By Monte Sahlin – Memories of what happened ten years ago bring me back to the haunting question of the time. It still remains largely a mystery. Why do some people have such hate for those who believe differently that they think God has authorized them to kill?
This is not a Muslim problem, despite the slander believed by some. Christian fundamentalists bombed the Federal courthouse in Oklahoma City before Muslim fundamentalists flew planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. In fact, it seems most religions have a very small percentage of people who are insanely, violently zealous. There are Christians willing to kill people they disagree with over abortion despite the fact that Jesus clearly taught us to “turn the other cheek” and not resist evil with evil.
Ultimately this kind of hate does not come from God. It is not about piety or devotion in any religion. It is rooted in evil. It is a marker of all the God is against. There is a word for this in all religions; sin. Anyone who thinks they can rid the world of sin by resorting to violence or injustice is overcome by the very thing they are supposedly fighting against. It is like the old folk tale of the tar baby. The more you hit it, the more you are stuck in it.
The only thing that is victorious over sin is divine love. God chooses to struggle against sin by extending mercy, forgiveness and grace because He is wise enough to know there is no other way to actually overcome sin. Hate and terrorism ends when I decide to quit hating those with whom I disagree on the most profound topics, the most cherished truths.
Why do they hate us? Because we hate them. The only thing that disconnects this vicious cycle is when we choose to join God’s side and love the hater. That takes far more courage, a far more fearless moral stand than anything else. The Son of God gave His life to demonstrate this reality.
Monte Sahlin originally posted this on his “Faith in Context” blog at http://www.montesahlin.com/ He is the author of 20 books, 56 research monographs and hundreds of magazine articles. His most recent book is entitled “Mission in Metropolis.”