According to Oxford Dictionaries Online, terrorism is “the unofficial or unauthorized use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.” Terrorism has been around since, to borrow a phrase from Kevin Smith, before “Jesus was a baby.” However, today, in the Ottawa Citizen, the religion experts are asked “How should we respond to aggression and terrorism?“ This is, of course, a popular question, and expert answers vary. Balpreet Singh says,
Steps must immediately be taken in order to ensure that similar incidents cannot recur.
Sounds good, but how do we ensure that acts of terror “cannot recur”? Rather, we should ensure that acts of terror and aggression do not recur. How do we do that: “imagine no religion.” Yes it is true that not all terrorist acts are motivated by religion. We could argue that the Reign of Terror in France was not. However, we are asking and listening to “religion experts,” and their answers are informed by religious teaching.
Balpreet Singh refers to
the words of the tenth Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh, “where all other methods have been exhausted, it is righteous to raise the sword.”
It may be inevitable in some circumstances to respond to terrorism with the state’s power.
was not a recipe for retaliation. It was intended to limit the counter-attack.
took that restriction one big step further when he taught his disciples: “I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous” (Matthew 5.44-45).
Terrorists use violence for political ends
Terrorism must be opposed by good, rigorous police and security work.
As a matter of religious conviction, Christians are to learn to oppose violence of all kinds and to pursue peaceable means of resolving conflict.
the blame squarely on religious extremists for terrorizing those who reside on this pale blue dot.
If we can look at aggression and terrorism dispassionately, there a several reasons why humans indulge. Religion — certainly, but add racial, cultural, political and economic differences into the mix and we have a recipe ripe for conflict.