The world at large is very hostile to the word ‘religion.’ After all, is it not the source of trouble in many countries at present? ISIS and Boko Haram decapitate people, abduct and rape girls, and kill people without mercy. At present, especially Isis (Islamic State), is a real threat.
In popular literature, it is mostly ‘religion’ that is at fault. The word includes all types of religious faiths, like Christianity, Islam, etc. Yet if we look closely at what is happening in the world, it is mostly adherents to Islam that use suicide bombers to kill civilians, and commit other atrocities. If Christianity is so dangerous (according to atheists like Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Michael Shermer, etc), why is their barbarity so conspicuously absent in the news?
Isis and other Muslim groups are doing what Allah commanded them to do, ‘…I will instil terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: smite you above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them. This because they contended agains God [Allah] and his messenger [Mohammed]: if any contend agains God and his messenger, God is strict in punishment.’’ 1
Muslims are told to fight, ‘O believers, fight the unbelievers near you, and let them find you harsh, and know that God stands with the pious.’ 2 NB! The God of the Bible (with His Son, Jesus) is not the same as the ‘God’ of Islam, Allah, who has no son.
More people than we can count quote the Old Testament and say that the God of the Bible is such a Tyrant. Look what He did (and they support it by very childlike exegesis). Yet the question is, where are the belligerent Christians who kill people left, right and centre? You don’t find them, because Jesus said, “‘Put your sword back in its place, …for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and He will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?'” 3
God, the Creator and Owner of the universe, doesn’t need His followers to infiltrate and conquer the world. The Holy Spirit is the ‘secret agent’ that efficiently convinces people of guilt in regard to sin, righteousness and judgement. 4 God does not need to be upset if people insult Him, because nobody can depose Him. He is patient and wants everybody to come to repentance.5
What is the moral of the story?
Anybody who writes about the dangers of ‘religion’ and does not distinguish between, for instance Christianity and Islam, obviously doesn’t know the subject. He does not realise that there is a vast difference between the Bible and the Koran.
The Bible cannot be equated with religion. It is about reality. It is about God who is busy gathering citizens for His new, eternal heavens and earth. The citizens will love and obey their perfect leader (God), as part of His big family (the recipe for a successful Kingdom).
We as believers in Jesus should never be ashamed of our Gospel. It is true, powerful and wonderful good news that changes people’s lives.
- Abdullah Yusuf Ali, English Translation of the Holy Qur’an, Islamic Propagation Centre International, 2008, Surah 8:12-13
- The Qur’an, Tarif Khalidi, Penguin Books, 2009, Surah 9:123
- Matthew 26:52-53
- John 16:8-11
- 2 Peter 3:9