Are Muslims really more violent than Christians?
Are Islam and Christianity so different from each other? We know both religions share a common origin in the Abrahamic tradition and both share many common values (for better or worse), but there is a certain consensus floating around that Islam is a far more radical religion by nature than Christianity.
This idea that Islam is more radical is spread and promoted mainly in American and Western (Christian) nations. Islam is judged as an inherently violent religion based on recent acts of terrorism while Christianity is admonished as a noble and humble faith. Is this true? Is Islam responsible for more acts of terror? Or are both faiths equally responsible for violent fanatics?
The major religious divide of our time still remains between the world’s two main monotheistic religions; Islam and Christianity. This conflict rages mostly between the small yet vocal fundamentalists who have been influencing the debate more frequently in the Christian and Muslim world.
We must take a look at Islam and Christianity in order to understand what extremists have come to believe what they believe. We shall see that the extremists of the two faiths are not all that different.
Since the recent bombing in Boston and the terrorist arrests in Canada, the debate of radical Islam has re-emerged in North America. The debate has never really disappeared; it just needed a public crisis to force the issue up again. Naturally, right-wing leaders in America are once again on the war path to label what happened in Boston as a moniker that speaks for all of Islam.
Leaders like Congressman Peter King of New York have decided to use the Boston incident to reopen his anti-Muslim investigations, and he isn’t alone. Inhabitants in America and the West tend to look at terrorist incidents committed by Muslims (either individually or in a group) as acts that speak for the entirety of the Muslim faith.
Indeed several violent attacks have been committed and attempted by radical Muslims in the past and certainly the perpetrators of these acts of terrorism should be held to account. But I have an important question to ask; is radical Christianity really all that different?
As citizens in North America and Western Europe, we have generally been brought up in the culture of Christendom. Whether or not you believe in Christianity or religion, the culture one grows up in determines the way we look upon cultures that differ from our own.
Christianity has been an inspiration for many acts of terror in the United States and elsewhere in the world. Since the 1990s, acts of terrorism committed by Christians have not been stagnant. Tim McVeigh is a fairly well known example, but how many names can I give you that perhaps you haven’t heard of?
Wade Michael Page shot and killed six people in a Sikh Temple in 2012, James von-Brunn shot and killed a guard at the Holocaust Museum in an attempt to cause a greater shooting. Anders Breivik was the Norwegian terrorist who killed roughly 100 people because of a “crusade” against Islam.
Scott Roeder was associated with the “Army of God”, a Christian terrorist anti-abortion organization that sanctions the use of force to combat abortion in the United States. He shot and killed abortion provider James Tiller in 2009.
Darren Huff planned to take over a Tennessee courthouse in 2010 and arrest 24 local and federal officials, to indict them for treason (the charges being none of the officials were advocating the arrest and impeachment of President Obama).
How many have heard of the Hutaree? What about the LRA based in Africa? These are Christian armed groups. The former planned to cause massive violence and destruction in a war against the government, the latter has already been causing violence and destruction throughout several countries in East Africa.
The Hutaree were an anti-government Christian militia based in several Mid-Western states in America who hatched a plot in 2010 to try and start a war with the government. They were going to murder a police officer and then launch an organized assault on the police officer’s funeral.
Luckily their plot was uncovered and the planners were arrested. They planned to kill scores of people in order to wage an even greater and more destructive war to rid the world of the “anti-Christ.”
The LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army) run by Joseph Kony is responsible for the deaths of roughly 100,000 people in its thirty year spree of terror and violence. They have also kidnapped an estimated 30,000 children from their homes to serve as soldiers or sex slaves. The LRA are fundamentalist Christians who want to impose “God’s Law” (Ten Commandments) upon the surrounding countries in East Africa.
With any of the names or groups that are listed, all you need do is replace “Christian” with “Muslim” and replace “Scott Roeder” with “Nidal Hasan” and I guarantee you those names and groups will never be forgotten.
These acts that would otherwise be correctly labeled acts of terror if committed by Muslims, are not labeled acts of terror when committed by Christians with similar goals. Al Qaeda, Hamas, Taliban, these are names instantly associated with terrorism, as they should be. But how many of you have heard of Hutaree, Army of God or the LRA or even associate them with terrorism?
Inspiration for violent fanaticism can come from both Christians and Muslims. We should not give any disproportionate credence to Christianity over Islam in terms of having a lack of violent fanatics. Christians have committed just as many acts of violence, if not more than Muslims.
Christians receive violent inspiration to kill their enemies as much as Muslims do. We should not allow the failures of our media who continually differentiate the two to distort from the obvious. Neither religion can claim any moral superiority over the other.