Christian VS. Islamic “Nations”
Jim, I believe was his name, was a really great guy. He was not pushy with his religion but open conversation if you wanted. This was in about 1994 or so. Way before 9-11-01. He attended a religious study with a couple of Baptist Christians and a pair of Muslims. The question came up, “would you kill for your country? Even if you knew the people on the other side were of the same religion as you.” The Christians present said they would for their country, and were rather boisterous and proud of that fact. The Muslims said they would not die for their country over their religion. If their country “held the same values” as their religion then they would answer their countries call.
Christians, at least the style here in the US and many of the modern western societies, value not only separation of church and state, but patriotism over their faith. Islamic countries who value their governance to be interlaced with their spiritual beliefs, will often choose to obey religious leaders over their political officials. This is true even in Islamic countries where officials are elected.
If you can grasp that concept, you can understand why the west and the Middle East are oil and water. The reason Iraq could only be led (as needed by western business interest) by a tyrant ruler, and why it fell into Chaos after his fall. Understanding this reality allows one to see why Afghanistan is untamed, Saudi Arabia can not keep its people from becoming terrorist, and why Israel can not get a peace treaty to stick.
Here in the US, your spirituality has been legislated and re-enforced as something that is “personal” and “not for public conversation”. Two things you do not discuss, in a social circumstance is “religion and politics”. Islam, I have been told, is not just a religion, but “a complete way of life”. (Christianity was supposed to be the same way. The Amish are about as close to it as I know of that we come though.) Islam is used to set the rules that we would otherwise leave to our secular government. Acceptable dress, economics, social rules, and work requirements are all addressed by Islamic law. Laws that often require interpretation.
That leads us to another major difference. I think I have pointed this one out before here. But for relevance sake I will again. In the US, our federal makes laws our states must enforce. What is not covered by the federal can be legislated by the states. What isn’t covered by the sates, can be legislated by the counties, then the cities, then the family. There are some grey areas that are often debated over, but that is the general order of things. In contrast, Islamic cultures are often legislated first by the families. Of course there is strong influence by the clerics and spiritual leadership. You will find in these situations that the state and federal leadership court the local religious leaders and family heads in order to make a cohesive law. This is a concept that Bush administration either didn’t understand, or rightfully recognized that a “free, just, and fair” democracy, void of human rights abuses, couldn’t exist under those conditions.
Now, I am stating reality, not trying to justify or promote “Islamic” virtue. I am an agnostic for God’s sake. (I would like to see us live a more Christian lifestyle though.) As a matter of fact I would not want to live in a religion run environment. I thrive too much on rational and logical thoughts. Not that election of GW twice and 48% voting for John McCain and the unmentionable one doesn’t demonstrate a high level of both irrational and illogical thought. Secular democracy is certainly capable of it. The difference is the ability to correct it. Words passed down through some indeterminable entity from an unquestionable force is very hard to scientifically disprove. So ideals such as “women are irrational, illogical creatures who can not be trusted to vote.” Ok, bad example. But other policies that we held true in the past have been proven wrong.
SO how would you answer the question. Given the choice. Your country has drafted you into a war. Your preist tells you not to go. Who do you listen to?