Texas Faith: Boko Haram, false prophets and phony messiahs
Question by Rudolph Bush
In Nigeria, a nation awaits the fate of 276 girls kidnapped by the terrorist group Boko Haram. Like so many groups before it, this one is led by a man who claims direct contact with God. History is filled with false prophets and phony messiahs. Faith is twisted to justify the most horrible acts. What can believers in all parts of the world do to resist and challenge such people? And in our own part of the world, how do we separate the subtler difference between those who use faith for their own ends and those who are truly trying to bring us closer to God?
Amy Martin, director emeritus, Earth Rhythms; writer, Moonlady Media
Humans are quite skilled at concocting self-serving justifications and possess a myriad of ways to slap a veneer on might makes right. They hardly need religion’s help, though it’s always been handy. But this latest perversion of Islam by Boko Haram has gained another few million more converts for Richard Dawkins and that should worry all faiths based on texts held as inviolable.
We were graced with the gift of reason; faith should not reject it. This means step away from the polarities of good and evil by recognizing the inner darkness humans bear and find all hypocrisies revealed. Address the narcissism that births the illusion of religious exceptionalism. Reject isolation that fosters self-serving justifications.
As always, faith’s truth emerges from these two questions: Is it compassionate? Is it just?
The crusade of Boko Haram is not Islamic; it is anti-modernity. They seek to freeze civilization at a fantasy yesteryear that is most comfortable to them, at a level where they can still exert control. As if the evolutionary drive that powers civilization and all of this planet could be stopped. You see this doomed desire in the desert hills of Afghanistan, the ghettos of Eastern Europe and the halls of Washington, D.C. The “other” that is of such great concern is us.