Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christianity and Islam -- the Art of Mutual Respect

There are two ways to teach how to live in a society of multiple religious dogmas. 

The Right Way:
Chattanooga, TN - "Bassam Issa (president of a local mosque) stepped in front of a crowded classroom of students this month at Southern Adventist University, a Christian college near here, for a presentation on being Muslim in Chattanooga--recently named America's most 'Bible-minded city.'...

...No matter how exasperated they may privately feel, some Muslims are beginning to publicly confront the uncomfortable questions that non-Muslims have about Islam and violence, and trying to provide answers, both through words and through the example of how they live their lives.

Here in the classroom, Mr. Issa told students to look beyond Islam to the deeper and more universal causes of violence.  'What's happening right now is not religious, even though ISIS and Al Qaeda are covered as a religious thing," he said.  "In reality, it's political.'...

...A memorial (in Chattanooga) for the five fallen service members (slain by a Muslim extremist in July) includes a plaque that testifies to how the city responded:  'We did not riot.  We prayed.  We did not lash out at easy targets for revenge.  Instead, we invited each other into our lives, homes and places of worship'."

Read more at The New York Times 

The Wrong Way:

Chicago, IL - "A Wheaton College political science professor, who on social media endorsed a view that Christians and Muslims 'worship the same god,' was put on administrative leave Tuesday by the evangelical Christian school.

Dr. Larycia Hawkins, who is Christian and a professor at the college since 2007, also posted photos of herself on Facebook and Twitter wearing a hijab to show solidarity with Muslim women in American...

...'I stand in religious solidarity with Muslims because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book.  And, as Pope Francis stated last week, we worship the same God.'

In a statement released Tuesday night, the college said it has 'significant questions regarding the theological implications' of what Hawkins said about the relationship of Christianity to Islam.

'As they participate in various causes, it is essential that faculty and staff engage and speak about public issues in ways that faithfully represent the college's evangelical Statement of Faith,' the statement said...

...'We will be in dialogue with our faculty, staff and students in the days ahead to ensure that we articulate our love for our Muslim neighbors in ways that are consistent with our distinctive theological convictions.'"

Read more at the Daily Herald

eye'm thynkin':  Southern Adventist University invites a leader of a local mosque to speak to their students, giving them the opportunity to engage in a discussion with a believer from a different religious system in an atmosphere of respect, perhaps resulting in some understanding.

Wheaton College removes a professor from the campus for voicing support for another religion and then says they'll be talking about how to "faithfully represent" their own "distinctive theological convictions."   Apparently Wheaton would rather their students love others from afar--no soiling of the righteous by interacting with the unclean.  I guess the lesson of the Good Samaritan isn't mentioned much there.

Two Christian schools...two very different takes on Christianity.  I know which one I would want my child to learn.

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