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The Return To Our First Love
by Bro. James Martin

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Dayton, Ohio 45417

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Judged By The Founder, No, By The Followers

ISIL (ISIS) "is not Islamic." This statement by our president in response to those terrorists intent on establishing a radical Islamist state who have murdered innocents and beheaded journalists is, to me, almost unbelievable in its disingenuousness. My first response to myself was, "Has anyone informed ISIS that they are not Islamic? They certainly don't seem to be aware of it." The following was offered as a reason for this conclusion: ISIS is not Islamist because ISIS kills Islamists. Jonah Goldberg, columnist, made a poignant point (I paraphrase.): "If ISIS is not Islamic because they kill Islamists, does that mean Joseph Stalin was not communist because he killed thousands of communists?" In all this, the underlying premise is that we are not to judge Islam by those who claim to be its followers. Actually, I believe this is true. But, I would take it a step farther. We are not to judge any religion by its followers but by its founder. It is said that Islam is about peace (a misinterpretation of what is meant by peace), thus the terrorists who kill are not true Islamists. However, evaluate that statement (True Islam is about peace not terrorism.) while looking at Islam's founder. History would have to be radically revised to edit out the killings ordered or encouraged by Islam's founder, Mohammed. ISIS killings are, in fact, congruous with the founder of Islam. Thus, it cannot be said based on its killings that ISIS is not Islamic. Apply this judge-the-religion-by-the-founder to a group that calls itself Christian but advocates killing Muslims because they are Muslim. Or apply it to Timothy McVeigh. Or abortion clinic bombers. Jesus never modeled or advocated violence to others simply because they did not believe what He taught. Thus, neither those who advocated killing Muslims for being Muslims, the Timothy McVeighs, abortion clinic bombers, etc., are truly Christians though they may call themselves such. They are not Christians when measured by the founder of Christianity. If any should know what a religion is about, if any should convey what a religion is about, it should be the founder. All that being said--a religion should be judged by its founder not its followers--, the reality is, people do judge a religion by its followers. However wrongheaded the conclusions, we as followers should keep this in mind. What people think about Christianity comes from what they think about us, the followers. The only way they are really going to get what Christianity is truly about is if they see the Founder in and through us.

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