Have you heard about the preacher in Florida who wants to burn copies of the Koran on 9/11? His name is Terry Jones, and he is promoting International Burn a Koran Day. Seriously. Watch this CNN interview with Jones: Quran burning backlash.
Here’s what Terry Jones had to say about his efforts to promote International Burn a Koran Day: “It’s very important that we see the real danger of radical Islam…Everyone should be in agreement with us. There should be no disagreement there. We are not against Muslims. We are not against the mosques. We are against the radical element of Islam. Even modern Muslims should be on our side.”
To which the CNN news anchor replies, “No modern Muslim is going to be on your side when you’re burning their holy book. I mean, that just sounds silly.”
To which Jones replies, “Of course it’s not silly.”
To which I say, “It does sound pretty silly when you put it that way.”
You see, before I watched this interview, I had convinced myself that Terry Jones was just misguided about how to respond to a different religion. I thought he was doing the only thing he could think of to stand for truth and the Bible. I thought, perhaps, that his nationalistic pride was pushing him too far (that suspicion was confirmed by the interview).
It turns out that Terry Jones has, instead, explained away some of Jesus’ teachings, and attempted to justify an action that cannot be justified. I am sure he is sincere about it. I am sure he believes he is doing the right thing. I am also sure he has not properly thought this thing through. I am definitely sure that it is not what Jesus would do.
What Jones has done in this interview is set up what logicians call a false dichotomy. He has given us only two choices where there are actually many more. He claims everyone should be against radical Islam, and therefore, everyone should be burning Korans right along with him. He implies, then, that those who don’t join in are either for or ignorant of the dangers of radical Islam. The problem is that there are much wiser ways of being against radical Islam than alienating all Muslims, including the majority who are peaceful Muslims, with such an offensive act. There are probably many Muslims who would join in a stand against radical Islam if it didn’t involve burning their holy book. And, there are probably Muslims who would be interested in learning more about Jesus Christ and the Bible if a church in Florida wasn’t giving Christ a bad name.
But, the CNN anchor did a better job than I could of pointing out the holes in his methodology.
Thanks to K. Rex Butts for the CNN video link