This isn’t what it means to love your neighbor. You might be thinking that your neighbors aren’t Muslim. I would dare to disagree with you. In Louisville Kentucky, just barely outside the Bible Belt, there is a Mosque almost right next door to the building where church I attend meets in. In New York City alone there are almost 70,000 Muslims. Dearborn, MI has the largest concentration of Muslims per capita in the US, 30% of their population is Muslim. The total population of the city is 98K, they have just over 29K Muslims living in their city. Los Angeles has over 25,000 Muslims. You can no longer say they are not your neighbor. They are all over the place. To assert that each and every one of them is a terrorist is ignorance of a religion you know nothing about is far from loving your neighbor.
@BriantheLion: Remembering that Jesus looked more like a Muslim than an American should really change the way we think of loving our different neighbors.
I posted this tweet earlier today, and a friend was quick to respond asking for a definition of terms. He had a really good point in response – I think he caught on to what I was getting at though. (I’ve not asked him permission to copy his tweet, and thus I am not posting his twitter handle or name)
Friend: @BriantheLion What does an American look like? Can’t Muslims be American or Canadian or Swedish or Iranian or from wherever?
He is absolutely right. I assured him that I knew that and was intending to aim at a certain audience. He understood. I was attempting to address the idea that American’s foolishly associate all of the Middle East with Islam, as well as all of Islam with the Middle East, and even more dangerously all of Islam with a few Islam extremists who happen to have flown a couple of planes into government buildings. This is no better than the Atheists who accuse Protestants of the Crusades. The Crusades were terrible but everyone who was involved in the Crusades is now dead – get over it. (Also Protestants cannot be blamed for the Crusades at all because it was ordained by the Pope – on the off-chance you didn’t know Protestants do not adhere to papal authority.) To blame all Muslims for the events of September 11, 2001 is one of the worst things that you can do. Muslim extremists do not make up the entirety of Muslims that is why we must refer to them as extremists.
The danger of 140 characters is that you cannot normally define your terms. I was intending with my use of Muslims to bring up all of the emotion of intolerant Americans who assert that a part represent the whole. I wrote this because I’m sick of hearing the term “towel head”. I’m sick of hearing comments about A-rabs, killing/hunting Muslims, and all the other offensive statements I have heard that I don’t feel comfortable posting on this blog. I’ve been biting my tongue for so long on this issue that I’m surprised I’ve not starting bleeding.
Jesus in Mark 12, is asked by the Pharisees what the greatest commandment is. They were trapping him – well they thought so. They were essentially asking him “Out of the entirety of the law what is the commandment that is the most important? Sum up the entirety of the Torah into one law.” They didn’t expect his answer.
Jesus answered, The most important is, Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.
If you believe that the golden rule is to treat others as you want to be treated – to love your neighbor as yourself – then you cannot continue to maintain this view of Islam. At this point we can even strip this of any aspect of religion or faith. As a person addressing a people group to treat someone as you wish to be treated means putting your interests and your desires aside for the betterment of that person. This is a rule that you were most likely taught as a child regardless of how you were raised.
I do not agree with most of what I know of Islamic theology – I think I only agree on Monotheism, and even then they don’t think I do – but this is no excuse for me to be offensive towards them. (Given their views on Christology and how they contradict with mine it might be more fair to say that we don’t agree at all.) Once again, I want to remind you of the Crusades, we’ve been there already. Spoiler alert: the Muslims won.
In all honesty, the reason I am writing this is because I have gotten tired of people claiming to rest in the shadow of the Cross of Jesus Christ and still treating Muslims as if they are more sinful than they are. It makes me wonder if they understand the Cross at all. There was an early creed among Christians that Paul writes in 1 Tim 1:13, this creed expresses that the believer thinks of himself as more sinful than others. Somehow this has been ignored. Given the way that the Bible talks about who jesus died for it addressed his death happened for two people the world and the elect Jesus died for the world in order to allow them the ability to enter into his promise of redemption. Some of them, who you are now saying offensive things about, will take it. There is just as much of Jesus blood on your hands as there is on anyone else’s. There might even be more on yours.
(I’m not explaining my view on soteriology right now: email me or google multiple intentions of the atonement for more information – Yes, I reject limited atonement. So no I am not a 5 point Calvinist. Mark Driscoll calls it limited unlimited atonement, I think.)
I have met Muslims in America, I have met Muslims in Africa, I have met Muslins in Europe. I assure you it’s about time that we as Americans were willing to maintain protection of our country against those who are looking to harm it, but realize that some of the greatest devastations in our country have been caused by our own kind more than those of another ethnicity. One act of terrorism does not warrant an attitude of racism.