While following news on the aftermath of the Boston bombings, I saw this headline today on MSN.com. The gist of the article relates how through a yes/no answer session (his injuries that put him in the hospital have rendered him unable to speak) and through some conversation written down, it has been discovered that this is yet another terrorist attack motivated by religion. Another sad repercussion of another terrorist attack, These actions once again show that terrorists don’t Comprehend that their actions don’t just taint the image of their religion, but they do so for all religion as well.
Like many U.S. citizens, I consider myself a fairly devout Christian. I also feel that, though the beliefs espoused by my faith differ somewhat from those of other Christian and non-Christian religions, there are generally good morals and values that all churches can basically agree on. There’s a lot we have in common. It’s hard to keep that in focus when someone causes a catastrophe like this, and then cites their religion.
What extremists constantly forget is that religion in general is already under fire. A growing number of people in the world consider faith in any god as archaic. Even in the recent Presidential election, the losing candidate had an uphill battle with those who saw his faith as dangerous. Regardless of how well we try to live our faith, to practice as best we can principles like love and forgiveness, there will always be people who will simply see religious folk as sheep who simply believe whatever their church tells them. And that is long before the terrorists show up.
What do the bombers expect to happen now? What message will anyone take about organized religious groups. This doesn’t just make the bomber’s church look like an extremist bent on eliminating dissenting views. To some people it justifies the opinion that all religion is suspect – that people who put religion first are dangerous, because they put “faith” before reason, because they’ll do whatever their church tells them to, even if it is harmful. There are some who can’t wait for an excuse to blame religion for the problems that happen in the world, and now these terrorists have fueled their fire.
No one can ever understand what these terrorists would be thinking they would accomplish. One way or another their attacks have to be counterproductive to whatever twisted mission that they are trying to acheive. What if there had been someone in the crowd of their own faith mixed in with those of other belief systems? Would they see it as a casualty of war? Would they just shrug it off? I suppose it’s impossible to know the mind of a terrorist.
My hope is that people, especially people with the belief in God, will make an effort to be more helpful. People of all different sects need to make a renewed concerted effort to combat the image that a few extremists create for the world. We need to show that religion should be more than just saying we believe what is in the book, or professed in church. More than ever we need to act the way we know we should; with love, compassion, forgiveness and understanding, just to name a few of the traits that we need in this world.
I feel the need to combat what I see as the most far-reaching consequences of any terrorist attack based on religion. I hope everyone, whether they go to a church or not, will fight the stereotypes and negative generalizations that can lead to hateful acts of this magnitude. And I hope can remember that, whether we share the same beliefs or not, we are one human family. We should act like it.