Are Christians Loving Their Muslim Neighbors as Themselves?
Are Christians loving their Muslim neighbors as themselves? I refuse to make uninformed generalizations about Islam and Muslims. For example, I see articles blasting Islam and its followers by categorizing all Muslims as terrorists. Furthermore, I see people supporting these accusations by stating that the Quran supports jihad, violence, and other sorts of extremism. This bothers me for two reasons, and it specifically bothers me to see Christians supporting these views of Islam and Muslims.
I find it offensive when people look at the actions of “Christian” radicals, such as Westboro Baptist, and let that influence their view of all believers. This isn’t fair to Christians because we are not all the crazy, hateful, radical people that make the nightly news. It’s the same story with Islam. Just because terrorists in the Middle East make the nightly news does not mean that all Muslims embrace, condone, or encourage violence. It’s not right to judge the many by the actions of the few. If all Christians are not crazy bigots then all Muslims are not radical terrorists.
When discussing Christian beliefs, non-Christians will often make erroneous claims about Christianity without truly understanding what they speak about. For example, many attacks against the Christian faith concern the laws and commands contained in the Torah (the first five books in the Old Testament). The charges are usually made in ignorance of theological interpretation of the scriptures. For example the Torah does include commands regarding the treatment of slaves, but these commands are very specific and nothing like the slavery found in the American south during the 1800s. These commands were also specifically for the Israelites. The early church leaders did not consider these specifically Jewish commands to apply to non-Jews. So when people try to claim that the Bible supports slavery they are making several errors in their understanding of what the Bible says. How does this relate to Islam though? I say all of that to show that understanding how to interpret the Bible is important to understanding it and therefore I believe that one cannot simply look quickly at the Quran and say that it supports this or that belief. This is why I won’t make a certain claim about whether the Quran supports the kind of radical terrorism that many say it does. I have not read it, and even if I did I don’t know if I would comprehend it correctly.
In chapter 10 of the Gospel of Luke, there is the parable of the good samaritan. Right before He tells the story, Jesus says that we should love the Lord will all our heart, soul, strength, and mind and our neighbor as ourself. I think that this should be important story for us to keep in mind as we interact with peoples of differing faiths or beliefs. If we do not want to be rashly judged then we should not be rashly judging either. Furthermore, in the parable we see that it was someone who was looked down on by the religious establishment who actually did the loving and compassionate act. Could it be that some non-Christians that we often look upon with disdain are actually showing Muslims more love than we Christians are?
I don’t personally know any Muslims, but I’d like to get to know some because I think it could be a positive experience for both of us. Even if the Quran does support the things that many claim it does I still don’t believe that all Muslims are violent extremists. If we can have lukewarm Christians then Islam can have lukewarm Muslims. Any system of belief can be taken to extremes of adherence or lack thereof. Are Christians loving their Muslim neighbors as themselves? Tell me what you think and share your thoughts.