Amish vs. Islam






Here’s a little Amish girl.

This is the sort of sweet child gunned down in a school house in Pennsylvania. This is the sort of little girl who tried to save the lives of her friends by saying to an insane, lust filled beast, “Shoot me first.”

There is more religious faith and courage in that little girl than in a million Islamic suicide bombers.

G.K.Chesterton said, “Every argument is a theological argument.” The scenes this week make his point. The events in Pennsylvania and Iraq reveal the clash of two religious cultures.

Contrast the Amish and Islamist. Both appear to be religious fanatics. Both societies are intentionally anti-modern. Both societies are culturally antique. The men with their beards, the women with their dark modest dress, the suspicion of the outside world, the suspicion of technology…they look pretty similar. And suddenly in Amish land just as in Islam land both societies are faced with wanton violence and unimaginable bloodshed. In both crazed gunmen execute innocent little girls.

The violence and insane killing does not surprise me. Murder is as ancient as Cain and Abel.

It is the different response that makes me gasp with sudden enlightenment. The different response among people in Lancaster County and people in Baghdad reveals the core difference between Islam and Christianity. In one culture they wail and beat their breasts and then plot how to murder their enemy. In the other they wail and beat their breasts, then load up their buggies to go and forgive their enemy.

At the heart of the Christian faith is forgiveness: the need for forgiveness, the way of forgiveness, and the power of forgiveness which is the cross of Christ. Is forgiveness a part of Islam? Have you ever heard any Muslim–radical, moderate or nominal–ever mention forgiveness at all? Even once? Have you ever got the idea that they even have it in their vocabulary? I haven’t.

I am no expert in Islam, but I do know that the cross of Christ is not at the center of Islam, and the demand to forgive and be forgiven (if it exists at all) is marginal. Instead the Muslim follows the only other form of ‘justice’ that humanity can conceive: retribution and revenge. In the face of violence, the downward spiral of retribution and revenge can only plunge everyone into more violence, bloodshed and grief.

Christianity stands that on its head. The Christian faith demands forgiveness–radical, crazy, totally total unconditional forgiveness.

As Christianity faces global Islam, the Amish are prophets for us all. With immense dignity and faith in action, their hearts full of confusion and fear and anger and grief, they step out to visit the family of the murderer to forgive.

In the war against Islam I stand with my own ancestors–the Mennonite and Amish of Pennsylvania. In the face of the murderous reign of Islam, I stand with them, and not with those who seek revenge, and who use torture to prevail.

As a Christian nation, do we follow the way of forgiveness or the way of revenge? The first way is Christian. The second is Islamic.

If America wants to prevail over the Islamic threat, the quiet, plain and peaceful people of Pennsylvania have shown us the way.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12485739146763955495 Colin

    Interesting but a little polemnical. Islam might not have forgiveness at the centre of its doctrine for it denies the Cross. But individual Muslims surely practise forgiveness and reconciliation, especially in their family lives. Murdered teenage unwilling brides are NOT the norm, for example, depite infammatory newpaper reports. How could Muslims NOT be moved to forgiveness and compassion? They are PEOPLE and so made in the image and likeness of God (see Genesis 1: 26 – 27). And using “Islam” in a generalised way is about as useful as using the word “Christian”. For example both members of the funamentalistic Evangelical college of your youth and Cardinals at a conference would describe themselves as “Christian” despite the likely divergence of their views.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12373317560249811006 Dwight Longenecker

    I wonder if what you say is true. Of course individual Muslims may find it in themselves as a natural virtue to be compassionate and perhaps even to forgive their enemies, but my theological point stands that Divine empowered forgiveness and the central demand for forgiveness is absent from Islam. As I understand it, in Islam the Almighty is an omnipotent law giver to be obeyed unconditionally. A forgiving and tender-hearted Father God is inconceivable (and perhaps even blasphemous) to them. Furthermore, in theological terms, it is possible to speak in generalities about two different faiths. Despite their differences, Bob Jones Jr and Cardinal Montini are both Christians and both believe forgiveness from God and toward others is at the core of their faith. Similarly, both moderate and radical Muslims do not have forgiveness at the core of their faith.

  • Anonymous

    Christianity: put up your sword”; Islam: taking up your sword.It is about the fundamental nature of belief.Like Athanasius’ “you tell an Arian by the way he treats the poor”.I have put a bit of this on my blog.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04293697917561765226 Ira Kurtz

    Well, said.”I don’t understand, but I trust.” I believe this is some of what is behind the Amish attitude.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02626517647033703186 Brother Christosananda

    Excellent points. What’s long sturck me about Islam is that–in and of itself, always making exceptions for certain individuals–it is so dreadfully pagan. I say that without denying that they worship the true God: it’s just that Islam is ultimately monotheistic paganism. The Amish on the other hand, for all thier seeming quirks for for all the real imperfection in their doctirne, bear a profound and holy witness to our Lord Jesus Christ.Thanks for the comments on my new blog, by the way. Unfortunately, when I switched to a Haloscan combox, they were lost, but I’ll definitely be linking to your page!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12373317560249811006 Dwight Longenecker

    Thank you brother! Another connection was made today in conversation at school with my friend and colleague, Kenneth Covington. Have you noticed the similarities between Islam and extreme Calvinism? Both follow a God that is totally transcendent and beyond human knowing and who is totally sovereign. This God allows no secondary causes. Such doctrine reduces man to a beast who either obeys the tyrant law giver God or who does not and is destroyed.Because of this theology the true Muslim and the true Calvinist are heartless and cruel–like the God they worship. In practice, thank God there are exceptions to this in both Islam and Calvinism.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12709303482624609990 Jeff Tan

    I wonder if this makes sense:A sense of justice may be at the core of yearnings for revenge. One is wronged and longs for justice. It is unfortunate that, in the lust for revenge, that sense of triumph and hate fulfilled, one loses one’s head. If they had a longer view of things, they might realize that the sweetest revenge is not in destroying your enemy by murdering him. It is far sweeter to destroy him by forgiving him, prompting him to contrition, and making him a friend who owes you.The last bit is somewhat cynical,but it almost sounds reasonable.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12373317560249811006 Dwight Longenecker

    The Book of James tells us to love our enemy for in doing that we ‘heap coals of fire on his head.’If I love my enemy I emerge as the stronger, nobler, more mature and more fully human.

  • Son of Adam

    The greatest wars on the planet that took the highest human casualties were started and fought by Christian nations and financed by Jewish financiers such as House of Rothschild. Napoleonic Wars, The US Civil War, World Wars I and World II. Christians killing each other. Letus not forget Viet Nam and now the coalition of the not so now willing in Iraq.

  • Son of Adam

    Satan smiles as Christians, Jews, Muslims, Athiest, kill each other supporting their misguided political secular and corrupt religious leaders. Suicide bombers is a modern cultural deviation created by corrupt religous and political leaders. The Quran condemns suicide bombers to hell. Those who say otherwise are liars and working for Satan.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17462376392694109849 Shifr

    In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Full of MercyI testify that there is no deity worth of worship save Allah, and Muhammed is the Messenger and the Prophet of AllahTo proceed:Dear brother-in-humanity,I just would like to say that your article and the subsequent comments posted by you show a profound lack of understanding of my way of life, Islam. You may have heard a few bits here and there, perhaps read a primer written by non-Muslims or had an orientation course of some sorts. Perhaps even worse, from my point of view, is the possibility that you learnt about Islam from the media coverage – which, as any serious person would admit, at all times presents a biased view of the subject being covered.I would like to point out a couple of issues that pervaded both your post and comments that I feel are a serious misrepresentation of Islam. The first is the concept of revenge and retribution. The second is the issue of forgiveness. It is of course correct that, contrary to Christianity, Islam provides a clear, explicit permission to punish those guilty of crimes (such being defined by Islam). It is also correct that as part of this process of punishment, and in certain cases only (such as murder). the victim’s family may choose a payment of compensation in place of death penalty. However, the important point here is that the whole process can only take place as part of a state structure, not as a some sort of vigilante operation. And it is the state, as I have no doubt most would agree, that is the best arbiter of punishment and revenge in the temporal domain.In relation to the issue of forgiveness, you are completely wrong to assume that forgiveness is not present in Islam or that we do not see God as forgiving deity. The verses of the Word of God that allow death punishment also tell us that it is better to forgive, the verses that command repayment of debt also tell us that it is better to let go of the debt. One of the names of God is Oft-Forgiving. QED.I feel that your article shows that you have never in fact read the Quran or made an even half-honest attempt to look at Islam as a whole, instead of trying to pigeon hole it into “the OTHER religion” label. Christianity may be, at least today, a religion. Islam, when practiced, is not. It is indeed a way of life – a divine, in my opinion, system for ordering the affairs of men and women from A to Z in accordance with wishes of God.All that is wrong is from me, all that is right is from God.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01081887634708412275 easy

    “Christianity stands that on its head. The Christian faith demands forgiveness–radical, crazy, totally total unconditional forgiveness.”Does this only apply once the police have secured the scene? If the girl who said “shoot me first” was a saint, where was the rest of the community? Or is circling the school with heavily armed police officers reaching out in love to those who would harm you. What if the Amish could have enacted some of that radical, crazy, totally total forgiveness before calling the police? You refer to him as a beast, but maybe if wouldn’t have been pressured by the police, there might have been a different outcome. The Amish certainly sqaundered an epic oppurtunity to not be “of this world”.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10371114016586316956 Mandy

    The word “forgiveness” in the Quran is mentioned exactly twice as many times as punishment.In the Quran, to kill one person is to kill the world. And to save the life of one person is to save the life of everyone in the world.Muslims who kill are not muslims. Muslims are just as God-fearing and righteous as christians.Muslims believe in the same propets, the same God, and ultimately have the same values of christians.One of the few differences is that we revere Jesus (peace be upon him) as a prophet of God rather than God himself.Don’t beleive me?Read the Quran.Jesus said to love your neighbor.And I believe “do not bear false witness” is part of the ten commandments. So please stop doing it.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16858887843175814124 uiyui

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  • http://openid.aol.com/agodlovingmuslim A Loving Muslim

    Before you shoot down the fastest growing religion in the world how about you open the book everyone else is reading – try the Qur’an. Muslims are told to ask for forgiveness as Allah (Arabic word for God) is Merciful. In-fact, Christians are considered one of the receivers of the book – friends to the Muslims. We believe in Jesus and his second coming but we just dont believe he died on the cross. We believe that he was saved by Allah and pulled to heaven – where he resides now until he is called to fight the anti-christ. Note: The greater Jihad in islam is the day to day spiritual struggle. The lesser Jihad is to defense the wrong doing against Allah.Fundamentalists are in every religion. Just as the KKK is in Christianity, there is the Taliban who claim themselves part of Islam.Please dont preach negativity about ones religion when you don’t know the full truth. YOUR QUOTE: ‘I am no expert on this religion’. Well, then ask a person who is.Allah is all forgiving

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12585097330636046389 Tricia

    I, too, would like to add that one of the names of God in Islam is al-Ghafur (the Forgiving) as well as al-Wadud (Loving) despite many Christians saying that we have no reference point to describe God as loving. I would also like to add that it is the cyclical nature of the world that every people rises and falls in and out of God's favor, in and out of political or economic standing in the world. It just so happens that unfortunately now is a bad time for Muslims, and the behavior of our fringe is a demonstration of a larger problem underneath. Its much too big to discuss here but I pray for all involved. At the end of the day we believe that "God's hand is over the group," so the majority of Muslims will always be in His favor, but that doesn't mean we shouldnt keep our own people in line, and we are working on it. Our Prophet taught us a prayer, “Oh God, do not make us (the Muslims) an obstacle for others to believe!“ And I close with God’s words: “Repel (the evil deed) with one which is better,), then verily he, between whom and you there was enmity, (will become) as though he was a close friend.”(chapter 41) Ibn Abbas was a disciple for whom Muhammad prayed that God would give him good understanding of the Quran’s meanings…and according to Ibn Abbas’ interpretation of this verse: "Allah commands the believers to be patient when they feel angry, to be forbearing when confronted with ignorance, and to forgive when they are mistreated. If they do this, Allah will save them from the Shaytan and subdue their enemies to them until they become like close friends.”

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10093705541109061548 Fred

    What about the "insane killing" brought about by Christians in Iraq? or even Vietnam? Estimates are that more than 100,000 civilians including children like the one in your photo perished as a result of Bush's illogical invasion and bombing. Most Amish who vote, voted for this warmonger. Christians have a history of blood thirsty behavior. The Conquistadors massacred hundreds of thousands of Indigenous people when they came to Mexico and Peru in search of gold and souls to convert.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08097575287371857548 rrrr

    Sometimes ..correction..most of the time every single person in the world say's something without knowing the facts..I cannot speak about things in christianity as i dont know all the facts and i cant speak about things in islam which i have no knowledge about.but 1 thing i know is that you ,me and all of us are equal .i am human so are you,and that's a big enough fact to pull all of us together !! lastly i wold just like 2 say find out a bit more about islam and christianity before we make judgements….Men are equal; it is not birth but virtue that makes the difference….. peace x

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12830515067307263006 Barbara
  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16126774959860940651 Zayna

    You my friend should in that case then be asking for the muslims forgivness on getting us ever so wrong, clearly you dont have any knowledge what so ever about Islam, then how on heavens earth did you think it is okay to write such nonsense. You are comparing Islam a religion which prioritises Forgivness in its teaching, why do muslims pray five times a day?…not because we have nothing better to do, but because this not only keeps us away from sin but most importantly we are asking for forgivness every time we pray, we dont just do it every sunday , no we do it 5 times a day. And thats just a part of what im telling you. Another thing you mentioned about islam being almost like 'pagan' because of its monotheism beleif. This is where christians have been strayed by its own people who changed their book yet follow it like its the word of god. That in itself should tell you that a man is no stronger then god, and these men shouldnt in no way write alter these books, this is why the bible is so contradictory, this is why so many chrsitians convert to Islam, its a fundemental fact that the Quran has never been changed, Allah swt has said I will guard this book from any alterations or misuse. The lord in itself is the almighty power because the Quran has never been changed or altered it is the direct book of god. Islam dosent beleive in making partners, it dosent contradict itself where it will expect you to obey in an almighty god and then apprently this god has partners…why? satan has made you people doubt your own beleifs by asking a priest and a pope and JESUS (peace be upon this great messenger of Allah)to hold the power that only god has. God has no partners, God is ONE, and many christians may say well no we beleive in god but u still pray to jesus. Why do you pray to jesus, even if lets say he is the son of god!….the most ridiculous thing ive ever heard. You guys are so strayed it makes me sad. Look around you ,So called christians you have been told to beleive that jesus drank alchohol, a substance which alters the mind and body, why would the SON of god do soemthing like that, this son of god you worship may aswell be the son of satan, because look at how far away you guys are from your faith. Go to any club and any bar after midnight, you will see what im talking about, satan has raped you people, and thats why you complain when we forbid alchohol we forbid evil we forbid more or less everything the westeners do but when an amish or devout christian does it its modesty when a muslim does it .. your a terrorist!!…What makes you think BLOGGER that you can get away with justifying your religion by shaming mine, is that how strong your beleif is, you have no foundation without actually denmaing some one elses faith. I hope people can see how pathetic you and ur ideology is when you felt it was okay to comment on Islam and then tell us that you dont know much about Islam. Hypocrisy !… Wake up, this life is an illusion and soon we will all wake up and realise what a horrible dream this was. Dont listen to me Dont listen to your priests or our imams, Liseen to the truth that is the book!… Kind Regards, Forgive me is i hurt anyones feelings, Allah knows best.Z

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16126774959860940651 Zayna

    You my friend should in that case then be asking for the muslims forgivness on getting us ever so wrong, clearly you dont have any knowledge what so ever about Islam, then how on heavens earth did you think it is okay to write such nonsense. You are comparing Islam a religion which prioritises Forgivness in its teaching, why do muslims pray five times a day?…not because we have nothing better to do, but because this not only keeps us away from sin but most importantly we are asking for forgivness every time we pray, we dont just do it every sunday , no we do it 5 times a day. And thats just a part of what im telling you. Another thing you mentioned about islam being almost like 'pagan' because of its monotheism beleif. This is where christians have been strayed by its own people who changed their book yet follow it like its the word of god. That in itself should tell you that a man is no stronger then god, and these men shouldnt in no way write alter these books, this is why the bible is so contradictory, this is why so many chrsitians convert to Islam, its a fundemental fact that the Quran has never been changed, Allah swt has said I will guard this book from any alterations or misuse. The lord in itself is the almighty power because the Quran has never been changed or altered it is the direct book of god. Islam dosent beleive in making partners, it dosent contradict itself where it will expect you to obey in an almighty god and then apprently this god has partners…why? satan has made you people doubt your own beleifs by asking a priest and a pope and JESUS (peace be upon this great messenger of Allah)to hold the power that only god has. God has no partners, God is ONE, and many christians may say well no we beleive in god but u still pray to jesus. Why do you pray to jesus, even if lets say he is the son of god!….the most ridiculous thing ive ever heard. You guys are so strayed it makes me sad. Look around you ,So called christians you have been told to beleive that jesus drank alchohol, a substance which alters the mind and body, why would the SON of god do soemthing like that, this son of god you worship may aswell be the son of satan, because look at how far away you guys are from your faith. Go to any club and any bar after midnight, you will see what im talking about, satan has raped you people, and thats why you complain when we forbid alchohol we forbid evil we forbid more or less everything the westeners do but when an amish or devout christian does it its modesty when a muslim does it .. your a terrorist!!…What makes you think BLOGGER that you can get away with justifying your religion by shaming mine, is that how strong your beleif is, you have no foundation without actually denmaing some one elses faith. I hope people can see how pathetic you and ur ideology is when you felt it was okay to comment on Islam and then tell us that you dont know much about Islam. Hypocrisy !… Wake up, this life is an illusion and soon we will all wake up and realise what a horrible dream this was. Dont listen to me Dont listen to your priests or our imams, Liseen to the truth that is the book!… Kind Regards, Forgive me is i hurt anyones feelings, Allah knows best.Z

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16126774959860940651 Zayna

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16126774959860940651 Zayna

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Annie

    Islam no nothing of forgiveness???? Apparently u know nothing about Islam……..I left Christianity just for this reason n turned to Islam. God is forgiving n perfect, humans ( no matter what religion) are imperfect n God made us that way!!! Why don’t u try watching Guide US TV on the net n educate yourself…… Sad people who know nothing can write things like this….

  • Canadian

    Chapter 1, Page 1 of the Quran:

    “In the name of God, the Most Forgiving, the Most Merciful

    Praise be to God, the Lord of the Universe

    The Most Forgiving, the Most Merciful…”

    Muslims recite this over 17 times daily in prayer. Did you even do your research?

  • Drexel

    You obviously haven’t even opened up a Quran because it written literally all over the Quran. Thanks for your very biased paper


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