They still haven’t answered the question.
If God cannot be contained by human reason, or love, or simply decency, then he can do anything, and we have to submit to his will. Everything from wife-beating to blowing up innocent people can be his will. He can turn evil into good.
And no one can say a thing about it. They can only submit. How this is so is the question that is at the heart of Islamic terrorism. It’s why the Muslim community, in America and elsewhere, is so silent whenever another Islamic act of terror occurs. And because the media and our politicians don’t like to talk about theology other than in broad and childish terms, it never gets answered. But to understand what motivated the two terrorists in Boston, not to mention the others, we should not be avoiding their religious beliefs — it should be the main thing we’re talking about.
I add that we can do so with respect. In fact, keeping the temperature down can create enough space to actually get the question of the reasonableness of God answered.
Because it seems that once you understand the Islamic concept of God and how it differs from Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism and even atheism, Islamic terrorism becomes easy to understand. Further, by driving right to the heart of Muslim belief, we can truly have that constructive dialogue that liberals are always babbling about.
So instead of dumb clichés about how all faiths are the same, let’s get real. In Islam, God — or Allah — is so all powerful that he cannot be bound, even if he himself chooses to do so, by reason or love or even pity. What happens in the world is the will of God, period. God can decide any kind of ethical system at any given time and we just have to live with it. If a young girl gets raped, God can decide that it is good, and thus, it is. If God loves music one day and hates it the next, then music must be condemned. If what pleases God is blowing up the Boston Marathon, then so be it.
In Christianity, God’s prime commandment is to love. The Koran has various rules and regulations, including the directive to convert infidels, but nothing so simple as the commandment to love given by Jesus.
The problem of God, Islam, and reason was examined most famously by Pope Benedict in his 2006 Regensburg lecture, which made many Muslims and the American left purple with rage. In the lecture, the pope quoted a 14th-century Byzantine emperor who was trying to convince a Persian that God is reason and love: “God is not pleased by blood — and not acting reasonably is contrary to God’s nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats. … To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death.”