In light of the Boston bombing the issue of religion and violence once again rears its ugly head. Undoubtedly some people will try to paint devout Christians with the same broad brush exemplified by the religious fervor of the bomber brothers. To the secularist religion, all religion, is the cause of violence, including Christianity. The secularist makes no distinction between different belief systems. To them, it’s all the same. Religion is bad, and so if you want to get rid of violence, you have to get rid of religion. Of course this is nonsense and childishly simplistic. First of all it’s totally unrealistic. You can’t eliminate religion or the religious impulse from the heart of man. To do that you’d have to eliminate man. Religion, in the broadest sense, has to do with a person’s deepest convictions and beliefs that guide his or her life whether or not they ‘go to church’. People are motivated by beliefs, not institutions. Even non-religious people believe in something.
The distinction and choice to be made is not between religion or non-religion, but between true religion and false religion, between humane beliefs and inhumane beliefs. Any belief system, whether religious or atheististic, spiritual or secular, that denies the inherent dignity of the human person, regards people as parasites, trash and less than human, is a false and wicked belief system. Any belief system that justifies killing innocent people, including small children, and even children still in the womb, is an evil belief system.
Are Christians inherently violent? They can be. They can be because they’re human and all human beings can be prone to violence. As the apostle James said, “What causes war and what causes fighting among you? Is it not your passions that are at war in your members?” Christianity knows all about the dark demons that lurk in the human heart. The question is, what does Christianity teach about violence? What did Christ teach? How are we supposed to behave? The Gospel is clear: “Do unto other as you would have them do unto you.” “Turn the other cheek.” ”Love one another as I have loved you.” “Be merciful even as your heavenly Father is merciful” “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us” “Blessed are the peacemakers” “Love your enemies.” ”To good to those who persecute you.”
Any belief system that conveys the idea that violence against an innocent human being is not only justified, but virtuous, is an evil belief system. The Christian soldier or cop who kills an aggressor or criminal in the line of duty does not, or should not, consider it virtuous. Protecting others and defending public safety while risking one’s own life is certainly virtuous, even heroic. But the taken of another life is never in an of itself a virtuous act. It is never something to be happy about or proud of.
All religions are NOT the same. Christianity is the antithesis of jihad. It is the true religion of peace.