Book Review - Inside the Revolution: How the Followers of Jihad, Jefferson and Jesus Are Battling to Dominate by Joel C. Rosenberg
I got the chance to read Inside the Revolution: How the Followers of Jihad, Jefferson & Jesus Are Battling to Dominate by Joel C. Rosenberg recently, which was a real treat. Rosenberg spends most of his time analyzing Middle East affairs from the perspective of end-times Christian theology. He's also written a number of political novels centered around Islamic themes, many of which have been eerily played out for real on the world stage, often only months after the book has been released. Inside the Revolution is a non-fiction analysis of what is happening in the Islamic Revolution, what mindsets are driving the power struggle, and what it means for the US and other world powers. While you may not agree with all the conclusions, Inside the Revolution will add to your overall education of the situation.
The three main breakdowns here are as follows:
The Radicals - "Islam is the answer, and Jihad is the way"
The Reformers - "Islam is the answer, but Jihad is not the way"
The Revivalists - "Islam is not the answer, and Jihad is not the way; Jesus is the way"
Our media tends to focus on the first, as it's the most sensationalistic. Rosenberg lays a solid groundwork for the theology behind jihad, and how it is justified. He also makes it easy to understand why this radical form of Islam is so appealing to those of a young age, who want to strike back at the injustices they see leveled at their countries and belief systems. He also goes deeper than typical media coverage, explaining how the "Twelfth Imam" theology of Iran's president makes that country an especially destabilizing force to those around them. By the time I finished reading the Radicals chapter, I had a pretty good understanding as to how and why this form of Islam presents such dangers to the world.
The Reformers section presents a less-often seen view of Islam, the picture of Islam as a peaceful religion, and one that wants to work with and coexist peacefully with those around them. Again, Rosenberg does a thorough job in explaining both the theological basis for this form, as well as the thoughts and views of those who follow this path and are influential within the leadership of Islamic countries. I had a hard time remembering that these individuals are truly putting their lives on the line each day, walking and breathing targets to those who would view them as mistaken and dangerous to the Islamic cause.
Finally, Rosenberg presents the Revivalists, those who are followers of Jesus, and who worship Christ at great cost and danger on a daily basis. These followers are viewed as true heretics by the Radicals, and have little to no protection under Islamic law concerning their lives or freedoms. This is also the group you never see portrayed in mainstream media. It's only in books like this that you realize that the Christian church does exist in the Muslim world, and despite tremendous persecution, continues to grow and change lives.
My biggest complaint about the book is that the American responses as painted by Rosenberg still seem to be largely divided on Republican and Democratic party lines. The standard conservative views tend to prevail, with Republicans being the strongest force to fight Radicals, and Democrats being far too willing to talk and concede until it's too late. Personally, I feel both sides have made numerous mistakes, and I am unable to view all of the Republican stances and actions as pure and well-meaning. But even with that, Inside the Revolution still succeeds as one of the few books available today that paints a comprehensive view of the faces of Islam, and it's well worth reading to enhance your understanding of what's at stake in the coming years.