“All religions are alike” is a slogan that is beginning to wear thin. I honestly wonder if the people who glibly spout such nonsense have any clues at all about the beliefs and workings of world religions. A talking head on one of the major newscasts, in light of the murder of 12 people at the magazine Charlie Hebdo, wondered if Christians might also resort to mass shootings over offensive pictures of Jesus. Really!
Christianity is not the same as Islam and never will be the same. If anything we have become too complacent. When the Associated Press ran a picture, under the guise of art, of Jesus on the cross submerged in a vat of urine, hardly a word was uttered in the Christian world. I don’t recount pastors preaching sermons Sunday mornings in which they stirred up the congregations to demonstrate on the streets or firebomb AP offices throughout the western world.
When churches are burned, Christians raped and slaughtered at the hands of radical Islamists in Nigeria, Syria, Sudan and Northern Iraq we don’t retaliate as Christians. And no, the bombing of ISIS has nothing to do with Christian retaliation; it is a political decision that involves a number of Arab countries as well as nations from the West.
If every time Jesus was ridiculed or mocked in literature, the press, movies and television Christians would be doing nothing but blowing up stuff. The point is we don’t retaliate like that and when nut cases like the members of the Westborough Baptist church pull publicity stunts (non-violent) we rightfully condemn them for their prejudice and intolerance.
Both Christianity and Islam are old religions that have had great influence on people for hundreds of years. Christianity has evolved in its relationship to its culture, but Islam hasn’t. Christians understand that in a civilized world where people of different backgrounds, religions and cultural understandings live that they have no right to impose their beliefs on others. Christianity in the 21st Century is based upon the concept that people have to make a choice to accept or reject the teachings of Jesus from the standpoint of a personal relationship.
Islam has never grown up in its understanding of its place in the world outside a desire to dominate and subjugate everything that is non-Muslim. One cleric, when speaking about the bombings at Charlie Hebdo stated, “what do you expect when you insult the Prophet?” What do we expect? We expect you to understand that France is a pluralistic society where everyone has the right to free speech and the right to express their thoughts. And even if we totally disagree with what is said we never have the right to kill someone for stating his or her opinion.
Islam is still fighting its wars of expansion and has not come to grips with being a religion of the 21st Century where it has to co-exist and be tolerant of other people’s beliefs and ideas. Christians understand this and live in harmony with other religions because Christianity isn’t about dominating and subjugating but about developing a personal relationship with God through love.
The World Trade Center bombings, the London Metro bombings, the beheading of journalists in ISIS controlled land, the enslavement of hundreds of young girls in Nigeria and now chaos in Paris. This week in Saudi Arabia a young man was whipped fifty strokes as the first installment of his 1000 stroke punishment for being critical of a Saudi cleric. Is this the power of Islam that they must beat, torture, murder and spread fear in order to lift up their religion? Thousands of Christians languish in Islamic nation prisons for nothing more than being Christians.
What does Islam fear that people are not allowed to have freedom of religion, can’t believe what their conscience dictates, or can be killed for leaving their religion? What makes a Muslim mob in Pakistan throw a Christian man and woman into a ceramics oven and burn them alive because they might have touched the Koran?
There are no Christian terrorists camps and there are no Christian plots to blow up Mosques and Holy Sites of Islam. There are no Christian groups seizing land and setting up their own kingdom where anyone who disagrees with them is sold into slavery, murdered or tortured.
There is no call for destruction of Muslim’s property and livelihood in Christian Sunday morning worship. There are no bands of Christian rebels running around Nigeria killing every Muslim they see in the name of their God. Yet, in our politically correct world we say the Fort Hood shooter was only stressed out and it was a workplace violence thing, not Islamic terrorism.
So, why did I write this post today? Was it to blast Islam? No. I acknowledge that a great majority of Muslims want to live in peace and prosper in the world the same as anyone else. But, the underlying principles of how Islam is interpreted by millions of Muslims cannot be swept under the carpet. For these fundamentalists it is all out warfare against any one or anything that conflicts with their worldview of the importance of Islam and its domination of the world.
What is equally sad is that there is a backlash coming and it is going to sweep Europe up in an ugly war of competing ideologies. Much of Europe is now secular and though tolerant of Islam, these kinds of attacks at the Paris Deli and the offices of Charlie Hebdo are awakening a sleeping giant of resentment that is going to spill out into bloodshed. It will not be Christians leading the charge against the intolerance of Islamic fundamentalists but secularists who are simply fed up with being bullied by Islam. And as always, it will be the innocent who will be harmed by all this anger and hatred.
The sadness in this post is that people like me who simply expresses their thoughts about the differences in Islam and Christianity leave themselves open to violence from radicals and that simply proves the point of the blog.
No, all religions are not alike, but we should all have the right to worship freely and without fear regardless of how we believe.
* Please pray for the persecuted Christians around the world – they need our support as brothers and sisters in Christ. Some of their stories can be found at http://thebeggardanced.com/nine-oclock-club/