• SUNDAY READ

    What Christians should do about ISIS: Nothing

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    What should Christians do about escalating atrocities by pseudo-Muslim extremists like the misnomered “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria”?

    Answer: Nothing.

    Huh? The 2.2 billion followers of Jesus Christ should just bear ISIS-perpetrated and -inspired bloodletting without fighting back?

    Let’s clarify the do-nothing answer.

    First, it doesn’t mean humankind — all civilized people of every religion, race and righteous living — should not take steps to end the violence. By all means and within moral and legal strictures, deploy myriad security, economic, diplomatic and other capabilties and mechanisms to thwart the killers and destroy their forces and resources.

    However, counter-terrorism efforts should never become a purely or mainly Christian campaign, seemingly pitting the faith against the one terrorists wrongly claim to defend. This propaganda is exactly what ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Jemayah Islamiyah, Abu Sayaff, and other extremist cabals want to falsely cloak their atrocities in Islamic garb.

    If battling self-styled “jihadists” is portrayed as Christianity vs. Islam, they’ve won. Then 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide can potentially be recruited for Allah. Indeed, terrorist and media use of “jihad” to include extremist acts wrongly lends religiosity to barbarity. For true Muslims, jihad is a holy struggle against evil in the soul and society, never the killing of innocents.

    As UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon rightly pointed out last year, “Islamic State” is neither Islamic nor a state. Anything that seems like a Christian crusade against it and its ilk could make many Muslims accept the extremists’ distortion of Islam to blasphemously cloak their demonic attacks with heaven’s blessing.

    To repeat: Terrorists are not God-fearing Muslims; they are diabolically driven killers who misinterpret or misuse the Koran and Islamic teachings to justify their evil carnage.

    Christians should not help these monsters propagate their distorted view of the great faith of Islam by fighting them as a religious group. Rather, in solidarity with all peace-loving peoples and faiths across the globe, especially true Muslims espousing the very meaning of the word Islam — peace — the adherents of Christianity must fight terror as part of institutions and forces of the entire civilized world.

    Before action, prayer and solidarity
    Second, any Christian response to terrorism must begin with prayer and spiritual discernment. In the blaze of terrorist brutality, it is almost impossible not to be inflamed with righteous outrage and the imperative to act with urgency and intensity.

    That’s exactly what terrorists want: Christians and other targeted groups mobilizing guns, gunships, and gung-ho troops, against extremists, and thus portray their diabolical terrorism as holy war. Also likely to exploit unprayerful, undiscerning action are demagogues seeking power by preaching nationalist, ethnic or racist bigotry.

    Plainly, if Christians do not first seek the grace and guidance of Christ, they may well fall prey to leaders and movements advancing un-Christian agenda, like a top American presidential hopeful whom Pope Francis recently and rightly called un-Christian.

    With prayer and discernment, Christians can divine not just how to fight terrorism, but more important, why.

    It should never be because we hate and wish to decimate terrorists. Hence, the first prayer in the face of their atrocities is Jesus’s first words on Calvary: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

    Christians must first wish that these killers repent their grave sins and seek forgiveness. That may seem impossible, but we must pray for it nonetheless.

    Of course, we must also defend peace, human rights, and social harmony. That is heaven’s will in earth, and humankind’s efforts to establish global security is central to establishing God’s kingdom of peace, justice, and love in the world.

    And that sole goal has no room for hateful, vengeful violence, even as it may require the defensive use of deadly force against lawless threats to society.

    For sure, the battle against terrorism may lead to morally suspect or outright ungodly acts. But with prayerful discernment, Christians can minimize such excesses, and correct them if they happen. That circumspection is crucial in forging solidarity with other faiths and peoples — especially Muslims — so indispensable in defeating terror.

    Christians must join hands with Muslims
    Make no mistake about it: only by persuading Muslims to join hands with the rest of the civilized world in fighting terrorism, can it be beaten. Killers claiming to serve Allah can only gain if a sizable segment of worldwide Islam supports them.

    If even just a one in 100,000 Muslims becomes enamored of terrorism, that’s 16,000 extremists scattered across the globe and blended invisibly in society.

    If it takes, say, 15 people to execute a terrorist act, that’s more than a thousand bombings, shootings, kidnappings, and other attacks, not counting ISIS depradations and decapitations.

    There is no way security forces alone can cope with that mayhem.

    What’s worse: repeated carnage would spur draconian measures, including wholesale wiretapping and interrogation torture; plus massive repression and attacks against Muslim areas.

    Indeed, such measures are already being pushed after just two incidents in Europe. They would not only violate rights en masse, but incite more terror.

    Only by getting the great majority of Muslims actively countering the twisted thinking that portrays mass murder as jihad, can the extremist explosion be defused.

    The ultimate anti-terror strategy: sacrifice
    Persuading Muslims to take on the extremists among them is best done with prayerful, discerning spirituality. Kneeling together before God, believers cannot but renounce violence against fellow worshippers from different faiths, and stand up together against killers claiming holiness.

    The other way to win over upright Muslims to the anti-terror cause is the hardest part of doing nothing: sacrifice.

    Like Jesus nailed to the Cross and early Christians facing hungry lions in Roman arenas, the spectacle of defenseless children, women and men dying for their faith cannot but make righteous Muslims doubt, if not deny that massacring Christians is part of Islam.

    Sadly, there will be many more such bloody spectacles before they stop. We pray for the grace and guidance to pray and discern, join hands in battle, and sacrifice for peace and faith in the face of today’s martyrdom. Amen.

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    15 Comments

    1. Oh its not just christians. Atheists, agnostics, jews, hindus, ect in europe are also getting mighty upset. And europeans are really nice folks until they are not. And we are talking here over 500 million people of 1:st world countries you know.
      And the author is forgetting several factors like the military coming to aid the security forces. Nothing is not gonna happen and the retaliation to the kind of TET-offensive the author described would be epic.
      Start prepping now if you are not already.

    2. The author is full of wisdom and is a peace loving person. Netizens who bashed him so far do not understand that the author is advocating peace regardless of religion. Some netizens here erred to the usual attack on religion. Every peace loving person especially those who profess to believe in God regardless of their denomination should advocate for peace and provide help to the victims of war, etc. This is the example of Jesus Christ.

    3. mario de porres on

      Where is the outcry by the religious leaders in muslim leaders against the atrocities committed by ISIS against Christians and fellow Muslims? There’s hardly any, because any good muslim knows that Jihad is one of the duties of a good muslim believer

    4. mario de porres on

      Wow, another self-professed “expert” in interpreting the Qu’ran! Obviously, you haven’t read the muslim holy book, especially the passages that say to kill unbelievers whenever you find them

    5. check deeper the ISIS are created by the powerful Christian nations who produce/allowed other terrorist also. Remember Jesus Christ said in Luke 12:51 “Do you think I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I have come to divide people against each other!”

      • That is proof-texting my friend. Jesus Christ’s statement in Luke 12:51 is not meant to be interpreted literally as the statement was in a figurative speech form. What he was referring was that people will be at warring sides because those who believe in God will be persecuted even their unbelieving family members. Such is the division. He did not mean to cause deliberate division. It was a result of the belief to God that will cause division. Jesus Christ is called the Prince of Peace and in no way that He will deliberately cause division. Hope this enlightens you and to all who have read your comment.

    6. Lakshmikumar.k on

      To be human religion is not necessary,your inner conscience tells you good or bad just follow it.

    7. Amnata Pundit on

      In enlightened sectors the war in Syria is called the American-backed terror campaign against Assad. What can Christians do if the most powerful Christian nation in the world is sponsoring terrorism? Why is America dealing with ISIS using kid gloves? They fought harder against Noriega of Panama, Ho Chi Minh of Vietnam, Saddam of Iraq and Milosevic of Yugoslavia, to mention only a few. Let me repeat, ” The difficulty in fighting evil lies in its ability to make itself look good.” Here is another one: ” A problem correctly stated is a problem half-solved.”

    8. the writer of this article has no clue about islam, why he advised christian to join with muslims to fight terrorism? when it is written in their koran that believers should kill the unbelievers, infidels or ”kafeer” in arabic, the reason why arab states, like saudi arabia, turkey, etc, don’t or didn’t want to participate or send troops to fight ISIS,they others joined only for granted but not seriously..

      • mario de porres on

        You’re absolutely right Ricky! The problem with our liberal “enlightened” media is that it often refuses to acknowledge reality, choosing instead to sacrifice truth on the altar of political correctness

    9. Jerome Suarez on

      These terrorists are supported by businessmen from Gulf States.

      besides Allah is the 1st terrorist who casts terror into the hearts of unbelievers (Surah 8:12)

      No wonder why its Quran teaches warfare. why? it is really needed until the whole world becomes Muslim (Quran 8:39)

      • dont take out surah from the contex. Read all of it like a history book. Nonmuslims were about to attack muslims, and was about to a war. Then that surah came out.

    10. Just a correction on the meaning of “Islam”. It means “submission”. Peace means “salaam” in Arabic. Submission is the final goal of terrorism. Even moderate Muslims are targets for “submission”. Remember how the Jordanian Muslim pilot was burned in a cage to show that he needed to “submit”? The perennial struggle between Sunni Muslims and Shiite Muslims has been over who should “submit”. Neither the alleged orthodox (Sunni) nor the alleged deviant (Shiite) has yet succeeded in finalizing submission. Islam or submission is a holy grail for either group. Remember the Iraq-Iran war in the time of Saddam Hussein? The West’s misguided interference in the perennial struggle by toppling Saddam Hussein and letting “democracy” take over in Iraq has effectively installed Shiite rule over Iraq. And the rest, as they usually conclude, is history. History is actually ongoing. Or is it more like “onggoy” (monkey in Tagalog) or “onggoing”?

      What to do in the face of such “onggoing”? Join or just watch while praying, of course. Actually watchfulness is more to the point.

      • haha. you better learn some etymology bro. ıslam both means submission and peace. submission to the will of god and obedience to his law.

        before blaming islam, maybe you can watch out your religion and what the followers r doing in these day. Learn some history.

      • “submission to the will of god and obedience to his law” does not mean peace. “submission” and “obedience” are simply tautology or repetition of the same idea. “will of god” and “his law” is just another repetition of the same concept. Repetition is a way of making memorization easy. However, memorization is not the same as “understanding”. One who can memorize is often referred to as “parroting” unless he can “explain” what he is “parroting”.

        The same can be said about history. One can memorize the events in history. It is not the same as understanding the causality or connection between the events. It is not enough to know history as a series of events. One needs to integrate his knowledge of the events and come up with some serious understanding why things happened. One is supposed to “learn” from history so that “onggoying” may not be kept repeating over and over until hell freezes. Surely you “can” learn with a name like that.