Friday, January 09, 2015

Of cartoons and vile men...

I find the offensive cartoons to be interesting from a Christian worldview perspective. 


I found this to be a good article by Ross Douthat and I agree with Ross's statements in some respects.  However, given mocking is making fun of someone or something in a cruel derisive way, one which intends to cause emotional harm to others, as I Christian I do not believe that mocking is a God honoring course of action.

Ravi Zacharias has said that in Christianity there is an equality of persons but a hierarchy of ideas.  When it comes to mocking of Islam however I don't see how you can separate the idea (religion) from those who practice it.  What is needed is not mocking, but speaking the truth in love. 

I believe it is Biblical to feel  a righteous repugnance for Islam and those who promote it, along with an intense pity for those who are lost in Islam, following a false prophet and offering  false worship to what is not God.  Isn't this the way God feels?  We worship the true God who "hates all evildoers" and "abhors bloodthirsty and deceitful men", yet at the same time "is not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance."

How do we balance the instruction to "if possible, as far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all", while exposing Islam for the lie that it is?  Obviously there is a need to gently instruct, speaking the truth in love, reasoning from the scriptures, however as has been amply demonstrated a certain portion of Islamic adherents are certainly not open to listening to reason.

That said, I don't think we as Christians should have anything to do with the cartoons.  At the same time we need to up our efforts to dialogue with Islam in an effective manner, using persuasive words, not inflammatory means.  Dialogue is what is needed.  There will always be those who take even dialogue as offensive and (to borrow a Biblical phrase)their condemnation is just. 

For those who are so filled with hate and violence that they seem beyond hope: we serve the God who brings hope to the hopeless and who can change any life by his grace.  "God my King is from of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth."  We need to declare our trust, increase our faith and rest on that truth.



On another note, though somewhat related, to be honest, when I see stories like what has happened in France, my guttural reaction is that I want justice, and I will be willing to take up arms to get it.  I am sure I am not the only one who wished he was there, and armed, and was able put three bullets into each of the attackers. 

But I wasn't there, and now it is over, yet I still long for justice for the murderers and I am filled with anger in my spirit at times when I think about it.  These are sickening, vile men and (rightly or wrongly) I feel like David in Psalm 139: " Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God!  O men of blood, depart from me!"

In all honesty, I want vengeance.  I think everyone feels that way to some degree, and hopefully these men are caught and are brought to justice.  That said, perhaps they will escape, and live out their life in luxury somewhere in Pakistan or who knows where.  I don't understand how those who have no belief in a final judgement deal with these things emotionally, thankfully I am not in that situation.

Last night it took some time in the Word to get to a place of peace and this morning I feel more like the David of Psalm 131.  "O Lord, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things  too great and too marvelous for me.  But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me..."

"Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”  To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."  (Romans 12:19-21)

Last night I asked the Lord for comfort and he brought me to Psalms, 73-77:

"For behold, those who are far from you shall perish;
    you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you.
But for me it is good to be near God;
    I have made the Lord God my refuge,
    that I may tell of all your works."  (Psalm 73:27,28)

"For not from the east or from the west
    and not from the wilderness comes lifting up,
but it is God who executes judgment,
    putting down one and lifting up another.
For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup
    with foaming wine, well mixed,
and he pours out from it,
    and all the wicked of the earth
    shall drain it down to the dregs." (Psalm 75:6-8)

Yet in the midst of these guarantees of ultimate justice we trust that "God my King is from of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth." (Psalm 74:12)

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