Yahweh Loves Allah or Jesus Loves Muhammad

6 Jan

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Β  One day I was thinking about the current ongoing war on terror that world civilization saw begin on 9/11. It was a far cry from the anti-Communist war in Vietnam that precipitated a cultural civil war in the USA back in the 1960s. The current conflict is an ongoing event that generates casualties, on a global scale specifically targeting Western Christian civilization. The same guerrilla tactics that the Viet Minh confined to its borders in Vietnam are now being used by Al Queda and its allies on a world wide scale. Communism was a political ideology with a religious fervor that promoted atheism, while Islam is a fully developed world religion that has been around for 1400 years.

Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β  Islam, like Christianity, contains a variety of different factions that differ from each other on a variety of issues. However, the thing that they all hold in common is a belief that the Koran is the the received revelation of God through the prophet Muhammad, just as Christians believe that the Bible is God’s revelation received through its apostles and prophets. Neither Muhammad nor Jesus ever wrote one word of the scriptures that carry their messages, but their words and stories were recorded by their followers.

Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β  Over the centuries that Islamic culture has existed it’s expanded its borders from Saudi Arabia to every part of the earth, just as Christianity has done from Palestine. Sometimes the religions have been at odds with each other to the point of war. So, from the beginning there has been tension between the two faiths; however, most of the time they have managed to co-exist without incident.

Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β  After 9/11 it seemed like all the information that the news reported about Islam was about how blood thirsty and intolerant it was. The central teaching of the Koran that was pointed out by all the Western non-Muslim news pundits was Jihad. To me that was like pointing to the central teaching of the Bible being genocide based on Israel’s directive from God in the Old Testament to cleanse Palestine of everyone who lived there, tribe by tribe. I’ve read the Koran, but I don’t even begin to claim to be an authority on it. At the same time I have a degree in the Bible from a conservative Bible college and do know that the central teaching of Christian scripture is love. God is love and Christians are admonished to love others as God loves them.

Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β  The New Testament book of 1 Corinthians contains the most famous of all Christian teachings on love in the 13th chapter. The apostle Paul wrote a detailed explanation of exactly what love is and how it works. Since the New Testament was written in Greek, and Greek is a very exact language, having different words representing each aspects of a subject. In the case of β€œlove” there were four common Greek words that could be translated as love. The firstΒ was β€œStorgΔ“,” which is familial love, the love of parents towards children and children towards their parents. The secondΒ is β€œPhileo,” which is translated as brotherly love, that is the love of one human being for another. Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love was named after the word. The thirdΒ  is β€œEros,” better known as lust or sexual love. The fourthΒ word is β€œAgapΔ“,” which is the pure unconditional love of God that gives without any expectation of reciprocation. Agape love is what 1 Corinthians chapter 13 is all about. It’s the love of mankind that Jesus Christ demonstrated by His death on the cross.

Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β  If all this is true, then God loves Islam and followers of Islam as much as Christians. If this is the case then why doesn’t the Christian church express this? Over the years that I was totally committed to Christian evangelism during the 1970s, one of the primary tools used in its implementation was bumper stickers for vehicles. We had everything from β€œHonk If You Love Jesus” to β€œI Found It” the slogan that Bill Bright and Campus Crusade were using for their goal of evangelizing the entire world. I think that the Christian church has completely missed an opportunity to demonstrate agape love towards our Muslim brothers and sisters who already respect the person of Jesus Christ. The way to do this is very simple. Just use the same tactics that Bill Bright used in the 1970s and then expand it into the 21st century. What we need today are bumper stickers that read β€œYAHWEH LOVES ALLAH” or β€œJESUS LOVES MUHAMMAD.”

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