Thursday, March 5, 2015

#64 / This Life And The Afterlife

Pictured is Islam Yaken. According to the Egyptian Chronicles website, Yaken is "Egypt's latest social media star." The February 19, 2015 edition of The New York Times carried Yaken's story on the front page - "From Cairo Private School to Syria's Killing Fields." The Times also has a video online

Yaken's story is well worth reading. It is a harrowing story about how a well-educated and "modern" young Egyptian man, happily preoccupied with weight lifting and girls, was transformed into an Islamic extremist, recently pictured as he "knelt beside a decapitated corpse on the killing fields of Syria, smiling."

One of Yaken's closest friends in Egypt is quoted in The Times' article as saying, "As a young man, you are always torn. You always want both this life and the afterlife."

May I suggest that not all religious commitments demand that our orientation be to  an "afterlife." George Fox, the founder of Quakerism, suggests this antidote: 

You have no time but this present time

That strikes me as correct. There is no later "reward" upon which we may rely. We are justified (or not) by what we do now.

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