Sunday, October 12, 2008

What About Free Speech?

[From Christian History, a publication of Christianity Today.]
Martyrs of Free Speech
In the face of resurgent Islam, the blood of the ninth-century Cordoban martyrs poses a pressing question to Christians.
Steven Gertz

For many, the word persecution has become almost synonymous with the experience of Christians suffering for their faith in Muslim lands. Just last year, several cases reached the attention of the public . . . A recent article in the Wall Street Journal pointed out the growing international problem of radical Muslim attempts to ban and severely punish any criticism of Muhammad or Islam, even in Western lands.

[The article dwells on events in medieval Spain. It then concludes as follows.]

If Muslims forbid Christians (or anyone else) to criticize their religion, is this persecution? How should Christians respond?

Just as the Christians of Cordoba wrestled with how to respond to Islamic power and the limitations Islam placed on them, so must we consider what it is that we should be about as Christians when faced with a resurgent Islam. Does our faith compel us to be publicly critical of Islam? If we are attacked for such criticism, is that indeed persecution? Does criticizing Islam advance the kingdom of Christ, or are we needlessly putting fellow believers at risk? The blood of the Cordoban martyrs—and many other Christians who have died for attacking Islam—continues to cry out for answers to these questions.

Kent comments:

As you can see, this is from a Christianity Today publication. It is a good example of why this generation of Christendom, and the western society founded upon it, is in danger of collapse.

Are these questions really so difficult to answer? Perhaps, if you are a part of the ‘weenie’ version of Christianity. Let’s not criticize Islam. Let’s not criticize anything. All Christians should just keep the Christian faith to themselves. Mentioning it to others might offend someone, and if those "someones" are intolerant bullies, they might become violent.

Should those malcontents, like Stephen in the Book of Acts, have spoken out publicly against some of the Jewish leaders? They did stone him, as you might remember. Just stirring up trouble, he was.

Christendom in certain times and places went through stages in which some of its adherents behaved in this way. On further review, we saw the error of our ways, and - more consistent with the Christian faith - became advocates of social-political freedom.

Islam is a false religion overall, even if there are pieces of truth within it. In free societies, people should be able to believe - and criticize - anything they wish.

But if ‘Islamic power’ - or any other power, for that matter - attempts to squelch the freedom to state a view of religion in public, it shows itself to be an illegitimate ‘power.’ That kind of ‘power’ must be opposed by the force of free people everywhere, to whatever extent is necessary to maintain freedom.

That an article in Christianity Today would be so ambiguous on such points shows just how impotent Christianity has become today.

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