Thursday, June 08, 2006

Prayer For a 'Bad' Guy

I for one said a little prayer for Abu Mousab al-Zarqawi, the Moslem terrorist confirmed killed today. These people aren't all bad. I certainly think that their religious fervour has brought them to commit terrible acts, but they believe that they're right. I've looked deep into the eyes of Osama bin Laden, staring back from a Time magazine cover -he does not look like a 'bad' man. Misguided, yes. The author of horrible crimes against nature, yes. But I don't see evil in his face. I see a devout man who has 'got it wrong'. I think George Bush has also 'got it wrong'.

Now put down your weapons! I see where you're all coming from. The Moslems were incensed at having foreign troops defiling the land - Saudi Arabia - that they hold sacred. I think their response was wrong. Another set of 'true believers' has also had some inappropriate responses.

Here's what's wrong with the world today: We need to keep our personal relationships with God personal. Who are we to say that the Moslem is wrong, the Jew is wrong, the Christian is wrong? What is wrong is to presume to know anything other than what our hearts tell us about God. What is unforgivable is to have so much faith in ourselves and our personal understanding of God as to presume to pass judgment on other people. I am an agnostic. In my heart, I believe in God, I really do. But I do not presume to speak for Him.


At 1:26 AM, Blogger Maxine said...

I think one of the problems is that many people in the USA genuinely see the USA as the centre of the world. They find it very hard to imagine being someone born, bought up and living in another country. They lack that perspective. Bonnie Calhoun (who has a very funny blog Bonnie Writes, I discovered it via her amusing comments on Books, Inq.) recommended a blog by an author called Barry Eisner, on which there was a very good debate about this topic.
I don't usually get into politics and terrorism does seem to push a lot of people's buttons and hence preclude rational debate. But I do think that many US people find it very hard to understand that the rest of the world does not think the USA is the centre of it. Now you are in Canada, maybe you are Canadian, which might partly account for your more thoughtful perspective.

At 9:58 PM, Blogger Douglas said...

I certainly don't presume to speak for God, but when I read the last line of your post, I remembered the words of Jesus, "If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels." (Luke 9:26, NIV) There are people who are "closet Christians" who ignore this verse to their detriment.

But your post wasn't really about that, was it? When my kids say they hate something, I encourage them to save their hate for something important, like evil or injustice. On the one hand, Christians are not supposed to judge people, but it seems that Christians are supposed to judge attitudes and behaviors.

Now one could say that bin Laden had already publicly declared war against America, and that America just didn't get it until 9/11. But even allowing for that, do you consider 9/11 and Operation Iraqi Freedom to be morally equivalent?

At 11:33 PM, Blogger Susan said...

No, I certainly don't Douglas! 911 was pure EVIL. I think Operation Iraqi Freedom was probably a MISTAKE. What I am saying fundamentally is that people who are absolutely sure of themselves can be absolutely wrong. Some are more wrong than others. Obviously I'm on the side of the U.S. in this. I think some of the jihadists used their religion as an excuse to commit murder. There was real hatred at the root of their actions, not love of and service to God. While I'm not a great fan of the Bush administration I know America and Americans are not motivated by evil. I was saying only that I think Moslems and Christians alike need to leave judgment to a higher power.

At 12:34 PM, Blogger Susan said...

I had a word with my guru and she came up with some very valid comments which I'll pare down a bit. The essence of her remarks were that "right is right and wrong is wrong". I agree. "There is no reason for us try to justify or forgive evil." I agree.

She further commented that I sound like I'm stating Osama and George are equally culpable for actions which lead to innocents being murdered. I'm not much of a writer I guess because I certainly don't feel that way.

I think that there was a certain amount of clumsiness involved in the American actions, I think that the response from the other side was cold-blooded and wrong.

What I would wish to convey is my sense that someone has to stand down. We need to protect ourselves, of course, but won't someone attempt to open a dialogue with these people? It's about RESPECT. Even if we do not agree with a particular person showing respect for his opinions can be helpful. (Note Douglas' comments above. He disagreed with me and we probably offended each other a bit, but our comments were courteous and I felt that we were communicating. The world would be a more civilized place if nations attempted to communicate in the same respectful way.)

At 9:43 AM, Blogger Tom P. said...

I have to laugh at Maxine's comment. There is a funny sort of European anti-Americanism that lets Europeans pretend that they are superior to Americans. Her comment (especially the last sentence) is practically a stereotype. It reminds me of that Rex Harrison song in My Fair Lady. "If only a woman, was more like a man..." Just switch it around to, "If only an American was more like a Brit..." ;)

At 9:48 AM, Blogger Tom P. said...

As far as al-Zarqawi, he really was all bad. Read his life story. This guy was pure evil even before he became a radical fundamentalist. It was more like he was looking for an outlet for his hatred and al Queda was just convenient.

The problem with radical Islam is that it CAN'T be a private religion. You can't follow the Koran and keep your religion private.

At 11:55 AM, Blogger Susan said...

I suspect you're right about Zarqawi. I think probably there are a lot of criminals operating with impunity under the guise of jihadism. Bin Laden is the one who bothers me. He just doesn't *look* evil. He certainly seems to have supported it though.

I don't know enough about Islam, but I've heard that Jesus is a respected prophet to them as well as to Christianity and I've heard that Mohammed instructed his people to protect the "people of the book", i.e. Jews and Christians as well as Moslems.

I had a co-worker who was Moslem and he was a very decent man, more than willing to engage in dialogue and seemed not to be overly interested in proselytizing. Really, I think we're often guilty of having closed minds too. I had another co-worker who was born-again Christian and he and Mohammed couldn't communicate with each other at all. That's an instance where it's not all that bad to have a Christian agnostic on hand; I was the bridge between the two.

At 2:40 PM, Blogger Tom P. said...

Most Muslims are fine people. The aide who helps us take care of Mikey is Muslim and we love her. I literally trust her with Mikey's life. It's the radicalized end of the spectrum that is the problem. radicalized Christians are just annoying and run around saying things like, "God hates fags." Radicalized Muslims kill people. I think your other blog entry from is really good news. I think more mainstream Muslims are realizing that we are together in a war against these fringe elements.


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