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Christianity and our attitude towards Islam

Reader comment on item: Reflections on the Revolution in France*

Submitted by Shefali O'Hara (United States), Nov 9, 2005 at 12:49

What should our attitudes be towards Muslims, as Christians? What does Jesus teach us?

In the time of Moses, there were the 10 commandments. However, what is not always understood, these commandments were laws for the Jews towards other Jews. This is clear when you read rabbinical teachings from the era. In this, the Jews were like all other people - the Japanese refer to foreigners as "gaijin", the Chinese believe they are superior, etc.

However, when Jesus was asked what was required, he said "Love the Lord God with all your might, and your neighbor as yourself"; the disciples, in asking "Who then is our neighbor" were asking a sensible question, as in traditional Jewish law, the neighbor was defined as a fellow Jew. However, Jesus made a radical pronouncement - the neighbor is defined as the world. Because, in his story, he defined the Samaritan, the most despised person to the Jew, as being a good neighbor and obeying the laws of God. Similarly, in other parables and in other interactions with non-Jews, Jesus made obvious that as Christians, we are to love, not just each other, but the world. We are to love our enemies.

So, given that, how, as Christians do we respond to the terrorism?

I don't think we should be doormats or "liberals" but I also think we need to be loving. What does that mean?

I think it is a BIG mistake for us to "tolerate" things like Muslim wife-beating as "just part of their culture"; because when a man beats his wife, he abuses both her and himself. I think the west has an obligation, if it is truly loving, to condemn disfunctional Muslim behaviors among them as much as among any other group. Therefore, things that prevent Muslims from fully integrating into Western society and which are obviously repugnant (such as honor killings, female circumcision, killing gays) must be strongly condemned and not tolerated. In a certain sense, intolerance of these behaviors is more loving than tolerance!

I think that is the main drive behind Bush's attempts to bring Democracy to the Middle East - if we can help the Muslim world come into the First World vs. being stuck in the third world, then that will help them reach their potential and also decrease the influence of the Imams and the drive to immigrate to the West.
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