Is America the Great Satan?
The regular accusation by radical Muslims across the Islamic world is that America is “the Great Satan.” Surely they say this because of what they see in the United States that they find wrong. They believe that America is full of corruption, immorality, debauchery, licentiousness, and unspeakable perversion. Additionally, they think that this country is opposed to Islam on many fronts, that it supports the Muslim enemy of Israel, and that there is little good in the nation. They oppose the principle of freedom and insist that entire nations should be ruled by the Koran and Sharia Law. Many Muslims do appreciate the technological advancements and the abundant resources in America, but this is not sufficient for them to overlook the wickedness they find in the country.
Is America “the Great Satan”? This may be answered in more than one way. The term, “Satan,” in itself, comes from the Greek satanas, “a Greek form derived from the Aramaic,” and it means “an adversary” (W. E. Vine, Expository Dictionary). In the Bible, Satan refers to the arch-enemy of God, a supernatural spiritual personality that opposes righteousness and the God of righteousness. He is also known as the “devil,” a word from the Greek diabolos, meaning “an accuser, a slanderer” (Vine). This is a frequent designation (cf. Matthew 4:5; James 4:7). Satan is referred to as “the tempter” (Matthew 4:3), since he tempts mankind to violate the will of God and sin. The follower of Christ must resist him (1 Peter 5:9) and not be ignorant of his schemes (Ephesians 6:11; 2 Corinthians 2:11). Indeed, Satan is our malicious enemy, “the prince of the power of the air” and “the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2).
Therefore, America cannot be considered Satan embodied. America is a nation, whereas Satan is an evil spirit. Yet, we must admit that most of the citizens, those who do not know God, are following the ways of Satan. Jesus went so far as to say that most people are children of Satan (John 8:44) and John said the same (1 John 3:8, 10). The devil definitely is “working” in most of the American citizens, as he is in citizens of every other nation on earth. The apostle John plainly says the truth when he wrote, “The whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19).
We must conclude that the Muslim claim that America is “the Great Satan” is only a half truth. If they mean by this that America is the “adversary” of Islam (taking the term in its real meaning), even this also is a half truth. America is a land of liberty and freedom and doesn’t oppose any religion, per se. This country opposes the radical elements of Islam that are intent on terroristic acts of violence, and only in this sense is it an adversary of Islam. Since America values and promotes freedom, they oppose the restrictions and oppression found in most Islamic lands. (Studies indicate that Islamic nations are among the greatest persecutors of professing Christians.)
Let’s stop for a moment, however, and consider further why devoted Muslims (not just the terroristic brand) might oppose America. It is why they would oppose all Western nations and many others as well. When we consider the kind of life, convictions, and standards that devoted and sincere Muslims hold, it is not surprising that they would not agree with America and what they find in this nation. Notice, we are not speaking of hypocritical and liberal Muslims here (who do not follow the dictates of the Koran), but those people who are sincere in their Islamic faith. Put yourself in the shoes of such a Muslim and consider how you would view life in the United States:
1. In America, adultery is commonplace.
a. In Muslim lands, adultery is a criminal offense!
b. True Christians would agree and recognize that adultery is a sin that will keep one from the Kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-10) and bring the wrath of God (Ephesians 5:3-7).
2. In America, sodomy or homosexuality has increased and gained respectability, with an increasing number of states recognizing the perversion of “homosexual marriage”!
a. In Muslim lands, homosexuality is denounced as a criminal offense!
b. True Christians would agree that sodomy (homosexuality or lesbianism) is an abomination (Romans 1:26-27) and will prevent one from entering God’s Kingdom (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).
3. In America, pornography is not only legalized but has become a vast business enterprise, with major segments of the population following this moral filth.
a. In Muslim lands, pornography is considered a grave sin.
b. True Christians would agree that pornography manifests lusts that degrades marriage (Hebrews 13:4) and will bring judgment (Matthew 5:27-30; Romans 1:24).
4. In America, crime of many kinds is taken lightly, with criminals given light sentences.
a. In Muslim lands, criminals are often subjected to quick and serious punishment (even to the point of unreasonable punishment, in some cases).
b. True Christians recognize that God has appointed the state to punish all criminal activity, and is “an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil” (Romans 13:4).
5. In America, feminism is running rampant, with women demanding equality with men in every sphere of private and public life.
a. In Muslim lands, women are greatly restricted and prohibited from having domination over men, to the point that they are oppressed.
b. True Christians do recognize that the man is the head of the woman (1 Corinthians 11:3) and the husband has authority over the wife (Ephesians 5:22-27; 1 Peter 3:1; Colossians 3:18), yet there is an equality of access to God and blessings in Christ (Galatians 3:28).
6. In America, nudity of various kinds is practiced by the vast majority of the citizens.
a. In Muslim lands, women must be fully clothed and immodesty is severely condemned and punished.
b. True Christians do promote purity and modesty in appearance, of both men and women (1 Timothy 2:9-10; 1 Peter 3:3-4; Matthew 5:27-30).
7. In America, drinking and drunkenness is protected by law (except while driving), and the majority of the citizens do consume alcohol.
a. In Muslim lands, alcoholic consumption is prohibited.
b. True Christians strongly assert that those who fall into drunkenness will not inherit God’s kingdom (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).
8. In America, all kinds of religions are tolerated and the government is no longer interested in acknowledging God.
a. In Muslim lands, Allah reigns supreme and he is thought to be the most important consideration of life.
b. True Christians strongly oppose all religions that are not in harmony with the truth of Jesus Christ and they believe that God should be acknowledged in every sphere of public life (although they would deny that the Islamic god is a true belief of the Scriptural God whose Son, Jesus Christ, died for our sins.
Every person who values truth and hates dishonesty must look at these facts and soberly ask himself, who is right here? Should I accept Islam in light of the fact that some elements in the Islamic world are more righteous than those practiced in America? Should I condemn Islam in light of the fact that they may have a better perspective of some things than many Americans do? If we side with America and oppose Islam in these things, we are opposed to God who reveals His will in His Word.
On the other hand, we must not go to the other extreme and condone everything that Muslim nations practice! The Christian is able to stand aloof from nationalistic prejudice that would cause him to be biased in favor either of the United States or of the Islamic nations. They are able to view everything more objectively, in accordance with the truth of God. Notice the following aspects of Islam that the follower of Jesus Christ must reject:
1. False prophet. By a false prophet, we refer to a prophet or one who claims to be a prophet but who stands for the false or teaches falsehood. Since Muhammad taught false doctrine, the Word of God would identify him as a false prophet. (1 John 4:1-6)
2. False religion. Since the religion of Islam is built on a false prophet, this would say that its very foundation is false, and the religion itself thereby collapses. (1 Corinthians 3:11)
3. False standard. Since the religion of Islam is built on a false prophet, the book that Muslims claim came through him is faulty. The book itself comes from a generation after the time of Muhammad, and there are numerous logical contradictions in it. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
4. False teaching. Muslims flatly reject that Jesus is the Son of the living God. They reject the fact that He died on the cross for our sins and was resurrected from the grave. They utterly oppose the truth that Jesus is the only way to God in heaven.
5. Polygamy. Although Muhammad had numerous wives and promoted polygamy, a Muslim man today must not have more than four of them. (Genesis 1:26-27)
6. Paradise. The Islamic paradise is filled with sensual pleasures and numerous wives for each faithful Muslim. In the true paradise, there is no marriage and no selfish indulgence. (Revelation 21:8, 27)
7. Oppression. Islamic oppression of women is well-known.
8. Slavery. One of the greatest promoters of slavery in the past has been Muslim nations.
9. Opposition to liberty. Although the way of Christ does not force anyone to accept the teachings of Christ, we know that faithful Muslims promote full Sharia Law, with all of its harsh restrictions.
10. Submission rather than love. Islam means “submission” and, indeed, true Christianity wholeheartedly teaches submission and obedience to the living God and Jesus Christ who has all authority (Matthew 28:18). But a self-giving, sacrificial love is noticeably missing in the Muslim belief system and lifestyle, the very principle that Jesus taught so much.
11. Violence. Muhammad extended his influence through the power of the sword. Throughout the following centuries, Muslims spread across the Middle East, North Africa, and as far as Spain through the barbaric use of the sword. Even today, “radical” terrorists kill tens of thousands of innocent people in the name of their religion. The teaching of jihad (holy war) says that war should be waged against enemies of Islam.
Obviously, we don’t want to give an exhaustive treatment of this issue. Our purpose here has been to show how false the Muslim claim that America is “the Great Satan” is and to show that Satan is very active in both America as well as all of the Islamic lands. He holds the entire world in his malicious and deceptive control (1 John 5:19). Every person on earth is influenced by the devil until he is liberated from this diabolical grasp through the power of God in the person of Jesus Christ.
The Christian must realize that it is not part of God’s will for him to bring violence on either America or Muslim countries. The true believer in Christ does not exercise judgment but is peaceful in nature (Matthew 5:9, 38-44; 26:52). While God opposes sin in every nation on earth, He is the One who will decide when to bring judgment—and this He will do in His own good time and in His own way. When Jesus returns in judgment, “in flaming fire,” He will deal out retribution “to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-8), and this applies to ever person on earth in every nation on earth—whether it be the United States, Iran, Iraq, the Sudan, or Egypt.
Jesus Christ declared, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6). He is the only way that Muslims (as well as Hindus, Jews, Buddhists, and false “Christians”) may be saved from sin and find eternal joy in God’s presence. Jesus has said, “If the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36). He offers true freedom from sin, false religion, and nationalism when one is willing to come to Him in repentant faith expressed in baptism.
America is definitely not “the Great Satan”—but Satan is active in the life of every person who refuses to bow the knee to Jesus Christ and confess Him as living Lord, wherever he or she lives.