What’s in a Name?
Vol: 170 Issue: 3 Tuesday, November 3, 2015
The world’s leaders take great pains to point out that true Islam is a religion of peace and love and that those who learn from Islam that it is a perfectly acceptable form of worship to murder innocent men, women and children are practicing some ‘perversion’ of the religion of peace and love.
Right off the bat, there is a clue here. Religion is never about ‘peace and love’. Judaism is filled with examples of religious wars that were neither peaceful nor particularly loving. God is love.
Religion is not God. As noted previously, religion is an expression of man’s effort to make himself acceptable to God by practicing certain rituals and adhering to certain rules.
It has been accurately stated that more wars have been fought over religious disputes and in the name of religion than any other cause. But God isn’t religion.
God is, for want of a better term, an excuse for religion, but one doesn’t even require a living God to have a religion. Any old god will do.
Heck, when it comes to religion, if you can’t find a suitable god to worship, you can just make up your own.
Even Jesus scoffed at the notion of religion being the same as God, telling the woman at thewell:
“Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe Me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. . . But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:21.23-24)
Rather than seeing religion as an expression of peace and love, Jesus’ mission was to abolish the religious traditions that had perverted the worship of God into something to be worshippedinstead of God. What He pictured didn’t sound like ‘peace and love’ at all . . .
“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.” (Matthew 10:34-36)
Jesus never taught anything EXCEPT peace, telling His followers that loving God above all things and loving one’s neighbor as himself was the distilled sum of the Ten Commandments.
Following the Ten Commandments as a religious practice, Jesus said, was keeping the letter of the Law while ignoring its spirit.
He accused religion of dispossessing the old, the widows, the infirm, and called the religious leaders of His day a generation of ‘vipers’.
Christianity, as taught by Scripture, is anything BUT a religion. It is a personal relationship with Christ based on the understanding that all men are sinners. (That is hardly a religious observation. If it were not true, we would have no use for a legal system.)
All men are accountable for their sin. Every religion, no matter which deity they follow, is rooted in the notion of accountability to someone or some thing for sin.
But religion has a system for satisfying the accountability for sin by balancing the scales with good works or works of penance that THEY deem acceptable to God. In some Christian versions of religion, Jesus plays some role, but only within a religious context.
So, by the very pronouncement by world leaders that Islam is, at its root, a ‘religion of peace and love’ is proof positive that they don’t have even the faintest idea of what they are talking about.
Compounding their ignorance, they proclaim Allah to be one and the same with the God of the Bible, making Islam one of the world’s three ‘great monotheistic religions’.
It never ceased to amaze me when the President of the United States ignores the so-called ‘separation clause’ and declares the Koran ‘holy’, legitimizes Allah as a deity, makes declarative doctrinal statements advancing Islam as a ‘great religion’ rooted in ‘peace and love’ — there isn’t a peep from the ACLU.
Where is the ‘Reverend’ Barry Whatshisname from ‘People from the American Way’ or ‘Christians United Against Christianity’ or whatever his outfit is named?
‘Reverend’ Barry shows up as often as the fat guy in the Di Tech commercials whenever somebody starts defending a Christmas scene or a Ten Commandments monument.
Why isn’t he all over the airwaves condemning the United States government for promoting Islam as a legitimate religion of peace and love when he objects to school kids acknowledging America as one nation under God?
Well, the simplest answer is also the most obvious. The name ‘Allah’ doesn’t invoke the same visceral sense of revulsion as does the Name, Jesus.
Interesting, when you think about it. Under the banner of Allah, thousands of their countrymen have been murdered.
Allah’s forces are conspiring, even now, to murder thousands, maybe tens of thousands, more. Maybe even some of them.
But the president’s promotion of Islam as a religion of ‘peace and love’, one ‘honored and respected’ by the government of the United States, one declared ‘holy’ from the Oval Office and one of the world’s ‘great religions’ went utterly unnoticed.
But the posting of a monument to the Ten Commandments as an endorsement of Christianity not only sends them ballistic, it has the Supreme Court making religious doctrine a matter of law.
You see, that is only possible with a ‘religion’ — which is why religions are never about ‘peace and love’.
(How do YOU feel about court-imposed religious doctrine? Peaceful? Loving? Or furious?)
Let me explain. The Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Ten Commandments as a prohibited Christian symbol is a religious doctrinal declaration.
The Ten Commandments are not a symbol of Christianity. They are the evidence of the NEED for Christianity.
The Bible says that nobody ever kept the Ten Commandments. Therefore, judicially, all men fell under the hopeless condemnation of sin. The Ten Commandments are the expression of man’s hopeless condition before God APART from Christianity.
The Ten Commandments, doctrinally speaking, are not Christian in any sense of Christian theology.
They are the basis for Jewish Law, given by God to Moses who then passed them down to theJews, before they were fulfilled (and therefore nullified) by Jesus Christ, Who replaced the Law with Grace.
But because one can attach ‘Jesus’ to the Ten Commandments in a sentence, by Supreme Declaration, the Ten Commandments become a legal part of Christian doctrine and therefore an illegal endorsement of Christianity.
But it is pretty difficult to attach the Name ‘Jesus’ to anything resembling a religion that teaches salvation by murdering innocents.
So the ACLU, Barry Whosis and the League to Destroy all Mention of the One True God are all busy buying gum, or getting haircuts, or practicing for their next Supreme Court argument that a county courthouse is the equivalent under the 1st Amendment to ‘Congress’.
So we can promote Islam all day long without fear of lawsuits. Indeed, there exist in the American school system, MANDATORY curriculums that amount to immersion course in Islam, complete with the taking of an Islamic name, studying the Koran, and practicing Islamic rituals.
And since the only ones objecting are Christian legal groups like the Rutherford Institute, they seldom make their way past the first appeals court, if they are heard at all.
One common ‘virtue’ shared by guys like the ACLU, Barry Whosisname, ‘People for the Abolition of Spiritual Joy’ the American Atheists Union (” Can I believe in my cause and still be an atheist?”), the ‘Muslim Council for the Peaceful Extermination of Christians and Jews’ (“Death To America! Like my car? It’s new!”) is that they exhibit a visceral, almost pathological hatred for Jesus Christ and those who claim Him.
They don’t care who they ally themselves with, and it isn’t even that they are aware that they are doing it. To them, all the different gods are more or less the same, so who cares?
Except for Jesus. There is something about Jesus.
All the rest of the gods promise there are many ways to salvation, or no salvation to be had, or no need for salvation, or endless reincarnation, or they make ridiculous promises like 72 virgins with transparent legs and all the dope you can smoke.
They are unworthy of attention. They represent no threat to the god of this world. They are all on the same side.
When it comes to Allah, Vishnu, Buddha, Mohammed, Homer Simpson, it is pretty much the same. The world can take them or leave them. But Jesus claims that there is only one way to salvation, and that is through faith in Him. NOBODY can ‘take or leave’ Jesus.
There are those who wail, “if only there were some evidence that Jesus is real.” Nobody gets that worked up over the Tooth Fairy. Or Santa Claus.
The mere fact that the Name of Jesus can evoke the fury that it does among His enemies proves His reality.
The mere fact that someone supposedly dead for two thousand years can HAVE enemies is pretty powerful evidence. Especially when one takes a close look at who His enemies are.
Even though we are at war with Islam, nobody freaks out at the mention of Mohammed. No emergency ACLU filings follow the president’s promotion of Islam as a ‘great religion’ or of the Koran as ‘holy’ — even though the Koran is the inspiration for the war we are now fighting!
Because instinctively, the world knows that Allah isn’t real. That the Koran isn’t Divinely inspired. But they recoil at the Name of Jesus because, just as instinctively, they know that He IS real. Whether they admit it to themselves or not, they betray themselves by their reaction.
What is in a Name? Everything. Conviction of sin. A reminder of eternal accountability. A call to repentance. And another unwanted choice. Another hated spiritual confrontation. All that in the utterance of a single Name.
“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other Name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
At some level, all of us know instinctively, deep in our consciousness, somewhere, that Jesus is real, He is alive and He is God. Even the lost. Just listen to how much they hate Him.
What else is in a Name? Life eternal.
Originally Published: July 19, 2005
Featured Commentary: Really Radical ~ Wendy Wippel