Thursday, March 24, 2011

In Which I Administer Some Medicine

Dear Joss Whedon,

I love you.


Elf Army

There's my emotion-driven Random Thought. Now on to the actual post.

When I walk over to my grandma's after school, I usually get her mail for her. Today that mail contained a newsletter thingy from the church I technically belong to (notice the technically-- if you've been around here long enough, you know what that means, and if you haven't, you're probably smart enough to figure it out). 
The back of this newsletter read something like "This Sunday, Dr. (Name) will be coming with his presentation Understanding Islam: What Makes Muslims Tick." Dr. Name has apparently published a couple books detailing the best ways to "administer Christ to Muslims."

There are a number of things I find wrong with that, and I find them to be very, very wrong. Seriously, the more I think about it, the angrier I get.

So this guy's job, basically, is to show the church members exactly why Muslims are evil/bad/wrong? Nice. Very nice.

Thing That Is Wrong Number One: Inter-faith education should be about similarities in theology, not differences. Teaching the differences only increases prejudice and ill-feeling, while most religions have way more in common than their followers tend to believe, and this misconception only fuels the emphasis on differences.

Thing That Is Wrong Number Two: "What makes Muslims tick" ? Really? Last I checked, any given Muslim is first and foremost a human being. I highly doubt what makes them tick is terribly different from what makes any other person tick. Implying that there's some Secret Muslim Motivator once again only fosters suspicion and prejudice. Also, it's rude.

Thing That Is Wrong Number Three: "administer Christ to Muslims"? That...that makes it sound like a disease. Angerangerangeranger. This is not helping anything.

Thing That Is Wrong Number Four: I'm generally against religious evangelism (I won't tell you your theology is objectively wrong-- only that I disagree, and that your intolerance most certainly is wrong), so the idea of writing entire books on tactics seriously rubs me the wrong way.

I'm sure there are other things to be added to the list, but those are the ones sticking out to me right now. Like my dad said regarding rock4ever95's post that I linked to, there are many much-more serious problems to be dealing with in the world than intolerance. If people would get over their differences, we could focus on the more pressing issues. Plus, intolerance is something that needs to be addressed in and of itself. Intolerance, not Islam, is the disease that needs curing. (And blogging is an actual helpful tool by which to do that, Teacher Of Mine Who Thinks Blogging Is Useless, thank you.)

(Also: feedback on the interview? Were the questions good? Do you want to see more interviews on here in the future? I seriously wasn't just fishing for views, despite what I may joke about. I may stalk my stats page obsessively, but I'm like Alan in that I only post/sell what I myself would want to read/buy. Or at least that's what I try to do.)

Random Personal Tidbit For Those Of You Who Are Remotely Interested: our band is headed off to Festival tomorrow, and one of our pieces is the final movement of a Lord of the Rings symphony, entitled "Hobbits." Party to follow. Should be fun.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Blarg! I wrote a sprawling comment-geddon, but must have messed up posting it. So frustrating! Oh well, a chance to go back and be more concise. Before I begin, I am a Christian, but I have a complicated relationship with evangelism.

    Point 1)It seems like the book is religious, not academic. The point isn't to understand Islam for the sake of understanding, but to be better able to convert Muslims to Christianity.

    Point 2) Because Christians are trying to change Muslims as Muslims, not Muslims as people, focusing on specifics to Islam makes sense.

    Point 3) Christians would probably be ok with the metaphor of Jesus as medicine. But it isn't that Muslims are sick because they are Muslims, rather because they are humans.

    Point 4) If you try to be ok with a religion, but aren't ok with evangelism, and evangelism is a large part of the religion, are you really ok with the religion? Not to seem accusatory, most Christians are probably not ok with any other religions. More important is being ok with people being able to choose those religions.

    Point 5) Joss Whedon is awesome! What has be been up to since Dollhouse?

    Point 6) I noticed you are reading The Thief. I read that a couple of times in middle school. It has mostly faded from my memory, but it brings good feelings, so I think I enjoyed it.

    Thanks for the post!

  3. 1. Yes.
    2. I know.
    3. It's not the Jesus-as-medicine I take issue with, but the Islam-as-a-disease.
    4. Correction: I'm not okay with evangelism when it's directed towards people who are already aware of the religion and its general beliefs. Trying to convert people who simply aren't aware is okay, as long as you're not, like, killing them if they refuse or whatever. I just figure people should believe what they believe, and let other people believe what they believe. What makes it more complicated is that evangelists seriously do believe they're helping people.
    5. No idea. I just watched Commentary: The Musical last night.
    6. It was very good, but I wish I had listened to it on CD rather than read it.


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