Radical Objectors of Radical Religion
Newshound Andrew Breitbart is no Christian, by his own admission. In fact, I recently listened to him fill in for the vacationing Dennis Miller, on Miller's own radio show, and I heard him make several very un-Christian statements about his personal moral views. However, he is, in many ways, what I have come to call a "common-sense conservative." That is one who holds certain conservative views, not because they are logically consistent parts of some larger belief system, but because they just seem to be true and right when the politics are dropped (or before they are acquired) and the real-world observations roll in.
As a Christian, I found one of Breitbart's lucid observations particularly refreshing. It was in response to a thoroughly postmodern caller anxious to keep her religiously pluralistic Tao in balance by claiming that radical Islam was no different or worse than radical Christianity, and that it was no more or less common. Here was his rather unsympathetic reply, which also speaks to why he and many secularists like him have parted company with their peers to the left:
If you can tell me that there are Christians in this country that are as radical, or even in the ballpark as radical, as radical Islam, then we're living in two different worlds.
I am not a Christian. I'm not a practicing Christian. As a matter of fact, I was a trained secularist in college. I was trained to hate Christianity. I no longer do, because they kept telling me that Christianity was this extreme religion, and the evangelicals were going to come over the hill, and they were going to create a Taliban. And the second that the Taliban showed up, the second that radical Islam put its flagpole down on America and decreed us evildoers, the Left has been AWOL. It does not even have a language — a lexicon — to deal with the raw evil that is radical Islam. And to talk about Christianity in the same sentence as it causes my head to spin.
What comparison do Christians, by the most generous definition of that term and of the most radical form, have to radical Muslims who are numerous enough to form competing armies; who commonly have their entire holy book memorized; who are often students and teachers of recognized religious schools; who assault their enemies with directly applicable scripture verses on their lips; who have deep historical precedence for their actions after the pattern of their own religion's founder; and whose more moderate peers seldom even bother to speak against them?
At what point may we begin calling the radicals "devout" and the moderates "liberal?" Perhaps the confusion is in the idea that "devout" means holy, peaceful, and self-sacrificing rather than one who is earnestly devoted to a belief or cause. The irony is that the former conception of the term is the legacy of our western Judeo-Christian theological tradition.
If we want to make comparisons between two religious systems let's not be narrow and selective in our comparison; let's compare the character of those who are most sincerely and accurately following the teachings and traditions of that religious system. That being said, and with a little historical knowledge of Islam's roots in hand, let us ask ourselves who would be more likely to help pack a truck full of explosives and send it off into the camp of unbelievers: Jesus or Muhammad? What about the Christians of the first hundred years, who spread their message across the Roman Empire through private evangelism under the heavy thumb of the secular and the Jewish authorities, versus the Muslims who had taken much of the old Roman Empire into possession by the sword within 100 years after Muhammad's death?
We can only pray that all of Islam becomes apostate and the more moderate, liberal version of it prevails.