On bombs and the rest of it

It’s been a quite extraordinary 2 weeks. As I write this I am listening to a live stream of the BBC’s news programme as events unfold. Police have, today, shot dead a suspect in the recent failed bombing or, possibly have even foiled a suicide bombing.

A number of things are going through my mind.

First, above all, it is strange to read and watch these events in a place that I lived in for 7 years. Every television shot that you are watching is a street that I walked down. The tube train that was attacked on 7 July between Kings Cross and Russell Square is on the same journey that I used to take into work every morning. That, in itself, is slightly surreal.

But there are other things to consider. When events are (quite literally) brought to our own homes we gain a new perspective of similar events in other places. Principally, I think there are now many, many more Londoners who have an empathy with Israeli citizens who face this fear of attack every single day. Our tension at the moment should make us more sympathetic to both the apparently drastic actions that the Israeli government are regularly taken and also the split-second decisions that young soldiers on the ground are forced into.

I’m also struck that we are so introspective. In the same week that over 50 people were killed in London a suicide bomber in Iraq blew himself up next to a petrol tanker. The resulting explosion killed over 90 people, many of them children. This sort of thing of happening every day in Iraq and yet we have grown accostumed to it. Perhaps the events in London will shake us out of our complacency.

The most striking thing, however, is the (expected) institutional response to the whole thing. It has become almost de rigeur to use the words “extremist”, “fundamentalist” and “fringe” to describe these bombers. The British government has been at pains to roll out apparently promiment Muslims to denounce the attacks. All this, however, serves only to compound the problem. The truth of the matter is that these bombers are the real Muslims. As Frank Candor wrote shortly after the original attacks in September 2001, orthodox Islam naturally leads to, indeed calls for, these actions. These bombers are not fringe Muslims, they are not some sort of radical, unnatural bastardisation of Islam; they are the real Muslims, following in the footsteps of Mohammed himself.

Put simply, the ultimate problem we are facing is Islam itself. It is Islam itself that brings about these actions and it is Islam itself that the Prime Minister must be tackling.

Now, I realise that that’s not politically correct. I also expect that some readers of this blog will accuse me of “incitement to racial hatred” (the new liberal weapon to silence rational debate). But I am doing nothing of the sort. The answer to all this, of course, is the cross of Jesus Christ where we see how God’s justice is really carried out. Not the cruel barbarism of Allah who calls his followers to kill his opponents but the sacrificial graciousness of the Lord Jesus Christ who asks for forgiveness for those that killed Him.

From the Qu’ran:

Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into the hearts of the enemies of Allah. Whatever you spend in the cause of Allah shall be repaid to you and you shall not be treated unjustly. 8:60

O Messenger! Rouse the Believers among you to the fight. If there are twenty amongst you, patient and persevering, they will vanquish two hundred: if a hundred, they will vanquish two thousand of the Unbelievers: for these are people without understanding. 8:65

…Then fight and slay the Pagans wherever you find them, seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem of war…9:5

Fight them and Allah will punish them by your hands, cover them with shame, help you to victory over them, heal the breasts of the Believers. 9:14

Fight those who do not believe in Allah … until they pay the Jizya with willing submission and feel themselves subdued. 9:29

from the Bible:

1 Peter 2:22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.

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27 comments on “On bombs and the rest of it

  1. The most striking thing, however, is the (expected) institutional response to the whole thing. It has become almost de rigeur to use the words “extremist”, “fundamentalist” and “fringe” to describe these bombers. The British government has been at pains to roll out apparently promiment Muslims to denounce the attacks. All this, however, serves only to compound the problem. The truth of the matter is that these bombers are the real Muslims. As Frank Candor wrote shortly after the original attacks in September 2001, orthodox Islam naturally leads to, indeed calls for, these actions. These bombers are not fringe Muslims, they are not some sort of radical, unnatural bastardisation of Islam; they are the real Muslims, following in the footsteps of Mohammed himself.

    Put simply, the ultimate problem we are facing is Islam itself. It is Islam itself that brings about these actions and it is Islam itself that the Prime Minister must be tackling.

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

    • yes, I am unmoved by the Grand Mufti’s claim when it is contradicted by the actions of Mohammed.

      As for your final question, you may not come to the same conclusion since Jesus never called upon us to exact violence against those that we disagree with. The Qu’ran, on the other hand….

      • And yet, many Christians have over the years decided that they are called to be agents of God’s wrath, described by Jesus as an “unquenchable fire,” acting out against those who were declared by Paul to be “worthy of death” (Romans 1:32).

        When this has been used in the execution of Augustine’s “just war,” crusaders have for centuries drawn upon the Old Testament imagery of God lending support to the ‘righteous’ in battle.

        It’s all in the interpretation, right? The above reflects a self-serving bloodthirsty mis-interpretation of the Bible, of course, but then, what you’ve quoted above are passages from the Qu’ran which were written in the context of a defensive struggle against hostile pagans, Christians, and Jews — translated in certain ways, and taken out of their context.

        I’m no fan of Islam, but I recognize that every religion struggles with the existence of pro-violent imagery in its scripture. Virtually all such imagery was written at a time when the religion’s adherents were under threat of persecution and war. Therefore it is the duty of leaders of now-prominent religions to put those passages in a context that does not twist them to promote violence.

        • I’m no fan of Islam, but I recognize that every religion struggles with the existence of pro-violent imagery in its scripture. Virtually all such imagery was written at a time when the religion’s adherents were under threat of persecution and war. Therefore it is the duty of leaders of now-prominent religions to put those passages in a context that does not twist them to promote violence.

          But here’s the difference. In the time of the writing of the NT with the contemporary persecution, where can you point to the NT calling Christians to violence in the way that the Qu’ran calls Muslims to violence?

      • I agree with you

        All I know is that humans are so much alike when you really look at the core, we believe what we believe due to our surroundings, upbringing or life experiences… I would like to believe that we are all doing the best we can with what we have.

        I am a Christian and in the depths of my heart I KNOW that Christ died for everyone and that his love and mercy belong to anyone who will accept it.

        Our job as Christians is to let our love and our light shine, not to condemn anyone but instead to pray for them and know that this world is cruel and wicked and that our human nature, without Christ likeness, is to repay evil for evil and to focus on ourselves… but that with God’s help and though Jesus Christ we can overcome that selfishness and know that our “enemies” are the ones that Christ died for and the ones that he has called us to love… “and that is all I have to say about that” (in the voice of Forest Gump 😛 )

    • have a proper public debate about the nature of Islam. Christians need to contribute to this by pointing out who Jesus is and how the true and living God is not like Allah.

        • Well, it would seem that debate is already going on.

          But it’s not. The debate that’s currently going on is based on the false assumption that Islam is not the problem. That’s an a priori basis that denies the very issue that needs to be considered.

          • Even if “fundamentalist” Islam is historically “true,” that does not necessarily mean all Muslims are united in that understanding. Perhaps they’d like to “reappraise.” I don’t care about the details of their theology. I care about being blown up. If they feel they can be Muslims without feeling obliged to blow me up (or institute theocratic rule over me, etc.) then I consider that a very large step taken. The religious struggle between Christianity and Islam may then be conducted more or less peaceably.

            The difference in the response of the Western world would be (should be) enormous. If Islam, as believed and practiced by the majority of Muslims whatever its theoretical basis may be, irrevocably, inevitably is a violent threat to the rest of the world, then by all means we should destroy them swiftly and without mercy. Burn the mosques and the books, fill up the death camps, let the nukes fly, mobilize an army of millions, spare only those who apostatize and make the practice of Islam punishable by death. Our civilization is at stake.

            But if that is not the case, then we owe it to Muslims as human beings to work out this identity crisis.

            • I agree that there’s a distinction that must be made. What it comes down to is that much of the Islam practiced by the majority of Muslims is not orthodox Islam.

              I don’t share your conclusion as to our resulting action. I would urge us, instead, to share with Muslims the true nature of their religion and then call them to the true and living God, the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s my understanding of my debt to Muslims in their identity crisis.

              • Oh come now. If Islam is inherently a religion of violence and aggression — and it is heartily assented to by the majority — then do you really think they’re going to allow you to stand there and preach the Gospel? They’re already changing the demographics of Europe and talking about establishing Islamic states. At some point we will need to fight a war over it; you might say we already are.

                I don’t believe wholesale evangelization of Muslims will be possible until those who are causing the trouble are destroyed. Whether that is 1%, 10%, or 90% of the world Muslim population, is the crucial point. Who exactly puts an end to the aggression, and how, is of lesser importance.

              • Allow me to make a counter-suggestion as to what we ought to do next as “first-world” Christians: re-evangelize our own people. Win them back not only from Islam but from secularism and from cults. I would argue that we stopped being “Christendom” a long time ago. Until we get our strength and credibility back we have no chance of influencing the Muslim world. Chinese and African Christians will be doing all the work while you and I get luxuriated and persecuted out of existence.

      • This is important for Christians to know as well. I’ve known Christians whose approach is essentially the same (to the point of near-precision) as that of these Muslims.

        At the same time, I also find it disconcerting that many are so quick to remind Christians of this that they almost seem ready to excuse Muslims for the same. If one opposes it in Christianity, there’s no legitimate reason to condone it in Islam. The bastardized reason is white guilt.

  2. The Quran is very specific about the sanctity of human life.

    and yet you make no comment on the numerous Surahs i have posted above. Claims of high regard of human life fall away in the face of those quotes.

    Christianity, I might note, is not always been the most peaceable of religions

    But I make no claim about what adherents of one religion of another do. I’m pointing out that the scriptures of the religion itself, it’s ultimate authority, are what we should we address.

  3. reposted with correction

    I suspected that those verses were taken out of context, and a quick glance at the Qur’an online proves it.

    8:61 (just after one of the passages you quotes above)
    But if the enemy incline towards peace, do thou (also) incline towards peace, and trust in Allah: for He is One that heareth and knoweth (all things).

    9:5 (the whole of one passage quoted only in part above)
    But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, an seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practise regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.

    9:6-8
    If one amongst the Pagans ask thee for asylum, grant it to him, so that he may hear the word of Allah; and then escort him to where he can be secure. That is because they are men without knowledge.
    How can there be a league, before Allah and His Messenger, with the Pagans, except those with whom ye made a treaty near the sacred Mosque? As long as these stand true to you, stand ye true to them: for Allah doth love the righteous.
    How (can there be such a league), seeing that if they get an advantage over you, they respect not in you the ties either of kinship or of covenant? With (fair words from) their mouths they entice you, but their hearts are averse from you; and most of them are rebellious and wicked.

    The context changes the meaning of these passages considerably, so the way they were removed above is misleading.

    • Re: reposted with correction

      The context makes no change. What has to be understood is what the Qu’ran means by

      “incline towards peace”
      “repent and establish regular prayers and practise regular charity” – which is basically 3 of the 5 pillars, ie a conversion to Islam
      “make a treaty and stand true to Moslems”.

      All of these are understood to be submission in one form and another under Islam.

  4. Loving the non-Texans.

    As a Christian I am called to love the Muslim, Jew, Pagan, Mormon, and yes- even you non-Texans out there.

    This is a hard teaching; who can abide it?

  5. The answer to all this, of course, is the cross of Jesus Christ where we see how God’s justice is really carried out. Not the cruel barbarism of Allah who calls his followers to kill his opponents but the sacrificial graciousness of the Lord Jesus Christ who asks for forgiveness for those that killed Him.

    The irony of it all is that the ‘cruel barbarism’ of Christianity exists too… just that it was poured out by a loving God onto one man and one man alone, so that the rest can be spared the inhumane, grotesque yet infinitely deserved penalty of sins…

    • this is true, writer from Singapore (any chance of identifying yourself?)

      What distinguishes the “cruel barbarism” of Christianity (and I’m not sure that I like that term) is that the Son went willingly to the cross, an active participant in the whole thing. Whereas none of the people who died in those bombs did so willingly.

      The bombers enforced their barbarism, but Christ went willingly in the greatest act of love ever seen.

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