Religious intolerance again claims lives, and yet the self-righteous never flinch from their smug smiles. What insane pressure drives extremists like Terry Jones to desecrate the symbol of another religion? What did burning a Quran accomplish other than a feeling of personal satisfaction at a religious one-upmanship? Did he even stop to think that his own religion was once persecuted and that this nation that allows him the freedom to spit in the face of other faiths also welcomes his imaginary enemies? Now innocent people are dead in Afghanistan because of his intolerance. It may be that Terry Jones’ personal act of impropriety may soon blow over, but the damage has already been done. These dead will have died in vain.
Putting match to paper proves no superiority of intellect, spirituality, or especially, righteousness. The problem Terry Jones’ brand of Christianity faces is that Mohammed was born before the metaphorical return of Jones’ Christ. It is clear from the (unburned) Christian scriptures that early believers were convinced Jesus’ return was imminent, within their own lifetimes. For those who did not successfully transition to the meaning of the metaphor, it has been a weary two-millennium wait. The emergence of new religions in the meanwhile has become a threat to the superiority of their own. Apocalypticism claims many victims. Now people are dying because Terry Jones can’t cool his heels to see how this one comes out.
Religions that prove their point by trying to brutalize other religions have already shown their true character. Muslims do not burn the Christian scriptures because they accept the validity of Jesus’ teachings as well as those of Mohammed. Has Terry Jones damaged Islam by burning a book? No. Has he damaged the already languishing opinion on western supersessionism? Certainly he has. It is now incumbent on the rest of us to declare that we excoriate the acts of Terry Jones and his contemptuous version of Christianity. Islam need not try to give Christians a bad image; we are quite capable of helping ourselves.