"Always love virtue before you love duty; the reverse method produces dried souls, incapable of joy." (G.K. Chesterton, "The School Magazines," Res Paulinae)
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July 17, 2015
Evangelizing Islam: Catholicism is Superior
It was nearly six years ago that I wrote to my friend that Catholicism was superior to Islam. This startling and provocative claim is even more important today in light of the radical ascension of ISIS and left leaning "tolerance" secularists in our own government. The abandonment of the Christian faith worldwide and the changing demographics of Europe make evangelization of Islam imperative and urgent.
The e-mail to my friend started with a video illustrating the lopsided situation that has been created by the Christian West having too few babies and Muslims having many babies (see the many articles on the subject by William Kirkpatrick here at Crisis). I made a joke that all those receiving my e-mail would need to have another baby to do their part. The exchange went like this:
Having babies will never be the full solution but preferring babies to birth control is a start. Imparting the right values to the babies we do have is another essential. Evangelizing is another essential. To do this you must believe that Christianity is a superior religion to others, which I do believe.
My claim that Christianity was a superior religion didn't sound fair or just to my Catholic friend. He responded:
I believe Christianity to be true. But I can't dismiss the other 67% of the world population who are non-Christians. I have to think of (and I've personally met in the Middle East) the Muslim or Hindu who is exactly your equal. Equal in terms of being an educated, philosophical, well-read person, 2 kids, a wife, a pet and a mortgage. That person is just as sure and convinced that his religion is superior as you are that Christianity is. So is that person just absolutely dead wrong and believes in a farce?
I gave a rebuttal as follows:
I did not mean to say that I am better on a personal level or less sinful. I did mean to say that the Christian religion is superior to Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism etc. This is what The Everlasting Man argues and supports and that's why the book is so important and why I promote it so much. The way I usually describe the conflict of realizing that those in other religions aren't living a total farce is that there are elements of truth in all religions but only the Catholic Church possesses the fullness of truth. If you say that Christianity is not superior to other religions then why do you believe it true and stay faithful to it? Religious indifference has gotten us into some trouble the last half century and the Catechism states that religious indifference is wrong.
The next phrases of my e-mail are the ones I want to emphasize. These are the sentences I want you to remember if you remember nothing else from this article:
A key distinction must be made between Islam and Christianity. The violent Christian must explain why he contradicts the example of his founder. The peaceful Muslim must explain why he contradicts the example of his. Islam is the legacy of a conqueror. Christianity is the legacy of a servant. On the one hand you have a God-man willfully offering his life to us on the cross, on the other you have the mouth-piece of God that spread the faith, not by his mouth, but by his sword.
Violence in the Christian faith can be a just defense (Crusades response to Muslim aggression) or a perversion of its founder's teachings (abuses of the Crusades where cruel, unneeded violence was performed-- the sacking of Constantinople , etc). Violence in the Muslim faith can be a just defense or a reproduction/fulfillment of its founder's teachings.
If Christianity is to prevail along with its hallmarks of civilized society then we must implement several crucial points in evangelization using the ideas above:
1. We must establish a stark distinction in the origins of the supposed kindred religions of Abraham.
The means being bold in facing the backlash from Muslims over criticism of their religion when speaking with politically incorrect instead of soft, traditional ecumenical themes. If we are to prevent Islam from advancing roughshod over Christians in ideology, law, and culture due to demographic trends and violence we must evangelize Muslims and Christians to this deeper contrast of the two religions. This starts at the beginning of each religion. The stark differences in the two religions' founders is the most obvious statement of evangelization and education that no one in the public forum is making. It is the most obvious statement of Christian defense and Muslim refutation that only a few in the Church rarely make. We must be politically incorrect and authentically ecumenical in a rational and charitable way, not a Charlie Hebdo way. Often Christianity and Islam are placed side by side and competing with one another as one among many religions vying for the most sound explanation of our world and our purpose here. I often placed them side by side in the past. Then the God and Comparative Religion chapter in The Everlasting Man by G.K. Chesterton offered me a huge revelation contradicting that way of false ecumenical thinking.
2. We must destroy the myth of the moderate Muslim.
We must revisit Mohammed’s life and how it relates to exemplifying the most precise example of God's will. Our modern world has historical amnesia about Islam’s origins. The moderate Muslim describes his religion as a religion of peace and submission to the will of God. Those are a few of the literal meanings of the root word of Islam. These Muslims obviously have a very different reading of the Koran and a very different view of the will of God than violent Muslims who are attempting to eradicate infidels from the face of the earth. Nevertheless, the moderate Muslim's theology and practice of religion is actually the one in error. We would like their view to be the true version of Islam but it is not. Islam's fatal flaw is that a Muslim must contradict his founder to live in peace. The statements in my e-mail above note this. No matter the internal debate of the Koran, Hadith, Sira, or Shiite literature on peace and violence, what do the roots and founding of the religion tell us?
Can there be such a thing as a moderate Muslim? He may live without resorting to violence but he must evaluate Mohammed's violent actions, his piracy, and other defects of character including violating his own instructions to have no more than four wives. Can we trust the founder of a religion that disobeys his own laws? The contemplative moderate Muslim must face these contradictions. He must compare his philosophy of life to others and determine if it stands up to a scrutiny of logical continuity. The moderate Muslim must examine the treatment of women in his society. Is their treatment as inferiors true moderation and peace? If Allah is a God of peace then how would he best make himself known to believers? Would he shout at believers through a mouthpiece with the violence of conquest or would he sacrifice himself in humility and service in the self-gift of the cross? Should the archetype of a God who requires submission be his son's submission on the cross, surrounded by the echo of the words, "Let not my will but your will be done?" Or should the archetype of submission be Mohammed's sword and its legacy of the violent slaying of infidels that continues in his name to this very day?
3. We must correct and revise the false secular narrative of tolerance and equivalence in regard to Islam.
In addition to facing Muslims with the truth of history we must also address the prejudice and discrimination against Christianity of liberals and secularists. They have recently campaigned for the removal of a Father De Smet statue from a Catholic University and for removal of statues of Blessed Junipero Serra from California. That this should be allowed is a disgrace to a Catholic University and an ignorance of the history of California. Will the secularists campaign to change the name of San Francisco and San Diego next? These men cared for Native Americans especially in caring for their souls. But they are expelled for their supposed harsh treatment of Natives and their culture. Meanwhile, Bill DiBlasio institutes Muslim holidays in the New York school system in an effort at tolerance. Was not Mohammed's violence worse than the actions of Father De Smet and Father Serra? How can the violent extremism of Mohammed be tolerated in the liberal mind? The Supreme Court rules in favor of forcing a U.S. business to give a Muslim woman a job and allow her to wear a religious headscarf but we must take crosses away from age old monuments and force bakers and florists to abandon their religion in their businesses. Anderson Cooper issues apologies for discussing Muslim No-Go Zones in Europe and Bobby Jindal is criticized for speaking of them. Yet riots in France, the sexual abuse of Rotherham, and the multiple attempts at home-grown terrorism in Europe (and now America) prove the point.
The modern accusation of moral equivalency against Christianity in relation to Islam must be confronted. This equivalency was perpetrated by our own president at the National Prayer Breakfast when he made the statements, "Humanity has been grappling with these questions throughout human history, and lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.” Obama erred first in using the Crusades as an example to compare Islam and Christianity because Islam invaded Spain four hundred years before the first crusade. The Crusades were a response to Muslim aggression. Christianity receives the blame for the Crusades when Islam is truly responsible for starting them. I have never heard anyone outside of Catholic circles assign any blame to Muslims when discussing the Crusades even though their violence and abuses were as bad as the Christians and they were responsible for starting the aggression. We should be proud that there were men that stepped up and risked their lives and wealth to fight for the Christian faith. If it weren't for the Crusades we might be living in a Muslim world right now. That world would be much less tolerant and appealing to the secular left, if any secular left was allowed to remain under Muslim rule.
The second error in Crusade accusations is made in comparing followers of Jesus and followers of Mohammed. Both have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. But the moral equivalency is destroyed when you compare Jesus and Mohammed. I don't want to give Jesus completely to the politically correct, mushy sentimentalists and the kumbaya pacifists though. Jesus was violent but with a righteous anger that sought justice and truth (Matthew 21:12, 13, John 2:13, Matthew 18:6, Matthew 10). Mohammed was violent in a different way in which he grasped for worldly goods, cultural domination, and forceful conversion. Christianity is different than Islam for this reason and superior in seeking God and his purpose.
Encouragement of Islamic culture in the form of "tolerance" and political correctness is exactly what Christians can't afford right now. Muslim immigration in large numbers must be approached skeptically. If we are to survive we must shake off Christian self-loathing. We must candidly address all those accommodating Islam with the basic message that Mohammed did not faithfully fulfill a life presenting the essence of God like Jesus did. We don't need to get complicated when evangelizing by offering lengthy, academic arguments. We need to give a simple history lesson. Awaken people from their historical amnesia with the facts of Mohammed's life. It is particularly important to remind the Western left secularist mind of this and the well-meaning Christian loving his neighbor. This includes prelates and church authorities reaching out in ecumenism. We should also reach out to "moderate Muslims" with this message or demography will overtake us. Then we will be forced to submit to Islam. If the "moderate Muslim" truly wants peace then we should point him to Jesus.
1 a fidelity, constancy b sincerity in action, and utterance 2a (1) the state of being the case: fact (2) the body of real things, events, and facts: actuality (3) a transcendent fundamental or spiritual reality
1 a tenet contrary to received opinion 2 a statement that is seemingly contradictory or opposed to common sense and yet is perhaps true
definitions taken from Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary
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