The other day I tweeted a link to my 2014 review of God’s Not Dead. One fellow responded by saying that I was “nit-picking.” But alas, he then noted that Twitter is not a good medium to explain why. How ironic, I noted, that Twitter is sufficient to make a charge of nit-picking but not sufficient to defend it.
That comment prompted the fellow to offer a more fulsome reply. He then explained that while I had complained about stereotypes in the film, he found the portrayal of Muslims to be generally accurate. He then went on to insist that Islam is a violent religion while Christianity is a peaceful religion.
In reply, I noted examples of peaceful Muslims while also pointing out that denying these are true Muslims commits the no true Scotsman fallacy. On the other side, I pointed out that reference to the peaceful nature of Christianity must be balanced with the long history of Christians from Constantine to the Iraq War behaving violently.
Finally, as regards the Bible, I listed several examples of divinely sanctioned violence in the Bible. By the end of our conversation, I had the fellow endorsing Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Canaan, the genocidal eradication of the Amalekites (though he insisted, without argument, that it was not a genocide), the enslavement of other tribes, the slaughter of the Midianites and enslavement of their virgin daughters for the Israelite soldiers, as well as violent Torah punishments such as hand amputation and child stoning.
That was the point at which the fellow blocked me on Twitter.
But don’t block me, I’m just the messenger. The Bible and the Qur’an both have violent passages and the religious communities formed around both texts have justified many acts of violence in the name of those texts.
The three-fold lesson: don’t throw stones in glass houses, deal with the log in your own eye first, and treat others as you’d like to be treated.