Jihad and World Peace

By Drissa Kone

People long for a world without war, but expect it can come only when others sort out their problems or when external circumstances change. I’m reminded of a relevant biblical story.

Responding to the Pharisees, Jesus Christ said in Luke 17:20-21, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the Kingdom of God is within you.” Thus, Jesus challenged them to first seek the Kingdom of God, in other words, to seek peace within themselves.

It is impossible to build lasting peace without looking deep inside ourselves. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” If we want peace in the world we have to start by becoming peaceful ourselves. We have to learn to resolve issues with non-violent methods such as dialogue, persuasion and negotiation.

Today, many radical Muslims justify their deeds through jihad. They believe the only way to make this world a peaceful one is by violently destroying those who do not believe in what they believe. The popular conception of jihad held today equates jihad with terrorism.

There are, however, two kinds of jihad in Islam, and neither can be construed as terrorism.

The Arabic word jihad means “struggle” or “striving,” which can be interpreted as the struggle to be a better person. Unfortunately, for decades, and especially after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, many Westerners perceive jihad as a call for Muslims to fight non-Muslims.

First, jihad speaks to the universal mission of individual Muslims as well as the Islamic community. This is the spiritual interpretation of jihad, in which itis understood to be the Muslim’s lifelong process of constantly fighting against the evil nature of his soul. This is the greater jihad, or the jihad kabir, which never ceases, according to Islam. It is a constant struggle.

The political interpretation of jihad is the second, smaller jihad, or jihad sagir, consisting of military means to defend oneself and the oppressed. This use of military force is understood to be temporary, initiated by specific causes, and able to cease at any time, for instance, when either victory or negotiations ensue. Political jihad is legitimately carried out only through the state and not by non-state agents.

Continue Reading—>

Where Does Unificationism Stand on Birth Control?

By Michael L. Mickler

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical, Humanae Vitae (“Of Human Life”), which condemned the use of artificial birth control methods. The arrival of the birth control pill in 1960 triggered Pope Paul’s letter, and it sought to stem the tide of the 1960s sexual revolution.

The encyclical was singularly unsuccessful.

A chorus of dissent, even within the Roman Catholic community, followed its publication.  A recent account recalls that, within days of its release, a group of American Catholic theologians issued a statement saying, “[S]pouses may responsibly decide according to their conscience that artificial contraception in some circumstances is permissible.”

A year later, a survey found that 44% of Catholic women of childbearing age were using artificial contraception and by 1974, 83% of U.S. Catholics reportedly said they disagreed with the ban. Commentators blamed the encyclical for a decline in people attending mass and for damaging the authority of the papacy, particularly among younger Catholics.

The encyclical also failed to stem the tide of the 1960s sexual revolution.

According to one author,

“[T]he year the Pill went on the market, most Americans lived in nuclear families, the average married couple had four children, and mothers stayed home. By 2000, the average family had two children, one out of two marriages ended in divorce, and almost a third of American children were being raised by a single parent or an unmarried couple.”

Acceptance of premarital sex, cohabitation, alternative forms of sexuality and abortion accompanied the trend. In the 2000s, Internet connections facilitated easy access to pornography and dating sites. Smartphone apps such as Tinder encouraged casual sex. However, “hook-up culture” prompted consternation and the #MeToo movement suggested that the sexual revolution had not ended predation but may have licensed it.

These developments prompted Catholic apologists to re-examine Humanae Vitae and assert its “prophetic power.”

Continue Reading—>

A Layman’s Cosmology: Speculation on the Origin of Existence and God

By Henry Christopher

Cosmology is the study of the origin, evolution and eventual fate of the universe. It is studied by both scientists and philosophers, can include scientific and non-scientific propositions, and may depend upon assumptions that cannot be tested.

Here, I offer a speculative layman’s cosmology which does not claim to present a scientifically verifiable conclusion on this subject. I adopt a more philosophical point of view. However, as much as possible, I believe we should seriously take into account leading scientific theories of the day.

Although the existence of God has neither been proven nor disproven, from a scientific point of view, my thoughts on existence stem from a layman’s logic, intuition and common sense which indicate that a Creator, rather than chance, is the origin not only of all things, but necessarily of all principles and orderliness of the world around us.

Not from randomness or chaos do the stars and planets in the sky stay put in their individual orbits day after day, year after year, but by the mathematical plan of a Creator. This is not just a belief, but a logical notion — a reasonable outcome of probability — that the chances are more likely the universe came about through the existence of a purposeful intellect than by some extraordinary accident.

This conclusion has been held by some of the most prominent astrophysicists, mathematicians and other scientists, including Fred Hoyle, Cambridge University astrophysicist, and Owen Gingerich, senior astronomer at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory.

Writing on this very point, Roger Penrose, Oxford University mathematical physicist, said,

“…the only alternative to the universe arising from chance is for it to have arisen deliberately. Deliberate action requires a conscious creator (read: God). And for those who are still tempted to conclude that our universe is just the result of a very extremely improbable accident, I explain in “Why God? Why not just plain luck?” why bare probability (chance), alone, can never cause anything… let alone the creation of a universe.”

Continue Reading—>