(To view any of the cartoons, click on the image, then choose the date listed in the alt text from the drop down menu, and click “get image.”)
One blogger is keeping track of all the cartoons (Broken link, active February 10, 2006) concerning the Danish cartoon controversy. There are quite a few; it seems every cartoonist in the world is commenting on the extremists’ outrage over the original twelve cartoons. These are the ones I thought offered the best commentary over the controversy.
But a tangible shift in perception is happening, as a result of the cartoon chaos. The Lord Jesus has been insulted over and over again in the Western media and art world in the past few decades. Examples are here, here, and here (Broken link, active February 10, 2006). Do not click on them if you do not want to be offended; they are offensive. But Jesus taught His disciples to turn the other cheek. He said, Love your enemies. He said, Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on My account. Paul wrote that where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. When our Lord is insulted, we have His own example of opening not His mouth before His accusers to follow.
Therefore the vast majority of Christians do not like our Lord being insulted, but when it happens, the vast majority do not take revenge on the one
who perpetrated the insult. We are taught, Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord. The Christian religion forbids returning evil for evil, and insult for insult.
I have not read the Koran. But I do not believe there is a similar teaching of love for one’s enemies, of forgiveness, of patient endurance of wrongs, extended toward all without qualification. Perhaps someone will correct me if I am wrong. But the theme of love, forgiveness, and patience in the face of suffering is repeated over and over and over again, throughout the Bible, both Old and New Testaments.
So what will happen? First, the war between the West and Islam did not start with the publication, last September, of a dozen cartoons. It has really been going on, with momentary lulls, since 711 a.d. when Spain was conquered by the Saracens. The West, with its bedrock philosophies of freedom, the right of the individual over the state, rule of law, scientific investigation, supremacy of conscience, freedom of worship, changing someone’s mind through logical persuasion and not violent coercion, is a result of Christianity. These philosophies are Western philosophies because they were first biblical philosophies.
The secularists, who in the last 40 years have lumped all religions together, believed they could ridicule any religion without impunity because they could ridicule Christianity without impunity. So, now they are learning that all religions are not the same.
I also believe that, while there is a distinction between God-revealed truth and man-contrived precepts masquerading as truth, human beings are essentially the same. We have all been created in God’s image. We all want to work at meaningful work, we all want to support our families, we all love our spouses and children, we all want to be left in peace to raise our children and go about our business. We all sin, and we all have the questioning voice inside, that drives us to seek for truth. These characteristics are universal to human nature, and are inherent in the Islamic world just as they are everywhere else.
The day will come, and perhaps is already, when the longing for peace will outweigh other considerations. As I mentioned, being outraged all the time takes a lot of energy. The horror of war spurs us to look for peace. If we cannot find it outside, then we begin to look for it inside. Then hearts can begin to hear the call of the Prince of Peace, to come, cease striving, and be reconciled to God, for that price has already been paid, and no more blood need be shed. Yes, even in the Islamic world.
The gospel has been working its way West since the day of Pentecost 2000 years ago. The Chinese are coming to Christ at the fastest-growing rate in the world today. The gospel will continue westward, through the 10-40 window, until it has returned to Jerusalem where it began. Then the Prince of Peace will return in all His glory, when all the nations of the world have been brought in, ending with His own nation.
“He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” Isaiah 2:4
Update: Ann Coulter on the cartoon chaos. Mark Steyn on the cartoon chaos. And I wish I could link to Glenn Beck on the cartoon chaos; he was busy connecting the dots of why, when the cartoons came out in September, they are just now getting around to riots, but it is a subscription-only link. But if you can get a copy of Thursday’s radio show, listen to the cartoon commentary.