|Middle East religious violence, innocense lost|
The wave of protests in the middle east turned violent as mobs attacked the US embassies motivated by a clip of a "C-grade" movie "Innocense of Muslims" seen in Youtube. This was a continuation of the Arab Spring where there was supposed to be liberty for the oppressed. But the mob has turned religious and the innocent harmed. The innocense of the Arab Spring has been lost.
We have seen this before of the crusaders of Rome of the 11th and 12th centuries, and the Catholic Spanish Inquisitions, and the sacking of Constantinople.
There are calls/reports in Christian Post to cut the billions in foreign aid to the Middle East. They have forgotten that the intention was to protect American interests in order to ensure access to resources such as oil.
Initial reports that the producer, a Sam Bacile claimed that he was Jewish was clearly meant to incite attention and response. It was later revealed that the real name was Nakoula Basseley Nakoula from Egypt.
In an escalation of violence , the ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens was killed in Benghazi. The plan of the movie producers were clear - to impact the US Presidential election and to show a lack of religious innocense.
What has the US nation got to do with the video? nothing! Causing harm and blaming unrelated parties is often seen in people of faith where we tend to blame others eg blaiming gays for all our sins.
The movie may be a cover-up and an excuse as a convenient justification for a planned attack by the religious militants on the US embassies in commemoration of the 9/11 incident. It was so poorly produced to be taken seriously.
The film's promoter, a Steve Klein of Courageous Christians United is considered a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The National Council of Churches of US, responded that the major faiths are based on "love and a peaceful regard". But the violent scenes tells a thousand words. A self examination is required by all the major faith groups. Evil is not far away from our hearts if we dare to admit it.
The claim "love and peaceful regard" is also rarely seen when one converts to Christianity in the Middle East. In fact, it may even be illegal. The Coptic Christians in Egypt have suffered much. Through the violence scenes, we have a glimpse of the sufferings of Christians in the Middle East where being Christian may subject us to being charged with apostasy and blasphemy.
The violence may be a reflection of a law based religion and an increasing radicalisation. How does religion motivate people of faith to volence and causing death yet feeling no conscience but instead justified in their harmful actions? Does "acting on behalf of God" takes over our conscience and humanity to treat each other with love, respect and dignity?
The same kind of spirit is evident in the mass killing of gays in the Middle East. Gays are being jailed and put to death in the name of religious faith in the Middle East especially in Iran and Palestine. Israel is one of the few cities of refuge for gays prompting the Iranians to accuse Israel of being "pro-gay".
We are coming more religiously radicalized as people of faith are sparked by the smallest of incidents because we are so sin conscious and self righteous.
In our self righteousness, we are prone to deception and delusion to fit the world into our theological construction eg the Catholic and Mormons who spent hundreds of millions with the intent "to support traditional marriage" but the real motive of preventing gay marriages rather than supporting their straight marriages which continues to end in divorce and abortions.
Matt 26: 52 But Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. 53 Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? 54 How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?”
In Christianity, the Cross of Calvary defines it as a faith that is sacrificial in times of grave religious violence done against her. For it reminds us to sacrifice ourselves for the sake of love instead of sacrificing others by responding in kind.
The tradition of religious faith is an eye for an eye and not the "love and peaceful" regard painted by the National Council of Churches US. This is religious law.
However, as Christians, we are called to operate not by historic religious laws or to focus on sin, or condemnation of others. For when we are sin conscious we will create hundreds of new laws to accuse others of being sinful whilst we are no different or even worst.
Jesus could have called legions of angels to destroy Jerusalem, yet instead of choosing the sword, Jesus chose love and the giving up of self.
When Peter resorted to violence against those who tried to arrest Jesus, it was Christ who healed the wounded.
When we live by the sword, by the letter of the religious law, we shall also die by the sword. But when we instead live by grace, we shall also receive grace.
Matt 26: 55 In that hour Jesus said to the multitudes, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me? I sat daily with you, teaching in the temple, and you did not seize Me.
When the multitudes came against Jesus, it was the same multitude who had He had taught in the temples, healed from sickness and given food to it. In their religious zeal, they had come to kill Jesus with swords and clubs even though Jesus had loved them.
It was the same multitudes for whom Jesus preached the Beatitudes of being blessed even though they were poor because they have seen Christ and would be blessed spiritually.
They didn't killed Jesus simply because He helped the poor, the outcasts or went against the power structures of the rich and the powerful.
It was the very people, the multitudes (of people of faith) whom Jesus had loved and blessed who were the mob behind the violence. The disciples fled in fear, and Jesus was crucified at the Cross in front of the multitudes whom He had loved.
The people of faith were law minded and their self righteousness and religious indignation arose when Jesus claimed He was God Himself.
The challenge of Jesus remains and many people of faith are perturbed when Jesus claimed He is the way, the truth and the life to God Himself, for He is God incarnate.
Jesus was killed for coming out of the closet and for revealing His true self. He knew it would happen, but when Jesus gave grace and died for us, He knew that many hearts would change to follow Him and be resurrected with Christ to a new life, in the Hope of Glory in heaven.
Christianity is a faith of the Cross rather than of the sword carried by an armoured knight. We are to love even when harm is done against us. We are to show God's love, grace and mercy when none is shown to us. It is no more about religious law, an eye for an eye, but a sacrificial faith - to die that others may live and be blessed.
For such, there is no religion for it goes far beyond a literal translation of the religious text of the major faiths to list down the religious laws of do's and dont's. It becomes a matter of faith and hope of eternity in heaven not based on religious good works but on God's love and grace which we accept through Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour.
The heart cannot be soften by mere religion but through humbling ourselves to see that we are sinners, our hands full of the blood of the innocent and we needing salvation through Jesus Christ. For the more we try to be religious and be people of faith, sometimes the more harm we cause.