“Vengeance is mine, I will repay, sayeth the Lord.” —Romans 12:19
Is the God of Abraham weak? Is he not doing His job? The events of the past week show he must be. Why else would us puny humans need to come to his defense in such a savage way.
A two-bit, low-budget movie hit the Internet last week, insulting one who many of His followers consider to be one of His prophets, with deadly results.
An American ambassador was murdered, along with several members of his staff, even though the ambassador wasn’t the one who made the movie.
In fact, nobody is quite sure who made the movie, because the alleged movie maker is in hiding and may have used an assumed name to make the picture. First reports said the movie was backed by Israeli Jews. Then reports claimed the movie maker was an expatriate Coptic Christian Egyptian (Coptic being one of the oldest branches of Christianity, and under heavy persecution from the Muslim majority in Egypt.)
But again, no one is quite sure at this point who made the film. The motivation for making the film was obvious — to stir up a hornet’s nest. And in that regard, the film is a complete and total success.
According to one of the actors, even they didn’t know what was going on in the film. The offending lines were apparently dubbed on top of the less offending ones the actors were actually reading.
One of the biggest sins in Islam is just to depict the prophet Mohammed. There is one problem to that prohibition — no one knows what Mohammed looks or sounds like. Those paintings going around of a blond-haired, blue-eyed Jesus probably aren’t too accurate. It’s not like he went down to Olan Mills and had a portrait done. Same goes for Jesus, Moses, Buddah, Zoroaster, etc.
The good Lord knows all sides have done a pretty good job of trying to offend the other. Christian fights Jew, who fights Muslim, who fights Baha‘i,’ who really doesn’t fight back.
That goes for those inside a school of faith as well as outside. Protestant fights Catholic, who fights Orthodox. Shia fights Sunni, who fights Druze, and they all fight Kurds. In Judaism, Ultra-Orthodox fights Orthodox, who fights Conservative, who fights Reformed.
Then we get into those so stupid or ignorant, they aren’t even sure who they are fighting — like the senseless attack on a Sikh community in Wisconsin, even though the Sikh are a Vedic religion (sharing a common origin with Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism).
The followers of the God who says “Thou Shalt Not Kill,” spend an awful lot of time and energy killing in His name. We’ve had Crusades, Holocausts, Pogroms, Ethnic Cleansing, Jihad and so on, and so on. No one is clean, or as St. Paul put it, “For all have sinned.” Sometimes I feel defensiveness about ones faith is, in itself, a lack of or weakness in faith. If one feels the need to commit violence because something offends him, then his faith is weak. The need to commit a violent act to assuage the fear that one’s faith is weak. (”I’ll show them. I’ll go out and do something terrible to somebody.”)
I take offense. Therefore, I must react, lash out, because God may or may not react. That goes back to what Paul said in his letter to the Romans. And no, Maggot was wrong in “The Dirty Dozen,” when he replied “But I’m His instrument.”
Paul is saying, “don’t sweat it, God will take care of it. If not in this life, then in the one that follows.”
— Mark Schnabel is sports editor of The Newton Kansan