Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Book Burning

If I were to ask you who Terry Jones was you would probably think of this Terry Jones, of Monty Python Fame.

There is however another Terry Jones who, until recently, enjoyed a well deserved obscurity as the Pastor of a tiny church in Florida called The Dove World Outreach Centre. If you look at this site it is clear that the DWOC is nothing unusual across the Atlantic. There are thousands of such small, and not so small, churches across the USA pushing this type of unsubtle evangelism, usually headed by some foam flecked ranting pastor of borderline sanity. Some of these have become big names, and acquired considerable wealth, such as that execrable fraud Benny Hinn.

So why has Terry Jones and his DWOC suddenly shot to prominence. On his site he makes no effort to hide his islamaphobia, promoting his book “Islam is of the Devil”, (yours for just $12.95) and he has announced that on September the 11 he is going to publicly burn a number of copies of the Koran. The purpose of this apparently is to "make a statement to honour those murdered on that day,"
Pastor Jones has considerable support from like minded individuals across the USA, who have been incensed by the proposal to build a mosque on the site of the twin towers. What strikes me most about these people is the sheer hypocrisy. Such hatred and antipathy from those who follow a religion supposedly grounded in forgiveness and tolerance. 

I have no particular love for islam, or christianity. I view all religions with deep but equal contempt. But the reality is that Pastor Jones’ actions are likely at a stroke to undo much painstaking work by American and British servicemen to secure the hearts and minds of the, mostly muslim, people of Iraq and Afghanistan. It will make the soldier’s job harder and more dangerous.

Pastor Jones can not, and should not be stopped in his intended stunt. It is his right to express his views, and he is at liberty to do as he pleases with his own property.

Perhaps though there is one way in which Jones can be made to reflect. I don’t know his Email address as his site for some reason is off line. I suspect his site has crashed. But if and when  I can, I think I will email him to remind him of what it says in the bible at Judges Ch 6. V31.;
If he whose altar has been destroyed is a god, let him act for himself!" And perhaps I will also inform him that, in the interests of balance, if he goes ahead, then on the day that he is burning korans I will burn a bible. Or I would if I had one.


  1. If I recall correctly, the quoted verse is Gideon proclaiming the supremacy of his own god as he launched a rebellion by his tribe/religion (amounted to the same thing back then) against the infidel oppressor.

    I agree with your point completely but interesting choice.

  2. Spot on. I chose that passage as a perfect example of hypocracy and double standards. Gideon insisted on being dealt with by their god Baal himself, having taken it upon himself to destroy the alter of Baal and claiming to be carrying out his own god's will. If this story were true then the followers of Baal must have been pathologically stupid not to have seen through it.

  3. Dr Z,

    Neither Islam or Christianity can be cornered in its temples or in their holy books for that matter. Can I suggest therefore that you take your cue from the vast majority of Christians and Muslims and ignore this idiot, because his whole purpose is to get publicity?

  4. Did you know;

    Out of respect, Muslims are supposed to burn the book themselves if it is worn or damaged.

    I know this man is doing it out of disrespect, hence, as a Muslim myself, I personally prefer it being burned than being in the hands of such biased fanatics, or any extremists of any sort, either this man, his like, or indeed those who claim to be members of my faith, then go on to kill innocent lives. After all, to all those, the book is but a few bits of paper.

    Again, did you know, The Koran says that if you kill an innocent man, it would be like killing the whole of humanity. But those, meaning 'anyone' at all, who commit such acts ignore!

    And no Dr Zorro, I wouldn't want you to burn The Bible, if you had one, in retaliation.

    And I sincerely hope that simple minds will not react stupidly to this man and his followers blinded bias. Let's hope ...


  5. Pretty sure the sentiment you allude to from the Koran is present, in broadly similar form, in the teachings of all the Abrahamic religions, Sam - it is certainly frequently quoted from the Talmud, perhaps most famously in the movie Schindler's List, as follows:

    "Whoever destroys a soul, [it is considered as if he] destroys an entire world. And whoever saves a life, [it is considered as if he] saves an entire world."

    Of course, religious extremists have always had a depressing tendency to selectively forgot the bits of their religion's teaching that don't suit them. Unfortunately, they typically retain the absolute certainty that what they are doing is religiously justified.

  6. "the sentiment you allude to from the Koran is present, in broadly similar form, in the teachings of all the Abrahamic religions, Sam - it is certainly frequently quoted from the Talmud"

    Well, there you go, and thank you for pointing this out. Philosophy does not come out of the thin air, but is the culmination of the experience and the teachings of one generation after the other from the beginning of time right to this present day ... and this is not the only piece of wisdom that came down from Jewdiasm to Christianity to Islam either, the majority is very similar in all Abrahamic religions and the differences are just bits of theology and litrature really. You could even go back in hitory further than Ibrahim to read about this philosophy: [Please scroll down to the bottom to read her 42 commandments]

    If interested in how similarities do over lap between all Abrahamic teachings, please read those wikipedia articles too:

    Both the two above groups are rejected by the main stream in both religions ... for obvious reasons ... but the historical link is there!

    And Muslims of all differing groups believe in Moses and Jesus as prophits, that's why you never hear of even fanatics saying that they will burn the bible or The Torah in retaliation for burning The Koran, today some groups are saying they'll burn the US 'flag', but NEVER an Abrahamic book.

    I hope this whole thing passes peacefully.