A trend I've been observing for quite some time now, and one that is tangibly blatant here in Olongapo City/Subic Bay is that idea that: there are no Christian extremists. We aren't like Muslims after all. We have the Truth in our midst. If we are mistreated, it's because the world hates Christians.
Hmmm… perhaps we had better think this through a little bit.
My brother posted a discussion re: Norway's shootings and the media being certain to label Breivik as a "Christian extremist", and the backlash this is generating. According to some believers, this is outrageous and the people only want to portray Christians as evil manipulators. REAL Christians would NEVER commit such a crime! REAL Christians aren't capable of extremism.
That in itself is a form of extremism.
Here in the Philippines, customers demanding sex wear crosses all the time. Yeah sure they know Christ! They're god-fearing men with wives and children! They work hard and deserve a little play time! If these people are selling flesh, then by all means — take. Good fruit, right?
No extremism indeed.
When a class of people calling themselves believers maintain that it's their right and choice to take sex and power from an oppressed people group, that's extremism especially if they are deliberately and knowingly doing so with the justification of abusing the freedom we now have in God's grace. Yes, a Christian commited a heinous crime. Can the media twist this for its own ends? Of course! It's the media. That's what it does.
To declare that the media is doing so because "the world hates Christians" is a cop out. It gives imperfect people justification under faith to explain away evil things that they do. Like the johns down here in SE Asia who are all upstanding citizens in their home countries, Christians are human and fallible to legalism, moralism, fatalism, materialism, racism, doctrinism, or any other -ism you can name. These -isms oppress, hurt, kill, exploit, and have nothing to do with the character of God.
As Christians, if we maitain that this is impossible for there to be Christian extremists, perhaps we need to dig around history a little bit again? Or for me right now… walk into the nearest bar and watch the liberties Christians take with other people groups.
We are not above atrocity. If it were not so, we would not be so admonished and warned repeatedly throughout the Old and New Testaments to be on guard, to watch out, to treasure the grace in which we now stand, and to get it through our thick heads that it is in no way acceptable to go on sinning so that grace may increase.
I'm glad the world knows Breivik is a Christian. We need to learn grace for our own brother, as well as learn that not all backlash against believers is because of Christ.
Sometimes, it's because we are the wrongdoers and we are the ones hurting those around us.