Thursday, March 3, 2011

The violence of religion

Over the past decade, the Christian church in America has been so distracted attacking Islam, it has failed to provide a witness to this extremely large segment of global society. There is outright hate for these people.

This is a video of some Americans seething hate at their neighbors:



How is that a loving witness to the gospel of peace? How is that being an ambassador for Christ?

With that said, consider what the Christian response would be when a venerated leader of a powerful Islamic community writes to his followers,
Anyone who can be proved to be a seditious person is an outlaw before Allah and the country; and whoever is the first to put him to death does right and well. For if a man is in open rebellion, everyone is both his judge and the executioner; just as when a fire starts, the first man who can put it out is the best man to do the job.
I can imagine the criticism he would face, and rightly so. This isn't a proclamation for the law to suppress criticism, or imprison offenders. This is vigilantism.

Recently in Pakistan, one of the nation's Christian leaders was assassinated. This is a real problem we face in this world. So what should our face be, as representatives for the Sovereign Lord?

Humility.

The quote above is actually from Martin Luther. I just changed a few words from the English translation, though they would be similar words if it was in the original German. The English translation is,
Anyone who can be proved to be a seditious person is an outlaw before God and the emperor; and whoever is the first to put him to death does right and well. For if a man is in open rebellion, everyone is both his judge and the executioner; just as when a fire starts, the first man who can put it out is the best man to do the job.

The Christian world is looking at violent Islam and being appalled at the violence, and condemning the whole religion and its adherents (whether they're practicing or not), completely forgetting our own religion's violent past. Christian extremists even exist today. It seems like we've completely forgotten the Christian terrorism in the 80s and 90s. Or even recently the assassination of Dr. George Tiller recently. Or even this year we had Christian extremists planting bombs in Washington state. The list is very, very long.

Jarrod McKenna said sometimes Christians "treat grace as a dogma and not a practice." I think that's a very stunning phrase.

We need grace, long-suffering, humility, and compassion.

2 comments:

Nicole said...

Amen. God, may we walk in Your grace.

coryc said...

Crazy what has been called "christian" over the years...
Isn't "christian" supposed to resemble Christ!
Just sayin.