Liberal Grace

Monday, February 12, 2007

Conservative Christians have a lot in common with most Muslims

It's isn't just fighting words -- the two religious movements have more in common than they may want to admit.


I often say that Muslims -- who are predominately conservative -- have a lot in common with the American Christian "Religious Right."

This, of course, sounds like fighting words to my conservative friends who can't accept that they have a natural kinship with people thy think are all going to hell.

But here's an example of what I'm talking about. Read this article and imagine the same thing being said by James Dobson or even GW Bush:

Emphasis must be on abstinence in sex education

By Nina Muslim, Staff Reporter

Dubai: Sex education in the Middle East, while important, should not address ways to prevent sexually-transmitted diseases, says a Gulf sexual medicine specialist, putting a damper on HIV/Aids awareness efforts in the region.

Dr Amr Jad, consultant urologist at the Riyadh Armed Forces Hospital in Saudi Arabia, said he and a group of doctors were preparing a how-to guide that would focus on abstinence and monogamy, and answer sexual questions.

However, methods to prevent infection by a sexually-transmitted disease (STD), or safe sex, are not included in the guide, which he hoped would be the blueprint for regional community sex education programmes.

[...]

"Teaching people about something that they are not allowed to do will increase chances of them doing it," he added.

He also rejected a two-pronged approach to the issue of sex education, including preventive measures as well as religious prohibitions, saying it was incompatible with religious values.

[...]

"Abstinence is a 100 per cent effective method to prevent STDs and teenage pregnancies, but we still have to teach that if you must have sex, then it is better to practise safe sex.." he added.
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Without commenting on the merits of this position, I just want to point out that it is almost identical to what is being preached in conservative churches in America.

7 comment(s):

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By Jeff, at 7:19 PM  

I stumbled across your blog as I was browsing Wikisource.

You implied that your Christian friends were at fault when they said Muslims are destined for hell. But Jesus said in John 3:18 (ESV), "whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God." Jesus again claims exclusivity in John 14:6. How do you reconcile this discrepancy?

By Jeff, at 7:23 PM  

This isn't the point of the post -- my point was the conservative Christians and conservative Muslims have a lot more in common that they probably presume.

A strict -- and often aggressive -- theology of exclusivity is one of those things the two have in common.

I believe that Jesus is the savior of the world but who receives his grace is for God to judge, not me.

“And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world but to save the world…” (John 12)

By LiberalGrace, at 5:53 AM  

"have a lot more in common that they probably presume"
True, very true. And Jesus is very clear that His purpose for coming to earth was for salvation, not judging-that is to come later.

However, based on the limited context I was able to gather from some of your other posts, it sounded to me as if you were tolerating religious pluralism, which is not biblical. We shouldn't tolerate people who deny the Lordship of Christ; we should feel our heart break and share the grace that God offers to them in a loving way.
________

For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

By Jeff, at 7:29 PM  

Jeff,

Hmmm. I guess I do tolerate religious pluralism but I'm not pluralistic, myself: Jesus is the only one I call Lord and Savior.

I am in a position to know both conservative (or fundamentalist) Christians and Muslims and the similarities I see are not ultimately who they worship, but how they express their faith and order their lives. The two groups have a lot in common with each other. Yet, despite a possible kinship, the two movements have become sworn enemies which may lead to WWIII.

I said in another blog entry that I wish Bush and Ahamdinejad would meet and talk. I think they would find they have a lot in common regarding how they express their faith. I think this is generally true of the conservative wings of Islam and Christianity.

By LiberalGrace, at 3:41 AM  

Ah, I think I see what you're getting at: Christians have often caused undue conflict between themselves and Muslims. And that is a problem.

If indeed that is what you're getting at, that is true. However, the Gospel is inherently offensive to people because it flies in the face of our sinful nature. Therefore, we ought to be careful not to cause undue tension but also not to compromise on the truths of the Gospel.

As a Christian community, our aim should be that of Hebrews 12:2: "looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God".

And when we seek first His kingdom, everything else is added unto us. Therefore, if we are serious about correcting our conservative brothers and sisters in Christ, we ought to be encouraging them to grow in relationship with the Living God. Pointing fingers at others is not what God requires of us.

By Jeff, at 5:40 PM  

Jeff,

Thanks for the reply.

You said "However, the Gospel is inherently offensive to people because it flies in the face of our sinful nature."

I have actually found this to be an issue more in the narcisitic west than in the Muslim world. Muslims are taught early and often that they are sinners and they generally understand and accept this. It's a bit of a surprise to us Christians that Muslims might accept this doctrine more readily than our own culture does.

The real "sumbling point" tends to be Jesus, himself.

Jesus as the Son of God just does not fit into Muslim theology in anyway that I've ever heard.. It's actually quite offensive to them and their understanding of monotheism.

Craig

By liberalgrace, at 10:24 PM  

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