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Friday, April 17, 2009

Islam and Christianity

This is a post I found in my drafts folder that I didn't have the guts to hit publish on last year when I wrote it. It ties in with my Rom 12 part 2, the political post and I'm cleaning the virtual house, so here goes. I may add an update on what I think now, if I have time or anything else to say.

I found out about these lectures in Florida on March 13-15. Dave Miller presented several talks on Islam. I am always intrigued when I hear this because in general, Christians don't know a lot about Islam, don't come into contact with Muslims, and present a lot of opinion with their facts.

I am all for teaching the gospel, but I am also all for fighting that temptation to belittle others to make your point. I think you can make strong, valid, Biblical arguments against Islam without equating the Quran to Mein Kampf, calling names, arguing the religion of peace or not, Allah or God. These things miss the point, are usually disparaging in nature, and should be avoided.

The last one was a lecture on the conflicts between Islam and the Christian foundation of our society, which is no doubt about our "Christian nation". This gets away from facts and Bible and gets into politics. I think God had great foresight (could be proof of inspiration) to make the Bible rather apolitical- for all people and all times. There seems to be a movement, though, pressuring Christians to make a "moral choice" in politics, which is code for choosing the Republican party (for the "twin evils" of abortion and gay marriage). I have said before that no party has a monopoly on morality, so I think the individual has to reason through all the pros and cons. If by voting, people believe that they are endorsing everything the party and candidate does or stands for, then Christians shouldn't vote. I tend not to go to that extreme. There is also a tendency in this movement to hold the Constitution up -I hesitate to say- as though it were like the Bible. I mean to say that they treat it that way in their approach, not that they think the Constitution is inspired or anything. The Founding Fathers are referenced as though we should be thinking as they thought and as though they meant for the nation never to change from what it was then. I think we Christians defintely have it easier given the history of this being a majority Christian nation. I have gotten off topic a bit, but where I was going with this is that I don't think the Constitution and nature of our nation were meant to be set in stone and if they did want that, I think we should change it. It might be convenient and in line with the Founding Fathers (which I'm not sure it is) to pray in Congress, to legislate according to the Bible, but there can be a slippery slope to the extreme. When we refuse to allow Muslims in Congress or homosexuals to see their partner in the hopsital, would or should we go further to say that only Christians can be in Congress (or only Christians that regularly attend services), or that marriage is valid only if you have never slept with anyone else, aren't having an affair, have never had an affair, etc? I don't know what the Founding Fathers envisaged, but the Bible seems to focus more on your individual life and passing the gospel on to others than putting so much emphasis on the top down approach.

I have heard people say that the fact that our nation is Christian is why we have freedoms and civil liberties. This may be true to some extent, but if we go the way some want us to go , to legislate Bible principles into law, keeping certain religions out of office, etc then it seems we are eliminating civil liberties and forcing Christianity on people which I expect would result in more bad than good if your objective is conversion. If your objective is teaching the truth, I don't see any progress being made.

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