Join Pastor Ed’s Hot Button class this Sunday (Nov 22) as we look at the religion of Islam.
I’m not going to try and pretend to be an expert on Islam, but I do believe I’m fairly competent in knowing Christianity.
This is an important discussion in light of the Paris bombings and the impending flow of Muslim immigrants coming into our country throughout 2016. In our class we will examine a Christian response to:
Muslims living in our communities
However, before we do that let’s establish some background information.
There are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world. The vast majority of these are people who, through their faith, seek peace and coexistence with all people.
It’s been said that radicalized Muslims, like ISIS, make up only 15-20% of the total Islamic population.
This minority are responsible for the 9-11-01 attack on America, the Boston Bombings, and the 11-13-15 attack on France just to name three.
They are responsible for the genocide of Christians in Iraq, Syria and Iran.
They are also killing other Muslims who don’t believe as they do.
Their agenda is to set up a nation state based on their radical understanding of Islam, and spread this understanding around the world through terror and conquest.
Let’s be clear these minority fringe groups of Muslims, whatever they believe, are not good people!
However, we must also be clear that the vast majority of Muslims believe that these radicalized Muslims are not true followers of the Islamic faith.
Peaceful, peace-seeking Muslims make up over 80% of the world-wide Islamic faith. They are not only peaceful, but…
They are regularly advocating and seeking peaceful resolutions to gun violence in our inner cities.
They are working to develop interfaith cooperation in order for all faith groups to work together to respond to social issues in our culture.
They are regularly denouncing the tactics of radicalized Muslims.
Far more Muslims are involved in peaceful living, and advocating peace, then is ever revealed by the national news media. Again, these peaceful Muslims would indicate that the radical fringe of their faith does not accurately represent the teachings and practice of the Islamic faith.
Christians can certainly understand how radical fringe groups can hijack the teachings of Christ and Holy Scripture.
Prior to the Civil War (1861-1865) there were Christians who used the Bible to support the horrific institution of slavery.
Following the Civil War there were churches, and groups like the KKK, who used the Bible to support the continued separation of ethnic groups.
Even today we have fringe groups like the Westboro Baptist Church that regularly spews hateful teachings and rhetoric toward the LGBTQ community in the name of Christ.
There are still fringe Christian groups that continue to advocate for the subservient role of women in the church.
Do these fringe minority Christian groups represent All Christians? Absolutely not! Therefore, we need to be mindful that we do not paint the Islamic community with one broad brush.
What then is our response? If we are truly Christians, truly followers of Christ, then we need to look to what Jesus said about how to respond to those who would be our enemies. Jesus would not have us respond in fear, hatred, anger, revenge, retaliation, or aggression. This is not the way of Christ.
Rather Jesus’ way is forgiveness, respect, love, non-violence and compassion. This path of Christ isn’t at all easy! It’s only in the power of the Holy Spirit that we learn to walk this path, and easy or not, it is the ultimate way to break the continued cycle of violence in this world.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said,
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness;
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate;
only love can do that.
Hate multiplies hate,
violence multiplies violence,
and toughness multiplies toughness
in a descending spiral of destruction....
The chain reaction of evil --
hate begetting hate,
wars producing more wars --
must be broken,
or we shall be plunged
into the dark abyss of annihilation.”
May we heed the words of Dr. King as we follow the path of Christ in responding to the issues of our day.
Please join us for a discussion on these matters this Sunday following worship at 10am.