Let’s assume that there is another planet that contains human beings. Let’s further assume that there are several major religions on that planet, each claiming their proportionate percent of the population as members. Let’s assume that each religion has a founding prophet, long deceased, that is revered and respected by his followers. Finally, lets assume that most of the followers of each religion love their respective prophet and judiciously follow the teachings of their prophet as much as possible.
All of a sudden, a problem arises. Some of the members of religion A behave inconsiderately and insult the memory and legacy religion B’s prophet. Because the members of religion B love their prophet tremendously, they are hurt and angered by the actions of those who have insulted their prophet. What are the members of religion B to do?
There is only one rational and consistent response available to the members of religion B. Because they love their prophet they will adhere to his teachings. They should respond to the situation in exactly the same manner as taught by their prophet. Any other response would be blasphemy.
If the prophet of religion B preaches tolerance, forgiveness, and love, the members of religion B should respond the same way. They should approach those in religion A, explain their hurt and disappointment, and ask those in religion A to search their souls so that this situation may never be repeated. To do anything different would be blasphemy.
On the other hand, if the prophet of religion B preaches hate, revenge, and violence, the members of religion B should respond to those teachings by enacting violence, hatred and revenge on the followers of religion A. To do anything different would be blasphemy.
Above, is a painting of Jesus Christ, clearly portrayed as a gay man. Artist Becki Jayne, who claims to have been challenging mainstream religious beliefs since 1993, painted it. Jayne’s art is available from the Leslie-Lohman Gay Art Foundation, 127-B Prince Street, New York City. Her website is: http://www.beckijayne.com
As a Christian I find Becki Jayne’s painting offensive. I don’t think her portrayal of Christ as homosexual is relevant or factual. I think she’s a nut and I don’t appreciate either her art or her message. In my opinion this painting is an insult to Jesus Christ and to Christians. But how would Christ admonish his followers to respond to Ms. Jayne? I’m not quite sure, but I know that he would not admonish them to go down to Prince Street in New York City, burn down her gallery and threaten her life.
Circulating on the Internet is the now infamous cartoon, supposedly representative of the prophet Mohammed, published last September in the Danish newspaper Jyllands Posten. Mohammed the prophet is portrayed as a terrorist, with a round bomb tucked into his turban. Jewish, Christian, and Muslim scholars know that this characterization of Mohammad is false. The drawing is an insult to the prophet Mohammed and to Muslims. How would the prophet Mohammed admonish his followers to respond to the artist who created the drawing and the newspapermen who published it?
Does the prophet Mohammed preach hate and revenge as has been played out in Syria and Lebanon where his followers have torched Danish embassies? Would Mohammed condone the violent anti-cartoon demonstrations that have been held in Asia, Africa and the Middle East including Afghanistan, Iraq, and Iran? Would Mohammed delight that the 12 cartoonists whose work touched off the firestorm are in hiding, frightened, and under police guard. Would Mohammed want Iran’s best-selling newspaper to launch a competition to find the best Holocaust cartoon? Or, would Mohammed condemn the violent protests while also urging respect for religion.
Muslims appear undecided about the teachings of their beloved prophet Mohammed. Those who practice violence are either blasphemers or they correctly reflect the teachings of Mohammed. The world is waiting for an answer. It will not wait patiently much longer.