It is starting to sound familiar. Muslims are up in arms and the Vatican is defending Benedict XVI and his speech quoting 14th Century Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Paleologis. The issue in question is whether or not Islam is an inherently violent religion? The Pope’s claim is that Islamic extremists convert by violence, an argument he claims to make in an attitude of “not trying to offend Muslims”. To the Muslim Brotherhood Chairman Mohamed Madhi Akef the Pope’s speech only adds fuel to the fire and shows the west’s “hostility to Islam”.
I am sure we have not seen all the reactions yet. So far Pakistan’s Parliament has passed a resolution condemning the Pope’s words, while other Muslim voices in Syria, Gaza and Turkey have expressed similar concerns.
The issue is rather simple; why argue whether extreme representatives of Islam have used violence to convert? The answer is an obvious “yes”, but then we must quickly add that so have representatives of Christianity and other religions. Just a couple hundred years before the rule of Manuel II Paleologis, the a^?oeChristiana^?? Crusades in the Middle East were in full swing with the popes of that day promising instant entrance to Paradise for any a^?oeChristian: knight who killed an infidel (Muslim) in battle.
Why are we so anxious to attack other religions while defending our own? All religions that do not include the experience of being born again and having Jesus impart His righteousness into people is just that a religion.
What do all religions have in common? Human performances aimed at pleasing a supposedly displeased deity. In one word LEGALISM. One of the “good deeds” that a young “Christiana^?? man could do in the 11th-13th century was to go to war. Today a small, though vocal, group of Islamic extremists advocate a similar path to please God.
What is the solution? Get back to unveiling Jesus to the world. Jesus is the answer. He is full of grace and truth. Christians, Muslims and the whole world need to discover Jesus. STOP DEFENDING CHRISTIANITY! STOP ATTACKING OTHER RELGIONS! It is not Jesus’ style.
My new book a^?oeMy Muslim Friendsa^?? ($15) has gone to print. It will be on sale in two weeks. The subtitle is a^?oeAn invitation to Muslims and Christians to take another look at Jesusa^??. As an introductory offer we will include shipping and handling in the price.
Give me your thoughts. Keep blogging.