A discussion on the famous The Donald forum pointed out how, if you take Islam literally, good Muslims should go about killing, enslaving, and force-converting the rest of mankind. Many people might try to argue with this assessment, but the historical record is clear and there is no arguing that that’s what the people who carried Mohammed’s ideas into the world did. Since that is the way Islam has been for over 1500 years, then the radical Muslims are not the people going around killing, enslaving, and force-converting the rest of the world. It’s the Muslim who quietly worships with his family and speaks out against the violence that is the true radical.
People talk about the reformation of the Christian world as if something fundamental changed in our belief system. The truth is something did change: We got access to the Bible. When the poorest peasant became just as familiar with the Bible as the professional priest, it’s awfully hard to hide the message of the Bible from the people. In short, Christianity was converted back to Christianity as it is presented in the Bible. The Bible saved Christianity from itself, providing the necessary ideas to reform it, or rather, restore it. That said, there are still a lot of things that people see wrong in the behavior of the churches and the clergy and the laity, but that’s the thing: We’re talking about how we’re not living up to Christ’s clear and unimpeachable message.
Can you kill an ideology? Is it possible to erase Christianity from the world? Old, perverted Christianity of the Middle Ages is gone and buried. There is no one who seriously believes the stuff we believed before we had access to the Bible. So yes, you can kill an ideology, as we can see with Christianity.
The liberal left is trying to kill an ideology today. They are trying to eradicate all conservative thought, all rational thought when it comes to government and rights. They want to get God out of public debate, make it so that we can’t reference Him as the Author of our unalienable rights, a being so powerful that even government has to account for their behavior to Him. They want to destroy the natural family unit, or rather, the family unit as it is practiced in Christianity, with a mother and father who love and serve one another, and children and parents who do likewise. The famous scripture “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands” is followed by “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church”, meaning, of course, lay down your own lives as a sacrifice for your wives.
The so-called “radical Muslim” is trying to convert the world to Islam. They will kill, enslave, and force-convert to do so.
And of course, Christianity tries to live up to the apostolic charge: Baptize the nations! We would like to see all the world Christian, and we’ll use the power of persuasion, long-suffering, kindness and Christ-like love to do it, even laying down our own lives.
I wonder why it is that liberals and radical Muslims get so excited about changing other people’s ideas about things. I know why Christians do. When you feel the power of Christ’s love for you wash over you, when you view yourself in the natural, sinful, rebellious state and yet feel that Christ has not only forgiven you, but accepted you, and is eager to help you become a better person, how can you not feel energized and enthusiastic to share that message with the world? What do liberals have to offer, or rather, gain? Or the Muslim for that matter? Is their life otherwise superior to other lives that they are compelled to share it? Or do they operate out of fear and lust?
I suspect that at the core of every driven liberal and every driven Muslim is lust for power.
Regardless, if you can kill an ideology, which one would you kill? How would you do it?
The answer to which to kill is obvious: All of the ideologies that are not your own. Hence, Atheists getting excited about declining faith and such things like that. It seems nowadays a lot of Atheists are beginning to realize what an positive impact Christianity has on the world, at least compared to Islam and Socialism. Nevertheless, no matter how much an Atheist understands and appreciates that good in Christianity, I have no reason to doubt that they will be pleased to know that more and more people are adopting their ideology.
And so, being completely honest, my goal, as everyone’s goal, is to eliminate all other ideologies. I simply can’t live peacefully in a world with other ideologies that want to harm me. And the only ideology I know of that affords others the freedom to pursue their own ideologies is Christianity, hence, my desire that all become subject to Christ and adopt his ways.
But how would it be done?
The knee-jerk reaction is to kill all the other thinkers of foreign thoughts. If this were the way to get it done, Islam would’ve taken over the world a very long time ago. And yet, they face stiff resistance in every quarter, and even the lands they subject to their rule fail to adopt their ideology. That’s why we see public Christmas celebrations in Syria after Russia and Syria freed Aleppo from the Islamic State.
The problem with trying to kill everyone who doesn’t think like you is that people can hide their thoughts. You don’t know if the person you’re killing agrees with you or disagrees with you. But even when people are honest and refuse to recant their beliefs, you have a second problem: People really don’t like being killed, and they will often group together to form a coalition against you when you kill people like them. Islam found its advance in Europe halted when the Winged Hussars swooped in to save Vienna in the heroic victory of the Battle of Vienna in 1683.
No, killing doesn’t make you win hearts and minds. It just makes you a murderer.
How about threats of violence and force? These are all really just killing, but in the future. “Do what I say… or else!” is the threat, and the “else” part is ultimately “I will kill you.” So no, threats do not work.
Certainly, the weak-hearted, the infirm, the coward will back down in the face of threats. We all wish we are capable of facing extinction yet proudly standing by our deeply-held conviction. Until we are faced with such a situation, it’s a moot point. We’re better off thinking how we will live today rather than die tomorrow.
So what then? If you can’t threaten and kill your way to destroy opposing ideologies, what is left? The answer: Persuasion.
A commentator wrote how the Chinese had deeply-held personal and religious convictions that compelled them to build Necropolises in their home towns dedicated to the remembrance and worship of their ancestors. And yet, two or three generations is enough and you have Chinese people celebrating Christmas and forgetting their great grandfather’s name. How does this happen? The answer is simple: The American Way of Life is highly infectious, like a disease or a cancer. And the worst part is once it takes root, it is impossible to extinguish.
I have heard that the mercenaries hired by the British to destroy the American rebellion in 1776 occasionally would turn to the American side. The phrase “Get that patriot a coat” meant to dress up the defector as an American and accept him as one of their own, and wasn’t uncommon back then. (Of course, we know that there was a shortage of coats and other critical supplies at the time.) Certainly, when the war was over and it came time to go home, many of the mercenaries refused to go home, finding American life preferable. This is a story repeated countless times. Another example: The Cajun were a group of French Canadians relocated after the French defeat. Originally, they came from Arcadia in France, but in the South, they gradually adopted our way of life until today we consider them just as American as puritans in the North.
The problem with Islam is that it’s awfully hard to tell your kid to strap a bomb to his chest when cheeseburgers taste really good. The Americans are calling that kid, every day, talking to him as if he were already American, filling his heart and mind with ideas and desires that are simply incompatible with Islam. Christianity never says to avoid all pleasure, only to keep that pleasure within certain bounds, bounds which if respected, maximize that pleasure. For instance, we participate in an economic system that’s built on the idea that if you’re trustworthy and respectful and considerate, you can enjoy as much wealth as you want and you won’t have to hurt anyone to do it.
What can socialism offer except false hope and siren songs of justice? Sure, if you want justice, you can fight tooth and nail until the rich are just as poor as you are. But what do you gain then? Wouldn’t you rather have justice by becoming just as rich as the rich person? As people like to say, “An eye for an eye means everyone’s blind.” Christianity says that rather than pursue justice and revenge, we should forgive and forget. If someone hurts you, let them hurt you again. If someone takes something of yours, give them double. It is better to be poor and with a friend, then dead and just.
Reformed Christianity, that Christianity practiced from the text of the Bible, has conquered other ideologies again and again, so thoroughly and expertly that we barely have a record of how it happened. All we know is a long time ago, Europeans worshiped strange gods and trees and did human sacrifice among other things, but today, those things aren’t even a memory in most people’s lives. Traces of that heritage lives on in our traditions, but they are so far removed from the source that it is little more than a joke to us now.
So yes, you can kill an ideology. But you must do it with persuasion. And Christianity has a monopoly on that.