Monday, January 3, 2011

There You Go

The other day I heard a stand-up comic give a routine about the common expression "There You Go". "It's a great phrase," he said. "Some idiot comes up and tells you something that's really stupid. You don't want to get in an argument or fight with them, so you just listen until they finish and then you say, "There you go." They walk away impressed with what they have told you, not realizing that to you it makes no sense at all."

A Muslim neighbor engaged me in conversation today about the recent church bombing in Alexandria. "Some people think the Mossad were behind it," he said. "Even a Coptic Member of Parliament publicly stated that Israel is trying to separate the Christians and the Muslims in Egypt. Israel wants to divide the entire Middle East into little countries that will have no influence."

Well, there you go.


Traeh said...

Sad that simply speaking frankly to Muslims entails accepting a number of risks. In that sense, Islam itself means war against non-Muslims. Its presence entails the intimidation or attempted intimidation of non-Muslims. And when a Muslim speaks Islamic propaganda like that which you quoted, that Muslim is knowingly or unknowingly participating in Islamic intimidation. A Muslim knows or should know that in voicing Islamic propaganda to non-Muslims, s/he is doing so on a playing ground that is not level, because of the Islamic intimidation, violence, and slander that backs Islamic propaganda. The non-Muslim has to consider whether Islam-critical opinions he expresses to Muslims might lead to ostracism in his social or work setting, loss of job, lawsuits, death threats or actual violence from Muslims. Many Islam-critical non-Muslims also know, instinctively or consciously, that being merely negative is a weak, and often unhealthy position to take. Such non-Muslims thus hesitate to criticize only. Many know that to change Muslims, or anyone, love and positive alternatives are needed, not only negation and criticism.

Right now, there seem to be only two main ways of seeking to change Muslims:

1. The entirely critical way;
2. The Christian proselytizing, Islam-critical way.

I suspect #2 is the most effective of the two main ways of changing Muslims. #1 might be more about educating non-Muslims. No doubt multiple approaches are needed. I wish I had a third option ready to go that was as positive and loving as the Christian way is meant to be, but which didn't require me to be a Christian. While I find it plausible that JC was the Logos and the hinge of human and cosmic evolution, I don't know that, don't know how to have "faith" in that, and couldn't proselytize that. But I do feel that to be balanced in confronting this problem of Islam in the world, one needs to be loving toward Muslims, and the love must be sufficiently strong or intense to be recognized, at least by the lover, as grounded in the spiritual world, in the ultimate foundations of the world. I suppose I've felt that kind of love toward people, but long ago, and that state of being is to me little more than a memory now. I don't know if I can recover that way of being. Maybe it was a kind of grace that descended on me as a child and young teenager, and then withdrew from me, so that to embody it would in future require great effort and a passel of other virtues. Maybe I'll get there some day, but sure am not there yet. So I'm not that public about my views of Islam: it is a totalitarian system.

Susanne said...

I think speaking the truth in love is key and also remembering it is the Holy Spirit who changes people. We are only to plant seeds and water and GOD gives the increase.

I am no fan of Islam, but I love people. This includes Muslims. I want them to see the love of Jesus in my life. If we act as they do, how can we claim to have Someone better?

We can react like an ordinary person, but isn't it better to act like Jesus? I think this is our trump card over Islam. Jesus of the Bible is far different than Muhammad. Muhammad acted basically as an ordinary Arab chieftain of his day. Jesus, on the other hand, well, Jesus overcomes evil with good.

And as His followers, we must do the same *in spite of* what comes naturally and what we feel like doing/prefer to do.

When I went to Syria, my goal and prayer was that those people would see Jesus in me! I wanted them to see a difference, a peace, a love, a joy that Jesus brings to people's lives.

This was more in reply to Traeh than this post..sorry.

I watched a video a few years ago and a guy from Sudan (I think) stated that Arabs always blame Israel for everything. "If a water pipe bursts in Damascus, we blame Israel." :-D

Anonymous said...

great great article..and excellent use of "there you go"..I'm a Copt and I love your articles; you're on point!