Many of you will have read this brief report of an attack on a school in north-eastern Nigeria, http://bbc.in/10Fq1G4. It is on page 5 of the BBC website, which in itself is a little shocking, but more shocking still is what the report reveals of human nature. That anyone could think it a good or Godly act to burn children alive as they slept, or to shoot them as they tried to escape, beggars belief. All this in the hope of creating an Islamic state in the north of Nigeria!
Inevitably, those who think in terms of violence and hatred will let rip with the usual diatribes against Islam; and, if one is honest, one may find oneself secretly agreeing with some of their condemnations. But note what I said about what the violence reveals about human nature. When I was much younger, a Jewish friend of mine, who had survived Buchenwald, said, very seriously, that what we all needed to learn was that the concentration camps and the death camps were not about what Nazis could do to Jews, but what human beings could do to one another. In other words, before we start pinning violence on to an ideology, we have to look at the hearts of those who embrace the ideology. The violence is already there. The ideology merely provides an ‘excuse’.
I find that a sobering thought. This morning, as we pray for the children and teacher killed in Mamudo, for their families and those who are in shock, let us also look at the violence in our own hearts and resolve to root it out. We have a choice. Let it be for life, not death.
Although this subject will stir up strong feelings, please remember that this blog is NOT the place to express hatred or violence. Comments that fail to abide by the standards of courtesy and mutual respect will not be tolerated.