We hear a lot about the difference between radical, fundamentalist, Muslims and the more moderate followers of Islam. We are assured the moderates are no danger to us. I believe that may be true, if these moderates are simply cultural Muslims, similar to the cultural Christians of the world. Cultural or social adherents to a particular faith have little relation to the radical followers of a religion’s fundamental principles.
The word radical as an adjective speaks to something, in this case a belief, relating to or affecting the fundamental nature of something; far-reaching or thorough change. Cultural, social, or in biblical terms, lukewarm followers, have not experienced a far-reaching or thorough change in their fundamental nature as a result of their beliefs. You won’t find them changing, risking, or sacrificing their lives to follow their faith.
The radicalized factions of the Islamic faith are thoroughly following the fundamental tenets of the faith, as set down in their holy writings. A search of these documents will show that ISIS and its ilk are following these writings to the letter.
Some commentators like to equate the excesses of radical Islam to those of the historic Christian church or to modern acts of violence perpetrated by individuals or groups claiming to be Christian.
Christianity has one holy book, the Bible. The Old Testament chronicles our history and the New Testament tells us how to live as followers of Christ. You can search this book for years and never find Christ advocating violence toward non-believers. In fact, He tells us to pray for them, turn the other cheek, etc. Any violent, hateful acts are contrary to authentic Christian fundamentalism.
Far from being suicide bombers in the name of wiping out those who will not convert to our faith, a radical Christian’s style is more likely to resemble the service and self-sacrifice of Mother Teresa, or any of the 100,000 Christians martyred each year in Christ’s name.
While we Christians would love to see all radical terrorists disappear from the face of the earth, our main weapon is prayer for their salvation.
What would this world look like, if all Christians were to be radicalized, having our fundamental natures changed by the study and adherence to our holy book? What a wonderful world that would be, indeed.
If God is for us, who can be against us? – Romans 8:31