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What Peace Really Means

Another day in the aftermath of an attack that left behind many dead, many wounded and countless people confused. Minutes after the allegiance of the culprit became known, the media downplayed the likelihood that the attack had anything to do with Islam. He was probably mentally ill or maybe poor, but surely his motivation was not religious. All the years that I grew up in a Muslim country and received Islamic education, I had not heard that Islam was a religion of peace. That is, until I moved to America.

The secular West, which has lost the desire to defend its own values, often gives the impression there is nothing to fight for. But a closer look reveals an alternative set of values secularists are more than willing to defend. For them, fraternal peace necessarily takes precedence over the acquisition of otherworldly contentment. Yet, any system of belief that does not recognize a God willing to undergo suffering to bring about eternal peace is likely to commit bloodshed for false peace.

There is a Jet Li movie called Hero, where flying Chinese warriors dressed in colorful outfits try to convince you that much should be sacrificed for the greater good, including innocent lives. The Qin emperor, who conquers and slaughters mercilessly, claims that he is doing all this conquering and slaughtering for the sake of a unified China, which will eventually mean peace for the entire land. At the end of the movie, the audience is supposed to scratch its head and deeply contemplate whether there is truth in this premise at all. When earthly peace is the ultimate goal, the many ways to achieve it could be justified without much effort. Of course, followers of Christ know better.

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