Tuesday, September 23, 2014
A RELIGION OF PEACE?
I hear a lot of discussion about whether Islam is a religion of peace or not, and many Christian commenters and bloggers mock the “Religion of Peace” rhetoric from those within the Muslim faith with links to news articles where we read about horrors of violence done in the name of Allah.
I get it. There is an obvious inconsistency within the Muslim faith when it comes to the idea of Islam as a Religion of Peace. Some point to the millions of peace-loving followers of Mohammed around the globe as evidence of their nonviolent practice of faith, while at the same time the news media counters with story after story of Islamic extremist shouting “Jihad” against American citizens and beheading Western journalists almost nightly on our television screens.
It must be very frustrating for someone who peacefully follows Mohammed to represent their faith to those on the outside looking in, especially when there are so many examples of violence being done in the name of Islam around the world.
Lately, there doesn’t seem to be very much evidence to support the idea that Islam is a peaceful religion, in spite of the fact that one of the names for Allah is “Peace” and their Founder, Mohammed, granted protection and privileges to Christian monks at Saint Catherine’s Monastery. [See the Ashtiname of Muhammad]
Sure, you could point to several verses in the Koran where Muslims are told that Allah hates violence, and then someone else would point to suicide bombers in Iraq or even the terrorists on 9/11.
It’s almost exactly like what many Christians have to deal with, isn’t it?
We can point to numerous verses where Jesus commands his disciples to return love to those who hate them, and then someone might point to American soldiers at Abu Garib who beat and humiliated Muslim prisoners there. Or the drone strikes against innocents in Yemen, or the thousands of civilians who died in Iraq.
Sure, we can appeal to the Sermon on the Mount given to us by Jesus, and then someone else might say, “But look at when Jesus turned over those tables in the Temple!” and then we’re right back where we started.
Lately there’s not very much evidence to support the idea that Christianity is a peaceful religion, in spite of the fact that our founder, and Lord, is known as the Prince of Peace, and commanded us to turn our cheek rather than to strike back in retaliation.
Honestly, it’s almost impossible for Christians – or Muslims – to make a case for being a “Religion of Peace”, especially when so many of those who proclaim their faith the loudest happen to be holding a machine gun, waving their nation’s flag and cheering on the violence of war.
Is Islam truly a religion of peace? I honestly don’t know. But what bothers me more is the question: “Is Christianity a religion of peace?”
I can say, along with the Muslim, that my Founder and Lord commanded us to be peaceful and loving, but the actions and the words of so many of my brothers and sisters seems to deny all of that.
After all, what matters most is how people actually behave, isn't it? It's the actions of those who follow Christ, or Mohammed, that tell us the most about what those people actually believe, not their books or their spokesmen.
I suppose I can only say that Christianity is SUPPOSED to be a religion of peace. If only more of us believed it.