Fundamentalist Christianity and Fundamentalist Islam Are Very Different

Peter Heck
Peter Heck is a speaker, author and teacher.

It was just a few weeks ago that ABC's chief political analyst Matthew Dowd made headlines with an infamously ignorant tweet stating, "The most Christian folks I know are atheists." It revealed that Dowd harbored an astounding misunderstanding of what Christianity even is, which is quite a feat in 2017 – particularly for someone who claims to belong to the group as Dowd does.

Last Wednesday, Dowd was back for more, opining, "A fundamentalist radical Christian is just as misguided and frightening as a fundamentalist radical Muslim. No difference."

Somewhere, even radical atheist liberal Bill Maher choked on his tongue reading that hot take. Dowd is either guilty of inexcusable ignorance or blatant deception. Neither reflects well on his character, his intellect, nor his employer at ABC.

"Fundamentalist" Christianity was something that became defined around the turn of the 20th century by figures like D.L. Moody and B.B. Warfield, and it centers around the embrace and promotion of five key principles:

  1. The literal truth of the Bible; that it is the inspired word of the living God, inerrant and without contradiction.
  2. The virgin birth of Jesus.
  3. The substitutionary death of Jesus on the cross.
  4. The physical resurrection of Jesus from the grave.
  5. The prophetic promise of Jesus' second coming sometime in the future.

This is the foundation of "fundamentalist" Christianity. Presumably then, a "fundamentalist radical Christian" is one who believes those five things with conviction and passion to the point that they are willing to sacrifice all earthly gains and pleasures to teach and preach such a message. This, to an unbelieving world, would certainly appear "radical" just as Jesus Himself did.

In the modern world, that manifests in different ways. A radical Christian is one who finds a way to stand in torrential rains outside an abortion clinic day in and day out to pray for the scared women who think murdering the child that bears their genes and God's image is their only option.

A radical Christian is one who sells her property and possessions, flies across the ocean to serve the starving children in Calcutta.

A radical Christian is one who is willing to face the arrows of false accusation and the flames of cultural contempt to teach the world to obey everything Christ commanded us.

Fundamentalist radical Islam is something utterly dissimilar. It is predicated around the idea that Islam must have worldly power. Where the Christian understands that God already has all power and are therefore focused on building His spiritual kingdom, radical Muslims believe the truth of Islam is manifest in its earthly power and prestige. Fundamentalist Islam is rooted in a text diametrically at odds with the Holy Bible.

While Jesus specifically states that His kingdom is "not of this world, otherwise my servants would fight," and while the Apostle Paul painstakingly points out that Christians do not fight their battles as those of "flesh and blood" but instead war against "proud notions and arguments that set themselves up against the knowledge of God," the Quran and Hadith promote something completely different.

They call for the political empowerment of Islam at all costs – the imposition of Muhammad's vision for the organization and conduct of worldly kingdoms. A fundamentalist radical Muslim views this as a sacred end to be pursued by whatever means necessary.

Anecdotally evidenced, this is why Dowd's employer ABC can show images of a Jesus crucifix in a jar of urine that some buffoon called art, but can't show images of a cartoon Muhammad.

That this appallingly obvious reality seems lost on Dowd is an embarrassing commentary on his grasp of two of the world's most significant belief systems – one of which he even claims to adhere to personally.

ABC was humiliated years ago when one of their hires, loudmouth commentator Rosie O'Donnell, opined that, "radical Christianity is just as dangerous as radical Islam." It appears that even with Rosie gone, her clownish rhetoric lives on in the mind and keyboard of the network's chief political analyst. That's shameful.

Peter Heck is a speaker, author and teacher. Follow him @peterheck, email or visit

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