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Is religion to blame?

James Grayston

There are no words which can describe the horror of what happened in Orlando, Florida this week. A place known for fun and entertainment was transformed into a place of horror and tragedy as we listened to eye witness testimony and reports of what took place.

It’s impossible to understand the thought process which must have gone through Omar Mateen’s mind just before he walked into the nightclub in Orlando. No rationale will explain this, no twisted religious or moral viewpoint can every justify his actions or motive. It was a truly evil act – tragically one of many as we think about other mindless attacks in the United States, Paris and Belgium and so the list goes on. Hundreds of families this year are mourning the loss of someone dear and there is no comfort or position which will make the pain go away.

Some may point to religion being the problem – and in part I can understand this view when unfortunately, there are many today who peddle extreme views. Whether “Muslim” or “Christian” they seem to think they can justify their actions and almost boast in what they say or do.

It’s good to remind ourselves of what the Bible actually says in situations like this. To focus on The Word of God and not the behaviour of a killer when things like this happen.

“The Bible makes it clear” that it is wrong to take another person’s life. It also tells us that sin is at the root of what is going wrong with our society. It is a cancer which leads to evil and death in the long run. “The Bible tells” us that sin when it is finished results in death. One other important point when we talk about sin – Every one of us has the same problem. We can look at the Omar Mateen’s of this world and comment that he is evil and a sinner. Sometimes we struggle with the concept – “the biblical message”, that as far as God is concerned we all break God’s law – we are all sinners.  We all need His salvation.

James, the Lord Jesus half brother wrote a very good definition about religion. He says in his letter “Anyone who sets himself up as "religious" by talking a good game is self–deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.”

What took place in Florida this week was horrible, tragic and frustrating as there seems to be no end to this kind of vile act. There will be all sorts of reasons and theories given as to why the attack took place – the answer is sin. We are all marked by it, we all have it and the only answer to our problem is true faith and trust in The Lord Jesus Christ. Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.

There is no law against those who put their faith in Jesus Christ for salvation and seek to care for those who need help. Seek to live for God and allow their life to reflect His holiness. This world needs more people like this, more of this kind of religion.