It is likely that throughout Christianity’s history, there were faithful followers who embraced the peaceful teachings of the religion’s namesake Jesus Christ, unless they were advocates of the Crusades and Inquisition or Americanized Christians. One thing is certain, Christians would never, never ever, advocate or approve of the alleged Islamic teaching that any human who refused to convert to Islam warranted being killed. However, if they are Duck Dynasty patriarch and self-proclaimed Christian theologian Phil Robertson, they embrace the “convert or be killed” mindset; particularly to deal with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
In a previous article, this column noted the barbarism of ISIS is only slightly dissimilar to American brutality borne of war criminal George W. Bush’s unwarranted invasion and destruction of two sovereign Muslim nations. Apparently, ISIS utilizing America’s war tactics caught the attention of Robertson and his Christian theology informs him it is time for America to embrace the ISIS tactics and religious ideology, and as a Christian nation issue an ultimatum to the Islamic terrorists to “convert or be killed.” Before condemning the duck call mogul’s version of Christian theology in dealing with non-believers, it is noteworthy that his version of Christianity is part and parcel of the religion’s foundation
Robertson was promoting his book when Sean Hannity asked “America’s preacher” to weigh in with his foreign policy insight on how America can best respond to radicalized Muslims in ISIS. Like a good preacher, Robertson promptly whipped out his trusty Christian bible and began citing scripture and verse. He read a passage from 1 John chapter 5 where he claimed god almighty divided the world into “two groups of people; the children of god, or Christians, and those under the power of the evil one” he claimed was ISIS and likely all Muslims. He also cited god’s words in Proverbs 8:36 that “all who hate me, love death.” The two scriptures led him to conclude that America has a simple foreign policy choice in dealing with George W. Bush’s spawn; “you either have to convert them, or kill them. One or the other.”
Now, it may appear there is an inherent disconnect between duck-boy’s so-called loving Jesus message of love for fellow man, and hypocrisy in embracing the ISIS ideology of “convert or kill” as conservatives’ favorite Christian, but there is an inconvenient truth, and a powerful message, in his interpretation of god’s word and peaceful Christian faith. A message that all Christians, and anyone familiar with the nearly any portion of the bible, including Jews and Muslims, knows is a theme throughout the Christian bible from Genesis through A Revelation. It is a message that the avatar of peace, love for fellow man advocate, and son of god used when he instructed his faithful disciples; nations of all the world will convert, believe and live, or they die.
Most Christians, particularly phony Americanized-Christians in the religious right movement, are aware of Old Testament god’s instructions to the “chosen ones” to exterminate any people, including entire nations, who rejected him, or heaven forbid worshipped another god. They are also aware that the same Jesus who preached that his followers were to “Love your enemies, do good to those that hate you” in Luke 6:27, and said in Matthew 26:52 that “all who take the sword will perish by the sword,” also warned that anyone who did not follow his commandments were doomed to die. In Mark 16:16, peace-loving Jesus said, “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned” and whether it was during the Crusades or in that strange concept of the afterlife, a person either converted or would be killed.
There is a similarly stark warning in John 3:16-18 that “whoever believes in him (Jesus) shall not perish but have eternal life, and whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned.” In Matthew 28:19 Jesus gave his disciples a command to go and “make disciples of all the nations, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” If the people of all the nations refused to comply and be made into disciples, be baptized, or obey all the things Jesus commanded, they must be killed sooner or later. Not unlike radical Islamists in ISIS, Christians during the Crusades and Inquisition, or Duck Dynasty’s resident theologian who asserted that if Muslims in ISIS, and likely all Muslims, do not convert, you kill them.
Now, the idea of killing non-believers is world’s apart from Jesus words “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of god,” but it is beyond dispute that the concept of killing, either now or later, any person that does not accept conversion is not unique to what many believe is the primary tenet of Islam. It is, in fact, the primary tenet of any religion founded on so-called “Abrahamic” faith of which Islam is just one of many; including Christianity. As vile as Duck-boy Robertson’s appraisal of how best to deal with radicalized Muslims in ISIS, or ISIS itself adhering to the “convert or be killed” ideology, they are both founded on and function as the major theme of the entire Christian bible. It is a death threat meant to coerce acceptance and obedience pronounced by both god of the Old Testament, Jesus of the Gospels, and apparently Muhammad of Islam.
This is not to say that all Christians adhere to the “convert or die,” or “obey or be condemned to eternal death” as a life strategy or a valid American foreign policy, but it is the basis for their religious devotion whether they admit it or not. No-one wants to pay the ultimate price for disobedience; especially if they lust to go to that bizarre concept of heaven for eternity. What Robertson did in espousing the “convert or be killed” remark was shine a light on his hypocritical claim that he loves humanity according to “Christ’s love,” particularly when he claimed he is “personally prepared for a gun fight with ISIS.”
Robertson, as a master theologian and loving Christian said he would rather sit down and have a bible study with members of ISIS than kill them, and one wonders why he is not on the first flight to Northern Iraq with his handy pocket bible to test his faith and resolve. Likely, it is because whether he met radical Islamists with a bible or a gun, he knows full well he would be summarily slain because ISIS is well-versed, and practiced, in the biblical and Duck Dynasty Christian policy of convert or be killed. Unlike Robertson, their actions speak louder than words and they are unafraid and more than happy to execute their interpretation of the Abrahamic faith.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.