Who Insulted My Mother?
Muslims are understandably offended when people lampoon the founder of their religion. There are radial Muslims who would actually kill anyone who offends their prophet. But there are also millions of moderate Moslems who would not condone killing one who ridicules Mohammed but they still feel affronted by the actions of the scoffers.
There is no question that the feeling of these moderate Muslims is just and needs to be respected but it also needs to be put into perspective.
The argument of those who are offended by these derisive cartoons or by the desecration of the Quran, compares the situation to a parent child relationship. How would you feel if someone were to draw cartoons that insult your mother? So goes the argument.
I must admit that this argument is very persuasive. If someone were to draw my mother in an offensive way I would feel deeply hurt. But the argument is not relevant in this situation.
Let us take this same parable and make it fit this situation. If you have two people who are offending my mother. One of them draws distasteful pictures of her and burns her writings while the other one goes around killing people believing that this is what my mother wants them to do. Which of these two people will hurt me more deeply?
I wouldn’t even think about those who draw silly cartoons while people are committing murder in my mother’s name. And if the people drawing those cartoons are doing so to warn the populace of the criminal activities of those who are misusing my mother’s name, I would thank them for their work.
If you care about the honor of Islam, then protest when acts of violence are perpetrated in its name. Disrobe the clerics who preach murder and mayhem and grant them no respect. Stand with the victims of those who are harmed by the misuse of your religion wherever you find them, and you will find them in almost every corner of the globe. If you are serious about the honor of Islam then show it. By ignoring those who use the Quran to support acts of terrorism and focusing on those who draw cartoons of Mohammed you are not standing for the honor of Islam. You are bending to the intimidation of radical murderers.
Imagine a rope that surrounds the equator, precisely. An exact snug fit. Now add 60 feet to the length of the rope.
There will now be space between the surface of the earth and the rope.
How much slack will you get? How far off the surface of the earth will the rope now stand?
a) 60 feet
b) 10 feet
c) 1 inch
d) .oo2 millimeters
Use the comment section to tell us what you think.
I would like to thank all of you who took a shot at answering this riddle, and congrats to Fred for getting the correct answer. The reason I posted this little diversion is because it demonstrates an important truth.
At first glance most of would think that the answer to this riddle cannot be “10 feet”, but it is. This demonstrates that our confidence in our understanding of reality is no gauge of accuracy. If we want to be honest with ourselves we can never shut our minds, but instead we should always keep our minds open to correction.
Words of Destruction
One of the foundations of a democratic and free society is an atmosphere that encourages people to speak freely. A society that intimidates dissident voices into silence can never be a free society.
It has been argued that the right to free speech is not the right to kill people with words. Shouting “fire” in a crowded theater will cause a stampede and people will die. Words that kill cannot be allowed in a society that respects human life.
There is another way in which words can kill. If there is a fire in a crowded theater and someone tells the frightened crowd that they should ignore the fire alarms, that they have nothing to fear and that they should stay in their seats and continue to enjoy the show. The person who falsely tranquilizes the crowd is burning those people to death with his words. Calming the crowd in such a situation is an act of murder.
The Western world is the crowded theater of our parable and radical Islam is the fire that threatens to burn the theater with all the people inside it. There are people who risk their lives to inform the Western world of the danger that they face but the vast majority of the media outlets are engaged in an opposite effort. The mainstream media seeks to downplay the ideology of terrorists and make it appear that acts of murder are politically motivated or that they are acts of deranged individuals.
The ideology of radical Islam which encourages the killing of innocent civilians is evil and deserves no respect. Those people who are in the crosshairs of radical Islam’s anger have the right to be warned and informed. Those who are raising the alarm and spreading the truth about this evil ideology are serving the people of Western civilization. While those who attempt to disassociate the declared ideology of the terrorists from the acts of terror are aiding and abetting radical Islam in its murderous quest for world domination.
The various personalities of the mainstream media do not see themselves as tools in the hands of murderers. They see themselves as noble individuals who stand for political correctness. These men and women do not want to offend the feeling of moderate Muslims who do not share in the brutal fanaticism of the radical Islamists.
As noble as these sentiments are they still do not justify the act of blinding the Western world to the danger that it faces. Falsely pacifying the potential victims of radical Islam is murder, violating the norms of political correctness and offending the feelings of peaceful people are not relevant factors in this equation. These journalists are like people who silence the fire-alarms in a burning building because someone may needlessly be awakened from their innocent sleep.
The greatest threat facing Western civilization is the threat of radical Islam. The people of the Western world need to be able to speak openly about this threat to their very existence. Those people who attempt to impose limits on this conversation are committing murder with their words.
The Universal Principles of Justice and Charity
The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:3 – 7:27) is perhaps one of the most famous teachings of Christianity. In this Sermon, Jesus presents some basic and beautiful truths. The basic principles of morality, justice and kindness are articulated in this teaching clearly and concisely. But if you step back and look at the literary structure of the book of Matthew, the Sermon on the Mount takes on a different character entirely.
The underlying theme of the book of Matthew (and Christianity as a whole) is the exaltation of Jesus and the emphasis of humanity’s “need” for Jesus. The author of the book of Matthew presents the Sermon on the Mount not so much as a teaching on how to live a moral life but as an argument for the superiority of Jesus. Immediately after the Sermon (Matthew7:28,29) the author tells us how the crowds were amazed at the teaching; not because of the beauty of the truths they contained, but because Jesus spoke with incomparable “authority”. Key segments of the Sermon are introduced with the phrase: “You have heard that it was said to them of old time” and contrasted with “But I (Jesus) say to you”. This literary device accentuates the fictitious notion that Jesus is the originator of these universal truths and that they were unknown to mankind until Jesus uttered them to his audience.
But this is false. These universal principles of justice and charity were planted by the Creator into the heart of every man and woman; they belong to all of us. Every one of us is sensitive to an injustice that we suffer at the hands of another. We are all acutely aware that injustice is wrong and evil when we find ourselves at the receiving end of an injustice. This is the guide that our Creator gave us all to teach us these universal principles. Every civilization has produced individuals who have brought greater clarity to these universal principles through the lives they lived and through the words they uttered. Clarifying and articulating these universal principles is good and Godly; falsely claiming to be the originator of these universal principles is not.