By Pio Amalraj
Pio Amalraj is a husband and father of three. He loves the Traditional Latin Mass and works in the IT industry as a Google Cloud Platform
Something momentous has happened recently that has gone under the radar for most Christians. While the pandemic raged across the globe and a U.S. Presidential election turned into political turmoil, a wall that stood as an impenetrable fortress against the Christian Faith for 1400 years was breached. The very platform of the Tech giants, one that promotes an environment hostile to Christian beliefs and stifles opposing Christian voices, has been instrumental for this “Walls of Jericho come crashing down” moment. The historic implications and aftermath of these events should embolden and energize Christians.
The genesis was September 11, 2001, when America woke up to the threat of Islamic Jihad and terror. Catholics and Orthodox, who had always understood Islam as a Christian heresy, encouraged an ecumenical approach to Islam in the hope of helping their faithful in Muslim-majority countries. These dialogues have borne fruit in some quarters but have been barren in most.
Evangelicals, at this first serious encounter with Islam, explored its tenets. They realized, to their dismay, the depth of Muslim missionary work and the converts gained in the West. But reading Islam with a Christian understanding of Creator, salvation, hell, heaven, prayer, and prophethood handicapped them from truly critiquing Islam. Islamic scholars engaged Evangelical ministers in debates and leveraged German Biblical Historical-Critical studies to attack the reliability of the Bible and the Christian doctrines of the Resurrection and Trinity. In most debates, the Christians were on the defensive, and Muslim missionaries widely circulated these debate videos and successfully won more adherents.
Islamic scholars claim no book could match the linguistic excellence, diction, and accurate preservation of the Arabic Koran, and no Christian or Jew in the East has ever disputed this claim. Evangelicals struggled to respond due to a lack of knowledge of Arabic and the history of Islamic dominance of Christian lands. In truth, Arabic speaking Christians living in Muslim countries know Islam very well but would not debate Muslims for fear of their person and property.
As the first decade of the new millennium wore away, a distinct anti-Christian undercurrent and a nexus of the Left and Islam emerged. The Syrian refugee crisis brought an influx of Islamic young men, with their hardcore beliefs, into Europe. Paired with the high birth rates of existing Muslim communities, it guaranteed an Islamic soft conquer of Western Christendom.
With the mainstream media promoting this bias and nexus, a new crop of non-denominational Gospel warriors took to alternate platforms. They specifically confronted Islam without the shackles of political correctness. They studied the Koran and Islamic theology. They debated Muslims and Islamic scholars. YouTube gave them a free platform (until they were deplatformed because Muslims complained of Islamophobia—a discussion for another day). Their volume of subscribers, views, comments, livestream show participants, and online financial support, especially from the millennials, was impressive.
These Gospel warriors understood that theologically, Islam is the nemesis of Christianity. Historically, when Islamic forces were militarily powerful, they subjugated non-Muslim lands by the edge of the sword. With the establishment of Western military dominance, the Islamic strategy had changed. Ever since the fall of the Ottoman empire, they employ the Christian admission of variants in the biblical manuscripts to declare the Bible as unreliable and corrupted. A billion-plus Muslims are indoctrinated to believe that the Jewish and Christian Scriptures are hopelessly corrupted and, therefore, Jews and Christians have lost their original revelation and need the final revelation of Islam. They are taught that the copy of the Koran they hold today is “word for word” exactly as it was revealed to their prophet Muhammad and is perfectly preserved.
The question of Gospel manuscript variants has been a stumbling block for Christians, especially in the face of the Islamic assertion that their Koran has been miraculously preserved from day one thereby confirming that their faith is the true one. During Christian YouTube live streams, the Muslim callers and debaters never fail to use this line of attack on the Gospel to silence the Christians.
In academic circles, however, Western secular scholars, who applied the tools of Historical Criticism to the Koran, had discovered variants and recensions. But it was a closely guarded secret. They would not dare speak of it due to death threats. Through Divine Providence, Gospel warriors picked up their research. Some Gospel warriors who were ex-Muslims travelled to Muslim countries and collected different Arabic versions of the Koran. They confidently confronted Muslim missionaries in Speaker’s Corner, London, and through YouTube, with the variant Arabic Korans. They highlighted the variant Arabic verses and would no more permit the standard Islamic excuse: “It is a mere variant translation.”
In the midst of the 2020 pandemic and the height of the election campaign, the Gospel warriors stayed laser focused on the Islamic claims: (1) the only miracle of their prophet Muhammad is the Koran, (2) the Koran’s miraculous preservation is proof enough of its Divine origin, (3) the original seventh-century Koranic manuscripts are preserved in Turkey and Tashkent, (4) the current Koran exactly matches the originals. Since many former Christians have lost their faith and converted to Islam by the above Dawah (Muslim missionary) script, even at alarming rates, they confronted these claims relentlessly, with proofs.
With all the makings of a Dan Brown novel, the Islamic scholars and missionaries continued the coverups and tried to deny outright or attempt to deplatform the Christians by complaining of Islamophobia and still worse, dox them. Doxing is the publication of someone’s true identity and address, thereby exposing them to the risk of assassination.
Learning of variants in their scriptures caused consternation and shock among the Muslim ummah (Muslim body of believers). This forced one of their most popular YouTube missionaries, Muhammad Hijab, to question American Islamic scholar Yasir Qadhi about the veracity of Christian claims that the Koran has variant manuscripts. During the livestream event, Yasir Qadhi tried to evade and obfuscate. But finally pushed into a corner, he confessed that the “Standard narrative has holes in it.”
That is, the standard narrative of the Koran being unchanged and eternal, has holes in it. He conceded, regarding non-Muslim Koran scholars, that “their knowledge of Arabic and the Koran has increased by leaps and bounds” and they know that the “Emperor has no clothes”—that is, the claim of perfect preservation of the Koran is a myth. This concession by Yasir Qadhi exploded in the YouTube world among Gospel warriors and Muslim missionaries.
The fallout of this confession has just now started. Thousands and thousands of Muslims are crying out that their faith is destroyed. This is the “Tsunami of Apostasy” nightmare the Islamic scholars feared and worked against for the past few decades in the West. Now it is unleashed. The Gospels were not dictated by an angel to the Evangelists. The Gospels do not make such claims. The Eternal, Uncorrupt Word of God is Jesus Christ himself. The Muslims, however, believe that the Koran is eternal and a heavenly copy of the Koran was revealed to their prophet Muhammad and this copy is miraculously preserved. This miraculous preservation is the ONLY proof of the Divine origin of the Islamic faith.
Many Muslims are converting to Christianity today because of the hard work of the online Gospel warriors. Many are turning atheist. This is the first moment in the past 1400 years when Christianity put Islam on the defensive.
When the Christian Faith was strong in Europe, incoming new populations were successfully converted to the Faith and integrated into the life of the Church. Today, our Islamic brothers and sisters in the West, and through them the others in the Muslim lands, can be brought to Christ. Imagine a world where Islam is no longer the nemesis of Christianity and where devout Muslims turn to Christ? These new converts and the fire of their new Faith and evangelism will change the world—especially the West.
Are we stuck in our political world, ruminating on losses, or will we join the Gospel phenomenon exploding right in front of our eyes? If we Catholics have the fullness of the Faith, what role should we play? There is much we can do for the Kingdom of God. Where is the Catholic zeal and missionary spirit?
YouTube and other streaming platforms have provided a paradigm shift in the missionary battlefield. Is this the New Evangelization Pope John Paul II predicted? We Catholics, with our sheer numbers, could mobilize into a force that sways these platforms for the Kingdom. If Catholics and Evangelicals can align together for political causes, how better can we work together for the Kingdom?