Silly Islamic Memes (and some silly Christian ones)

 

Every Friday lunchtime, I do some evangelism on my local high street. Each time I get into passionate (but enjoyable) conversations with Muslims; inevitably after an hour or so, I’m too freezing cold / sunburnt/ emotionally exhausted to carry on the back-and-forth. So I give my new friend my number, suggesting we meet up to do a proper Bible study. But frustratingly, this never happens. Instead, I get a deluge of Islamic memes – the lazy way of having the last word in any discussion. For example:

Exhibit A: Not A Miracle

Man with underwater sculpture by Jason de Caires Taylor

 

No, this is not a “big rock” somebody found, proving Islam to be the true religion; it’s a sculpture by underwater artist Jason de Caires Taylor. Clearly this person doesn’t know their contemporary artists. [1]

Exhibit B: Playing Pinocchio with the Bible

Fake Bible verse

Rev 19:10 according to the NIV:

“At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, ‘do not do it! I am a fellow servant..”

Who is having a conversation? Is either Jesus or Joshua talking? No. Jesus is not in this conversation and Joshua has been dead for 1400 years. John is talking to an angel. The angel tells John not to worship him, because he is an angel, not God, and only God should be worshipped.

Serious stuff now.

Exhibit C: Blinded by Numbers

Qur'an and Bible violent verse counts

Wow. Is the Bible really so much more violent than the Qur’an? But wait. Let’s consider a) length -most of these hard words come from the OT which is longer than the NT and the Qur’an combined. So it’s not comparing like with like.  And b) context. How about the word ‘murder’? Exodus 20:13 contains the word murder! Only it says “You shall not murder:” it’s one of the 10 Commandments. What about the clearly violent OT directives, for example “anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death?” (Ex 21:17.)  Jesus said he came to fulfill the OT law in  Matt 5:17, which he does ultimately on the Cross. This is why Christians don’t follow OT law. Instead, we are to take seriously Jesus new, even tougher commandments. ‘Do not commit murder’ becomes ‘don’t even get angry’ (Matt 5:22.)

In the Bible, broadly speaking, the trajectory is from violence to peace. In the Qur’an it’s the other way round. According to Q2:106[2], verses revealed later are considered more binding than earlier ones. Consider this Medinan Sura, which was revealed later, with the earlier Meccan Sura:

“Fight against those who believe not in Allah…among the People of the Scripture” (Q9:29 – Medina)

“To you be your religion, and to me my religion” (Q109:6 – Mecca)

The peaceful verse has been abrogated by the violent one.

Exhibit D: Consistent with history?

Terrorism started 50 years ago meme

What about the Ottoman Empire, spanning the North African coast to the Balkans, territory gained through military conquest? Consider the infamous Janissary Corps (1300-1700 AD) made up of Christian boys kidnapped, converted and forced to kill their families as demonstrations of loyalty ([3]). Or the killing of 1,500,000 Armenian and 250,000 Assyrian Christians while being deported by the Ottomans in 1915; many were crucified and beheaded; women were raped and children enslaved[4]. Isis crucify and behead people, following Q5:33[5]. Wouldn’t these examples of Ottoman barbarism qualify as acts of terrorism today?

And though it pains me, I’ll wrap up with two from my own side:

Goliath's skull found forgery

 

The headline went: Goliath’s skull found! Er, Goliath’s skull not found. Photoshop has made the skeleton huge and the people tiny. And this one:

Who wrote the Bible? Must be God meme

Brethren, with this argument we have definitely not checkmated the atheists. Rather, atheists are staging a collective facepalm, groaning “people wrote the Bible, not God.” I’d agree with the first part; just that those people were inspired by the Holy Spirit under God’s supervision. Brevity is bad here.

Seriously though, while this is good fun for a while, I don’t want to engage in an endless meme off. Let’s have a proper discussion with the Scriptures open as well as some history books.  I’ll bring the biscuits.

[1]Thanks to my friend J for finding this out.
[2]Q2:106 “Whatever a verse of revelation do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We bring a better One or similar to it. Know you not that Allah is able to do all things?”
[3]Cleveland, Bunton, William, Martin (2013). A History of the Modern Middle East. Westview Press. p. 43
[4]Lang and Walker:7
[5]Q5:33″The recompense of those who…do mischief in the land is only that they shall be killed or crucified or their hands or their feet be cut off from opposite sides”