Tuesday, October 7, 2014
The news of the brutality of the ISIS fighting force has made global headlines. ISIS is a terrorist army that has amassed a force in the tens of thousands. Their savage march across portions of the Middle East has captured the attention of world leaders and its citizens alike. The unashamed imagery and how they glory in their barbarism is something the world has never seen. What motivates these fighters to do such shameless evil?
The first motivator is their religion. Current Muslims stand on the shoulders of millions of followers of Islam dating back over 1,200 years to their founder, Prophet Muhammad, the Quran, and the stories of their faith that have been handed down to each generation.
Historical accounts show Muhammad engaging in brutality comparable to modern radical groups. Some experts say 15 to 25 percent of Muslims (180-300 million) would be considered extreme similar to ISIS or Al-Qaeda. Portions of the Quran influence their deplorable tactics with passages like “I [Allah] will instill terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: you smite above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them” (Quran 8:12). When bloodshed is driven by a deeply held religious belief, groups like ISIS do not see their actions as reprehensible. They consider it honorable.
The second motivator is money and power. What if the money, fame, expanding territory and growth of followers were all taken away? Would ISIS still exist? Sometimes people can use religion as a clever mask for a deeper motivation of personal gain.
The genuine face of peace in our world of upheaval is Jesus. He did not come for personal gain. He came to show us the one-true God pulling back the curtain of mystery. Jesus said, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father [God]” (John 14:9). Sometimes our religious leaders and institutions can fall short because they are built upon flawed people. However, when we fix our eyes on Christ we will never be disappointed.
Jesus reveals God is not a brutal dictator. He owns and rules the universe. Religion, money and power do not motivate Him. Rather, His purpose is to give. He showed this most by giving His Son to die on a cross and rise again. If only we would believe and turn from our sinful ways. Then peace will reign in our hearts through His gift of forgiveness. May Jesus be your hope and peace for today.