Focal Point (for publishing-11/10/05)
Terrorism: Misguided Belief
Terrorism has had it's way again and many are affected. Bali, the once calm paradise where holidaymakers were pampered is now becoming a place of fear. Responses from Australians have been mixed. Some want to go back to support the economy for the sake of the beautiful Balinese, some will go back in bloody minded defiance and some simply don't care. I read a poem recently by an unknown author, which concluded with the line, "War is just to those to whom war is necessary". I thought, how inadequate, and was caused to ponder the significance of war and in particular, this war of terrorism. Unfortunately the belief system of the perpetrators lays in Islam but the way they implement and activate their beliefs is not supported by the great majority of Muslim people. Mohammed, recognized as a prophet of God, six hundred years after Christ, espoused the teachings of peace that Jesus the Christ had taught. The majority of Muslim people who desire peace often feel betrayed by the small minority who promote and endorse terror. It's the same with some Christian activity, e.g. As in the Irish/British sectarian violence carried out in the name of Christ for half a century. The hate seen in Northern Ireland matches anything thrown up by the terrorists in Bali. We see the same militant religious struggle in the Middle East. So what has gone wrong? Put simply, the need for national significance, the struggle against racial dominators, the fight against poverty, the aphrodisiac of power and wealth and the disenfranchisement of the powerless in our world drives extremists. From all perspectives we need to respond to those original teachings of Jesus when he said, 'If someone strikes you, turn the other cheek' or 'if you have two coats, then give one away to the person who does not have one' and 'if someone asks you to go a distance with him, go the extra mile'. The Bali bombers believe that to rid their land of corrupt western ways is to kill the corrupters. Unfortunately this only leads to further conflict and estrangement. Is killing better? I realize it's hard to work out where we stand in the middle of all this and many of us are not asked to make that decision, at least today. However let me encourage you to start practicing the basic teachings of Jesus in our community as we go about our daily tasks. What a difference we would make. At least we could start a mini revolution of a positive kind right here. Jesus didn't just think, oh what a good idea, no, as creator He knew what guidelines would work best in our society.