This isn’t a happy anniversary to recall. I probably wouldn’t even try to relive what happened 12 years ago if it didn’t feel like we’re still looking down the barrel of the same gun. We can’t seem to get anywhere with the radical element of the Islam faith who want only conquest. They can’t tell us what will satisfy their blood lust, and they don’t even seem to understand the question.
But suppose we have been asking the wrong question, even when we’re talking among ourselves. What if the problem we have with the Muslim world is really a religious problem and not an ideological, political or cultural one? What if the question isn’t really “How can we all just get along?” but “Who is God?”
Obviously, attempts by the religiously-challenged to just say that they’re all the same just doesn’t pass the smell test. In order to say that, both Christians and Muslims would have to disregard major portions of their respective sacred texts, tradition and teachings.
So this is one test question where you can’t check the “All of the above” box. Either we’re right or they’re right. If we’re right with our claims, then Christianity is the religion that ends religions, because it isn’t just a system of rules but the belief in a Christ that transcends all that and is Himself the Truth, the Way and the Light. If Islam is right, then of course, they need to carry out the dictates of their faith and establish their god over all the peoples of the earth whether by soft or hard conversion.
It’s not a pleasant prospect. I don’t blame everyone for wanting to get away from it. And the Western culture has gotten profoundly uncomfortable with real, active and intelligent Christianity. They can legitimately say that attempts to solve questions like this one have led to a great many wars. Even the Bible doesn’t provide a very sterling example of a historic answer, since the Old Testament prescription was to conquer, dominate and/or exterminate any of those with heterodox beliefs. We can’t know now why it had to be that way, but we can certainly understand that we can’t treat that as our model.
No way around it: It’s a terrible question. If the problem we’re having isn’t with people, but with a people’s god, then there is almost no chance to think we could ever really figure out who’s right.
Why think about this today? I suppose because what we do just has the feel so often of being all wrong. It almost seems as if it couldn’t get much worse. Would it help to ask the honest question?