Beliefnet
Virtual Talmud

The behavior of Muslims rioting in Damascus over cartoons depicting Muhammad as a terrorist only reinforces the public perception that radical Islam is a danger to humanity. Moreover, sadly, it makes Muslims literally into caricatures of themselves.

The rioters’ actions are nothing less than what the Bible describes as Avodah Zarah, a strange and bizarre worship of God. The Bible saves it strongest condemnation not for hedonism, heresy, or atheism, but rather for those who worship an absolute in a strange and bizarre way.

More dangerous than anything else is not a denial of God but a perverse use of God’s name. Regarding such worship, the Bible and Talmud are clear; it must be uprooted, criticized, and denounced (Babylonian Talmud, Avodah Zarah, 45b).

God, when employed in an absolutist manner, becomes the enemy of religion. If burning effigies of Jesus and killing innocent human beings while simultaneously denouncing a caricature of Muhammad does not constitute a strange and bizarre worship of an absolute, then what does?

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