As Christianity rapidly spread and gained influence through much of the world, it became the major philosophical, religious and cultural ideology of its day, and that the world had ever known. Christianity, with much of its Judaeo traditions spread like wildfire, and completely changed the world, introducing people to a brand new way of life. Despite getting diluted, and corrupted with the passage of time, Christianity’s influence continued to remain strong. The true adherents of Christianity as thought by Jesus, the Apostles, and the early church have always been few, but the effect that it had on the way of life, and cultures around the world in general was immense.
There are some passages of scripture that are difficult, and are used as examples that show Christianity is oppressive and brutal. Many Christian people sometimes struggle to explain these difficulties. The truth however is that nowhere in the bible does it advocate the wanton killing of anyone by the faithful as the means of convincing the unbelieving. Though some people would vehemently dispute that, there are several issues of context, and deep doctrinal exegesis to consider in explaining these issues, but that discussion would be more appropriate for another forum. But all of this is beyond the point, and what can be unequivocally stated is that with the advent of Jesus Christ and the birth of Christianity, a brand new concept in the way people worshiped, and human relations was born. Nowhere in Jesus’ message did he ever advocate the kind of violence that we have ever seen committed in his name at any point in our history.
People point to the Crusades as examples of Christians waging war in the name of Christianity to spread the faith, but this is not correct. The Crusades were the result of a political alliance to drive back the forces of Islamic invaders, and conquerors who had waged a brutal campaign of war and plunder over hundreds of years against the people in lands across the Middle East, Northern Africa and parts of Europe. They displaced the inhabitants of the lands where they wished to spread their faith and their rule. They enslaved many in the process (especially Jews and Christians), murdered tens of millions, and treated any who refused to convert to Islam as second class citizens while brutally enforcing their rule. There was a religious dimension to the Crusades, but the Crusades were primarily a military response to turn back the Islamic marauders who were bent on conquering Europe as they continued to spread their ideology across the world. It was well over four hundred years of conquest and plunder by Islamic forces before the Crusades were marshalled as a response to combat them. The Crusades were not launched as a religious war to conquer Moslem lands and convert them to Christianity. People should remember that it is totally legitimate for nations to respond with force to powers that threaten their sovereignty. Though religious fervor was a strong motivation behind the response to Muslim invaders, it is not what inspired the Crusades four hundred years after the first incursion into other lands by the Moslem forces.
None of the atrocities that have taken place in the name of Christianity can be attributed to anything taught by Jesus or the early church, nevertheless Christianity has acknowledged that these atrocities were committed in its name, and the true followers of Christ have always confronted the demons that many have attached to their faith, and have always endeavored to live according to the precepts of the Christian Gospel. Though there are blotches in the history of Christianity, Christians always denounce the behavior of others who commit violence in their name, today and at any time in history. The true essence of the faith has changed the world for the better, like no other philosophy or worldview in all of human history, and advanced the cause of civilization (particularly in the western world) like never before. The value system at the core of Western civilization that has caused it to thrive and institute freedom as a way of life, and justice, is the direct result of the Judaeo-Christian influence on the world.
Unlike Christianity, Islam was given birth on the edge of a Sword, and its message was spread on the tip of a dagger. This statement is not meant to disparage the religion. It is simply meant to give historical context, and as a statement of accuracy. It is only because of the unprecedented rise of Western military powers, and economic might, that the conquering goals of Islamic fundamentalists were eventually quelled. As the Barbary Pirates terrorized the Mediterranean Seas for hundreds of years, demanded tribute from nations, and enslaved over a million people in the process. The new nation called the United States of America soon found itself in their cross hairs. American ships were captured routinely, and American sailors were often held for ransom. After attempting to resolve these issues diplomatically, Thomas Jefferson asked a representative from one of the Moslem nations the reason for their aggression to nations that mean them no harm. The representative replied that “all nations which had not acknowledged the Prophet (Mohammad) were sinners, whom it was the right and duty of the faithful to plunder and enslave.” This was the reason why for twelve hundred years they looted, plundered, enslaved, ravaged, waged war, terrorized the high seas, and demanded tribute in exchange for peace.
The short version of the story is that America decided that she would no longer give in to the threat, and the demands of the nations of thugs that became more emboldened with each attempt to appease them. Through the aggressive use of force and a resolute campaign to defeat the enemy, America was victorious. Today, there are no Islamic nations invading other lands and forcing people to convert or die. Many in the Islamic world are just like the rest of us. They want to live their life, and provide for their families without worrying about threats to their safety. They are not interested in conquest and the violence associated with it. They are decent people just conducting their business and going about their daily lives, but make no mistake; the Islam that was born in violence, sought to conquer the world and convert their enemies is alive and well today. It is what groups like ISIS subscribe to, it is what motivates the mullahs of Iran, groups like Al Qaeda, Boko Haram and other radical Islamic extremist groups and individuals. Pretending that it is not so will not remove the threat that is posed by these radical Islamists.
After the 911 Attacks Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza celebrated, handing out sweets to one another as they cheered the work of the 19 men who orchestrated the heinous attacks on America. The Palestinian Authority rewards the families of suicide bombers, Arab nations refuse to accept the right of Israel to exist, ethnic and religious minorities suffer at the hands of Islamic oppressors, and even moderate Muslims who do not subscribe to their version of Islam are not spared their brutality. In Saudi Arabia women live as second class citizens and do not enjoy many of the rights that men enjoy. Women are not allowed to drive, they cannot be out in public unless they are accompanied by a male relative, and if they are raped; it must be verified by at least four male witnesses for authorities to take action. The women often end up facing repercussions for being promiscuous instead of the men who violated them getting punished. Female genital mutilation is a common practice in many of these countries, and people live under a dark cloud of fear. The freedom that we enjoy in the United States, Western Countries and other democracies around the globe cannot even be imagined by the people who live in many of these Islamic countries. Many of them live lives that are a daily grind of hopelessness wrapped up in despair and fear. The value system in many of these countries is completely foreign to anything that we can imagine in the United States.
Though it may be true that many Muslims do not share the goals and vision of groups like Boko Haram, Isis, Islamic Jihad or Hamas, that does not mean that violence committed in the name of Islam is not real. There is a very real problem that must be addressed within Islam, and confronted by society or we will continue to suffer and see more and more incidents like the Manchester bombing that happened a few days ago. There needs to a powerful rebuke from within the Islamic world condemning the actions of those who commit the dreadful, evil acts that are being perpetrated against those the attackers believe deserve it because they are considered as infidels. The time for silence and appeasement is over. Muslin leaders who do not share the views of the extremists must preach it from their Mosques that violence committed in God’s name is unacceptable and demand that those who cling to the ancient barbaric traditions of the religion must stop.
There are two ways to make this problem go away. First it must be confronted in the same way that Thomas Jefferson did, with a strong resolution and action to defeat it militarily. Secondly, everyone must work to create a climate where the abhorrent behavior that is still endorsed by too many in the Muslim world becomes a repugnant, and inconceivable thought. People have to stop making excuses, and making statements aimed at appeasement after each attack by Radical Muslim extremists. After the attacks in Manchester, Katy Perry assured us that we just need to co-exist, get rid of barriers, borders and love on each other” for the problem to go away. After Muslim extremists attack little girls at concerts with nail bombs, the appropriate response is not to worry aloud about so-called “Islamophobia.” The appropriate response is to direct any anger at the ideology that promotes this primitive type of inhumanity. We are a tolerant society and most people can make the distinction between the radical elements of the religion and those Muslims who are equally appalled by such actions. The Fort Hood Terrorist, the San Bernadino Terrorists, the Orlando Gay night club shooter, the Paris attackers and the Manchester Bomber all gave signals that should have spurred authorities to action to prevent the carnage the perpetrators eventually wreaked. Many of these cases could have been stopped if people were not worried about appearing to be “Islamophobic.” After each terrorist attack, celebrities, politicians, academics and leftists in general go out of their way to denounce people who identify the problem as Islamic terrorism, and highlight it. They blame everyone else for the acts committed by these losers, and express more outrage at the those who identify the problem than they do against the actual people who commit them.
The truth is that these people do not attack us because we are imperialists, because of poverty, lack of opportunity or any of the other reasons that have been floated as the cause of their animus toward us. The reason they attack us is simple. They are holding on to the primitive, rudimentary tenets of their religion. We need to develop a smart cogent strategy to combat this menace to civilized people everywhere. This threat cannot be appeased. It will not go away on its own. If we do not confront it head on, we will regret it beyond measure as we reap the consequences of neglecting to deal with what is a very clear and present danger.