The headline said ‘Extremism’s appeal for Canadian radicals’. That didn’t sway me to read the article in the National Post, one of Canada’s major newspapers. But what did intrigue me was the one-word “subhead”: ‘Superiority’.
A police officer, trying to figure out what was turning some young Canadians into violence-supporting radical Islamists, did extensive interviews with seven young Toronto men (six of them born in Canada) who fit the bill.
After the interviews, the officer came to the conclusion that they were deeply troubled men who, the reporter wrote, “found, in extremism, a reason to feel superior. In their minds, the had joined an exclusive fraternity that knew the truth. They weren’t losers after all; they were better than everyone else.”
Two things strike me about this:
1. The contrast of being a “loser” and feeling “superior”. Our culture loves nothing more than to constantly rank the value of people. It’s one of the main reasons that I decided to take my own radical turn and declare myself a follower of Jesus Christ.
Jesus followers know that we are neither losers nor superior. The evidence for this can be found in the Bible, in a section called ‘Galations’: “There is no difference between Jew and Greek, slave and free person, male and female. You are all the same in Christ Jesus.”
This may not be important to many people, but I need that reminder for those times when I see someone do or say something stupid. That’s when the Bible reminds me that I, too, do and say stupid things. The key difference is that, as a follower of Jesus, I welcome Him into my life to make me more like Him. And He never did or said a single stupid thing.
2. Can there be a more obnoxious word in our dictionary than “exclusive”? It comes from the word “exclude” and when it comes to thinking about my brothers and sisters in the human race, I have trouble understanding what possible good can come from excluding anyone.
Now you might be thinking “Well, you Christians think you’re in an exclusive club, that only YOU get to go to Heaven.”
To that I write that yes, when I’m done with this life, I have a certainty about where I’m going and I feel sure that I’ll see other followers of Jesus there. My confidence comes from a section of the Bible simply called ‘John’: “God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him would not be lost, but have eternal life.”
But exclusive? Not on your life. There is no lock on the doors to Christianity. In fact, there are no doors at all. The way is wide open to anyone who wants to enter.
That openness is why I’ve written this essay – to invite YOU to enter and have your life changed for the better – now and for eternity – by Jesus. Will you accept the invitation? Yes or no, post your response below and let’s have a conversation.