What Daniel Shayesteh was before he became an apologist for Christianity drew an overflow crowd to the distinguished Himmelreich Library in Lewisburg. It isn’t too often that someone who was a radical Muslim aligned with the Free Islamic Revolutionary Movement that in 1979 was instrumental in the rise of Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini becomes a crusader for Jesus Christ.
After falling out politically with Khomeini and dodging death, Shayesteh fled to Turkey, where his Paulian journey to Christianity began. Exodusfromdarkness.org is Shayesteh’s ministry and website name that helps others, particularly Muslims, come to know Jesus. The site features a host of videos and books all by Shayesteh translated into several languages that documents his conversion story teeming with inspiration and plenty of fateful coincidence.
The Great Commission of Jesus Christ is clear, simple and direct: Preach the Gospel to all nations. Shayesteh has taken this mandate around the world in an era where many Christians can’t summon the energy to do so within their own families due to apathy or worse, indifference.
Christianity and Islam are worlds apart, no matter how some Christian theologians attempt to juxtapose the fraudulent sell that both “worship the same God.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Muslims, while they consider Jesus to be a great prophet, have always denied the Blessed Trinity and the sonship of Jesus Christ, His crucifixion and, of course, His resurrection. According to the Islamic holy book, the Quran, “Jesus was not but a servant upon whom we bestowed favor, and we made him an example for the Children of Israel” (43:59).
Unlike Christianity, which commands one to love thy neighbors as ourselves and to be our brother’s keeper, Islam’s overriding dogma is an up-front threat — conversion or death. Moreover, Muslims are allowed to lie to further the spread of Islam through what theY term, “taqiyya.”
Where are the Christian equivalents to ISIS, al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Boko Haram, Al-Shaabab, Hamas and Hezbollah, among others? Where are the videos of Christians beheading captives in Jesus’ name? How many Christian suicide bombers are blowing themselves up?
Juxtaposed, the distinctions are clear-cut: Christianity spreads peace, love and truth — Islam spreads violence, hate and deception. Christianity offers eternal life to those who follow Jesus, who alone is “the way, the truth and the life.” Islam brings eternal death to those who surrender to Allah, who is “the best of deceivers” (Quran 3:54). John’s Gospel (8:44) declares that “Satan is the father of lies,” and in the Book of Revelation (12:9) explains that he (Satan) “deceives the whole world.” One concludes Islam’s Allah is Satan. When questioned if he agreed, Shayesteh, who has collected his share of death threats, pointed out how Salman Rushdie’s “The Satanic Verses,” was anything but a novel.
Abiding by Sharia Law is to believe in honor killings and cliterectomies, and to curse Christianity and Judaism and call those who practice them “infidels,” has no place in America. Until we recognize that Islam is not a religion, but a political system of tyranny and oppression that cannot coexist with individual liberty — persecution and assaults on Christians will continue.
Islam is certainly a threat and potential violent adversary, but arguably it is the indoctrination of leftism that remains the greatest menace to the American way of life. Christians are nomads in a culture that has capitulated to the leftist creed of secularism where egotism and hedonism are life’s highest attributes.
The obsession with self permeates secularism to the exclusion of God. Secularists cannot grasp the triune God’s saving grace — where one converted Muslim clearly can and is fearless in sharing that message. This lack of grace has metastasized throughout the post-Christian West. In 1885, Pope Leo XIII in his prophetic encyclical “Immortale Dei,” forewarned that in a secular society humanity is turned against itself. The temporal is pitted against the spiritual and it uses accepted contemporary mores to justify immoral and disordered behaviors, as recent events continue to exhibit.
From the east comes another wave of fundamentalist Islamic crusaders intend on preying on our deliberate civilizational suicide. Over a millennium ago, Christendom battled an Islamic invasion and was able to stave off their offensive. Islam has returned and has found a docile and disappearing Christian civilization that has been replaced by a morally relativistic secular one.
Islamic jihadists do not possess the same power and influence of Christendom straying from its biblical orthodoxy. Christians must defend biblical values and stop avoiding controversy. The truth is often contentious and exiling it for harmony’s sake solves nothing. For as Shayesteh knows first-hand, the truth shall set you free.
Western civilization and the faith it is founded upon must rise from its doldrums and take Jesus’ Great Commission to heart, just like Daniel Shayesteh has done.
It’s the only answer.
(Maresca, a local freelance writer, composes “Talking Points” for each Sunday edition.)