Cal Thomas has a column that got me to thinking. Here is the key to that column.
Here’s the danger for President Trump. The Quran allows Muslims to lie to “nonbelievers” in pursuit of Islam’s goal of an earthly kingdom ruled by their religion.
An example occurred last week when Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met at the White House with President Trump. Abbas said, “Mr. President, I affirm to you that we are raising our youth, our children and grandchildren, in a culture of peace.”
That is a flat-out lie, as even a cursory Google search or visit to the Palestinian Media Watch website proves.
Do the Palestinians instruct their children to detest non believers, even to lie to them and kill them? As Thomas said, it is easy enough to look up. Google Do Palestinians Teach Their Children to Hate? The mainstream press does not like to talk about it, but even The New York Times has occasionally carried a story. Here is one from 2013, To Shape Young Palestinians, Hamas Creates Its Own Textbooks. Apparently, Hamas was not satisfied with what it got from the Palestinian Authority.
Textbooks have long been a point of contention in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in which dueling historical narratives and cultural clashes underpin a territorial fight. And they are central examples of what Israeli leaders call Palestinian “incitement” against Jews, held up as an obstacle to peace talks newly resumed under American pressure.
Beyond their take on Israel, the new texts are also a salvo in the war for influence between the rival Palestinian factions: Gaza-based Hamas and Fatah, which dominates the Palestinian Authority and the West Bank. They reflect a growing gulf between the 1.7 million Palestinians living in the densely populated Gaza Strip and the 2.5 million spread among the West Bank’s cities and villages. (from here)
How seriously should we take this sort of thing? We have an excellent point of reference, our own American Civil War. In the South, children grew up learning to approve of slavery. In the North, children grew up believing slavery wrong. Most in the North may have thought the Negro inferior, but they refrained from believing Negroes should be enslaved. Considering that the whites in the South did not want to enslave the whites in the North, the conflict that eventually ensued between the North and South grew extremely violent. One can only imagine what that war would have been like if all the people in the North had been Negroes.
So what does Christianity teach about race and culturally based hatred? This is a question that confuses many Christians. In its May 4, 2017 broadcast, If God Is Good, How Could He Command Holy War?, Derek Thomas examined the issue for Renewing Your Mind. His subject was the Book of Joshua and the Holy War (or herem) God declared against the Canaanites. In the Book of Joshua, the Hebrews execute God’s command to move into the Holy Land and kill the Canaanites.
When we read the about the destruction of Jericho, we usually marvel at the miraculous collapse of the city’s walls, but what happened after that?
Joshua 6:15-21 New King James Version (NKJV)
15 But it came to pass on the seventh day that they rose early, about the dawning of the day, and marched around the city seven times in the same manner. On that day only they marched around the city seven times. 16 And the seventh time it happened, when the priests blew the trumpets, that Joshua said to the people: “Shout, for the Lord has given you the city! 17 Now the city shall be doomed by the Lord to destruction, it and all who are in it. Only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all who are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent. 18 And you, by all means abstain from the accursed things, lest you become accursed when you take of the accursed things, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it. 19 But all the silver and gold, and vessels of bronze and iron, are consecrated to the Lord; they shall come into the treasury of the Lord.”
20 So the people shouted when the priests blew the trumpets. And it happened when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat. Then the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city. 21 And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, ox and sheep and donkey, with the edge of the sword.
What does Derek Thomas point to in the Bible to justify utterly destroying all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, ox and sheep and donkey, with the edge of the sword?
Genesis 15:16 New King James Version (NKJV)
16 But in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.”
God had decided iniquity of the Amorites was complete. Because the answer is unsatisfying, Thomas grieves over this. Yet Thomas did not finding the answer unsatisfying for the reason some might expect. When Thomas considered himself and the rest of us, sinners all, what is remarkable is that God has any mercy to spare for any of us.
We are not worthy of God’s grace, but we can choose to receive it. Fortunately, when Jesus died on the cross and rose on the third day, He established a new covenant. Instead of destroying unrepentant sinners, we now spread His Gospel.
So what about Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his lies? As best we can, we need to help the Palestinians understand the truth. The Allah that he and his fellow Muslims worship is an invented god. What too many Muslims worship is war, not peace. Only with Jesus can have peace.