In the 1980’s Christian singer, Leslie Phillips sang “Black and White In A Gray World” describing the challenge of living with a distinction between right and wrong in a world that is becoming increasingly ambivalent regarding good and evil.
I do not advocate a gray world but we should acknowledge that there can be different shades of both black and white.
What do most Christians really know about Islam? We are quick to point out verses from the Qur’an calling for violence against “infidels”. I acknowledge the existence of such verses but can we really judge the entire religion and its practitioners based on these hand-selected passages?
Have we forgotten the murders of abortion doctors, the bombings of abortion clinics (Granted these have largely declined in recent years) and beatings of homosexuals all in the name of God?
How do we respond when a new skirmish in the Scripture Wars erupts with…
“’Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’” 1 Samuel 15:3
If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them. Leviticus 20:13
As Christians, we understand the contextual application of such verses but it is difficult to generate a solid position regarding handpicked verses in the Qur’an when we see how our own Scriptures are misquoted, misused or simply taken out of context. It would serve us well to recognize that all religions have their own “Westboro Baptist Churches”.
The Muslims I know personally are devout and they are kind, peaceful, friendly and often exhibit a warm and welcome sense of humor. They choose to live in the United States because they want to peacefully practice their religion in a nation where all religions are free to worship according to the dictates of their particular creeds and scriptures. They are fully accepting of me as a Christian and respect my devotion to Christ. I am quite certain that they don’t believe that I will go to paradise upon my demise but they are supportive of my devotion to my faith and to my Savior. I can accept that. I don’t have to affirm heaven as their eternal destiny in order to respect them as people created by God, loved by God and worthy of respect.
Should we be any different in our treatment of the practice of other religious observers when there is no violation the laws of our land?
I am not naive – ISIS and Al Qaeda among others have clearly revealed a clear and present danger but doesn’t mean that we should paint all Muslims with the same brush. We are to consider them individually through the lens of God’s love. We need to follow Jesus’ council to be “wise as serpents and innocent as doves”.