The Great Apostasy, Terror And Islam’s Conversion Rates
The Great Apostasy
Perhaps the saddest and most devastating aspect of the last-days is what the Bible calls the Great Apostasy. The Bible teaches that in the last-days many of those who name the name of Jesus, who call themselves Christians, will turn away from the faith and even renounce Christ. Referring to this most horrific and chaotic period, Jesus said:
At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other. Matthew 24:10
Paul the Apostle warned the believers on more than one occasion not to be deceived into believing that Jesus had already returned. For until the Great Apostasy and the emergence of the Antichrist, the “Day of the Lord” – the return of Jesus, will not come.
Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction. 2 Thessalonians 2:3 NASB
But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, 1 Timothy 1:4 NASB
In this chapter we will examine how the dramatic growth of Islam may be tied into the coming Great Apostasy as well as the relationship between terror and the sucess of the Antichrist.
Islam’s Rise To Global Prominence
Because one of Islam’s core doctrines is faith in Allah’s absolute and complete sovereignty, many Muslims have had a hard time psychologically with the idea that Islam has had to play second fiddle to Christianity for such a long time. If Allah is all-powerful and Islam is his only religion, then why does Islam play such a secondary role to Christianity throughout the world? Why does Allah allow this? These are some of the things that many Muslims wrestle with. My speculation however, is that in the next few decades, as Islam begins to draw closer to bypassing Christianity as the worlds largest religion, the psychological boost to Islam will be tremendous. The psychological blow, on the other hand, for Christianity will be equally profound. Suddenly many Christians will be asking themselves, “If God is all powerful, then how can he allow Islam to in essence take over the world?” Muslims will triumphantly exclaim that it can no longer be said that Jesus Christ is the most influential man in human history, but rather Muhammad! There will be an atmosphere of excitement among Muslims that has not existed since the initial phases of Islam’s conquests. I don’t intend to be negative here, but I expect that we will see a “tipping point” just before Islam actually bypasses Christianity when there will be a sudden burst forward of bandwagon conversions and growth. At this time, the power of testimony will be a powerful tool for Muslims. As more and more westerners convert, the claims and challenges of Islam will become far more difficult for many western Christians to brush aside. Existing prejudices that have insulated many western Christians from actually having to face Islam as a relevant factor in the world will suddenly be stripped away as sincere and intelligent people that they know become Muslims. No longer will people be able to hide behind their prejudices and ignore Islam as a more primitive religion of a less cultured or less educated people. As such, many westerners will be forced to revisit the religion of Islam. Today in America, when the majority of people previously without religion come to accept monotheism and make a decision to follow God, most do not ever wrestle through which religion they should choose, but rather which denomination. As Islam grows in the West, such people will be forced to face this decision. Between the only two real choices, which will it be: Christianity or Islam?
We should expect at this time a frenzy among the Islamic community toward the goal of completing the task of Islamic world domination. The psychological boost that the Muslim world will experience will be tremendous. This exhilaration will only be heightened if during this time, anything happens to America which significantly weakens her as a world power. Admittedly, this is only speculation, but based on the apparent lack of any real significance of America in biblical prophecy, many prophecy teachers have argued that sometime prior to the last-days, America will suffer some form of significant decline in her place of prominence and power in the World. While I certainly do not hope for such a bleak scenario to unfold, the continual rise and fall of various world powers is a pattern as old and as predictable as the rising of the sun. Again, we are just speculating, but if these two factors did occur in a relative close proximity of time; the decline of America and the rise of Islam, then surely the vindication that Muslims have longed for would invigorate the Islamic movement throughout the world in a way that has never before been seen. The final goal line will suddenly be in sight for Muslims throughout the world. Observers of apocalyptic movements have consistently made the point that one of the most dangerous combinations in any individual is the feeling that God is absolutely on one’s side and the belief in a divine mandate to do violence. As such when atrocities occur under the Mahdi, it will be far easier to excuse and overlook them. In the eyes of Muslims, the last vestiges of infidel spiritual cancer will then be purged from the earth in preparation for an age of peace. Consider the following statement made in Ayatollah Ibrahim Amini’s Al-Imam Al-Mahdi: The Just Leader of Humanity. Referring to those who refuse to convert to Islam and submit to the Mahdi’s leadership over the earth, we read:
This group will indisputably be opposed to justice and will never give up their stubborn antagonism against any power. Such people will do anything against the promised Mahdi to protect their vested interests. Moreover, they will do anything within their power to demoralize and combat those who support the Imam (Mahdi). To crush the negative influence of this group there is no other solution except warfare and bloodshed. 1
The end, the final victory, which will feel as if it is at arm’s reach, will unquestionably the means. Anything, including blatant murder, will be excusable, so long as the goal of Islam’s vindication is finally achieved. The psychology here cannot be underestimated.
A Global Case of the Stockholm Syndrome
But beyond the emotional invigoration that we would expect to see among Muslims, we would also expect to see an equal measure of terror among those who do not wish to become Muslims. This brings us to another very important psychological factor that will likely come into play during the last-days: Terror. But even more specifically, it is what psychologists have labeled as “the Stockholm Syndrome”. Allow me to explain. Perhaps the oddest quality to the Antichrist Empire is that it is a both religious worship movement as well as a demonically inspired military machine hell-bent on crushing, devouring and trampling “the whole earth.” These two elements together seem at first like a completely incompatible combination. We in the West with our religious freedom view worship as a voluntary act of reverence and love directed toward the one whom we deem worthy of such worship. We see however, in the Book of Revelation, a hint of the mentality that will be present in the worshippers of Satan and the Beast. It says that “Men worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, ‘Who is like the beast? Who can make war against him?’” We see in the worshippers an “if you can’t beat him, may as well join him” mentality that is motivated by fear and terror. We see a clear example here of the Stockholm Syndrome. The Stockholm Syndrome is essentially a reference to the psychological dynamic that has been repeatedly observed where the one who has been held prisoner, abused or terrorized eventually identifies with and supports their captors or tormentors. A classic case in the United States was when newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army, only to have eventually joined their cause and even committing armed robbery of a bank. In the case of the future worshippers of the Beast, it is the trampled down and dominated, who eventually give in and worship their dominator. In utter awe, they will ask, “Who is like him?”
Not surprisingly then, many psychologists have made the observation that equate the behavior of victims of terrorism or other abuses with the behavior of those captives who have come to define the Stockholm Syndrome. The comparisons are quite fascinating as they relate to our discussion. In an article entitled The Stockholm Syndrome: Not Just For Hostages, we read:
The Stockholm Syndrome is an emotional attachment, a bond of interdependence between captive and captor that develops ‘when someone threatens your life, deliberates, and doesn’t kill you.’… The relief resulting from the removal of the threat of death generates intense feelings of gratitude and fear which combine to make the captive reluctant to display negative feelings toward the captor or terrorist. "The victims’ need to survive is stronger than his impulse to hate the person who has created his dilemma."… The victim comes to see the captor as a ‘good guy’, even a savior. 2
Should we be surprised then that the Stockholm Syndrome is at work in the terrorism plagued nation of Israel? George E. Rubin, in Commentary Magazine, May 2000 sees symptoms of the Stockholm Syndrome abundant among many in Israel:
After 50 years of unending conflict, most Israeli Jews seem to have concluded that the burden of maintaining their nation is just too difficult to bear. The country’s secular leftist elites–who control education, culture, the news media, and the government–blame the Jews for the Arabs‘ desire to destroy Israel, and the majority seems to be afflicted with the "Stockholm syndrome": though the victims of Arab hate, they identify with their oppressors. 3
Rubin is not alone in this observation. Aharon Megged, an Israeli novelist mirrors Rubins comments:
We have witnessed a phenomenon which probably has no parallel in history; an emotional and moral identification by the majority of Israel‘s intelligentsia with people openly committed to our annihilation. 4
Even as psychologists and intellectuals have observed the Stockholm Syndrome present among victims of Islamic terrorism in Israel and elsewhere, the Beast Empire led by the Antichrist will likewise inspire a global case of this syndrome. People will be overcome with a terror that will eventually lead to literally worshipping the Beast. The Tormentor will become the Savior.
Has It Already Begun?
This dynamic may be one of the primary reasons responsible for the explosion of conversions to Islam among westerners since 9-11. While common sense would tell us that 9-11 would have caused many to be repulsed by Islam, instead we see in many quarters just the opposite effect. We see this phenomenon in one young American woman’s “testimony” of how she converted to Islam. In a story from the New York Times about the “thousands” of converts to Islam after 9-11:
Shannon Staloch is not sure why, but upon hearing of the hijackings, she immediately grabbed a book from her backpack and recited the Arabic declaration of belief; she made the conversion official 12 days later. 5
The aspect of this story and many others like it that amazes me is the complete absence of any intellectual or spiritual reasons that many converts can lay their fingers on when examining their decision to convert. “Not sure why,” this woman simply felt the overwhelming need to convert to Islam upon hearing of the horrific murder of thousands of people in the name of the very religion that she was converting to. In Ms. Staloch’s case, Islamic “terror” had its desired effect. Certainly Usama Bin Laden would be pleased to hear the news.
In the last-days, terror will be increased a thousand fold. And the Bible makes it clear that terror will have its desired effect upon the inhabitants of the earth. “Who is like the beast? Who can make war against him? Why resist him? He is simply too powerful,” they will say. And the Bible says, “every tribe, people, language and nation – all inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast.”
The budding trends that we are seeing today – the conversion of the terrorized to the religion of the terrorists, will come to full fruition in the days to come as the Beast and his kingdom terrorize the whole earth in the name of his religion. So once again, we see that the methods of Terror and Fear utilized by the Antichrist and the methods of Islam are the same. The parallels and the psychology here cannot be ignored.
1. Ayatollah Ibrahim Amini, Al-Imam Al-Mahdi: The Just Leader of Humanity, Translated by Dr. Abdulaziz Sachedina
2. Dee L.R. Graham, Edna Rawlings, and Nelly Rimini, The Stockholm Syndrome: Not Just For Hostages, Available at http://www.yahoodi.com/peace/stockholm.html#howwel
3. George E. Rubin, Letters, Commentary Magazine, May 2000
4. Aharon Megged, Israeli novelist The Center for Ethnic Jewish Studies http://www.yahoodi.com/peace/stockholm.html#howwel
5. Jodi Wilgoren, The New York Times, October 22, 2001 Islam Attracts Converts by the Thousands, Drawn Before and After Attacks
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