Muslim outrage syndrome

on my drive home i was listening to NPR report on the Pope's visit to Turkey and trying to understand the reasons for why the Pope has to walk on egg shells there. he is in trouble for re-iterating a claim from the middle ages that Islam is violent and all things negative, blah, blah, blah, and, for some reason, Muslims reacted violently and negatively... and i'm trying to sort out what that reason is...and i'm not sold on the simple explanation that the Koran is violent, because the Bible has plenty of violence. i'm not sold on Islam makes all Muslims violent, because they aren't. i'm not sure that it is really about the seriousness of adherents, there are even more devout adherents to many other faiths that aren't thusly violent.

but i think i have hit on something that some Muslims share with some Hindus, the compulsion to protect the honor of their deities. those gods can't defend themselves, and their adherents are perhaps thinking they'll score some bonus points for the next life by sticking up for god. on the other hand, they may feel they'll lose points if they don't stick up for god. many Christians will defend their faith by argument and persuasion, but most aren't doing it out of concern for their after-life status, which turns down the passion dial a lot. it also helps that the God of the Christians identifies himself by love. and Jesus urges us to love our enemies and do good deeds to them and let God handle any vengeance issues. but without those qualifications in other deities, violence is an immediate, easy demonstration of faithfulness to their communities and their gods. if they are minorities in communities, such as in the u.s.a., then that demonstration won't garner favor, like it does in Muslim communities. Larger faith enclaves, such as in much of Europe, can protect and approve violent outbursts over dishonors like mocking cartoons. those enclaves have reached a tipping point.

so this hypothesis has helped me rehumanize the multiple recent examples of Muslim outrage over what seems to my Western mind, small indignities, that I, as a Christian, put up with all the time. some things even anger me, but i don't belong to a religion that places value on doing my deity's dirty work for him.


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