It seems that part of what instigated this riot was an online trailer to a movie called "The Innocence of Muslims" which was made by Americans. The prophet Mohammed was cast in a very negative light and some believe that this led many Muslims to grow enraged at America and resulted in the attack. The Facebook crowd overall has condemned the attackers for taking people's lives simply because their religion was offended.
I absolutely agree that these murders were unjust, these attackers are wicked, and the entire ordeal is a tragedy. May God comfort the families who have lost, be with those who were injured, guide the authorities to bring justice, and transform the hearts of these evil attackers.
At first, I was thinking the same thing as everyone else. I can't believe these people would go murder someone because someone dishonored Mohammed. Jesus is made fun of all the time on South Park, His name is taken in vain all over television and in public, and people attack Him verbally all the time. Yet I have never in my life desired to go kill someone in response. What is wrong with these people that they would go murder people over this?
I wouldn't murder someone over an insult to Jesus. But what would I kill for? Weird question right? But it popped in my head nonetheless as I was reading the news last night in bed. Ask yourself. What would you kill for? Most of us would either say something like, "I'd never kill," "I'd kill a bad guy to defend my family," or maybe "I'd kill in war to defend my country." Those are the safe and acceptable answers. But are they true?
I began to wonder if I had it in me to kill someone for a more selfish reason. I assured myself that the answer was a resounding "No!" as evidenced by the fact that in my 25 years of life I've been in only one fight ever and it was a tame one in sixth grade. But then I remembered Jesus' words in Matthew 5.
"But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca,' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell." -- Matthew 5:22 ["Raca" means idiot]
Maybe I've never killed anyone. But I have hated people. I've allowed myself to harbor great anger and bitterness toward others. I've wished that bad things would happen to people and that they'd just get what was coming to them. I've imagined paying people back for what they've done to me. I may pridefully hold myself up above the attackers in Benghazi and pretend that I am a much better person. The truth is that the same sick condition of hate and anger that drove them is also in me. I've murdered in my heart. In God's eyes, I don't stand a whole lot higher than these terrorists. In fact, I stand in a place of judgment. How about you?
I'm not saying that we should sweep this under the rug and not be upset about these evil murders. What happened was wrong and we should try to bring those responsible to justice. But I think it may be good for us to allow this event to cause us to examine our own hearts honestly. Are our hearts broken with hate and anger like these men? Are we guilty before God? If your honest answer is yes, then let me encourage you to turn to Jesus for forgiveness and transformation. He can remove your guilt so that you can be innocent before God. He can give you a new heart so that you are filled with love, joy, peace, gentleness, kindness, patience, and goodness by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Religion leads to stupid fundamentalists hurting and oppressing people.
This is the second thing I'm hearing from people. Religion is the problem. Islam gives us jihad and suicide bombers. Christianity gives us the Crusades and the Salem witch hunts. While I won't deny that terrible things have been done in the name of religion, let's be honest. Terrible things have been done in the name of science, nations, and even atheism as well.
What bothers me is that while people often try to tear Christianity down because of a few negative things people have done under the banner of Jesus' name, they ignore the multitude of wonderful things that Christians have done throughout history. Let me list just a few ways that Christianity has forever changed this world for the better.
- Adoption and care for needy children are vastly more common in societies with Christian influence because Jesus was adopted by Joseph and the Bible teaches God adopts us as His children.
- Rights, dignity, and care for women are vastly more common in societies with Christian influence because Jesus chose to teach women and include them in His ministry which was otherwise unacceptable in His day. This includes things like the right to vote, own property, and banning prostitution.
- The entire modern education system is a result of Christianity. It was early Christians who worked tirelessly to spread literacy to enable people to read the Bible for themselves. In fact, all education in America was done by Christians for the first 217 years after our arrival here. All of the first colleges and universities were founded by Christians with Christian values in mind. This includes Harvard, NYU, and Princeton.
- The legal right to religious freedom was started by Christian pilgrims to America.
- Care for the poor and impoverished has been throughout history and currently is most strongly spearheaded by Christians. Think of Mother Theresa, Salvation Army, and missions.
- Medical care for the sick, dying, elderly, and poor exists because of Christianity. Throughout history, medical care was available only for the wealthy. It was Christians that built hospitals and funded doctors and nurses to care for the rest of the population. The majority of hospitals in our nation to this day were founded by Christians with Christian values. This includes the Red Cross.
- Many of history's greatest artists were inspired by Christianity. C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, Bach, Michelangelo, and more have made great contributions to the arts because they were inspired by Jesus.
- Last, but not least, Jesus has changed my life. I was a depressed, bitter, angry, and hopeless young man. I met Jesus at the age of 13 and He gave me joy, forgiveness, peace, happiness, and love. I'm not perfect, but by His grace I am free from the pain of my past and I am growing to be more like Him.
These events in Libya have caused me to examine my own heart. In a lot of ways, I'm not better than these terrorists and I praise God that Jesus has forgiven me and changed my life. Bad people have done bad things and pretended they were in the name of Jesus. But when we honestly look at history, we see that Jesus' legacy has changed the world in numerous ways for the better. Have you met this Jesus? Have you been forgiven? Has He begun changing you as He has changed the world for thousands of years?
Feel free to add your own thoughts, comments, or questions.