Many people familiar with the Middle East believe that Wahhabism is the most dangerous cult in the world. Indeed, the intentions of the Wahhabists are as dangerous as they come.
But there is a cult more dangerous than this because, while ISIS is not a state actor and has no thermonuclear arms, this other cult is a major agent in manipulating the use of nuclear arms against people who are not their enemy but who they believe with all their hearts are the enemy of God and must therefore, based on a cult-like interpretation of the scriptures, be destroyed. This teaching pits the West against the Shia world (that’s the Muslims who are fighting ISIS and Al-Qaeda) and its nuclear armed allies Russia and China.
The danger of the cult in question lies in two areas:
1—their cult is alarmingly popular, particularly in the US, where over 50% of Americans polled favor Israel over the Palestinians (whose land they occupy) and, in addition, their desire for war has support from other powerful agents, both government and journalistic, in their own country and elsewhere.
2—Their cult teaches that God supports their desire for war and will keep them free from harm regardless of the risks and perils of the course of action – even a nuclear attack – that their government may undertake under pressure from them. Remember the soldiers in WW I sporting belt buckles with the inscription Gott mit uns. God is always for us, right?
The cult in question is Christian Zionism, which we will prove is in fact anti-Christian.
Past centuries have seen, in Europe, various cults strikingly similar to this modern one whose followers were fully convinced that they were executing God’s will and that He would protect them from all harm even as they marauded across Europe wantonly breaking God’s commandments not to kill or steal. This history of militant heretics is vividly portrayed with regards to numerous socialistic Christian sects by renowned Soviet mathematician and anticommunist dissident Igor Shafarevich in his book “The Socialist Phenomenon” (Социализм как явление мировой истории / Sotsializm kak yavlenie mirovoy istoriy).
These sects included the Cathars, the Apostolic Brethren, the Adamites, the Taborites, the early Anabaptists and numerous others, all of them imbued with a sense that certain obscure scripture verses conferred to them divine carte blanche to plunder churches and kill Christians with beliefs different from theirs. This conviction of self-righteousness is strikingly similar to the Wahhabist teachings in the Middle East.
Thomas Münzer,one of the founders of the Anabaptists, was a charismatic leader of the Peasants’ Revolt in Germany around the time of Luther’s Reformation. In his sermons, he railed against the local authorities, princes and church leaders, who he believed had arrogated to themselves rights that only God could wield and confer. He and his rebel followers plundered and burned churches and wantonly killed priests, citing vague scripture that he thought supported his lawlessness, though his actions violated Christ’s Law of Love (more on this later).
At the beginning of the 14th century a “heretic” leader founded in Italy a sect that he called the Apostolic Brethren (Fraticelli Apostolici), which opposed the Catholics on several grounds. They opposed the Church not only philosophically but also militarily. According to Shafarevich:
“Victory in the wars with the Antichrist Pope, Dolcino foretells, will be won thanks to the interference of a foreign monarch. He pins his hope on Frederick, the King of Aragon and Sicily, who at the time was engaging in a fierce conflict with the Pope. (He had just strung up all the monks in Sicily who were suspected of supporting the papacy.)
Dolcino derived all this from his interpretation of the Biblical prophets”
He slaughtered people who disagreed with his take on scripture.
According to this Italian language text, Dolcino was eventually caught and made to watch as his wife was burned at the stake. Then it was his turn. Prior to this, he was subjected to unspeakable torture, such as castration, and his nose was cut off. Where was “love thine enemies” in this horrific clash of Christian vs Christian?
You probably will have heard of the sweet pacifistic Mennonites and Amish in Lancaster County PA. Before they were pacified, their Anabaptist forebears (we mentioned Münzer above) staged a reign of terror in Münster and elsewhere in the 16th Century. They were absolute caricatures of themselves. The first noteworthy leader, Jan Matthijs, after calling for all dissidents to be exterminated, declared war on essentially the whole non-Anabaptist world:
An excerpt from Shafarevich:
“The Anabaptists made a display of their power almost immediately in a terrible outburst of violence that took place … three days after the election. Monasteries and churches were destroyed, religious objects smashed and saints’ relics thrown into the streets.”
To show his authority, Matthijs, personally executed one hapless citizen who disagreed with the bloody agenda. The obviously mentally disturbed leader had a vision in which he would take on single-handedly the enemy troops besieging the city. Proclaiming “God’s will be done,” he marched outside the city wall and was hacked to pieces by the lansquenets. Upon his death his comrade in arms Jan Bokelson (Jan van Leyden) announced that he would personally replace Matthijs.
If Matthijs was the hors d’oeuvre, Bokeleson was the main course. Once installed in power, he had himself crowned king of the world and began persecuting and killing unbelievers wholesale. He declared all things in common (communism), including all women. At one of his own frequent wedding parties, he saw an unfortunate guest whom he did not recognize and beheaded him on the spot. His pious wives stood round about the gory scene singing “Glory to God in the Highest”.
“One woman who refused to become the king’s wife, in spite of his several proposals, had her head chopped off in the town square by the king’s own hand, while his assembled wives sang “Glory to God in the Highest.’ “
Two things came to mind as I read this account.
- Are ISIS fighters really worse than these 15th and 16th Century militants calling themselves Christians?
- These religious fanatics behaved just as wantonly and lawlessly as the participants in the atheistic French Revolution. In fact, the early heretics (such as Dolcino) were hailed as models by some of the Enlightenment philosophers. (If you reread “East vs West: Who are the enlightened ones?” Part I, Part II and Part III, you will see how that resource ties in with this one).
A siege outside the city eventually took its toll amid the abominable bloodshed, and like all of the heretical leaders before him, the magnificent Bokelson, when captured, became a snivelling whiner even offering to rat out his confederates in return for clemency. But in view of all he had done, it is not surprising that no one pitied him.
“In the square where once he had sat on a throne, he was tortured with hot irons, and then his heart was pierced with a red-hot dagger.”
Thus the enemies of these sects, the Catholics, were no more merciful than they in terms of their eagerness to shed blood, based, of course, on Biblical passages that they took for commandments (isn’t it true that, for many of the faithful, their favourite Bible passages seem to defend their own vices and lusts?). The Inquisition needs no further review, and the massacre of the Huguenots in Paris is another of many instances of how the Catholics dealt with “heretics.”
Likewise, American defenders of slavery in the first century of the American colonies and post-revolution US also relied heavily on a skewed view of the scriptures to support their racism. Thus, these pro-slavery “Christians” relied on a belief that the swarthy-complexioned Ham was cursed and his sons would also be cursed by being forced into slavery. They ignored the fact that according to the Bible, Ham himself was not cursed and only his son Canaan was, whose complexion is not known. (However, historians tell us that the Canaanites, also known as the Phoenicians, were a Semitic people and hence not black sub-Saharans).
Biblical scholar Tony Evans explains:
“This process is known as sacralization, the development of theological and religious beliefs to serve the interest of a particular … group.”
As fortune willed it, most of these heretical cults were indeed able, with only the most rudimentary training and equipment, to rampage virtually unhindered across wide swaths of territory for many months and even years, killing, marauding, sacking and burning the churches and monasteries of their perceived enemy and massacring enemy monks and priests. Even to many unbelievers, it must have seemed as if nothing could stop them and that surely God must be on their side. During this time of virtual impunity one could scarcely blame them for believing that they enjoyed divine protection. Armed with a rapidly growing faith in their invincibility, they fairly flew from victory to victory over their stunned and incredulous adversaries.
In each case it was not until they had destroyed or appropriated incalculable treasure and killed countless innocents that the authorities were able to amass sufficient trained and armed military forces to defeat them in battle, finally killing them by the thousands, and capturing their leaders, thereby stopping the destruction. It was in many cases only as the leaders were led away to the stake and the kindling set afire that they glimpsed the awful consequences of their tragic misinterpretation of the scriptures. How must they have felt as the tongues of flame licked the soles of their feet and their dreams of ushering in the Kingdom of God ended up so ignominiously, literally going up in smoke!
Were the horrors of those times a lesson given by God to humans? Have they learned it? Will they ever? And what is that lesson? For Christians, it is simply this:
Jesus was once asked by a legal expert:
“what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
He [the expert] answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’”
“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
For Jesus, love was the supreme law comparable to a Constitution. It was the legal framework into which everything else had to fit. If in a certain instance, the literal application of the law did not meet the overarching criterion of love, then it had to be discarded in that instance. Jesus illustrated this precept when he came upon a throng about to stone an adulteress and told them “let he who is without sin cast the first stone,” whereupon the throng put down their stones and walked silently away. Jesus was not defying the law, which required them to stone her. He was applying a constitutional test: Did the application of the law meet the love criterion? No, it did not, and that was obvious to everyone present. It was common sense, and common sense – otherwise known as wisdom – is what tells people what love is. No scriptural passage can supersede it because love is Christ’s supreme law.
Likewise, even assuming the heretics were correct in judging the Catholics for their bullying and their departure from the scriptures, and even if there were vague suggestions in the Old Testament that believers are justified in massacring infidels or blasphemers, Christ’s Supreme Law of Love would not permit this and therefore, individuals who commit massacres cannot legitimately call themselves Christians.
Neither can nations that arm and sponsor jihadists call themselves Christian nations. Nor can current Christian leaders reasonably pray for wisdom for their leaders because if they had had wisdom, they could not have been elected as head of a nation for which war is its raison d’être and economic mainstay (see the 3 links under Relevant Reading below).
Thus, like their cultist European forebears, the true-believer Christian Zionists, who have been discussed before at New Silk Strategies, are potentially capable of more harm than the Wahhabists of ISIS or Al-Qaeda (or any of the latter’s rebrandings such as Al-Nusra or Tahrir as-Sham). Certainly, the Wahhabist jihadists would slit your throat as soon as look at you if you are a kafir, ie, a person who is not a devout Muslim. But if you are a strict Wahhabist, then you will apply it to a Muslim who you think is not as Muslim as you. That’s the kind of MO displayed by the revolutionary heretics in Europe discussed above.
However, Christian Zionists willingly and cheerfully approve of everything the ruling warlike Likud Party of Israel does or wants to do, including genocidal war plans against Iran and the Lebanese political party Hezbollah, which we remind the reader, is an indispensable contributor to the defeat of ISIS in Syria and Iraq.
We have previously touched on this subject here and here and have mentioned that these Zionists not only devoutly believe that the modern day Israel is God’s special chosen nation but worse, have infected many of their countrymen with this ideology. It was easy to accomplish this because many Americans are imbued with the idea of going to heaven and avoiding hell, and in Genesis God said that those who bless Israel will be blessed while those who curse it will be cursed. The other Bible passage that they think supports their view is the prophecy of the dry bones in Ezekiel 37.
These interpretations, however, are fatally flawed, firstly because the dry bones mentioned as representing a resurrected Israel in Ezekiel 37 are said by the prophet to have David as their king, and instead have a perpetually angry ethnocentric mortal, the secular Netanyahu, as their leader, and secondly, such a rigid adherence to a scripture verse for the sole purpose of saving one’s soul from hell fire runs counter to Christ’s teaching against legalism and his love doctrine. He would certainly never have exhorted His followers to support any wars that the modern state of Israel declares on anyone for the purpose of grabbing more land.
Indeed, these Zionist cultists haven’t a scintilla of love for their fellow men, let alone for their perceived enemies, whom they would gladly slaughter by the millions if a prominent Christian Zionist (John Hagee perhaps?) told them such were God’s will.
There is not a spark of Christian love in their attitude toward many non-Americans, including Syrian Christians, whose lives are threatened by the Western demand to overthrow the pro-Christian Assad. And yet their pastors stoutly uphold this absurd interpretation of the scriptures that makes them yearn for the death of their perceived enemies out of a selfish desire to save their souls while ritually mouthing the utterly meaningless words “I stand with Israel.” None of these same “Christians” ever followed that up by declaring “and I also stand for the Syrian Christians.” Because they don’t.
The murderous heretical sects in Europe later served as models for the radical Enlightenment’s rejection of the belief in God. But it was not God who had sown death and carnage across Europe. It was the profane use of God as an instrument to fend off the just consequences and confession of their guilt instead of a source of forgiveness in exchange for sincere repentance.
This has been a long and detailed commentary, but this subject, which is almost never covered in the press (reporters who tread on this territory are routinely dismissed, slandered or persecuted), deserves to be amply covered. Further fascinating material on the heretical militants of Europe can be found in the aforementioned freely downloadable book “The Socialist Phenomenon.”
Lest you be tempted to think that telling the unvarnished truth about modern Israel is taboo for all Jews, the Orthodox Jewish organization True Torah Jews has warned about the danger of Zionism to the Jews themselves, mentioning various “Christian” organizations that urge Jews to leave their homes and emigrate to Israel. They mention in particular, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ).
“The IFCJ isn’t alone. Groups like Christian Friends of Israeli Communities (CFOIC) and Pastor John Hagee’s Christians United for Israel (CUFI) all have immigration at the top of their agendas.
“Sadly, with the emphasis on moving to Israel at all costs, claims of Philo-Semitic feeling on the part of these and other groups start to ring hollow. Especially in light of the fact that much of the money given goes towards West Bank settlements, which place everyone in that region, Jew and non-Jew, in the line of fire. I might be slightly exaggerating by saying that sending someone to live there is like buying your child a house in downtown Aleppo, but only slightly. [this was written prior to the liberation of Aleppo from ISIS by the Russians, Iranians and Syrians]
“Israel’s many provocations, military, diplomatic and otherwise, both in the domestic sphere and abroad, feed anti-Semitism, throwing gas on an already raging fire. If you doubt it, visit the website for the Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry, a branch of Tel Aviv University. Yearly reports show the clear and undeniable correlation between Israeli militarism and rises in anti-Semitism worldwide. When Israel does or says something foolish or aggressive, people die. Non-Jews die. Jews die.
“Dear Friend of the Jewish People,
“You say love Jews. If I were to speak candidly, giving charity to organizations that encourage Jews to move to a nation that is, statistically speaking, the most dangerous place in the world for a Jew, is anti-Semitic. Not intentionally so, there is no malicious intent in it, but the fact remains. It’s an action that runs against the best interests of the Jews.”
While Christian Zionists are focused solely on the Old Testament in support of their pro-Tel Aviv views, a New Testament interpretation of Christ’s words regarding Israel is presented hereadvocating the complete opposite. The author also points out how the highly influential megapastor John Hagee calls for a pre-emptive strike on Iran to protect Israel, when in fact it would unleash a firestorm on the poor Israelis and plunge the region into chaos.
The difference between Hagee and his ilk and the heretics in 15th and 16th Century Europe discussed above is that these early militants had a limited influence on others and their destruction was limited geographically and temporally, whereas Hagee has a powerful influence on the minds of many American Christians, who in turn strongly influence US foreign and military policy. Thus, for the pleasure of Israeli lobby AIPAC, Trump frequently repeated, even during his campaign, the refrain “Iran is the biggest state sponsor of terror.”
Most Democrats are in full agreement with this absurd assessment and both parties are aching for war against the entire Shia world – the world that has held ISIS at bay for many years and has never sent a terrorist to Europe or the US. The fact that Trump is still blindly seen as anti-Establishment makes the current situation as dangerous as it has ever been. Only the dominant and stabilizing influence of Vladimir Putin in the Middle East, and the simultaneous collapse of US prestige in the region, prevent the outbreak of a conflagration of Biblical proportions.
New Silk Strategies had shown in a previous resource (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) that there has been a tectonic plate shift in enlightened thought from West to East. This shift has enabled Christian thought to proceed unimpeded in a different part of the world, where the original body of thought can develop without the interference injected at the time of the European “Enlightenment” that interrupted the development of Christianity by discrediting it. This paper is an attempt to take up the broken thread. We shall start with Jesus.
Jesus and early Christians believed the Jews were no longer the chosen ones but that the church had replaced them.
The most important factor in the change in Christian attitudes toward the Jews may have been the Holocaust, which made martyrs of the Jews and opened the floodgates to acceptance of Zionism throughout the West. Somehow, Westerners were duped into believing that Judaism was synonymous with Zionism. This, along with a general falling away from the faith, made Christian leaders take their focus off of Jesus as their Saviour and place it on Israel as a kind of ersatz saviour, particularly since such was politically safer.
What most forgot was that the nominally “Christian “Germany had discarded all Christian principles in its treatment of the Jews. Thus, post-war, there was no justification to relinquish Christ’s original teachings about the Jews. Their only duty was to love these Jews, not to displace Palestinians who had lived, worked and farmed for centuries in the land from which God had long banished the Jews for their disobedience and turn it over to people calling themselves Jews but who were largely irreligious and lacked a uniform DNA that might have served as evidence of their claim to be descended from Abraham.
I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars–I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you. Revelation 3:9
Stephen Sizer writes:
“The post-Apostolic Church Fathers believed that the Jews ceased to be God’s ‘chosen people’ when they rejected Jesus Christ. Instead they understood the church to be the new Israel.”
Modern Christianity has reversed Christ’s vision and replaced their Saviour with the secular state of Israel. If God had warned that those opposing His obedient people of ancient Israel would be cursed, what can modern “Christian” Zionists expect when they set the disobedientmodern Israel (still under the curse of the diaspora) against the Christians in the Middle East (by powerfully propagandizing against the leaders who protect them) and even participate in the persecution by clandestine support of “moderates” who would force sharia law on these Christians or even banish them?
How ironic that people calling themselves Christians would ignore Christ’s words regarding Israel and turn back to the pre-Christian Old Testament to defend the policies of a warlike country that rejects their Saviour.
Does anyone in America stand for Jesus any more? Anyone?