This first appeared in The Havok Journal on February 4, 2015. Although the article refers to events occurring years ago, the premise of the article remains current and relevant.
Torched to death in a cage, a Jordanian pilot. Another gruesome beheading, a Japanese journalist. Self-proclaimed Muslim terrorists gun down French satirists and Jewish believers. A shotgun-wielding, self-ordained Muslim cleric Sheik Man Haron Monis seizes hostages, ending in the death of innocent Australian citizens. Taliban slaughters 148 innocent Pakistani school children and teachers. Daesh beheads humanitarian and former Army Ranger, Peter Kassig. Boko Harom kidnaps and sexually enslaves over 200 Nigerian school girls. Nidal Malik Hasan murders American soldiers at Fort Hood. What drives barbaric hostage-takers, kidnappers, rapists, murderers?
Barack Obama, his administration and the media continue to define these savage immoral acts of ‘religious morality’ as “mental health issues,” ”workplace violence,” “cowardly evil attacks,” “senseless violence,” “militant extremists,” “radical groups,” “lone wolves” and the gospel according to Obama “not Islamic.”
As the wolf pack continues to rape, brutalize, and murder, the mouths of these brute-beasts testify, “Allahu Akbar”— Allah (God) is Greater. Their actions prove this timeless truth: “Listen, and take this to heart. It’s not what you swallow that pollutes your life, but what you vomit up. Are you being willfully stupid? Don’t you know that anything that is swallowed works its way through the intestines and is finally defecated? But what comes out of the mouth gets its start in the heart. It’s from the heart that we vomit up evil arguments, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, and lies. That’s what pollutes.” (Matthew 16:10-11; 18-20, MSG)
How did it come to this? That murderers, beheaders, rapers, pyromaniacs claiming to speak for God, howl to kill others as a divine duty to follow their divine edict. We are what we eat. The heart, the mouth and action are one and the same, revealing one’s true beliefs. Many religious people who say they agree with their religion’s moral code practice hypothetical morality — what they say they believe is not how they really act. If they say, “My religion is a religion of peace” and practice hate or remain silent about lawless slaughter and brutality, their behavior belies their faith. Peace? It’s hypothetical — just imaginary thinking. And some people want us to buy into the lie of hypothetical faith.
I’m not sure how third culture kid Obama mentored by the racial religious rhetoric of his pastor, Jeremiah Wright, defines “Islamic.” For the sake of judging anything “Islamic” or “not Islamic,” Hadith #1 states: “Actions are but by intentions and every man shall have only that which he intended.” Any believer’s actions based on their beliefs drawn from their interpretation of their holy texts — define their beliefs, their faith, and what others believe about their faith.
Calling one’s religion a religion of peace is one thing. Whether it is peaceful or not is based upon actions, not empty words, not empty theological rhetoric. Brute-beast, lizard-brained fools, pretending to claim knowledge of a merciful God they know not, propagate tyrannical terrorism. Their thundering voices claim to speak for their God, as the echoes of evil reverberate against the empty silence of the ‘faithful’, as human life splatters and spills liquid from the bloodshed by violent barbarity.
Every religion’s beliefs govern the opinions, prejudices, and practices of its followers. The influence of those beliefs forms individual character and the collective essence of their society. Thoughtless sheeple galvanized by clerics who preach fear and animosity are mindless ritual robots.
In the West, individuals approach faith, beliefs, and truth by engaging in personal critical analysis and decision process. The faithful are urged to think for themselves: “My dear friends, don’t believe everything you hear. Carefully weigh and examine what people tell you. Not everyone who talks about God comes from God. There are a lot of lying preachers loose in the world. Don’t be gullible. Check out everything, and keep only what’s good. Throw out anything tainted with evil.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21; 1 John 4:1, MSG)
Generally, in eastern Islamic cultures, the masses approach their faith based on what their leaders in authority tell them to think. The original Arabic meaning of the root word for Islam means ‘submission’. Surrendering to the authoritarian mindset puts individuals and societies at risk of following flawed or evil men with flawed or evil messages. “When authority is derived from the position rather than reason, the act of questioning leadership is dangerous because it has the potential to upset the system. Dissension is reprimanded and obedience is rewarded,” Nabeel Qureshi.
True faith and peace must first be personal and firsthand, not based on a charismatic personality, not based on groupthink, not based on what religious leaders propound, not based on cherry-picking hateful-sounding texts from books man deems holy.
Every major religion — even philosophers and the nonreligious — subscribe to the moral code of behavior of the Golden Rule: Do to others as you would have them do to you. Saying you believe in the Golden Rule — the two-way relationship between all humans — proves meaningless if you refuse to live it out. Jesus called people, who practiced hypothetical faith hypocrites.
The genius of Jesus’ spiritual teachings? His insistence that real peace is more than rules, more than Sharia, more than talking the talk, or pretending to walk the walk. A mediator of the sacred, Jesus replaced the hypocritical ritual with real compassion.
When we judge the ‘sins’ of others whose lives may offend our traditions or our sensibilities, then decide to take it upon ourselves to kill them — verbally or physically — we’re playing God. Playing God betrays belief or trust in the God we claim to worship. If we approach altruistic precepts from a lens of judgment or inexhaustible hate, we’ll distort the core evidence of what we proclaim our faith to be — every time.
When our heart exchanges our desires, our hatreds, our prejudices, our racism for God’s heart that desires peace and reconciliation between Himself and every man and between man and man — God’s mercy and grace towards others will be a natural outflow of a transformed life. To paraphrase Golda Meir and the second greatest commandment, “When people love others more than they hate others when people love others more than themselves,” then we’ll achieve peace with our fellow man or our neighbor.
Every religion has its pious and pathetic.
Every religion has its devout and devilish.
Every religion has its doubters and defiled.
Every religion has its learned and illiterate.
Every religion has its hypocrites and haters.
Every religion has its humble and hellacious.
Every religion has its comforters and controllers.
Every religion has its godly and those who act like gods.
The Charlatans of Hypothetical Faith
Behind every geopolitical agenda hiding behind a mask of religion. Behind every transnational force hijacking a scripture or two out of context from their traditional holy book. Behind every orgy of violence inspiring knee-bending terror. Behind every barbaric cult of fear and death. Behind every religious zealot who acts out evil inhumanity to man, lay charlatans, not a peaceful religion impassioned by a Holy God who hates evil and loves — unconditionally — all people, even nonbelievers.
No matter your race.
No matter your tribe.
No matter your history.
No matter your politics.
No matter your religion.
No matter your nationality.
When your god is hate. When racism is your true religion. When your heart worships rage. When your actions inspire fear. When your religion inspires you to rape and butcher. When your empty heart loves death. No peace can be had.
Reflection: How do terrorist acts influence your opinion of Muslims who claim their religion is a religion of peace?
Scoti Springfield Domeij is the proud Gold Star mom of 2/75 Army Ranger, Sgt. 1st Class Kristoffer Domeij, KIA on October 22, 2011, during his 14th deployment in Afghanistan. Kristoffer’s death inducted Scoti into the amazing military family and Ranger community. A civilian, Scoti is woefully ignorant of military protocol and acronyms.
She serves as Director of Springs Writers, is a solo-parenting columnist for Colorado Springs Kids, was editor/writer for nine publishers. She’s published in diverse publications including The New York Times, Southwest Art, School Daze, SAM Journal, and parenting magazines. She contributed stories to Violence of Action: The Untold Stories of the 75th Ranger Regiment in the War on Terror (Blackside Concepts), Love is a Verb Devotional and Heaven Touching Earth (Bethany House), Christmas Miracles (St. Martin’s Press), Extraordinary Answers to Prayer: In Times of Change (Guideposts), and The Mommy Diaries: Finding Yourself in the Daily Adventure (Revell).
A researchaholic, Scoti was Senior Research Assistant/Art Production Coordinator for the 27-part film series shot on location in Israel entitled That the World May Know. She interacted with top scholars, archeologists and museums while researching geography, seasons, feasts, culture, dress, facial ethnicity, machinery, furniture, weapons, wars, architecture, archeological discoveries, Roman culture and government, ancient religious beliefs, flora and fauna to conceptualize historically, archeologically and biblically-accurate art compositions used for over 200 art renderings and maps.