Ligon Duncan on the Non-Negotiables of the Gospel

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  • Thursday, February 21, 2008

    Religion Not to Blame! (At least not ... Ultimately)

    Fuller, 69, who has lived for several years with his wife, Prue, in Squamish, where he plans to remain, also doesn't let off the hook those atheists who like to blame religion, whether Islam or Christianity, for inciting much of the planet's violence.

    He notes that the "principal horrors" of the 20th century "came almost exclusively from strictly secular regimes: Leopold II of Belgium in the Congo, Hitler, Mussolini, Lenin and Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot. It was Europeans who visited their 'world wars' twice upon the rest of the world -- two devastating global conflicts with no remote parallels in Islamic history."

    The Middle East, without Islam, would still be challenged, Fuller says, by ethnic rivalries involving Turks, Kurds, Jews, Persians, Arabs and others -- all of whom remain involved in ongoing conflicts over power, territory, influence and trade.

    Interesting article entitled Don't blame Islam for terrorism, expert says

    Here's my take:
    1. Regardless of whether the author's take is correct or not (or to what degree); it can be deduced that "religion" itself is not the problem, but man and his sinfulness (Note the quote "...conflicts over power, territory, influence and trade...", and this is just to mention a few of the problems which point to the "root" problem which the author does not mention.) Man, in his sinfulness can and often does use religion for his evil purposes. Man in his sin also uses opposition to religion for sinful purposes. While some such as the new leadership of Atheism like to suggest that "religion" is the problem, they fail to understand the problem ultimate lies with the heart and nature of man.

    2. This is not to deny that false religions (and even the true religion...when high-jacked, faked, abandoned, or lived inconsistently with, etc.) can serve as part of the problem... but this only to the extent that sinful man allows and makes use of it.

    3. While the author suggests troubles would have occurred even if Christianity rather than Islam had been the predominant religion, he fails to distinguish between true Christianity and other forms (such as the fallen fleshly Christianity often experienced on earth where individuals even as Christians live according to the flesh and inconsistly with true Christianity).

    4. Christ, and the salvation, redemption, rule and ultimate re-creation and restoration is the only effective and real hope for mankind. This is true because the sinful nature and sinfulness of man are dealt with (and will be fully dealt with) in Christ. Putting one's hope in anything less, be it secular humanism, false religion, or even Christianity itself (apart from God's redemptive and restorative plan) is hopeless and foolish. Only God can bring about the type salvation and deliverance we need. This work he has begun through Christ, whose rule and dominion will continue to abide and increase until the day of the consumation of his kingdom's rule. Come Lord Jesus!

    5. Don't buy into the lie of New Atheism which suggests "Religion is the problem!" As always, context and qualification is the key!


    JohnN said...

    The issues are way to complex to simply blame religion. Thats an easy explanation, its a lazy one also. But religion does have to take some responsibility. Or at least, the people who said they were acting in Gods name.

    swordbearer said...

    I do not deny "religion" was involved in the sense that those who committed the crimes did so in the name of "Allah", but such is the expression and manifestation of a wayward heart and life not founded on and living in the light and love of the Lord.

    Certainly religion can play a part, expecially if and as one's practice and actions are in accord with the errant beliefs and practices of worshipping a false God. However, that is different from suggesting that "religion" itself is the problem. There's a difference in looking to "belief in God" as the problem and "belief in the wrong God", or "failure to believe in the right God", etc. As is often the case, sweeping generalizations can often result in error on many levels, as is the case by those like the new atheism who suggest "religion" itself is the problem.

    Put another way, while "religion" can be used to stir up or fuel hatred and sinful actions, "religion" can also be the belief, practice, system of ethics, etc., that leads to, provides expression for, and results in man finding and fulling his ultimate purpose and life. To confound the two under one stilted accusation is not helpful, rather it too exemplifies part of the very problem that needs to be addressed.