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To Dave Cashin Re: Proselytizing

November 11, 2009

To Dave Cashin Re: General Order Number One, Forbid Proselytizing

Before I answer all of Dave’s points, I will say that Humanitarian Missionary work has achieved wonderful results by helping people through hunger, poverty, education and displacement.  Whether they are victims of war or natural disaster, the efforts of those reaching out to help in person or by donation, this is the positive face of missionary work.  I do not lump these humanitarian contributions into the same class as the Missionaries described by Dave Cashin.  I address the Missionaries in the original post describing arrogant, proselytizing by military evangelists in direct defiance of US Military policy.   Warrior Missionaries as described in the 12th Lausanne Covenent:

“We believe that we are engaged in constant spiritual warfare with the principalities and powers of evil, who are seeking to overthrow the Church and frustrate its task of world evangelization.”

Anyone who has decided that their own understanding of GOD trumps everyone else, is dangerous.  When they claim that others are seeking to overthrow them, they are demonstrating a paranoia.  What makes Abraham‘s middle child so insecure?

Dave Cashin:   I find it strange that Christian efforts to reach Muslims with a message of love in Jesus Christ is attacked as something evil.

Response:  If religious propaganda is perceived as “evil”, then so be it.  Anti-Islamic and xenophobic views are at the core of “bringing Jesus to” Muslims.   Burning and defacing Korans are not a “message of love”.  Knowing, in advance, that missionary activity defies and disrespects Islamic Law in an Islamic land.  If “Missionaries” or Christian propagandists are really Democratic, they must give equal time to the Imams.

It is about “domination” wrapped in a “message of love” without regard to consequences or damages.  Remind yourself to review the methodology of the Europeans who “conquered” the indigenous population of the Americas, and justified genocide, by calling them heathens.  Christian Missionaries and Muslim Missionaries are neck and neck in that race.  The intolerant side of Islam and the intolerant side of Christianity are both “evil”.

Dave Cashin:   This is essentially the Islamic viewpoint.

Response:  No, this is essentially the viewpoint of all who disrespect the right of individuals to enjoy the spiritual path of their own choosing.

Dave Cashin:   The author is hereby defending the law of Islam that forbids Muslims from turning away from Islam. Here the author also blames the victims.

Response:  Where do you see me blaming the victims?  I blame the perpetrators.  It is sad that you really believe that.  Despite regulations by the US military’s Central Command that expressly forbid “proselytising of any religion, faith or practice”,  US soldiers have been encouraged to spread the message of their Christian faith among Afghanistan’s predominantly Muslim population.  Encouraging someone to defy the US military regulation, the laws of another country and their religion is corruption. Criminal defiance of US Law is not to be trumped by any religion.  Historically, both Christianity and Islam expanded by conquest and conversion.  Religious conversion by force is well documented throughout history.  Why do you think this is so wonderful?

Dave Cashin:   It is terrible that Muslims who turn to Christ are viciously persecuted, but then Russians who rejected communism were also sent to the gulags. Do we then blame the democracy advocates for the unspeakable “crime” of telling Russians about the advantages of democracy and human rights?

Response:  No one is making a comparison between Russia and Democracy, how do you make that leap? Are you confusing religion and national governance?  All the children of Abraham have shown, historically, a mean streak and posture themselves morally superior to one another.

Dave Cashin:   Missionaries are evil because their sharing of the message of Christ gets Muslims who seek to leave Islam into trouble? Wouldn’t it be better to stand for freedom of speech and freedom of religion rather than advocating views that ultimately reject both?

Response:  The evil is, knowing in advance that by preaching Christianity to a Muslim, in a Muslim country, can get that Muslim, and maybe his family, killed.  Unless, of course, it is the ultimate goal to force potential converts to choose between family and faith.

Dave Cashin:   Wouldn’t it be better to condemn the intolerant Islam than to blame those who suffer under it, or who try to provide another perspective on life in opposition to it?

Response:  It would be better to condemn the intolerant features of both religions.  Do you forget that there are as many variations of Islam as there are of Christianity?  Your words show me that you do not distinguish the details and differences inside these religions.  Not all Islam is violent, just as not all Christianity is violent.  You are lumping generalities together.

Do you not see the dark side of these religions is holding their respective faiths hostage?  No one is above God.  Anyone who claims a personal right to speak FOR God intrudes on God’s right to speak for himself.  Those who pretend that privilege are false prophets themselves.

You have the religious, political and secular angles mixed together with vague generalities.  This is very destructive.  Religion is a personal right. Not a political agenda!

If someone is attracted to your faith, they will seek to learn more about it.  If you are satisfied with your faith, you will be annoyed and maybe insulted if someone approaches you and starts bragging about how their religion is better than yours.

Dave Cashin:   This blog’s view is not a solution to the problem. Everyone needs to advocate for freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Christians are completely free to convert to Islam. Muslims should be completely free to convert to Christianity if they want.

Response:  This blog does not pretend to have all the answers.  This blog seeks to offer a wider viewpoint, to look at the whole forest instead of grinding people’s noses into a tree.  There will always be condemnation by those who disagree.  There will always be subjective unfairness in the world.  The application of common sense and mutual respect is what I would like to see more of.  Respect for one another is a rare commodity with any proud religious extreme.

Dave Cashin:   Have you read Wafa Sultan’s book “A God Who Hates”? She is now suffering many death threats. Is she to be condemned for rocking the boat by showing what Islam is at the core?

Response:  No, I do not need to remind myself that others perceive God differently than I do.  Sorry, if she is being condemned for thinking for herself.  Have you read any books revealing the Dark Side of ChristianitySalman Rushdie also received death threats.

Dave Cashin:   If we tell people they are not allowed to share about their faith, then even the atheist will eventually be told to shut up!

Response:  Where is your claim for freedom of speech?  Why do you even care about atheists?  They are just being themselves.  The have the right to make just as much noise as any religion.  Why would you want to tell an atheist to shut up?  Do you seek a shouting match with an atheist?  What a waste of time and energy.  Time and energy can be put to better use, like feeding the homeless.

Dave Cashin:   Everyone needs to advocate for freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Christians are completely free to convert to Islam. Muslims should be completely free to convert to Christianity if they want. Any other position than that is working in favor of the jihadists. Any other position than that is an institutionalized set of double-standards. This is simply celebrating tyranny.

Response:  I agree we all need to advocate for freedom of speech, religion and conversion.  How do conclude positions other than your own, are related to jihadists?  Jihad and the Crusades represent the same legacy of hatred.  Crusades were a series of religiously-sanctioned military campaigns waged by much of Christian Europe to restore Christian control of the Holy Land.

Please, if you or anyone is going to make a case for changing someone’s personal belief system, do your homework first.  Understand your own views and how you would feel if I came to you and preached that my views were better.   Wouldn’t it be better if you saw some positive trait in me, and you would want to learn more about it?  Instead, we see “The Whole Church taking the Whole Gospel to the Whole World” or   “The Evangelical Manifesto”.

childrenof abraham

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2 Comments
  1. November 13, 2009 9:20 am

    We agree that the free interplay of ideas challenge tyranny.
    I found a typo in my original response that is now corrected; maybe what I said makes more sense now. My position has been formed by decades of questioning and sifting through the rhetoric of dogma to find the original truths behind each religion. Look through my Religion page and find a vast array of beliefs; many are spun off corporate versions of major religions. I have found that by inserting charismatic leaders into the religious equation, original precepts have been lost. Your version of Christianity appears to promote dominance of your thinking over someone else’s. You focus on Islam as evil because you are convinced that Islam promotes violence against “infidels”. The very same concept in Christianity uses different words, like “evil and heathen” to justify “purification”, which equals violence. Why else would a confident and reasonable religion actually believe that others seek to overthrow it? Paranoia is NOT religion. Paranoia is a tool. Using generalities about Islam and Christianity seek to deceive and justify biased behavior.
    No, Islam does not need to be questioned! Its leaders need to be held accountable for hijacking the original faith. The same holds true for Christianity! Too many Christian leaders are guilty of using the faith to mask deeper agendas that include power, money and sex. As soon as both Christian and Islam shed these hypocrites, the world will become peaceful again. Arrogance is a sin in every religion. Violence is a sin in every religion. Why is it so difficult to separate the religion from the men who claim to speak for it?

  2. David Cashin permalink
    November 12, 2009 6:23 am

    Thanks for your response. I appreciate the detail and effort involved in this. Honestly I think many of the things you said confirmed what I said, though that was perhaps not your intention. I would only encourage you to think through your positions to their logical conclusions. Do you really like where you end up? I was not advocating for the muzzling of atheists, quite the opposite. What happens when certain groups are muzzled, but others have complete freedom to speak their minds? Isn’t that exactly what tyranny is? In the free interplay of ideas which is the source of our strength as a nation we need to question the assumptions of others. Islam needs desperately to be questioned. If I were a trade unionist working in a fascist regime I would be not only breaking the law, I would be endangering the workers that I was talking to. Do you really want to punish the trade unionist and those who listen to him while affirming the values of the regime that suppresses his ideals? I use these secular examples because in the realm of ideas there is no difference between secular and religious ideals. This is exactly where cultural relativism runs amuck. I noticed that you didn’t really address my question of double-standards. That is because the ethics you are advocating are a set of institutionalized double standards. One group is allowed to maintain highly oppressive structures today because that is their cultural ideal while another group is condemned for events that happened 1000 years ago, ala crusades. The issue is, what is the common ethic for today? Take it a little further, if Europe goes Islamic, or America, does that mean that the ideals of freedom of religion and freedom of speech should now be negated because that is what the new cultural elite wants? If Sharia law is enforced in England does that mean that wife beating is no longer a crime? Or that women have no right of divorce? Or that their testimony is worth half of a man’s in court? Your ethnical relativism is fine as long as the peoples of the world don’t live together, but now we live across the street from each other. Therefore we need a universal system of ethics and human rights that applies to everybody. We need a level playing ground around the world that would prosecute Christians for persecuting Christians who convert to Islam (not much of a problem I think you would have to admit), and that also would prosecute Muslims for persecuting members of their community who decide to leave. By the way, some of my best ex-Muslim friends are atheists. Believe me, they are persecuted even here in the United States. It’s even worse in Europe. If you don’t believe me let me send you an article by a British atheist who details what is going on in the wake of ethics in the sway of cultural relativism. I am simply appealing to you to start advocating for a level playing field where everyone has to play by the same rules. Not too long ago two of my friends were walking through a park in England handing out Christian tracts. Two Muslim fellows came up to them and said “don’t give these to Muslims! If you give tracts to Muslims we in the Muslim community have the right to kill you!” You may not like this direct proselytism but what would you say if a “christian” saw Muslims handing out tracts and made a similar threat? Is the first case right and the second one wrong, and if so, how do you justify that? The rules should be the same, in Afghanistan and in England. Anything else is tyranny.

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