These are the faces of the religion of “peace” when criticized. What are we to think?
We are experiencing a strange time in history right now. Not the least impacted by the growth, perceived threat and consternation over Islam. This week’s events with the outraged responses to pope Benedict’s comments regarding Islam are but the latest in what seem to be preposterous responses from the Muslim community.
The strange, ominous and apocalyptic rantings of Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The extreme violence over the cartoons appearing in a Danish newspaper earlier this year. Virtually every Muslim controlled nation in deep unrest. The angry and violent rhetoric and actions from Islamic leaders and their adherents.
It would be easy for us to simply point the finger at Islam per se, and to want to attack it for what we perceive are its dreadful tenets and apparent trajectory. But that would be a grave mistake. These men and women, so rabidly fueled by the hate and anger which erupts into the type of violence we are witnessing globally are not so because of the influence of Islam. Islam after all is nothing more and nothing less than another dead religion. No, Islam doesn’t cause such behaviors, though we might rightly demonstrate in concrete ways that it can and does support and even foment them. The real problem however is much deeper, and much more fundamental to humanity. It is in fact, human depravity. This is the problem.
Dress human depravity in any religious robe, and eventually it will show itself in the same ways it does in Islam. We will justify our sin on religious grounds. The problem isn’t that these people are Muslims. For the most part, they are Muslims, as their religio-cultural context both provides and demands. Having taken that religion and culture, they have no means to be anything else but the lost souls they always were. But it isn’t being a Muslim that makes them lost. Lostness and separation from God is the universal human dilemma. They too are lost, and thus a false religion like Islam (like all others except for Biblical Christianity) is but one of the many dark, Satanic deceptions into which men will expend their futile efforts to reach God apart from Christ Jesus.
It is also true, that Islam can save no one from God’s just wrath upon the whole of fallen humanity. It does not have the power to reconcile men to God. That can be done only through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Islam isn’t what turns them into lost men – they were born lost, just like every Christian was. Islam keeps them bound in that darkness, by deceiving them that it can and will bring them to God. Islam gives them a religious context in which to live out the bitterness, anger, hatred and violence inherent in the lost soul of every man and woman outside of Christ Jesus. Islam is the face, the clothes they wear, but it is not the root cause. It is the symptom, not the disease.
Islam is but one more form of demonic deception we need to meet head on with the only weapon capable of plucking men out of God’s just judgment like brands from the fire – the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
As Christ honoring men and women of God in our day, we need to be sure we are not sucked into responding to Islam, the way it is responding to Christianity. The Holy Spirit instructs us this way: 2 Cor. 10:3-6 “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.”
We are not to enter into a religious war of a physical sword of “Christianity” against the blades of Islam. Our is a spiritual battle. We do not wage this battle in the flesh – by human force and tactics. We wage it in the heavenlies, upon our knees, and in heart-to-heart combat with the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We can no more shatter the delusions of Islam via the military, politics, social pressure or violence, than we can extinguish the fires of sexual perversion by banning pornography. The answer is to be found in changing men’s hearts. And this is the exclusive realm of the Gospel.
Don’t blame it on Islam. Blame on human depravity. The only cure for which exists in the saving grace of Jesus Christ.