Christians and the Islam Critical Movement
If you want to so designate things, I can be said to be a member of the Islam critical movement. That is, as a citizen of the free West, I see Islam as the major threat to my way of life, and as a Christian I see Islam as a false religion and a counterfeit ideology.
With nearly 400 of my 3,300 articles devoted to Islam and the dangers it poses, I think my credentials on this are fairly well established. No one can accuse me of being soft on Islam. But I wish to speak here to some possible differences between a Christian like myself and some of my more secular colleagues in the Islam-critical movement.
And I write this because I know many of these folks. Many of the key leaders both here and abroad I have worked with, shared the stage with, dined with, and so on. So some of these folks I count as friends, even close friends. But not surprisingly there is a real mix here.
Some in the movement are atheists. Some are agnostics. Some are Catholics of various stripes – devout, nominal, etc. Some are Jews of different stripes – liberal, orthodox, etc. Many would be fellow Protestants, and some would be gung-ho evangelicals such as myself.
We all share a common revulsion to the obvious Islamic atrocities: beheadings, honour killings, sharia law, dhimmitude, misogyny, the hatred of freedom, pluralism and democracy, and so on. And we all are doing our best to warn a sleeping, lethargic West to wake up before it is too late.
As I have documented countless times in my articles, we are losing our freedoms in the West every day due to creeping sharia and stealth jihad. And it seems to get worse by the hour. Increasingly we are even finding bloody jihadist attacks being committed on Western streets.
So I am one with the Islam critical movement in identifying and warning against this evil ideology. Where we may differ some is in our motivations. It might be said that some major driving forces amongst the secular folks in this movement are a love of liberty, a hatred of Islam, and so on.
The Christian motivations may overlap here, but in some ways may differ. Many of us also love liberty, although we may not see it as the highest good – getting back into right relationship with God is. And the Christian seeks to love all people, including the Muslim, although hating that which is evil.
And I for one think Islam is evil – it is a political ideology birthed out of the pits of hell. It is not just some neutral, benign religion, but it is a satanic counterfeit and arguably the world’s worst killing machine. So I for one have no illusions about the evil nature of Islam.
But as a Christ-follower I am called to love individual Muslims, pray for them, seek to befriend them, and seek to introduce them to Jesus Christ. That is where I may differ from some of my colleagues here. That is why I may support in principle some of their activities, while perhaps not taking part in all of them myself.
On the recent cartoon episode
Let me look to a recent incident which depicts both some of the common ground as well as the differences I may have with some of my friends here. As most folks would now know, some of these leaders (including Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller, Geert Wilders) were involved in a Muhammad cartoon drawing contest in Texas a few days ago.
Two Muslim attackers targeted this, but were thankfully killed before they could take a number of lives. They certainly demonstrated everything this event was seeking to highlight. And incredibly the leftist mainstream media largely bagged Geller et al, and almost made the Muslim killers out as the victims.
This is the ultimate proof of how far down the drain of dhimmitude so much of the West has fallen. They actually think those who champion freedom and democracy are the bad guys, and those who want to kill you for this are somehow the good guys.
Pamela powerfully took to task one clueless dhimmi at CNN, and her brief interview is well worth watching: http://louderwithcrowder.com/pamela-geller-destroys-cnn-on-drawing-mohammad/#
So I fully support the attempts to make clear the very real war we are in. But as I say, I am also a Christian, concerned about reaching Muslims. My ultimate concerns are how to reach these folks for Jesus. Thus I too seek to be careful not to unnecessarily offend and provoke them.
I was discussing this with US Christian leader and friend Michael L. Brown the other day. He said he did not fully approve of this contest, as it would provoke Muslims. I reminded him that to simply affirm the Christian truth that Jesus is the Son of God is provocative to a Muslim. He agreed, but wanted to keep unnecessary obstacles out of the way in order to evangelise Muslims.
I agreed. So while we would both support the idea of alerting clueless Westerners to the threat of Islam, we might not get involved in all these efforts, simply because we are seeking the conversion of Muslims. And of course our colleagues may also seek their conversion.
That is, they may want to see a reform movement in Islam (if that in fact is even possible). They may well want to convert Muslims into becoming supporters of such basic values as freedom and democracy. So they too seek some fundamental changes in Muslims.
But only the biblical Christian really desires to see the most important and most effective change of all: a change of heart wrought by the work of the Holy Spirit as the Muslim comes to see that Christ is who he claims he is, that he died for them on a cross, and that he seeks to restore them to God through faith and repentance.
That is the only lasting and really life-transforming change we can aim for. And of course this gospel message will be offensive to Muslims. As mentioned, to proclaim the deity of Christ is guaranteed to offend Muslims – they see that as blasphemy. But that is unavoidable for the Christian. We must proclaim who Jesus is, regardless of the objections and negative reactions.
But of course I do not have to draw cartoons of Muhammad. That is not an essential part of my evangelistic outreach to Muslims. So as a Christian, I might steer clear of that. But for my friends in the movement who are trying to prove a point – about the totalitarian nature of Islam – I fully agree, and support what they sought to do.
I disagree with those who claim that Pam Geller was being deliberately provocative and baiting a Muslim reaction. Freedom, democracy, pluralism, women’s rights, and so on are all of necessity provocative and anathema to a Muslim. The truth is, to devout Muslims, even our flag is provocative.
And as if to prove our point, now the Islamic State is even more incensed with her, and even more determined to kill her. She writes:
This threat illustrates the savagery and barbarism of the Islamic State. They want me dead for violating Sharia blasphemy laws. What remains to be seen is whether the free world will finally wake up and stand for the freedom of speech, or instead kowtow to this evil and continue to denounce me. What’s really frightening and astonishing about this threat is that the media in denouncing me is essentially allying with and even cheering on the Islamic State. I expected this from jihadists. I never expected it from my fellow Americans in the mainstream media.
The threat begins this way:
The attack by the Islamic State in America is only the beginning of our efforts to establish a wiliyah in the heart of our enemy. Our aim was the khanzeer Pamela Geller and to show her that we don’t care what land she hides in or what sky shields her; we will send all our Lions to achieve her slaughter. This will heal the hearts of our brothers and disperse the ones behind her. To those who protect her: this will be your only warning of housing this woman and her circus show. Everyone who houses her events, gives her a platform to spill her filth are legitimate targets. We have been watching closely who was present at this event and the shooter of our brothers. We knew that the target was protected. Our intention was to show how easy we give our lives for the Sake of Allah. We have 71 trained soldiers in 15 different states ready at our word to attack any target we desire…
This war is real my friends, and the sooner we wake up to it, the better.
As I have said often before, the Christian response to Islam is twofold: love Muslims while resisting Islam. As hard as it may be, we must do both simultaneously: stand up for freedom on the political level and resist stealth jihad, while loving and reaching out to individual Muslims, bringing Christ’s message of salvation to Muslim friends and contacts.
Thus to warn about the very real dangers of political Islam and creeping sharia does not mean we don’t seek to reach out to individual Muslims with love and the gospel. That is what the Christian must strive to do. That is what I seek to do.
28 Replies to “Christians and the Islam Critical Movement”
Bill you might appreciate this: https://youtu.be/uSv4vBcFyvo
Thanks Linda. I of course am not a pacifist, so I believe a military response to great evil like IS is morally justified. We were right for example to fight Hitler. Simply trying to love the Nazis would not have emptied the concentration camps.
Having said that, I of course fully support these brave believers willing to become martyrs if need be to reach out to these folks. Hopefully many will see Christ here, and leave IS.
So I support both moves, as I sought to explain in my article.
A great article Bill. After 9/11 and allot of reading I realized I was starting to hate Muslims. As a Christian I knew it was wrong. Hating people, which is akin to un-forgiveness is a very serious shortcoming in a Christian’s life and negates God’s grace upon that person. God judges us in the same measure as we judge others. I recovered from this hatred by reaching out to Muslims and people in general with the gospel and this has been liberating indeed. Holding such a position towards Muslims though has been problematic on a number of anti-Islam FB pages so I have reduced the amount of posting on FB groups just to keep the peace.
Thanks for your article Bill, I read it with great interest. You would not know that our parish priest, Fr Tim Cahill, (Catholic diocese of Bathurst NSW), said that we should not pray for Muslims to convert to Christianity but we should pray that Muslims become better Muslims. So where is the truth? Although this was a semi-private comment by Fr Cahill (not from the pulpit) it may suggest a knowledge of Islam yet unknown to many. Do his comments suggest the need for an education in Islam?
Thanks BT. His comments suggest he needs an education in Islam – and in biblical Christianity. To pray that a Muslim becomes a better Muslim is simply to pray that a Muslim is confirmed in his journey to hell. No one who actually knows the Bible or the Koran could ever make such an idiotic statement sorry.
Thanks Bill. I am sorry too. I will direct your comment to Fr Tim. I don’t think he will object to my mentioning him by name in the public forum as this is an important topic and I believe his view is shared by many. If he is influenced to engage in our conversation I trust only good will emerge.
Another interesting blog from a guy who identifies a key aspect of the anti-Geller consensus.
Bill, I think your summation of our role as Christians is good: We must, simultaneously, stand up for freedom on the political level and resist stealth jihad, while loving and reaching out to individual Muslims. Difficult, but not impossible, with the help of God.
Bill, you have so clearly expressed what I have been wrestling with over the last few days. I live just a mile from the Curtis Culwell Center and, as you might imagine, this event has forced me to examine and clarify my thinking so as to respond Christianly and resolutely to Islam and its lost adherents. Thank you, Brother!
I think we should follow the example of Jesus. When dealing with his enemies- the Pharisees- He told them the truth” You are of your father the devil”. Moslems need the Truth, not warm and fuzzy’ Lurve’. They are of their father, the devil – end of story. The Church, of all denominations, has been criminally negligent in avoiding this task.
Bill, I think this post is a bit ambiguous. I think we agree, but then you said you also agree with Dr Brown, who doesn’t fully support Pamela Geller. So that is ambiguous. As you say I totally agree we are in a war. And when you’re in an all-out shooting war you support your allies 100%, or else you or they might end up physically dead. I think we either fully support Pamela Geller’s organization’s efforts, or we don’t. It doesn’t mean we have to participate. And it really has nothing to do with evangelizing muslims. Evangelization and survival are two separate endeavors. It is not an exaggeration to say we are in a fight for survival here, in terms of our way of life. When muslims bring guns to Texas and start shooting because of mere DRAWINGS, that changes the rules of engagement, even for Christians, and for ALL citizens. Not participating in the event doesn’t mean we can’t support it 100%. We don’t all have to use the same tactics, but when a fellow soldier is under attack, we have to support them – ESPECIALLY when their own countrymen are attacking them, as is the case with Pamela.
I am always needing to be reminded that I should be praying for Muslims. I wrestle against hatred of them on a near daily basis. So, I relate to Keith Lewis’s comment.
I’m troubled at how the big deal being made over this is that it’s a ‘free speech’ issue. Duh, (that’s not a ‘duh’ to you, Bill), most of us get that. But as Paul said, “All things are lawful unto me, but not all things are expedient (edifying, helpful).” Pamela Gellar is not responsible for the violent actions of others. I won’t even call her actions provocative, but she knew full well there would likely be trouble. Now, she is turning this on some who are conservative but don’t see eye to eye with her 100%. That’s Alinsky 101.
I don’t like what I’m seeing about this on FB. Anyone who has read my posts for years know exactly where I stand with Islam, and my comments are far from pretty about them. But if I don’t agree with the oodles of people I communicate with about this on FB, they drop me like I’m some red diaper hot potato. I’m learning if I’m not in lockstep with them, I’m a fool and anathema.
Thanks Joe. But there was nothing at all ambiguous about my piece from a Christian point of view. And you are of course wrong on the issue of cobelligerency. I fully support the concept as I have written elsewhere. But it is always about limited and qualified support for a group you might otherwise not have much to do with. The same in WWII. That the US and others fought with the Soviet Union against the Nazis does not for one minute mean the Allies gave unqualified support for that communist nation. Indeed, as soon as the war ended, the old hostilities resurfaced. Remember the Berlin Wall? So the Allies never gave 100% unqualified support to the USSR. Churchill and others were fully aware of the many worrying aspects of communism, and rightly so.
So as a Christian I will give qualified support to folks like Geller in general, and in this particular activity (the cartoon contest). And anyone who actually read this article will see I bent over backwards to give folks like her very high praise indeed, and to defend her conference. I simply said that had I lived there, I would have had second thoughts about attending. That certainly does not make me her enemy. As I say, we have even spoken together at conferences in the past, and so on. But my ultimate priorities are first and foremost to the gospel. They have to be.
And I see Michael Brown has just written on this, echoing some of my sentiments:
Excellent in both substance and tone. Good on you (as they say in your current country).
Thanks Bill for the clarification. I was talking about the Draw Mohammed event only, and supporting Pamela Geller against blame/attacks with regard to that event. I understand you are taking it from a strictly Christian point of view. And I like the way you express it, because you seem to understand that it is a prudential decision for each person to make, whereas Dr Brown’s writing sounds more like an exhortation trying to win others to his opinion when in fact it is particular to each person’s situation and calling. The Draw Mohammed event was an event taking a political stand. In a political conflict (which as you alluded to, we are in with Jihad, not only a religious conflict), political tactics are sometimes necessary. On the eve of the Obama-Romney election, Dr Brown published an article with the headline “Mitt Romney Is Not The Answer”. He sort of explained himself in the body of his article. But the damage was done by the headline, not the article. When I interacted with him online he did not say he had a problem with the headline. So I think if he doesn’t understand the effect of a headline like that on the night before an election (or maybe he does and was just trying to maximize his influence on others at that time), well … I know he’s your friend but he is perhaps not our sharpest tactician in this kind of conflict. I know he too is taking it from his Christian POV, but the fact remains the event is a political one, and the conflict is political, not only religious. In the piece you linked, Dr Brown asks “How do we, as followers of Jesus, feel about “artistic” trash like Serrano’s? [speaking of Serrano’s art which insults Jesus]” But feelings are not actually the point! They are the catalyst for the situation, but the point is our response to those feelings and how we control ourselves, THAT is the point. And how the Muslims feel is not the point either, so long as drawing a picture is responded to with flying bullets in my own back yard. We should not offend others if we don’t want to be offended is of course true in normal situations. But the whole point of the event is that we are not in a normal situation. If we shot up the place every time an art exhibit insulted Jesus, you better believe very few liberals would be insulting Jesus. That is how the Muslims keep order, but that is not the society we want, despite the pain it causes us when God is mocked. And the point of Draw Mohammed is if Muslims are going to live in the USA – and especially if they are going to live in Texas – they are going to have to get a thicker skin, just as Christians and everybody else has to do in a free society, or we will continue to shoot them dead as long as they make that necessary. No apologies.
Thanks again Joe. I am more or less with you of course. No need to belabour all this too much. As to Romney, I of course at the time was very critical of all those Christians who refused to vote for him because he was a Mormon, thus allowing the far worse Obummer to get back in. If by his headline Brown simply meant politics ultimately cannot save us, only Christ can, well then I would agree. But I would have to go back and see exactly what he said then.
As to the cartoons, in the same way that I offer in principle support of this contest, I offered support of the Charlie Hebdo affair. I got slammed by some Christians for that. I of course did not support all their ugly anti-Christian cartoons, but supported free speech in general against barbaric Islam. The same here: in the interests of reaching Muslims for Jesus, I may not have attended such a cartoon event, but I certainly support the general principle that freedom is important and Islam is a death cult. Indeed, in my latest article I again come to the defence of folks like Geller: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2015/05/07/the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly/
God bless you Bill and thank you for this forum.
Wanted also to share Robert Spencer’s calm concise response to the event with a somewhat hostile interviewer here:
Maverick Philosopher offers some words of wisdom as he so often does!
“So if the Muslim and Christian reactions to mockery and defamation were both physically nonviolent, then, invoking my aphorism above, I would condemn the activities of Geller and Co. at Garland, Texas, and relevantly similar activities. But of course the reactions are not the same! Muslims are absurdly sensitive about their prophet and react in unspeakably barbaric ways to slights, real and imagined. Every Muslim? Of course not. (Don’t be stupid.)
So I say we ought to defend Pamela Geller and her group.
My reason, again, is not that that I consider it morally acceptable to mock religious figures. After all, I condemned the Charlie Hebdo outfit and took serious issue with the misguided folk who marched around with Je Suis Charlie signs. Perpetually adolescent porno-punks should not be celebrated, but denounced. That the Islamo-head-chopper-offers are morally much worse than the porno-punks who make an idol of the free expression of their morally and intellectually vacuous narcissistic selves does not justify the celebration of the latter.
The reason to defend Geller is because, in the present circumstances in which militant Muslims and their leftist enablers attack the the values of the West — which are not just Western values, but universal values — including such values as free expression and toleration, the deadly threat from the Islamist barbarians justifies our taking extreme measure in defense of values whose implementation will prove beneficial for everyone, including Muslims and their benighted leftist fellow-travellers.”
I thought I would weigh in on this a little bit, I refer to the report from the following link
Now to those who want all warm and fuzzy interfaith dialog, I would ask a simple question.
Please, and in detail, explain, how we discover and deal with those radical muslims, whilst not interfering with the free worship of those so called ordinary muslims?
I have asked this on a couple of sites that have non muslim, muslim defenders who claim we are just attacking ordinary muslims, I have yet to receive a reply from any of them. So I believe the above question is extremely fitting under the current circumstances.
A lot of people in the media have said a lot of things about the ‘Draw Mohammad Competition’ and award night.
Those leaning to the Left seem to be intoxicated with a sense of ‘moral righteousness’ suggesting Westerners are such a kind and enlightened culture who would never dream of deliberately insulting Muslims in an effort to provoke them to violence.
Thus those putting the event on are now portrayed as the arrogant, ignorant and bigoted hate-fest enemies of niceness.
So take a step back to see the larger picture. Muslims slaughter Charlie Hebdo staff in revenge for insulting Islam. They carried out sharia penalty for that offense which is death. Then on the heals of that they convene a meeting in Texas of likeminded Muslims to discuss how to enforce blasphemy laws in the US so they can slaughter blasphemers in that country.
Incensed at the vulgarity of this, Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer and friends decide to remind the Muslims in America they are not going to stand by and watch it happen. Hence the Draw Mohammad event.
Why haven’t or won’t the media report and discuss the bigger picture, the forceful implementation of blasphemy law or sharia law in the States instead of attacking the fight for freedom event and its organizers. Even some on the right are being swayed to the Left way of thinking.
I feel under the circumstances this exhibition was the perfect response. It had nothing to do with loving or not loving the Muslims but totally about America’s freedom to express themselves.
Freedom of speech is the cornerstone of Western civilization. Does the media no longer believe this is worth fighting for?
Well put, Bill; but without change there isn’t any compatibility.
Between individual Christians & individual Muslims perhaps. Between doctrinaire Islam & doctrinaire Christianity there is as much compatibility as with oil & water.
Thanks for a very helpful article Bill. Unfortunately when I attempted to view Pamela Geller’s interchange with CNN, I received the following message:
“Pamela Geller Battles CNN H . . . “The YouTube account associated with this video has been terminated due to multiple third party notifications of copyright infringements”
As you were. A little search on Google got me the interview at:
Your reputation attests to your credibility Bill. You don’t need to have written extensively on any particular topic to justify your authority on the subject. Rarely if ever do you misrepresent your integrity. Keep at it my friend. TB.
Jay Richards wrote this on FB;
“Pamela Geller’s actions are sorta like crying ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theater … when there’s a fire in the theater.”
Thanks Alec for finding that link to the interview with Pamela Geller. She is a remarkable woman and she is really hitting the nail on the head regarding the abysmal weakness of the media in bowing to the savages of islam.
Thanks Bill. Appreciated reading this blog.