THERE IS NO PEACE IN PARIS: SPIRITUAL TERRORISM VERSUS RELIGIOUS TERRORISM!
The world is in shock because of the latest massacre in the rue Nicolas-Appert in Paris, where the editor of the satiristic magazine Charlie Hebdo has its headquarters.
People are shocked, because two followers of Al Qaida acted in an arrogant and cruel way. They thought that they had the right to condemn and kill a group of cartoonists of the journal Charlie Hebdo, who could not defend themselves. The only weapon they were carrying was their ballpoint…
Charlie Hebdo’s mission was to mock those institutions and individuals that had declared themselves to be above mockery. Among its favoured targets was religion. Charlie Hebdo has savaged the Catholic Church, been accused of anti-Semitism and relentlessly satirised Islamic extremism.
I don´t want to defend the act of terrorism of the brothers Chérif en Saïd Kouachi. I am convinced that they had no right to kill these people and I also think it was disgusting and an act of great cowardice to kill a wounded police officer, who laid down on the street asking for help.
Still, I also question the aggressive and provocative way in which the magazine Charlie Hebdo attacks religious institutions and persons. We may agree that there is a freedom of Speech, but does that also mean that somebody has the right to say everything that will offend people in their heart? If somebody would say to me “son of a bitch”, I would be highly offended; and if I myself would use such an expression here in Brazil and call somebody “filho da puta”, there will be a great chance that I will end up in a fight and I easily could get killed because of that, because no one in Brazil likes it when you mock and dishonour his mother.
For the same reason, a lot of people don´t like it when you mock with their God. I´m no follower of Mohamed, but I can understand that people get irritated and angry if an unbeliever on a regular base criticizes or even mocks the God that they adore and worship. We know that the Muslims are very sensitive at that point. And I ask myself how Jews and Christians would react to that.
There is a story in the bible that tells us that the son of an Israelite woman, who was married with an Egyptian man, blasphemed the Name with a curse. They put him in custody until the will of the Lord should be made clear to them. Then the Lord said to Moses: Take the blasphemer outside the camp. All those who heard him are to lay their hands on his head, and the entire assembly is to stone him. “If anyone curses his God, he will be held responsible; anyone who blasphemes the name of the Lord must be put to death” (Lev. 24,15).
There is also the third commandment that tells every believer “You shall not misuse the Name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not anyone guiltless who misuses his name” (Êx. 20, 7). For the Jews this commandment is still important and they will do everything to avoid the misuse of the Name (Sjem Jahweh). And they would be highly offended if you would misuse the Name in their presence.
Also Christians don´t like it when somebody misuses the Name of God. An old Catechism of the 16th century gives a commentary to the third commandment and asks: What is required in the third commandment? Answer: “We are not to blaspheme or to abuse the Name of God by cursing, perjury, or unnecessary oaths, nor to share in such horrible sins by being silent bystanders. Rather we must use the holy Name of God only with fear and reverence, so that we may rightly confess Him, call upon Him, and praise Him in all our words and works”.
And to make sure that people really understand that it is not a little thing, a sinecure, but that it really hits the hearth of the religion. They ask again: Is the blaspheming of God´s Name by swearing and cursing such a grievous sin that God is angry also with those who do not prevent and forbid it as much as they can? Answer: “Certainly, for no sin is greater and provokes God´s wrath more than the blaspheming of His Name. That´s why He commanded it to be punished with death” (Catechism of Heidelberg 1563).
Nowadays, when somebody reads these words, he will think that we are back in the Middle Ages or in the Middle East. For some people it makes no difference. Nowadays, there is no Government that will act according to the third commandment and protect the Name and sentence somebody to death. Since the French revolution liberty of Speech and liberty of Press became basic rights in modern western society. But does that mean that everybody can mock with the Name of God?
Nowadays, there are not many Christians that will consider it as a grievous sin when somebody mocks the Name of God. I wonder how many would try to prevent it as much as they can? Some may even justify themselves saying: “we live in a country where there is freedom of Speech and freedom of Press, so everybody can say what he thinks. We should be tolerant”.
But tolerance was not invented to cover all kind of provocations. Tolerance was meant to create respect for other opinions. Freedom of Speech does also mean Freedom of Religion, so I can say what I believe and confess my faith. I may discuss my belief with others and try to convince them with words and (good) works. I don´t believe in an extreme and intolerant Islam that come with works and war to impose their faith to ‘unbelievers’. I believe in Christ, who convinced me with His Words and Works that he is my Saviour.
He did not attack other religions or philosophies in a direct confrontation, but He did say: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” This is an extreme declaration that indirectly provokes s all other religions. There is just one password that gives access into heaven and those who believe in Christ know it by hearth.
I´m a missionary and I´m called to spread the gospel to the ends of the earth. That brings me in confrontation with other beliefs and other philosophies. It may bring people in a crisis. Christ foresaw that , when he said: “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven. Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, a man´s enemies will be the members of his own household. Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. He who receives you receives me and he who receives me, receives the one who sent me”.
I´m a missionary of Christ and I defend the Name. I do my mission work, and I hope and pray that a lot of people will use the holy Name of God with fear and reverence, so that we may rightly confess Him, call upon Him, and praise Him in all our words and works”. I serve Christ and reject the ‘holy’ words and works of terrorists, but I also reject the unholy words and works of cartoonists who are against all kinds of religion, including the one of Christ. Who defends freedom of Speech, should also respect the freedom of Religion.