“People don’t like to think. If one thinks, one must reach conclusions. Conclusions are not always pleasant.” —Helen Keller
It’s time to do the “Helen Keller” and think!
In his recent article for the Christian Post Dr. Michael Brown discusses one of his controversial “tweets” following the terror attacks in Paris, France: “We know that most Muslims today are not terrorists. We also know that most terrorists today are Muslims.”
As shown in his article, this sentiment is well-substantiated: “According to Middle Eastern scholar Daniel Pipes, since 9/11, there have been ‘27,000 attacks globally connected to Islam,’ many of which have involved Muslims killing Muslims. This number certainly dwarfs all other terrorist attacks worldwide by non-Islamic groups, reinforcing the simple message of my tweet.”
Nonetheless, Dr. Brown received a “flood” of angry, negative responses.
In response, Dr. Brown writes: “I’m fully aware that the majority of Muslims are repulsed by today’s terrorism and that a large number of Islamic theologians and leaders say that these terrorists are misrepresenting their religion in the ugliest possible way.
In light of this, I always attribute these terrorist acts to “radical Islam” rather than to “Islam” in general.
That’s why I also tweeted out on Friday night, ‘Let’s pray for the millions of Muslims who are repulsed by these acts of terror in the name of their religion. May God open their hearts!’”
Conversely, in his article, Dr. Brown asserts, “….it is undeniable that Islam has a violent history and that radical Muslims can point to authoritative texts and historic exemplars to justify their actions. And it is undeniable that there are multiplied millions of devout Muslims who are radical and who espouse violent Islam.
To deny this is to stick one’s head in the sand and perhaps, one day in the future, to lose one’s head.
In short, we can acknowledge that there are millions of peace loving Muslims while at the same time confronting radical Islam — and I mean confronting it ideologically and by name, in the radicalized mosques and communities as well as on the battlefield.”
This is where I want to challenge you to think.
Are most terrorists Muslim? Are “radical” Muslims true Muslims?
The word “radical” means, “of the root.” We tend to think of “radical” as meaning, “something new, or deviating from tradition,” when ironically, “radical” means a return to the truest, most essential (root) nature of something.
Accordingly, to speak of “radical” Islam is to speak of a return to the truest, most essential nature of Islam; the expression of Islam which is most consistent with the Quran, Sharia Law, and the example of Muhammad. The Quran contains more than 100 verses calling Muslims to fight against “nonbelievers” for the sake of Islamic rule (Sharia Law):
Quran (9:5) – “So when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captive and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush, then if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, leave their way free to them.”
Quran (5:33) – “The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement.”
Quran (8:12) – “I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them.”
When ISIS attacked Paris, France they were simply following the Quran in a radical “root” way. As the Islamic State Spokesman Sheikh Abu Muhammad al-Adnani stated recently, “We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses, and enslave your women. If we do not reach that time, then our children and grandchildren will reach it, and they will sell your sons as slaves at the slave market.”
A common rebuttal which tries to indict Christianity for having a similar violent history, must consider two counter arguments:
- PHILOSOPHICAL ABUSES ABOUND: Augustine said, “Never judge a philosophy by its abuses.” The “Crusades,” slavery, the “KKK,” segregation, racism, Westboro’s hateful harassing, and other terrible outrages committed in the name of Christ are not consistent with Scripture, especially as Scripture is fulfilled in the teaching and example of Christ. Therefore, these outrages are clearly “abuses” and cannot be substantiated as “radical” (root) or representative of Christianity. For example, (to the contrary), in Matthew 5:43-45, Jesus says, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”
- THE CROSS CHANGES EVERYTHING—MERCY HAS COME! In the Scriptures the entire world stands condemned before God for our rebellion against Him. In both the Old & New Testament, divine judgment is the ONLY appropriate response to our rebellion from a holy God. The Bible declares God to be perfectly just in His unleashing of a furious, unrelenting judgment upon the world. In the Old Testament, the nation of Israel is one of God’s primary instruments of judgment, as per Psalm 149:6-7 which reads, “May the praise of God be in their mouths and a double-edged sword in their hands, to inflict vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples…” In reading the Old Testament there are moments we’re left covering our eyes as we witness the crushing weight of God’s judgment bearing down upon humanity in the way of war, infanticide, and slavery of the nations. However, in the midst of his judgment, God chooses to relent. He relents first with a chosen people, Israel, sparing them from the very judgment which He then dispenses THROUGH them. Later, “in the fullness of time” (as promised from the beginning) a major historical shift happens; Israel, once God’s chosen instrument of judgment, now becomes God’s chosen instrument of mercy (and blessing) for “all nations.” Through Israel a Savior is given to the entire world. Matthew 1:21 tells us he would be called Jesus (Jesus means “God Saves”), “because he will save his people from their sins.” As Isaiah (53:5) prophesied 700 years prior, “…he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” The cross changes everything, as a sinless Savior substitutes himself in the place of a sinful world. The reason God no longer needs a nation of jihad warriors to dispense his judgment upon the earth is because God poured out his judgment upon Jesus on the cross! Justice has been kept, and mercy has come! As Romans 3:26 declares, “(God) did (this) to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.” The cross is the only place in human history where both justice AND mercy are preserved in perfect balance.
You won’t find mercy from Allah, in Islam, because Islam has no cross, no sin-bearer. Accordingly, there has never been a shift in Islam’s historical narrative from earning & executing “divine justice” to embracing & extending “divine mercy.” While they may use the term “mercy,” the only way anyone gets “mercy” from Allah, in Islam, is by earning it, which by definition, cannot be mercy. (Mercy can’t be earned.) Consequently, when the god of Islam withholds mercy so will the people. And that is why Jihad rages on.
While the world debates the true nature of Islam, the surge of “radicals” will continue to carry out Allah’s “divine judgment” upon the world. I’m praying to see a resurgence of “Radical” Christianity. Our God has lavished his love and mercy upon us, at great cost to himself, (on the cross), and we’re privileged to extend this same love and mercy to the world, at great cost to ourselves.
So go. Be Radical. Let’s show the world the true nature of Christianity. Love. Mercy.