“You shall call his name Ishmael… He shall be a wild man; His hand shall be against every man, and every man’s hand against him… “
On the advice of family and friends, well meaning Christians all, I have held my tongue for a very long time on the subject of religious violence in our world, but the time has come, in this year, the 16th since the 9/11 attack, to speak out. Before I begin pointing fingers, however, I want to make clear that history is replete with religious violence and Christianity, as it has been defined, is as guilty as any. Indeed, the “church”, as an institution of men, will have much to answer for when it stands before the Living God. That said, however, I want to point out a very important distinction. What people most often see and identify as the “church,” buildings, assemblies, people who identify as “Christians,” various political movements, or some involved in cultural activism, often are neither Christians, nor the Church. They are, more often, religious fanatics more interested in cultural and political outcomes than they are in a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Jesus refers to them in Luke 13:27 where He says, “I tell you I do not know you, [or] where you are from. Depart from Me all you workers of iniquity.”
You see, the true Church, cannot be seen with human eyes. It is a spiritual entity called, “The Body of Christ”, a spiritual bond between God and persons, through Jesus Christ, who joins them together in unified purpose, both individually and collectively, in a Kingdom that is invisible to the world around it.
The Church’s purpose does not include violence against any people, but it does include participation in a spiritual war against the powers of darkness and all that darkness represents in the world. Therefore, to say that the “Church” is guilty of the war and violence attributed to it in the past, is a lie, but the truth concerning God’s will and purpose is much more complicated than any simple statement. For example, God is perfectly capable of using the violence that men perpetrate in the world to suit His will and purpose. He is equally capable of using those who oppose Him in the world to carry out His judgments against nations, groups, or individuals who turn their backs on Him, but these are difficult concepts for anyone to comprehend. Suffice it to say that God is God and He is sovereign over His creation. His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. He is, in fact, to us, for the most part, an enigma.
Now to the matter at hand:
In an article in the January 2015 issue of Decision Magazine, Bob Paulson writes about the Muslim worldview of death and violence. He makes the following opening remarks in his article:
“Around the world, multiple daily news reports reveal the bloody carnage wrought by followers of Islam who simply seek to obey the clear instructions of their scriptures and sayings – the Quran and the Hadiths. While the politically correct establishment in Western nations refuses-or fears-to acknowledge that this is the true expression of Islam, millions of Muslims take literally the explicit commands to fight, seize, kill, crucify and to smite the necks and cut off the hands and feet of those who do not follow Islam.” […or those who break its oppressive laws.]
Mr. Paulson then goes on to list a record of events from the month of November, 2014. The list is shocking, citing 89 murdered and 79 wounded in 4 separate attacks in 4 separate countries, but what’s more shocking is that his list is only a tiny piece of the larger picture. I thought it would be interesting to look at the complete history of the last decade or so since 2001 and to begin an ongoing record of offenses. I wanted to begin with just the offenses and locations from 2014 and if that isn’t enough to wake you up to the reality of this “peaceful” religion, then, I will begin loading the numbers from incidents worldwide for the past decade. Instead, I’ve decided to open with just the complete numbers from November, 2014, a 30 day snapshot that should surely open your eyes.
In the month of November, so called jihadists murdered 5,042 people in 664 separate attacks, in 14 different countries around the world. Specifics regarding these attacks can be found here. The data and the daily news verify Mr. Paulson’s assumption that “this is the true expression of Islam.” Millions of Muslims around the world, including in the United States, take literally the [Quran’s many] explicit commands to fight, seize, kill, (etc.), as an example:
Quran: K 5:033
Set 21, Count 54
“The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His apostle 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 [Pickthall and Yusuf Ali have “exiled” rather than “imprisoned”]
As for Islamic terrorism, here are some key statistics:
In 2015, according to the US State Department’s Country Reports on Terrorism, 11,778 terrorist attacks in 92 countries resulted in 28,328 deaths. Of that number, 6,924 were the terrorists themselves, all the rest were innocent victims. The list of terrorists was dominated by four groups: the Taliban, Boko Haram, ISIL, and al Qa’ida. All four are Islamic Jihadists, all four claim the Quran as their guiding scripture, and all four claim Mohammed as their Prophet and guiding authority. All four worship a god they call Allah and, though they themselves and most of the secular world are convinced that Allah is the same God worshiped by both Christians and Jews, I assure you that they could not be more wrong. They have, in fact, believed in a lie.
Some will try to minimize these statistics by citing traffic accidents, or homicides, but I point out that in God’s view, murder is homicide whether it’s part of a crime, or done in the name of Allah. I will also point out that the above statistics do not include the victims of the many wars raging in the Middle East today, all for the sake of Islamic Jihad. If those statistics were included here, the numbers would be dramatically higher, remembering that numbers and statistics cannot begin to reflect the human suffering they represent.
Let’s face it, the fact is that Islam has a Great Commission, just as Christianity does. The difference between them is that Islam is given permission, by its founder and by its sacred scriptures, to accomplish both religious and political goals by any means necessary, including murder, rape and the violence of war, while Christianity’s Great Commission requires its people to go humbly forth and spread the good news of Christ in peace, gentleness and selfless acts of love. There is no authority from Christ to commit violence in this world and those who do so, calling themselves Christians, are living as much a lie as any other religious zealot. There is no comparison between Islam, a political movement cloaked in religion, and Christianity, a relationship with The Living God that is rooted in faith. The one is a dark lie while the other is “The Way, The Truth and The Life.”