Randall Terry: Expert on Islam

This cracks me up. I regularly look at the Agape Press website for ideas on things I might wanna write about involving church and state or ID. But I had to laugh when I read this (scroll to the bottom):

One expert says Islam's worldview is making massive inroads in Europe and could do the same in America. Randall Terry, who has spent a couple of years in intensive study of Islamic history, believes that religion's violent worldview is more misunderstood than people realize. While most of Islam's followers personally "would never cut someone's head off," Terry says, "most Muslims don't even know that Muhammad cut people's heads off. The reality is that Islam as a worldview is diametrically opposed to the freedoms that have grown steadily in Christendom." The contrast between the two faiths is seen in their origins, the scholar contends, noting that "Jesus Christ died to start Christianity," while "Muhammad killed to start Islam." And another difference, Terry adds, is that freedom flourishes in a Christian context, while Islam fosters oppression. "The right to elect our government, the right to criticize our government, the right to practice any religion we want or no religion, the right to criticize someone else's religion -- all of those freedoms, including freedom of speech and freedom of the press, ... don't exist in the Islamic world because they are contrary to the words of Muhammad," he asserts.

Okay, first of all, the notion that Randall Terry is an expert on anything other than his own lunacy is laughable. Terry is a carnival barker on the religious right midway, a two-bit huckster out to make a buck from the ignorant and the credulous. When he's not cheating on his wife (and getting thrown out of his church for it), condemning his gay son or looking for any TV camera he can find to spout off near, he's busy recording bad country albums. An expert on Islam? Yeah, and I'm an aerobics instructor.

Second of all, this notion that the right to practice any religion or criticize someone else's religion "flourishes in a Christian context" is absurd. The notion of religious freedom flourished in the West only as a reaction against Christainity, not as a result of it. One could go on detailing the legacy of oppression of other religions and their believers by governments controlled by Christians - and the encouragement of such oppression found both in the Bible and in Christian theology - all day long. It is the Bible, after all, that condemns witches and heretics to death. Nowhere in the Bible will you find even a hint of any notion of individual rights, especially the right to practice any other religion.

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lol. I'd say that what allowed those freedoms to flourish was the fact that our Framers, although influenced by Christianity, refused to found a new Christian State.

One of my commenters today mentioned that early in our nation's history during the Barbary Pirate incident, Thomas Jefferson remarked that we would be able to form a treaty with the involved African (muslim) countries because unlike Europe we weren't a Christian nation. Funny that.

Although, as honest muslims will admit, there is some truth to what Randall Terry said. I don't know anything about him or what he says or why you think he's a lunatic, but after hearing his opinion on 'christian nations' I know he is. But you see the poll results of British Muslims from a couple months back? "Oh i'd never cut someone's head off, and I wouldn't encourage others to do it. But I'm not upset that people are" was more or less the general attitude.

I'd vouch for it after my year in a heavily muslim area of London.

Randall Terry is like George Bush in one grim sense. He'd be funny if it weren't for the body bags.

By Jim Ramsey (not verified) on 15 May 2006 #permalink

Terry and other Xian commenters of his ilk filter Islam through their own peculiar worldview. Since their form of Xianity denies any other route to heaven other than through Jesus Christ, they are predisposed to see any other religion as invalid. They meanwhile refuse to see the parallels and connections between Christianity and other world religions. Stoning adulteresses to death was a common practice in Israel and Palestine, for example. So Islam's draconian punishments for thievery, adultery, etc., are not that different from those in the Bible.

The Bible does not promote democracy. Any halfway honest student of Scripture could agree with that statement. The Bible is about our relationship with God and with our fellow humans, not about political systems. To suggest that Islam is more autocratic than Christianity betrays either abject ignorance or shameless dishonesty. If Christianity had promoted democracy and individual freedoms as religious commandments, Europe would have lost its monarchies and autocracies centuries ago and there likely would have been no need for the American, French, Mexican, etc., revolutions. The world would be a radically different place than it is now.

I'll bet a substantial percentage of Americans, while unwilling to torture themselves, wouldn't disapprove if agents of a government agency tortured "terrorists".

Human nature is the same everywhere.

By Caledonian (not verified) on 15 May 2006 #permalink

And another difference, Terry adds, is that freedom flourishes in a Christian context, while Islam fosters oppression.

Yeah. Right. Uh huh. And...how long was Christianity around before "freedom flourished in a Christian context?"

Oh well...I'm tired of these idiots making up quotes from our Founders anyway. If they start making up stuff about Mohammed and Islam instead, that will give us some variety...

That would mean that Randall Terry was half-way expert during the time he shilled for himself at the Terry Schiavo debacle.

How uncharacteristically modest of him not to tell the world that we would soon look to him for insight into Islam.

He might have at least warned Juan Cole.

Yeah, I really feel like my freedoms have been "flourishing" over the last 6 years. They just keep being enchanced by our freedom friendly president and his administration.

Flourishing...more like they are flushing

..."Jesus Christ died to start Christianity," while "Muhammad killed to start Islam."

There's a bit of context that needs mentioning here: Jesus started Christianity in a province of an advanced empire that was relatively civilized, at peace and relatively prosperous under a code of laws; while Mohammed started Islam in a tribe that was at pretty constant war with other tribes, in a region not ruled by any uniform code of laws. Does Terry mention that, or has he got ot that chapter in his studies yet?

Middle Eastern Islam DOES make inroads (not massive) in Europe: the Saudis fuel money (and political influence) into Bosnia and Kosovo.

I don't like the prospect of some extremist Islam organizations having a recruitment base just by the EU border.

By Roman Werpachowski (not verified) on 16 May 2006 #permalink

Two comments, a little late. As per Randall Terry, Jesus did not die to found Christianity. He worked to reform Judaism (he was a Jew after all). It was only after his death that the Early Church formed.

Secondly, Freedom of Religion wasn't a reaction against Christianity, but a reaction against certain Christian Churches and their control over states (not only England, but also Massachusetts. It really is time to be done with our myth of the Pilgrims.) Just read the work of Roger Williams, founder of the Baptist Church in America and the first proponent of separation between church and state.

By Chip Beckett (not verified) on 17 May 2006 #permalink