Truth loves the light

While Im writing this, there is a great controversy with a proposal to build a mosque near ground zero in Manhattan.

This growing issue has brought up other important questions. Events and issues like this can reveal much about the heart condition of a nation, and we need to understand what it is revealing.

We cannot understand these times without understanding Islam. There has been a major campaign by Islamists to make the world believe that we cannot understand Islam and therefore should not even try. Many have bought into this lie, but in the last couple of years some have awakened to the fact that this is simply not true.

The greatest power that evil has is darkness. Darkness is ignorance. If we can be kept ignorant about something, then it is very likely that evil will grow there. When there is a campaign to keep people from knowing or understanding something, then the devotion to understanding it should increase. If threats and attempted intimidation are being used to keep others away, our resolve should be increased even more. This should include any group, including Christian groups, who become secretive and eschew scrutiny. When this happens, you can be sure that evil will be found there. The truth loves the light.

Even so, it is true that it is hard to understand some aspects of a matter, especially a religion, without believing it. This is the ancient question articulated by Aquinas and Abelard: Must we understand in order to believe or believe in order to understand? Jesus explained in John 3 that the kingdom of God cannot be seen until one is born again. Since we must believe in order to be born again, we must believe before we can fully understand.

Therefore, Christianity cannot be fully understood until one is a devoted believer, but this does not mean that the basic doctrines and intents of Christianity cannot be understood. The same is true of Islam. There may be limits to the understanding of anyone who is not a devoted follower, but this does not mean we cannot understand its general teachings and intent. For having such an impact on the world, understanding Islam should be paramount for anyone who is leading in these times.

There are many faces to Christianity, and there are many faces to Islam. It seems that most who claim to be Christians are nominal at best, and this is obviously true of Islam as well. Just as some of the devout followers of Christ get sidetracked into extremes, many devout Islamists also go into what we consider extremes. The extremists in both religions claim that they are indeed true believers, so to understand this we need to study the teachings.

Are the Islamic extremists the true believers and truly obedient to their faith? That is the assertion of many who have studied Islam in depth, as well as virtually all who have departed from Islam. Others who read the Koran and study the teachings of Islam claim that Islam is a peaceful religion which promotes peace and tolerance. How could there be such extreme understandings or misunderstandings? It could have to do with which face of Islam were studying. I was talking to a Palestinian a few days ago, and he also asserted that it simply is not possible to understand the Koran without reading it in the original Arabic language that it was written in because every English translation has been so watered down. The example was given of how in Arabic it says things like kill and slaughter in relation to Christians and Jews, but in the English translations this is often translated something like fight against. What is the truth?

One thing that has become obvious through this controversy is that the wound of 9/11 has not been healed and is still very sensitive. Over two-thirds of Americans are strongly against the building of this mosque anywhere near ground zero. Others are indifferent, but only a small percentage of Americans are in favour of building the mosque near ground zero, and this is mostly on the grounds of protecting and demonstrating religious freedom.

As much as possible, it is always the right thing to treat others, even those of other religions, with dignity and respect. Disagreement does not require disrespect. However, we must also resolve that we will not compromise the truth, and we will speak the truth boldly. As Americans, freedom of speech is one of our most cherished liberties, and we must resist with all that we have any who seek to deprive us of this. As servants of Christ, who is the Truth, we cannot be His witnesses if we can be intimidated into not declaring the truth and standing on it. Reproduced from Morning Star Ministries with permission.

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