Saturday, September 4, 2004

Thoughts on Islam

by Steve Ray on September 4, 2004

Is the Allah of bin Laden, in whose name bin Laden commits such horrific acts, the Allah of Islam? We would like to believe otherwise; but where are the voices of Islam denouncing terrorism and suicide bombings? Where are the voices of Islam condemning this cult of death and destruction?

Again I come back to the infinite, disembodied, forbidding deity of Islam who demands absolute submission. This god is truly alone. He has not given himself to the world in the way that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob has. He has not enfleshed himself in his creation. He has not incarnated himself as a human being. He has not lived and died as a human being nor risen from the blackness of death. He has not taken his assumed human nature into the eternal life of the Godhead. Are the terrorist horrors we are now witnessing in the world truly inconsistent with the god of Islam?

It is God the Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who embodies himself in the Church and her sacraments. It is this God who shares himself through the washing of water and the anointing of oil. It is this God who communicates himself by bread and wine. It is this God who is so available to us that we may touch him, see him, know him.

Once again, G. K. Chesterton insightfully discerned the difference between the Allah of Islam and the God of the Church:

“There is in Islam a paradox which is perhaps a permanent menace. The great creed born in the desert creates a kind of ecstasy out of the very emptiness of its own land, and even, one may say, out of the emptiness of its own theology. It affirms, with no little sublimity, something that is not merely the singleness but rather the solitude of God. There is the same extreme simplification in the solitary figure of the Prophet; and yet this isolation perpetually reacts into its own opposite. A void is made in the heart of Islam which has to be filled up again and again by a mere repetition of the revolution that founded it. There are no sacraments; the only thing that can happen is a sort of apocalypse, as unique as the end of the world; so the apocalypse can only be repeated and the world end again and again. There are no priests; and yet this equality can only breed a multitude of lawless prophets almost as numerous as priests. The very dogma that there is only one Mahomet [Mohammad] produces an endless procession of Mahomets. Of these the mightiest in modern times were the man whose name was Ahmed, and whose more famous title was the Mahdi; and his more ferocious successor Abdullahi, who was generally known as the Khalifa. These great fanatics, or great creators of fanaticism, succeeded in making a militarism almost as famous and formidable as that of the Turkish Empire on whose frontiers it hovered, and in spreading a reign of terror such as can seldom be organised except by civilisation.” (Lord Kitchener,1917)

The God of the gospel is truly a God of life. He does not exalt death; he conquers it! L’Chaim! But there is one who loves death. His name is Lucifer.

(I found this on the web provided by someone with the screen name Pontificator. I thought it was helpful.)