An online group devoted to the spread of Islam, Mahdi Unite Muslims, has figured out a way to convert America and the West in general: Promote the Shiite practice of mutah (temporary marriage).
Marriage in Islam is essentially conducted as an agreement between the two parties. Men may have multiple wives, and in some countries a man may divorce his wife simply by telling her three times, "I divorce you." Many in Shiite Islam-the variety practiced in Iran, much of Iraq, and by Hezbollah terrorists-allow temporary marriages that exist only for a predetermined time period, which may be for less than a day. They require a dowry, or bride gift, from the man, and the following spoken formula: The woman says, "I marry myself to you for the specified dowry (mention the amount) and for the specified time period (mention the time period)." Then the man says: "I accept."
This allows some pious Shiite men to have one-night stands, keep mistresses, and frequent prostitutes.
We must emphasize that the larger part of Islam, the Sunnis, rejects this practice. That some Shiites indulge in mutah is one reason the Sunnis consider them to be heretical and immoral.
But for Mahdi Unite Muslims, a Shiite group that looks for the second coming of the messianic "Mahdi" who is to usher in a global caliphate, mutah can be the key to winning over the West to Islam.
The historian Timothy Furnish quotes an enthusiastic proponent saying, "When non-Muslim men learn that they can honorably have more women," they "will flock to Shi'ah Islam. . . . This will cause a chain reaction of conversion to Islam from all corners. Even Sunnis will come to Shi'ah Islam because they want women. . . . It is the secret weapon of the last days to bring the world to Shi'ah Islam."
Could Shia Islam become the religion of choice for a sex-crazed culture? Oddly enough, people in our culture today, despite their rampant sinning, tend to prefer religions of law to the gospel of Christ. But they want a law that can justify them; that is, one that is easy to perform and that does not restrict their behavior. For example, it is not enough for many homosexuals to hear that they can find forgiveness for their sin in the grace of God through Jesus Christ. Rather, homosexuals want to hear that they are not sinners, that they do not need forgiveness for what they do.
Now a branch of Islam offers people a way to be legalistic while still satisfying their sinful desires. It gives a person permission to sin, while also encouraging the additional pleasure of self-righteousness.
In terms the church growth experts use, a mutah-preaching Islam would eliminate obstacles to conversion and address people's felt needs. Our mega-churches may soon be competing with mega-mosques.
Comments? Email Ed Veith at firstname.lastname@example.org.