Protests over an anti-Islamic YouTube film, Innocence of Muslims, have spread like wild fire throughout the Muslim world. The film insults Islam, mocks Muhammad and has resulted in rioting mobs.
This is not the first, or the last, time the Islamic world has protested against insults to their religion.
There seem to be a large differences between Muslim reactions and Christian reactions to the mockery of religion. South Park has been allowed to air multiple episodes that satirize Christianity. An episode satirizing Islam, however, was censored.Â Multiple films ridiculing Jesus have been produced and have played in theaters. An amateur documentary of Islam was posted on YouTube and countries exploded – buildings burned.
Why do Muslims react so strongly to stabs at their religion, and Christians seem to not care?
There are so many differences at the root of this question and it’s impossible to point a single finger at the answer. Both cultures differ in their socio-economics, politics and history, and each culture defines certain ideas differently.
America’s passionate protection of free speech plays a large part in the difference.Â But so does the American pursuit of identity through individualism. We like to to stand out.
Islamic identity, however, is defined by a group – family, religion, nation, etc.
When Americans put so much value in being original, it’s hard for us to understand why insulting the Muslim group of Islam causes such ferocity. Maybe this ferocity is a passionate defense of their family. And love and zeal for family isn’t necessarily a bad thing, is it?
Christians are called to devote themselves to a family, too- the Body of Christ. But we don’t always live or defend that family passionately.
Maybe there are some qualities in these rioters that are surprisingly admirable and should be learned from.
Now the editorial board isn’t suggesting every time Christianity is criticized or satirized Christians should grab their torches and pitch forks and riot. Far from that. We’re just hoping Christian passion is equal to the passion behind the Islamic riots, but is channeled in other ways. Just imagine if the intensity of the Muslim riots was placed behind eradicating homelessness in a city. What if instead of burning buildings down, homes were being built. Instead of proclaiming a message in a way that pushes people away, Christians lived a message that draws people in.
Hopefully, Christians’ lack of reactions to insults stem from the teachings of Jesus and not from complacency. That they are turning the other cheek and not a deaf ear. But in a society that allows and encourages the practice and advancement of any religion, it’s easy to become complacent. In a country filled with turmoil such as Libya, passion comes a bit easier.
At ACU, which is practically a really expensive Christian resort, the very real danger is to become complacent, indifferent or too comfortable. And though it probably won’t make the news, we challenge you to find passion of riot proportions.