(Full disclosure: no Ramadan story today. We have bigger fish to fry.)
This is a post I didn’t want to write – a post addressed to conservative Christians in a (likely wasted) effort to bring out some awareness in them of the need to use the other side of their brains for a while. I pray that a few will listen.
(Progressive Christians, please invest in your conservative loved ones by talking with them about this very serious issue. We can’t just preach to the choir and expect anything to improve.)
Since my Ramadan series began a few days ago, various Christians have left comments on my Grace Colored Glasses Facebook page were bigoted and offensive. Again, they were Christians. Christians.
So first of all, let’s not disregard these folks as “not really Christians.” To me, it is unproductive to simply ignore hate in the mainstream. My husband is a Muslim, as are many of my friends, so I take these comments personally: they are the prologue to possible hate crimes – and we know that Christians are entirely capable of committing hate crimes.
It wasn’t that long ago when #45 initiated the Muslim Ban. At that time, my husband was overseas, visiting family in the Middle East. I feared for his safety when he returned. I was very close with the Muslim community in our town, and many of them were traumatized.
I’ll write more about this someday, but for now, I’m calling on fellow progressive Christians to help turn the tide away from Christian ignorance and intolerance toward Muslims – just as we’re trying to do regarding Asian Americans.
Here are some of the comments I read:
“In what universe are islam and Christianity compatible?”
“Sorry, koran has way too many verses calling for the murder of Jews and Christians. Not to mention everything else wrong with it.”
“They [Islam and Christianity] cannot coexist. One seeks the true Lord and savior JESUS CHRIST and the other is based on a pedophile named Mohamed. There is no coexisting with a Muslim for a true Christian except to tell them they are Hell bound following a pedophile and ignoring JESUS CHRIST AS THE TRUE SON OF GOD.”
These comments are stunningly insulting. A Christian shouldn’t even think with this kind of disrespect, let alone speak or write it. Making a point to not capitalize the name of another’s religion or holy book is unnecessarily rude. A streak of cruelty seems to run through much of conservative Christianity these days. This is simply not Christlike behavior – but many Christians seem to think that anything goes when you are defending your Savior.
These comments are also incredibly ignorant. Islam and Christianity are compatible in, for example, Palestine – the birthplace of Christianity, where the two faiths live at peace. Islam and Christianity are compatible in the US and Europe – except where there are haters. Islam and Christianity are compatible in most progressive Christian circles.
Use your imagination, Christians. Would Jesus find nothing in common with people of other faiths?
As for violence in the Qur’an (with a capital Q), the above commenter was obviously working from stereotypes and myths created to smear Islam (with a capital I). It’s not hard to get to the truth. Someone who actually studied the issue said this about the Qur’an and the Bible:
“By the standards of the time, which is the 7th century A.D., the laws of war that are laid down by the Quran are actually reasonably humane. Then we turn to the Bible, and we actually find something that is for many people a real surprise. There is a specific kind of warfare laid down in the Bible which we can only call genocide.”
We Christians know about our violent passages, and we have explanations for them. The case is the same for violent passages in the holy book of Islam. Just ask any Muslim to explain. Ask them whether the 9/11 terrorists were following true Islam.
And again, use your imagination: if someone said the Bible was full of violence, and didn’t give you a chance to rebut, would that be ok with you? If someone said you were part of a violent religion, wouldn’t you want to correct them?
Reasonable people develop informed opinions by doing research and having dialogues with people who know what they’re talking about. (Some people develop informed opinions by reading Grace Colored Glasses! Subscribe?)
As for the comment that the prophet of Islam was a pedophile…How outraged would we feel if someone declared as fact the same thing about Jesus? And how stupid do we think Muslims must be if they knowingly follow a religion founded by a pedophile? Actually, Muslims are just as devout – and just as sinful – as anyone else. A little bit of sincere research (for example, this) would debunk the allegation against Mohammed, but many of us would rather be ignorant and brash than informed and humble.
But the last FB statement – the “hell-bound” one – may be the most infuriating of all. I’ve written a number of times about this idea (which I espoused for most of my life) that anyone relating to God by any means other than ours is damned. That is simply not what the Bible says – as deeply ingrained as it may be (read here, here, and here for example).
A God who would condemn billions of souls born and raised in the Muslim world is not a God of love.
I know this is hard to hear. I know that the cognitive dissonance is deafening for a conservative Christian. But have enough integrity to think this through and get educated.
Or at least, don’t be a jerk.
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FEATURED IMAGE: “Love trumps hate – demonstrator at London’s anti-Trump rally.” by alisdare1 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0