Events in various parts of the globe - especially Egypt and Tunisia - have shown the transitory nature of political regimes - nothing seems to last in the world of politics and government. recent upheaval in Egypt and Tunisia have displayed a rarity for the middle east. The political changes seem to encompass a diversity of faiths (click here for more). Instead of Muslims versus Christians or other religious tensions, Muslims and Christians are coming together to bring down political establishments.
A BBC reporter witnessed this rare unity:
I saw three elderly men, two Muslims clutching gilded copies of the Koran, arms flung around a third, hugging an ornate cross to his chest.
A group of young men and women belted out a song of the 1919 revolution, accompanied by a guitar. "Arise O Egypt, arise. Arise Egyptians: Muslims, Christians and Jews."
We have grown used to seeing the very opposite of this. Too often, both sides of a conflict will claim God to be on their side. In recent years, in the United States, Muslim terrorists have attacked or attempted to attack American targets for religious reasons. Often, the American response has been religious.
Soon after the 9/11 attacks, President George W. Bush addressed congress and forthrightly claimed divine sponsorship of the American cause:
The course of this conflict is not known, yet its outcome is certain. Freedom and fear, justice and cruelty, have always been at war, and we know that God is not neutral between them. (source)
So, how do you know when God is on your side?
Abraham Lincoln explored this conundrum in his second inaugural address. He pondered upon the fact that both sides of the conflict thought that God was with them. Abolitionists of the North claimed that God had called them to fight for justice on behalf of the enslaved. Southerners felt sure that Slavery and State sovereignty was a divine mandate.
Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes.
- Abraham Lincoln (read the rest here)
In other words, God wasn't on wither side.
The question we will explore for our conversation is Which Side is God On? How do you know? How does God's will affect your political and moral proclivities?
Join us, Thursday, 7pm at Short's for a discussion about God and picking sides.