This is a phrase I have been hearing a lot lately. This morning, as I hit the treadmill for a quick mile run I watched the morning news and heard more of these homegrown terrorists. They spoke of these “lost souls” that feel some form of connection to ISIS and other Al Qaeda related groups. As I began listening to the various talking heads I was shocked to learn what types of people were flocking to these organizations. Namely, in Europe, there are lots of woman siding with these Islamic extremists. How can this be? Islamic extremists have little to no respect for women. Woman are viewed as possessions by these radicals. In fact, I have often wondered if they would treat their animals better than they treat their wives. And yet, people believe in their message. They believe in their cause. Why? What could possibly convince a person that such tactics as blowing up your enemies even if it means blowing yourself up is a good idea? In a word… conviction.
While I do not pretend to know the mind of a terrorist, nor do I really want to think like one, these people believe in what they are fighting for. They are fighting for their faith. Let that sink in for just a minute. They are not fighting for oil. They are no fighting for freedom. They are not fighting for more territory. They aren’t even fighting for world domination. They are fighting for faith. They believe that the western way of life is a threat to their way of life. And in many ways they are not wrong. (I am not saying their ways are right, I am merely pointing out that our ways conflict with theirs). They have a strict adherence to modesty, prayer, woman’s roles, etc. They are deeply convicted that any negative depiction of their religious leaders, namely Muhammad is blasphemy. While I may not agree with their tactics, their form of faith, I have to admit that they should be upset that their faith gets kicked around by western culture. Look at what western culture has done to Christianity. Modesty has been all but removed. Our courts actually protect the right to expose yourself and then sell it to millions. Our government has already banned praying to God in schools (although you can still pray to Allah). And programs like Family Guy and South Park routinely mock Christ. And because they are still on the air it makes me wonder if Christians don’t really care! If there really are as many “born again” Christians watching TV as the Nielsen ratings system says there are, then programs such as South Park would have been canceled long ago. The sad thing is, I think there are many so called Christians watching such filth and thinking nothing of it because it is just a TV show, or just a movie, or just a song. Who cares? I can tell you right now, a Muslim would never tolerate such mockery of their founder.
People are flocking to these extremist groups because they are not hypocrites. They know what they believe. They are willing to die for what they believe. When is the last time the same could be said of a group of Christians? Conviction is lacking in Christians today. Going to church on Wednesday has been replaced with the basketball game. Going to church on Sunday has been replaced with preparing for the big game or race Sunday afternoon. Preparing for bible class has been replaced with partying and staying up late on Saturday night. Yes, my friends we lack conviction. If we hope to help these lost souls, maybe we should stop trying to turn Christianity into an episode of the Simpson‘s and make it holy, sanctified, and pure. Instead of trying to blend in with American culture, we ought to be convicted enough to stand out in a crowd.