AS you read this article, people who call themselves Christians are committing murder in the name of "ethnic cleansing" in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina. In Nigeria, Christians and Muslims are in conflict; in Northern Ireland, terrorist Christians battle other Christians, and so it goes. Why are so many violent acts committed in the name of religion, even by people who ostensibly accept the Bible's Ten Commandments, including the one that says, "Thou shalt not kill?"
One concerned reader of this newspaper commented about the inhumanity in Sarajevo, pointing out, "That's not Christian!" And it isn't. The master Christian, Christ Jesus, never condoned violence or murder. For example, when soldiers came to arrest him on the night he was betrayed, one of the disciples, in Jesus' defense, cut off the ear of a servant of the high priest. Even at that extreme moment, the Master rebuked the disciple and healed the man. Jesus, whose whole ministry teaches us that "God is love," as the Bible puts it, knew that violent attacks on one's fellowman have no place among those who would follow him.
What, then, is the driving force behind such religious conflicts? Isn't it the same limited view of God that has led to so much bloodshed during other times in world history? Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, puts it this way in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: "The eastern empires and nations owe their false government to the misconceptions of Deity there prevalent. Tyranny, intolerance, and bloodshed, wherever found, arise from the belief that the infinite is formed after the pattern of mortal personality, passion, and impulse."
It follows, then, that our prayers for Bosnia-Herzegovina and other areas need to affirm not just the presence of God but also His real nature as all-loving and ever-present Spirit, or Mind. …