Sunday, May 02, 2010

To Both My Muslim and Christian Sisters and Brothers

The dictionary defines dialogue as, "an exchange of ideas or opinions on a particular issue, esp. a political or religious issue, with a view to reaching an amicable agreement or settlement." Lately, I have seen several conversations between Christians and Muslims that were supposed to be dialogues, but actually looked a lot more like debates. They've consisted of nothing more than "Your prophet is a liar" or "Your religion is full of stupid people" or "My God/religion/holy book is better than your God/religion/holy book" or some variation of those insults.

Having read both the Holy Bible and the Holy Qu'ran, I find nothing that makes any of these kinds of debates necessary. In all my years, I have never, not even once, seen someone change their mind about their religion because someone told them they are stupid/naïve/deceived. If anything, those who have converted to or from Christianity or Islam have done so because they were shown LOVE.

If you can't show love for those who believe differently, you'll NEVER manage to convert them, so even if your secret goal is to convince the whole world to change to your religion, it probably won't happen unless you speak to them kindly no matter what they currently believe.

"Verily, Allah is mild and is fond of mildness, and He gives to the mild what He does not give to the harsh" (hadith)

"An answer when mild is turning away rage" (Holy Bible)

"Do you know what is better than charity and fasting and prayer? It is keeping peace and good relations between people, as quarrels and bad feelings destroy mankind" (hadith)

"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." (Holy Bible)

There is a verse from the Holy Bible that I think might be a good one to think about, especially when we are tempted to start saying very ugly things about the religion of someone else:

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."

Instead of focusing on the myriad things that we may think are wrong with the religion of someone else, wouldn't it be more godly to focus on those things that we believe their religion does right?


Rootietoot said...

see, this is my attitude about it as well. Listening begets understanding begets harmony. Let's take it from my screamingly White Christian perspective: Look at how Jesus handled situations. He didn't call people dumb. He listened to what they had to say and answered with a question that reqired them to think. Quite the diplomat, no? I get so FRUSTRATED with people who call themselves evangelists yet all they do is tell everyone else how wrong they are. AARGH! Then all the non-Christians go "oh they're just a bunch of assholes" which is sadly true, given their experience. *sigh*
I'd love to participate in a civil discourse, if I could find one. They tried that here, and it degraded into name calling and all sorts of vituperation.

Lucie said...

This was a beautiful post. Everyone should read it and try to live by it.