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Entries Tagged as 'Religion'

The Importance Of Feelings

The Importance Of FeelingsHave you ever imagined a life without feelings? With no love, no emotion whatsoever, no fear, no anger no feelings at all. No pleasure when you eat, no enchantment when you see something nice or you hear a beautiful song. I think that without feelings life would not be worth living. It would be just like a machine, a robot that knows its role, it’s part and that’s it, the same thing will eventually happen tomorrow.
Indeed…I guess it could be not more but a continual repetition, because without any excitement of discovery…who’d even bother thinking and creating something new? No joy, no satisfaction, no motivation. An arid picture, a desert, that’s what we’d be without feelings.

Thank God we all have feelings and God in the beginning put us in a lovely garden, the Garden of Eden where God Himself, our Creator and Father, used to come to talk to His creation – the man. How nice that must have been! No fear of rejection, no hate, but love, the excitement of discovering the new, being the king of everything God created on Earth, how peaceful and lovely.

However, we would have blamed God if He hadn’t given us the free will in the first place. He did give us the power to choose…and Adam chose. He chose what God told him not to choose and here we are today. God said Adam would die if he chose wrong…and we all know this cruel reality of death to this day, don’t we?

Yet…from the first chapters of His Book, the Bible, God told us that we, humans will be sent a Redeemer, a second, sinless Adam. Jesus Christ is God’s second Adam; His coming was announced by God through over 300 Bible prophecies, thousands of years before His coming.

He did come praised be His Holy Name! Yes, Jesus Christ came and proved the world that they were living in sin and cannot be holy through their own effort, regardless how hard they tried. He came to tell us that through His sacrifice, we all can benefit to have our lives cleaned of sin and our sins paid for. Along this, actually on top of it, the tremendous benefit of the restored relation to God, our Heavenly Father. He brought back life to humans! The first Adam failed to keep what he had, but Jesus Christ the Son of God is the second Adam who brought back all the blessings we’ve lost trough sin.

It all went wrong when tempted by Satan, Adam gave in to his feelings and did what God had told him not to do. It is good to be curious and excited about discovering a new taste, a new color, a new perfume or aroma, isn’t it? Of course it is, yet, our enemy, the old serpent who tempted man in the first place, knows how vulnerable we are when it comes to discovering new things and he will surely use that!
He will use your curiosity and your emotions to destroy you. What are drugs all about? Why is sex so tempting? All the “why not?” questions…until you see yourself robbed of love, robbed of life, robbed of everything good.

We wake up with broken hearts, destroyed families or even worse…we never have the chance to wake up.
That’s why it is crucial to know the boundaries God created for your enjoyment. Jumping off the cliff will cause you to learn the law of gravitation…the hard way. God wants to spare us of loads of pain and grief when He tells us that every good thing is for our enjoyment but it is only good in a certain environment. Swimming in water (not in acid), sex in marriage, fire in the fireplace-not on the floor of your dormitory.

As the wise King Solomon says in his book, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.

Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you.
Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.”Proverbs 24: 23-27

Above all else, guard your heart …for it is essential in life, it is the wellspring of life. In other words keep a close eye on your feelings. They can be like a wild horse and take you to disaster if you don’t know how to ride them.

But you might have already lost control. In that case, there is an emergency call you can make :Psalm 50:15 ” and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.” Yes ask Jesus Christ the Son of God to help you out of any dark fountain of despair you might be in. His Hand can reach anywhere, and what’s more, He wants to take you out of your misery more then you want to be taken out yourself! Talk to Jesus Christ daily, just as you would with a friend, and read His messages from the Bible. He will tell you what to do next!
In the meantime, watch your feelings!

Living By Faith & Not By Sight

Your ability to live by faith has nothing to do with:

Who you are, where you were born, or where you live.

The amount of money you presently have in your bank account, billfold or purse or don’t presently have in your bank account, billfold or purse.

Amount of time you have or don’t have. (Faith has no time, it is always “now” Faith. Faith is always present tense. – I have _____ now. I can do _____ now. I am _____ now.)

How much something costs.

Has nothing to do with your ability or inability. (Remember: Faith is God’s ability working on your behalf. If you could do it yourself, you wouldn’t have to use your faith.)

If you have planned well financially or if there has been lack of financial planning.

Job or no job.

Paycheck or no paycheck or income or no income.

The number of educational degrees you have or a lack of education. (The fishermen who walked with Jesus were men of faith and yet they were just “fishermen” and not highly educated men; but yet they told Jesus when He sent them out to minister on their own that their every need was met.)

Your five physical senses (They only relate to the physical realm and will only tell you what is going on in the physical realm, but faith is of the spirit, a higher realm. You’re actually living in a higher realm, not subject to the natural realm when you live by faith.)

Natural limitations. (Faith is supernatural ability and there are no limitations with faith. If there were limitations then we could say God is limited, but that will never be.)

A person’s intelligence or lack of it. (Actually intelligence can get in the way of faith by trying to figure out how it is going to happen. Faith is working when your heart and not your head is fixed, established, trusting in the Lord.)

Your ability in any matter. (Faith is God’s ability working on your behalf.)

What is faith? Faith is substance of things hoped for needed and desired, evidence of what cannot be seen by your physical eyes, your assurance, your confirmation, your title deed of things, proof of things not seen, conviction of their reality, perception as real fact what is not revealed to senses, leaning of your entire personality on God in Christ in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom and goodness.

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. KJV

Hebrews 11:1 NOW FAITH is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]. AMP

Hebrews 6:12 In order that you may not grow disinterested and become [spiritual] sluggards, but imitators, behaving as do those who through faith ( by their leaning of the entire personality on God in Christ in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness) and by practice of patient endurance and waiting are [now] inheriting the promises. AMP

Faith is always now, present tense. You talk like it is done.

Faith is a law, spiritual law:

Romans 3:27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. KJV

Faith and patience are power twins:

Hebrews 6:12 ….faith ( by their leaning of the entire personality on God in Christ in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness) and by practice of patient endurance and waiting are [now] inheriting the promises. AMP

James 1:4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. KJV

Acting in faith, you just believe and act accordingly; staying Holy Spirit connected and He will guide you through the whole process. How easy is that? We make spirit things complicated and really we are more spiritual then we are human or carnal since God lives in us and we are now born again of the Spirit and have the ability to operate out of our spirit rather than be limited and controlled any more by our intellect or what the five physical senses tell us.

How do we receive faith? We received the faith of God when we got born again. Faith is a gift from God. (Romans 12:3) We have the faith of Christ Jesus. (Galatians 2:20) Faith also comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. (Romans 10:17 So hear and hear again the Word concerning what you need; healing, prosperity, etc.) Building up your faith by praying in the Holy Ghost. (Jude 20)

To remain in faith or as the Word of God calls it, “established heart”, we have to guard the gates to our heart (our believing), which are our eyes gates and ear gates. Don’t keep looking at, paying attention to or listening to what is the opposite of what you want by faith.

Faith is not what we see or hear. Faith is not having faith in you and faith in your faith. Faith is having faith in God, His Word and the faith He has given to you which always does its work in any and every situation.

The Word of God is the written and spoken Word of God to us. The Word of God, itself, has enough power in it to bring things to pass; the Word just needs to be spoken out of your mouth for your situation. The Word needs you to be the receiver as well. So you are the spokesperson and the receiving person for faith. So don’t get so afraid you are going to fail in your faith for it is God’s faith He has given to you as a gift, just use it. And you are not the person to make it happen or you would be already doing it with your natural ability. You are just the believing person enough so that you speak it and act like it is done, finished. You receive it with speaking it is already reality. Speaking only the Word of God and speaking words that mean, “I received it.” Then acting like, “Okay, there it is. I’m glad that’s over with. It’s done, finished, over with.” When we speak in line with the Word of God we are not lying although in the natural we look like we are. Can we be lying when we speak what God has spoken about us. “We are healed by the stripes of Jesus.” No, that is not a lie, it is the truth about us. And we are not speaking it to make people believe we are healed. We speak it because we know it is the truth about us or our situation.

Abraham became fully persuaded in his faith to become a father when it was humanly impossible when He started speaking the name God gave to him, “Abraham”, which means “Father of nations”. When he spoke his name, “Abraham,” he was saying he was the father of nations. He never got fully persuaded in his faith he would become a father until God changed his name and he started speaking it and hearing it over and over by his family, servants, etc.

Stealers of Faith:

Being around natural, carnal thinking people and natural, carnal speaking people will steal your faith. They are always speaking what is, what they can see, hear, smell, taste or touch. So stay clear of them and seek to be around people who think in line with the Word of God, speak in line with the Word of God and act on their faith in the Word of God. (A good example of this is Abraham. When he was still named Abram, God told him to leave family and all that was familiar to him. If he had not done this, then he would not be known as our Father of faith, Abraham.)

Another stealer of faith is always looking, hearing, meditating, considering and speaking what is going on in the natural circumstances in your life. (If you want change, you have to change what you look at, listen to, meditate on, consider and speak. If you don’t, then you will only perpetuate the problem. What you focus on will expand.)

A good thing to remember in faith is to establish your heart in the Word of God about a particular thing you want to receive from God and then when the Word of God gets bigger on the inside of you through meditation then the problem or thing needing changed or brought to pass; that is the best time to speak it. That is when it is easy to speak the Word in spite of every thing and everyone that says, “That’s impossible.” Meditation plus speaking your faith brings possession. Faith’s actions can sometimes mean just speaking the Word of God or words of having received it or “It is done.” Then there are promptings of the Holy Spirit to do a certain thing. Acted upon will bring results no matter how ridiculous it may seem.

Some good examples of faith we can meditate to help establish our heart in faith are: Read about Abraham, the Father of our faith, Romans 4. The Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11. And to see the New Testament Church with faith in action read the book of Acts.

To make faith simple: Faith is trust or confidence in Jesus and His finished work. How simple is that? Jesus has said, “It is finished.” Now He has seated Himself on the right hand of the Father not because He is tired from all His work. No, He is telling us He has done all that He needs to do for us to receive all that we need and all He has promised us. And we know Jesus would not lie to us. So we can say, “By the stripes of Jesus I am healed and made whole.” (1 Peter 2:24) “Jesus became so very poor in order that I could be enriched, abundantly supplied. I am rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:9) “I have been made righteous by Jesus.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)

I have listed on my website scriptures and confessions for you to speak in faith over your life “In Christ”, your prosperity, Father God’s love for you and your health and for healing.

Let’s make this confession of faith:

God has given me the gift of faith. I actually have the faith of Jesus. Faith is the substance of things I hope for, need and desire. It is the evidence of what I cannot see by my physical eyes. Faith is my assurance it is mine. Faith is the only confirmation I need to know that it is mine. Faith is the title deed to the possession of it. Faith is proof to me this is all done and taken care of. Faith is the conviction of the reality of this thing. With faith I perceive it is real fact in my life no matter what the senses tell me. With my faith I lean my entire personality on God in Christ in absolute trust and confidence in Father God, Daddy’s power, wisdom and His goodness to me. I live by faith and not by sight.

Religious freedom now

At last the problems of conversion in Israel have begun to receive the attention and press coverage they deserve. Not since the Hanaton conversions in 1995, when our Masorti (Conservative) rabbinical court converted adopted children that the Rabbinate had refused to convert because their adoptive parents were not Orthodox, has so much publicity and public discussion been focused on the way in which Israel’s official rabbinical establishment treats potential and actual converts. That earlier crisis led to the formation of the Neeman Commission, which ended its work without even issuing a report - because of the opposition of the Chief Rabbinate to any cooperation with other groups. But it also resulted in a 2002 Supreme Court decision requiring the state to register Masorti converts in Israel as Jews. That was a step forward, but no more than that. It took the high beit din’s disgraceful treatment of Rabbi Chaim Druckman earlier this spring, and the retroactive voiding of thousands of his conversions, regardless of the consequences for the converts, their partners and their children, to once again arouse public concern about a problem that has been with us for years.

I am hardly the first to respond to the decision of the Rabbinate’s highest court not to recognize conversions carried out by the state-appointed conversion administration headed by Druckman, and with the exception of the occasional ultra-Orthodox writer, all have been critical of the Rabbinate’s actions. Depending on each individual writer’s religious orientation, there have been calls for the replacement of the court’s current judges, all of whom are Haredim, by more moderate religious-Zionist rabbis; for the Israeli Supreme Court to overturn the decisions of the rabbinical court; for the state to fully recognize conversions performed by Masorti and Reform rabbis in Israel; and for the creation of secular conversion, so that non-Jews can join the Jewish people without undergoing any religious process whatsoever.

Many of these suggestions are valuable. It would certainly be a step forward if Haredi rabbis of the Rabbinate  and  its  high  court  were  replaced by Zionist ones. This is, after all, a Zionist state, even though, looking at the official rabbinate today, one  would  not  know  it.  The  Rabbinate’s  current attitude toward conversions constitutes a complete reversal of the halakhic decisions of such eminent chief rabbis of the past as Abraham Isaac Kook, Ben-Zion Uziel and Shlomo Goren, all of whom had a much more realistic and positive attitude toward conversion. Certainly, the time has come for the government of Israel, which continues to fight tooth and nail in the courts with no justification to avoid full recognition of the actions of Masorti and Reform rabbinical courts here, to relinquish its foolish, futile and anti-democratic stance.

Yet none of this goes far enough. None of these  suggestions  are  really  sufficient  to  solve  the problems of conversion, in particular, and of religious life in Israel, in general. As long as an official rabbinate continues to function as part of the political structure of the government of Israel, with monopolistic powers in so many realms, including marriage and divorce, these problems will continue to plague us. Those who really care about the future of Judaism in the Jewish state - and this should certainly include the religious- Zionists - should be at the forefront of a battle to separate these religious powers from the state and to privatize the rabbinate, permitting Jews to freely chose their own rabbinical authorities or none. Regarding marriage, for example, the state should set up a system of civil partnerships entered into legally by those it considers eligible, with ensuing rights, even as the religious ceremony remains within the realm of an individual couple, depending on their religious affiliation.

We do not need a total separation of religion and state - this being a Jewish state, that would be all but impossible. What I am proposing is a system by which the state gives help and support to religious institutions but does not dictate their policies, nor does it grant monopolistic rights to any one clerical group. The state is a secular institution and should step back from dictating religious affairs. This is a development that has occurred in every modern Western country, and it is long overdue in Israel, which remains the only country in the free world in which Jews are not free to make their own choices concerning their religious affairs, and in which a rabbinate is empowered to make such decisions against the free will of the inhabitants.

There are three principal serious problems with which the government-sponsored Haredi rabbinate has failed to deal properly: the case of agunot (women who cannot obtain a divorce), shmita (the rabbinate refused to implement Rabbi Kook’s method that made it possible to continue using the produce of the Land of Israel in the current agricultural sabbatical year), and now giyur (conversion). All of these have halakhic solutions that the current rabbinate refuses to adopt. This in itself should be sufficient to make us realize that the existence of a state-sponsored Chief Rabbinate is an anachronism Israel can no longer afford.

We need freedom of religion here so that individual rights will no longer be trampled and, most of all, so that religion can flourish in Israel.

Rabbi Reuven Hammer is the head of the Rabbinical Court of the Israeli Masorti (Conservative) Movement and a former president of the movement’s International Rabbinical Assembly.

Will gay rights trample religious freedom?

Early this morning, gay and lesbian couples were surely lining up at county clerk’s offices across the state to exercise their new right to marry, bestowed on them last month by the California Supreme Court.

In its controversial decision, the court insisted that these same-sex marriages would not “diminish any other person’s constitutional rights” or “impinge upon the religious freedom of any religious organization, official or any other person.” Religious liberty would be unaffected, the chief justice wrote, because no member of the clergy would be compelled to officiate at a same-sex ceremony and no church could be compelled to change its policies or practices.

And yet there is substantial reason to believe that these assurances about the safety of religious liberty are either wrong or reflect a cramped view of religion.

The case for same-sex marriage, reduced to its essentials, is an attractive one. It is that the government in a liberal democracy ought not to impose any one moral vision on its citizens; moral decisions ought to be, as much as possible, a matter of private choice and not law.

But it should not follow that having allowed same-sex couples to come out of the closet, as it were, that religious people should in turn be confined to the sanctuary.

In the same-sex marriage decision, the state Supreme Court suggests that all will be well and good as long as the “official” activities of the clergy aren’t affected. But that excludes religion entirely from a broad range of social welfare and other activities, despite the fact that the California Constitution declares: “Free exercise and enjoyment of religion without discrimination or preference are guaranteed.”

Evidence from previous and pending cases indicates that the court tends to take an extremely narrow view of people’s “free exercise and enjoyment of religion” when they clash with another group’s need for equal protection. This would seem particularly true following the In re Marriage Cases ruling, in which the majority equated the ban on same-sex marriage to the now discredited (and unconstitutional) ban on interracial marriages.

Religious liberty claims rarely, if ever, have prevailed in the face of complaints about racial discrimination. Conflicts about the rights of gays and those of religious believers demonstrate that these are not hypothetical fears. Consider the following:

* A San Diego County fertility doctor was sued for refusing to perform artificial insemination for one partner of a lesbian couple for religious reasons. The doctor referred the patient to a colleague, promised there would be no extra cost and offered to care for her during her subsequent pregnancy. The case is now before the California Supreme Court, and justices seemed hostile to the doctor’s defense during oral arguments last month.

* Catholic Charities in Boston and San Francisco ended adoption services altogether rather than be compelled by anti-discrimination laws to place children with same-sex couples. In the Boston case, Catholic Charities was prepared to refer same-sex couples seeking to adopt to other providers, but that was not sufficient.

* A Lutheran school in Riverside County was sued in 2005 under California’s Unruh Act (which forbids discrimination by businesses) for expelling two students who allegedly were having a lesbian relationship, in contravention of the religious views of the school. The case was thrown out in Superior Court in January, but the students have appealed.

* Public school officials in Poway, Calif., so far have successfully barred students from wearing T-shirts that register their opposition to homosexuality on campus. One lawsuit made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court before being dismissed (as moot, because the students had graduated), but another federal lawsuit is pending.

In each of these cases, and other similar ones, the government has acted in some way to forbid gays and lesbians from being demeaned. But allowing same-sex couples to force religious individuals or organizations to act out of accord with their faith is not cost-free either. Their dignity is no less affected. Unless claims rooted in equal protection under the law are to sweep away claims rooted in freedom of religion, a more sensitive balancing approach is essential.

This is particularly true in California. The state Supreme Court has treated such clashes as all-or-nothing propositions, and it seems to believe that once outside the church or synagogue doors, equality is always more important than religious liberty. California’s high court, for example, denied a landlord’s religion-based refusal to rent an apartment to an unmarried heterosexual couple, but Massachusetts’ high court was willing to sanction such a refusal in cases in which alternative housing was readily available.

Given the array of church views on homosexuality, and the number of secular organizations offering social services to same-sex couples, allowing religious groups opposed to same-sex marriage to put that opposition into practice beyond the sanctuary is not likely to often seriously impede anyone.

Concurring in the May 15 California marriage judgment, Justice Joyce L. Kennard observed that the court’s most important role was to preserve constitutional rights “from obliteration by the majority.”

If past rulings are any guide, it is religious rights that are likely to be “obliterated” by an emerging popular majority supporting same-sex relationships — and it seems unlikely that the California courts will intervene. That’s a shame.

Marc D. Stern is general counsel of the American Jewish Congress and a contributor to a forthcoming book, “Same-Sex Marriage and Religious Liberty.”

Turkish gov’t scolds high court on head scarf ban

ANKARA, Turkey - Turkey’s Islamic-oriented governing party on Friday accused the country’s top court of overstepping its authority when it struck down a law that would have allowed Muslim head scarves to be worn at universities.

A group of Islamic demonstrators walk in front of  Turkey's top court a day after the court announced its decision on Islamic head scarf in Ankara, Turkey, Friday, June 6, 2008. Turkey's top court on Thursday annulled a law that freed Islamic head scarves at universities, inflicting a heavy blow on the Islamic-oriented government and deepening a divide between its supporters and the country's secular institutions.(AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s party campaigned for re-election last year on a promise to lift a ban on head scarves, claiming the prohibition violated religious and personal freedoms. Upon victory, the government passed constitutional amendments to lift the ban.

But the court threw out the amendments Thursday, saying they violated Turkey’s secular principles. The decision, which is final, threw up a heavy legal barrier to any furthur attempts to lift the ban and has deepened the divide between the Islamic-leaning government and secular institutions.

“The decision is a direct interference with parliament’s authority,” said Dengir Mir Mehmet Firat, the ruling party’s deputy chairman. “It is a violation of the rule on the separation of powers.”

Though most of Turkey’s 70 million people are Muslim, many see the head scarf as an emblem of political Islam and consider any attempt to allow it in schools as an attack on modern Turkey’s secular laws. Some also argue that lifting the ban would create pressure on all female students to cover themselves.

Turkey’s fiercely secular military signaled satisfaction with the court’s decision to uphold the ban, which has been vigorously enforced in public offices and universities since a 1980 military coup.

The Constitutional Court’s ruling does not bode well for Erdogan’s party, which faces the threat of being dissolved under a separate case filed by a prosecutor on grounds it is “the focal point of anti-secular activities.”

Erdogan has kept silent on the court decision. But Firat said the prime minister would discuss the ruling with his fellow lawmakers in parliament Tuesday.

Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan was expected to hold a news conference Saturday on the issue.

Another top party member, Bulent Arinc, described the decision as “grave.”

“It gives me goose pimples,” said Arinc, a former parliament speaker. “The Constitutional Court has indirectly seized the power of parliament.”

Dozens of people, including some women wearing black chadors, protested the ruling Friday in Ankara. A placard left outside the court building read: “No one can go against God’s order to wear head scarves.”

Hundreds of people also protested the court ruling in Istanbul and in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir, following Friday prayers.

Islam is not the Source of Terrorism, But Its Solution

During the last two decades in particular, the concept of “Islamic terror” has been often discussed. In the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks on targets in New York and Washington which caused the death of tens of thousands of innocent civilians, this concept has once again returned to the top of the international agenda.

As Muslims, we completely condemn these attacks and offer our condolences to the American people.

In this article, we will explain that Islam is by no means the source of this violence and that violence has no place in Islam.

We strongly condemn the cruel terrorist acts which targeted the innocent people of the United States.
One point that should be stressed at the outset is that the identities of the perpetrators of the acts of terrorism which targeted the United States are not yet determined. There is a chance that these horrible attackers are linked to quite different centres. It may well be a communist organization harboring rage and hatred against American values, a fascist organization opposing federal administration or a secret faction in another state. Even though the hijackers have Muslim identities, the questions regarding by whom and for what purposes these people were used will probably remain to be a mystery.

The fact remains however, that even if the terrorists have Muslim identities, the terror they perpetrated cannot be labelled “Islamic terror”, just as it would not be called “Jewish terror” if the perpetrators were Jews or “Christian terror” if they were Christians.

That is because, as we will examine in the following pages, murdering innocent people in the name of religion is unacceptable. We need to keep in mind that, among those who were killed in Washington or New York, there were people who loved Jesus (Christians), Prophet Moses (Jews) and Muslims. According to Islam, murdering innocent people is a great sin that, unless forgiven by God, brings torment in Hell.

Thus, a religious person who has fear of God can never commit such an act.

In fact, the aggressors can commit such violence only with the intention of attacking religion itself. It may well be that they carried out this violence to present religion as evil in the eyes of people, to divorce people from religion and to generate hatred and reaction against pious people. Consequently, every attack having a “religious” facade on American citizens or other innocent people is actually an attack made against religion.

All the three Theistic religions command love, mercy and peace. Terror, on the other hand, is the opposite of religion; it is cruel, merciless and it demands bloodshed and misery. This being the case, while looking for the perpetrators of a terrorist act, its origins should be sought in disbelief rather than in religion. People with a fascist, communist, racist or materialist outlook on life should be suspected as potential perpetrators. The name or the identity of the triggerman is not important. If he can kill innocent people without blinking an eye, whatever his label is, then he is a disbeliever, not a believer. He is a murderer with no fear of God, whose main ambition is to shed blood and to give harm.

For this reason, “Islamic terror” is quite a erroneous concept which contradicts Islam’s message. That is because, the religion of Islam can by no means concur with terror. On the contrary, Muslims are responsible for preventing terrorist acts and bringing peace and justice to the world.

The Values of the Qur’an demands Goodness, Justice and Peace

Terror, in its broadest sense, is violence committed against non-military targets for political purposes. To put it in another way, the targets of terror are entirely innocent civilians whose only crime is, in the eyes of terrorists, to represent “the other”.

This is an act bereft of any moral justification. This, as in the case of murders committed by Hitler or Stalin, is a crime committed against “mankind”.

The Qur’an is a Book revealed to people as a guide to the true path and in this Book, God commands man to adopt good morals. This morality is based upon concepts such as love, compassion, tolerance and mercy. God calls all people to Islamic morals through which compassion, mercy, peace and tolerance can be experienced all over the world:

You who believe! Enter absolutely into peace (Islam). Do not follow in the footsteps of Satan. He is an outright enemy to you. (Surat al-Baqara :208)

The values of the Qur’an hold a Muslim responsible for treating all people, whether Muslim or non-Muslim, kindly and justly, protecting the needy and the innocent and preventing the “dissemination of mischief”. Mischief comprises all forms of anarchy and terror that remove security, comfort and peace. As God says in a verse, “God does not love mischief makers”. (Surat al-Qasas: 77)

Murdering a person for no reason is one of the most obvious examples of mischief. God repeats in the Qur’an a command He formerly revealed to Jews in the Old Testament thus:

So We decreed for the tribe of Israel that if someone kills another person - unless it is in retaliation for someone else or for causing corruption in the earth - it is as if he had murdered all mankind. And if anyone gives life to another person, it is as if he had given life to all mankind. Our Messengers came to them with Clear Signs but even after that many of them committed outrages in the earth. (Surat al-Ma’ida: 32)

As the verse suggests, a person who kills even a single man, “unless it is in retaliation for someone else or for causing corruption in the earth”, commits a crime as if he had murdered all mankind on earth.

This being the case, it is obvious what great sins are the murders, massacres and, attacks, popularly known as “suicide attacks”, committed by terrorists are. God informs us how this cruel face of terrorism will be punished in the hereafter in the following verse:

There are only grounds against those who wrong people and act as tyrants in the earth without any right to do so. Such people will have a painful punishment. (Surat ash-Shura: 42)

All these reveal that organizing acts of terror against innocent people is utterly against Islam and it is unlikely that any Muslim could ever commit such crime. On the contrary, Muslims are responsible for stopping these people, removing “mischief on earth” and bringing peace and security to all people all over the world. Being a Muslim cannot be reconciled with terror. Just the contrary, it is the solution and prevention of terror.

This being the case, how did the popular term “Islamic terror” emerge?

What has been examined so far reveals that it is not possible to talk about an “Islamic” terror. Indeed, a closer look at the characteristics of the perpetrators explicitly reveals that this terror is not a religious but a social phenomenon.

Crusaders: Barbarians Who Trampled Their Own Religion

A helmet used by the Crusaders.
The true message of a religion or another system of belief can be at times exposed to distortion by its pseudo-adherents. The Crusaders, who constitute a dark episode of Christian history, set a good example of this.

Crusaders were European Christians who undertook the expeditions at the end of the 11th century to recover the Holy Land (the area around Palestine) from the Muslims. They set out with a so-called religious goal, yet they laid waste each acre of land they entered with fear and violence. They subjected civilians to mass executions and plundered many villages and towns.

Their conquest of Jerusalem, where Muslims, Jews and Christians lived under Islamic rule in peace, became the scene of immense bloodshed. They violently killed all Muslims and Jews. The Crusaders’ barbarism was so excessive that, during the Fourth Crusade, they plundered Istanbul, also a Christian city, and stole the golden objects from the churches.

Despite the fact that Christianity is a religion of love and pacifism, the Crusaders slaughtered innocent people in the name of Christ. They misunderstood their religion.
No doubt, all this barbarism was utterly against Christian political doctrine. That is because, Christianity, in the words of the Bible, is a “gospel of love”. In the Gospel according to Matthew, it is said that Jesus said “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” to his followers (Matthew, 5/44) In the Gospel according to Luke, it is said that Jesus said “If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also.” (Luke, 6/29) No doubt, in no part of the New Testament, is there reference to the legitimacy of violence; murdering innocent people, on the other hand, is unimaginable. You can find the concept of “massacre of the innocents” in the Bible; yet, only in the cruel Jewish King Herod’s attempt to kill Jesus while he was a baby.

While Christianity is a religion based on love that accommodates no violence, how did Christian Crusaders carry out the most violent acts of history? The major reason for this is that, Crusaders were mainly made up of ignorant people who could better be defined as “rabble”. These masses, who knew almost nothing about their religion, who had never read or even seen the Bible once in their lifetime, and who were therefore completely unaware of the moral values of the Bible, were led into barbarism under the conditioning of Crusaders’ slogans as “God wills it”.

It is worth mentioning that in that period, Eastern Christians - the people of Byzantium, for instance - who were culturally far ahead of Western Christians, espoused more humane values. Both before and after the Crusaders’ conquests, Orthodox Christians managed to live together with Muslims. According to Terry Johns, the BBC commentator, with the withdrawal of the Crusaders from Middle East, “civilized life started again and members of the three monotheistic faith returned to peaceful coexistence.” [1] The example of the Crusaders is indicative of a general phenomenon: The more the adherents of an ideology are uncivilized, intellectually underdeveloped and “ignorant”, the more likely they are to resort to violence. This also holds true for ideologies that have nothing to do with religion. All communist movements around the world are prone to violence. Yet the most savage and blood-thirsty of them was the Khmer Rouge of Cambodia. That is because they were the most ignorant.

Just as ignorant people may take a violence-ridden opinion to the point of insanity, so they may confuse violence with an opinion against violence (or to religion). The Islamic world also experienced such cases.

The Bedouin Character in the Qur’an

In the period of our Prophet, there existed two basic social structures in Arabia. City-dwellers and Bedouins (Desert Arabs). A sophisticated culture prevailed in Arab towns. Commercial relations linked the towns to the outer world, which contributed to the formation of “civilized life” among Arabs dwelling in cities. They had refined aesthetic values, enjoyed literature and, especially poetry. Desert Arabs, on the other hand, were the nomad tribes living in the desert who had a very crude culture. Utterly unaware of arts and literature, they developed an unrefined, harsh character.

Islam was born and developed among the inhabitants of Mecca, the most important city of the peninsula. However, as Islam spread to the peninsula, all tribes in Arabia embraced it. Among these tribes were also Desert Arabs, who were somehow problematic: their poor intellectual and cultural background prevented them from grasping the profundity and noble spirit of Islam. Of this God states the following in a verse:

The Desert Arabs are more obdurate in disbelief and hypocrisy and more likely not to know the limits which God has sent down to His Messenger. God is All-Knowing, All-Wise. (Surat at-Tawba: 97)

The Desert Arabs, that is, social groups who were “obdurate in disbelief and hypocrisy” and prone to disobey God’s commands, became a part of the Islamic world in the Prophet’s lifetime. In latter periods, they became a source of trouble for the Islamic world. The sect called “Kharijis” that emerged among Bedouins was an example. The most distinctive trait of this perverse sect (which was called “Kharijis” the rebels because they greatly deviated from Sunni practises), was their extremely vulgar, wild and fanatical nature. The “Kharijis”, who had no comprehension whatsoever of the essence of Islam or of the virtues and the values of the Qur’an, waged war against all other Muslims and based this war on a few Qur’anic verses about which they made distorted interpretations. Furthermore, they carried out “acts of terrorism”. Caliph Ali, who was one of the closest companions of the Prophet and was described by him as the “gate of the city of knowledge”, was assassinated by a Kharijite.

In latter periods, “Hashashis” (Assassins), another brutal organization, emerged; this was a “terrorist organization” made up of ignorant and fanatical militants bereft of a profound understanding of the essence of Islam and thus who could be readily influenced by simple slogans and promises.

In other words, just as the Crusaders distorted and misinterpreted Christianity as a teaching of brutality, some perverted groups emerging in the Islamic world misinterpreted Islam and resorted to brutality. What is common to these sects and the Crusaders was their “Bedouin” nature. That is, they were ignorant, unrefined, uncultivated, vulgar, and isolated people. The violence they resorted resulted from this social structure, rather than the religion to which they claimed to adhere.

The Actual Source of Terrorism: The Third World Fanaticism

These examples from history are enlightening for a better understanding of the phenomenon, the so-called “Islamic terror”, which is nowadays on the top of the international agenda. That is because those who emerge and carry out acts of terrorism in the name of Islam or those who back such acts -these people, no doubt, represent a minority in the world of Islam- stem from this “Bedouin character”, not from Islam. Failing to understand the essence of Islam, they try to make Islam, essentially a religion of peace and justice, a tool of barbarism, which is simply an outcome of their social and cultural structure. The origin of this barbarism, which may well be called the “Third World Fanaticism”, is the benighted initiatives of people who are devoid of love for humans.

It is a fact that, for the last few centuries, Muslims in all corners of the Islamic world, are being subjected to violence by Western forces and their affiliates. The colonialist European states, local oppressive regimes or colonialists backed by the West (Israel, for instance) caused great suffering for Muslims at large. However, for Muslims, this is a situation that has to be approached and responded to from a purely Qur’anic stance.

In no part of the Qur’an does God command believers to “respond to violence with violence”. On the contrary, God commands Muslims to “respond to evil with goodness”:

A good action and a bad action are not the same. Repel the bad with something better and, if there is enmity between you and someone else, he will be like a bosom friend. (Surat al-Fussilat: 34)

It is no doubt a legitimate right of Muslims to react against cruelty. However, these reactions should never turn into a blind hatred, an unjust enmity. God warns about this in the following verse: “… Do not let hatred for a people who debar you from the Masjid al-Haram incite you into going beyond the limits. Help each other to goodness and heedfulness. Do not help each other to wrongdoing and enmity. Heed God Allah (alone)…” (Surat al-Ma’ida: 2)

Consequently, carrying out terrorist acts under the pretence of “representing the oppressed nations of the world”, against the innocent people of other nations is by no means compatible with Islam.

Another point that deserves a special mention here is that all the Western world cannot be held responsible for the aforementioned colonialist (or “neo-colonialist) violence and oppression against Muslims. Actually, the materialist, irreligious philosophies and ideologies that prevailed in the 19th century are responsible for these dismal acts. European colonialism did not originate from Christianity. On the contrary, anti-religious movements opposing the values of Christianity led the way to colonialism. At the roots of the greatest brutalities of the 19th century lies the Social Darwinist ideology.

In the Western world today, there are still cruel, mischievous and opposing elements as well as a culture dominated by peaceful and just elements that have its roots in Judeo-Christian faith. As a matter of fact, the main disagreement is not between the West and Islam. Contrary to the general opinion, it is between the religious people of the West and of the Muslim world on the one hand, and the people opposing religion (like materialists and atheists.) on the other.

Another indication that Third World Fanaticism has nothing to do with Islam is that, until recently, this fanaticism has been identified with communist ideology. As is known, similar anti-Western acts of terror were carried out in 1960s and 70s by Soviet-backed communist organizations. As the impact of the communist ideology faded, some of the social structures which gave birth to communist organizations have turned their attention to Islam. This “brutality presented under the guise of religion”, which is formulated by the incorporation of some Islamic concepts and symbols into the former communist rhetoric are entirely against the moral values constituting the essence of Islam.

Anti-Western radicalism once used the communist ideology to support its violence. Now it is trying to use religious concepts.
A last remark about this issue is that Islam is not peculiar to a particular nation or geography. Contrary to the dominant Western perception, Islam is not an “Eastern culture”. Islam is the last religion revealed to mankind as a guide to the true path that recommends itself to all humanity. Muslims are responsible for communicating the true religion they believe in to all people of all nations and cultures and making them feel closer to Islam.

Consequently, there is a unique solution for people and groups who, in the name of Islam, resort to terror or establish oppressive regimes and turn this world into a dreadful place instead of beautifying it: revealing the true Islam and communicating it so that the masses can understand and live by it.

Conclusion: Recommendations to the Western World

Today, the Western world is concerned about the organizations that use terror under the guise of Islam and this concern is not misplaced. It is obvious that those carrying out terror and their supporters should be punished according to international judicial criteria. However, a more important point to consider is the long-term strategies that have to be pursued for viable solutions to these problems.

The assessments above reveal that terror has no place in Islam. They further show the inherently contradictory nature of the concept of “Islamic terror”. This provides us with an important vantage point:

1) The Western world, especially the United States, will surely take the most dissuasive measures to cope with terror and it has the right to do that. However, it has to state explicitly that this is not a war waged against Islam and Muslims but, on the contrary, a measure serving the best interests of Islam. The “Clash of civilizations”, the dangerous scenario envisioned in the 90’s should be at all costs prevented.

2) Support should be provided for the spread of “True Islam”, which is a religion of love, friendship, peace and brotherhood, and for its true understanding by Islamic societies. The solution for radical factions in Islamic countries should not be “forced secularization”. On the contrary, such a policy will incite more reaction from the masses and feed radicalism. The solution is the dissemination of true Islam and the appearance of a Muslim role-model who embraces Qur’anic values such as human rights, democracy, freedom, good morals, science and aesthetics, and who offers happiness and bliss to humanity.

3) The source of terrorism is ignorance and bigotry and the solution is education. To the circles who feel sympathy with terror, it should be said that terror is utterly against Islam, that terror only does harm to Islam, Muslims and to humanity at large. Besides, these people have to be provided with education in order to be purified of this barbarism. The United States’ support to such an education policy will yield very positive results.

Our hope is that these measures will help to the world get rid of terrorism and all other bigoted, brutal, barbarous structures. With its Christian-dominated culture and population, the United States, which defines itself as “a nation under God”, is in fact a real friend of the Muslims. In the Qur’an, God draws attention to this fact and informs us that Christians are those who are “most affectionate to those who believe”. (Surat al-Ma’ida: 82)

In history, some ignorant people (for instance, Crusaders) failed to understand this fact and caused conflicts between these two great religions. To prevent the repetition of this scenario, true Christians and Muslims need to come together and co-operate.

Under the pen name of Harun Yahya, Adnan Oktar has written some 250 works. His books contain a total of 46,000 pages and 31,500 illustrations. Of these books, 7,000 pages and 6,000 illustrations deal with the collapse of the Theory of Evolution. You can read, free of charge, all the books Adnan Oktar has written under the pen name Harun Yahya on these websites www.harunyahya.com
Notes

(1) - Alan Ereira, David Wallace, C r u s a d e s : Terry Johns Tell the Dramatic Story of Battle for Holy Land, BBC World Wide Ltd., 1995.