We will make this our last post for this unscheduled internet session. We are going to look at a question posed by a BAS regular and it is found at the following link:
Is there something wrong with Biblically derived monotheism that gives rise to religious terrorism—to murder in the name of God?” asks Ronald Hendel in his Biblical Views column “The Bible and Religious Violence” in the March/April 2016 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.
When people as this question we know right away that they are only looking at the surface of the issue and not being honest. They leave out the most important influential data that is also a part of violence in the world–evil. because so many unbelievers do not accept or believe that evil exists, they only have one place to put their blame– God and religion.
This is erroneous as in both Judaism and Christianity there is no command to murder. But those beliefs get those accusations because the unbeliever redefines acts of divine punishment according to their subjective definitions and outlook on morality. There is a difference between divine judgment on unrepentant sins and out right murder. The former is righteous punishment that is done without hatred and sin and the latter is an act of violence motivated by sin, evil desires and no righteousness or punishment is involved in this act. It is a pure act of hatred and sin.
But since unbelievers apply their own standards to the acts of God, to the acts of believers, and because they have no understanding of what the Bible is saying, they make judgments on acts they know nothing about and close their ears to the true explanation. They think that their idea of morality is greater than God’s. What the unbeliever is missing is vital to the analysis of religion and violence.
People may invoke the name of God when they commit violent acts but that does not mean that they are following the tenants of their religion correctly. It also does not mean that God approves of their acts, even when they say they have permission to do such evil. God does not tempt people with sin nor does he command people to sin. He wants his followers to be holy and murdering, if it is actual murder, and committing other crimes and sins does not make one holy. Those acts make one in need of repentance and forgiveness.
For those people who justify their violent behavior on certain parts of the Bible because God said to kill particular ancient groups of people are not following god or the Bible but using the Bible to do what they want. God has not issued an order since the time of Jesus for any of his followers to go kill others, even in divine and righteous punishment. That command is now non-existent and does not apply to the NT era. In fact, those commands in the OT were not blind, blanket do it in all eras commands, but specific orders for a specific situation and people.
Yet unbelievers are not listening to the truth and make up their own ideas about the acts of God and those who claim to follow him. Not one person who has committed actual violence and murder in the name of God in the modern era has ever proven that the directives they were following were actually of God. Without that verification, people like Mr. Hendel cannot make their accusations for they have no proof that God or religion were behind those violent acts.
The believer can say that evil is behind those acts because we have the Bible telling us where the source of those acts are. We are also told that man loves darkness not light, which is not how God is described God provided two testaments of instructions for his followers to adhere to and if the unbeliever misunderstands those instructions then that is not the fault of God, the believer or religion but the fault on the part of the unbeliever because they failed to be honest and fully investigate the issue.
The religious ideology of holy war, which has trickled down into the religious motivation for religious terror, is a mask, a justification and a deception,” says Ronald Hendel. “It deceives its practitioners and its victims. Ashur does not want the death of the people of Laqe, nor does Yahweh want the death of the people of Jericho, nor does Chemosh want the death of the people of Nebo. Nor does Allah want the death of people in California.”
This is the case in point. The unbeliever blames religion instead of the devil and his minions who are in this world, who are working in the lives of some unbelievers and some who claim to follow God and so on, in order to destroy what God has created. The unbeliever not affected by this influence does not grasp the severity of the issue or situation. Again, they take the easy road and blame God or religion and then use those erroneous conclusions to justify their refusal to accept Christ as their savior. That refusal, though unknown to the unbeliever, is also under the influence of evil.
So to answer Mr. Hendel’s question: Is there something wrong with Biblically derived monotheism that gives rise to religious terrorism—to murder in the name of God?”
No. There is something wrong with the person who claims to follow God yet disobeys the biblical instructions given in God’s word. Those people are not following God but giving in to evil and letting evil, not God, direct their behavior and thinking. Let’s put the blame where the blame lies– on evil and those humans who choose to follow it over God and his ways.
The unbeliever who continues to blame God and religion for the acts of evil are the ones being illogical and irrational as they refuse to accept the truth about why those claim to follow God still do evil. The believer is under the command to be holy which means they are to act like Jesus not the devil.