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Do Americans Believe that Christianity is as Violent as Islam?

February 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Book Club, Vicki Burbach

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Do Americans believe that Christianity is as Violent as Islam?

Seeds of the Word (Week 8 of 11)

Take out of consideration the Creator, who made every person in love and destined each for eternal life, and properly inalienable rights promptly disappear.  And individuals become, in very short order, the objects of political manipulation and domination. To see the truth of this, all we have to do is look at the totalitarianisms of the last century, governments that were grounded in the explicit denial of God. The negation of equality and the suppression of fundamental human rights in Hitler’s Germany, Stalin’s Russia, Mao’s China, Pol Pot’s Cambodia, and Castro’s Cuba followed directly from the systematic denial of the Creator God. — Seeds of the Word, “Why it Matters that our Democracy Trusts in God”, Paragraph 5

Nearly two centuries ago, a Frenchman by the name of Alexis de Tocqueville devoted over a thousand pages to the notion of Democracy in America in a book by the same name. After having spent over nine months traveling around our fledgling country, he recorded his findings regarding our government, commerce, citizenship and religious life. And he drew some conclusions about the success of our Democratic Republic, related to Barron’s assertion above, although de Tocqueville drew the same conclusion from a different angle. He asserted that  in searching for the origin of America’s vibrant success,

I sought for the key to the greatness and genius of America in her harbors…; in her fertile fields and boundless forests; in her rich mines and vast world commerce; in her public school system and institutions of learning. I sought for it in her democratic Congress and in her matchless Constitution.

Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power.

America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.

So much of what Bishop Barron addresses in this week’s assignment raises red flags about the direction of our country as Christianity is thrust into the trash heap of yesterday’s foolishness. Everywhere we look, there is a concerted effort to suppress the Judeo-Christian philosophy via miseducation, propaganda and, frankly, lies. Apparently, it’s working.

Shockingly, a recent poll reported that 66% of Democrats believe that other religions [including Christianity], encourage violence as much as Islam.

Now, while I will readily admit that I know little about the Muslim religion, I do feel we need to be very clear about what Christianity represents. As the largest religion in the world, Christianity should certainly not be tossed in with other religions. This poll implies to the public that Christianity, among other faiths, is violent. I feel pretty confident in saying that rarely has a more blatant falsehood been so propagated among Americans.  We must be very careful to exclude Christianity from this comparison. In the past year, there have been over 1800 incidents of terrorism committed by Islamic extremists. In fact, of the six deadliest terror attacks committed around the world in 2016, every one was committed by Islamic extremists.

How many terrorist attacks have been committed by Christians? You’d be hard-pressed to find one act of terror committed in the name of the Triune God. Perhaps a Christian committed a crime. Perhaps a Christian claimed to be a Christian when he committed the crime. But have you ever heard of a Christian committing an act of terror “in the name of God?” I’m not saying that it can’t happen – and perhaps you can think of examples from the news. I Googled it; but, still came up blank.

On there other hand, there are dozens of news articles about Islamic terror. Do you know what I did find? That Christians are the most persecuted group in the world. That Christians have fled many countries in the Middle East where Christianity used to flourish. Which begs the question – how in the world can anyone believe that Christianity is as violent as Islam?

There has been much sympathy-building for Muslims in the wake of Muslim-committed terror – a genuine and enthusiastic effort to ensure that those Muslims who live in peace are not condemned because of violent extremists. After some not so proud moments in our nation’s past, such concern may be laudable. But when the public develops views so alien to reality, perhaps we should conclude that the effort at equivocation is being taken a bit too far.

Perhaps in a compassionate attempt to place all faiths on even footing, or perhaps as a result of 20+ years of relativism where no “belief” is beyond acceptance unless it pertains to a declaration of Truth, it seems everyone from the highest levels of government to the local elementary school is promoting two ideas: 1. Islam is a peaceful religion; 2. Christianity has a violent past. These two ideas promote widely spread equivocations and very unbalanced comparisons between Christianity and Islam.

 

Presidential Parallels

 

President Obama, in his speech at the National Prayer Breakfast in 2015 had this to say, only days after the Charlie Hebdo shooting and other Islamic terror attacks in France, which left 17 innocent people dead, and 22 wounded.

“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.”

Many Americans were outraged that the President of the United States would feel the need to call out Christians in the wake of such an evil attack. He could have denounced terror as evil, and left it at that. But instead, he chose to lecture Christians in an almost belittling tone: “Lest we get on our high horse...”  The message could not have been more clear – Christians are no better than Islamic extremists. While most Christians would acknowledge that we are all sinners, the comparison was an unbelievable stretch, particularly when the carnage in Paris was so fresh.

 

Indoctrinating the Innocent

 

In public schools today, children are being taught Islamic beliefs in History or Social Studies class.  But what they are taught seems arguably skewed toward a certain political perspective which identifies with Islam and looks down upon Christianity. Children are taught that Islam is a peaceful religion and that  Muslims and Christians worship the same God. They are writing the Islamic Creed in their assignments. And yet nowhere are they taught about Muslim persecution of Christians. On the other hand, if Christianity is mentioned at all, students are taught pointed lessons about Christians persecuting Christians. And they absolutely are not assigned a Christian Creed. In fact, Christian beliefs in and of themselves are rarely taught at all.

Quoting a representative of Campus Watch mentioned in the article cited above:

“What we find in schools … is a portrayal of Islam in a very positive light and a portrayal of Christianity and Judaism in a very negative light.” Myers said he wants a “balanced view that recognizes the good and bad” of Islam and Western civilization.

But when parents complain, the media and school representatives silence them by claiming that their objections are rooted in fear and bigotry. When one girl expressed confusion about what she was being taught in school versus what she was seeing on the news, The Atlantic Monthly had this to say:

Above all, the public-education system has an obligation to this 12-year-old girl: to teach her how to read the news and understand it; to prepare her to sort through truths and untruths about world religions; to ensure she can navigate complicated questions about ideology and violence. The question, though, is whether this kind of campaign against “Islamic indoctrination” in classrooms actually helps kids, and their parents, grapple with their fear and uncertainty in a constructive way—and whether these are plausible concerns in an overwhelmingly white, Christian place like Williamson County.

 

Spreading the Truth about Christianity

 

The above are merely a couple of examples. There are countless others that are not listed here. There is no doubt that we live in a post-Christian society. This country, once founded on a Judeo-Christian understanding of religious tolerance, has deteriorated into a “tolerance” for everything but a Judeo-Christian view. Evidence of this can be found in the fount of public opinion as well as the halls of elementary school buildings.

There is a problem with denouncing Christianity in the public square. In crushing Christianity, we crush what has made America great.

Christianity calls us to lay down our very lives for others. There is no vengeance, no animosity, no hatred in Christianity – even at its most fundamental and doctrinal level. In fact, contrary to popular belief, the closer a person is to Christ, the more he reflects the virtue of love – even for his “enemies.” For God is Love. And the more we unite ourselves with God, the more love will be manifest in our lives.

Christian martyrs throughout history did not give their lives for the express purpose of killing infidels. Rather, many gave their lives  in order to save the lives of virtual strangers.  Consider Saint Maximilian Kolbe, for example. While imprisoned in Auschwitz, a German concentration camp during WWII, he stepped forward to offer his life for a man he scarcely knew, because that man had a family waiting for him, should he ever be released. But that wasn’t Kolbe’s only sacrifice during the war. Prior to his imprisonment, he hid up to 2,000 Jews from Nazi persecution. He risked his life daily for people of an alternative faith. Ultimately, this sacrifice and that of printing anti-Nazi publications landed him in Auschwitz.

There are many other martyrs with similar stories. To live our Faith more fully means to offer ourselves more completely to our neighbor. Christ said, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of of the least of these, my brethren, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:40). This sacrificial sentiment is at the root of America’s greatness.

Yet somehow this fundamental message of Christianity is being lost in the wake of comparison – otherwise how could 66% of Democrats believe that other religions [Christianity being the largest of those other religions] are as violent as Islam?

If we don’t begin to spread the word, not only will the Christian message be completely shut down in the public square, but we will lose the liberty that we so cherish in our country.

Reading Assignment:

We Have Here… – Judge Judy…

Discussion Questions:

  1. What is your take on the results of this new survey (7 of 10 Democrats believe Christianity as violent as Islam)? How might you comment on Bishop Barron’s quote?
  2. Feel free to comment on anything from our assignment this past week!

Read More: http://spiritualdirection.com/topics/book-club

For More Information on the Book Club:  http://spiritualdirection.com/csd-book-club

 

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About Vicki Burbach

Vicki Burbach is a wife and homeschooling mother of six children ages four to sixteen years who relishes the calm inspiration of spiritual reading amidst the roller coaster of life. A passionate convert to the Faith, Vicki is an avid reader who started the SpiritualDirection.com book club so she could embark with like-minded bibliophiles on a spiritual journey through some of the greatest Catholic books ever written. She is author of the new book How to Read Your Way to Heaven - A Spiritual Reading Program for the Worst of Sinners, the Greatest of Saints, and Everyone in Between. You can also find her at pelicansbreast.com

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  • Bob Rees

    I find most of what Barron and other progressives, including the pope and the bishop of my diocese, McElroy, have to say about Islamic radicals and others appalling. These progressives are more concerned about global warming, the appeasement of homosexuals and opening our country to Syrian refugees more important then stopping abortion and protecting our country.

  • James

    The underlying assumption is that the students are being indoctrinated with pro-Christian, anti-Islamic propaganda at home and on Sundays and that a pro-Islamic message that is critical of Christianity is needed to counterbalance that.

  • Dhaniele

    What your article describes is explained by the strange times we are living in. St. Paul, looking to the future of the Church spoke of a future mass “apostasy” (i.e., loss of faith, apostasia in the original Greek) and the revelation of the “lawless one” (2 Thess 2: 2-8). St. Paul even gives the reason that this would take place: “they have not accepted the love of truth so that they may be saved” (2 Thess 2: 10). This diabolical dimension explains the fury and Pharisaical self-righteousness of the left. They are under the spell of the Father of Lies who hides behind expressions like “mercy killing” to obfuscate the truth.

  • ericdijon

    This sentence of Obama’s is a charismatic oratorical trick; “remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.” The nature of charismatic leadership relies on a crisis. If there is no longer a crisis, then the charismatic leader is left sputtering out on fumes. Here, Obama invokes imagery that the majority of followers are poorly informed about, but aware of by name, and promotes his brand of self-rationalizing and relevance sustaining crisis.

  • Mary L

    I have had positive relationships with Muslim families, so the discourse was a little difficult for me to read because my experiences with coming to know a person who is Muslim have been positive. Interesting, unusual and different, but not fearful. My experience and understanding is that the people who I know have as little to do with the violence of Isis as I do with the Crusades or Inquisition. Violence is violence, regardless of the perpetrator.

  • http://www.marythedefender.wordpress.com MariaGo

    I agree we need to have a more balanced view of Islam.
    There are Muslims here in the Philippines. Those I have met are good people. One of my devout Catholic freind’s Dad is a Muslim. Another Muslim acquaintance works for a house building charity similar to Habitat for Humanity.
    The radicalization of Islamic terrorists is due to many factors. It wasn’t this bad till recent decades. For instance, there was a surge of modernization in the Middle East which went from a rural, cart and mule society to rocket science society. People there clung to tradition in an effort to cope with the change. There is also the difference between Sunni and Shia Muslims. The terrorists come from the Sunni branch.

  • A. Crawford

    Vicki, my husband is a medieval historian, and his specialty is the Crusades. Because of this, he also studies Islam extensively. I believe you might be interested in this article he wrote a few years ago.

    http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/column/four-myths-about-the-crusades-1562/

    I also did not know until recently that the reason the angels moved the Virgin Mary’s house to Loreto was to keep it out of the hands of Muslims.

    • Vicki

      That was a very good article and helpful – thank you for sharing!

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