Christianity began as a subculture to the existing culture and can be see as such in many areas of the world today. It can honestly be said, despite Western Civilization’s sometimes claim to the contrary, that there is no Christian culture, only cultures with Christian influences. For Islam, it is the only culture and it displaces the existing culture anyplace it takes hold in favor of itself.
Islam doesn’t redeem the evil aspects of the existing culture. If it can, if it has the power, it destroys everything seen through the eyes of Sharia as not Islamic in everything it touches. What happened in Afghanistan under the Taliban is not an aberration, but the action plan for the imposition of Islamic “peace” upon the world. That “peace” that lies at the heart of Islam’s imagined future only arrives after everyone and everything non-Islamic has been destroyed and Sharia (Islamic Law) rules the world. That is the Islamic “final solution” and the only way to “real peace” — death and destruction to everything not Islam, by either word (argument) or, as has been the most common occurrence, the sword (killing). That definition of peace and the means to reach it is what is taught by the clerics and theologians of Islam.
While “Christian” rulers have acted in similar ways throughout history, forcing their religious view of Christianity on everyone they had the power control, they were wrong to do so. Historic Christian clerics and theologians have never advocated the destruction of culture and the use of the sword as the final means of bringing the world under Christ. Indeed, at the heart of Christian theology is the absolute significance of the right and necessity of choice and the responsibility it bears.
At the heart of Christianity is agape, self-sacrificial love, and the period of time between the Resurrection and Second Coming is the time of salvation, a salvation that comes by hearing, preaching, and a sovereign act of grace by the Holy Spirit. While Christianity seeks to cover the earth with the Gospel, it has never presumed that it was to rule the world and destroy everything not Christian by word and the sword. That is not a Christian’s task. We are called to be witnesses. We are warriors only against spiritual evil. Paul makes this very clear.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12
Of course there were those who, enamored with power, have acted differently, but they can be honestly seen as denying the fundamental call of the faith, the parameters of the Great Commission, which demands we make disciples. We are called to conquer error by truth, not by killing those who disagree. Final judgment is left to God, not the Christian. Today (this age) is the day of salvation.
Islam has no such distinction. From the beginning of Mohammed’s conquests, to the sword being enshrined as a fundamental tool of Islamic conquest in the Qur’an and the Sunnah, Islam has sought absolute domination of the whole earth and everything that is in it. Nothing is to be left not Muslim. This was, is, and will be done, not by witness, though argument is allowed, not by grace, the free unmerited favor and forgiveness of sin, since that does not exist within Islam, but in the end by the edge of the sword wielded by the arm of an Islamic warrior.
As religions and as approaches to humanity and its many cultures, Christianity and Islam are radically different, as opposite as day is from night. It is important that we see the difference, as well as the intrinsic peril it holds for us and the world at large.