The Error of Religious Fanaticism

A horrible tragedy occurred on 11 September 2001 in the United States of America. The worst external attack on American soil in at least a half a century occurred in New York City and Washington, D.C., as hijacked commercial airplanes were flown into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Thousands have probably died with many, many more injured. The whole nation is in shock, despair, and now anger concerning these events.

The current suspects are Arab terrorists connected with various terrorism rings, but especially tied to Osama bin Laden, who has previously had connections with the first World Trade Center bombing in 1994, the simultaneous bombing of U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and most recently, the attack in Yemen of the USS Cole. One of the great tragedies of these events is that religion is at the foundation of the guiding principles of these terrorists.

The following are quotes from the Qu’ran, the “Holy Book” of the Islamic faith, concerning jihad, or holy war:

Let those who exchange the life of this world for the hereafter, fight for the cause of God; whoever fights for the cause of God, whether he dies or triumphs, on him We will bestow a rich recompense (Women, 4:74).

Prophet, make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal rigorously with them. Hell shall be their home: an evil fate (Repentance, 9:73).

Believers! Shall I point out to you a profitable course that will save you from a woeful scourge? Have faith in God and His apostle, and fight for God’s cause with your wealth and with your persons. This would be best for you, if you knew it.
He will forgive you your sins and admit you to gardens watered by running streams; He will lodge you in pleasant mansions in the gardens of Eden. That is the supreme triumph.
And He will bestow upon you other blessings which you desire: help from God and a speedy victory. Proclaim the good tidings to the faithful (The Hypocrites, 61:10-13).

We see here that Allah (the name the Muslims give to God) has commanded jihad, or holy war, against unbelievers and hypocrites, and the reward is their heaven. Most Muslims today would deny that this commandment is for any war against anyone, but refers to the wars at the end of the prophet Muhammad’s life and immediately afterward. However, one can see quickly how some Muslims could read these passages in the Qu’ran, and feeling an anti-American and anti-Christian sentiment, could see a cry for battle against us. These people will easily and happily go to their deaths as long as their mission for Allah is fulfilled and Americans are killed in great numbers.

We should be happy as Christians that our God has denied the need for such things, that our battle and weapons are spiritual, as seen in Ephesians 6:10-17:

Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

We are also told that we must be separate from the world, and not emphasize worldly things in 1 John 2:15-17:

Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.

The Christian has the responsibility to do the will of God, but God has made it clear that our battles are against spiritual darkness, not flesh and blood. It is very sad and tragic to see the events play out in New York City and Washington, D.C., and our hearts and prayers go to all those who are involved. Another great tragedy, however, is that the people most probably responsible, and definitely responsible for past terrorist actions, have done these things in a vain attempt to please their god and to reach their heaven. We fear for them, for we know the true words of God in 2 Thessalonians 1:6-9:

For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.

May God’s will be done in all things in America today.

ELDV

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