You pray five times a day toward Kaaba
And say to God the things you learned in school.
If you could only know Him as Abba
You’d do and say things diff’rent from the rules.
God doesn’t want you scared of Him at all,
In fact His Love just wants to bring you Home.
You pray for help and hope He hears your call;
Now Jesus is the Way, no need to roam.
He died for you, my friend, no need to fear
The wrath of God: His blood has cleansed your sin.
Believe His message, let it draw you near
And feel His Spirit fill you from within.
God still loves to hear your ev’ry prayer;
With Jesus now the Kaaba’s everywhere.
Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth:
for I am God, and there is none else.
Isaiah 45:22 KJV
How would you take it if a Jew wrote a poem to Christians exhorting them to yield up their belief in Jesus, to follow Moses?
It was heartfelt, loving and courteous, but that is just the sort of thing you did to Muslims. Understand that Muslims already revere Christ, in their own way, as much as Christians do.
If I read a poem by a Jew wanting me to change my belief in Jesus to follow Moses, I would be happy to engage them in theological discussion so we could share our differences and similarities. I wouldn’t be offended at all. I am secure in my faith and am not afraid of listening to someone else’s.
I understand that Muslims say they revere Jesus, but He is not Christ to them, He is not their Messiah. In fact, if Muslims truly revered Him they would believe His words and understand that He is the Son of God and that He came to sacrifice Himself for the sins of the world. Muslims do not believe God has a Son. They don’t believe in atonement. Muslims cannot consider Jesus a true Prophet and yet discount His words. Mohammed went to the Jewish leaders of the time and told them he was their Messiah, and they dismissed him. He went to the Christians and told them he was the Second Coming of the Messiah and they dismissed him. So he became the Messenger of his own god Allah and condemned both Jews and Christians. The average Muslim does not know this.
The average Muslim does not have a complete grasp of the scope of their religion’s stated desire to turn the entire world into an Islamic Caliphate by persuasion or force. Allah demands complete obedience or suffer the ravages of Hell. God so loved the world that He gave His only Begotten Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life. In this heartfelt, loving, courteous and compassionate sonnet, I intend to tell my Muslim friends that the answer to their prayers is alive and loves them and wants them to live in joy under the Grace of God through faith. I want them to know that instead of being buried under rules and laws that tell them what to do and what to say and which direction to pray, they can have complete freedom through the cleansing blood of the Lamb.
If you like, I’ll be more than happy to talk to you about these differences between Islam and Christianity. I used to be a Muslim, so I’ve been there. Yes, out of love and respect for my Muslim friends, I want them to understand that Jesus is not just the Prophet they are being taught about, but is the Saviour of all mankind. I reject outright your statement that Muslims already revere Christ, in their own way, as much as Christians do. They may revere the image of Jesus that they understand, but if they knew the truth about Christ, they would not only comprehend but experience a level of worship and praise far beyond the respect they have for just the person of Jesus.
I fear that you are taking too saintly a view of Christians (as if Christian Germany had not precipitated the Holocast, or if the sectarian wars of separation had not ravaged Europe for hundreds of years) and too harsh a view of Muslims…when, in fact, the point should be an analysis of Christianity and Islam. No Messenger from God, or any Message They have delivered should be judged on the merits of that religion’s adherents…man is too weak for that. Since you have shard your religious background, let me mine: I am a Baha’i and believe that God is one, man is one and all the major world religions (Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism and, of course the Baha’i Faith) agree, and that they share the same spiritual verities, differing only in their place and time of origin and on some social laws that were necessary for Their era. So while not a Jew, I believe in Moses, while not a Christian, I believe in Christ, etc. In the end, the purpose of religion is to bring about unity in the world. Wouldn’t you agree that anything said about any religion, if said in hubris, anger or lacking a sense of humility and love, is wrong, no matter what the words being used are? Because such rancor is outside of what religion should surely be. Let us first consider this: that we are all the benefactors of God’s grace, that undeserved mercy that He rains on us continually. And yet, not withstanding that, we too often use His most precious gift, religion, to separate us and humiliate ourselves. Don’t you think that Christ’s message of love, kindness, toleration, gentleness and forbearance is the only hope of reaching out and bridging understanding and love between differences?
Thank you for responding to my reply. It is always enjoyable discussing such matters, especially with one who writes with intelligence and candor.
You speak of a ‘Christian Germany’ as if it were being governed as a theocracy, when in fact the forces that propagated the Holocaust were decidedly not fostered by Christian belief. I’m sure you realize that claiming to belong to a religion does not make you an adherent. A tree is made known by it’s fruit. Yes, there were the Crusades, the Inquisition and other atrocities claimed in the name of Christianity, but a true follower of Christ could not possibly commit such horrors. There are bad men doing evil deeds in the name of religion, but they certainly don’t represent the religion …unless the religion itself is evil and allows and teaches its people to commit evil deeds. You certainly know that in 1979 the Ayatollah Khomeini was responsible for murdering almost every member of the Baha’i faith when he rose to power. You certainly know why, also. Islam teaches destruction and death to all non-believers who refuse to convert. He tried eradicating the Baha’i members because he was taught from childhood that they were blasphemous apostates from Islam and were to be despised. Nowhere in the teachings of Christ did he advocate killing unbelievers.
It is interesting that you say you believe in Jesus. If so, you believe Him when He said in John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father except by me.” I’m sure your religion frowns upon believers treating the Baha’i faith as a buffet, picking and choosing the tenets they agree with and rejecting tenets they don’t agree with. According to your words, that is exactly what the Baha’i faith is doing to every other world religion. As astonishing as it may sound, I also believed the way you describe. I believed that every religion had a piece of the truth, and if you fit all the truths together like a puzzle and then stepped back, you would see a road map to Heaven. I believed truth to be like an elephant in the presence of a ring of blind people, each feeling a different part of the creature and believing that to be the entire composition of the animal – until the scales fell from their eyes and they could see they were all touching the same creature. I used to believe that when Jesus said “I am the way, the truth and the light,” He really meant that each of us were the way, the truth and the life, as if He meant to say “Repeat after Me…” beforehand. Then in 2005 I had a profound conversion experience, an awakening, a death of the old self, so to speak, with the scales falling from my eyes. I had what the Sufis call the annihilation of self, and the words of the apostle Paul suddenly applied to me in Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” You see, if you believe in Jesus, you believe the words He said, you believe His teachings, you believe His mission, the reason He lived and the reason He died. If you don’t believe all that He said and that He lives this very moment, you must think that He was either crazy or a liar.
The purpose of some religions may be to bring unity to the world, but the purpose of Christianity is to save the world through belief and faith in Him and His words. In John 12:47-50 He said “47. And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. 48. He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day. 49. For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak. 50. I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me.” You see, Jesus taught what He was told directly by God, and nothing else. He didn’t change the message to fit the time. The message is as true today as it was two thousand years ago.
As a follower of Christ, I believe the words He spoke. Every one. It would be a delight if you and I were to engage in a frank discussion of the words Jesus spoke. I’m so terribly sorry if you think I condemn the followers of Islam. As we speak, a record number of Muslims are converting to Christianity in such nations as Iran and the Sudan, because they are seeing that there is true salvation through Christ, and that He teaches love and tolerance, not jihad and martyrdom in order to obtain Paradise with virgins at their disposal.
Your final words are so true and poignant: “Don’t you think that Christ’s message of love, kindness, toleration, gentleness and forbearance is the only hope of reaching out and bridging understanding and love between differences?” Yes, Christ’s message IS the ONLY hope of reaching out and bridging understanding and love between differences. His message is clear and unifying. Understand His words in John 3:16-21 and you will grasp why I love and follow Him with all my might, mind, heart and soul:
“16. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.”
Jesus did not come to unify the world. He came to save the world and all that are in it.
It is a true honor and blessing to engage in this discourse. May the spirit of Truth always burn in your heart, and may you stay full of love.