By Richard Panzer, President, Unification Theological Seminary
Earlier this month, like many of you, I was riveted to the news channels watching coverage of the Boston Bombing and relieved when the two brothers who perpetrated these acts were stopped.
I have been trying to understand how two brothers who came to America to better their lives could morph into murderers.
The simplest answer I can come up with is: they believed committing an act of terror was a way to serve God.
We could look for the personal and family reasons that would explain why they embraced a radical Islamist worldview that views residents of America as enemies, but the bottom line is that someone offered them a teaching that justified mass killing.
How do you defeat an ideology that leads people to believe that they are serving the Creator by committing such acts? Is this something our government can do? Doubtful.
As initially reported by the Los Angeles Times, the elder Tsarnaev brother was thrown out of a mosque after a shouting match with the imam during a Friday prayer service. The paper quoted several worshippers as saying that Tsarnaev had yelled at the imam for having pointed to Martin Luther King, Jr., as a role model for Muslims. Tsarnaev protested that King could not be a model because he was “not a Muslim.”
President Obama visits the residence of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, March 20, 2013.
by Andrew Wilson, Professor of Scriptural Studies, UTS
What is the work of God as the molder and shaper of the events of history in 2013, and in the Middle East in particular?
The Judeo-Christian Bible speaks to a God active in history. The Hebrew prophets were tasked with discerning God’s hand in the events of their day and thereby to give guidance to kings. Christians in the American colonies recognized the hand of God’s providence in the founding of this nation. President Lincoln recognized the hand of God’s providence when, in his Second Inaugural Address, he described the Civil War as God’s judgment for the sin of slavery, paid for in blood. America’s sense of exceptionalism stems from numerous events in its history understood by faith to be divinely guided, from the American Revolution even to the rise of American power in the 20th century to lead the fight against fascism and communism.
The modern State of Israel is another nation where many Christians and Jews have seen the hand of Divine Providence. The remarkable story of its founding in 1948 and its survival through the trials of the Six Day War and Yom Kippur War against larger Arab forces have been widely celebrated as indications that Israel exists by the hand of God.