From Yahoo News/Associated Press: Baghdad church siege ends with 52 dead.

Within Christianity, a martyr is someone who is killed because they are a Christian. These believers were peacefully gathered together for worship. Al-Qaida in Iraq has threatened to “exterminate Iraqi Christians.”

Within Islam, a person who is killed because they are a Muslim would also be considered a martyr. But so is anyone who is involved in the violent struggle to extend Islam–against Israel, against the West, against the Hindus.

Jesus was a man of peace. He did not advocate the violent overthrow of the evil Roman empire, but urged his followers to pay their taxes to Caesar, and to love their enemies. For the next three centuries, Christianity spread from India to Spain by love and proclamation, not by force.

Mohammad was a man of violence—he led battles and raiding parties against his enemies or just for loot—and for the next few hundred years Islam spread from India to Spain by sword and spear.

I know that there have been wars and violence done in the name of Christ, and that there are millions of peaceful Muslims, but…

If a Christian kills in the name of Christ, it is a violation of the character and message of Christ.

If a Moslem kills in Jihad, it is consistent with the character and message of Muhammad.

The cosmological argument will get you to God. Why is there something rather than nothing? But how does one get from there to Christianity? If choosing between Christianity and Islam, look at Jesus and Muhammad.

Grace and Peace

4 thoughts on “Martyrdom

  1. geochristian


    Thanks for your comment.

    I agree that there is the temptation to use selective evidence when comparing religious systems. I could attempt to show that Christianity is superior to Islam by comparing Mother Theresa to Osama bin Laden, but that wouldn’t be either fair or valid. Muslims could point to pious Muslim saints who have done good deeds, and could point to horrible things done by Christians.

    That is why it is best to go back to the founders (Jesus and Muhammad) and scriptures (the Bible and the Koran). I think my basic point, however, is valid. Jesus was clearly a man of peace and Muhammad was clearly a man of war. Most of the Koranic passages about tolerance towards Christians and Jews were written when Muhammad was politically and militarily weak; once he gained the ascendancy he was not quite as nice to his opponents.

    I will acknowledge that many Muslims have condemned the al-Quida attack on the church in Baghdad. Most Muslims would agree that it is good to die as a martyr in jihad; but most would probably also agree that not all that is done in the name of Islam these days is legitimate jihad. The jihadist minority, however, is large enough to really cause headaches for everyone else.


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