Secular State versus Islamic State.

Events of the past week in France have thrown up many questions. A few weeks ago we in the West were obsessing about Christmas gifts and the commercial aspects of Christmas. Traditionally the origin of giving gifts at Christmas time is attributed to St Nicholas who lived in what is now Turkey. The story goes that a Christian father had got himself into debt and in order to pay it off he had to sell his daughters into slavery. When the first one was due to be sold a large sum of money appeared in the house during the previous night. It was sufficiently large that the father instead of selling her he had enough to provide a dowry for his daughter to get married. The same happened when the second daughter was due to be sold. When the third daughter was due to be sold the father hid himself to as to see who was the mysterious benefactor was and caught St Nicholas lowering the money down the chimney. It is ironic that not that far from where this happened in the last year Christian women have faced being sold as slaves by the forces of the “Islamic State.”
The various acts of violence that took place in France have been rightly condemned. The problem the Christians face is that if we stand in solidarity with the French Government and people then we are in danger of saying that secularism is a good thing (France being officially a secular country). This makes it difficult to oppose secularists in our own countries who often use innocuous sounding measures to disguise their ultimately immoral aims. Of course they invariably deny that their aims are immoral it is just that the morality of the Bible is outdated. “Did God really say . . ?” is how Satan questioned the authority of God in the Garden of Eden and it has worked so well for him over the centuries that he has no reason to change his tactics. But on the other hand if we do not appear to stand with them then we could be accused of tacitly approving the violence.
People are always attacking the Bible and the Judeo-Christian ethic today, but they always have. In Psalm 2 written about 3000 years ago states- “Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One. ‘Let us break their chains,’ they say, ‘and throw off their fetters.'” The publication “Charlie Hebdo” mocked Christianity as much as they mocked other religions so why we deplore the murders of its staff and would not condone them we would unwise to be unconditional in standing with their interpretation of freedom of speech. Freedoms in democracies come with responsibilities but those with anarchical tendencies want freedoms without responsibility. So we have to be careful. It is easy for satirists to call others to account but ignore calls for themselves to be called to account.
It is very easy to say that the Bible has been distorted, while its text may not have been its interpretation is continually being distorted in one way or another. Jesus said that the Pharisees nullified it by their tradition. One of the Ten Commandments is that “You shall do no murder.” If you say that this has been distorted what did it originally say? You shall commit murder? When we claim that theology needs to evolve to account for the modern way of life, it raises a lot of problems. True, our neighbour may not have an ox to covet but that does not mean that covetousness is not a problem today. The advertising industry is based on the hope that we will covet the products being advertised. The Islamic religion claims that the Koran was necessary because the Bible has been corrupted and effectively needed to be replaced. Just because bad Christians set a poor example this does not Scripture itself has been corrupted. Though as often been said – you are the only Bible they will ever read. So it is easy to see where the confusion has arisen.
Though one of the things I find puzzling about Islam is why they object to images portraying their prophet. They do not claim him as God so why is that seen as blasphemy regardless of subject matter?
Now it easy to see those who come against the west armed with AK47s and bombs as our enemies but what about those who come against us subtly by questioning the basis of morality like the satirists of Charlie Hebdo could they not do greater damage in the long run than terrorists. Come to think of it how did the word terrorist first arise, it was in the wake of the French Revolution when power fell into hands of the hard-line Jacobins who banned Christianity and imposed their diktats by the use of the guillotine in what became known as the “Reign of Terror,” those who supported the slaughter were the first people to be called “Terrorists.” The people of France seem to have forgotten this. Secularism can be equally as dangerous as Islamic fundamentalism we have to be wary that it is kept in check.
David Rose 2015.

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About davidgrose

I am a Bible believing Christian, brought up in the Brethren Movement, and now find myself associating with charismatics even though I do not always agree with them. I am in full-time employment. I have interests in history and photography amongst others.
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