Are Christianity and Islam Equally Violent?

Many on the left seem to think so. True?

Though this post goes beyond former secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s statement, let’s use it as a launching pad.

Here it is: “Muslims are peaceful and tolerant and have nothing to do with terrorism.”

Let me get the conventional qualifying statements out of the way.

I agree that we shouldn’t wage war on a religion (though she further says we’re fighting an ideology, not people), and we should certainly not be unkind to our peaceful Muslim neighbors (the mosque close by my place seems peaceful enough).

However, if we misdiagnose the problem, we’ll come up with the wrong “solutions.”

As I read things, her misguided logic works out like this.

1. If you’re a true Muslim, then you are always peaceful and tolerant.

2. The attackers on 11/13, who claim to be Muslims, were not peaceful or tolerant – they were violent and intolerant (to say the least).

3. Therefore, they were not really Muslim, but only claimed to be.

In a possible case of projection, she apparently has in the back of her mind this hidden comparison:

1. If you’re a true Christian, then you’re always peaceful and tolerant.

2. Joe (who usually does not claim Christianity, but let’s say he does) shoots an abortion doctor and workers at the abortion clinic.

3. Therefore, Joe is not really a Christian, but only claimed to be.

How do we sort out the complications?  It’s not as hard as it first appears.

Let’s go back to the sources – which terrorists do, to justify their violence.

Islam’s institutional DNA is built on jihad or qital (only military war, not a “struggle”).  For example, in an ironic twist, surah (chapter) 47 of the Quran can be named either “Muhammad” or “Qital.”  In other words, the verses about warfare are clear and numerous.  Another example:  Muhammad yelled, “Allahu akbar!” when he attacked an innocent (Jewish) city like Khaybar.  Why wouldn’t Muslims today follow his example and shout the same thing–even while they attack innocents?

Therefore, when ISIS sets up a caliphate, has imams, institutes shariah courts by which judges sentence captives to beheading (which follows the Quran), and wages perpetual war against the infidel West (even by downing a Russian passenger jet), ISIS is following the Quran and Muhammad’s example.  ISIS sees itself as a legitimate government that is true to original Islam, while other Islamic nations have compromised it.  They can find passages in the Qur’an and Traditions to justify their violent “policies.”

(Incidentally, ISIS certainly sees its caliphate as more legitimate in the eyes of Allah than any government in the West, including the USA’s.  So President Hollande was perceptive when he declared war on ISIS because they declared war on his country, including aiding and abetting militant hit squads on 11/13.  And this is why it is foolish of President Obama not to seek a war resolution in Congress or of Jen Psaki of the White House to say military might won’t end the war against ISIS.  Wrong.  It is entirely possible to defeat a government or caliphate holed up in a territory. The Allies drove the Nazis back to Berlin and won.)

The bottom line: the problem with Islam is that it doesn’t separate mosque from state. Muslims wage war in the name of Allah and Islam.

That is a classical definition of a holy war.

On the other side, there simply are no military war verses in the Christian Scriptures (see 1. The Kingdom of God: Was Jesus a Pacifist?), as if the church as the church should raise an army and force people to submit to Christ by the sword.  When we don’t distinguish between the two Covenants–Old and New–then our interpretation of the entire Bible becomes confused (How Jesus Christ Fulfills the Law: Matthew 5:17-19). Though Christians can join the secular military, they act in the name of the Constitution, not Christ (see 4. Can Christians Join the Military or Police Force?).  They should never yell, “I kill in the name of Christ!”

Therefore, America does separate the church and state in military (and other) matters. This comes from the Founders’ reading of the entire Bible.

The state can wield the sword, while the church may not institutionally wield the sword. (see 3. Were the Early Christians Pacifists?

So now, with that background in mind, let’s get back to the silly hidden comparison that Hillary apparently has in mind.

When Joe shoots an abortion doctor and the other clinic employees and does not let a court decide, but takes the law into his own hands, then he is not following the teachings of the Christian Scriptures, but violates them (see 2. The Gospels: Was Jesus a Pacifist?).  According to these Scriptures, the fate of criminals is placed in the hands of the legal system, and those who refuse to convert are never threatened by the sword.

Biblical Christianity does not justify waging a holy war.

It could be objected that the Islamic militants who attacked Paris on 11/13 were part of a government–ISIS. The government may not be legitimate in our eyes, but it is in theirs. They were following orders of the true caliphate. They were not acting alone, as Joe was doing.

Here’s the reply: If American commandos, following orders of a politician or general, were to go behind enemy lines in an Islamic country and kill 130 unarmed Muslims at a concert or a football match or restaurants, then those soldiers and politician and general should be prosecuted, not celebrated. Their war crime would be especially egregious if the soldiers had yelled, “I kill in the name of Christ!”

Horrible. Just horrible. It violates everything America and free people everywhere stand for.

Finally, what about the Crusades? objectors could ask.

Ideally, the church should have handed the sword over to the kings (Paul and Peter hand the sword over to the state: here for Paul and here for Peter).

But the problem is that the European kings and lesser potentates saw themselves as God’s anointed servants, much as the Old Testament kings were. Separation of church and state didn’t exist back then–though some religious orders called for it, after a fashion.

But mainly the Crusades were so long ago.  Christianity moved on and oriented itself towards a better biblical understanding of warfare.  Much of Islam has not moved on.

Following the origins of the two religions enables you to tell the difference between them.

Christianity is different from Islam in quality and kind.


Is the Bible More Violent Than the Quran?

The Truth about Islamic Jihad and Imperialism: A Timeline

Islamic Jihad v. European Crusades

The West’s Struggle with Islam

4 Jihad and Qital in the Quran, Traditions, and Classical Law

All the Jihad Verses in the Quran

Qital (Warfare) Verses in the Quran

Islamic Martyrdom: The Economy of Death in the Quran

The Ultimate Goal of Islam

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