Are You A Terrorist?
In an earlier article entitled The Real History of the Crusades, citing Muslim Non-sense: Here is the REAL History of the Crusades, evidence was presented which debunks the popular claim that the Crusaders were the villains and Muslims were the victims. But even in today’s “politically correct” environment of “sensitivity” to Muslims, it is admitted that there are indeed Muslim terrorists.
But as Christians, we must not be gullible and accept anyone claiming to have once been a Muslim or a terrorist as now saved and, without checking credentials, an authority on Bible prophecy. A primary example of fraud done to Christians and especially those in America is Walid Shoebat, self-proclaimed former PLO terrorist that no one heard of before 9/11. You can read both sides of the debate over the validity of his claims at that link. But much better evidence exists as to the fraudulent nature of Shoebat’s claims by listening to his complete lack of non-English accent in this video clip from about 2010, before the CNN videos (pt. 1, pt. 2) exposing his business dealings:
(Click this link to download and watch the video)
His prophecy views are irrelevant to the matter of whether he is a fraud. Much of what he says about Islam is accurate. But he makes a good living from speaking to churches with an obviously fake and inconsistent middle-eastern accent, and we should not be blindly listening to him, or anyone else. It is especially dangerous to make any new convert a teacher, especially one who had no prior training in Bible prophecy. Mere experience with Islam, even if true, does not qualify one to be a Bible teacher.
Yet when it comes to the core definition of terrorism— striking terror into people’s hearts— no individual can compare to that which has been, and continues to be, perpetrated by governments and religious organizations. Many people have lived their lives in terror, due to being told that if they fail to please the state or clergy that they will suffer and die, possibly for eternity, and possibly including loved ones who would suffer the same fate on their account.
As Christians, we know that there is such a thing as legitimate fear of God. Yet this is not a continual state of fear but a healthy respect for our Creator and Savior. Just as children should indeed fear the punishment of their parents should they do something dangerous or harmful, so also the Christian should fear the punishment of God if we deliberately rebel against the limits God has set for our own good. Some fears certainly are not legitimate and should be overcome, and other fears are wrongly imposed. But the Christian should not live in a daily atmosphere of terror.
However, both states and churches have long instilled a deep and continuous terror of God and man, should we step out of the boundaries they have set by illegitimate authority. Some Christians are taught to fear that they might not be “chosen”; others fear that they lose their salvation over every single sin; many more fear that God will punish them if they don’t tithe or attend church every moment the doors are open. Tragically, many Christian women live in terror of their husbands, who have been taught that they cannot be real Christian men unless they play god over their wives— an angry, violent, easily provoked god who blames everything on her.
In stark contrast, the scriptures tell us that “perfect love drives away fear” (1 John 4:18). Any Christian who claims to love someone should never make them afraid of them. On the other hand, fear should be struck into the hearts of those who threaten harm against the innocent. To fail to stand up for the oppressed is the worst kind of fear: cowardice. This is why self-defense, or coming to the aid of others being threatened or oppressed, is noble and righteous. We cannot use love for enemies as an excuse to fail to love friends.
So we must be on our guard against institutionalized or systemic terror, regardless of the source. Some states and religions do this; some individuals do this, either in accordance with or in spite of the teachings of the state or religion. Even scientists can engage in terrorism, sometimes by spreading unsubstantiated fear of pandemics or various types of technology. Many students of science are taught to fear that they will get poor or failing grades if they doubt Darwinian evolution or don’t mock Intelligent Design.
We must be discerning, and we must not spread terror. This includes our evangelistic approach. If we believe, as many do, that no one can accept the Good News without first hearing the Bad News (“God will cast you into eternal hell unless you repent, but he loves you so much!”), we spread terror (not to mention a very mixed message) in the name of Christ. Granted, if we know danger is approaching we must warn people. But if we claim that Christianity is “a relationship, not a religion”, we must understand that no one can be frightened or intimidated into a relationship. Hell is our motivation for spreading the Gospel; it cannot be anyone’s motivation for accepting it.
To elaborate on this point, think of a typical marriage proposal. The lover cannot say to the beloved, “Marry me or else!”. But the lover can say, “Please marry me, but I won’t force you”. Now when the “lover” is God, we must understand and explain that to choose not to be reconciled to God means choosing instead to live as a citizen of Satan’s kingdom forever. We are not in a position to demand a third option, to be our own kings. The fact is that there are two, and only two, possible kingdoms of which we can be citizens. So perhaps a better analogy than the marriage proposal is the choice between two kingdoms, unlike the marriage proposal where the beloved can find another kind lover. In either case, our decision cannot be forced.
Satan offers you a kingdom like the one he’s been running on earth: violent, tragic, decadent, and hopeless. God offers you a kingdom like you’ve never imagined: perfect, peaceful, enjoyable, and endlessly rewarding. It is this message, not dangling sinners over the flames of hell as a form of spiritual terrorism, that Christians should be spreading.
Don’t be a terrorist.