Friday, 12 August 2016

Qur'anic Literalism: An Alternative To Radical Islam - Forbes

Imagine for a moment that we lived in a world where a group dedicated to fulfilling each and every syllable of the Old Testament has begun to wreak havoc in Europe. We wake up one morning to discover the rise of OTSAH, the Old Testament State of Austria and Hungary. This group has a particular fondness for the stoning to death of human beings. It believes that stoning is the only answer to a variety of crimes; from worshipping other gods, to working on the Sabbath. Initially, we find such claims shocking, but don't quite take them seriously. Until they start to release the videos.
Once confronted with the sight of boys and girls being stoned to death, explicit images coupled with an eerily pious soundtrack, the threat suddenly feels very real. In one propaganda video, we see the apparent leader of the group of murderers confidently stride towards the camera, and start reciting from the Bible."But if the thing is true, and evidences of virginity are not found for the young woman, then they shall bring out the young woman to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death with stones, because she has done a disgraceful thing in Israel, to play the harlot in her father's house. So you shall put away the evil from among you." -Deuteronomy 22:21
The world condemns OTSAH. And yet, dozens of neighboring European states are run with legal codes explicitly derived from this very type of Biblical Literalism. We see that secular bloggers in Romania are being routinely sentenced to hundreds of lashes in public for the crime of blasphemy against Yahweh. We note with horror that the government of Croatia determines that a woman raped in Zagreb must be executed, because she didn't cry out loud enough in order to prevent her attack. Had she been raped in the countryside, she would have been forgiven.
This is what Biblical Literalism might look like. The fictional OTSAH is every bit as terrifying as ISIS or Boko Haram. If a group of this kind began to ascend, we would be justified in dropping virtually everything else in pursuit of ensuring that this brand of thinking went no further than Central Europe. It's absolutely true that a passing knowledge of the crusades tells us that such a group could theoretically exist. But, at least in our reality, it doesn't (The L.R.A. of Uganda being the closest example in living memory). 
A vast array of beliefs about fellow human beings
If there were several Christian states operating legal codes deriving directly from scripture, that prescribed the death penalty for same-sex sexual acts, these states would necessitate the relentless condemnation of the international community. But, in our reality, there aren't. Inexplicably, the importance of this distinction seems to evade those who respond to tragedies such as Orlando with moral equivalences relating to other faiths or cultures.