Sunday, 6 September 2009

Islam Vs. Christianity: Equivalent Traditions? (Part 3)


All of what we have discussed so far in this series is of theological and historical interest, but the more important issue is how much violence is being committed in the name of Christianity and Islam today. And the indisputable fact is that there are no Christian terror groups – or groups of any other religion – in existence today who commit acts of violence against unbelievers and quote scripture to justify their actions. Some point to examples of Christian terrorists in the modern day, but these comparisons with Islamic jihadists do not stand up for a number of reasons.

A purveyor of moral equivalence once said to me during a debate, “For every Muslim suicide bomber, you will find a Christian blowing up an abortion clinic.” But this is blatantly not true. There have been almost fourteen thousand terror attacks by Muslims since September 11th, 2001, alone. During that same period, there has been only one murder of an abortionist by a Christian.

Other “Christian terrorists” that are often mentioned include the IRA and the Ku Klux Klan. But once again, the comparison is faulty. The IRA were a political group fighting in a political conflict: Unionists vs. Loyalists. While they were nominally Christian, they did not have a Christian charter or invoke Christianity to justify their actions. Some try to cast the conflict as a sectarian schism between Catholics and Protestants, but while this may have played some role in the background of the fighting, it was not the primary reason for the conflict. Meanwhile the KKK, while professing to be Christian and having the support of some Christian churches, could not ground their ideology in the Bible or the teachings of any orthodox Christian sect, and didn't have the support of major Christian authorities.


The attempts to demonstrate moral equivalence between Islam and Christianity, fuelled by multiculturalism and political correctness, are hysterical and belied by the evidence. While there are no Christian groups calling for the forceful subversion of the Western (or Islamic) world under religious law and using the Bible to justify themselves, there are hundreds of such groups of Muslims who openly admit that they want to destroy Western civilisation and impose sharia law upon it – and they directly invoke traditional Islamic understandings of the Qur'an in doing so.

Political correctness is causing the West to lose sight of the real threat. The threat is not “religious fundamentalism” in general; it is Islamic jihad, and no amount of denying this – or bleating about “anti-Muslim bigotry” – will make this reality go away. The West must open its eyes and confront this.

It is overwhelmingly clear that all sects of Christianity teach peace and co-operation with other faiths, while Islam does not. Jesus taught:

“Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44)

“Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” (Matthew 5:39)

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.” (Matthew 5:9)

“Put your sword back in its place, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. ” (Matthew 26:52)
“My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.” (John 18:36)

These words and others militate against the barbarism of the Old Testament, and there is no Christian sect that teaches anything to contradict these ideals. By contrast, Muhammad taught (and practised) war, and Muslims throughout history have followed his words literally. To this day, all the schools of jurisprudence still teach warfare against unbelievers. Nothing like this can be found in Christianity.

In closing, here are two quotes from Christian and Islamic authorities. The first is from the Declaration on the Relationship of the Church to non-Christian Religions, from the Second Vatican Council of 1965:

“The Church reproves, as foreign to the mind of Christ, any discrimination against men or harassment of them because of their race, colour, condition of life or religion. On the contrary, following in the footsteps of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, this sacred synod ardently implores the Christian faithful to 'maintain good fellowship among the nations' (1 Peter 2:12), and, if possible, to live for their part in peace with all men, so that they may truly be sons of the Father who is in heaven.”

The second quote is from Al-Muntakhab Fi Tafsir al-Qur'an al-Karim, a 1985 Qur'an commentary endorsed and contributed to by Cairo's Al-Azhar University, the highest authority in Sunni Islam and the closest Muslim equivalent to the Vatican:

“O you believers! Fight the unbelievers, namely the People of the Book...they do not embrace the True Religion, i.e. Islam. Fight them until they believe, or force them to pay the jizya humbly and obediently, not grudgingly, so that they contribute to the Islamic budget.”

These two quotes adequately demonstrate that Christianity is not equivalent to Islam in its capacity to incite violence today. Those who deny this in the name of political correctness are causing the West to lose its focus on defending itself against the genuine threat of Islamic jihad.

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