July 13, 2005

In The Name of God

Church-burnings appear to be coming back into vogue, and they still don’t make any sense. The most recent case occurred in Virginia, where a United Church of Christ church was vandalized and a small fire was set inside the building. Fortunately, the perpetrators apparently weren’t very good arsonists since there was only smoke damage from the fire. The graffiti on the side of the church proclaimed the congregation sinners, likely in response to their rule-making body’s endorsement of same-sex marriage a few days earlier.

This violent act, apparently in the name of God, is nothing compared to what Islamic extremists have been doing worldwide for years. They claim that Allah wants them to destroy the infidels (I’ve been called worse) and have the world conform to their type of Islamic lifestyles.

I’m not sure what God you worship, but the One I have given my life to, the One who loved me so much that He sent His son to earth to suffer and die to save ME from MY sins doesn’t think destruction and death are ways to spread His message of love and inclusion.

Let’s go back to the knuckleheads who were led to vandalize the UCC church because that denomination had the nerve to adopt a policy that did not sync up with their view of Christianity. It appears that he, she, or they decided to enforce their version of God’s will upon that group of sinners, since they obviously deserved it. May I suggest a radical solution to stop people from acting like this in the future—read the Bible!

Sure, in Old Testament days God did a lot of smiting. Many stubborn Israelites just didn’t get it when God gave them direction to do something, and the penalty was often death administered by Him DIRECTLY. He didn’t delegate the smiting, demonstrating He was the only One who could truly pass judgment on a person. Even if He would have, it wouldn’t have been to some amateur pyromaniacs with a can of spray paint.

Why, then, does ANYONE think they have the right to administer punishment based on THEIR interpretation of God’s Word. No human’s judgment is infallible. I know the Pope of the Catholic Church is said to be infallible, but since church policy has changed over the centuries, does that mean they’ve become more infallible? I seriously doubt it.

Recently, someone tried to set fire to a mosque in Bloomington, Indiana—I suppose they were punishing that group for violent acts committed by others who shared the same religion. Ah yes, the old "eye for an eye" policy. That is soooooo Old Testament. Perhaps these less than enlightened folks never heard of the sequel, the New Testament. There’s not as much sex and violence in the New Testament, but it does contain the most important story ever told, that of how Jesus Christ came to redeem us and, among other things, save us from ourselves, not to mention eternal damnation.

I just can’t get my arms around the concept of initiating violent acts in the name of God. I don’t know a lot about Islam, so I’m not going to try and analyze how Muslims can justify the types of action most people call terrorism, but I’m quite familiar with Christianity. Jesus came toward sinners with words of wisdom, open arms, and the love of God. He didn’t have matches and a bucket of paint.

Shouldn’t people acting in the name of God act more like God?

1 comment:

  1. What really ticks me off is that the "christian media" keeps silent or seems to support it!