There are so many killings in the world today in the names of religion, politics, race, boundaries, disputes, et cetera. The chief of these is religion and that is the one I want to discuss.
From Nigeria, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Egypt, Israel, Lebanon and so on, countless number of deaths are recorded everyday. From the menace of the Boko Haram in Nigeria to the ISIS in the middle East, the stories of suicide bombings and terrorism fill the air wave everyday. People are murdered because of their religious affiliation. Personally, I believe this should stop and people should be allowed the freedom to choose which religion or God they want to serve or worship.
This problem of religious intolerance is a menace to societies and the violation of peoples’ right to choose. The freedoms of people are being violated by unnecessary enactment of laws which violate the right of free speech, the right of association with like minds or like willed people. I believe that politics is being used to control religion or vice versa.
I believe that we should stop killing one another in the name of religion. The two major religions of the world are Christianity and Islam. The two religions have their supreme spiritual heads. To the Moslems Allah is God and there is no other and to the Christians Jehovah who goes by other names such as Adonai, Lord, Jesus Christ, Yahweh etc is God and there is no other God besides Him. Each religion has it’s own set of Holy books. To the Moslem, it is the Quran, Al-Hadith and Shariah; and to the Christian, the Holy Bible. Today there is competition for supremacy between these two religions which at times lead to rivalry between them. These rivalries often lead to conflicts which results in the killing of innocent people. The conflict at times results not from the writing in the holy books but in the interpretation of the so called teachers or interpreters of the books. The Imams of the mosques and Pastors of the churches quite often whip the sentiments of their followers which often result in the taking up of arms against one another. “Thou shall not kill or murder” (Exodus 20:13) is God’s commandments to all. Quran Sura 6:151 says “and do not kill a soul that god has made sacrosanct, save lawfully”.
For example, in Sura 112 we find the core of Islam in the command of Moslem confession, “Allah begets not and was not begotten”. This phrase is impressed upon every Moslem from childhood. To them God is not a father and never had a Son. In Sura 9:29, 30 Prophet Mohammad gave a more radical argument to this theme of Sura 112 by ascertaining that “The Christian say, ‘the Messiah is the Son of Allah? That is the utterance of their mouths, conforming with the unbelievers before them. Allah kill them! How they are perverted!”
With this curse Muhammad asserts that anyone who believes that God is a father and Christ is his son, must be destroyed by Allah.
The bedrock of the Christian religion is the believe in the Trinity – God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, all coming out of one essence which makes God only one God. The God of the Christians is one God.
What I learn from Sura 9:29, 30 is that:
Allah is one God
Allah is the one to kill or destroy anyone that does not believe in Him and not his followers. Because Allah is God, he can handle his offenders or unbelievers.
Unbelievers will be dealt with on the Day of judgement.
My conclusion from this passage of Sura 9:29,30 is that any follower of Allah that takes it upon himself to kill his neighbor on behalf of Allah is a murderer because Allah has not asked him to do so. And any murderer or any one that kill another will not enter the kingdom of Allah.
I will also try to show an example from the Bible showing that God does not want us to kill anyone on His behalf. See the story of an Israeli Judge called Gideon (Judges 6:11 – 8:35).
Gideon was the son of Joash the Abiezrite. One day the Angel of the LORD (Jesus Christ pre-incarnate) paid him a visit in Ophrah. The Angel of the Lord instructed him to tear down the altar of the god Baal in his father’s house, and to cut down the wooden image that is beside it, and in it’s place to build an altar to the Lord God and to offer a burnt offering with the wood of the image which he has cut down. So Gideon did all that the Angel of the Lord God had asked him.
When the worshippers of Baal came and found the altar of their god torn down and the image destroyed, they made inquiries and found Gideon to be the culprit. They demanded the death of Gideon. “But Joash the high priest of Baal said to all who stood against Gideon, “Would you plead for Baal? Would you save Baal? Let the one who have offended Baal be put to death by morning! If Baal is a god, let Baal plead for himself, because his alter has been torn down! Therefore, on that day Gideon was called Jerubbaal, saying, “Let Baal plead against him, because he has torn down his altar” (Judges 6:31,32)
2. The second example has to do with the law of self-judgement. God does not want us to judge anyone by ourselves to the point where we judge a person to death. Only God is perfect to do such judgement. Jesus demonstrated the law of self-judgement to the Jews when they dragged a woman, caught in the act of adultery before Him (John 8:1-11). Jesus did not call upon the Jews to pardon this woman for she was caught sinning; He also did not say that her sin did not deserve death. Instead, he called upon all of them to stone the woman on the spot, as commanded by the Holy Law, but on condition that the one who was without sin should begin the stoning. Every Jew knew that whoever had committed even a single sin had become guilty of the entire law. With his piercing question, Jesus had judged the judges, as well as the accused woman, in their innermost being. He Himself did not stone the guilty woman but commanded her to go and sin no more. Mercy and grace were given to her and an opportunity to change her ways and please God.
However, a similar case arose in the life of Prophet Mohammad. A woman who was expecting a child from another man, not from her lawful husband, was brought to Mohammad. He turned his face from her in disgust and after a short reflection said, “Bring her to me again when she has born the child”. After the birth, they brought the mother and child to Mohammad and he commanded to take the child from her and to stone her; they obeyed him immediately and stoned the woman on the spot. What a needless waste of life. The life of the woman was taken without a second chance to repent and change. The course of the life of the child was also affected.
The lesson here is that we should allow God to inflict punishment or judgement by Himself on people who have offended Him, we are not needed to do it for Him. God said, “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit says the Lord”. (Zech 4:6).
The two accounts show irreconcilable gulf between Islam and Christianity. The Divine law must be fulfilled but let God Himself do the judging and execution of the judgement.
3. The case of King David the son of Jesse and Bathsheba the wife of Uriah (2 Sam. 11:1-12:15). In the springtime when kings go to battle, David had sent Joab the commander of his army to war. He stayed back idle in Jerusalem and had adulterous affair with Bathsheba wife of Uriah. She got pregnant for the king. The king’s attempts or plots to make Uriah go home and sleep with his wife failed and so Uriah was murdered by King David for his wife’s sake.
God sent Prophet Nathan to King David to confront the king with his offence. Nathan used a parable, “The rich man versus the poor man” describing how a rich man with many flock of sheep and herds of cattle was visited by a traveler. The rich man not wanting to kill one of his flock took the poor man’s only little ewe lamb that was like a daughter to him and kill it for his guest. The story have barely ended when King David flared up and pronounced death sentence on the rich man in the story not knowing that he was the rich man in the story. “As the LORD lives, the man who has done this shall surely die! And he shall restore fourfold for the lamb, because he did this thing and because he had no pity.” (I Sam 12:5,6). Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man!” (I Sam 12:7)
Here again we can see that as humans we have no moral integrity to judge others by putting them to death and executing the judgement. If this had been an actual happening, David would have executed the rich man. God on the other hand forgave and punished David not with capital punishment but in a way that will bring repentance and a change of heart. David was never heard of committing any other sins. King David was saved.
4. The Rebellion Against Moses and Aaron by Korah, Dathan, On and Abiram. (Num. 16:1-35).
These four rebels in addition to another two hundred and fifty leaders of the congregation, representatives of the congregation, men of renown gathered together against Moses and Aaron’s rulership over them saying that they usurp power and were not appointed by God. This is a treasonable offence demanding death. But Moses and Aaron did not take laws into their own hands but took the matter to God to judge and execute judgement.
God opened the ground under the rebels who have rejected Him by rejecting his chosen leaders. “The earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up with their households and all the men with Korah, with all their goods. So they and all those with them went down alive into the pit; the earth closed over them and they perished from among the assembly. And a fire came out from the LORD and consumed the two hundred and fifty men who were offering unholy incense (Numbers 16:32-35).
I want us to note that Moses as the prophet of God or Aaron as the High priest of God did not execute any judgement on the rebels or unbelievers but it was God Himself that executed the judement. Let us stop the wicked killing of one another.
5. Finally, Sennacherib’s defeat and Death (2 King 18:13-19:37). It was during the reign of King Hezekiah in Judah, that king Sennacherib of Assyria came in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah’s reign and boasted against God that God will not be able to defeat him in battle. He said, “Do not let your God in whom you trust deceive you, saying, “Jerusalem shall not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria”. Look you have heard what the king of Assyria have done to all lands by utterly destroying them; and shall you be delivered? Have the gods of the nations delivered those whom my fathers have destroyed, Gozan, Haran, and Rezeph, and the people of Eden who were in Telassar? Where is the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, and the king of the city of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivah?” (2 King 19:10-13).
When king Hezekiah heard this and read the letter sent by king Sennacerib, Hezekiah went into the house of the LORD and prayed for God’s help “ O LORD our God, I pray, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You are the LORD God, You alone.”
God responded to Hezekiah’s prayer for help and to Sennacherib’s boasting by sending an angel in one night to take care of the problem which Sennacheribs posted. “And it came to pass on a certain night that the angel of the LORD (Jesus Christ pre-incarnate) went out, and killed in the camp of the Assyrians one hundred and eighty-five thousand, and when the people arose early in the morning, there were the corpses – all dead. So Sennacherib King of Assyria departed and went away, returned home, and remained at Nineveh. Now it came to pass, as he was worshipping in the temple of his god Nisroch, that his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer struck him down with the sword”. (2 king 19:35-37). And that was the judgement of God.
I will like to point out that the God of the Israelites avenged Himself alone on Sennacherib and the Assyrian army not individuals taking up arms to kill one another. Please let us stop killing one another needlessly in the name of religion. This is what the Bible says about murder: murder is the personal, intentional killing of another person for whatever reason.
“You shall not murder” Exodus 20:13, read Matt. 5:21-26)
“Out of the heart proceed evil thought of murder” (Matt. 15:19)
“You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him” (Jn. 8:44)
“You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask”. (James 4:2)
“Whoever hates his brother or any neighbor is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him”. (I Jn. 3:15).
Let us live in peace and harmony with one another. Let us weigh issues very well before we take any action. We should not allow ourselves to be used to satisfy the lusts of our leaders be it political or spiritual. Let us love one another which is the second greatest commandment.
To God be the glory forever more. Amen