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Christianity, Hamas, & Authority


Blog title card; topic is the conflict between Islam and America
Christianity, Hamas, & Authority

One method Scripture will use to demonstrate truth is to assume the opposite of that truth and use the implication as proof. For example, Jesus supported his judgment against two hard hearted cities this way: “Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes (Matthew 11:21).” Since the infamously wicked cities of Tyre and Sidon (which God destroyed) would have recognized Christ’s miracles as divine, the two cities who refused to acknowledge those very miracles and repent deserved condemnation that much more. Examining a possible set of events provides evidence that Chorazin and Bethsaida were worthy of destruction.


The most famous example of using the opposite of a fact as proof is probably in 1 Corinthians 15. Paul explores the implications of the contrary-to-fact scenario that there is no future resurrection. Some of the consequences of this idea are presented in verses 13-14: “But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: and if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.” Part of Paul’s point in 1 Corinthians 15 is that the authoritative starting point that the Biblical teaching of the Resurrection is true necessarily implies other important truths of life. Christians’ authority, the Bible, teaches us what to think about the world, how to treat others, what goals to strive for, and many other practical matters by giving us a firm foundation of truth to build on.


Perhaps you have been surprised at how the Israeli-Palestinian hot war is being fought in the West as a war of words. Who would have guessed that celebrities, university faculty & students, and politicians would defend Hamas, a Muslim jihadist organization that the U.S. government formally acknowledges to be a terrorist organization? What we are witnessing in the West is the replacement of one standard of authority for another. America has had strong Christian influence for many years. That Christian influence depends on Biblical truth. Muslims have their own authority: the Quran, commentaries, and oral traditions. Hamas depends on these sources of authority, and on its assumption that Allah is the true God. To them, these alternate sources of authority justify their violent behavior. Article Three of the 1988 Hamas founding charter says this:

The basic structure of the Islamic Resistance Movement consists of Moslems who have given their allegiance to Allah whom they truly worship…who know their duty towards themselves, their families and country. In all that, they fear Allah and raise the banner of Jihad in the face of the oppressors, so that they would rid the land and the people of their uncleanliness, vileness and evils.

Hamas members believe they are being virtuous by kidnapping and killing. The reason Americans, and especially Christians, disagree is not because we are more morally progressive, or because we believe in democracy. We disagree because we have a different authority.


The central dividing issue between Christianity and Islam is not whether people have been killed in the name of one religion or another. To debate this issue is to descend into the nuances of secondary questions of why God commanded the Israelites to destroy some of the Canaanite peoples, or whether the earthly rule of the Lord Jesus Christ will include capital punishment (the answer is yes, by the way), or whether it is moral for a Christian nation to go to war against a pagan nation today. The primary conflict is not the way Muslims treat their wives, or whether Sharia law is barbaric. While those issues are important in their place, the fundamental question is whether the Bible is trustworthy as our authority (it is) or the Quran (it isn’t), and whether Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God (He is) who died, rose, and ascended (He did).


Why is the matter of truth so important? Well, if Islam were true, then their jihadist practices would be completely justified. Examining the 1988 Hamas charter once more, we find this: “the Movement's programme is Islam. From it, it draws its ideas, ways of thinking and understanding of the universe, life and man. It resorts to it for judgement in all its conduct, and it is inspired by it for guidance of its steps.” In other words, Hamas is waging war against Israel because their religion compels them to. The behavior of Hamas is logically consistent only if Islam were true. In a false world where Muslims were the true believers, there are no grounds for condemning Islam. Because Islam is false, the Bible is true, and Jesus Christ is the Son of God who rose from the dead, Hamas is properly and justly condemned.


Secular western opponents of Muslim jihad are unable to muster a reasonable condemnation of holy war because they are trying to reject God while retaining the assumptions that Christianity provides. Consider this critique in a 2021 opinion piece: "[Gaza and the West Bank] are dictatorships without religious freedom and civil liberties; in particular, their treatment of women, gay people, and religious minorities is appalling. Much of the intended humanitarian aid from the United States and Europe is diverted to violent ends." The problem with this secular thinker’s conclusion is that Hamas believes he is wrong and that they actually support human rights. Article 31 of the Hamas charter explains their position this way: “The Islamic Resistance Movement is a humanistic movement. It takes care of human rights and is guided by Islamic tolerance when dealing with the followers of other religions. It does not antagonize anyone of them except if it is antagonized by it or stands in its way to hamper its moves and waste its efforts.” Clearly Hamas sees the world differently than the western columnist does. Because Hamas understands things like civil rights so differently, there is no way to argue against them except by using another authority. Appealing to common sense—“everybody knows that”—is not effective without an universal authority to define basic terms like “freedom,” “humane,” and “violence.” Hamas would simply denounce the definitions and provide their own. Only the true religion can provide a coherent alternative to conservative Islam and provide the foundation for defining "justice" and "virtue."


Here we return to 1 Corinthians 15. Islam is false for the same reason the dead will one day be raised: “But now is Christ risen from the dead and become the first fruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:20-22). If America rejects Christ, it cannot resist the influence of another standard of authority. The best defense of American history, culture, and values is to remind ourselves of, and proclaim to others, this truth: “For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth (as there be gods many, and lords many), but to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him” (1 Corinthians 8:5-6).

 

The above article was written by Jonathan Kyser. He is a pastoral assistant of NorthStone Baptist Church in Pensacola, FL. To offer him your feedback, comment below or email us at strengthforlife461@gmail.com.


Every Tuesday, SFL publishes relevant Bible-based content. Check back next Tuesday to read the next SFL article.

 

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