What Should Christians Know About Islam?

In my last blog post I argued that one does not need to study other religious texts in order to establish credibility for their own faith.  Now I’m asking if we should know anything about other religions, in this case Islam, whose presence in the world often evokes fear and anger. 

Many Americans have criticized Islam for their irrational hatred, intolerance, and disregard for freedom.  Ironically, when a group decided to build a mosque in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, some of the citizens responded with their own raw emotion, intolerance, and disregard for property rights. Image

While there are reasons to be concerned with radical expressions of Islam, the Murfreesboro incident appears to be an example of painting an entire group of people with the same brush. So, how can one better educate themselves about Islam, without delving into a study of the Quran?  

I will make two book recommendations: 1) Adam Hamilton’s Christianity and World Religions provides a fair-minded, easy to read overview of Islam and other world religions.  2) Gerald McDermott’s  Can Evangelicals Learn from World Religions? is also a helpful read. 

While there are irreconcilable differences between Islam and Christianity, Christians should try to become familiar with at least the basic tenets of Islam and other religions.  That way they can make informed statements about other religions, have intelligible conversations with people of other faiths, and avoid situations like the pooling of ignorance that took place in Murfreesboro. 

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About Corey Sharpe

Where do we get our beliefs? Three theological perspectives have significantly shaped my Christian identity: Evangelicalism, the early Methodist tradition and liberation theology. From my coming to faith in a Baptist church and throughout my education in a Baptist school and college, I was nurtured by convictions that emphasized a spiritual rebirth, a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and the centrality of the Bible. Even when I disagree with certain aspects of evangelicalism, it has deeply influenced my sense of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. My seminary studies spawned my interest in early Methodism, particularly its approach to spiritual formation. Its leaders were convinced that only a foundation of doctrine and discipline would lead to a meaningful transformation of the heart and mind. In other words, having the mind of Christ enables me to be more like Christ. Life in a suburban culture obscures the increasing gap between the poor and rich, as well as the Bible’s close identification with the poor. My doctoral work in socio-cultural context exposed me to liberation theology, which helps me see redemptive history as a history of oppressed groups, written from the perspective of the powerless, about a God who is actively involved with the poor in their struggles. I am now the pastor at Huntingtown United Methodist Church in Calvert County, Maryland. Together my wife and I are raising 4 young theologians.
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One Response to What Should Christians Know About Islam?

  1. Jason Hamilton says:

    what every Christian should know is that Muslims need a Jesus. They are no better or worse than Marxists, Communists, Nazis, Hindus, Buddhists, or Athiests. They all need Jesus. The final difference between Christianity and all other faith systems is Jesus. With Jesus you have eternal life, without him you don’t. (Jn 3:36)
    Just as picking at a homosexual for their sexuality does not help the situation (it ususally makes it worse) picking at a Muslim for their faith does not help… THe only thing that will change their eternal situation is Jesus.

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