FEATURE ARTICLE

Ejukwa OsamThursday, May 4, 2006
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ejuks@hotmail.com
Minneapolis, MN, USA

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RE: RELIGION AND FANATICISM (Concluded)


t is appropriate to re state the central premise of my last rejoinder to Augustine Ohanwe's Religion and Fanaticism article Part (1). In response to Augustine's assertion about Christian fanaticism, I had argued that those individuals and organizations that perpetuated violence in all the historical epochs including this century were never born again or were ever genuine Christians. I concluded my argument by restating the greatest Commandment of the Lord, which is to love God and our neighbors. Any contrary action by an individual or organizations runs contrary to the New Testament admonitions. I finally made it clear to Augustine Ohanwe that Jesus is the source of the divine light and source of salvation for the entire human race. And I gave the sole reason of my assertion.


Reflecting on Augustine's Ohanwe's article on "Religious Fanaticism" are two intrinsic problems; one he mentions Paul, Stephen, Jesus Christ and Amos as victims of religious fanaticism. That is commendable, but he failed to create a theological nexus with Prophet Elijah, John the Baptist and other Biblical martyrs including Jesus Christ to one central mission: the fulfillment of God's time and plan for the spiritual redemption of mankind. And the concomitant effect martyrdom has on the growth of the Christian ministry, which signifies that the blood of martyrs was the seed that had the potential to exponentially increase the churches. Had Augustine created this theological chain of linkage, he would have understood why our theological forefathers became martyrs.

Consequently Augustine's accusation against Christians in the last paragraph of his article would have been unnecessary. This is because it is a contradiction to accuse Elijah of religious intolerance and fanaticism for obeying God's command of eliminating the 450 prophets of Baal. Simultaneously, he mentioned Jesus Christ, Stephen, Amos and Paul's respective executions as if they had a separate theology from Elijah. All the biblical characters he mentions opposed idol worship and promoted monotheistic faith, which is in accordance with the first commandment

"I am The Lord your God, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me." (Exodus 20:2-3 RSV). Put simply, you should have no other gods before me.

The second problem is that Augustine failed to disclose the main religious faith whose respective leadership easily enacts the death sentence popularly known as Fatuwa. Fatuwa is easily enacted on others who simply disagree with a cleric or criticize the actions of Prophet Mohammed. The same faith fanatically sends die hard members on suicide missions to blow civilians or fly planes into tall buildings or kill Christians or burn their churches as with the cases in Israel, Iraq, Egypt, Indonesia, USA, Northern Nigeria, and other countries with a significant population of fundamental Muslims.

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Is it not because of Danish cartoons or perceived theological differences with the Islamic faith and adherents of other faiths that provoked fanaticism? This trend of violence did not originate in the year 2005 but a systematic trend of belligerency that consist of hatred and incendiary posture that has lasted since its formation in the seventh century. Save for the Yoruba Muslims that are as peaceful as their Christian neighbors, I would have concluded that Islam is only about violence and killings of adversaries.

Even then there is a twist to their religious discrimination. Radical Islamist movements in northern Nigeria hardly regard the Yoruba Muslims as true Muslims. Is the essential prerequisite to become a true Muslim a penchant towards violence? No wonder the faith has been classified as the most violent faith, whose adherents have the penchant to carry out jihad and to shed blood against their foes.

This same faith has the audacity to built Mosques in every corner of the world save in the Vatican and Rome, but would not let a Christian church be established in Saudi Arabia and other fundamental Islamic countries. It is preposterous that the same faith that has the highest record of beheadings is omitted from Augustine's classification of intolerant faiths that are fanatical or has a history of violence.

Given the above facts, if Christians exclude themselves from what he ascribes as religion fanaticism, they are simply right, because it pales in comparison with the shedding of blood which radical Islam relishes and promotes through daily incendiary messages in their places of worship. Christian fanaticism abhors violence but obedience to God's command.

On those that perpetrated violence in the name of Christianity, I need to assert that the theological emphasis of the Holy Bible is anchored on Jesus Christ not on any carnal Church, or any worldly empire, neither is it based on any philosopher or sage or the contemporary New Age misguided movement or on a guru. It is anchored on the triune God - God the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. The three nomenclatures are one in ruling power.

Theological Implications of Religious Fanaticism

Augustine Ohanwe's article has theological implications for everyone and it is pertinent to pose this rhetorical question to Augustine. Why are Christians accused of fanaticism? Is it not because the Word of God has the potential to liberate modern day pagans from the bondage of sins including various forms of addictions? Sadly in liberal Europe and notably Canada, the most popular concepts are liberalism, rejection of biblical standards and the inculcation of pagan ideas in their religious and social milieu. The United States is better off in terms of affirming Christian standards, but she is gradually losing that edge to the forces of American Civil Liberty Union (ACLU) and their liberal cronies.

For instance in the month of November of each year, a pagan festival called Halloween is observed by Americans and the name remains Halloween without considering inclusive language. But during Christmas season, the standard is inappropriately altered to reflect the carnal predilections of the secular milieu. The misguided ACLU and their liberal allies are happy that Santa Claus has apparently become more popular than Jesus Christ during Christmas. Yet Christmas was established in honor of the birth of Jesus Christ and not for the popularity of Santa Claus. It is this compromise that has made Merry Christmas to be happy Holidays in the USA, Europe and Canada. My secular minded friends in Minneapolis have argued that it is merely to portray tolerance and inclusiveness and respect for other faiths. But other faiths mostly Diwali of Hindu religion, remains Diwali. Similarly Muslim festivals notably Id El Malaud or Id El Kabir or Sallar remains exclusively to the Islamic faith.

As a result of fear of being called a fanatic or a bigot, prayers have been taken out of schools. The United States pledge of allegiance that asserts "in God we trust" faced legal challenge by a Californian pagan in the year 2004. He vehemently opposed the pledge of allegiance and fought for the rights of his daughter to be excluded from any gathering that involves saying school prayers. His litigation was backed by American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) affiliated pagan organization. The case was vigorously contested until the Supreme Court heard the case and put an end to this insanity.

The point I am making is that the Creator of this universe namely Jehovah God, His son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit is not happy with the activities of liberal Christians that have sold out to the world. It is this fear of being called a fanatic and homophobic that has caved the way for all sorts of compromises including dirty acts of filth called gay and lesbian lifestyles or homosexuality to be in the mainstream and subsequently perverting societies and some Christless churches not only in Western societies but also Republic of South Africa where gay marriage is legal and all over the world save for Sub Saharan African countries and Latin American countries.

As at the time of this write up, the state of Massachusetts is joyfully leading the way on same sex marriages. Just as in the state of California that once had same marriage. This past month, it was reported that homosexuality is going to be a compulsory course in schools in the state of California. In addition, infants are taught about gay and lesbian history, without regard to age religious preference or parental power of consent but Christianity as a way of life cannot be taught.

Similarly it is this fear of being called a fanatic that has led to the declining standard of the gospel due to unnecessary misinterpretations or redaction of the Bible by liberal leaning seminaries in Europe and North America. Most of them are hiring homosexual professors to teach theology to potential ministers even as evangelical seminarians hardly find employment. And then they go ahead and recruit other homosexuals to attend liberal seminaries. After graduating, they are also ordained by their fellow homosexual reverends to pastor dead and toxic churches. Claiming to be celibate, these sexual perverts later rape young boys or marry same sex partners.

It is this fear of being called a fanatic that led to a homosexual being ordained a Bishop of a world wide faith in the USA. Homosexuals lack the shame that is akin to human nature. No wonder in the past decade the American Psychological Association Diagnostics and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder popularly known as the DSM had once diagnosed homosexuality as a disorder that needed treatment.

It is this compromise that has made the Holy Bible to be taken out of some liberal churches such as the Unitarian Universal Churches, New Age Movements and some United Church of Christ (UCC) and lately some Lutheran denominations in the state of Minnesota have joined the anti Bible crusade. Yet most of these denominations started very well on sound biblical principles.

Then comes the question, why is it so? It is this fear of being called a fanatic or a bigot that has made many churches to shut their doors to holiness preachers. While homosexual advocates are granted wide reception and accorded red carpet treatment to speak at prominent public institutions. In contrast, evangelical preachers are considered eccentric and too conservative or out of the mainstream to be accorded such an invitation.

What does these entire facts means?

Fortunately believers are not taken unawares of the device of the devil and his agents. According to Romans 1: 18-29; humanity has failed to acknowledge the divine creator because they worship and adore the creature instead of the creator. In that process of pagan ideas, perversion has become an object of human worship. Sex has become commercialized as never before as the human body has become the most essential object of sex changes and transplants, cosmetic surgeries meant to reinforce good looks and center of attention to the self. Those actions are all paganism and fit the classification of Romans 1. Consequently the pagans and other postmodern folks have taken their minds off their creator.

Since the veracity of the gospel of Christ is impugned and subsequently rejected, there is no alternative to their unbelief. For God has handed them over to their imaginations to do whatever their sinful hearts suggests. And the devil has taken over and darkened their minds such that men are shamelessly doing things that are not natural such as men marrying men and women marrying women. That is not all a new phenomenon known as transgender groups are forcefully asserting their carnal presence in the strange world of perversion. So also are bisexual males having sex with both male and female partners and spreading HIV/AIDS virus in the process. Other males are literally growing the female breast only to suit their carnal predilections of fulfilling the fantasies of being a she male!

Once a Christian condemns these awful lifestyles, one becomes accused of being homophobic, a religious fanatic or a bigot. Christians are then reminded of past atrocities of inquisition and crusades and the evil events orchestrated by demons that once held the banner of Christianity. Yes demons because the work of violence is the work of Satan. They simply pursued their agenda that had nothing to do with the New Testament theology of love and peace.

I assure Augustine Ohanwe and his supporters that this carnal world of compromisers and doubters of the Word might be enjoying their time, once they die, God would require them to give account of their lives and their fate would be in hell fire.

Just like the church in antiquity, apostles and other members were reminded of sad events perpetrated by some misguided folks. They were accused of been heretics and too fanatical to take on Jewish authorities. They were accused of introducing a foreign religion and so on. Any misfortune that happened in their cities, it was blamed on Jewish and gentile believers. Most of them were executed in the process or others thrown to the lions den. Indeed all attempts to eradicate the Christian faith backfired and the blood of martyrs became the seed that strengthened or reenergized believers to seek for converts. In spite of that, Christianity has endured to this day.

The fact that evangelical Christians and some missionaries are beheaded today is not because they are bigots or deserve to be killed. But the devil is using the enemies of Christ to put innocent adherents of the Christian faith to death, so that many unsaved people would not hear the salvific message of the Cross and turn to Christ. The truth is that the teachings in the Holy Bible do not call for compromise particularly if it involves ethical matters of the Christian faith. The teachings of Jesus are based on love, morality, self denial, service to one another in humility and the fear of the Lord to mention a few. It should not be misconceived as fake, for these are all genuine theological concepts that are working for believers that seek to please Jesus Christ. I assure readers that it is better to obey God than man (Acts 5:29).

Augustine and interested readers can check this website https://www.persecution.com or simply type the title The Persecuted Church. The yahoo or Google search engine would bring up a lot of information indicating how thousands of innocent believers are being persecuted and tortured for their faith. Readers can get more information on Christian martyrs and how they are killed. This trend is not limited to northern Nigeria; from Africa to the Middle East to Indonesia. China is one country that vigorously pursues that plan of jailing Christians who attempt to attend church or to preach to folks. Please read the article currently in circulation by Pastor Daniel Inyembere Michael to get a glimpse of Christian persecution in China..

Some Conclusions

The rejoinder to your beautifully worded article is not to dispute the antecedents of the ancient, medieval and contemporary Christian history; neither is this article holding brief for perpetrators of crusades and inquisition or the vicious actions of any empire, or any other perceived injustices perpetrated by other fake Christians. I was merely arguing that you judge the fruit of those that claim to be Christians and juxtapose with the teachings in the New Testament texts. If it falls short of that New Testament standard of love, then you know they were doing the work of their master the devil, for the devil kills, steals and destroys, but the Son of God came to give eternal life and He gives it more abundantly (John 10:10).

Finally, because the devil is at work in the hearts of unbelievers (Ephesians 5:14), this effort to proselytize the faith has been spurned, threatened, mocked, attacked and given names by enemies of Jesus who seek to reconnect the actions of decadent groups in the ancient medieval and contemporary epochs to the present generation of born again Christians. Even if Christians are fanatics, they are merely obeying their Master to exclusively preach that the only way to be saved is to believe in Jesus. And my greatest wish is for Augustine to be in the camp of Jesus to avoid that pit of hell that has space for unbelievers and their numerous post modern pagans.

Ejuks is a Christian apologist. He is also a University of Port Harcourt alumnus and three (ATS) accredited Seminaries in the USA and Canada.