September 24, 2013

"Please forgive me, we are not monsters," said the terrorist to the 4-year-old boy who had called him "a very bad man."

This Daily Mail item forefronts the daring, outspoken little boy, Elliot Prior. Your heart is supposed to tingle at the boy's courage as he "protected his mother, Amber, who had been shot in the leg" in the Kenyan mall massacre and was the reason the terrorist "took pity." But scroll down and see:
The terrorists said if any of the kids were alive in the supermarket they could leave. 'Amber made the decision to stand up and say "yes".'... After discovering [that Amber Prior] was of French origin, the men began to plead with her and claimed that the Muslim faith ‘was not a bad one.’

‘He told me I had to change my religion to Islam and said “do you forgive us? Do you forgive us?’, the mother told The Independent. ‘Naturally, I was going to say whatever they wanted and they let us go.’
It's nice to think about the boy, but it was the mother, who figured out how to tell the right lies convincingly. She gains pride through the boy, who, at 4, had no way to use strategy and guile, like his mother, who continues to use strategy and guile as she talks to the press and diverts attention away from whatever shame and humiliation she may feel over the lies she chose to tell to save herself and her children.

Presumably, if she had stood tall, proclaimed herself a Christian, and brought death to herself and her children, her courage would have been celebrated at the top of the article. I'm saying this to celebrate Amber Prior.


Carol said...

Was Amber Christian, or is that just a convenient ethnic designation now?

Matthew Sablan said...

It isn't quite Scout at the jail, but it is an interesting story none-the-less.

Ann Althouse said...

"Was Amber Christian..."

I don't know, but I posed a hypothetical.

Darrell said...

You are going to meet the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob very soon. Is there something you'd like me to say in your defense?

Illuminati said...

It is hard to know what one would do under the circumstances. Usually Christians are not supposed to lie since lying destroys the trust necessary to establish stable social bonds. In exceptional circumstances like this in which there is no possibility of establishing a healthy relationship with the other person it is possibly justified. If she is a Christian, I certainly wouldn't blame her for lying to save her life and that of her son. The martyrs of Christian history were asked to renounce their faith permanently which is probably different from a momentary lie like hers.

Shawn Levasseur said...

"If the truth can't set you free, Lie."

(A possibly inaccurate quote from the movie of Bonfire of the Vanities)

m stone said...

Well said, Darrell.

Apparently, by grace, from what we can draw from this, Amber was not asked if she was a Christian. If she were asked and was and lied to save their lives, there would be no celebration, except maybe in the press.

Peter denying Jesus is not meant to be a model.

Ann Althouse said...

Look at what she did say: "He told me I had to change my religion to Islam."

That suggests that she had a religion other than Islam and she agreed to change her religion. That is, she denied her religion to save herself and her children. That was put in the background in this story, behind the material about the little boy that we can feel good about without being troubled.

I am trying to trouble you, making you think about this woman and what she did. Maybe she had no religion and the terrorist assumed she had a religion, so it was nothing to her to say she'd change her religion. But the inference is, from the form of her words here, that she had a religion that was not Islam. It was most likely Christianity.

So let's engage in the moral struggle that this story actually presents.

If you are a Christian, put yourself in her place. Would you deny Jesus?

Ann Althouse said...

And consider the Christians who face persecution in Syria and Egypt and elsewhere. Should they take on all the outward appearances of being Muslim in order to save themselves and their families?

If not, how was Amber Prior different?

If so, then isn't this a very effective strategy for propagating Islam? It's ugly now, in the transition phase, but at some later point, these rough spots won't be closely inspected.

Titus said...

nice pic of the dead guy in the background.

Michael in ArchDen said...

If she made a profession to Islam, isn't she an apostate in there eyes if she recants, and then subject to a fatwa?

Islam is like the Hotel California, you can check-out, but you can never leave!

phx said...

Wow. That's a lot of judgmentalism to lay on a victim of terrorists.

Bob Ellison said...

Astonishing to think that readers would just buy this story. Astonishing that they probably do. Astonishing.

The Godfather said...

The answer is that these people ARE (or I hope by now WERE) monsters. You do not owe them truth. If you can fool them and get away, do it.

traditionalguy said...

Jesus is Lord whether we are denying Him to save lives or not. Slamming Christians who are saving lives with denial of faith charge is the Guilt Trip of all guilt trips. It is used by many clergy to get money donations, and needs to be strongly denied and confronted publicly for what it is.

Betraying Jesus is another matter completely. That is a Benedict Arnold type act that sells to certain death innocent friends to an enemy that wants them killed, for that money that the clerics want to get from their deceptive guilt trip about a strategic denial of Jesus being the same as a Betrayal of Jesus.

Would Jesus approve of a hider of Anne Frank telling the Nazi death squads where she was hiding or denying the truth? It's the same denial issue. That strategic denial is NOT betrayal; it is its opposite.

Pettifogger said...

Most of us would say whatever we thought would save us and our children. I have never been under such extremis and will not judge her for saying what she did.

If I were there and had the means and opportunity, I would not have hesitated to kill, if I thought I could save my child and me. Given that willingness, what is the moral stigma of a lie?

Random said...

I don't blame her for saying whatever it takes to save her children either, but I do find the apparent implication of your question - that a Christian should be celebrated for renouncing their faith and putting the world of the flesh above that of the spirit - to be somewhat distasteful.

A sufficiently devout Christian of course would affirm their faith and accept martyrdom, secure in the knowledge that the family would be together in the eternal life promised to us by the resurrection of our Lord and Saviour, for which this vale of tears is but a brief preparation.

Am I that devout? Probably not - lying and then praying for forgiveness is much the easier course. I would respect somebody who chooses the harder path though, and not accuse them of selfishness or whatnot.

David said...

I am not a monster, says the monster.

Truly believes it.

That's what is so monstrous.

m stone said...

If you are a Christian, put yourself in her place. Would you deny Jesus?

We can say in this moment what we would do, but, in the face of death, our true faith will provide the answer.

I dare say a true believing Christian will and can hold fast and not deny Jesus only by the power of God's Spirit. It is not some Medal-of-Honor-worthy adrenalin that kicks in and will give you the words.

Maybe what we do in the face of death is the true measure of our faith.

David said...

She saved the life of her child.

There were no bullrushes to hide the boy in, so she used the available cover.

What is the nature of the god who will punish her for this?

Levi Starks said...

To a large extent human societies exist (and sometimes thrive) because there is a code of honor that they live by.
When we celebrate our fore bearers it's the ones who showed the greatest adherence to principles we hold dear.
We don't celebrate cowards and traitors.
The muslims seem to have a genuine understanding of this concept.
The western world now has a new set of standards with every rising sun.

Econophile said...

I'm baffled by the notion of the terrorists seeming so desperate for her sanction--are these barbarians are second guessing themselves?

If they're goal is conversion, this is clearly an awful strategy. But if their goal is ridding the world of infidels, they haven't fully convinced themselves of it.

Chris Low said...

The kid certainly got one thing right. Anyone who walks into a mall to hunt humans is indeed a very bad man. I hear what you are saying, professor, and I would most certanly lie to save my children. I wouldn't even think twice about it. But then, I am a lapsed catholic with the emphasis more more on lapsed than catholic.

jr565 said...

If you're a hostage and someone says you have to convert, what's wrong with doing what they say to stay alive? It;s not as if you are bound to keep your word to the guy with the gun at your head once you get out of the building.
Cross your fingers and toes when you make your promise. It's not binding.

Birches said...

I don't think there is anything to be ashamed of and I'm a practicing Christian (and by practicing, I mean, I go to Church every Sunday, pay a tithe to my Church, etc.)

I think that Ann might be taking this whole defense of the faith thing a little too far. After all, Peter denied Christ three times and still got to lead the Church afterwards. It's not a damnation/eternal reward situation that can never be reversed. That kind of strict thinking is reserved for the terrorist Muslims I think.

jr565 said...

"And consider the Christians who face persecution in Syria and Egypt and elsewhere. Should they take on all the outward appearances of being Muslim in order to save themselves and their families?

If not, how was Amber Prior different?

If so, then isn't this a very effective strategy for propagating Islam? It's ugly now, in the transition phase, but at some later point, these rough spots won't be closely inspected."

THis is kind of how Islam did spread. And its why the Islamic world is such a cess pool. Even if you dont convert in these countries your sticking to your religion makes you a third class citizen open to abuse and intolerance. Look up jizya tax and dhimmas for example.
I'm actually pretty amazed at christians or non muslims who stay true to their religion considering the amount of hardship they face for not coverting.

jr565 said...

the very concept of Islam is that the world is in a state of war until all the peoples convert to Islam. Then there will be peace. So, if that's your view, then forcing people to Islam actually brings about a utopia.And if there are people reluctant to submit they must be forced to or live under the Muslim as little more than a slave.

Bryan C said...

"If you are a Christian, put yourself in her place. Would you deny Jesus?"

I don't know. It'd depend on whether I was running on anger, or fear.

As noted, even the apostle Peter was frightened enough to deny his faith. And he was forgiven.

Seeing Red said...

You're blond, Professor.

What would you do in Sweden or Denmark, would you cover your hair?

Illuminati said...

Althouse said:

"And consider the Christians who face persecution in Syria and Egypt and elsewhere. Should they take on all the outward appearances of being Muslim in order to save themselves and their families?"

There is an entire Christian / Muslim reform movement called the insiders or Chrislam who do that very thing. The Muslims have invented the myth that Jesus taught exactly what is in the Koran but apostate Christians changed the Bible. The Insiders have turned the myth around and claim that Mohammad was a genuine good man and reformer but that Muslims changed his messages. According to their myth the Insiders who accept the Bible and view Jesus as Divine are the true Muslims.

Your observation that Muslims don't worry much about professions of faith which are not heartfelt but coerced under duress is historically correct. Many people who profess Islam out of fear remain within Islam and with continued societal pressure become true believers.

The terrorists are Muslim missionaries who know that a certain portion of people like Amber Prior will be so traumatized that they will remain in Islam since it helps relieve their anxiety. In that sense Amber Prior is no different. However, because the experience was very short her situation was not so dangerous. She can probably shake free from the coercive power of Islam.

Ann Althouse said...

I don't see why anyone thinks I'm "judging" her. Read the last line of the post. Nor do I anywhere suggest that God has any particular opinion on this topic.

Rather I asked — and only asked — whether this terrorism isn't a very effective strategy for propagating Islam. If you keep up scary, believable threats of violence that can be avoided by pretending to be Muslim and you get everyone acting like they are Muslim, never saying otherwise, submitting to all the rules of a government that is merged with religion, and doing all the outward things that evince belief, what difference does it make to the Islamic agenda if you keep a secret place in your heart that believes in Jesus and how will you pass Christianity on to the next generation or support it in others who are doing the same thing?

I wish people would address the question asked and not abscond to more comfortable territory. In so doing, you are like the Daily Mail focusing on the little boy instead of the mother.

Look at the hard part. The easy part is easy.

Ralph Hyatt said...

Not surprisingly, since the faith is 2000+ years old and was persecuted when it began, this ethical dilemma has come up before.

If you are not religious you can, of course, tell whatever lies you need to in order to save lives, your's and others'.

From a Christian perspective you are not supposed to deny Christ.

Some biblical verses that apply are:

2 John 2:22
Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist--denying the Father and the Son.

Mathew 10:23
But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.


2 Timothy 2:12
if we endure,
we will also reign with him.
If we disown him,
he will also disown us;

So no, a Christian should not deny Christ even to save their or others' lives and many people have chosen martyrdom rather than do so.

However, since God understands that humans are fallible creatures in 2 Timothy 2:13 we read:

if we are faithless,
he remains faithful,
for he cannot disown himself

So if you fail to live up to such an incredibly difficult standard, you will be forgiven.

There was great deal of tension in the early Christian church over this question. During persecutions some Christians would deny Christ, that is renounce Christianity, but at a later time regret the decision and seek to rejoin the fellowship of the church. Some of the Christians who had endured the persecution without denying Christ opposed further fellowship with the deniers.

Ralph Hyatt said...

1st and 2nd Maccabees directly addresses the issue the Professor brings up. In that case armed revolt was the only option because renunciation was not enough, the Hebrews were being required to perform actions contrary to their religion.

2 Maccabees Chapter 6

18 There was an elderly and highly respected teacher of the Law by the name of Eleazar, whose mouth was being forced open to make him eat pork. 19-20 But he preferred an honorable death rather than a life of disgrace. So he spit out the meat and went willingly to the place of torture, showing how people should have courage to refuse unclean food, even if it costs them their lives. 21-22 Those in charge of the sacrifice had been friends of Eleazar for a long time, and because of this friendship they told him privately to bring meat that was lawful for him to eat. He need only pretend to eat the pork, they said, and in this way he would not be put to death.

23 But Eleazar made a decision worthy of his gray hair and advanced age. All his life he had
lived in perfect obedience to God's holy laws, so he replied,
Kill me, here and now. 24 Such deception is not worthy of a man of my years. Many young people would think that I had denied my faith after I was ninety years old. 25 If I pretended to eat this meat, just to live a little while longer, it would bring shame and disgrace on me and lead many young people astray. 26 For the present I might be able to escape what you could do to me, but whether I live or die, I cannot escape Almighty God. 27 If I die bravely now, it will show that I deserved my long life. 28 It will also set a good example of the way young people should be willing and glad to die for our sacred and respected laws.

As soon as he said these things, he went[d] off to be tortured, 29 and the very people who had treated him kindly a few minutes before, now turned against him, because they thought he had spoken like a madman. 30 When they had beaten him almost to the point of death, he groaned and said,

The Lord possesses all holy knowledge. He knows I could have escaped these terrible sufferings and death, yet he also knows that I gladly suffer these things, because I fear him.

31 So Eleazar died. But his courageous death was remembered as a glorious example, not only by young people, but by the entire nation as well.

MadisonMan said...

A religion you are forced to enter isn't really much a religion, is it? A person who changes to following Mohammed at the point of a Gun is just going to change to something else when the next gunman comes along.

OTOH, countless numbers have pledged fealty to one God or another on the threat of eternal damnation.

Out of the mouths of babes, though, comes the honest truth.

Big Mike said...

"We are not monsters."

Self-evident lie.

Muslims cannot complain about innocent lives lost to collateral damage if they tolerate the likes of these people in their religion.

Illuminati said...

Althouse said:

"Rather I asked — and only asked — whether this terrorism isn't a very effective strategy for propagating Islam"

You are absolutely correct. The terrorists are Muslim missionaries whose intent is to spread Islam. From the standpoint of the Islamic ummah 9-11 was a resounding success. They received widespread publicity and a flood of converts through their actions. It also gave their partners in the red-green (Muslim/leftist)partnership cover to make changes to society which have greatly benefitted Islam.

traditionalguy said...

Donatists are from the late days of Roman Empire persecutions, and many suffered rejection by the ones that converted back to Rome's pantheon of gods.

The Jews in Spain in the 1400s were told to convert or get out or die. They often took a Christian baptism and stayed. But a generation later the Spanish Inquisition (a product of the Remains of the Roman Empire in the Vatican) started to torture suspects into confessing that they never really converted.

The politics behind a religious of torture/killing of infidels is TO STEAL THEIR STUFF.

That is why Obama's Propaganda Machinery is now going after the Old White Guys. They have some stuff to steal.

C Stanley said...

It's hard to know from the snippets of what was reportedly said, whether or not the lies were really a renunciation of Christian faith. The mother does report that she was told she had to change her religion, but there also seems to have been a great deal of asking if they were forgiven. That part, at least, would have allowed a victim to remain solidly with their Christian faith. Even if one didn't truly feel forgiveness at that moment, one could truthfully respond, "Our God requires us to forgive, and He is a merciful God."

Richard Dolan said...

"Rather I asked — and only asked — whether this terrorism isn't a very effective strategy for propagating Islam."

In the last century, it was a strategy used to propagate lots of belief systems, most of them political rather than religious ones. The Soviets, the Red Guard and the Nazis all favored enforced conformity via terror; Pol Pot had his own twisted approach using the same strategy; and the Norks are at it today, using starvation and random executions to make their point. Going back a bit further, that strategy did work so well for Robespierre and his gang either. Same with the wars of religion earlier still -- enforced conformity worked for a time, until it didn't (too late for Wycliffe and Hus, but it was inevitable that there would be a Luther, Calvin et al.).

That none of those attempts at enforced conformity worded for long is enough to refute the claim of 'effectiveness' -- all except the Norks are gone, and the Chi-Coms are still trying to figure out how to manage a modern economy with an anti-modern poltics. If the metric you want to discuss is 'effectiveness,' I'd say that the strategy is self-defeating over a relatively short historical time frame. The more interesting discussion would be why enforced conformity is so unstable, so predictably self defeating, even if many (like the mother in this story) end up being put to difficult choices while it's in the process of falling apart.

Mitch H. said...

Wow. That's a lot of judgmentalism to lay on a victim of terrorists.

Have you read that article about the "falling man" photo from 9/11, and the jumpers? People can be pretty damn judgmental towards victims of terrorism. It's strange, you rarely see the same sort of thing towards the victims of the Nazi concentration camps and Eastern Front POW camps, where equally morally questionable things happened under horrible, annihilating conditions. (I'm not going to speak to what happened, just suffice to say that people fall apart in ugly ways in the face of hunger and deprivation.)

But if y'all remember your early Church history, there were entire heresies generated by the fall-out from the Roman persecutions, and what to do with those that apostatized in the face of martyrdom. The Copts and Syriacs and other Christian minorities have lived in the presence of their Muslim lords and masters for fourteen hundred years, I think they have the procedure down pat at this point.

elkh1 said...

"his mother,...talks to the press and diverts attention away from whatever shame and humiliation she may feel over the lies she chose to tell to save herself and her children."

Why should she feel shame for saving herself and her children?
If she had caused harm and death to someone else to save herself, then she might feel shame. But saving a life, even if it's only hers is not shameful. Saving her children is heroic.

Those vermin who killed innocent people were shameful. Those who believe killing unarmed men, women and children was heroic were shameful. Those who killed their own female relatives to regain "honor" were shameful.

n.n said...

For many, perhaps most, people, integrity is inversely proportional to risk. For some, perhaps many, people, the standard is even lower.

If she has a faith. If she trusts her God. Then she should not commit lies of commission.

This is not a presumption to judgment. This is the only right answer which is capable of constraining corruption. It is the easy answer when dissociated from risk.

elkh1 said...

"If you are a Christian, put yourself in her place. Would you deny Jesus?"

Would Jesus insist her to tell the truth and be killed? I have a feeling Jesus would tell her to do whatever it takes to save herself and her children.

Michael said...

Amber was confronted with imminent death and the death of her child. I believe the most doctrinaire apologist would give her leave to cross her fingers and deny her faith and her God. The Christian in the Middle East does the opposite every day, affirming her faith in the midst of those who would eliminate her and her places of worship.
But, remember, more books are printed in Spain in a single year than were translated into Arabic in one thousand years. 2% of Muslims have access to the internet.
It is a mistake to try and reason with these people.

SHH said...

I was raised Catholic. Went to Catholic School. At one point I could recite the Baltimore Catechism word perfect. Our grade school was named after St Marie Goretti: stabbed 17 times rather than ‘submit’ to I forget which evil. She would not renounce her faith or do anything against her faith. This was the example set before us in elementary school. I used to wonder what I would do in a similar situation. Fast forward to high school. It was explained to us that what we were taught & memorized earlier may not be historically or actually true. The church insisted it was true in grade school, but allowed that it was not in high school. Apparently stories had been used to illustrate dogma & truth was relative. It was at this point that I determined that I could probably interpret dogma as well as the next person or priest & I was glad my faith had not been tested, as I would hate to have lost my life over something I had mistakenly believed in.
I currently do not believe in any god that demands that you sacrifice your children to an archaic belief that you may not denounce your deity in public when threatened by terrorists. This has nothing to do with how you live your life. It sounds very much like the terrorist was having a difficult time maiming women & children. It should be difficult as it is monstrous & I suspect, he would have had a hard time living with what he had done, had he survived………

Scott M said...

If so, then isn't this a very effective strategy for propagating Islam?

No, if you buy the line that for every terrorist we kill, we create x-number more.

If you lie to escape death in a situation like this, you go home to tell your tale and both you and your immediate circle will be forever poisoned against Islam because of what happened. The second tier of acquaintances won't be poisoned, maybe, but, they will have a disgust or maybe merely a distaste for Islam that they may not have had before.

Not effective over the long haul.

n.n said...

If you are Christian, then your integrity is tested when you are weak and vulnerable. If you are atheist, then it doesn't really matter, since you only live to avoid death. Integrity has no intrinsic value; other than to avoid or invite pain. If you are of a neutral faith, agnostic or similar, then you wonder which philosophy is true. Should you live in the moment or prepare for the post-mortem.

MayBee said...

I would feel these people have no right to expect the truth from me, and I would have no responsibility to give it to them.
And yeah, Christians and Jews have been practically eliminated from these Muslim countries because the leaders of the country make people live in fear if they outwardly practice their faith. It has been a way of spreading Islam.

That's one reason we need to watch it when our own leaders start doing things like blaming Islamic terrorism on Chrisitian movie makers in our own country.

Wasn't it just las year at the UN that Obama said "the future must not belong to those who slander the Phrophet of Islam"?

It ties into this post by Althouse. Fear of not looking accepting of Islam in the face of danger.

n.n said...

It's interesting to observe a juxtaposition between two kinds of lies. On one hand, we have a mother who lies to preserve the life of her child. On the other hand, we have a mother who lies to murder her child. The former is defended as a necessity and justifiable. The latter is defended as a necessity and a right. The former reflects a principle of evolution, where survival is paramount. The latter reflects a principle of evolution, where competing interests are a threat. The former is a practice to engender fitness. The latter is an entreaty to weaker wills.

Jim S. said...

The terrorists wouldn't have considered it a lie. Affirming Islam makes you a Muslim whether you believe it or not, whether you mean it or not. By saying it she became a Muslim (according to them).

Avierra said...

I think a parent does not have the right to be a martyr on behalf of their 4-year-old child. I think it is entirely ethical to lie in that case, while it being less ethical (albeit understandable) to lie to save one's own life. The child being in the equation changes everything.

I don't think it is even an issue of the conversion being swept under the rug or unopposed (and thus a benefit to Islam): I wouldn't feel the slightest twinge about lying about converting to save my child, and I wouldn't feel the slightest twinge about vociferously recanting the moment I was free and saying exactly why.

Annie said...

Rather I asked — and only asked — whether this terrorism isn't a very effective strategy for propagating Islam

It is a very effective strategy. Mohammed did not become successful until he began jihad. Islam uses political jihad to conquer lands. The koran is their manual.
The middle east used to be Christian. Lebanon was the most recent to fall majority muslim. By terrorism. People flee and those that can't, submit out of fear, or die.

In the west, they have infiltrated governments and the education system. Political correctness and the beginnings of teaching islam for 'social studies' while impuning/banning the same of Christianity. Count on seeing the deaths of more 'soft targets' as they turn the Dar al-harb into the Dar al-Islam.

The only time it retreated is when people with balls stood up to them and smashed them. I don't see that happening again, any time soon, as many a politician can be bought off.

*thinks about the millions of Saudi dollars given to such things as the Clinton Foundation*

*thinks about the members of the muslim brotherhood working in the Obama adminisration and Hillary's staff*

B.S. philosopher said...

Shia Muslims have a religious dispensation called Taqqiya whereby they are held blameless if they lie about their religion to save the life of a Muslim. It's a useful bit of intellectual dishonesty from a group that refuses to allow a Muslim to recant his religion. I say we give this lady a taqqiya exemption for saving the life of her child.

eddie willers said...

My guess is that Jesus knows the definition of 'duress'.

n.n said...

A challenge for principled individuals is to not become entrapped by their principles. A further challenge is to cope with individuals who are unprincipled or adhere to incompatible principles. In order to avoid corruption, including death, principles must be internally, externally, and mutually consistent.

Renee said...

Didn't Peter deny Jesus not once, but three times on Good Friday before Jesus was crucified?

God is merciful.

Peter got his own cross, crucified up side down.

I'm Catholic, but I fear I'm no Saint. I think daily about martyrs. Not sure if I could. God bless the martyrs.

Inga said...

Great parts of Eastern Europe were subjugated by Muslim Turk conquerors and either pretended to accept Islam or in fact became Muslim over time (and still are hundreds of years later) in order to avoid the fate of the Mall shoppers. It's a tenet of Islam that non Muslims are infidels and deserve to die if they don't convert.

Without a blink of an eye would I do whatever it took to save the life of my child. As someone upthread said, what kind of God would punish a mother for denying Him to save her child's life?

Æthelflæd said...

I think there is a difference between denying Christ to save your own skin, and lying to protect another's (as in the case of Corrie ten Boom's family hiding the Jews). God seems to have approved of the Hebrew midwives and Rahab's lying to save the babies and the spies.

I hope I would do the right thing if asked to renounce my faith, even with my children in tow, but who knows what one will do until one is actually in that position. Unflinching martyrdom was a powerful witness to the pagan world, and "...but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven."

traditionalguy said...

Muslims are proud of the Religion of the Sword.

Their only fear a religion that defeats their Armies.

They still fear "the Franks" who beat them in France and Spain.

The religion of the Second Amendment is their biggest fear today.

Secret Muslim Obama is obsessed with the Second Amendment

Paul said...

The terrorist no doubt are monsters.

And the only good monster... is a dead one.

phx said...

It's hard to imagine a God whose value is "Don't renounce your belief in me even when you and your children's lives hang in the balance."

That's a very human sounding kind of morality. It doesn't seem very developed.

I don't mean that to be insulting or as fighting words to believers who think otherwise. But in the 21st c. the point has to be raised, IMO.

SOJO said...

She also took some other kids with her whose mother had already been shot dead.

SOJO said...

Doesn't Judaism okay lying in such a situation? Not sure, but pretty sure if you are muslim you can lie to non believers with no penalty.

m stone said...

It's hard to imagine a God whose value is "Don't renounce your belief in me even when you and your children's lives hang in the balance."

Says the clay to the potter, the ultimate potter.

Seems to me that it comes down to us as individuals and our relationship with God. It's not that I don't question God, but never his character: Holy and Just.

At the point of not renunciating, I suspect the individual under threat has turned the child over to God, who again, created him. The child is not really the mother's in that sense.

Have you ever turned a wayward son over to the King? No duress involved. Just surrender.

Cedarford said...

Richard Donlan (11:14) raises some excellent historical examples of forced conversion to a belief system. And it's effectiveness. Not just "convert or die" scenarios but conversions of a nature - where Choice A is not convert or die - but fail to convert and you and your family or tribe will be oppressed, lives made miserable in thousands of ways and Choice B - "Change, and you will be accepted and life will be so much easier, even if you pretend, by custom, your children and grandchildren will accept it as truth." (THink America and the corporate and school ordered 'blessings of diversity' workshops.)

Dolan sort of undermines his case pointing to how many forced conversions are temporary in nature, thinking aside from the NORKs so far you can't force people and have long-term effectiveness in altering beliefs. But this is absolutely not true if you look at most historical scenarios.

Christians promulgated their faith in part by persuasion, but also told the barbarian tribes that God would punish and damn those who failed to convert all their people. So warlords, kings and the like issued orders that any Teutonics, Slavs, Hungarians, savage Britons not joining would face the sword. Resisters, like the Druids, were executed.
Most of Europe became Christian that way and never looked back.

Heresy laws kept the conformity in the Faith, but also existed to savagely deal with Fakers who kept pagan faiths, and witchcraft laws stemmed from was about pagan rituals, after all.

The conversion of Muslims and their N African Jewish camp followers and merchants was largely successful after the Reconquista. To this day. The Inquisition was to stamp out those few who the Church judged were still resisting.
The history of the New World, the Philippines, parts of Africa..was suppression and conquest of pagan tribes and civilizations then switching the ruled to Christianity. Which they remain today.
That was far more common than kindly missionaries hitting isolated Pacific Islands or NA tribes in Canada and converting through gentle persuasion.
The Christians of the Balkans, Sicily, Malta, S Spain all show large amounts of Arab, Turk, and N African blood by admizture in DNA studies.

Similarly, the various religious groups of the Levant, Syria, Anatolia show by DNA studies a huge number of Jews and early Christians converted to Islam by force - and stayed converted. And became happy good little Muslims. So too all the Persians and large swaths of the Indian SubContinent, Central Asia, and SE Asia. They were not converted and stayed converted by kindly Mullahs preaching the Good Word of the Koran and dispensing charity.

David said...

"Why hast thou forsaken me."

n.n said...

Jews and Christians, and presumably Muslims, should already know the answer. Their human life begins at conception and ends with death. However, this human life represents a transitory stage where their faith (i.e. trust) is tested.

Perhaps it serves the purpose of spiritual development. When individual spirits are reintegrated with God, they then contribute to his/its character. That would explain the strict moral standards for behavior. God neither welcomes nor invites corruption.

Well, there is only faith, and everyone will be judged, or simply cease to exist. Let's hope we make the right choice.

Marshal said...

Ann Althouse said...
Rather I asked — and only asked — whether this terrorism isn't a very effective strategy for propagating Islam. If you keep up scary, believable threats of violence that can be avoided by pretending to be Muslim and you get everyone acting like they are Muslim, never saying otherwise, submitting to all the rules of a government that is merged with religion, and doing all the outward things that evince belief, what difference does it make to the Islamic agenda if you keep a secret place in your heart that believes in Jesus and how will you pass Christianity on to the next generation or support it in others who are doing the same thing?

Look at the hard part.

Violence is very effective at cowing and/or converting those who face it consistently. What makes this "the hard part"?

n.n said...

I believe her God welcomes a justifiable self-defense. Each man and woman is created equal (i.e. intrinsic dignity). Each man and woman has a right to life and liberty, among other things. She may have avoided the need to degrade herself by being properly armed.

Diamondhead said...

"That's a very human sounding kind of morality. It doesn't seem very developed."

Are you sure that is a human-sounding kind of morality? What percentage of humans would balk at a morality that required the sacrifice of the child to please the higher power?

God did command Abraham to sacrifice Isaac to demonstrate his faith. The story ends well, but it's still a story that is very hard for a believer (much less a non-believer) to understand. Kierkegaard went on about it for an entire book while Genesis covers it in 13 verses. That kind of thing surely doesn't sound very "developed" to human ears.

I personally would not fault someone who made the choice to tell the convenient lie, being as that I can not say for sure what I would do in the same circumstance. And this is not the question the professor asked, but a failure to act in faith at a particular moment does not really have bearing on the issue of one's Christianity since that is dependent on belief and not on outward works. A momentary denial to save your skin is a mere...peccadillo - one that may cause remorse and should cause an immediate desire to set the record straight.

If you look at history, of course this type of behavior was a good evangelistic tool on a large scale. I think today it would/will be far more effective on atheists/agnostics/nominals religionists of all stripes. Would someone who doesn't really believe in any higher power be willing to sacrifice their life, which is indeed all they believe they have, in order to stand up for their belief that their life is all they have? Over a sustained period I don't believe a truly-believing Christian, Hindu, or Buddhist would deny his beliefs to avoid persecution.

jr565 said...

Marshal wrote:
Violence is very effective at cowing and/or converting those who face it consistently. What makes this "the hard part"?

Violence certainly made quick work of the pacifists. Every famous one, brought down by a gun.

CWJ said...

The post's headline, presumably typed by AA herself is -

"Please forgive me, we are not monsters," said the terrorist to the 4-year-old who had called him "a very bad man.""

If as AA's subsequent comments indicate this post is really supposed to be all about Amber, then there is no denying that Althouse herself buried the lede.

For me the scholastic moral question pales in the face of rote, almost absent minded, evil. Yes, they are monsters.

Douglas said...

Many times over the centuries Jews have had to pretend to profess a different faith in order to survive. That has happened in Christian countries (Spain during the Inquisition) and Moslem countries. Let's not lose focus of the real problem here. It's not Christian women lying about their faith to save their children. It's Islamic monsters and Islam itself and its failure to reform itself and enter the modern world.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

If I were a Christian (and I was a Catholic for a few decades) I would have handled the situation thus:

First, the questioner (the terrorist) is an invalid questioner, let alone judge and jury, so no obligation to have a normal human interaction.

Further, if I choose to engage and tell the truth (and it would be my choice, for me) I will be complicit in the murder of an innocent - my child. So, lie to live is the clear choice. I bet God would approve and an willing to find out later if I was right.,

RonF said...

I would never criticize a mother or father saying anything they could think of to save the life of their child.

C_Oliver said...

A woman spoke a few false words to evil, in extremis, in order to save her (good) life and that of her child. They were hardly asking her to spit onto an image of Mary, as the 17th-century Japanese Christians were ordered to, on pain of torture and execution.

Only the most devout of Christians would object to her action? No, only the most pernicious.

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