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Friday, May 4, 2007

Dying for religion or Politics?

Dying for religion or Politics?
Mike Ghouse, May 4, 2007


Jeff Weiss, editor of the Religion Blog of the Dallas Morning News distills his unease into a question, "Should I care more about evil done in the name of God vs. evil done for power or politics or any of the other myriad reasons? And if so, why?"

After a thoughtful comment, "The murder of those three Christians in Turkey last month was certainly horrible. (Bruce blogged it shortly after it happened, btw.) But how many innocents died violently in Iraq or Afghanistan or Darfur yesterday whose stories will never appear in the DMN? More than three, I'll bet. When I see the news releases about persecuted individual Christians from elsewhere in the world, I sigh. Not because I don't feel the pain. But because there's so much pain out there. Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Pagan, Younameits."

Indeed, it is a question we need to address squarely. On my part, I have eased and distilled my thoughts in to this frame of response. I am making a connection but not connected yet, you might have that missing phrase or a response that may answer the above question to a blissful, wholesome answer.

We should care about every life and as members of the society, each one of us has to strive for a balanced society without pointing fingers at anyone but ourselves. . It is our duty to keep law and order and faithfully guard the safety of every citizen. We have an obligation to maintain an equilibrium in the society for every one’s good including my own.

Often, I think of the example my dad gave me about serving humankind. He said, if you were to walk down the street in your neighborhood and see a car coming, and you also see a child is crawling into the middle of the road; your instant reaction is to dive and pull that child out of the road. Just as the man in New York subway dived to save the man who fell on the rail road tract.

This is the most crucial moment that we can connect with the humanity, I believe, inherently we are good people and we react to situations like the subway or pulling the child out of harm's way in genuine humanness. Now, if we introduce the element of deliberations, and for a moment think about the race, religion, ethnicity of that person we saved, we may get corrupted and find excuses to act differently.

In the incidents above, it was human, and we honored the life given by God to all. In the case of Turkey situation, we added the element of politics that the life of those three Christians did not mean much to them, and did the wrong thing by killing them. This wrong did not stem from religion, as all religions including the one of the killers, prohibit killing, “Killing one human is like killing the whole humanity". It appeared to be done in the name of religion, it really was not, it was the politics of one versus the other.

We have a choice; to stop the situation from further deteriorating or to conflagrate the situation by blaming the ‘innocent party’ religion. Ideally most of us want to go with the first option, but we veer towards action and consciously or politically act out by falling into the evil pit, that further pits one against the other.

The Turkey incident may be branded with a religious flag, but it really is about being human. If we take the human approach, we may find an easing of tensions and see some solutions on the horizon.

Let’s not call it a Muslim V Christian conflict, as the chameleon will express the color of politics and creates a wedge, deepens the chasm and creates more tension, and do the opposite of what we desire.

We need to get to know each other as humans, it is a long process, and we have to be patient and work towards it. Peace on earth is a natural desire of humans wanting to live safely and fully. We fail ourselves and God (or the natural order for our atheist friends) with our politics and impatience.


Mike Ghouse
www.FoundationforPluralism.com
www.WorldMuslimCongress.com
http://MikeGhouseforAmerica.blogspot.com

http://religion.beloblog.com/
Does dying for religion's sake merit extra attention?
06:20 PM CDT on Thursday, May 3, 2007


Primus: I'll refocus some ruminations from the blog this week. Sam Hodges had posted:

"Denny Burk, assistant professor of New Testament at Criswell College in Dallas, messaged me. He's concerned that few people seem to know that three Christians were killed in Turkey last month, and that life as a Christian there seems to be getting increasingly perilous."
To which I posted:

"The murder of those three Christians in Turkey last month was certainly horrible. (Bruce blogged it shortly after it happened, btw.) But how many innocents died violently in Iraq or Afghanistan or Darfur yesterday whose stories will never appear in the DMN? More than three, I'll bet. When I see the news releases about persecuted individual Christians from elsewhere in the world, I sigh. Not because I don't feel the pain. But because there's so much pain out there. Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Pagan, Younameits."

Which only got partway to what was bothering me. In an exchange with an actual reader (thanks Tammy!), I was able to distill my unease into a question:
"Should I care more about evil done in the name of God vs. evil done for power or politics or any of the other myriad reasons? And if so, why?"

Let me be really clear about what I'm asking. I am appalled at the murder of the three Christians in Turkey. And I understand that people tend to feel the most pain when one of their own is injured. But as a matter of principle, how should I – should anyone – react when we get an advocacy note about a particular killing? Should religious context matter? And if so, how?

Clearly Professor Burk (and others who are passing along links to this story. I'm getting them, too.) believes there is something notable about these particular deaths. Something that we should pay special attention to. Even beyond other deaths and sufferings in the world.

Let me throw this question out to the floor, here. Not as a contest. This is too serious to trivialize. But if I get good answers, I'll post them to the blog and alert you in the Peek. Send your thoughts to me at jweiss@dallasnews.com.

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