'Faith Calls Us to Save, Not Kill'

Beliefnet Contributors Respond to the Attacks

 
Richard J. Mouw
President, and Professor of Christian Philosophy Fuller Seminary

Where is God in all of this? How can a good and powerful God allow these things to happen? The simple answers just aren't helpful on this horrible day. For those of us who look to the Book for guidance, we would do best to follow the example of the Psalm-writers: argue with God, ask the Lord where he is, allow the tears to flow, let the anger express itself, plead for mercy. And for followers of Jesus: look to the Cross, where we believe that the incarnate God experienced the depth of human suffering and abandonment on our behalf--and hold on to the promise that what happened in the death of Jesus is the essential ingredient for the final victory over these monstrous evils.

It may be too much to ask that people of faith love our enemies today. But it is so important that we at least not lash our against innocent people. Whenever something happens that seems to put us at odds with people in the Arab world, little Muslim kids in Southern California get beat up on the way home from school. We must not allow this to happen. This is an important time for people of faith to call for--and model--sanity in the midst of chaos.

Rabbi David Wolpe

The most important thing to say is that our hearts are broken, and we pray to God to give rest to the souls of those who have died, and comfort to those who are grieving.

But we must also say that the taking of innocent human life for political ends will destroy this fragile garden we have been given. In the name of faith we must save, not kill. Those who do otherwise do not honor God, but rather imperil creation. May God bring justice upon those who have plotted murder and abetted slaughter. May God grant wisdom to those who hate, and turn their bitterness to love.

And may God bless America.

Lama Surya Das, Buddhist Spiritual teacher and author

I think it is a good time to pray, to reflect on what is most important in life, and to think about what steps we might take towards nonviolence within ourselves and our own lives, and towards a more peaceful world. I myself am thinking about what the Buddhist wisdom tells us about how to deal with anger and hatred, grief and loss.

What we experience today is a tragic event of monumental proportions, perhaps comparable perhaps to Pearl Harbor. And yet, the fact that it hits us in the heart of NY and Washington could remiond us that it is the kind of thing that happens during conflicts in other countries and their capitals, and which we Americans have for the most part been mercifully insulated from. I'd like us to reflect on that as we continue to pursue our national goals and policies, realizing more and more deeply upon our connected the peoples and ongoing conflicts in other parts of the world.

Arthur Magida, Professor and Interfaith Expert

Engage in tikkun olam, says Judaism: repair the world. Make it a good world, an honorable world, a decent world. A world worthy of its Creator, who had such high hopes for it. p> Engage in ahimsa, in harmlessness, say Jains and Buddhists and Hindus. Don't inflict injury, through act or deed, to any sentient creature. Engage in good conduct, right conduct, blessed conduct. Recognize the specialness of all of us, our worth, our decency. p> And now something very indecent has happened and it strikes at the very core, not just of our nation, but at something deeper and more fragile than that: at our sense of who we are and what we are and how we are to live our lives. We try to repair the world, and it collapses down on us. We try to practice as much ahimsa as we find reasonable and practical and doable, and we find, when such horrors as what happened in New York and Washington occur, that a visceral, primal, almost Neanderthal urge for revenge - bloody revenge - drowns out all the sweet kindnesses and soothing homilies.

What can we do at such moments? Be kind to ourselves and remember that we are not saintly, but human, and pervious to calls for rage and revenge. Be kind to the innocents around us and far from us, for they, too, are victims of this slaughter that fell from the skies. Try to be loyal to the best part of our selves, for without the remembrance that we harbor goodness and decency (although possibly regarding this particular instance of terror,

not

forgiveness), more has been taken from us than two landmarks and yet-to-be-counted lives: lacking such remembrance will scour us of our humanity and our decency, which are too invaluable to be added to the notches already on the gun handles of those responsible for Tuesday's frightful carnage.

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