91. Is terrorism ever justified in the name of God?

In the Bible, God says he will terrify His people if they disobey His commands. Leviticus 26 verses 14- 16: ‘However, if you do not listen to me or obey all these commands, and if you break my covenant by rejecting my decrees, treating my regulations with contempt, and refusing to obey my commands, I will punish you. I will bring sudden terrors upon you—wasting diseases and burning fevers that will cause your eyes to fail and your life to ebb away. You will plant your crops in vain because your enemies will eat them.’

In the last days God has prophesied through Jesus while on earth: ‘Then he added, ‘Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, and there will be famines and plagues in many lands, and there will be terrifying things and great miraculous signs from heaven. But before all this occurs, there will be a time of great persecution. You will be dragged into synagogues and prisons, and you will stand trial before kings and governors because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell them about me. So don’t worry in advance about how to answer the charges against you, for I will give you the right words and such wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to reply or refute you!’ ’

In recent times, after the decline of ideas such as ‘the divine right of kings,’ and with the rise of nationalism, terrorism has more often been based on anarchism, nihilism, and revolutionary politics. In the last three decades religious terrorism has become more prevalent. Terrorists who align themselves with Islâmic religion are motivated by the belief that the whole world needs to be purged of unbelievers before the ‘Mahdi’ returns so the whole world is only occupied by Muslims. The Qur’an does not endorse this belief. Al Baqarah 2 ayah 256 states that: ‘There is no compulsion in religion, truth stands out clear from error. Whoever rejects evil and believes in Allâh hath grasped the most worthy Handhold, that never breaks.’ Terrorism is never justified in the advancement of religion even though God has employed terrorism when dealing with unrepentant humans in human history. The pastoral heart of God has always desired a community, society and nation of peace where his created subjects can dwell in safety free from the treachery of war and the anarchy of terrorism. King David, a military commander and King, in Psalm 23 reveals the character and heart of God in his song of praise to God, singing:

‘The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honour to his name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honour me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.’ This loving God cares for all His subjects with unconditional love. King David deserved punishment but because he repented, God mercifully forgave his treachery and bestowed His kindness on him.