- Remembering Our So-Called Christian “Holy Wars”
- Remembering Our So-Called Muslim “Holy Wars”
"Are the atrocities that are done in the name of Christianity or Islam true indicators of the nature of Christianity or Islam, or not?
If the answer to this question is that these atrocities are not true indicators—but mere aberrations—then we have nothing to fear from the continued expansion of Christianity or Islam. But, if the answer to this question is, as I suspect, that these cruelties are true indicators—and inevitable consequences—of the way we have constructed our religions, then we have everything to fear from Christianity or Islam in the coming millennium."
“Separating religion from politics does not mean we do not bring our faith and the ethics derived from our faith to bear on our politics in terms of our discussions about politics. To the contrary, all real believers cannot help but bring their faith and ethics derived from their faith to bear on their politics… But separating religion from politics means not using our particular religion for party political purposes as a means of manipulation or exploitation to gain or retain power. For our faith to be “non-political” means for it to be “non-partisan” and “not-imposed”.”
Many conversations between Christians and Muslims about Isa or Jesus deteriorate from dialogue into debate and from debate into dispute, generating more heat than light on the subject. Often this occurs because both sides want to impose their own particular view of Isa or Jesus on the other and are unable and/or unwilling to respect the other person’s particular point of view.
In order to avoid such unproductive disputations, I have written the following observations based on those views of Isa or Jesus that both the Qur’an and the Injil or the Gospel (as recorded in the Gospels in the New Testament, according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) have in common.
While I acknowledge the significant differences Christians and Muslims have about Isa/Jesus, I have intentionally tried to focus on those beliefs about him that Christians and Muslims have in common as the place for us to start our conversations, treating “common ground” not as suspect compromise, but as “sacred ground” on which we can stand and speak to one another.
Andrews ends with a look at the Sermon on the Mount. He suggests that Christians should return to the manifesto of Jesus if they truly seek to accomplish the will of God and to become peacemakers who follow the example of Jesus.
Let us be frank, on first hearing the call to be poor, hungry, sad, and unpopular is not an attractive option, is it? It’s exactly the opposite of what most of us aspire to.
But on second hearing, the call to be poor—to be with the poor in spirit; to be hungry—and to be hungry for justice; to be sad—because we are weeping with those that weep; and to be unpopular—because we are committed to follow the way of Christ with integrity—is quite intriguing, quite challenging, quite exciting.
And the more we think about it, the more we begin to slowly but surely realize that the call to be with the poor in spirit, to be hungry for justice, to be sad because we are weeping with those that weep, and to be unpopular because we are committed to follow the way of Christ with integrity, is in fact the only way that the kingdom of God can be ours, the only way that God can satisfy our hunger for justice, and the only way that we can have the last laugh as part of that great tradition of people with integrity, who suffered scorn, but triumphed at the end. As my friend Brian McLaren says, “The kingdom of heaven comes to people who crave not victory but justice, who seek not revenge but mercy, who strive for peace and who are courageously eager to suffer pain for the cause of justice, not inflict it.”
And in the light of that knowledge we know we need to make a choice: to be—or not to be—the change we want to see.
I was provided with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.