Saturday, September 8, 2007

Responding to Islam

A columnist recently applauded a pop musician in Indonesia who is sounding the call for moderate Muslims to take a stand. The lyrics to his songs encourage love rather than hate. Many of the lines actually come from the Koran, they say.

Not being an expert on Islam, I rely on what others say about that religion. Some say that the only way to interpret the Koran is that Muslims must wage holy war against non-Muslims, in order to bring them to their faith. Others will say that Islam is a peaceful religion. I’m not really sure which brand is authentic. I don’t believe that every Muslim is out to kill me. But I know that there are many Muslims who would die to kill any American.

Should we be glad that moderates in Islam are calling for peace? Certainly we don’t want more terrorism. What bothers me is the belief that peaceful coexistence is the goal of religion. If a set of beliefs “works,” then we should be glad that people ascribe to those beliefs…right?

Actually, faith should be about truth. The good and gentle religions of the world may help people feel good and live together. But these religious are substitutes for the truth: That only Jesus restores us to our rightful place of fellowship with God, and with others. Remember the greatest commands: Love God, love your neighbor.

It is much easier to see that Jesus is the Truth when those of other faiths are committing mass murder. When they teach Jesus’ ideals but ignore his claims to deity, then they can gain good will and perhaps gain followers. But they really miss the point.

But maybe those who dare live the Lord’s ideals will eventually realize that Jesus is the Truth. Those who truly seek truth will always, eventually come to Jesus.