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A Layman's Guide to World War III - Christianity
By Kevin Filan

Religions:    Christianity | Judaism | Hinduism | Shi'a Islam | Sufism | Wahhabism

Left Behind, an apocalyptic series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, has sold over 45 million copies; Hal Lindsey's Late Great Planet Earth has sold some 30 million. Speculation on the End Times has been popular in America since the Pilgrims; even today over 40% of all Americans believe that the world will end at Armageddon as per the Book of Revelation. This has had a profound effect on America's foreign policy in the Middle East. According to most of these "Prophecy Scholars," the Messiah can only come when Jerusalem is ruled by the Jews. This is combined with a deep-seated fear of Islam and a perception that all Moslems are the undying enemies of all things Christian. As a result, Evangelical and Fundamentalist Christians tend to be passionately devoted supporters of Israel. (For their part, the Israelis welcome the support, although they could live without the belief that all Jews will convert to Christianity before the Messiah comes and the attendant missionary efforts.)

Christianity is a proselytizing religion, which not only welcomes converts but actively seeks them out. Since Islam also seeks converts, the two faiths were bound to collide at some point. Much of the Islamic world believes the current conflict is a battle between Christianity and Islam - a conception which was only strengthened by George W. Bush's reference to a "crusade" against terrorism. These tensions may well get worse should the U.S. become involved in war in Somalia. U.S. troops will likely be stationed in Ethiopia and Kenya, both of which are majority Christian nation: this could well be seen as one more sign of a Christian superpower attacking defenseless Moslems.

There are still substantial Christian communities in Lebanon and Egypt. By tradition, Lebanon's Prime Minister is always a Maronite Christian, while the President is a Sunni Moslem and the National Assembly Speaker a Shi'ite Moslem. There are also a fair number of Palestinian Christians, particularly in Bethlehem and Nazareth: they appear to live in relative peace and harmony among Moslem Palestinians, although there have been scattered reports of incidents between the groups. More dangerous Christian/Moslem hotspots can be found in Nagorno-Karabakh, an enclave of Christian Armenians located in territory claimed by Moslem Azerbaijan. Since Nagorno-Karabakh declared independence in 1992, it is estimated that some 16,000 people have been killed; hundreds of thousands have lost their homes. There has also been ongoing strife between the Moslem Chechens and Ingush and the (nominally) Orthodox Christian Russians: as always, these battles owe as much to ethnic and cultural differences as to doctrinal disputes.

http://www.goarch.org/access/orthodoxy/
About Orthodox Christianity

http://www.vatican.va
Official Vatican Webpage

http://mb-soft.com/believe/txc/protesta.htm
Protestantism

Kevin Filan is a freelance contributor to hybrid based in New York. Last month, Kevin wrote a piece entitled The Thermonuclear Men's Club.

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