Sunday, February 22, 2015

Two Muslims - Lost in Translation?

Some time ago I wrote a rather LONG post explaining why you can't apply moral equivalency comparisons between Islam and Christianity based on Old Testament scripture. For reference, here's a link:

I should re-iterate what's in the "Ground Rules" page. This is a moderated blog. All comments are presented to me for approval before posting. Sometimes, this is to prevent offensive comments, though I can't remember having done that before. This time it's for a different reason.

Yesterday I received two comments from Muslim readers congratulating me on the clarity of that post. Normally I would say "thank you!" and approve the comments. However, I'm not doing that in the present case. Here's why:

The comments are from Middle East Muslims and it's evident to me that they do not speak or write English fluently. Normally that wouldn't bother me either. They SAID they liked it. The weird part is, I don't know whether that's because they did, or because of flawed translation software (Google Translate or equivalent). I suspect it's the latter, because my criticism "above the fold" was pretty subtle. I just laid it out and invited people to make up their minds.

I was trying my best to be even handed about it and present Islamic arguments precisely as I have seen sheiks explain them to other Muslims. Now, these guys seemed to think it was exactly what I did.

BUT... my audience is not Muslim. One of my points is that the arguments that are solidly pro-Islam to a Muslim are exactly the opposite to us kafir ("infidels"). I firmly believe that to be the case, as when a sheik patiently explains that death is the "best possible punishment" for certain crimes, such as apostasy (leaving the religion). Fundamentalist Muslims firmly believe that without any twinge of guilt because they believe Allah has ordained it. Christians find the suggestion abhorrent because they believe God would never ordain such a thing since the advent of the Messiah. Atheists would also find the suggestion abhorrent because no one has the right to curtail another person's life for something as deeply personal as a religious choice.

My problem is not that, having presented both sides fairly and inviting you to make a choice, they of course chose Islam and wrote to tell me how well I explained it. My concern is what this might mean to them if they made this statement of agreement accidentally. They may not actually agree with what I'm actually saying, in which case they may be surrounded by others who would be greatly offended if they were to catch on that I am definitely not pro-Jihad. These commenters may be very nice people whose only faults may be not knowing English very well and having violent friends. I don't want anyone to be injured or lose face simply because they accidentally agreed with me.

On the other hand, it's possible that they do agree with me (God bless them). If so, withholding their names and website information could be the greatest favor I can do for them.

To those commenters: I don't know whether you sincerely agree with me, or even intend to. If you do, I appreciate your moral support. If you don't, I hope I've just saved you from some embarrassment, or worse. The next time you see a Christian being persecuted, remember that it could be you. If you would rather clarify your thoughts, please try commenting again.

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