Radical Islam: Why Theology Matters!

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On Friday the 13th of November, we saw again the tragic taking of lives when members of ISIS terrorised the people of Paris. But why did they do this? Well, the ultimate reason is because we live in a fallen world (Genesis 3; Romans 5:12) and in such a world evil acts are the consequence of the wicked sinful hearts of men who are in rebellion against their Creator (Roman 1:18–32).

But why did ISIS do this? In statement released by ISIS, which is translated and quoted by Mark Edmunson in International Business Times, they explained,

In a blessed battle whose causes of success were enabled by Allah, a group of believers from the soldiers of the Caliphate (may Allah strengthen and support it) set out targeting the capital of prostitution and vice, the lead carrier of the cross in Europe, Paris.

To ISIS, Paris represented the moral decadence of Western society. In its targeting of Paris, ISIS was striking at, at least what they understood, to be the very heart of Western civilization, the European ideal. For France, that ideal is secularism—which wants nothing to do with religion in its social and political activities. ISIS, however, cannot accept the modern Western ideal of a secular state, a state indifferent to all matters of religion.

Evolution is a tenet of secular humanist ideology, and it sees life as nothing more than a random accident. The tragedy of secularism is that it takes the heart out of meaningful civilization, as civilization requires that mankind has a view that there is a value to human life; but the secular worldview cannot provide a substantive rationale for human value. Secularism brings death, not life (Proverbs 8:36).

Tragically, having neutralised itself from understanding any kind of theological argument, the modern secular West now faces a theological enemy which it cannot stand up to.

What many may not realize, or may not want to realize, is that the events in Paris were driven by a particular Islamic worldview that uses murder to advance its cause. ISIS was very clear about its motivation for carrying out these attacks:

Allah blessed our brothers and granted them what they desired. They detonated their explosive belts in the masses of the disbelievers after finishing all their ammunition. We ask Allah to accept them amongst the martyrs and to allow us to follow them.

ISIS is driven by a theological purpose which is motivated by the promise of paradise, which can only be guaranteed through martyrdom. In Islam this is the only way to be assured of spending eternity in paradise. Terrorist attacks like those in Paris, London, New York, and Madrid are the result of the radical Islamic worldview, which is summed up well by Christian apologist James White:

Combine a wrathful God, a strict law, capricious forgiveness, no emphasis upon justice and equity and the fulfillment of God’s law as reflected in His nature, with the fatal exclusion of a Mediator who can show us God’s mercy and love and grace in perfection, and here is the result. Few things prove the truth of this more clearly: THEOLOGY MATTERS.

While governments have a major role to play in confronting ISIS, there is only so much they can do. You cannot destroy an ideology with bombs and bullets. This is because ISIS is guided by an ideology, the theology presented in a literal reading of the Qur’an which was modelled by the prophet Muhammad.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is the only way to change hearts and minds. Christ died for a fallen humanity. We don’t die for God; He dies for us! (Romans 5:10). Let us not forget that it was the power of the gospel that transformed a religious zealot, namely Saul of Tarsus, to bow the knee before Jesus.

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