I’ve been following with increasing annoyance, the furore surrounding Florida clergyman, Rev Terry Jones’ hypocritical threat to burn a pile of the Islamic holy book, the Quran on the anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy this Saturday.
The whole sordid episode raises some rather perplexing and disquieting questions about people and religion in particular:
- Has it not occurred to the Reverend that burning of books, even one masquerading as the ultimate word of some cosmic father-figure, went out of fashion with the dark ages? Has it not struck him as hypocritical, not to mention childish for two religions, which are equally complicit in causing human suffering and misery, to have a go at each other.
- Why would a person who supposedly preaches about love and understanding, ignore the pleas of practically the entire world (discounting the 50-odd congregants of his church and those irresponsible morons who donated what they think are 200-odd fire-bound Qurans), and insist on going ahead with this mad scheme?
- What are the limits to free speech and expression? Should there be any in a free world?
- Why is religion allowed to hold the world to ransom, every time some pathetically insecure fool thinks that his all-powerful maker, prophet or clergyman is being denigrated? And more importantly, why doesn’t any all-powerful entity stand up for himself rather than allow puny, irrational, hot-headed humans to skirt up for him (or her, or it)?
- Would the burning of the Bible or Bhagavad-Gita, or Torah or even the Scientology Handbook, elicit the same feverish response from competing faiths, as this incident did? What does that say about the evolution of some religions as opposed to others? What indeed does it say about the dangers of religious fervour?
Already, the response from the Muslim world is not good; burning of effigy’s and flags has commenced in predominantly Islamic countries, and protestors flock the streets spewing hatred for the Rev Jones, Christians in general and off course, the despised Western world. No doubt, the hatred is being reciprocated in equal measure by individuals and groups in the Western world.
Meanwhile the Rev Jones is still praying for guidance to his course of action. Somehow, I have this knowing feeling that he will get an answer from his god before Saturday dawns; which I am pretty sure will be to stall his foolhardy quest. He will off course claim the moral high ground. It’s the expected outcome in these crazy religious matters. Anyway, it’s highly likely that this was all just an elaborate stunt to create publicity for his poorly attended church.
Off course, I could be totally off the mark, and Jones could go ahead with the book-burning; he looks crazy enough to emulate all those suicide bombers before him.