Monday, March 27, 2006

The Light of the World

Over the weekend, Afghan prosecutors released Abdul Rahman, an admitted Christian convert. Authorites cited "insufficient evidence". Ahem.

Here's the story. Note the hilarious headline: "Afghan Court Dismisses Case vs. Alleged Christian Convert." The AP treats converting to Christianity like child molestation ... wouldn't want to tag poor Rahman with the "Christian" label, after all, without a trial. I mean, he only confessed to converting to Christianity after working with a Christian aid group about 16 years ago ... allegedly.

In following this ordeal, it seems that the Afghans are getting the hang of this politics thing. Islamic clerics were demanding the execution of Rahman for his rejection of Islam. President Hamid Karzai was caught in the middle, with numerous allies (most notably the U.S. and Britain) calling for Rahman's release.

So, the Afghanis did the smart thing politically. They did release Rahman, but they said they were doing so because of insufficient evidence of this "crime". Purportedly, family members came forward to claim that Rahman was mentally ill.

So, I got it ... Radical Islam will lop off your head for being an infidel but a crazy who commits the crime of the century gets to completely walk. If I were Rahman, I think I'd head for Kabul with a big "Jesus Saves" sandwich board and a collection of John Tesch CDs. Clearly, he'd continue to beat the rap.

Maybe not.

So, the punch line to this little tale is the following: The civilized world knows what happened here. The uncivilized world of Radical Islam can continue to claim this to be the crime of the century. But they would have done so, and revolted, if Karzai and Company had addressed the controversy forthrightly.

So a Christian lives, and the radicals can claim (at least in their backward worlds) that their view of justice prevails.

Still, this episode probably inches the world more toward an understanding of Radical Islam as compared to authentic Christian faith.

The light of truth ... and the New Media ... shining on this episode is instructive.

For instance, some questions might come to mind, even in Afghanistan: Why must an unbeliever be killed? Can't Islam stand on its own merits? What is so wrong about worshiping Jesus, whom Islam reveres as a prophet? What can be the harm of an open discussion of such issues, if one is confident in the outcome?

Does the Koran sanction such savagery as that routinely advocated by so-called "clerics"?

How can one man's conversion to Christianity threaten a whole nation of Muslims?

Is there that much power in a solitary Christian life?

Rahman, for his part, appeared ready to meet his fate and his Maker:
"I am serene. I have full awareness of what I have chosen. If I must die, I will die ... Somebody, a long time ago, did it for all of us," he added in a clear reference to Jesus.
Sounds pretty sane to me.