April 18, 2007

Urinating on the Bible

When I first encountered the title of this article, I laughed out loud. It wasn't so much that the image itself was funny (although it was) as much as it seemed like such a transparent attempt to inflame Christians against Muslims. When I finally got around to actually reading the article, I discovered that it was worth sharing for more than just the title.

The story, from The Australian, describes the mildly interesting account of two Muslim students who were expelled from their Islamic school in Melbourne for defacing a Christian bible. The worthwhile part of the story, however, wasn't what these boys did, but the outrage that followed among their fellow Muslims.

Evidently, the school responded to the incident by telling its students that "...the Bible and Christianity must be respected." Really? Why? Could it be that the school, located in heavily Christian Australia, realizes its precarious position? To let the incident go unpunished might give the impression that the school was actually teaching its Muslim children to hate Christianity.
The Bible desecration comes at a time of heightened tension among Australia's 300,000-member Islamic community, many of whom believe their religion is being unfairly discriminated against because of terrorism fears.
What seems to be lost in this story is that no additional teaching is likely to be required to get Muslims to hate Christians (or Christians to hate Muslims). The "holy" books of each religion claim to be the one form of "truth," condemn non-believers and persons who worship other gods, etc. Could it be that these children's failing was that that had not adequately learned how to keep their hatred to themselves?

The Christian bible is neither sacred nor holy. It is a book. To teach children otherwise is to deceive them into accepting a harmful delusion. If the bible means something more to you, this tells us about you but says nothing about the book itself. This book is not worth dying over, killing over, or even getting upset over. Christians and Muslims, go pee all over any atheist book of your choice - it won't phase me a bit.

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