Earthrise.jpgTwo recent events really highlight how religion can affect a person’s view or right and wrong. First let me fly off on a tangent, no first let me fly off on a tangent about flying off on tangents before I fly off on a tangent away from the effect that religion can have on one’s perspective regarding right and wrong.

Did you ever notice after you’ve flown off on a tangent you can look back on the issue with a more broad view? I liken it to the images we see from as spacecraft fly off on a tangent away from earth and all of the sudden the world is seen dangling in space; things often don’t look the same from a tangent.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that I have probably watched too much StarTrek as a child, and I’m sure my wife feels I’ve followed through with this in my adulthood. Their was an episode where the crew of the Enterprise arrive on a planet that appears peaceful, yet whose inhabitants claim they are at war.

SPOCK: Computers, Captain. They fight their war with computers. Totally.
ANAN: Yes, of course.
KIRK: Computer don’t kill a half million people.
ANAN: Deaths have been registered. Of course they have twenty four hours to report.
KIRK: To report?
ANAN: To our disintegration machines. You must understand, Captain, we have been at war for five hundred years. Under ordinary conditions, no civilisation could withstand that. But we have reached a solution.
SPOCK: Then the attack by Vendikar was theoretical.
ANAN: Oh, no, quite real. An attack is mathematically launched. I lost my wife in the last attack. Our civilisation lives. The people die, but our culture goes on.
KIRK: You mean to tell me your people just walk into a disintegration machine when they’re told to?
ANAN: We have a high consciousness of duty, Captain.
SPOCK: There is a certain scientific logic about it.
ANAN: I’m glad you approve.
SPOCK: I do not approve. I understand.

Let’s read those last few lines again.

SPOCK: There is a certain scientific logic about it.
ANAN: I’m glad you approve.
SPOCK: I do not approve. I understand.

With the case of Dr. Tiller’s murder, I can understand the certain scientific logic about it. Dr. Tiller has taken and in all likelyhood would have kept on taking the lives from thousands of unborn children. Now he has been stopped dead cold in his tracks. What Scott Roeder apparently did was wrong, but I can understand the logic.

I do not approve. I understand.

By the reports I’ve read, Scott Roeder felt he was acting on God’s behalf as the follower of an religion based on Old Testament teachings. I haven’t read exactly which religion he adhered to, but there are 3 common religions that share the old roots in the Old Testament books: Islam, Judaism, and my chosen faith, Christianity. I don’t know everything regarding Islamic nor Jewish doctinal perspective on this, but would speculate that it is not part of their mainstream practices. I do have a better grasp on Christianity and find this murder to be inconsistant with what I know of Christ’s ministry while on this Earth.

The second news item I’d like to comment on is the shooting of two newly enlisted young soldiers.

Police Chief Stuart Thomas said Muhammad, previously known as Carlos Bledsoe, was a convert to Islam and was not part of any broader scheme to attack the American military. Interviews with police show he “probably had political and religious motives for the attack,”

So Carlos Bledsoe, also known as Abdulhakim Muhammad, a recent convert to Islam stands accused. By all of the accounts I’ve read, this man felt he was operating on the behalf of God, or Allah in this case. It doesn’t really matter whether Allah sanctioned this action or not, the man in question thinks he was doing right by Allah when he pulled the trigger.

I don’t approve. I understand.

Both men obviously felt like they were doing right by their religion, while to me both men had obviously done wrong by all measures that I’m used to. Yet, in my belly these two actions don’t settle as entirely parallel. A small part of me wants to jump for joy over Dr. Tiller’s death and the excitement thinking of even one child who won’t die at his hand. And there is also that little part of me that might have me wringing the neck of one Carlos Bledsoe if he were within arms reach. I don’t approve either of these feelings, but I understand them.

“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder,[a] and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother[b]will be subject to judgment. Matthew 5:21-22

No matter how good any of us regard ourselves, it is the sin we all share that makes each of us close kin to the Scott Roeders and Carlos Bledsoes of this world.

I don’t approve of this sin we have in us all. I understand though, that sin exists.

And for myself, I don’t much worry about making the newspapers as these men have, because I have put my faith not in my abilty to overcome sin, but in Christ’s ability to overcome sin. He is the only one who has beaten it completely, so He seems the most appropriate mentor.