My God is better than your God.

The God competition killing us all

The God Competition - Pic attribute: youtube.comThe God Competition – Pic courtesy: youtube.com

Two young but heavily armed boys walk into a church in a suburb of Rouen in Northern France as mass is being held. They take a quick look around, muttered a few words to themselves and immediately bring out their instruments of destruction and unleashed the power of evil. They proceeded to kidnap the priest and 6 other members of the congregation. What they did next defies human comprehension – they beheaded the priest…and filmed themselves doing it.

Welcome to the Hell, welcome to the time of ISIS, Boko Haram, El Shabaab and Al-Qaeda. Paris, Brussels, Nice and Orlando know too well the evil that resides in the hands of the above groups; they have witnessed it first hand. Shootings, drownings, beheadings are now part of what we are to expect in our own towns and cities. France, recently seems to bear the brunt of it all. How can we forget the Charlie Hebdo attack or the coordinated attacks on Paris on 13th November 2015? When the bombings died down and the killings ended in these cities, the world was unanimous in its judgement; universal condemnation of the perpetrators of these inhumane acts. But something more dangerous was left behind. We will all go back to living our lives reeling from the shock of events that took so many lives. But the scars will still remain; friends and families of the affected will still blame the ‘other side’. The government will still blame the terrorists, the West will still blame the Muslims, and the extremists will still blame the Christians. The most dangerous thing left behind is BLAME. This will forever remain.

Global terrorism has seen a steady increase and more loss of lives even in the week preceding this article. Politicians initiate meetings and plan a response, spiritual leaders gather their flock and initiate prayer sessions, moderates call for peace, extremists call for more blood, but the bombs keep on dropping, the bombs keep on dropping. Beheadings, suicide bombings, unspeakable suffering and fear leading to a lot of anger and confusion that will surely one day culminate in calls for reprisal attacks and revenge. The world as we know it is changing and for the worse.

Osama Bin Laden (Son of a wealthy Saudi Businessman) was against the idea of allowing American soldiers (“infidels”) stepping on Saudi Arabia soil with their tanks and planes to help them fight Saddam Hussain who was hell-bent on annexing the oil-rich kingdom to his. Osama appealed to the Saudi King, begging him to be given a chance (with his followers) to defend the kingdom from Saddam without asking for American help. But America’s proposal was better and as such he was refused and the rest is history. If Saudi Arabia is the cradle of Islam, then Osama must have gone to his grave believing he was fighting to defend Islam; Fighting for God. When he was looking at the shiny barrel of that Navy seal’s automatic rifle, he must have felt God would surely receive his soul, even though he has taken so many. ISIS must believe they have waged this war on humanity because it is holy. Surely, they must believe that restoring a world-wide Islamic caliphate is Godsend. Boko Haram must surely believe they are fighting God’s fight for wanting to install the Sharia law and ban western education in their land. What most don’t understand is when it became apparent to some of these extremists that God needed someone to fight for him.

And before some readers jump up and down, it is important to say that Muslim extremists are not the only ones terrorising the world; although majority of these atrocities are attributed to them. History is littered with hate-fuelled terrorism perpetrated by Christians too – take the Wisconsin Sikh Temple massacre in August 2012 for example. Frank Silva Roque mistook a Sikh Indian for a Muslim right after the 9/11 attacks and murdered him in cold blood. He thought he was doing a service for God too. Or the suicide attack on the IRS building in Texas on 10th February 2010. That was an eerie attack whose modus operandi was spookily similar to that of the World Trade Centre. Joseph Stack flew a plane into the IRS office complex. When it comes to extremist organisations, we also have the KU Klux Klan (KKK), whose cross burning ritual apparently signifies ‘faith in Christ’. It has gotten so bad that these organisations are now trying to outdo each other with the way they carry out these killings; some of which are of such barbaric nature. It is clear that both sides believe they serve the ‘true God’ and what is disturbing is the belief that the other side don’t. Just yesterday in Nigeria, a young man was lynched and almost killed for the sin of blasphemy. What that means is that he was judged by his fellow-man and lynched by those who believe his crime was so great, they needed to carry out his punishment on behalf of God. Who is fooling who?

Without getting into the politics and causes, claims and counter claims regarding the cause of the recent spate of terrorist attacks, we can all agree we are indeed experiencing the end times. Worth considering: Matthew 24:33. – So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. But what are these things we need to see in order to know we truly live in the end times? For sure, wars and threats of war. We stopped loving our neighbors. We not only fear what we don’t understand, we distrust it. Muslims believe Christians serve a different God, and quite unfortunately Christians are guilty of having the same perception about Muslims. What both sides have failed to realise is that GOD IS LOVE, and if we were all able to look beyond the fence dividing both religions and truly love our neighbour, then it wouldn’t matter what religion my neighbour practises; because I will love him regardless. Mark 12:31 – “The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” I find this to be one of the most profound passages in the bible. To fully understand this message means to understand living as one. Just one . . . with the body of Christ.

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10. The irony of all we have witnessed with terrorism is a common denominator, GOD. perpetrators of these heinous acts believe they act for God, thus they believe in a version of God. As Christians, we also do believe in God. Muslims believe in God too. Does this tell us something? Rather than fight over whose God is superior, we should follow his commandments and express love in our hearts to our fellow-man. To experience a mind shift, and peace on earth, we should really be having a Loving-your-neighbour-more competition. But that is maybe asking for the impossible.

What is possible however is that love can grow from our hearts, infect all around us, and our society. Yes! We can save the world individually, by just developing love in our hearts. The power is in our hands.I might sound like a preacher right now, but I am not.; not even close. But I don’t have to be a preacher to know that the real cause for all this death and destruction is our inability to understand and ACCEPT another man’s religion and beliefs. Let God fight for himself.

Kole Obasa

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