Sjolander Road Fellowship




Declaring the God of Unconditional Love

Combatting Terrorism

Terrorism always seems to have religious overtones. Atheists are correct in noting how much historic violence results from religious teaching.

 

Terrorism by its very nature is essentially impossible to control. Terrorists have no respect for laws and the associated punishments because in many cases the terrorists die alone side their victims. So more stringent laws are not the answer. In addition to laws many attempt to use security procedures and regulations to limit potential terrorists from accessing weapons, explosives, and vital installations and facilities. Of course, such procedures quickly become onerous and vastly expensive. The many sacrifice personal liberty and convenience to thwart the demented few. Ironically the demented few to which I refer are really those who take their professed religious dogma most seriously. The many are those who may confess or subconsciously adhere to the dogmas but who neglect to act consistently in accordance with those teachings and the logical consequences.

 

It all seems rather hopeless. Eventually it seems someone somewhere will circumvent all the precautions and bring death and destruction on innocent bystanders.

 

Is there any better long term way to address the threat of random violence imposed by terrorism? Perhaps there is a way to avoid institutionalizing all the restrictions presently being used in the “War on Terror”.

 

It occurs to me that addressing the root cause of terrorism, i.e. the ill conceived religious intolerance which lies at the core of most terrorist acts, would be vastly more productive than trying to prevent the acts after the intolerance has been propagated without rebuttal. Of course, in the U.S. we condemn the intolerance of the Islamic fundamentalist, because we clearly see the negative results directed at us personally. However, we often miss the same intolerance which permeates our own “Christian” orthodoxy. It would be difficult to combat such intolerance and the resulting anti-social behavior in others religious groups without relinquishing the orthodox teachings which name “Christians” as God’s chosen ones with God’s mandate to subvert other religions. One cannot oppose intolerance and its violence by preaching your own brand of intolerance. That is our dilemma. We are caught in a moral inconsistency of the first order, and many in the world clearly see this fact.

 

We can continue to try to suppress terrorism by repressive regulations and acts of retributive violence, but such an approach will never prove effective because violence and repression feed on themselves. A much more reasonable strategy would be to re-examine our own exclusivist theology and in doing so begin to focus on molding others by modeling acceptance and tolerance ourselves. To continue our present approach is simply treating the symptoms without dealing with the underlying cause.

 

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