Thursday, May 16, 2013

Muslim Perspectives: They think what?

When I volunteered to go to India on a mission trip three years ago, I joyfully went from village to village to share the good news of Jesus.  The remote villages that sometimes took us two hours of rough transportation to endure were filled with people from the Hindu faith.  Thankfully, I wasn’t asked to go to the Muslim villages.  Honestly, I probably would have refused.  I had a fear of Muslims rooted from perspectives portrayed by the media, heightened after 9-11.

Seven months after I returned from my trip, I encountered a Muslim lady from Pakistan.  Initially, I read a book about Islam trying to understand her perspectives.  But I quickly learned, you can’t put all Muslims “into a box.”    The perspectives I now possess come from a two year friendship with this lady.  I’ve learned many concepts about Islam.  But I’ve also learned some perspectives the Muslims may have about Christians.  Of course not all Muslims think this way (as to put them “into a box” again), but these are some perspectives my friend shared with me.

1)  Some Muslims don’t understand how we are not Christians when we are born.  In Islam, if you are born into an Islam family, you are Muslim.  You have no choice.  They even whisper the creed, “there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet,” into the newborn’s ear.  It was a natural bridge to share how I became a follower of Jesus. 

2)  Some Muslims think American equals Christian.   Therefore, all the media in the U.S. must be Christian, portraying what Christians act like.  No wonder they don’t want their children to come to school here.  They think we will corrupt them.  I had a fun conversation with my friend about dating.  I tried to correct her perspective that dating means premarital sex (what the t.v. portrays).  I shared what the Bible says about it and shared my dating story.  As believers, our lives should reflect the Bible’s definition of a Jesus follower, not the American “Christian”. 
3)  Some Muslims think we have an “easy” religion.  They see us attend church on Sundays and think that is our only “obligation.”  However, they must pray five times a day and fast (no food or drink during daylight hours) for a month to possibly receive salvation (they are never for certain because Allah could change his mind).  They also must give a percent of their net worth every year to the poor or an Islamic purpose.  If they are physically and financially able, they must make a pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia at least once in their lives.  Of course the more the better, it tips the “good scales,” needed to please Allah.

Of course they don’t understand that we are not obliged to go to church, but go because we want to worship the God that saved us from our sin (This should be our attitude).  They also don’t understand that we have a friendship with God because of His love for us, not because we must “work” to please God and deserve heaven.  (Ephes. 2:8-9)
4)  When some Muslims hear about God’s gift of salvation, they don’t understand how someone else can pay for another’s sin.  In their honor/shame culture, they must please their family and take responsibility for their own actions.  How could Jesus pay for someone else’s sin?  And why would God allow a prophet to die such a shameful death?  It doesn’t make sense in their culture. 

Yet, they understand the need for a guarantor to sign for a loan.  The guarantor signs to pay off a loan if the loan cannot be paid.  That is exactly what Jesus did.  He promised to pay our debt if we couldn’t pay it.  Of course we couldn’t.  We can’t earn our way to heaven.  And the requirement for our sin debt:  death.  Jesus paid the price for us because of God’s character of unconditional love (opposite of Allah’s conditional love). 

As I learn more about my friend’s perspective of Christians, I pray my life reflects the truth of the Bible.  As her perspective changes about me, I pray her perspective changes about the truth of the Bible, and God our Savior.  Let’s simply spill hope to the Muslims around us. 

What perspective have you learned from talking to a Muslim?

Linked to Bible Love Notes

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