UI – Part 241 – Muslim, Have You No Shame?
“To err is human, to forgive divine” – Alexander Pope. This quote was used in this Blog on Jan 16/2013 discussing Forgiveness.(Read More)[i]
For the Muslim and Jew forgiveness is subjective. God decides, so too Allah, at his wish. In their case sin exists and is forever with the believer, whether they accept the idea of original sin or not. Muslims are weak and easily tempted. Even Muhammad sinned. With each sin, failure to resist temptation or obey Laws the person needs to repent, ask for forgiveness and atone. They will never know until they die if God, Allah, has accepted them into the Kingdom.
Christ, seen by the Jew as a prophet, so too the Muslim, but for Islam Jesus (Isa), is known to be perfect, without sin, yet not divine.
Christ is the beacon of hope and eternal life for the Christ follower (all who come to know the truth of his resurrection and sacrifice). He is the Light, the guide to a relationship with God and a place forever in His Kingdom. What Christ achieved is incomprehensible, yet a historical event that made possible all mankind to be free of God’s Laws, as a believer, having faith in the Risen Lord. Christ fulfilled the Laws. Lead a life as a believer and the laws are unnecessary. There is a caveat. Sin is not eliminated, but forgiven. Man is made righteous in God’s eyes when he believes in the Risen Lord. The believer in Christ does good as purposed by God because they are God’s people, saved by his Mercy and Grace. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:8-10)
Do you hide in some fashion when you make a mistake? As a child or adult when you err do you first attempt to avoid detection, wishing instead the flaw will not be discovered and forgotten? If no-one is harmed, then that is OK too. But what of the shame, the guilt you feel. Is there none? Soon after my wife had our carpets cleaned I wore shoes that had a rubber insert that fell apart and stuck to my foot. When the shoe was removed sticky, gooey stuff adhered to my foot, and then when I stepped onto the carpet, to the carpet as well. My attempt to pick-up particles made it worse, a smear, an obvious black smudge on the recently cleaned carpets. I tried an area rug to cover, but it was so out-of-place, she would move it and then the dirt and my mistake would be revealed. All that was left was to fess-up.
There was shame. How stupid I felt to know there was something stuck to my foot and not check first. Instead I stepped on the floor and caused the need for that area of the carpet, at least, to be re-cleaned. The service would need to return and erase my error. There would be a cost to forgiveness. Thank the Lord my wife was forgiving and patient with me.
If the mistake survived hidden under the area rug each time I looked at that rug I would know. My error would be with me. Your mistakes never leave you. You know. What you get away with you know. That does not make it right. The knowing is the shame. How can it be cleansed? When I fessed-up to my wife and she said it was OK, the cleansing process began. I was forgiven. Still, I was reminded of my error each time I looked at that part of the rug, but the mistake was not held against me. Her love came through and made me comfortable. I would still need to get that area cleaned.
From Mortimer J. Adler’s book, The Great Ideas[ii], he writes in the section headed ‘Honor’, “a man can be ashamed of himself for doing or thinking what neither injures anyone else nor ever comes to the notice of others. A sense of shame – a reflex of his sense of honor – torments him for having fallen short of his own ideal, for being disloyal to his own conceptions of what is good or right….” It comes down to a sense and reaction to right and wrong.
When right and wrong enters the question how is that sense imbued in the self? What are the influences on humans? Is there an inherent sense of right and wrong? Are we wired, or programmed, to know? Must there be a perfect and universal sense of such knowledge to have shame?
From Adler’s book[iii], “The Christian hero…seeks not his own glory but the glory of God, and in contrast to the pagan hero, he is great not in pride, but in humility.”
Right and Wrong
We enter the arena of ‘ethics.’ Are we knowing, aware, by our own nature of right and wrong. Are there cultural differences? Can what is right in one area be wrong in another? And visa versa. Is the Christian right and Jew wrong? Is the Muslim right and Christian wrong? Are there factors to be determined that distinguish one from the other. Can man be judge in every case? Should judgment when it comes to the incomprehensible, God, be left to God alone? How could man possibly decide, except for himself? Then we are left, possibly, with the power of reason. What is the rational conclusion to God, to Salvation, to the right path to Eternal Life? We could discuss ‘Meta-ethics’, David Hume, Cognition or Non-Cognition, even Relativism. But not here. That only leads to confusion and philosophical discourse than has no end, and may not always be rational; emotion thus playing a role.
For Socrates self-knowledge becomes the operative determinant, wherein study, understanding, awareness of facts, reason and logic when applied make clear right from wrong. Ignorance thus can lead to a lack of guilt for that which is morally wrong. His argument is that people will naturally do what is good if they know what is right.
Where I might digress is in the teaching of what is right. As there may be tactics used to fill the mind with false teaching which when interpreted by self is considered right, possibly even harmful to others, but justified by their cause. Association and control become important, even essential, requirements to keep the students confined in their thinking to the autocratic teaching of the scholars which may represent more evil than good, calling it virtue among themselves. That is how I personally have come to view Islam. The color I paint Islam is dark due to its restriction on exploration of historical factors and the personalities of this ideology. A cloud hangs over this religion hiding the truth. The shame is being hidden with distortions and proclamations, indeed historical propaganda from early days through poetry, then false writings and claims, to leadership requiring the vanquished to adhere to espoused principles or face death, and a Scripture that announces the Superiority of the follower of Islam over any others. There is no humility.
An ideological imperialism justified in the minds of the Islamist conquerors, the autocrats, the ulema and authorities, has spread and is maintained by suppressing access to the truth. It is considered wrong to doubt, to explore other avenues and thus deny Allah, or in fact deny those that are in absolute control absolutely.
Is there no shame?
Need guidance as to what is right and what is wrong. The goto book is the Bible. God himself made known what you need to do, it applies to me too, to lead a life that will be virtuous. The inerrancy of the Bible makes clear how you should conduct yourself. In so doing you will serve God and have a purpose filled existence.
Like a Bloody Mary the morning after an evening of indulgences to clear the mind, open the eyes, it is an attempt to erase the shame of over-indulging and free the body from its internal torment. There are other ways, like an Aspirin, more sleep, Mimosas’, etc. The best answer is to not indulge in excess the night before. To do what is right, then the error of your ways needs little to correct.
Does the person committing a terrorist act feel justified? A look into the eyes of those convicted for the Aurora shooting or the Arizona Congresswoman does not reveal honor, or virtue. The Newtown shooter killed himself to avoid facing the truth and the error of his judgment and ways. The 911 perpetrators, not otherwise killed, hung their heads low. They died for a glory they did not fully comprehend. Many Muslim Governments hide the shame of the actions of their hatred for Jews and Christians through denial. They do not freely admit their intent. They excuse their purpose as Allah and Muhammad driven, sanctioned by the religious leaders, the teachers, that guide them. Are the followers being led astray? Are the guides, the religious teachers, providing false information? There are so many within the borders of Islamic Countries that disagree with the outcomes. Is there a sense of guilt, or shame, for what is being carried out and broadcast in the name of Islam, heralded by the cry ‘Allahu Akbar’, in the name of Allah. Are acts of ill will, hatred, and ignorance being performed in the name of Allah justified?
There is shame.
Grace and Peace
[ii]The Great Ideas, Mortimer J. Adler, MacMillan Publishing, NY, NY, 1952 (by Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc.), pg 317
[iii] Ibid, pg 323