“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”
“You must be the change you want to see in the world.”
I must admit the terrorist attacks of the past week have me both heartbroken and afraid. I have to wonder if this madness will ever end. But perhaps the question we should be asking is why? How can we stop these extremists from killing innocent people if they not only believe it’s okay, but that God is telling them to do so?
Last week a gunman opened fire killing a soldier who was guarding Canada’s National War Memorial and then proceeded to enter the parliament building. The man was a 32-year old Muslim convert.
The next day another Muslim convert attacked four NYPD officers with an ax before being killed by police. Many believe that these attacks by so called “lone wolves” were spawned by ISIS propaganda on the Internet. Hackers are even taking over websites and starting groups on Facebook.
Innocent people are being killed in Iraq and Syria simply for refusing to convert to Islam. Woman are being kidnapped and raped. Even innocent children are reportedly being beheaded. It’s hard to imagine such cruelty in this world. I certainly never thought I’d see atrocities the likes of Hitler in my lifetime.
Adolf Hitler succeeded in convincing a great number of Germans that the Jews were a threat and should be killed by spreading Nazi propaganda and gaining financial support from wealthy businessmen. I have to wonder how much worse things would have been had the Internet been available then.
It’s truly amazing to me how anyone can justify killing someone in the name of religion. I don’t care what religion you practice or what God you worship, tell me how an all-loving God would say it’s OK to kill someone? Countless wars have been fought due to religious intolerance.
These so called “holy wars” have been around for centuries. During the Middle Ages, Jerusalem was governed by Muslims but Christian pilgrimages were allowed. Then in the 1070’s, Turks conquered the Holy Lands and mistreated Christians. In 1095, Pope Urban II asked for help restoring Christian access to holy places in Jerusalem. So began the First Crusade and the struggle for control of the Holy Land.
Many died during the Crusades and this religious genocide continues today as innocent people are killed in the name of religion.
During the attacks of September 11th, more than 3,000 innocent people lost their lives—including my husband’s friend and former boss, Rich Lee. Some of the attackers reportedly yelled, “Allah is the greatest” before the plane hit the Twin Towers. While there is clearly no one reason for terrorism, we do know that terrorists are driven by a misguided sense of altruism. Many believe their acts are not only justified but even divinely guided.
Hence they carry out these attacks to instill fear and uncertainty. They work to instill doubt in our minds and cripple our way of life. Somehow by making us lose our way and our faith, they hope to bring power to theirs.
Tragically, these extremists don’t seem to understand that there is only one God. There is no God of Christianity, God of Israel and God of Islam…there is only one God. So regardless of what we believe and how we choose to worship, we are worshiping the same God.
As an author and researcher, I have written about the afterlife for some time now. I have never had anyone who had a near-death experience (NDE) tell me that there are separate entrances to Heaven. There is not one line for Christians and another for Muslims. We are not singled out and divided. And we should not be divided here on earth.
Sometimes the greatest lessons come during times of tragedy and pain. As one we are weak but together we are strong. We have lost the battle the minute we succumb to fear and lose sight of our faith.
Despite the fact that the news is full of beheadings and images of unspeakable cruelty, we must try to remember that this is not the majority. Most Muslims do not condone what ISIS is doing. For all those thousands who are trying to instill fear and destroy the freedom that we have grown so accustomed to in America, there are millions upon millions more who want peace in this world and who will do everything possible to make sure it is not taken away.
What we need to try to remember is that there is more good than bad in this world by a vast margin. Despite this fact, it is hard not to focus on all the negative with so much bad news coming in from different corners of the world…the human genocide in the Middle East, the school shootings here in America, etc.
Over the past several weeks, I have continued to ask myself, what is this world coming to? But then I realized only we can answer that question with our actions. Only we can answer that question with our response. Every action must have a reaction.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., once said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” (A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches) We cannot respond to hatred with hatred. We cannot succumb to fear. Rather by focusing on the good in this world, the good will prevail. By focusing on the love we wish to see in this world, only love will prevail. Love is stronger than hatred and good will forever be stronger than evil.