WAR ON or OF TERROR?

November, 2004 (8 pages of heavy reading! You had better print it out before reading.)

The war ON terror may have started on September 11, 2001, but the war OF terror started many centuries before America was discovered. It began at the very inception of Islam in the Seventh century.

In order to effectively fight the “war on terror”, we need to understand that the “war of terror” is a basic concept of Islam for obtaining world dominion. Jihad is the Islamic mission strategy. Before I elaborate on this, I need to back up in history to the rise in political power and simultaneous spiritual decline of the Christian Church. Islam could not have gained such a strong foothold in the world if a depraved Christianity had not paved the way.

APOSTOLIC TIMES
The early Christian church got off to a great start and grew rapidly during the first century of its existence. The apostles were aware of their God-given mission to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and teach converts to follow his teachings. The early Christians were ambitious about getting the job accomplished as soon as possible.

The “gospel of the kingdom” was a message of peace and joy, but it also included a somber warning to converts, that there was a good possibility or even probability that they would suffer persecution in the process. The attractiveness of the gospel to many was found in the teaching of “the blessed hope of the Lord’s return to set up his eternal kingdom”. In spite of persecution, growth was astounding. Common people, Jewish priests, educated and wealthy citizens began to embrace Christianity in large numbers. After Constantine embraced the Christian faith in 312, church leaders began to achieve new levels of prestige and affluence. Greed for power and wealth began to erode the church spiritually. The situation in the Roman Church got so bad, that Constantine moved the capitol of the Roman Empire to Constantinople (Istanbul). It was not Constantine, but his follower Theodosius, who made Christianity the official religion of the empire in 390. He misused the popularity of the Christians to solidify his holdings, requiring all subjects to be baptized into the church. A “state-church” was formed in which the Emperor proclaimed heresy to be a crime punishable by death. On the other hand, church leaders reminded the pious of their “God-given duty” to be subject to the Emperor.

It was not long before dissenters were being confined to dungeons and torture chambers. Laws of the state became religion and submission to the church was enforced by the state. With the creation of the state church, teachings of the Old and New Testaments gradually lost significance in political decision-making and even in church affairs. Ruling Bishops and secular monarchs fought over territorial rights and Priests were also caught up in these bitter power struggles. Biblical teaching soon gave way to empty sacramental observances. Both government laws and church discipline were primarily designed to keep subjects in line and to secure a steady income for the Emperor and church hierarchy. Lowly peasants had no say in politics or religion and even a mild protest could lead to torture or death.

THE PAPAL STATE
In 590, Gregory the Great became Pope. It was he who laid the foundations for a papal state. Although Christianity continued expanding in Europe and Asia, few of its adherents were happy with this “Holy Roman Empire”. The “blessed hope of the Lord’s return” lost much of its alure with the passing of time, and the “Kingdom of God” had come to represent an oppressive dictatorship. Exorbitant taxation was levied to finance wars and support the lavish lifestyle of the nobility. The church hierarchy also placed heavy demands on the common people. Church leaders lived in palaces and enjoyed every conceivable luxury. Bishops vied with one another over who could erect the most magnificent cathedral, but the peasants knew only hard work and poverty.

AN INTERESTING ALTERNATIVE
Mohammed was born in 570 and began espousing his views soon after Pope Gregory created the Papal state. Islam offered an interesting alternative to Christianity and its theology was not difficult for many to accept. Mohammed gave credence to both Abraham and Jesus, considering them to be legitimate prophets. Like Christianity and Judaism, Islam believed in only one God, and Muhammad was his prophet. Some teachings of Jesus and passages of the Torah (Old Testament) were included in the Koran, so both the Old and New testaments seemed unnecessary. The scriptures were only available to a few select persons who could read Latin and afford the expensive manuscripts. Few members of the educated class showed interest in the scriptures. The Koran, on the other hand, was written in Arabic and at least the Arab populations were exposed to its teachings. Adherents were induced to memorize large portions of it.

THE FIRST JIHAD
Mohammed was a good observer and student of history. He recognized the great power potential that a coalition of church and state offered, but he also recognized its shortcomings. What the Christian Church and Roman Empire could do in coalition, he could do better as a singular unified religious kingdom! Islam was promoted simultaneously as both a government and religion. Its advances were primarily of a military nature. “Jihad” means to convert or destroy the enemy, but because those who converted to Islam voluntarily were released from taxation and church dues, many converted willingly. Bounty seized from those who resisted, sufficed to finance much of Islam’s “first great Jihad”. Islam grew like wild fire, expanding from the Arabian Peninsula in every direction. No religion in history grew faster than Islam in the first two centuries after its founding. By the time Muhammad died in 632 AD, the Western Roman Empire was a shambles and the Eastern Empire in Constantinople was trying futilely to maintain some semblance of its early grandeur. Charles Martel of France, the father of Charlemagne, was able to temporarily stop Muslim advances at the battle of Tours in 732, but Muslims continued their campaign to conquer the West until they were finally driven out of Spain at the battle of Granada, in the same year Columbus discovered America.

THE SECOND GREAT JIHAD
The second major thrust of Islam was directed towards the East and South. The Ottoman Turks came to power in 1450 and brought down the Christian stronghold of Constantinople on May 29, 1453. A contributing factor in the success of Islam in Western Europe can be found in the decadent religious situation of the times. Biblical truth had become unimportant to Roman church leaders. Not a few Bishops, priests and monks lived in open immorality. The Habsburgers, who ruled much of Europe for six centuries, relied heavily on peasants to fight the Turks, but many peasants wondered if they were fighting on the wrong side. During much of the 15th and 16th centuries, the protestant reformation took its toll on the Emperor’s military and financial resources.

By 1600, a good majority of the empire had become protestant. Many of the nobility had defected and most of the peasants followed Lutheran or Anabaptist teachings. Printed New Testaments and Bibles in the language of the people were spreading rapidly throughout Europe. Repeated decrees of the Emperor, demanding that subjects return to the Catholic fold, fell on deaf ears. The reformation movement continued to pick up momentum well into the 17th century.

On several occasions, the Emperor even found it necessary to make concessions to protestant Lords, in order to get money and soldiers to fight the Muslim Turks. Although Islam had fractured into warring sects and bitter rivalries, the Byzantine Empire continued to grow under the Ottomans. In the last two decades of the 15th century, however, the Ottomans suffered a series of defeats on both land and sea. Turning westward again, they experienced their greatest humiliation in an attempt to capture Vienna in 1683. It was some time before further attempts were made by the Turks to expand their territory. Islam divided by cantankerous, Emir dominated sheikhdoms and roving tribes of nomads. Anti-western sentiment grew among Muslims, who were not willing to accept blame for their failures. This situation set the stage for an Islamic revival known as Wahhabism.

THE THIRD JIHAD
Wahhabism was born before World War I in Saudi Arabia and called for the rejection of anything that was not based on the original writings of the Prophet Mohammed. It demands strict adherence to the commands of the Koran, which calls for a holy jihad similar to those which had brought great territorial gains for Islam in the past. We can recognize the forcefulness and effectiveness of this Muslim military sect in activities and practices of Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini, the Taliban and Osama bin Laden. The latter is now widely recognized as leader of the “third great Jihad”, but Sadaam Hussein also strove for this highly prized recognition until his political demise and captivity.

THE UNIFYING FORCE OF ISLAM
In general, Muslims are divided and can hardly agree on anything, but hatred for Israel is an effective catalyst which transcends Middle Eastern borders, uniting Muslims of different sects and nationalities. A common hatred for Israel is the unifying core of Wahhabism. The United States is Israel’s primary defender, making America a prime target of Islamic terrorists.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF ISRAEL
Israel existed as a nation two thousand years before the birth of Muhammad. Although Israel was conquered and occupied by Assyria and Babylon, Palestine was generally recognized as the homeland of the Jewish people. Following the Jewish revolt of 63, Roman troops under Titus destroyed Jerusalem in 70 A.D. For the next 500 years, Palestine was a desolate wasteland, ruled by the Romans and Byzantine Empires. Palestine was conquered by Muslim Arabs in 635 AD, but that subjection lasted only 22 years. For the next 400 years, little changed until Palestine fell to the Seljud Turks around 1000. Crusaders took Palestine from the Turks only to have it recaptured by Egyptian Marmadukes, who lost it to the Ottoman Turks in 1517.

For the next three centuries, Palestine was sparsely populated by Jews and nomadic peoples. The British drove out the Turks in WW I and after the Balfour Declaration was signed by the League of Nations, diaspora Jews began to return to their homeland. When Hitler came to power, even more Jews arrived, resulting in the first round of militant Arab opposition. In spite of all these conflicts and occupations, Palestine was always considered to be the homeland of Jews up until the 20th century.

The newly formed United Nations voted in 1947 for the formation of two independent states, an Arab and a Jewish state with the city of Jerusalem being internationalized. The Jews accepted this ruling and declared the establishment of the nation Israel in 1948. Arabs rejected the resolution and so there never was an Arab state in Palestine. The Palestine Liberation Organization (POL) was founded by Arab guerillas from neighboring lands in 1964 and it was not until 1967 that the term "Palestine People" came into use. In 1974, bloc voting of Arab, Communist and some African states granted the POL "observer status" in the UN. A year later, the same countries voted for PLO involvement in the Security Council debates. It was at this time that the term "occupied territories" was introduced, referring to the legal territory of Israel. This same voting constellation ruled in the 30th session (1975) of the UNO, that Zionism was a form of racism and racial discrimination.

INTERNATIONAL ISLAMIC TERRORISM
As already mentioned, the United States is Israel's closest ally and Israel is the only country in the Middle East which shares America's democratic and humane ideals. Those Muslim terrorists who perpetrate systematic attacks against contractors and members of armed forces allied with America in Iraq, openly declare their willingness to exclude countries from terrorist attacks, who do not support the “American and Jewish devils”. Europe has for the most part already taken this approach in dealing with terrorism. Since WW II, Muslims view Germany and Austria as allies in their hatred of Israel. France not only has a large Muslim population, but seems to delight in anything that causes Americans grief. One terrorist bombing was sufficient to bring Spain to its knees.

There is little doubt that Americans could temporarily stay off terrorist attacks against our nation if we would agree to stand by and allow the Muslim jihad to annihilate Israel. Some Americans in high political positions would like to see the United States turn its back on Israel. Such an action would be a cheap way to keep Muslim terrorists from attacking us – but only until they succeed in exterminating Israel. Anyone who knows anything about history, knows that the jihad will not stop with Israel. According to the Koran and declared goals of Wahhabism, every “infidel” (non Muslim) must be converted or destroyed. Another way of putting it: the last vestiges of freedom must be vanquished and every people and nation placed in subjection to Muslim terrorists.

Wahhabists believe that killing innocent people is a legitimate way to achieve these goals. They do not seek sympathy, but attempt to strike fear into their enemies, thus breaking their will to fight back. As stated above, the jihad, or holy war, seeks to rid the world of "infidels" (Christians, Jews, Hindus and any other non-Islamic groups). The ultimate goal is to make the entire world subject to Allah, meaning of course his earthly representatives. No holds are barred in this process. Even the sacrifice of fellow Muslims is a planned concept of the jihad. We are all familiar with the suicide bombers and it is no secret that most of those who have been killed by Iraqi insurgents were Muslims.

Muslims who support the Wahhabist movement and El Kaida would do well to study their own history. They would soon realize that a future Muslim dictatorship would be no kinder to the general Muslim populace than those of the past.

It is common knowledge that Osama bin Laden’s murderous global design is to create worldwide Islamic rule by killing or subjugating non-Muslims. The immediate aim of Hamas is to drive all Jews out of Israel, but the organization is affiliated with the international Muslim Brotherhood, whose purpose is subjecting the world to Islam. The P.L.O. charter also calls for the destruction of Israel, but has the same ultimate ambitions. Abu Sayyaf seeks to rid the Philippines of Christians but has close ties to the Taliban and the international terrorist movement. The same is true of Chechen rebels, who demand independence, but espouse the goals of radical Islamic Wahhabism. The Muslim minority government in Dufor (Sudan) has slaughtered at least 100,000 blacks and millions more have been forced to flee and face starvation unless something is done fast to prevent this catastrophy. Turkey is the only Muslim nation with a democratic type of government, but even here, there is little if any religious freedom and atrocities against Armenian Christians have not yet been forgotten.

To civilized people, the idea of terrorism is repulsive. Christians and most other religions consider human life to be sacred, but Muslims seem to have no trouble justifying the cold-blooded murders of innocent women and children on behalf of Allah. They even entice young Muslims to become suicide bombers by promising sensual pleasures in the next life. More recently, people have been pressured or forced into perpetrating terrorist attacks by chaining them to the seats of vehicles packed with explosives, or holding their loved ones hostage under threat of death until the their dastardly deeds have been accomplished.  The family of a Palestinian suicide bomber receives $40,000 (the equivalent of 8 year’s salary) for sacrificing a child to the cause. Sadaam Hussein was once the largest contributor to this monetary package, but since his capture, others are paying his share.

OUR MUSLIM ALLIES
Oddly enough, a number of Muslim nations seem most supportive of the American war on terrorism. They know that they would have much to lose if Osama bin Laden is successful in accomplishing his purposes. Leaders of Arab nations such as Saudi Arabia understandably do not relish the idea of their subjects showing greater allegiance to anyone other than themselves. This is the only reason most Arab states did not interfere with and in some cases even cooperated in the Afghan and Iraqi conflicts. At the outset of the present war in Iraq, the media showed mobs of demonstrators all over the Middle East, calling for a jihad against “the American aggressors”, but their leaders quietly supported the invasion and rejoiced in the arrest of Sadaam Hussein. Sadaam also vied for international recognition of the Arab people. He would have been assured of this honor had he succeeded in destroying or dealing a devastating blow to Israel. America was the primary reason his goal was not realized.

OSAMA BIN LADEN
Osama bin Laden wrongly assumed that the attacks of 9-11 would cause America to reconsider its position towards Israel, thus paving the way for uniting Arabs in a final conquest of Israel. Millions of Muslims in many Arab nations still cheer each El Kaida victory and long for an "Arab Messiah", who can unite Muslims and lead them to world conquest.

Arab Muslims have a dream, and they have already gotten a taste of what the fulfillment of that dream may be like. You see, Arabs have a near monopoly on the world’s oil supply. While natives pay little or no taxes and live in luxury, foreigners do much of the work. America itself is an example of what the Muslim dream could look like. To them, Americans are wrongfully enjoying the luxuries and pleasures that rightfully belong to them. Muslims may accuse America of being immoral (for many Americans, this is a correct assessment), but the Muslim idea that a man who blows himself up in order to kill a bunch of infidels, will enter paradise and have many virgins to serve his lustful appetite can hardly be considered moral.

INTERESTING PARALLELS
While visiting the Sultan’s palace in Istanbul, a tour guide showed our group extensive kitchens, where “free meals were served to the poor people of the city”. Most of the historically ignorant tourists nodded in approval, but these “poor people” were actually slaves of the Sultan! Muslims dream of regaining their past glory, when the Sultans lived in sheer luxury and ruled much of the then known world from their harems. They are ignorant of their own history, which reveals the ugly side of that era. The Sultans were little or no better than Sadaam Hussein in many respects.

The Muslim dream is similar to the Communist dream which became a nightmare for the masses in Russia and Eastern Europe. American children dream of being a prince or princess surrounded by knights in shining armor in a medieval castle, but if they had lived in those times, their chances of being a prince or princess would be a million to one. Only a select few enjoyed any semblance of luxury during the Middle Ages. Everyone else was subjected to poverty and hard labor.

The Democratic party proudly states that it gets a large portion of the black vote. It even claims that this is because blacks are an underprivileged and poor group. But Democrats generally vote against measures that would help black Americans become independent of political handouts. Neither the blacks nor the Democrats desire to bite the hand that feeds them. By keeping them poor and ignorant, the Democrats can be assured of their votes.

When Spanish explorers discovered massive gold treasures in Peru, they held the great Inca hostage until a room was filled with gold. Then they benevolently baptized the Inca into the Catholic fold and sent him off to paradise. Today, most descendants of the Incas are poor and Catholic, who show their gratitude to the church for its handouts. This “Christian“ brand of political despotism stems from a denial and distortion of the teachings of Christ.

Islam demands absolute subjugation and anyone who does not bow his or her knee to Islam may be killed by any Muslim desirous of getting into paradise. A good Muslim in the eyes of most Westerners is a poor Muslim according to the Koran.

A good Christian, on the other hand, is one who follows the teachings and example of Christ. Jesus taught us to love one another, to forgive those who trespass against us, and to do good to them that persecute us. Unfortunately, only a minority actually attempt to follow his teachings and even most “Christian” leaders are more interested in money, power and the comforts of life.

THE WAR ON TERROR
Terrorism is a tactic of warfare, used to achieve totalitarian ends. The standard practice of conducting war has changed dramatically in the past decade, and it could change again if deemed necessary. A war without national boundaries and fought by unseen forces cannot be won by firing rockets any more than a medieval castle could be defended against jet bombers. If terrorism fails to meet its objectives, a new tactic will be forthcoming because the enemy is still very much alive. Even if we should succeed in containing terrorism, we have not defeated the real enemy; militant and fanatical Islam.

CONFLICTING MARCHING ORDERS
The following words of a conservative American who recognized the real danger, have been espoused by may Americans:

“It's time we speak out: Radical Islam - not just the tactic of terrorism - threatens Israel, America and every other democratic nation. It is also time for moderate Muslims and Imams to raise their voices and unequivocally condemn the violent aims of their radical brethren. Finally, it's time to fight back. We cannot pretend that we don't know who is responsible for today's deadly terrorist attacks, and we cannot afford to be passive. Above all and for everyone's good, militant Islam must be confronted through a united effort of all civilized nations.”

This may sound reasonable to many, but I am convinced that following the “marching orders “ of Jesus Christ is the most effective way to combat militant Islam. Like the Islamic terrorists, God’s goal is also the subjection of the entire world, but not through violent means and definitely not to earthly representatives who could and would misuse their invested powers. He demands direct subjugation to himself and his Word. He has given us the rules of his kingdom in the New Testament and he only accepts volunteers. No one is subjected against his or her will. The primary weapon is love and forgiveness. If Christians would only follow the rules of the Kingdom of God, many Muslims could be won over to God’s side.

THE FACTS OF HISTORY
After a 300-year head start of the Holy Roman Empire, Muhammed founded the Islamic movement based on tactics similar to those of the so-called “Holy” Roman Empire. Although Europe claimed to be Christian, neither the Roman Church nor the government displayed many characteristics of Jesus Christ and his teachings. Both the Muslim and Christian movements were dictatorships of human design, propagated under the guise of religion.

For six-hundred years, the Habsburgers ruled in coalition with the Roman Church. During this period, peasants had no rights and owned no property. Anyone who questioned seemingly insignificant doctrines and practices of the church or protested the unbearable taxation could expect imprisonment, torture and/or death.

It was during this period, that Muslim leaders built their own empire. The Crusades and Turkish wars are examples of how these opposing dictatorial systems frequently clashed, but generally speaking, both Christian and Muslim nations utilized a combination of religious teachings, political suppression and military force to achieve their ends. Turkey has managed to retain minimal political freedom by cleverly playing their Europe and Mideast cards alternately, but all other Muslim nations are dictatorships. Democracy was born of the reformation movement when people were encouraged to return to the teachings of Jesus.

The goal of Islam and of the Arab world is to impose exactly that kind of government which signers of our Declaration of Independence intended to prohibit in America: religious despotism. This beast, a coalition of an authoritarian religion and terror regime, whether Islamic or Christian in origin, enslaved Europe for centuries and has been successful in suppressing subjects of Arab states of the Middle East, Africa and Asia to this day. Islam has done nothing to enhance the situation of the common people and if it were not for the discovery of oil in 1938, most Islamic states would be economically destitute today -- and many still are.

AMERICAN INTERVENTION
America has consistently sought and fought for the establishment of the human rights and freedoms it enjoys at home in other parts of the globe. Wherever human rights and freedoms are being trampled under foot, America can be expected to speak up or even take forceful action. If it were not for American intervention, much of the world today -- including Europe, would likely be suppressed by ruthless dictators.

On the other hand, America doesn’t generally meddle in the affairs of other nations without good reason. Consider the fact that America has lived with a Communist dictatorship on its southern doorstep for decades. Only once, under John F. Kennedy, did America threaten to attack, when Castro tried to test the nation’s vigilance by importing Russian weapons of mass destruction. Following the demise of the Communist bloc and Iron Curtain in Europe, it might have been a simple matter to get rid of this Communist nuisance, but that is not America. If Castro decides to harbor terrorists, it would be quite different.

In 1979, 22 years prior to 9/11, hostages were taken in the Iran Embassy. In 1983, the Beirut, Lebanon Marine Barracks was attacked. Then came the crash at Lockerbie, Scotland of a Pan-Am flight to New York in 1988. The first New York World Trade Center bombing was in 1993; the Khobar Towers Military complex in Saudi Arabia was attacked in 1996; the Nairobi, Kenya US Embassy in 1998; Dar es Salaam, Tanzania US Embassy in 1998; the USS Cole attack in 2000 and finally (don’t we wish!), the infamous 9/11 attacks in New York and Washington. These are only the most prominent incidents. Between 1981 and 2001, there were a total of 7,581 terrorist attacks worldwide, nearly all of them directed against the United States and Israel.

In each case, the attacks on the US were carried out by Muslims. Muslim nations make up around 25% of the world population, but there are millions of Muslims living in non-Muslim nations as well. Are most Muslims peaceful? Hopefully, but that is immaterial. Most Germans were peaceful, but under the dictatorship of Hitler (who was incidentally Roman Catholic and had the support of many protestant leaders), that made no difference. You either went along with the administration or you were eliminated. Everyone has heard that the Nazis exterminated six million Jews in the holocaust. But did you know that they also killed millions of Christians? Seven thousand Polish priests, many Jehovah’s Witnesses (who refused to bear arms) and others who simply failed to return the infamous Nazi greeting were considered traitors to the cause and thus eliminated.

It is no different with Muslim terrorists. They may focus on the hated Jews and the US, but they will kill all who don’t conform. Thousands of Iraqis have been killed by insurgents and they don’t care if their victims are women or babies. All who stand in the way are infidels and must die in order for them to achieve their goal of world dominion/subjugation.

MAN’S WAY OR GOD’S WAY?
After Muslim terrorists attacked America on September 11th, 2001, most of the world expected the young and inexperienced American President, George W. Bush, to react rashly and with vehemence. Although America had the sympathy of much of the western world following the attacks, most nations feared an all out war against Islam. This is what many Americans were demanding and expected. After all, it was Muslims who perpetrated these vicious acts and Muslims in many nations were cheering unhindered in the streets at America’s calamity.

To the surprise of all, the President who had been elected by an extremely narrow margin and who had no international experience, kept his cool. Instead of doing what nearly everyone expected – declare immediate war on the enemy, Bush did what no President in recent years had done. He called on Americans to pray. He asked them to pray for the nation, for the world situation, the government and most of all, he asked prayer for wisdom. Of course we also know that Bush declared America’s intent to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice. He added that any nation which harbored or supported terrorists would be considered an enemy, but he placed prayer at the top of his priority list.

Pacifist Christians believe that this should have been the end of the matter. America should not have gone to war against Afghanistan and Iraq. Did not Christ teach that “men should love one another” and “forgive those who trespass against us”? He instructed his followers: “do good to them that persecute you” and to “turn the other cheek“.  We must be cautious not to interpret such admonishments falsely. Jesus performed many acts of kindness, healed thankless lepers and even the servant of the High Priest, whose ear Peter had cut off. But Jesus also showed himself to be a man of harsh actions when necessary. He threw out the money changers and sellers of sacrificial animals because they had turned the “house of God into a den of thieves”. He encouraged soldiers to fulfil their duty in honor.

We need to differentiate between defending our personal “rights” and defending the country or opposing evil forces that threaten our society and freedom of worship. Terrorists bombed Spanish trains and demanded that their troops be withdrawn from Iraq. The government caved to their wishes and “did good to their persecutors”. Is that what Jesus meant? Three men are beheaded by Muslim terrorists because the Americans refuse to release prisoners. Would it not have been Christian to release the prisoners and save the captives, thus doing good to everyone? We can only contend this if we ignore the fact that there is sin and eternal punishment for sinners.

God loves everyone, but he knows that hell is a horrible reality. He goes to drastic limits when necessary, in order to gain the attention of men and women headed in that direction. He sent his Son Jesus to suffer the horrible agony of the crucifixion because he wants to save us from hell. His sharpest words were reserved for hypocritical Pharisees and High Priests who hindered others from hearing and recognizing the truth. He said that it would be better for them to have a millstone tied around their necks and be thrown into the sea, than “to cause one of these little ones to stumble”. He advised people that cutting off their own hands or plucking out their eyes would be better than allowing these members to lead them to sin. He healed a man who had been lame for 38 years and then told him, “go and sin no more, lest something worse come upon you.” The consequences of sin are much worse than the most horrible afflictions we can imagine here on this earth. Eternity is a long time!

Even God’s own children are punished rather than allowing them to cause greater grief by continuing in sin. “Whom the Lord loveth, he chasteneth.”

A good Muslim in our eyes is a poor Muslim according to the Koran. On the other hand, a good Christian – one who follows the teachings of Jesus, is extremely rare and even suspected or despised by the majority of those who claim to be Christians. But he or she holds the key in the battle against terror. Saul of Tarsus was a terrorist until he became a Christian. We know him today as Paul the Apostle who said, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” Today, he would add, “and to the Muslims.”

Ralph V. Harvey