Muslims and The Golden Rule

MuslimSmThe headlines continue to be filled with disturbing news about the spread of a radical and violent strain of Islam in many parts of the world. These headlines have created lots of concern and fear, and rightly so. But they have also brought out a disturbing strain of judgment, even among those who claim to follow Jesus. All Muslims are being judged by the actions of radicals.

For instance, Prince Charles recently made statements condemning the actions of ISIS. The article was entitled, “Prince Charles Makes Devastating Statement about Islam…Muslims Are Outraged. Muslims don’t like to hear the truth.” Suddenly the condemnation of radicals has become the condemnation of all Muslims. That post was enthusiastically shared by some of my Christian friends.

Jesus once said, “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 7:12). And so I wonder, how would we want Muslims to make judgments about Christians?

Perhaps they should read our sacred text, the Bible. Of course, they could read of the violence sanctioned by God through the Bible and decide that all Christians are violent.

Perhaps they should observe the headlines that Christians make. Of course, they could read about sexually abusive clergy and the rhetoric of churches like Westboro Baptist Church and assume that all Christians are abusive and hate-filled.

Perhaps they should listen to the preaching of popular pastors. Of course, they could tune into someone like Pastor Mark Driscoll who proclaimed, “Some of you, God hates you. Some of you, God is sick of you. God is frustrated with you. God is wearied by you. God has suffered long enough with you” and assume that all Christians are judgmental and condemning.

Of course, that’s what many, including some followers of Jesus, have done regarding Muslims. It’s not how I would want to be judged as a Christian. Which leads to the question, “How would I want Muslims to come to conclusions about Christians and our faith?” For me the answer is simple – get to know me as a person. Understand my faith through my eyes, not through the eyes of headlines that don’t represent the heart of my faith.

Radicalized faith of any kind can be a dangerous thing. Christians ought to know that better than most. Our own history holds painful reminders. As followers of Jesus we’re called to stand against injustice and violence, and we‘re called to treat others as we’d want to be treated. Let’s seek to do both well.

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  • v2787

    Radicalization, in any faith, is wrong because it points people away from love, respect, and perspective. Radical ideologies inflame passions which are often misdirected and abused, e.g., the Crusades, ISIS, etc. Not all Muslims are terrorists and murderers in the name of Allah. The vast majority are not. Not all Christians are wild-eyed purveyors of hatred and bigotry, although some of them are. Most, however, are nothing like that. It seems as though the only members of a religion that get any publicity are the ones who distort their faith and do harm to others as a result. It’s just one more reason for us to strive to be rational rather than radical. Moderation in all things, including our faith-based actions, is a healthy model to follow. Muslims, just like Christians, are mostly good people. It’s too bad that a relative handful of mentally and spiritually sick people can create an inaccurate portrayal of what it’s really like to be a member of a certain faith, whether it be Islamic or Christian or Jewish or any other mainstream religion. Thank you, Pastor Jeff, for being a voice of reason amid the chaotic shouting and finger pointing that passes for socio-religious discourse these days. Many Muslims are wonderful people. Christians should get to know them and learn about that truth for themselves. We don’t need to agree on everything–and we won’t–but we do need to learn how to live together in peace. Condemning an entire religion because of the sick, disgusting, perverted acts of a few murderous lunatics is unjust and inaccurate, to say the least. What ISIS is doing is barbaric and unacceptable in a civilized world. These terrorists need to be stopped–but we also need to understand that the people of ISIS are not real Muslims, in any sense of the word. Just as some Christians have also done and continue to do, ISIS is warping and twisting their faith into something it was never intended to be. As professed Christians, we owe it to Christ to always come down on the side of love, respect, and acceptance of benign human difference. If we can’t do that, we need to carefully re-examine our right to call ourselves followers of the Prince of Peace.