CADRE Comments

A Rational Look at Christianity; Basing Reason in Truth

Lend an open ear to your local and/or national talk radio stations, news channels, or just about any other source covering the "War On Terror" in the last 4 years and the all to common word "fundamentalist" will be used as a lable to just about anyone. The term has breached the Evangelical circles for some time now and has recently been applied to the Islamic terrorists. Can a consensus be reached on a definitive definition when discussing religion? Is it true that Muslim terrorists who claim to follow the creeds of the Qur'an have extrapolated or falsely represented the original teachings of Mohammad--the founder of Islam? If not, can we truly call them "fundamentalists," or will have to drop the ball on that lable and configure another more accurate term?

To begin, one ought to understand the traditional meaning of a "fundamentalist" with regards to religion. Historically, a "fundamentalist" was one who adhered to the core doctrines and/or teachings within the system of thought in question. Today's post-modern era has redefined the label as a strict following to a set of principals, which are deemed intolerant (exclusivism) towards other religous institutions and movements. Hence, when one is referred to as a "fundamentalist" using the second definition, it is often rejected with ferver because of the negative connotation. Being exclusive with truth claims, in the eyes of post-modernity, seems vicious and wildly politically incorrect. But I'm concerned strictly with the first definition (Historical and traditional) when it comes to Islamic terrorists. Does the modern Muslim follow in the footsteps of Mohammad's teachings? If so, what is the relevant difference between a fundamentalist Christian and fundamentalist Muslims?

Historically, traditional Muslims have stringently opposed all practices not sanctioned by the Qur'an. Currently, there are Muslim scholars who claim that Islam in a religion of peace and often cite verses of the Qur'an to back their assertions. Prolific Christian teachers, such as Billy Graham, teach that Islam is a religion that commands undifferentiated slaughter. How do we make sense of this contradictory dichotomy? What does the Qur'an teach when it comes to people of other faiths? There are two methods to understand where the religion of Islam stands.

First, we must use sound interpretive insight (hermeneutics) to look within the pages of the Qur'an to search for explicit or implicit statements confirming a core teaching-- a fundamental teaching. Muhammad says in the 52nd book of the Sahih Bukhari,

"...If somebody (a Muslim) discards his religion, kill him." [1]

With this alone, one can establish reliable convictions that the author of this text advocates the unjustified taking of life because of either a conversion to another faith or the unfastening of the Muslim faith altogether. Religious freedom truly is a virtue we ought to be more thankful of--at least for the moment. In other parts of the Qur'an, Sura 8:39 and 9:5 say,

8:39 "Make war on them until idolatry shall cease and God's religion [i.e. Islam] shall reign supreme."

9:5 "So when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captives 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."(emphasis added) [2]

Next, reviewing historical evidence records how the early conquests of Islam rampantly spread in the early years of its creation. Did Islam take precedence through the preaching of the good news of Allah’s salvation? Clearly, it did not. The growth of Islamic expansion directly corrolates with the consequtive battles over a thousand years reign and conquest--resulting in mass murder and the blood of innocent men and women shed-- dictated by religion through the sword. By providence at the macrohistorical Battle of Tours, the Franks led by Charles Martel defeated the Moors (Islamic Army led by Emir Abd er Rahman) during the early 8th century ending the systematic removal of the Christian Church.

To summarize the arguments and evidence presented earlier, the Qur'an teaches not only vehement principles as orthodoxy, but that those tenets ought to be implemented in deed. Addendum, Islam, based on its fundamental teachings, is a confirmed "war religion". Ergo, Muslim fundamentalists hold to life-taking doctrines on the basis of worldview differences. Thankfully, the majority of Muslims take a Moderate stance and do not subscribe to the fundamental tenets of Islamic ideology: global Islam by force. They have liberalized the Qur'an by adopting a different hermeneutic that denies the authoratative Qur'an and Haddith sources and, in its place, promote peace as a bottomline virtue. Historically-savvy hermeneutics ought to be encouraged to Muslims (and Christians, for that matter) for an accurate understanding when reading the texts.

To conclude, remember what the question I proposed apropos the definitions of a fundamentalist: "Does the modern Muslim follow in the footsteps of Mohammad's teachings? If so, what is the relevant difference between a fundamentalist Christian and fundamentalist Muslims?" The devout Muslim, ie. extremist terrorist, are prime examples of what follows from taking Mohammad's teachings at face value. But I'm highly speculative that the majority of Muslims embrace classical Islamic theology. To be honest, the average modern Muslim suffers from illiteracy when it comes to the Qur'an and the historical context it was written in-- much equivalent to the vass majority of Christians with the bible and its cultural setting. Fundamentalism is fatal for the Muslim, but vital for the Christian. Why? Because, as we've seen (and are currently viewing in current events), orthodox Islamic theology produces extremist radicals fused to the ideology of its founder. The fundamentals of Christianity establish a religion of ultimate redemption, reconciliation, and glory. Christians holding to the tenets of Christianity ought to be hopeful for the products these fundamentals yield. Au contraire, Muslims faithfully living out Mohammad's words carry the burden of reconciling their "war religion" in contrast to values of religious tolerance and freedom. Ultimately, their is an inherent contradiction that will plague this dilemma for originalist Muslims.


Works Cited:

1.) Sahih Bukhari: Volume 4, Book 52, Number 260

2.) Trifkovic, Serge. The Sword of the Prophet

References:

- Donner, Fred M. "The Sources of Islamic Conceptions of War". Chapter in Just War and Jihad: Historical and Theoretical Perspectives on War and Peace in Western and Islamic Traditions. John Kelsay and James Turner Johnson Eds. Greenwood Press: New York, 1991.

- Campbell, Charlie. "Islam"; Calvary Chapel Lectures


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Cross-Blogged at Apologia Christi
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4 comments:

Apparently you have never met a follow of Islam. I have friends who are, they dont' blow things up. In fact one is married to a christian.

Thank you for your comments Meta, but I think you might have misunderstood my arguments and my position. I have met plenty of liberal Muslims, not the fundamental ones (Thank God). If you notice, I described the two definitions of fundamentalist's, which apply to all religions, but I spoke strictly of Islam. Equally could be said for Christians. Those Muslims who hold to the teachings as they are given (fundamentalism), then it leads to the extreme and radical global conversion to Islam by threat of the sword.

On the contrary, those Muslims who are liberal in their theology and understanding of the Qur'an are those who are the majority nowadays. And I attribute this to the illiteracy that has plagued all religions, including Christianity. Then I concluded that Christians need to return to the fundamentals and not liberalize the Gospel, while Muslims are better off remaining illiterate of the Qur'an because the opposite end of the spectrum leads to the philosophical mindset of extremist terrorist, which Mohammad taught blatantly throughout his "revelations."

I hope this clears some of the confusion. What say you?

Most Chrsitan, liberal and conservative, would agree with what you say about Islam if they have ready anything at all of the Guran or its teachings. Unfortunately, many (not all) liberal Christians prefer their uneducated status because it agrees with their politics. Extremest Conservative Christians suffer the same fault, but they emphasis different scriptures out of context. The sad part is that so many Christians place their political views ahead of their King. Education will not change them. Only making God first and foremost in their lives will do that.

you justified your theory in your mind through giving two statements from Qur'an (which are Sura 8:39 and 9:5). However, you missed the holistic point of these Suras. Pinching two statements from the entire Sura does not make sense. We have to interpret these statements in each Sura contextually and how these statements were sent and what was the reason that Muslim had to implement these statements. I would suggest you to read these two Suras completely and then you may realize how Islamic teaching respect the other people regardless of their color, ethnicity, gender, or religion. It is not related to people who are fundamentalists or liberal, it is related to as to how to interpret these statements. At the first years of Islam when it emerged people worshipped the materials or statues and even buried their daughters alive and they did not respect powerless people especially slave people. However, when Islam emerged these loneless, powerless people regardless of the color, religion, ethnicity and gender have been recovered. Islam matters how people respect each other,the solidarity in the society. The rich and poor are equal, their worship would make difference.

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