Adventus

"The central doctrine of Christianity, then, is not that God is a bastard. It is, in the words of the late Dominican theologian Herbert McCabe, that if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you."--Terry Eagleton

"It is impossible for me to say in my book one word about all that music has meant in my life. How then can I hope to be understood?--Ludwig Wittgenstein

“The opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice."--Bryan Stevenson

Friday, March 06, 2015

Because if it ain't in the news, it don't matter....

Can't we all just get along?

Came across yet another article about how ISIS is not "Islamic."  It was on the internet, so I'm sure it set off another round of comments about how ISIS is Islamic, because..... well, the arguments are tedious in the extreme, mostly because they are ignorant and, being ignorant, are impervious to change.

But I thought, this time:  "What about the 'Christian Identity' movement?  Why isn't that considered 'Christian' by default, the way ISIS or any Muslim terrorist is considered 'Islamic'?"  Even the most virulent New Atheists don't condemn the Catholic church because of Christian Identity, or associate it's virulently racist and anti-Semitic ideas with worldwide Christianity.  From their writings I'm not even sure Dawkins or Harris are aware of Christian Identity.  And yet ISIS speaks for and on behalf of the world's 1.6 billion Muslims, despite the fact the majority of the world's Muslims are not Arabic, don't live in the Middle East, and don't support the actions or aims of ISIS.

Still, ISIS speaks for Muslims everywhere, and is thoroughly Islamic, while most Christians aren't even aware there is a "Christian Identity" movement, couldn't name one leader of the movement or a significant figure of the movement, or identify any particular idea that denotes "Christian Identity."  And, as I say, even the most prominent atheists seem unaware of its existence.

Which is a good thing.  It's a very fringe movement that should be watched by groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center, but not by the rest of us, because it is Christian in title only.  We are not allowed to say the same thing about ISIS, however, because....

Well, because ISIS has a better propaganda machine.  ISIS is very publicly and very actively recruiting members, while Christian Identity is not.  ISIS exists in a region the U.S. almost single handedly created as a lawless, chaotic region.  Christian Identity exists in countries where, if it tried to recruit through violence and terrorism as ISIS does, its members would be arrested and jailed almost immediately.  They may share the fanaticism and bloodlust of ISIS; they just can't put it into effect without finding  a country where the central government is so weak, or so challenged by rebellion, that they could set up shop and declare they speak for all Christians.

Even then, who in the West would accept them as the epitome of Christianity?  And is that because Christianity truly is the "religion of peace" that Islam isn't?  Or is it because Christianity is familiar in the Western world, and Islam, especially since it is identified as neither East nor West but as "Middle East" (despite the fact most of its adherents don't live in that region), is even more distinctly "other" than Christian white supremacists or Buddhists (I mean, aren't all Asians Buddhists?)?

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