Home > Uncategorized > "But What About…Terrorists?"

"But What About…Terrorists?"

In response to my two posts about the trustworthiness of the disciples and the reliability of their accounts of Jesus’ teachings and the resurrection, I received a couple of inquires that demonstrated a bit of confusion regarding the nature of the disciple’s martyrdom.

Evidently, whenever the idea of dying for what one believes is mentioned in our culture, the gut response is, “But what about terrorists who die for what they believe?” I want to clarify the distinction between the disciples and terrorists, using that distinction as a jumping off point for us to see how the nature of Christianity and the resurrection distinguish Christianity from the other religions in the world.

Every time we turn on the news we hear reports and see vivid images of terrorism throughout the world. Few nations, if any, have not been scathed by the terror waves of the past decade (though terrorism has existed for much longer than that, mind you). We see photos of burned out vehicles, bloody sheets covering mangled souls, soldiers patrolling the streets and subways, menacing men with cold eyes staring out of the television screen with hatred in their eyes. The people that perform such horrific acts of terror hold deep religious convictions that motivate their destruction. They are devout, passionate, and zealous extremists who deeply believe what they are doing is for their god, Allah.

I can see why people might be quick to confuse zealous men who are not afraid of death with other zealous men who were not afraid to die following the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. If you were to think about it from the perspective and terms I just used, it would be difficult to make the distinction and easy to label all zealous men “fundamentalists” and write the entire group off as divisive, dangerous, nut jobs.

However, should your consideration stop following such a brief analysis, you would be making a grievous and foolish assumption that could not be more wrong.

Terrorists have deeply held convictions in the teachings of the Koran that they believe to indicate that simultaneously murdering infidels and subsequently dying is a tremendously Allah glorifying act of Jihad, or Holy War. They believe deeply that they will reap rewards and honor in the afterlife for such actions. Obviously, they are not lacking in belief or the willingness to live out what they believe, but they do lack truth in what they believe (see articles listed below).

The Disciples were markedly passionate men, full of zeal and love for the Lord Jesus Christ. They too were men who were willing to die for what they believed to be the truth and they did. The tremendous distinction between these men and the terrorist mentioned above is that the disciples had truth on their side. Where the terrorists are willing to murder innocent people and die for their cause, the disciples died as martyrs, tortured and humiliated for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Terrorists’ belief is incredibly strong; however, they have no evidence or reasonable cause to believe in the religion for which they die. The Disciples of Jesus are a stark contrast to the terrorist when it comes to Truth being on their side. As eyewitnesses of the gospel, of Jesus’ perfect life, His miraculous ministry, His death for the sins of those who believe in Him, and His resurrection from the dead, the disciples were martyred for what they personally knew, with absolute certainty, to be true.

In a culture where tolerance (read “immediate concession of all beliefs”) is the highest virtue (read “the only acceptable rule of absolute truth”), there is great pressure to dismiss claims for ultimate truth without second thought. My desire for all of us is stop getting scammed by a philosophical system that is self-defeating and creating a huge number of spineless, thoughtless people. Instead, think deeply and seek to understand truth claims, be intelligent and don’t fall for such nonsense.

Realize how tremendously important it is that Christianity is founded on the testimony of a group of men who were with Jesus throughout the course of His ministry, witnessed His death, saw Him resurrected, and died because they refused to deny Jesus Christ. If it is true it has tremendous implications for all of us; so, with so much on the line, be certain to think deeply and seek out answers for your questions in the Bible, the foundation of the Christian faith.

And, speaking of the Bible, soon we will be taking a look at what Jesus of Nazareth had to say about Himself. Did He ever say He was God? The Messiah? Did He ever say anything about Hell? What did He say about us?

Articles:
James White. “Examining Muslim Apologetics”
Part 1 – http://www.equip.org/free/DM822-1.htm
Part 2 – http://www.equip.org/free/DM822-2.htm
Joseph Gudel. “A Post 9/11 Look at Islam”
http://www.equip.org/free/DI911.htm

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Mark
    August 25, 2005 at 5:44 am

    Lee,
    I am not defending the Muslim faith, nor am I disagreeing with your discussion on dying for terrorism vs. dying for Jesus; however, I would like to provide a better understanding for the Muslim faith. Ultimately the Muslim faith is about oneself. If the good that one does out ways the bad then they achieve paradise. And just how some people claim to be Christians but take only one verse of the bible into consideration. Terrorists do not take the complete Koran into consideration. The Koran actually forbids stealing, lying, adultery, and murder. So take that for what it is worth. However I feel that the bigger picture is that terrorists die for themselves and for their own recognition. Christians do not die to be recognized but to stand up for what they believe in. You could argue the same for Muslims, that they truly believe that they will be praised if the good they have done out ways the bad, because after all no one will be willing to die for something unless they either know that it is true, or think that it could be true. No one will die for something that they know is false. Christians know that even after dying for the sake of Christ that the debt they owe to Christ for the gift of salvation and the grace that comes with that gift can never be repaid. Muslims feel that by dying for their religion, weather based on the Koran or not, is a good thing that could help cover up their bad. Christians realize that only the blood of Christ can cover up their sins, so dying for Christ won’t “make it even.” So in the end the Muslims that die for their religion are ultimately dying for themselves and their own recognition while Christians who die for Christ are trying to seek God’s will to proclaim Christ’s name and not their own.

    -Mark

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