There are several issues Christians and Muslims can unit to tackle, but I’ll pinpoint two:
1) Intermarriage: it is almost impossible for Muslim parents to allow their daughters to marry a Christian man. If the females insist to marrying a Christian, they would face rejection or abandonment.
2) Freedom of worship: I’ve seen in most Muslim countries that it’s almost impossible to find church(s) or the freedom of Christians to assemble in worship, unlike in Christian countries.
These are two key issues that Muslims and Christians need to sit at the drawing board and find remedy to.
It would be unfair to deny female Muslims from marrying Christians men and not only Muslim brothers marrying our Christian sisters and converting them to Islam; whereas Christians should not be denied freedom of worship in Muslim nations and vice versa.
I liked how you interpreted the question to mean what areas can we tackle together with our Muslim brothers and sisters. Regarding the intermarriage point, I’m not sure if I understand you. Are you saying Muslim females should be able to marry Christian men and vice versa? Christian men or women should be able to marry Muslims? The Scripture is pretty clear that Christians should not be unevenly yoked. This, of course, allows for the scenario of one who is already married before becoming Christian to remain with their unbelieving partner. However, I agree with your other point that we can work with Muslims on the freedom of religious practice in a majority Islamic state, as Muslims are allowed to practice their religion in Christian-majority countries.
Two main issues that we as Christians and Muslims can find common ground with Muslims is that we believe Jesus will return from Heaven and there is an afterlife. Believing first that Jesus exists is not common in many religions, but Muslims and Christians have this perspective and the belief that He will return is something very powerful that unites us. In addition, the idea of a life after we die is common in how we perceive things. The afterlife is a very sensitive topic that many religions have a notion about. To be able to believe that it exists and that there will be a judgment from that is unique. To engage and unite on these issues a sense of love and communication between both parties need to exist. Through communication, people will be able to understand each other’s needs, likes, dislikes, interests, and many more. Issues despite them being controversial or things we disagree with them should not always be the dividing factors, but from us being cognizant of it in addition to the issues that we have similarities should unite us.
The points you mentioned that are common between Christianity and Islam are quite unique. The reverence Muslims portray for Jesus is something that should connect us. Although, at the same time celebrating our commonalities, we need to understand our differences. Muslims believe Jesus to be a great prophet, but not divine. The additional factor you pointed out that we share with Muslims (and not even with Jews) is that Jesus will return one day.
The issues that we as Christians can unite with Muslims on are first our common spiritual history beginning with Father Abraham. The teachings that connect Christianity, Islam, and Judaism are the belief in monotheism. That there is One Supreme Being that is the ruler of all creation. This is a great point of commonality that brings solidarity in engaging with Muslims.
The second, matter that is a gateway to engaging with Muslims is that both of our faith teaches one to live a moral life. The emphasis on commandments and spiritual practices produces a righteous atmosphere that benefits all humanity. This should never be forgotten.
Lastly, our defense against a common enemy unites us. The enemy of hedonism and a society devoid of respect for God and His creation. These issues are ones that should cause Christians and Muslims to want to dialogue and seeks ways to work together. By linking arms and arms to these three issues above, we can advocate more good in the world.
The opening video of the course discussed “what does it mean to remain neutral?” As the video says, alleged “neutrality” is its own belief system, with its own ideological consequences and expectations for the world – A Muslim would look at an atheist/agnostic who tells a Christian “you have to remain neutral in dealing with the world,” and would roll his eyes right along with the Christian!
Thank you for your response. I love that you said Muslims and Christians can find unity. Are conservative traditional nature is missed by so many in this world. I know the us has been wronged by the Middle East but that does not mean Islam wronged us. I find myself in alone with a lot of the traditional Muslim beliefs because they find their route in Christianity. I wish Americans can put aside Patriot Christianity and welcome they shared values with Muslims.
I believe you are correct that Christians’ and Muslims’ shared monotheism and stance against secularism is a good starting point for engagement with them. Many stories in the Koran are very similar to the corresponding biblical accounts as well. I also think that as our society becomes more and more atheistic and secular, the two religions will find more and more cooperation as we seek to preserve conservative values.
Yes, there is definitely a growing popular belief that a secular view is neutral, unbiased, and therefore more accurate. As you note, every belief system including neutrality has core assumptions which quickly debunks that idea. Yet, this mentality is increasingly popular in the media and also perpetuates the idea that religion is “dumb” or “uneducated” because the religious are only dogmatic rule-followers.
It couldn’t be less true as Muslims, Christians, and Jews have a rich history of scholastic research and thought on a wide variety of topics including tenets of faith but also the sciences, philosophy etc. Ironically, it seems like the Abrahamic faiths have much more common ground with how we view the world through the lens of a Creator rather than no God at all.
Great reply, Patrick. I completely agree. One of my closest friends lived in India for two years and we would talk on the phone every week or two. He became friends with many Muslim families, and was always remarking how similar they looked in comparison to the more conservative Christian families back in the states. He also would talk about their hospitality, and how they put many Christians to shame with their generosity in opening up their homes and welcoming strangers in. I think, like you said, looking for common ground and recognizing the shared values is the start towards building better relations.
Hi Joseph, thanks for your thoughts here. I appreciate your candor. And I like the way that you put it: that someone who is Muslim, coming from another country, probably has more in common with a devout, conservative American Christian than that Christian has in common with a liberal secularist. I also appreciate that you are willing to call out the hypocrisy in the republican party.
I wonder what your thoughts are on finding the balance between recognizing common ground and welcoming Muslims into America while also ensuring America remains a melting pot and doesn’t slowly become a majority Muslim country? And I wonder if that is at all a concern for you? Perhaps it’s not and it shouldn’t be for me either. However, with Christianity on the decline and Islam on the rise – should this be a concern? Certainly it seems England has begun a remarkable demographic change & may soon be going through an identity crisis.