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Terror - a Tale of Two Deities

Terror - a Tale of Two Deities

By Uwe Siemon-Netto
in London
Exclusive to VirtueOnline

LONDON (July10, 2005)--I arrived in London just hours before the terrorists struck and experienced a sense of déjà-vu, for I was in Washington on September 11, 2001.

There were similarities and differences between the ways the two capitals reacted to these hideous but well-planned acts of war against all of Western society. The similarity was the visible determination, in London as in Washington, not to be cowed by Islamist fiends.

But here's the difference: in Washington, people poured into churches and synagogues. In London, they rushed to the pubs by the hundreds of thousands.

Now, I am no teetotaler. Drowning one's grief in ample amounts of beer or wine is no exclusive English trait but simply a very human reaction, though not exactly the wisest.

Yet I was appalled to find only four other people kneeling in my favorite London church, Saint Paul's, Knightsbridge, when I went there that bloody Thursday afternoon, saddened even more when I discovered that these four were not even English but faithful visitors from Ohio.

All of London, indeed the Western world, should have been here, I felt, eyes focused on the giant crucifix that dominates this wonderfully inviting worship space in one of the British capital's most elegant boroughs.

For the crucifix points to the incompatibility between the deities we worship - we Christians, and they, the militant Islamists, who follow the command of hate preachers calling the slaughter of "infidels" in America, Britain and other parts of Europe a "holy duty."

Our God, the crucifix reminds us, is a God who won us eternal life by dying for us a shameful and cruel death. Their god expects his followers to murder any Christian or Jew, whether man, woman or child, Islamist web sites tell them.

According to London's Daily Mail newspaper, they must not to waste bullets on their victims but choke or stab them instead.

"When undertaking any assassination using a knife, the enemy must be struck in one of these lethal spots: anywhere in the rib cage, both eyes or one, the pelvis and directly above the genitals," reads one of the manuals young Muslims can easily access on computer screens at internet cafés, airports or public libraries.

This is where the chasm between enemy and us becomes so glaring: Ours is a culture of life given to us by way of the Cross. Theirs is a death cult, a cancer, within the body politic of the Muslim world, to quote New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman.

"Only the Muslim world can root out that death cult," Friedman goes on. True enough. But this will not happen if Christians, the target of their onslaught, do not cling firmly to the Cross, to use one of Martin Luther's most famous phrases.

The Cross will vanquish this cancer; ultimately, the culture of life will prevail over any death cult - Nazi, Communist, abortionist, Islamist or otherwise. But pitted against godlessness, the ghastly deity of death will prove infinitely more powerful and therefore victorious.

And this is what made the empty pews in Knightsbridge on Terror Day such a frightening sight.

--Uwe Siemon-Netto, Ph.D., D.Litt is former UPI Religion Editor

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