On Tolerance

How tolerant are you? I think I’m very tolerant, but I’m pretty sure I would be viewed by most Americans as being very intolerant. Here’s a litmus test for tolerance that I think is worth considering.

Last week we explored Islam and Allah. The biggest take away was that Allah is not the personal name of Islam’s god. Allah is merely the Arabic word for God.

In the Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag, there is a line that declares, “One Nation, Under God”.

My tolerance test for you is the following question. Are you tolerant enough to show the refugees that we love and welcome them by changing the pledge to declare, “One Nation, Under Allah”? After all, Allah is just the Arabic word for God.

Or how about when the president closes his national addresses with the phrase, “God Bless America.” Are you tolerant enough to not voice an objection if he were to say, “Allah Bless America”?

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13 comments

  1. Drew Ford

    Tolerant enough to let a refugee from another country make such substitutions, but I would not do so myself.

    I have always thought that instead of wearing those little American flag pins on one’s lapels, we should wear a little earth globe lapel pin, to signify a broader, more worldly view.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Robert Matthew Goldstein

    Actually, I would remove God from the Pledge because we are supposed to have a secular government. Please understand that I am a Christian who is very committed to practicing my faith; but I don’t need to shove my beliefs down people’s throats. 60 percent of the violence in our world would vanish if people of faith stopped trying to make everyone else live by their rules.

    That said, I do not object to the use of Allah in the pledge.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pete Deakon

      Hey Robert,

      You got it. My point is that the Christians who added “God” into the pledge surely didn’t understand that without the word “Triune” in front the door is open to grave and dangerous misunderstanding. And while, as a Christian, I do believe the Triune God is ruling over us, no matter what country, if I was calling the shots, I wouldn’t force a non-believer to have to say “One nation, under the Triune God.”

      I’d ask you, as a Christian, to reconsider not objecting to Allah in the pledge. My assessment of the religious scene is that Christianity is generally not viewed as significant these days. But Islam, in the name of Allah, is waging a war, first on people’s minds, and then on peoples bodies. Changing God to Allah, even in the name of translation, would instantly make us Muslims–or one who submits to Allah. Words matter.

      Pete

      Liked by 1 person

      • Robert Matthew Goldstein

        I’ll reconsider it but I invite you to discuss this with me because I sense that you have the kind of intellect that can discuss these loaded issues dispassionately. I have some questions regarding your response that are intellectual in nature but I won’t ask them without your permission.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Pete Deakon

          I’d be happy to answer any questions/discuss anything about this. I wrote a 5-part series on Islam last week that led me to this post, if you weren’t aware. The order of the posts is intentional, and necessary for the conclusion to make sense. And if you were to start with post 5, the conclusion, you’d likely be put off/confused. But you don’t have to read them, just ask away and I’ll do my best to communicate what I think clearly. (I’m down for the night tonight, though. Just fyi.)

          Pete

          Liked by 1 person

          • Robert Matthew Goldstein

            The question is in relation to your response:

            When I think of Christianity I think of ‘types’ of Christianity.

            When I think of Islam I also think of types of Islam.

            I don’t see either faith as a uniform system of beliefs.

            But that aside: If Allah means God or Adonoi or Deus then why would changing God to Allah make us Muslims?

            Words do have meanings and I agree that their meanings matter.

            But how can a Christian or a Jew become a Muslim by using an Arabic word for God that is still in use by Christian and Jewish Arabs today?

            Liked by 1 person

            • Pete Deakon

              Last semester I finally got a chance to ask a question I’ve been dying to ask since I started my master’s program at a seminary. My question was, “Why don’t we just label Young Earth Creationists (those Christians who believe the Bible tells us that the cosmos is only 6,000 or so years old) heretics and be done with it?” I learned that the reason we don’t do that was that the Evolution v. Creation debate of how exactly Genesis unfolded was not a heretical category. You can believe what you want and it won’t be to the level of a heresy. Heresy (meaning unorthodox beliefs) is limited to a pretty small number of claims. First, Christianity believes in the Trinity–Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Another is the 100% Divine, 100% human nature of Jesus Christ–that’s called the hypostatic union, if you care. There’s probably a few more, but not many that come to mind. I share all of this to illustrate that Christianity, unlike Islam, doesn’t really have a radical-to-moderate spectrum. Christianity has more of a traditional-to-men’s freestyle spectrum. Does that make sense? My point is that I might challenge you to investigate Islam a bit more before thinking it and Christianity are in the same category.

              On to your actual question… Did you read the comment where quiltjunkie says she’s fine with “one nation under god” in its entirety being translated to an entirely different language? If we did that with Arabic, then we haven’t become Muslims. (Though, that would be very bizarre indeed.) But, if we keep “one nation under” in English, and then exchange “god” for “Allah”, we just became Muslim because we are at least verbally submitting ourselves to Allah, which is the definition of a Muslim. When Christians say, “One Nation Under God” they are undoubtedly thinking of the Trinity and Jesus. But the pernicious concept of God (Allah) is not the Trinity. That’s why we can’t mix and match languages. That’s why we become Muslims. It is a battle of meanings, and once we’re saying “Allah” instead of “God” there is no Triune Allah, like there is Triune God. I’m warning about slippery slopes, I’m warning about the snowball effect. That’s why I wrote earlier that I’m with you that we should just take out the “God” part altogether rather than add in “Triune”. In my opinion, if we don’t specify “Triune” god, then we’re not talking about the Triune God.

              If any of this doesn’t make sense, I’d suggest reading through my series on Islam. It’s important to me–especially with the latest attack in Turkey–that Christians begin to see Allah and Islam (Allah’s will) for what they really are. Islam is not, as the president said, “a great religion”.

              (Thanks for reading and considering my thoughts.)

              Pete

              Liked by 1 person

  3. quiltjunkie

    Only if we’re also going to include “Dios Bless America” or “Dieu Bless America” or “Gott Bless America” …. see where I’m going here? If “Allah” is merely the Arabic word for God, and we’re going to use an American word in an English-language phrase, then we must also be open to using other words for God. Either that, or we say “God Bless America” completely in other languages; e.g., “Dios bendiga America”, “Dieu bénisse l’Amérique”, “Gott segne Amerika” or “bark alllah ‘amrika”. If we’re only mixing Arabic with English to bless the U.S.A., then I say no.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. gmgoetz

    Hey Pete, thank you for your teaching on Islam. It is very insightful, and I appreciated it.
    As far as for saying “God Bless America”, ” God Bless Canada”, I do not want that altered. We need God’s Blessings, the True God, The Triune God, as you state so well.
    What good is ” a concept of god” giving a blessing.
    May our Triune God bless you Pete, and watch over you, in the Name of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pete Deakon

      Hey George,

      Good to hear from you. I hadn’t seen you in a while and feared that I had lost you with all the ambiguous Islam stuff. Thank you for the prayer. I’m not generally bent toward admitting/discussing the spiritual warfare side of things (growing up in suburban churches) but on Wednesday last week, right as I was beginning to really make my case for Allah’s destruction, H- discovered a random 4ft bull snake at our doorstep while she was running in to get something as we were hanging out outside. The maintenance staff removed it and put it back in the woods/river area nearby. On Saturday it was back. An Army veteran macho man just picked it up by the tail and threw it back again. And then it came back again. So I said enough is enough and killed it. But I didn’t even know snakes that big were around. There are so many buildings on campus that it strikes me as odd that it would show up to my door (literally) and keep returning so willfully. Maybe it knew I’ve got a steady supply of Mountain Dew in here. Ha. Suffice it to say, I’m glad to be done reading the Qur’an. Evil, evil stuff.

      Pete

      Liked by 1 person

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