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.
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.