Christianity,  News

Burning the Qur’an and Murdering Humans

John Piper has some valuable reflections about the Florida pastor who burned the Qur’an and the violent response in the Middle East. He writes:

“The burning of the Qur’an and the murder of human beings are not morally equivalent. That’s true. And it is, frankly, outrageous the way some commentators speak with more moral indignation about the burning of holy books than the butchery of human bodies. In the western media this seems to me to be sheer fear.”

Piper also has a quote from Andrew Wall that goes a long way to explaining Muslim rage in response to Qur’an burning. Wall writes:

“Much misunderstanding between Christians and Muslims has arisen from the assumption that the Qur’an is for Muslims what the Bible is for Christians. It would be truer to say that the Qur’an is for Muslims what Christ is for Christians.”

If this is accurate, then burning the Qur’an is for Muslims what crucifying Christ is for Christians. Yes, this explains Muslim rage, but it also explains the differences between the two religions. Piper concludes:

“In the process of being crucified, Jesus rebuked the use of the sword (Matthew 26:52) healed his enemy’s amputated ear (Luke 22:51), prayed for the forgiveness of his murderers (Luke 23:34), and sent his followers out to love their enemies and do good to those who hate them (Luke 6:27).

“So the Qur’an has been burned and the Christ has been crucified—and continues to be crucified.

“The test is in the response.”

Read the rest here.


  • Christiane

    ‘For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind’
    (Hosea 8:7)

    Terry Jones, the ‘pastor’ of the ‘church’ that burned the Koran calls Afghan mob killings ‘very tragic’:
    “The Dove World Outreach Center is a small nondenominational church in Florida that reportedly has no more than a few dozen members. The church website describes it as a “New Testament Church — based on the Bible, the Word of God.”
    Its online store sells T-shirts, ball caps and coffee mugs with the phrase “Islam is of the devil.”
    (excerpted from April 01, 2011|By Richard Fausset, Los Angeles Times)

    My guess is that Terry Jones’ on-line store will make money out of this publicity.

  • donsands

    An idiotic man here in the USA burns a quran for a absolutely idiotic reason, and Muslim severe people’s heads, who had nothing to do with this.

    We should find these murderers and bring them to justice.

    And the fool burning the book is not innocent, and provoked wickedness to happen. He knew what could happen, and would happen. And there was no reason whatsoever to burn this book.

    “..the Christ has been crucified—and continues to be crucified.”

    Not sure what he means here.

  • Denise

    Really valuable perspective, thanks for posting 🙂

    I think what Piper is referring to there is how we crucify Christ with our sin—which is still ongoing.

  • Oh-Jay Lackmon-Bay

    For my part, take this “pastor” from Florida, put him in a plane, fly over, say, Bahgdad (or however it’s spelled), strap a parachute on him, push him out, and let whatever happens to him after he lands happen.

    Of course, I don’t suggest this out of respect for the Koran as a holy book, because it’s just the mad ramblings of a pedophile and muslims are people who worship a false god. However, there was no reason to burn that book. The Florida “pastor” ought to be dumped into a crowd of muslims in the Middle East not because he defiled a holy book, but because he’s that stupid.

    Funny thing, though, there was no worldwide outrage when the US Army burned Bibes. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and all the other non-muslims who have expressed such righteous indignation over burning the Koran kinda kept silent about Bibles being burned. Hmm, double standard much.

  • Donald Johnson

    While what Piper says about Jesus is true as far as it goes, but it is partially truncated.

    ESV Luk 22:35 And he said to them, “When I sent you out with no moneybag or knapsack or sandals, did you lack anything?” They said, “Nothing.”
    Luk 22:36 He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one.
    Luk 22:37 For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me has its fulfillment.”
    Luk 22:38 And they said, “Look, Lord, here are two swords.” And he said to them, “It is enough.”

    So Jesus made sure they had 2 swords. Jesus DID tell his disciples to put away their swords when trying to defend him. Jesus’ Kingdom is not of this world. Jesus did not rebuke the use of a sword in all cases, he rebuked it in the service of defending him when he was betrayed.

  • Christiane

    Yes, it has ‘generated a lot more fuss’ . . . people are dead.

    When hatred is set in motion, Satan will try to take it to the max.
    In this case, Satan triumphed.
    With a ‘little help’ from a ‘pastor’.

  • John

    The lesson here, I believe, is that several professionals told this “pastor” that his proposed actions would result in human death. He chose to put his “rights” ahead of human life. How shamelessly antichrist. I grieve for this man and those he has led astray.

  • Donald Johnson

    It is simply false that if I “make someone else mad” (as if this were even possible) means I am responsible for what they do when mad. However, this is commonly thought to be true, and I used to think it before reading Boundaries by Cloud/Townsend.

    Each person is responsible for their own acts. Also, it is a person’s choice how to handle their anger.

    It is also wise not to provoke someone.

    Part of the challenge is that the worldviews are so different.

  • Murf

    It is interesting that this demonstration of “free speech” has received so much international response and outrage.

    I remember a certain Andres Serrano photograph, that prompted serious outrage from the Christian community.

    How many people were killed in response? Who was denounced by the President? The NEA, actually, had helped fund that particular project.

    Oh, and how ridiculous is it to kill your own countrymen (Afghan Police) in response to a “crime” committed in another country, by people of a different culture, and religion?

    Shame on the pastor who burned a Koran. Shame on us for being interested. That’s what he wanted, and still wants, and he’ll get it. The media taught him so.

  • Nate

    You know there was a book-burning episode in the bible, Acts 19:18-20, and the Apostle Paul did not rush out and tell them to quit burning their magic books because it might cause a backlash.

    While that episode was initiated by the people who had believed in Jesus and was a way of them expressing their rejection of their former beliefs, how do you think that would be received today if say, 100 Muslims would convert and burn their Korans.

    I’ll tell you how it would play out… Mayhem! Because the Muslim community knows that if they respond in violence our media will get sheepish because the media refuses to condemn their violence.

  • Charlton Connett

    Nate (and others),

    There is a distinct difference in what is going on in Muslim circles and what happened in Acts 19, and other book burnings (such as burned bibles). As Piper, correctly, notes, the Qur’an, is not merely a book containing prophetic utterances for a Muslim. As far as Muslim’s are concerned, the Qur’an is the literal divine word of God. It isn’t like when we read the bible and we say that we have copies, and there may be some minor errors or changes (spelling errors, possible interpolations, etc.). For a Muslim, the Qur’an is literally perfect, unchanging, and holy. This can be seen in the fact there are no “translations” of the Qur’an only “interpretations”. The Qur’an is the final miracle of Allah, for Muslims.

    Does this make the reaction acceptable? Of course not! But, when we, Christians, act like the Qur’an is the Muslim Bible, and that offenses to it are the same as offenses to the Bible are to us, we miss out on a very important distinction between Christianity and Islam. While we hold that the Bible is inspired by the Spirit, we do not (most of us) hold that the Greek and Hebrew (and Aramaic) words are literally the words of God, and that they are utterly divine in themselves. As far as I am aware, Islam is unique in the way that it reveres the Qur’an and claims the words of the Qur’an are divine.

    (Yes, this is an over simplification of sorts, but the Muslim reverence for the Qur’an is unlike nearly anything most Western Christians can conceive of, short of our reverence of God himself.)

  • William

    I think I would have more sympathy for Muslims who ask for respect if in turn they respected other religions. But they do not. Most Muslim countries confiscate New Testaments (and any other non-Muslim texts) and burn them as a matter of government policy. Not to mention the daily persecution of non-Muslim religions. And yet they wail whenever they feel there is “blaspheme” for their religion. When I hear International Muslim Organizations stand up and demand the end to persecution of non-Muslim religions in predominately Muslim countries, then I’ll have much more sympathy for incidents like this Koran burning.

  • Oh-Jay Lackmon-Bay

    Great points, William. Islam is like the schoolyard bully. I mean, no sane, respectful, civilized human being would DARE resort to killing people over some perceived dishonor to their holy text. The very fact that people were saying “Oh, there will be worldwide violence” should be enough, coupled with the beheadings they’ve filmed, to let you know the class of people you’re dealing with when you deal with some muslims.

    Now, if someone wanted to take this Florida “pastor” and drop him by parachute into the middle of downtown Baghdad, I’ll gladly chip in on the jet fuel. 🙂

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