Both faith face the issue of discrimination in societies yet even within themselves,they isolate each other. Islam in the East seem to have a large number of converts that Christianity. If these two reflect on way back how wars have affected them,the best would be re-uniting into co-existance and recognizing each other,live with freedom of worship and end these wars in-between,and also allow free intermarriages .this would help a lot to unite them
A common ground that Christians and Muslims may share is the definitions of holy living and unholy living. In the Bible, we are taught to live righteously and lead holy lives. This is outlined in a certain behavior that is more internal than external. Christians ought to speak good things, bear the fruits of the Spirit, repent, and accept salvation. In the Muslim faith, holy living and unholy living exists as well, though there are differences. Holy living in the Muslim faith pays great emphasis on rules such as modest clothing, no alcohol, no meat that has not been prayed over, etc. Despite the differences, we see that both faiths outline an emphasis on holy living, and instruct against unholy living. We could learn further about what holiness is to them versus what it is to Believers like us. It is interesting to be able to learn the different nuances so that we can navigate through conversations better.
Some time ago I had a long conversation with a Muslim about our way of life. He had been in Switzerland for many years and wanted to go back to Lebanon with his young family because the society was too liberal for him. We had a lot to talk about the Bible, the gospels, faith, and society. He was amazed that he met finally sincere Christians. In the end, he told me that he was a militant Hezbollah.
In the West, Christian and Muslim believers maintain a shared interest in staving off the forces of secularism that seek to erode any religious presence in the public square. Whether in the form of direct challenges to religious liberty (government attempts to mandate hiring and firing practices as was the case in Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru) or subtle ways in which institutions with cultural purchase ‘otherize’ people of faith, both Christians and Muslims may stand together in a coalition to defend the right to orthopraxy in public life. I am hopeful that as social and societal issues continue to divide along a traditional or identity politics based approach that there will be room for American Christians and Muslims to recognize the unity they share in a commitment to religion as the center of life. Perhaps there even can be space to work with Conservative and Orthodox Jewish communities that likewise face the increased burden of threats to religious liberty and remain committed to a more traditional way of life.
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!
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.
I think the most obvious answer is that we’re both monotheistic religions. Though they view God as a master and we view Him as a Father, we can use the Abrahamic religion lens as a starting block for fruitful dialogue, especially when more and more people are identifying as having no religion at all.
Politically, we can definitely find a lot of common ground with Muslims regarding social issues of the day, ie. Aborton and same-sex marriage. Both faith traditions are called to be counter cultural, at least if they’re based in the United States and may be ostracized for those more “traditional beliefs”.
Personally, I have a few friends from college that are Muslim that I greatly admire. I think asking genuine questions with no malice and as little bias as we can muster is our main tool. I think that’s typically the first step in mobilizing and uniting.
Cristina, I definitely agree on our shared values, especially in regards to abortion and same-sex marriage. I had the same though. I also enjoy how you speak on our similarities through the very nature of our faiths being monotheistic and Abrahamic. It is certainly vital to ask questions and be willing to be asked questions in return. This can challenge, and strengthen, us in our own faith and help us to understand the other a lot better.
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.
I think this course had such a good point when it mentioned that the future of globalized religion will include, among perhaps other categories, not only Christianity and Islam, but also a growing secularism. As secularism seeks to push religion and questions of religious faith and all displays of piety outside of the public realm, it will be of the utmost importance to fight these efforts and preserve a place for religious people of all stripes in the world. As the world’s two most populous religions, it should be incumbent upon both Christianity and Islam to stand up for religious freedom and religious perspectives everywhere. This especially includes a defense of religious morality and ethics, which secularism has attempted (and has to some degree succeeded) at systematically undermining. Public morality, of course, is not just a feature of religion, and it is not a violation of religious freedom conscience rights to defend a particular conception of the good in the public square.
Collin, great point on how we must “join forces” to battle secularism. I very much admire the way Faith shapes one’s whole life in Islam and think we as Christians can do better in that respect of making our whole lives point to our Faith. Staying with a host family in Morocco, I was shocked by the way they would go to the mosque 5 times a day to pray and know I could use more of the commitment and devotion held by certain Muslim communities. Through strengthening our respective faiths and being committed to living it out, we can strive to better combat a highly secular culture.
As this course has taught, although Christianity and Islam come from different cultural traditions and have different perspectives on seeing the world, we share in the Abrahamic family and hold certain values close to our heart. Traditional, more socially conservative values are upheld by both communities. We can unite on issues regarding traditional marriage as we both value the importance of marriage between a man and a woman. As the president of a pro-life club at my university, I found that the vast number of our members and supporters were either devout Christians or Muslims. My Muslim friends and I often talk about the importance of protecting life from conception until natural death. This is an issue that is very much relevant in our nation and age. I’m happy to be alongside Muslim brothers and sisters in striving to create a culture centered on life, family, and faith where all are seen with inherent dignity. Recognizing these shared values and working towards a common goal can certainly assist in bettering Muslim-Christian relations.
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.
I think there are many things Christians and Muslims can unite on, which is a big reason why it is alarming that so many on the Right want to ban Muslims from entering America, which literally and horrifyingly became a campaign promise and policy initiative of former Pres. Trump. Instead of banning them, they should be embracing them – for one, because it is the very essence of America to embrace wholehearted religious freedom and to deviate from that embrace is simply unamerican and anti-freedom, and secondly, because they actually agree on so much anyways. There is probably a lot more in common between a devout Evangelical native-born American and a devout Muslim immigrant than there is between a devout Evangelical native-born American and a Massachusetts liberal whose family has been here since the Mayflower. Yes, we want everyone to embrace liberal democracy, and some try to fearmonger that we can’t let Muslims in because of incursions on liberty in many majority-Muslim countries. But one, why would they want to come here if they didn’t, like us, love the freedom of America, and two, aren’t there innumerable incursions on freedom in Western countries, like Sweden or Germany or Italy or Canada? Yet I hear no one on the Right trying to ban any Canadian socialists. It eventually sounds very irrational and prejudicial to me. So I for one would say that an immense way to NOT engage and unite would be the manner in which the Right has acted in recent years. It’s not only wrong but quite unpersuasive, as well as hugely problematic in a pragmatic sense for the effectiveness of American domestic and foreign policy.
Issues Muslims and Christians can find much common ground on are respect for unborn life (though not all Muslims are pro-life, just as not all Christians are either), conservation of the family, a deep reverence for there being something higher and beyond the State, opposition to debauchery of all kinds, repudiation of militant atheism, etc. The reverence for something beyond the State is of huge importance for America or liberal democracy in general because that is typically the only way to get respect for the rule of law as an overarching principle. Francis Fukuyama discusses how Islamic societies and India’s Hindu society have had a much firmer sense of rule of law historically precisely because of their commitment to a religion and God or gods to which the state and laws must be measured and which hold them as right and to be obeyed. Whereas China has not had a strong popular religious foundation for any enduring time throughout its history. And now we see the authoritarian tyranny in China that says the arbitrary will of rulers must be followed rather than the rule of law, and we see this directly in their persecution of the Muslim Uyghurs and others. They are persecuting those who dare worship something other than the State. Militant atheism is real danger to liberal democracy, and it’s something that Christians and Muslims alike are able to both be opposed to and to defy if they are put in the position of needing to.
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.
Hi Ashley, thank you for discussing the Muslim Shia and Sunni divide and the many denominations that encompass Christianity. As mentioned, we see that many people can have different interpretations of the same faith. This can be effected by family, background, history, culture, and circumstance. This course and it’s questions sparked me to want to learn further about the differences between Shia and Sunni. Christians share easily which denomination they affiliate with but I do not often here what side Muslims affiliate with. I hope this is something we can learn more about. God bless.
I could not have said it better myself. If there is one thing that can unite Christians and Muslims it would be acknowledging that all (independent of belief) were created by G-d. If they focus on that both peoples will be able to accomplish so much together. The reality is we will all disagree on something; you highlighted how even within each religion there are different denominations and beliefs, and yet they are all united. Therefore the first step to working together is acknowledging this similarity.
Thank you for bringing up the rise of the nones. I don’t think its too far fetched to consider secularism as a religion itself, with adherents ready to persecute others of different beliefs (in this case, people who follow a traditionally religious belief system).
Many laws passed to protect LGBT people were supposed to used as shields but in recent times have been used as swords against religious folk with moral oppositions.
Both Christians and Muslims can unite against these legal issues, as it affects both parties.
I believe one thing you correctly highlighted is the concept of religious freedom. Both Christians and Muslims in America are able to practice their fatiths because of religious freedom. I believe religious freedom is founded upon the simple concept and belief of respect. Although Muslims and Christians may not see eye to eye on everything, they could learn to respect one another and respectfully agree to disagree. If they are able to do so, I believe they will see how much they agree with one another.