|Terrorist murders in Paris|
Whether ISIS is rampaging in the Middle East, the Taliban in Afghanistan or in the office of a Paris magazine, Muslim terrorists have been busy. Their vicious, anti-social behavior has created a tremendous backlash against Muslims and the Islamic faith, which is playing right in the hands of Christian fanatics.
They couldn’t be happier.
To them, the few Muslims tarnishing the entire religion reflects the long-awaited “end of days where the false prophet will deceive the entire world and cause the world to worship the Antichrist by doing miracles such as pulling fire from the sky,” according to a pamphlet claiming to be published by the website www.BibleProphecyandTruth.com.
Naturally, that religion of this Antichrist is Islam. In the minds of the people behind the website, Muslim terrorism somehow marks the signal to initiate the apocalypse firing sequence.
Haven’t we heard this before? Oh, yes, the world was going to end in the year 2000. Remember that one and Y2K? How about 2012? There was a movie to mark that nonsense as well as a Mayan calendar to “prove” the accuracy.
Of course, you could go back anywhere in the last 1900 or so years and find someone predicting the end was coming in almost every few year. That’s because the apostle Paul predicted Jesus would return to fulfill his promises. Since he hasn’t shown up, the faithful continue to look for indication is that the day is near. Naturally, the delay must be for some reason. Jesus is waiting for a trigger.
To some who are more misguided, that must be other religions. Jews have suffered for centuries under such evil thinking. Orthodox Christians attacked other Christian sects as well. Atheists have long been persecuted. Islam has taken over as the chief enemy now.
It’s all nonsense. The bottom line is simple: no religion is going to cause the world to end. For a God to pick sides is beyond ridiculous. After all, Judaism is at least 2600 years old – in its current monotheistic incarnation – and Islam is 1,400 years. If God found such faiths so abhorrent enough to murder all human life, why is He waiting so long? He certainly doesn’t seem so upset with Islam; that religion has more than 1 billion adherents and is growing rapidly.
Besides, just as decent Christians are appalled by the bigoted attacks by their co-religionists, decent Muslims are appalled by what shame the terrorists have brought on their faith. My Islamic students at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University were unanimous, calling those who bomb and kill in the name of Islam “animals.” Many of them have lost family members to Islamic terrorists or know people who have. They want peace just as much as sincere believers in any faith.
Their comments are buttressed by the Islamic coalition forces now fighting ISIS troops in northern Syria and Iraq. Islamic governments are fully aware of the dangers posed by ultra-religious fanatics. That’s also why such Islamic countries as Libya elected non-religious leaders, and a strong Islamic country like Turkey requires a separation of church and state. We do the same thing here for similar reasons as do virtually all Western countries. Even overwhelmingly Catholic countries like Mexico and Brazil have instituted barriers between religion and the state.
To fanatical Christians, that’s not enough. They want Muslims to convert. Muslims feel the same way, but in the reverse direction. There’s no compromise. That adamant belief fuels the terrorism: Islamic believers are “defending” their beliefs by lashing out at Western culture. The attack in Paris that took place today followed a 2011 assault when the same magazine office was burned for publishing images of the Prophet Muhammad.
That behavior is inexcusable.
So is the effort by radical Christians to set this up as a “we-they” situation. Islam isn’t the enemy. Lack of understanding and outright bigotry is.
The animosity has become more heated and ludicrous in the face of Climate Change, pollution, overpopulation and other real threats to the world’s existence. Those are the mountains; the inter-religious fight is a molehill in comparison. Worse, it’s distracting society from work that has to be done to really save humanity.
Long-time religious historian Bill Lazarus regularly writes about religion and religious history. He also speaks at various religious organizations throughout Florida. You can reach him at www.williamplazarus.net. He is the author of the famed Unauthorized Biography of Nostradamus; The Last Testament of Simon Peter; The Gospel Truth: Where Did the Gospel Writers Get Their Information; Noel: The Lore and Tradition of Christmas Carols; and Dummies Guide to Comparative Religion. His books are available on Amazon.com, Kindle, bookstores and via various publishers. He can also be followed on Twitter.
You can enroll in his on-line class, Comparative Religion for Dummies, at http://www.udemy.com/comparative-religion-for-dummies/?promote=1