Tuesday, May 15, 2007

What the Christians said...

The weekend painted for me two very stark, contrasting pictures of Christian behavior in the United States. One of bigotry, one of tolerance. One of pride and arrogance, one of humility and hospitality.
The first, you might have seen on the news since Friday. Link. A sister at my masjid was interviewed before/during jumuah prayers on Friday and told me the story first-hand after we prayed. The signs read:

When is the last time you heard of a Jew or Christain[sic] with a bomb strapped to their body?

Don't be deceived - the message of "Islam" is Submit - Convert - or Die, not salvation in Jesus Christ.

The very epitome of bigoted ignorance. On the WhyIslam forum, one person remarked that Christians and Jews strap the bombs to the undersides of planes instead. Poignant image. The pastor at this church, the Good News Independent Baptist Church in Spring Hope, NC (yea, I'm not shy about telling you where it is!) insists that Islam is an evil religion, a violent religion; and though he doesn't hate the people who follow it (that would be against Christian teachings btw) he does hate the religion.

But let's be clear, the message of Islam is certainly not "salvation in Jesus Christ." So he got something right!! Muslims believe that only God can save their souls, and that everyone is going to die. "Each soul shall taste of death." But then the critical point that Baptists actually miss--Muslims believe everyone will be judged. Even Muslims! No free pass. This is a criticism of Christianity, at times unfair, that Christians believe they won't be judged. I don't know too much about the opinion of other denomniations on this point, but baptists certainly do believe that they go to heaven... judgment is for everyone else and it will most likely wind up with them in hell, be it a fiery torment or a dark abyss of existence without the presence of God.

So basically, people are going to die if they convert or not. But killing someone is murder except in a few instances... so are Muslims allowed to murder? Nope. Killing someone because they don't convert? That would be murder. Non-Muslims, when captured in battle by the Muslims, were allowed to earn their freedom by teaching people to read. Just an example to show how silly the convert or die notion is. And that poor pastor embarassed a whole lot of Christians with his angry rhetoric... while Debbie, the white-American-convert-woman-in-hijab was calm in inviting Christians to the masjid and asking to simply be given the respect that Islam demands of Muslims for Christians and Jews.

The other "picture" from this weekend was a Sunday school circle of adults at an Episcopal church in Raleigh who were discussing a book called Stages of Faith by James Fowler. They had invited a friend of mine who is a 7th grade social studies teacher to come and talk about Islam in this context, to see if faith "developed" similarly, according to the book's philosophy, in Islam as in Christianity. She asked me to come with her, and we talked about people making decisions in their faith (like my story of conversion, at age 21 was a good example of going from one stage to the next, seeking out a faith beyond my upbringing.) We talked about how girls choose to wear hijab at different ages--some out of love for the deen, some for their parents, and so on, which was a springboard for questions in general about hijab. We also got to talk about the issue of prayer (daily salaat and jumuah) and community leaders. It was a very open, non-defensive dialogue that I think benefited everyone who was there. Alhamdulillah.

This is the second experience I've had with an Episcopal church, both times the people have been warm and welcoming, open-minded and polite. A sharp contrasts to the "you're-gonna-burn-in-hell" baptists at any rate.


Aviator said...

It is the fault of muslim letting the playground for media to describe Islam.

I cant blame any person at the Church about this advertisment.

To tell the truth: there are some many muslims who think of bombs as a good way to defend Islam !!!!

Yes, there are some at middle east who still think that killing civil people is a perfect method to support Islam.

When terriosts come on TV and say we make the bombs for the sake of Allah and Islam ?????? What do we expect non-muslims to think ??

LOL, the problem is in muslims not Islam.

I had a video tape of a famous scholar, and he told that: muslims hided the light of Islam to reach the world.
Of course, not all the muslims.

Amy said...

It is the fault of muslim letting the playground for media to describe Islam.

I agree actually. We're too reactive instead of proactive.