CGG Weekly, May 2, 2003

"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."
Lord Acton

While suffering under the tyrannical, secular regime of Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi people were more personally free from the murderous, religious radicals of the various Islamic sects. This "peaceful" religion is one the President of the United States admires for its "peaceful" teachings and way of life. The news media esteems it for its "peaceful" American-flag-burning rallies, and "peaceful" suicide-bombing-children chanting, "Death to Bush! Death to America!"

Maybe I am missing something here, but I just do not see any peace in it. It should have been obvious that, once coalition forces "won" the war, the Iraqi people would view America and Britain as liberators and saviors. After all, "A person convinced against his will is of the same opinion still!" There is the rub—against their will!

What is the motivation behind this "peaceful" religion and its "peaceful" disciples? Simply put, it is power. It motivated Saddam, who controlled their will through tyranny. Now that their self-will is free to express itself, the true, nasty face of their "peaceful" motivation has reared its vicious head in Iraq, as it has elsewhere in the world in the form of terrorism.

Recently, the Shiite Muslims demanded the ouster and better yet (from their perspective) the destruction of the Sunni Muslims. The Shiites want the power to rule, to lord it over, and destroy those "ungodly"—or should it be "un-Allah-ly"?—sinning Sunnis. After all, they just do not kill as many infidels for Allah.

Wait a minute! Is that not the same type of "power" struggle Catholics and Protestants have waged for centuries, where both have demanded the removal of the other from power? It is such a good thing that it does not happen anymore—or does it? Sadly, yes it does. It not only happened in previous centuries in Europe, England, Ireland, American Colonies, and other areas around the world, this power struggle continues today. Sectarian strife is still a major factor in Northern Ireland.

In all religious confrontations, the motivation is the desire for power. It is a desire to have the upper hand, to control the target of one's desires. To acquire power, human nature will suspend truth in favor of a lie that will further the acquisition of more power. Boris Pasternak, the Soviet poet and author of Dr. Zhivago, said, "As for the men of power, they are so anxious to establish the myth of infallibility that they do their utmost to ignore truth." Truth is meaningless and virtues frowned upon by those who acquire power by any means.

The prophet Isaiah worded this rejection of truth this way, "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" (Isaiah 5:20).

The apostle James spelled out very clearly the spiritual principle that answers the age old question:

Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. (James 4:1-3)

The disciples of this world's religions pray to their gods, asking for power to advance their religion, their desires, and their pleasures. But their prayers are amiss because they are not based on the truth of the Almighty God. They ask for success in violence to further their pleasures in religion. They enjoy exerting power over others.

What a contrast that is to God's religion of truth applied without bias or prejudice for the benefit of humanity. Christ's true disciples are known by the characteristic of humility not power. They conduct themselves by truth, mercy, and love—not by hostility and violence.