by Shirley W. Madany
When it comes to robust health and communicable diseases we have made great strides. Young families are no longer faced with the threat of measles, chicken pox, mumps and polio, or the dreaded small pox. We are insistent on the use of immunization at an early age. Flu epidemics may still make inroads on school populations but the elderly are encouraged and offered suitable “shots” each fall to ward off whatever ‘flu virus may be expected. Good health is guarded by careful preventative measures. But how much thought do we give to building up our spiritual immunity against false doctrine, apathy or false religions? Right away the newly sensitive American would exclaim that such concepts are definitely not appropriate for a good American. Tolerance, in the form of excessive political correctness, has made us hesitant to have any strong dogmatic viewpoints.
We have a classic example in history of a once-thriving Christian population that completely disappeared. This was the community in North Africa that produced the church father, Augustine. The epidemic that destroyed every vestige of Christianity, was not biological, but spiritual. Church historians diagnose that quite probably the Christians in that region were in a weakened state, from heresies and from the battering they had received at the hands of the Vandals. When Islam in its infancy swept relentlessly across those desert lands, it met with little resistance. One after another, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco became Islamic countries. And the wave did not stop until Islam dominated all of Spain.
As we look around us today we would have to be blind not to read the signs of the times in the sad decline of Christianity in both Western Europe and the United Kingdom. And at the same time we are becoming more and more aware of the vigor of the new immigrants who are settling firmly in all these lands. It is no coincidence that they are from neighboring Islamic countries. And it is obvious they have a definite agenda—to promote the spread of Islam. Spain and France have predominantly North African workers coming from across the Mediterranean. Germany has a very large Turkish population. Britain has a mixture of Muslims from her former colonies, with a large number being Pakistanis.
Splendid cathedrals and humble churches are witnessing a decline in attendance. Writers tell us that we have entered a “post-Christian” era. Christianity that once flourished in Tunisia is now relegated to archeological ruins and museums. Are we going to witness the same thing happening again? Will more and more churches be turned into mosques?
These are challenging times for Christian families. How can we survive spiritually once we are weakened by our pagan environment? Certainly that is a legitimate way to describe our secular world. Television and Internet bring unwelcome people, situations and events into Christian homes. Movies have progressed (or regressed) to being art forms guided by philosophies, which play a part in the breakdown of Christian life. Permissive lifestyles are making themselves more and more “acceptable”. It is indeed difficult to maintain a healthy Christian walk through life.
There is a hymn that was popular in the 1950’s but is seldom heard any more. “We’ve a story to tell to the nations,..a song to be sung…a message to give….a Saviour to show—to the nations.” The chorus ends “And Christ’s great kingdom shall come on earth, the kingdom of love and light.” How can we regain this vigor? That seems to be the question. We have watchmen on the towers, and we have just as much access to the scope of the Internet as the Muslims do, but we seem to be lacking direction and leadership.
Have you ever heard of the III&E? It stands for “The Institute of Islamic Information and Education”, operating out of Chicago, IL. Quoting from material received in 1994 we read: “The III&E has only one goal, that is, to educate the American people about Islam and Muslims and do it fast.” Some of their goals: “To remove the mis-information, mis-understanding, mis-perception, and mis-apprehensions about Islam and Muslims in American textbooks, media and the minds of the North American people.” Considering the 2-½ hour PBS special, “Islam: Empire of Faith” which is being frequently rerun and which shows a glorious Islam with its bad parts glossed over; and now an alarming new textbook, which must go beyond their wildest aspirations, one has to admire their achievement of so many goals within 8 years time.
Daniel Pipes, (http://www.danielpipes.org/) one of the most prolific writers on the Internet, has the clearest and most relevant response to daily events. He has brought everyone’s attention, on February 11th, to something that has been bothering Christian parents greatly, who have children in Grade 7 Public Schools and who are using a new Houghton Mifflin text book called “Across the Centuries.” It would appear that as part of their studies the children are being given an in depth introduction to the religion of Islam. They are urged to “think like a Muslim.” Now, if they had sufficient immunity that would be a good thing, but what accentuates our problem is our blissful apathy and lack of knowledge about this mammoth religion. Thousands of people
may not even be aware that it is a threat to our very way of life.
But back to Grade 7 and that new textbook. Students are learning about an Islam that is described in glowing terms. They are given assignments which may lead them to write about going to Mecca on the hadj – to write about what countries they would have to travel through, etc. Or another assignment was to write a journal as if you were a Muslim soldier on your way to conquer Syria (one of the first countries into which Islam expanded). The textbook endorses the key articles of the Islamic faith—can you imagine Christianity being given such an opening? It is becoming more and more obvious that people in areas of leadership are hesitant to even use the words Jesus Christ.
Now back to a declaration printed by the III&E in February 1994. You can quickly find this organization on the Internet. Reading from their web pages you will have to agree that they are progressing well in their aims. Other goals were “to take the message of Islam to the entire North American population by the year 2012, to educate and train new Muslims and help them to integrate into the Muslim community at large, to recruit and train manpower to carry out the above task, and to raise money and necessary material resources to complete the above task.” Already we see this powerful religion being put on an equal footing with Christianity and Judaism. In actual fact, we see Islam being given a preferred spot.
Islam is on the march. World conquest is a natural part of the Islamic thrust. Already it is the third religion in many European countries. In France it is the second. Mosques and cultural centers are appearing at an alarming rate. Not everyone realizes that in Islam the mosque is not just another word for church. With Islam state and religion are one.
In spite of, or because of, the tragedy of September 11th, the Muslims are proclaiming loudly that they are seeing an increasing number of Americans converting to Islam. These converts are finding the legalistic approach to life attractive. They see also a devotion and daring which is sadly absent from the average Christian community. Another challenge for us. Certainly our young people should learn more about Islam but not through the role-playing suggested by that particular textbook.
In fact, we all need to be prepared to answer for our faith. Empty churches are just the first ominous sign. For our own immunity the most important step will be our determination to seek the Lord for strength to live consistent Christian lives. How we need to “put on the whole armor of God!” When a church loses its zeal for the truth, the signs of weakening show first in the lives of its people. What must a Muslim immigrant think of our nations’s Christianity? Our lives have to exhibit an obedience to the Word of God and His commands. We will have to take a stand against all the ways in which the pagan world batters at our family’s door. Our actions should demonstrate a deep reverence for God and a desire for sanctification. It is possible, with the help of God; to live healthy Christian lives in the midst of a sick society.