Thursday, December 18, 2008

Terrorism, Religion, and Christmas

The following story caught my attention and I have excerpted a quote from it. It comes from Assist News Service (ANS).

DHAKA, BANGLADESH (ANS) -- Buddhist clerics and local council officials are holding 13 newly converted Christians captive in a pagoda in a southeastern mountainous district of Bangladesh in an attempt to forcibly return them to Buddhism.

A spokesman for the Parbatta Adivasi (Hill Tract) Christian Church told Compass Direct News on condition of anonymity that "the plight of the Christians is horrifying."

According to Compass, local government council officials in Jorachuri sub-district in Rangamati district, some 300 kilometers (186 miles) southeast of Dhaka, are helping the Buddhist monks to hold the Christians against their will, he said.

"The 13 tribal Christians were taken forcefully to a pagoda on Dec. 10 to accept Buddhism against their will," he said. "They will be kept in a pagoda for 10 days to perform the rituals to be Buddhists -- their heads were shaved, and they were given yellow saffron robes to dress in."

I’ve been reading about Hindu terrorism in areas like Orissa (The picture shows a church vandalized by Hindu terrorists). One story reported Hindu terrorists putting a price on the heads of Christian pastors. Again and again, Hindu’s charge Christian evangelists with forcing people to convert. Of course, we are already well aware of Islamic Militants of several varieties, creating 9-1-1, Mumbai, et al.

As we approach Christmas week, I find it interesting that

1) so much of the world terrorism is involved in religious differences,
2) charges against Christians are often those tactics most used by non-Christian devotees, and
3) only in America, with its strongly Protestant Christian influence--I didn’t say nation--can people of differing religious faiths live side by side in relative peace.

Buddhists, Hindus, and Islamics (and some Christians) all find it difficult to tolerate each other. Non-Christians terrorize Christians in many parts of the world. CHRISTMAS reminds us again of the birth of the babe in Bethlehem. It was a night when the angels sang peace on earth among men of good will. It launched a life that died 33 years later at Golgotha (Calvary) rather than deny God’s purpose. However, according to Easter, God refused to let the light of that life be extinguished.

His purpose was revealed in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (NIV). Or, as the Apostle Paul declared, “His purpose was to create in himself one new man … thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross by which he put to death their hostility” (Ephesians 2:15-16).

He did not say it would be easy, but Christians are at their best when restoring peace, loving all of God’s created, and extending the grace of the Lord Jesus.
Peace . . . Wayne


Jonathan said...

I know that in some of these situations the motive is money and not religious fervor. No one will blame them for attacking the bad Christians.

Wayne said...

Jonathan, I did not mean to imply that all terrorism is religiously motivated; I know it is not. It is unfortunate, however, that so much of it is associated with religion. But it also suggests to my mind the need for Christians to be at "their best" in the world, which I do believe to be superior in moral quality to all others.