Friday, October 13, 2006

The Amish & Islam

The recent tragedy of the Amish schoolgirl killings has brought into the public eye a clear difference between Islam and Christianity that I hope will not be lost on the world. We are constantly told that those perpetrating the violence in the name of Allah are "extremists" of the Muslim religion...Well, the Amish are the Christian "extremists"! In saying this I am admitting that they are not mainstream Christianity, but I do find it absolutely striking that "extremism" in Christianity manifests itself in passivism...this in contrast to "extremism" in Islam manifesting itself in mass murder and terrorism.

The following action of the respective "extremist" groups is quite telling as well. The Pope quoted an ancient source saying basically that Islam is violent. In response, Islamic "extremeist" (actually high-up officials in major-player nations), issued death threats calling for his execution and retaliated by attacking other Christians. A crazed madman invades a schoolhouse in a Christian community and shoots and kills 5 young girls. In response, the Christian "extremeists", issued statements of forgiveness and sought to help and comfort the widow and children of this madman...

Now, I should explain why I consider the Amish "extremists". They are so because they have gone beyond (or below) the teaching of the Bible, and created an idocencratic religious expression of Christianity that is not biblical. You see, the Amish are extreme passifists. The hard truth in all of this is that no Amishman would have sought to defend the schoolgirls--jump the gunman, hit him, fight him off--had he had the opportunity. In other words, an Amishman would just stand there and watch (and probably pray) as violent crimes and criminal acts are carried out against you, me...even his own family.

The Bible calls us to defend our do everything in our power to preserve our own and others lives. In other words, self-defense is righteous. Watching as others are killed or maimed is not matter how stiking and touching this might seem today in a world gone mad.

But there is something in both religions respectively that set the trajectory of their extremist. You see, the fact is that Christian extremist err on the side of passivism...Islamic extremists err on the side of mass murder. Christianity is a religion of grace and forgiveness...Islam is a religion of law and retribution. This is not to say that Christianity is without law-the law actually defines the sin from which we must be saved-but if there was a law given that could give life, then righteousness would have come by the law.

This is a sad story and I have only compassion for the Amish during this time. Furthermore, some of the public exposure of their actions has been God glorifying. In God's providence, there wasn't an Amishman there to "do" anything. The trajedy happened. And, in such stark categories, the contrasts between Christianity and Islam have been made clear by our "extremist."