05 July 2013
First Knight: Themes of Islam and Christianity
Yesterday, I was listening to a lecture from Ravi Zacharias, the excellent apologist and evangelist. He was sharing a discussion he had with a Muslim individual who pointed out that Islam was the fastest growing religion in the world. Zacharias responded to the effect that it was the fastest growing forced religion in the world and that if the leaders would take their feet off the neck of their people, its growth would cease. Indeed, in many countries, compliance with Islam is the law and failure to comply results in death. Indeed, if someone converts to another religion they are killed if they do not manage escape.
As I thought about this teaching on my walk this morning, I began thinking about the 1995 movie, First Knight, starring Richard Gere, Sean Connery, and Julia Ormond. The movie is based upon the legend of Arthur of Camelot and essentially focuses on the love triangle between King Arthur, Sir Lancelot, and Lady Guinevere. However, there is also an important back story that involves another character by the name of Malagant. Malagant is a former member of the round table who has left Camelot to lead his own band of rebels, wreaking havoc on the countryside.
Malagant has gathered to himself a band of submissive followers who do exactly as he commands. In one scene, to demonstrate his power, he punches one of his right and men in the face and the man apologizes to him for having done wrong though he was blameless in the situation. Eventually, Malagant makes a move and briefly takes over Camelot through a strong show of power. He insists that might makes right. Out of love for their fallen king, however, the people of Camelot surge and oust Malagant.
The essence of Islam is submission--indeed the word Islam means submission. Many "converts" are added through forced compliance. In Islamic countries, failure to comply with Islam results in death. Conversely, Christianity is a religion of freedom. Christianity does not force converts. Indeed, we know that it cannot. Christianity is a religion of love. John 13:34-35 says "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."
In the movie, freedom and love triumph over forced submission and control. Arthur, in his sacrificial death for his people, defeats Malegant.
The same will prove true for Christianity and Islam.