Pastor Terry Jones, if you put Islamism on trial, Christianity and Hindutva must follow.

Jesus demanded we love – not go around burning people’s holy books. Photo: Associated Press

Pastor Terry Jones, if you put Islamism on trial, Christianity and Hindutva must follow.

And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, will you that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, “You know not what manner of spirit you are of.  For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.”   - Luke 9: 54 - 56

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” - John 13: 34

“Of all bad men religious bad men are the worst.”  - C.S. Lewis

“If it weren’t for Christians, I’d be a Christian.” - Mahatma Gandhi

MIDDLE EAST, India, April 11, 2011 — Pastor Terry Jones ought not to be blamed for causing more deaths by his burning the holy Quran in Florida.  But Jones should understand he chose the same option as the murderous Islamists he opposes.

It is the way of the Zealot - not the way, the truth and the life of Jesus.

During his time on earth Jesus uttered no word against Hinduism, or Buddhism or even the Roman and Greek religions that existed before his day. However he did oppose the Pharisees and make the astonishing claim: “I am the Truth…”

Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center (Photo: Associated Press)

Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center (Photo: Associated Press)

The violent goons in the Middle East, Pakistan, Afghanistan etc., who pervert what should be most precious to them – their revered Islamic faith, don’t need any inspiration to kill. Their conscience is seared, they routinely slaughter their own on a daily basis, and one more provocation is nothing more than another tick on their blood-spattered shopping list.

How the sublimely stated quest in Islam has been completely perverted as it is by Islamists today is hard to believe. I have no desire to participate in combative theology when Jesus didn’t; the fact is there are still Christians today who believe slavery and apartheid can be justified by the scriptures. Racism endures because people pay lip service to their convictions, preferring to hang on to their white, black, or brown cultures.

Noticeably Hinduism and Christianity do not have the inspiring meaning that Islam has. A derivative of the Arabic root “Salema,” ‘Islam’ means peace, purity, submission and obedience to the will of God and obedience to His law.

You can’t do much better than that.

The origins of Christianity are suspect – it has dishonored and distorted the Bible’s own affirmation of, “the name above all names.” No suffix should have been permitted to the Savior’s name; nobody knows who devised the term ‘Christianity’ to build a global religion with a mass following of two billion so called Christians. According to scholars ‘Christian’ was originally a derogatory term; Jesus did not choose the name for his followers.

An Afghan protestor steps on the remnants of a burning effigy of the American pastor, Terry Jones (Photo: Associated Press)

An Afghan protestor steps on the remnants of a burning effigy of the American pastor, Terry Jones (Photo: Associated Press)

Historically ‘Hindu,’ is not a native word in any Indian language and pertains to geography more than a religion. It refers to the Bronze Age Indus Valley Civilization, the people who lived on the banks of the Indus River. In the medieval period Muslim invaders referred to India as Hindusthan, subsequently the British reinforced the term Hindu to differentiate between Muslims and Christians.

However ‘Hindutva’ (Devanagari script)  meaning “Hinduness”, is an ideology forged by  the Hindu nationalist leader Vinayak Damodar Savarkar (one of the accused in Gandhi’s assasination) in his 1923 pamphlet entitled Hindutva: Who is a Hindu?

In sharp contrast to Hinduism as a religion, Hindutva is a clearly distinguishable “political” ideology aiming to build a “national” identity. Clearly a fascist political movement, Hindutva has drawn much of its inspiration from European Fascism and German Nazism, modified to suit Indian conditions with some of its leaders openly admiring Hitler.

On October 14, 1938, Savarkar suggested the following solution for Muslims in India: “A nation is formed by a majority living therein. What happened to the Jews in Germany? They being in minority were driven out from Germany.” (Source: ‘Marketing Fascism as Hindutva’ by Shamsul Islam, Sunday, December 19, 2010, www.democracyaaz.com)

Hindutva provides no role models worth following; it has Muslim and Christian blood on its hands.

In the gospels there is a narrative where Jesus gives the name ‘Boanerges’ to the brothers James and John – it is made up of two Hebrew words meaning “sons of thunder,” possibly highlighting their bold character. Much to the chagrin of the other apostles, they had earlier plainly told Jesus that one of them wanted to sit at his right hand and the other on the left, in his kingdom. The two brothers were also ready to call down fire from heaven to consume the Samaritan village that did not receive Jesus (Luke 9:54) on his way to Jerusalem.

It is possible Terry Jones picked up only half the lesson from that incident when the Samaritans rejected Jesus. By burning the Quran, holy to over a billion people, he missed the most important part of Jesus’ stern admonishment to the sons of thunder. By his actions Jones reveals the manner of his spirit against which Jesus warned.

Jones has probably never lived in a neighborhood alongside Muslims. Our children grew up with Muslim and Hindu friends in India and the Middle East, building relationships they still cherish. Their faith was enhanced not diminished by the experience that our grandchildren now have.

Should we teach them to love first or confuse them with theology? From our close Muslim neighbors we hope our grand kids see and learn and share a concern for modesty, understand the importance of prayer and comprehend that God is indeed one.

We hope they can also help their friends understand that by following Christ one does not have to follow something western called Christianity.

And we’d like them to know what it means to learn from Christ not from a religion.

Author Hannah Whitehall Smith points out how very few people understand that a living plant always bears fruit and it is a law that this fruit should come, not by effort, but by spontaneous growth. “As a consequence, there is a vast effort among Christians to hang fruit onto their branches by some outside performances of one sort or another,” she says. “It is as though a man bought apples and hung them on his apple trees in order to secure a good crop of fruit! Fruit must be “brought forth,” not fastened on. This is the law of fruit bearing, and trying to violate this law can only bring confusion and death.”

Terry Jones has only created more confusion if not more death.

He has chosen the Zealot’s option: to be a Pharisee with a sword and fight a holy war.

Just like the Zealots in Jesus’ time that led the Jewish Revolt of 66 and succeeded in taking over Jerusalem until 70, when the son of Roman Emperor Vespasian, Titus, retook the city and destroyed Herod’s Temple when Jerusalem was demolished.

Some of them became his followers, but Christ ignored the Zealots.

The scriptures are clear in 1 John 2: 3-4: “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”

Jones is exhibiting Christianity; he is not lifting up Christ.

Jesus demanded we love – not go around burning people’s holy books.

Jones upholds a religion which is really no different from Islamism or Hindutva in its potential to breed hate.

Down the ages history has enough proof of how Christianity has condoned and committed murder and mayhem in the name of God.

And there are still plenty of religious Christian racists in the U.S., Ireland, South Africa, Lebanon etc., who believe in an eye for an eye like their fanatic counterparts in the Muslim and Hindu world.

You can find more of Frank Raj’s writing in No2Religion, Yes2Faith  in The Communities at The Washington Times.


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Frank Raj

Middle East and India based Frank Raj is the founding editor and publisher of ‘The International Indian’, the oldest magazine of Gulf-Indian society and history since 1992. He is listed in Arabian Business magazine’s 100 most influential Indians in the Gulf and is co-author of the upcoming publication ‘Universal Book of the Scriptures.’ He blogs at www.no2christianity.com.

 

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