What Kind Of God Is This?

02/09/2006

Omar Bakri Mohommad is suspected of organizing the unrest over political cartoons after fleeing London for his possible role in the July 7 bombings.

On Sunday, a Catholic priest in the Turkish city of Trabzon was shot twice in the back and killed in his own church. The gunman fled while shouting, “Allhu Akbar” – Arabic for “God is great.” Father Andrea Santaro’s murder is just another chapter in a long history of violence in the name of God.

According to World Magazine, Omar Bakri Mohammad, a Muslim cleric with ties to terrorists and key organizer of the current wave of violence over drawings of Mohammed, told the BBC: "In Islam, God said, and the messenger Mohammed said, whoever insults a prophet, he must be punished and executed.”

What kind of God is this?

Every other major religion in the world professes a God of peace, love and forgiveness. Hinduism adheres to ahimsa, the notion of non-violence even when struggling for social justice. Buddha said, “Even if thieves carve you limb from limb with a double-handed saw, if you make your mind hostile you are not following my teaching” (Kamcupamasutta, Majjhima-Nikkaya I ~28-29).

“Thou shalt not commit murder” is one of the 10 pillars of Judaism and Christianity. The New Testament, with plenty of scriptures warning of impending judgment for man’s wickedness, clearly states, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

Many of the world’s greatest leaders, from Jesus Christ to Gandhi to Martin Luther King Jr., chose the path of peace to the very end. Each of them won in their war against evil.

The exception to non-violence condoned by most religions is self-defense. Deadly force is only to be used to protect the innocent and, even then, when there is no other effective alternative.

So what kind of God insists on mankind aggressively serving as an instrument of death and destruction?

Christianity teaches that it is Satan, the arch enemy of God, who comes to “steal, kill and destroy.” The devil is the god of destruction. Humanity suffers because of evil.

Western leaders hesitant to offend those in the Middle East say that Islam is a peaceful religion that has been “hijacked” by a handful of radicals. But that handful stretches from Saudi Arabia, home of Osama bin Laden and most of the September 11 attackers and the first country to recall its ambassador to Denmark, through Syria, where rioters torched the Danish and Norwegian embassies, all the way to Indonesia, where the Danish embassy's deputy head reported "a broad picture of threats" and warned Europeans to leave the country. Violence is ongoing in Turkey, Yemen, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Thailand and even New Zealand.

All of this allegedly over a couple of editorial cartoons.

The root of this radicalism is a source of debate. Many believe that it is simply Islam behaving as Islam. Some Muslims disagree. Others insist it is a great culture war crossing social, political and religious lines. A few have suggested that it is an effort on the part of hardliners to intimidate moderate Muslims.

Regardless of the diagnosis, one thing is clear: Evil is at work in this world.

Hatred, oppression, violence and murder reek of wickedness. Those who carry out such iniquity may do so in the name of god but their god is the enemy of peace, beauty and everything that is good. Every Muslim claiming to believe in a God of peace should stand firm and cry out in loud protest against all the violent acts committed by others claiming to follow the teachings of Mohammad.

However we draw the lines – east or west, rich or poor, Christian or Muslim – we must remember that the ultimate division, and the only one that really matters, is right or wrong. With the kind of violence we are witnessing right now, we know beyond doubt that the perpetrators are dead wrong.

 



Author: James Robison

Word Count: 680

About the author: James Robison is the founder and president of LIFE Outreach International, an international humanitarian aid ministry; host of the television program, Life Today; and author of The Absolutes.

Media Contact: Randy Robison, editor at jamesrobison.net

Photo available upon request. Reprint rights granted with attribution for complete, unedited article. Revisions allowed only with approval.

 

 

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