Facing Islamic terror, only good religion can defeat bad

The super-heated rhetoric of merciless retaliation and scapegoating, and the instinct to respond to violence with more violence is only piling more fuel on an already destructive fire. This excellent and thoughtful reflection points the way to a response that is fully in accord with the true nature of religion.

In the wake of the latest terrorist attack in Nice, it’s tempting once again to blame Islam, and the fact is that Islam is being corroded from within. The answer, however, is neither military force nor political isolation, but a revival of the best religious instincts among Muslims themselves. . . .

IS will continue to test us for many years to come.  We need intelligence, sound security measures, good defenses. But the IS-inspired violence of lonely losers cannot be defeated or eradicated through the same technological mastery that put us here.

No politician, no state, can deliver us from IS, and its heresy; it can only die of its own internal contradictions, and only then if we stand firm, and do not surrender to our own scapegoating violence.

Only true religion can drive out bad. Only forgiving victims can defeat the persecutors. Only by abandoning our illusion of power can we defeat the power-hungry IS.

That doesn’t mean helplessness; but it does mean understanding the temptations that come with refusing to be helpless.

There is, finally, only one way out – the path indicated by Pope Francis in this Year of Mercy, the path that is true to the Christian inheritance of the west. In the face of the murderous, ruthless provocation of IS, the only ultimate response is to mourn the dead, forgive the perpetrators, and to dissolve the divisions in humanity through concrete acts of mercy.

There is no technocratic strategy that can defeat God’s mercy. And only God’s mercy offers a chance to start again.

Read the whole essay here: Facing Islamic terror, only good religion can defeat bad – Crux

Advertisements

Author: tomwelbers

I have been a Catholic priest for nearly fifty years, most of that time serving in parish and college campus ministry. I also have professional degrees in theology and liturgy, as well as institutional management, and continue avidly to explore pastoral theology, Scripture, liturgy, ecumenical and interfaith relations, and spiritual direction. I have a passion for sharing insight into our Christian heritage through teaching, writing, and leading pilgrimages, especially to Early Christian World sites in Turkey. Now actively retired from parish ministry, I live at Nazareth House in Los Angeles.