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"Beliefs Really Do Have Consequences"

Reader comment on item: How to End Terrorism:
in response to reader comment: kaliantampaksepertitahi

Submitted by Lactantius Jr (United Kingdom), Dec 18, 2006 at 10:36

To Phonetics,

Whenever I am challenged to condemn the violence "caused by religion," or used "in the name of Christianity," associated for example with the Inquisition, "the Crusades," colonial powers, or more recently, used by terrorists like the IRA and UVF etc.in Northern Ireland, I readily do so, declaring that whatever the terrorist's mandate was, or where they derived it from, which for the IRA was Irish nationalism, not Roman Catholicism or the teachings and examples of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I readily acknowledge that every group believes their grievances are genuine. Even the IRA and UVF etc.of Northern Ireland could both point to personal injustices rather convincingly, and so they chose violent revenge. Look where it got them.

In response to the challenges to condemn violence used "in the name of Christianity," especially Muslim challenge, I readily do so for one very good reason, I go to my authority, my paradigm, the Lord Jesus Christ, The Prince of Peace, Who, during His arrest, the night before His crucifixion, emphatically condemned the use of violence, stating categorically that "He who lives by the sword must die by the sword" Matthew 26:52 and in His own life, neither advocated violence to spread His Gospel, by forcing it on those rejecting it, nor used it (even to the point of refusing to save His imprisoned cousin, John), and then, gave us the best model concerning how we are to act towards our enemies,

"You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.' But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles. Give to those who ask, and don't turn away from those who want to borrow. You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.' But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!

Matthew 5:38-44.

If Muslims continue to claim their religion is based on peace, then let them publicly repudiate the ‘sword verses' found in the Qur'an, and let them publicly condemn the actions of their prophet, and those of the ‘rightly guided Caliphs' (Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Ali), during whose time most of the conquests of the Sassanid and Byzantine empires occurred, followed by the decimation of the church in North Africa.

We have the moral authority to ask them to do so, because as followers of Jesus Christ, The Prince of Peace, we are obliged to condemn violence whenever we see it, especially that found in our own church, or the history of our church. And where is such authority derived from? from our paradigm, the Lord Jesus Christ. He never used violence, even when violence was used against Him, to the point of allowing Himself to be sacrificed, rather than calling the host of angels who could have protected Him. My model, the Lord Jesus Christ, had every right to complain about the unfairness of His situation, but He never reciprocated with violence, going ‘as a lamb to the slaughter'. Jesus' first followers in the first-century church lived daily with persecution, yet they never used violence to solve their problems. In fact they were all killed for being followers of Jesus Christ, except for one, the apostle John, yet look at all they accomplished, despite their weakness, because they allowed God to work mightily through them.

But I do not stop there, I ask Muslims to condemn any form of religious violence, whenever and wherever it is perpetrated in the name of God or of Allah.

As the Apostle Paul said so eloquently,

"For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."

I Corinthians 10:3-5

If it was good enough for the Apostle Paul in the first century, then why should it be any different in the twenty first? Certainly, such a methodology will not be popular, at a time when the national mood is that of revenge, nor will it provide a quick-fix to a society which thrives on them. Yet, unless we take to our hearts the model of Jesus Christ The Prince of Peace, and His followers in the early church, we will never find the peace we so desperately need.

My Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, provides the only legitimate model I know of, which can truly give us a paradigm for the peace we so eagerly desire in our world.

Lactantius Jr.


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