Religious confrontations—meeting the challenge of violence

Recent weeks have seen outbreaks of violence by crowds of angry Muslims against western and particularly American diplomatic posts in Iran, Pakistan, and Libya, and threats of similar violence in other parts of the Middle East and of the world. The causes of these upheavals are complex: nationalism, social and economic dislocations caused by industrialization, and the impact of western technology. Some observers perceive still another force at work—religious confrontation. Moreover, to them, such confrontations presage the beginning of a war of religion.

These are, of course, but modern instances of an ancient theme: the scourge of religious strife. Its dark thread runs through the ages. History's most perverse irony is the frequency and fervor with which people have shed blood to establish their preeminent favor in the eyes of that God who has commanded: "Thou shalt not kill." Ex. 20:13; Today this hatred in the name of love rages on.

Love and politics
January 14, 1980

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