The president asked a question at the National Prayer Breakfast:
How do we, as people of faith, reconcile these realities, the profound good, the strength, the tenacity, the compassion and love that can flow from all of our faiths, operating alongside those who seek to hijack religions for their own murderous ends?
The answer lies in how the question is framed. We know what is good, we hail compassion and love, and we abhor murder and violence because:
- It harmonizes with what we know to be true of the natural order of the created universe.
- We know the true nature of God from His prophets and disciples and the teacher and perfecter of our faith, His son, Jesus.
The answer is simple albeit extremely difficult in a fallen world. We recognize the true nature of God as revealed by His Word and by nature—His mercy, His benevolence, His power, His divine order—and preach it to the world, all the while recognizing our personal and corporate inability to measure up to it because of our corruptible flesh.
While many prophets claim to speak for God, “wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it” (Matthew 7:13). It’s true compassion and love can, and does, flow from practitioners of all faiths (Islam, Judaism, secular humanism, etc.), but none but Jesus repairs the humanly irreparable breach between man and God. None but Jesus redeems man from the pride and the nihilism of following his will to depravity and destruction.
So when someone murders in the name of Allah, as is overwhelmingly the case today with religiously motivated violence around the world, the rebuke should not be: “He needs to be a better Muslim.” Allah is not the god of forgiveness of sins and restoration of his created people to sonship. He is the god of worldly conquest and heavenly rewards for reaping death. Jesus washed people’s feet. Mohammed cut people’s feet off.
“Jesus said, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.’” (John 18:36)
The rebuke should be: “He needs Jesus.” Because God took human form and took our place on the judgment seat. When Christians carry the Lord’s name in vain, it’s not because they’re Christian. It’s because they’re human, and like everyone they need Jesus to rescue them from their fallen nature.