Islam's Image Problem
The post-9/11 idea of Islam in America is lot of things, none of them very positive... I have been asked with a straight face why I would want to talk to a Muslim. This question was asked by a Christian. I don't know what kind of Christian has so little love for people that they can't see the value in nearly 25% of the entire world population (an immature one?). I talked to a minister who was on deputation to raise money to go to the Middle East as a missionary to a predominately Muslim country and he couldn't get a single church in his district to even schedule him for a presentation. This was after he was commissioned by the international headquarters of the organization and given their stamp of approval. He told me that several churches in his district held to the belief that there was no hope of salvation for Muslims. In their mind, they are the enemies of God, of America, of Christianity, and of everyone in the Western world.
Why is this idea of Islam prevalent among many Christians in some areas of the U.S. and other Western countries, especially given this is such a clearly anti-Christian attitude? What do these people really think about Muslims?
Is this really what Islam and Muslims are all about?
The short answer is no.
The more technically correct answer is sometimes...
This is an undeniably complicated issue and I won't pretend that we can even begin to scratch the surface in this short blog post. We will, however, have a better understanding of the issue than we did when we began.
How Should We React to Islam?
In light of the current strained relationship between Christianity and Islam (some of which is based on fact, but most of which is based on misinformation), it is of utmost importance that Christians maintain a Christlike attitude both in our dealings with the Muslim community and in the way we talk about Islam, whether publicly or privately. Unfortunately, the reactions I have seen most often from the Christian community, especially the religious right, is not healthy, well-informed, or aligned with the mission of the cross. The tendency is to:
I have three serious issues with these reactions:
As Christians, our number one concern should be that our actions and reactions are aligned with the Great Commission and grounded firmly in the Greatest Commandment.
The People of the Book
There are three distinct groups of people who Muhammed considered to be "The People of the Book". Let's take a look at his beliefs regarding those religious groups and how they relate to one another. (These general beliefs began to change after the death of Muhammed and vary wildly to this day, although the majority of the world's 2 billion Muslims are not hostile to Christianity or Judaism.)
Common Ground with Muslims
There are many commonalities shared between Christians and Muslims, both in social values and religious beliefs. This is where we can truly connect with those of the Muslim faith. Here are just a few of those values/beliefs.
Commonly Misunderstood Terms
There is a lot of misinformation surrounding Islam in the US. Ever since 9/11, anything related to Islam is emotionally charged and therefore prone to exploitation and a lot of hype by the media and politically minded individuals who don't care about the accuracy of information... Let's do our part to correct that by looking at a couple of these often misunderstood terms objectively.
(Un)Common Ground - Week 1: (Un)Comfortable Christianity
(Un)Common Ground - Week 2: The Wolves and the Sheep
(Un)Common Ground - Week 3: Connecting with the Unchurched and Non-Religious
(Un)Common Ground - Week 4: Connecting with Atheists, Agnostics, and Anti-Theists
Who am I?
I'm a random guy.