When we believe something will happen we subconsciously help bring it about. This is true even for beliefs about bad things happening to us. On a personal level this can lead us into one bad relationship after another, one poor business decision after another. I shudder to think what it can do on an international level.
Many Christians are caught up in a millennialist fervor that includes some specific beliefs about how the world is going to end. They are convinced that there will be a final battle between good and evil called Armageddon. According to their beliefs, Jesus will only come again to rule over a perfect world of peace after this battle takes place. So are they subconsciously helping to fulfill the prophecy – or their understanding of it?
During the Cold War Era, many were convinced that Armageddon would be an epic battle between the Christian west and godless communism. Now that communism is no longer the threat it was, they need a new nemesis. Islam has been given that role. Whether they want it or not, Muslims are given a part in the prophetic vision as interpreted by some Christian millennialists.
Because the fulfillment of the prophecy requires a powerful enemy, those who hold to that prophetic vision are not served by the bridging of cultures and the building of mutual respect for other faiths. For them it is easier to live in the strife than to accept the idea that their belief is wrong.
As a progressive Christian, the more urgent and more difficult challenge is to reach out to the fervent millennialists before they bring about their vision of Armageddon. We need to cast a different vision, one without a need for enemies and wars.