Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Peaceful Majority Is Irrelevant

For the past several years, we have heard a near ceaseless stream of politicians and celebrities declare that Islam is a peaceful religion and that Muslims are peaceful people. We hear repeatedly that the actions of ISIS, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, Hamas, etc. are the actions of a radical few who have hijacked Islam for their political purposes. But, are any of these declarations true? Is Islam a peaceful religion? Are the radicals truly radical? Has Islam been hijacked? Or, is our conscious being hijacked by those leading us to ignore a menacing reality?

Let’s begin this discussion by clearly defining some things starting with the term, “Radical Muslim.” Is a member of ISIS beheading a Christian infidel in the name of Islam truly radical within Islam? Or, is that ISIS member simply following the fundamentals of the Quran, Mohammed and the unrevised dictates of Islam? Is what we call a “Radical Muslim” actually a fundamentalist Muslim? Fundamentalists of any religion strictly obey their holy texts, not disobey them. The term "radical" should only refer to those who are disobeying their holy texts. So, is what we call a “Peaceful Muslim” possibly a radical if he is actually ignoring the violent commands for all Muslims in the Quran? 

The Quran and related Islamic authoritative texts contain at least 109 verses that call Muslims to violently war (Jihad) with nonbelievers for the sake of global Islamic rule.  Some are quite graphic, with commands to chop off heads and fingers and kill innocent infidels wherever they may be hiding.  Muslims who do not join the fight are called “hypocrites” and warned that Allah will send them to Hell if they do not join the battle. These texts have never been revised or superseded. Below are just a few excerpts from them:

  • Quran (2:191-193) - "And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out. And Al-Fitnah [disbelief] is worse than killing...”
  • Quran (3:151) - "Soon shall we cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers, for that they joined companions with Allah, for which He had sent no authority."
  • 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."
  • Quran (8:39) - "And fight with them until there is no more fitna (disorder, unbelief) and religion should be only for Allah."
  • Bukhari (52:177) - "The Hour will not be established until you fight with the Jews, and the stone behind which a Jew will be hiding will say, ‘O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, so kill him.’"
  • Tabari (9:69) - "Killing Unbelievers is a small matter to us."

And, there are plenty more where those came from including the justification for killing infidel children. The goal of fundamentalist Islam is unapologetically the establishment of a global Caliphate, primarily by means of Jihad. A Caliphate is an Islamic state led by a supreme religious and political leader known as a caliph or "successor" to Muhammad. The various Muslim empires that have existed in the Muslim world are usually described as "caliphates." Iran is a good example since it is an Islamic theocracy ruled by Islamic Mullahs. And, the ultimate Caliphate is global and represents a sovereign and theocratic state of the entire Muslim faithful, ruled by a caliph under Islamic law (sharia). This is the exact opposite of separation of Church and State, and freedom of speech and religion. And, whatever means used to achieve this goal are deemed acceptable as long as they are aligned with the desired result. Remember the term Jihad means holy war not holy peace.

In the face of Islamic atrocities, there are a few reasons why certain Muslims might be "peaceful" or silent. Their reasons are likely one of the following, all of which are grossly unacceptable:
  1. They agree with the violence and/or genuinely lack desire to oppose it, or
  2. They disagree with the violence, but are governed by self-preserving fear, or
  3. They disagree with the violence, but if it results in a global Caliphate, they will ignore the means for now and ultimately rejoice with all the faithful on the other side of it.
Can you think of any other reason to be silent that is even remotely acceptable? Albert Einstein once said, “The world is too dangerous to live in - not because of the people who do evil but because of the people who sit and let it happen.” To this end, it is the “peaceful majority” of Muslims that are the biggest problem, not the fundamentalists.

By most estimates, there are approximately 1.6 billion followers of Islam around the world today. The “radicals” or fundamentalists are estimated to be up to 25% of this total. Therefore, while up to 75% of Muslims are “peaceful,” that means there are approximately 400 million Muslims that are dedicated to the violent and barbaric destruction of Western civilization by any and all vile means. That number rivals the entire population of the United States of America (and far exceeds the population of former Nazi Germany). 

Do you really think that the peacefulness of the 75% is relevant to the fact that 400 million are aggressively deadly? For example, take Germany prior to the World Wars. Most Germans were peaceful, but the Nazis drove the agenda. And, as a result 60 million innocent people were killed (including 14 million in concentration camps). The peaceful majority in Germany was irrelevant. Most Russians were peaceful as well around the time of rising Communism. Yet, its Communist rulers killed 20 million innocent people. The peaceful majority in Russia was irrelevant. Most Chinese were similarly peaceful. Yet, the Chinese Communists killed 70 million innocent people. The peaceful majority in China was irrelevant. In every case in the history of human atrocities, the peaceful majority was irrelevant. Today, the peaceful majority of Muslims is also irrelevant as long as the fundamentalist minority is allowed to violently slaughter the rest of us before the backdrop of the majority's silence. And, in the face of those who preach political correctness to the rest of us, what they preach belongs in the historical garbage heap from which they grabbed it. We must not allow the peaceful majority to distract us from their violent minority.

Sadly, I have encountered some even in the Church who defend such political correctness by pointing to passages in the Old Testament in order to compare Christianity with Islam. This attempt is meant to somewhat equalize the two faiths. First of all, responding to Christians in a form of defense of Islamic Jihad is disgusting - defending the indefensible. Second, this is a distortion of scripture and Christianity. For example, Deuteronomy 13 is often quoted by such defenders. A portion of this passage calls for the stoning of relatives who entice others in the family to worship pagan gods. But, this passage, like other Old Testament passages, is directed strictly towards ancient Jews, not even modern Jews. It is certainly not a passage regarding a current Christian dictate. And, for Jews, the Mosaic Law has long been superseded (for example, Jews no longer worship with animal sacrifices). You won’t find passages like this in the New Testament. Rather, this passage was for ancient Jews in a temporary theocratic state governed by ancient Orthodox Judaism. 

Secondly, this was a temporary measure carried out while the Jews were conquering and occupying the once pagan territory now called Israel (the Promised Land). And, it is important to note that these pagans were not peace-loving by any stretch. In fact, they were much like ISIS, a group of which even our current Muslim-sympathizing President encourages destruction. 

Third, the commands of Jesus Christ are centered on unconditional love towards all people. Neither Christianity nor Judaism then or now are pursuing a global religion that dominates all states with theocratic rule of the Bible. Christianity does pursue the evangelization of any and all, but not by force or by government. Neither Christianity nor Judaism prescribe anything with regards to State except Biblical separation of the Church from it. The comparisons between fundamentalist Islam and Christianity or Judaism are simply false and intellectually bankrupt.

So, what is the appropriate Christian response to Islamic atrocities? The first response is prayer. We should pray for the persecuted and we should pray for the persecutors. We should not unnecessarily or falsely bash another religion. However, we should not be silent in the face of insidious evil. We should call out such evil for what it is and fight that evil with every fiber of our spiritual being. We should not be silent for fear of offending others. We should speak boldly, truthfully, and lovingly just as Jesus spoke. We should not be afraid to discuss the obvious connections between evil behaviors and their unrevised religious texts. Doing so, if legitimate, is not bashing a religion. It is confronting an evil that is ideologically based. In order to confront such evil, it must be addressed at the root of the ideology. And, this evil must be confronted by all.

Islam’s majority of followers have long been afforded the opportunity to confront these evils. But, they have chosen silence over resistance. For us to likewise ignore the worst evil among us is not an option if we unconditionally follow Jesus. Even innocent children are being beheaded probably as you read this. We have a moral obligation to defend them, and a moral obligation to not defend those doing the beheading. Lastly, we should also not verbally defend their colleagues who insist on remaining silent about it. Silence is not is the worst form of appeasement.

You can also follow @ReasonIfYouWill on Twitter.