One of my Facebook friends posted a kind-of-but-maybe-not-really conspiracy theory about radical Muslims. It said that they get into office by saying they are moderates, but then implement Sharia Law in the country and how if anyone says they are a moderate, peaceful Muslim they haven’t read the Quran and don’t really know their beliefs (that’s the broad strokes of it, folks. Not verbatim.)
Posts like that break my heart. They absolutely do. Not only are those kinds of posts continuing to breed hatred and fear, but they also paint both you and the party you are criticizing in a bad light. If Christ modeled the belief of hanging out with those whom society doesn’t like (Muslims would now be included in that in present-day America), then why aren’t we doing that instead of bashing them? Why aren’t we serving them instead of watching Fox News? Why aren’t we praying for them instead of publicly decrying their beliefs? Yes, there are tactful ways to say why you disagree with one religion or the other, but the times in which you say it must be appropriate. And if you’re a Christian, who told you to dispense verbal hate onto other religions? I don’t remember that command from the OT or example set by Christ or that instruction from Paul or Peter.We are the children of peace, not wrath. We are the peacemakers. We have the spirit of peace inside of us. So why do we feel so up in arms about radical Islam?
I think we feel so up in arms about it because: 1) We see that it’s bad. 2) We know how incensed we would be if people were acting against the Bible (or would we? Let’s look at that at a later date). 3. If people don’t like these radicals in power, then why don’t they stand up for themselves? 4. We are war-weary. 5. We are afraid and hurt.
None of these are reasons to berate Muslims. And by saying that any Muslim who claims to be peaceful does not truly know his or her religion is the exact same thing as saying “If a Christian living in Europe during the Crusades supported a family member who fought in them, then they didn’t know their beliefs.” And you know what? This statement is partially right. At that time, Christianity was taught through the Catholic church and the Catholic church alone. There had been no Martin Luther, no 95 Theses, no Reformation. The Church ruled Europe. The Church, which had been run by some pretty corrupt popes (hello Medici family), was life at that time; they kept records, performed marriages, decided who would rule countries, educated the populace, christened babies, etc. If you denounced something the Church taught, you were literally cut off from society (read- excommunicated). So, people fought in the Crusades. Not all the time, I’m sure, did every man, woman, and child think it right to go to the Holy Land and weed out the people who had been living there for hundreds of years. But they knew if they didn’t, life would be so much tougher for their families. They also believed that they would be damned to Hell. And most people couldn’t even read the Bible for themselves, in their own language, because at that time all Mass and the Bible would’ve been spoken and written in Latin, and since the printing press hadn’t been invented, almost nobody had a personal copy to examine. So they had to go on good faith with what their leaders were telling them. This is similar in that the Quran only recently became available to Middle Eastern people in their own native tongues; before, the only way it would have been sacred to read it would have been if it were in Arabic. Certain prayers still should be said in Arabic and it is encouraged for Muslims to learn Arabic if they can. Again, the Quran itself says that language does not matter “[41:44] If we made it a non-Arabic Quran they would have said, ‘Why did it come down in that language?’ Whether it is Arabic or non-Arabic, say, ‘For those who believe, it is a guide and healing. As for those who disbelieve, they will be deaf and blind to it, as if they are being addressed from faraway.'” But pious leaders had emphasized the importance of the language in which it had been revealed to Mohammed.
These cultures are the same in that they both live in places where religion rules and they must follow those rulers for family’s sake. The powers that be create a narrative which says “being a hero of the faith means killing those who refuse to follow it.” When this is the example of what you’re supposed to want to be when you grow up, you will probably follow it instead of turning away.