“Blood For Oil”—that is what a sign had written on it regarding several peoples’ feeling pertaining to the growing belief that the United States was about to go to war against Iraq on a cool Oklahoma City day. This group of people who called themselves war protesters against the United States marching off to war stated their belief that Americans were doing so for economic reasons and meant to spill innocent blood. Soon other signs went by with the words “Christians murdering Muslims”, “The Godless Christians versus the Peace loving Muslim People of God”, and “The Wealthy Exploiting the Poor”. I had expected to see mostly people of Middle Eastern backgrounds. Rather these were what appeared to be Euro-Americanish people many, I suspect, were or are Christians.
Invited to join in the protest, I verbally refused citing that it would not be fitting for a person just activated for military services in the United States military to participate in a protest he disagreed with anyway. An immediate and expected response was expected and received by three of the protestors. They identified themselves as students who were deeply disturbed by an extreme right wing Christian President whom they believed was exploiting the Iraqi people who were Islamic. As a result of this inevitable war they rejected religions, especially Christianity. They stated that a world without the Christian religion would be a much safer place as Christians are responsible for the suffering in the world.
After a few minutes of discussion with the student concerning Jesus Christ they began to feel that life without Him left them empty and without purpose and meaning in life. The three students, two females and a male, came to recognize that a world dominated by humankind and without the Prince of Peace is no peace at all. That religion is truly dangerous but a relationship with Jesus Christ, the living and true God, is far more valuable than a religion of humankind or a religion of rational reality.
The students today as well as students of religion of Jesus’ day, I would imagine, wondered why God appeared so unreal in a world dominated by oppression, cruel leadership, and poverty. They, as people do today, rejected the God of their fathers for a god of reality they hoped would solve or deal with the world’s problems. When Jesus physically walked the earth in the form of a man, most people of His day like today, were going through the motions of religion but lived for themselves. Jesus told the people then as He does now that the Kingdom of God was and is present, to give up their earthly things/possessions, follow Him and share the promise of the Word of God with those who have not heard it. For the Good News of the Kingdom of God, His meekness and unconditional love for all would satisfy all of their needs. Then and only then would God become real, peace would prevail and the poor have their needs filled.