They’ve become platitudes in American culture:
“All religions are the same.”
“Every religion teaches love.”
“Extremists of all types are the real enemy.”
But is any of it true?
Brian Hennessey at Israel Today recently argued “extremism” isn’t really the problem. It’s which specific religion believers are following.
“[T]he more serious a moderate Muslim gets about practicing his religion, the more ‘radicalized’ he will become,” he contended. “With those that look to the Bible, just the opposite happens. The core message of the Bible urges believers to love your neighbors as yourself, not cut their heads off. So the more a Christian or Jew gets serious about his biblical beliefs, and practices them, the more loving and godly they become.”
It’s not a popular message. A standard talking point among liberals is “Christian violence is just as bad, if not worse than Muslim violence.”
And religious “extremism,” per se, is seen as a negative. Indeed, figures such as Hillary Clinton have called for changing religious beliefs if they conflict with supposed “rights” such as abortion.
Joel Richardson, the New York Times bestselling author of “The Islamic Antichrist” and the producer and host of the blockbuster teaching series “The Coming Battle for Jerusalem” scoffed at the idea religious extremism in and of itself is evil.
“Everyone agrees that any form of violence committed in the name of religion is a bad thing,” he told WND.
“It is another thing altogether to insist that every form of ‘religious extremism’ is an inherently bad thing. This would be to assume that every religion, at its foundation, is essentially the same and that the greatest danger to the world is when humans take their religion seriously. The simple fact of the matter is that whether we are speaking of Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha, or David Koresh, every religion has its own very different founders and thus foundational principles.”
Richardson stressed the importance of divorcing the core doctrines of a faith from the problematic periods of its temporal history. He acknowledged “periods of darkness” when Christianity was “intermingled with state power and turned violent.”
However, he forcefully argues none of this was core to Christianity.
“Virtually all Christians agree … that such periods do not reflect the teachings and principles that Jesus taught,” he said.
“When we look at what is being carried out today in many parts of the world by Muslims however, it is a simple fact that much of the violence and bloodshed is simply a recapitulation of what was carried out by Muhammad and his closest successors, the first four Caliphs of Islam. If you doubt me, then I challenge you to read ‘The Biography of Muhammad’ by Ibn Ishaq and translated by Alfred Guillame, or ‘The Conquest of Syria’ by Imam Al-Waqiddi. The atrocities witnessed by the world these past few years carried out by ISIS or the Taliban are virtually identical to the things that were carried out by Muhammad’s earliest ‘rightly guided’ successors.”
Richardson believes Islamic and Christian “extremism,” if faithfully practiced, would lead to widely disparate outcomes.
“‘Extremism’ carried out by Muslims is quite different than ‘extremism’ carried out by those who actually follow the principles and teachings of Jesus,” he said. “Extreme examples of love for one’s enemies, or extreme examples of altruism are what the world needs far more of, not less. Oh that the whole earth would be engulfed by Christian extremism!”
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Pamela Geller, a renowned activist against Islamic jihadism, WND columnist and author of “Stop the Islamization of America,” also held there is a critical distinction between Christian or Jewish “extremism” and Islamic “extremism.”
“Religious extremism is only toxic if the religion in question contains toxic teachings,” she told WND. “If someone is an extremely religious Jew, he or she will be wise, magnanimous, generous, etc. But extremely religious Muslims, because their religion enjoins violence and hatred, will tend to become violent and hateful. ‘Extremism’ is not the problem; it’s just a dodge to deflect attention away from the grim reality of Islam.”
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Mark Biltz, the man who discovered the “Blood Moons” phenomenon and the author of “God’s Day Timer,” said it is good to be zealous, but there must be a distinction between “self-righteous zealotry” and “righteous zealotry.”
He ultimately stressed the knowledge of Torah is the best way to avoid errors that can lead to violence.
“There have been self-righteous religious extremists over the last 2,000 years, mostly within Islam and Christianity ever since the Torah was abolished, derided and considered retired,” he said. “According to the Bible, the only way world peace will come is when the Torah is magnified and it is being taught properly from Jerusalem to all the nations of the earth, as it says in Isaiah 2:2-4.”
Pastor Biltz said that following the example of Jesus Christ and zealously serving God ultimately will bring humanity closer to God.
“When we are passionately serving the God of Israel we will walk according to His truth and there will be peace on Earth,” he said. “The Torah is the Word of the Lord, which is forever, and as King, the Messiah will bring its proper interpretation so the knowledge of the Lord will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. May the Lord soon reverse the world’s retirement of His Torah and make it honorable again. When the Messiah fulfilled the Torah, it was not so we don’t have to but so we would have an example of a ‘how to.’ The Messiah fulfilled the commandment to love the LORD our God with all our heart and our neighbor as ourselves not so we don’t have to but we would see how to.”
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Carl Gallups, a pastor, talk show host and author of “Be Thou Prepared,” said the problem with modern Islam is not “extremism” but the core of the religion itself.
“The almost daily atrocities we are now witnessing around the world, committed in the name of Allah and often defined by the media as mere Islamic extremism, truly is something endemic to the religion of Islam itself,” he said. “Of course there are Muslims who are at different stages of ‘commitment’ to Islam, the same as with Jews and Christians. But, the sooner we understand the truths of history and the core teachings of ‘committed’ Islam, the sooner we might be able to actually make some viable inroads to workable solutions, thus securing our national sovereignty and security.
“It is equally true, and historically verifiable, that Judaism, Islam, and yes – even Christianity – have been given to extremes above and beyond even what the mainstream of those faith systems might call normal. But Christianity, specifically, is taking another historical beating in this regard, and especially in these insanely politically correct days in which we now find ourselves.”
Gallups argued “extreme” Christianity, far from being dangerous, would make the world a much better place.
“The fact of the matter is that out of the world’s three largest monotheistic faith systems, even accepting Islam is actually monotheistic at its core, the only one, when taken to its truest ‘extremes’ that results in more love, grace, mercy, and peaceful living among all people – is that of New Testament biblical Christianity,” he said. “If Old Testament Judaism were taken to its ‘extreme’ this would not be the case. If Islam is taken to its most ‘radical extreme,’ even the leftist media would have to admit that the entire infidel world would have its head under the sword of submission.
“But Jesus-centered Christianity is a different story altogether – even lived out in its most ‘extreme’ form. There is no call for ‘death to the infidels,’ only a call to love. There is no call for self-righteous judgment, rather it is a call to exhibit grace and mercy. There is no directive for the setting up of a man-ruled Kingdom on earth and the overthrow of governments by violent ends – God’s true Kingdom will arrive through the return of Jesus Christ, the Lord of Glory. The only ‘overthrow’ we seek is that of a person’s heart surrendered to the love of Jesus Christ.
“True Christian ‘extremism’ is demonstrated in a life of holiness, sacrifice, service to fellow man, a worshipful relationship with our Creator, and a loving presentation of God’s grace through Jesus Christ – available to all who will come by repentance unto salvation. Now that’s an extremism the world could live with!”
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David Kupelian, WND Managing Editor and author of “The Snapping of the American Mind,” made the same comparison. He maintains the distinction between devout Muslims and Christians is just common sense.
“It’s not politically correct to say it, but to tens of millions of Americans, learning that a so-called ‘very devout Muslim’ has moved in next door would be cause for worry over their family’s safety,” Kupelian stated. “But learning that a devout Christian moved in next door would inspire no such concerns – and for good reason. In the almost 15 years since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Western world has learned, again and again, that so-called ‘devout Muslims’ or ‘serious Muslims’ are simply more likely to have been radicalized into violent jihad than ‘moderate’ or ‘cultural’ Muslims.
“On the other hand, the heart of the ‘serious’ or ‘devout’ Christian’s way of life is to love God and his fellow man – not just love fellow Christians, mind you, but everyone. Who would not want such a person as their neighbor?”
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However, if so many recognize this, why is there the intense media focus on the supposed evils of Christian “extremism?” Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, who rocked American believers with “The Harbinger” and “The Mystery of Shemitah,” says it is nothing less than a great apostasy against Christianity, something foretold within Scripture as the world nears the last days.
“The warnings from the secular media about radical Christianity is more a sign of the times than anything else,” he told WND. “What was normative in days past is now considered radical. When Israel was following God, Elijah and the prophets would be considered mainstream, exemplary. But when Israel turned away from God, the society branded people like Elijah as radical, dangerous, even enemies of the state. So King Ahab said to Elijah ‘you are the troubler of Israel.’ But Elijah responded, ‘No, it is you who trouble Israel.’
“So in days past true Christians would be honored in America – and considered mainstream. But as America has turned away from God, as America has grown increasingly radical against the ways of God – then it must view those who remain faithful to God as radical. To an upside down world, those who are standing right side up will appear to be standing upside down. So the apostle Paul was accused of ‘turning the world upside down.’ He was actually turning the world right-side up. So it is for true believers who stand faithful to God in an age and civilization of apostasy – We will be called radical and trouble makers, intolerant, dangerous. But it is simply that we are standing right side up in an upside down world.”
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