I am a cheesehead and Havarti is a nice fixture on the menu as far as I'm concerned. Hrrmmm.... Let's see here . . . Dane's make Havarti. I like Havarti. This seems like a good match to me.

4. I needed an excuse to get to Jungle Jim's. If you haven't been to Jungle Jim's, it's a huge grocery store north of Cincinnati that imports many international goods for sale. If you are anywhere near Cincinnati and haven't gone, brave the thousands per year that show up and walk around the "King's Island of grocery stores".

This incident illustrates the necessity for Islam to define, through some creed or council, what the parameters of orthodoxy are. What is the proper way to interpret "jihad" or "dhimi" or "infidel"? Where are the boundaries to Islam? As a Christian, I can point to specific boundaries for most of my basic beliefs (Apostle's Creed, Nicean Creed, Westminster Confession of Faith, Heidelberg catechism, etc.). Perhaps I'm mistaken, but Islam has yet to articulate what it's boundaries are or should be.

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