We look at today’s news that an ex-Soviet Union counterintelligence agent attended that meeting with Trump Jr., Kushner, Manaford.
Conservative Christian Theologian Eugene Peterson announced he’d perform a same-sex wedding and many reacted.
Just a really brief summary of all things Trump, Russia, and the latest news from the day in politics.
Can Muslims know God? Can atheists? Jews? Are only “born again” Christians part of the Body of Christ?
Recently on Facebook, I got into this not so cozy little conversation on these questions. My view was met with intense resistance. By fellow Christians.
One guy called me a heretic.
But my view was not my own.
One’s religious views are shaped by others — in my case, two men in the very best of the Evangelical Christian tradition, and a saintly Roman Catholic woman who gave her every fiber to welcoming outsiders in Jesus’ name.
So if you find my view controversial — the view that many can know God, even though they don’t identify as Christian — please understand that I didn’t invent it.
Dr. Billy Graham, one of the greatest Christian evangelists of our time, said this:
“I think everybody that that loves Christ, or knows Christ, whether they’re conscious of it or not, they’re members of the body of Christ. And that’s what God is doing today. He’s calling people for ‘eh, out of the world for his name whether they come from the Muslim world, or the Buddhist world, or the Christian world, or the non-believing world uh they are members of the body of Christ because they’ve been called by God. They may not even know the name of Jesus but uh they know in their hearts that they need something that they don’t have and they turn to the only light that they have. And I think that they are saved and they are going to be with us in heaven.”*
And Mother Teresa, this:
“There is only one God and He is God to all; therefore it is important that everyone is seen as equal before God. I’ve always said that we should help a Hindu become a better Hindu, a Muslim become a better Muslim, a Catholic become a better Catholic.”
C.S. Lewis’s held the same view. His articulation of it is far longer, more literary, and just beautiful. So I won’t be so vulgar as to copy and paste it here. But if you’d like, read about it here in chapter 15 of Lewis’s Narnia series, The Last Battle.
In my work with the Christian-Muslim Alliance, I am often invited to join Muslims for prayers. And when I’m there kneeling and standing and kneeling and standing — practicing their way of worship — I always feel peace. I always feel calm. I always feel a deep connection with fellow journeyers.
I always feel peace.
In fact, the more time I spend with Muslims, the more I realize how virtues like humility and wisdom and peace are universal forces of good — that they are present throughout the spectrum of world religions, and even amongst the non-religious.
Of course, the threat of radicalized groups like ISIS and Al Queda are real. Those groups destroy others because their “religion” is one that wants to eliminate any person or idea that doesn’t match their extreme and violent ideology. Most of those they murder are Muslims.
But like I said, the vast majority of Muslims are people of peace.
Some of you are reading this and might be thinking, Wow, Paul is really losing it.
That’s okay. I get that these views will confuse many, especially my Evangelical Christian friends. If they do confuse you, I’d like to ask you three questions.
First, why do they make you so uneasy?
Second, and respectfully, what do you know that Billy Graham, Mother Teresa, and C.S. Lewis don’t?
Finally, do you think God might just big enough to be okay with people knowing him, but not his exact name?
I’d love to hear your thoughts! You may email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or connect with me via social media.
*the video of Billy Graham’s statement can be watched here.
I started The Christian Muslim Alliance earlier this year. Hate crimes were on the increase. Division was growing.
Something needed to be done.
The goal was never to claim that Islam and Christianity are the same. They are not the same. The FAQ section of our website asks, “Do we believe Christianity and Islam are the same?” We respond:
No. We do not believe in “Syncretism,” or a fusing together of different faith systems. Christianity and Islam, in short, are not the same.
Our goal was to help people understand the 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, overwhelmingly, are not violent. And given Jesus’ example of welcoming all people, we believed that Christians, especially, should be the leaders in promoting the welcoming of others.
I always knew the world has its share of hateful people. We all know that. I can be hateful sometimes. But some take their hate to the extreme of physical violence, while others “just use words.”
Some haters claim to be Muslim, some claim to be Christian, some claim to be atheist.
But I never really expected what I’ve seen in the past few weeks. Again, the goal of The Alliance was never to merge Christianity with Islam. But with over 5,000 Muslims serving in the U.S. armed forces, and with over 3 million law-abiding Muslim Americans living here, it seemed to make sense to find ways to promote peace.
In any event, here are just a few of the comments I’ve received in the past week or so:
– “The only reason there should be a Christian Muslim alliance is to remove the Jew. And even then, I am skeptical of the Muslims.”
– “Get the f**k out of our country and live in Saudi Arabia.”
– “FILTHY MUSLIM VERMIN!!!”
– “F**k you piece of s**t Muslims.”
– Regarding American Muslim peace activist Laura Sarsour: “The cockroach i need so pest spray some of asad gas would work on her.”
– “You should go to Syria and hug it out with ISIS. It’s not like your head had anything in it worth keeping.”
– “you can always leave america – good riddance.”
I only cite these to share what many people think. This hatred is real. And we all need to find ways to combat hate because those views do not represent the heart and spirit of America.
I hope you are active in trying to find ways to promote peace, in your family, in your community, in the world.
If you want to help us, click here to take action.