Sunday, February 02, 2003

How to Deal With Islam?-With Eileen sick, we're missing the closing Sunday service of our mission week at church. Two of the speakers brought out conflicting emotions in my heart. Last Sunday, we got the testimony of Wally Magdangal, who was an house church pastor in Saudi Arabia in the early 90s. He was arrested, tortured and sentenced to death for bringing too many Muslims to Christ; only an international fax and telephone PR blitz got the Saudis to let him go hours before his scheduled execution. Pastor Wally's experience shows the root of Islam that, in part, approves of killing any opposition to it without any apology. Read in its pure form, the Koran seems to have warfare with the infidels as a admirable goal. I am not a Koran scholar (I'm tempted to give it a read-over to better refute it), but as long as the attitude of Islamic scripture is that of contempt for the lives of non-believers, it will continue to be a dangerous religion and one that the Anglosphere will struggle with for the rest of history. Many people want to see Islam housebroken and liberalized, where a liberal view of scripture will be applied to allow modern Muslims to ignore the call to wage war against the infidel and other un-PC passages of the Koran. However, you're not going to stop a conservative exegesis of the Koran as long as it exists. You're always going to find a few people who want to take it at face value and those people will be trouble. What does the liberalized Muslim say to the gung-ho teenager who cites Sura 4:89?-"But if they turn back (from Islâm), take (hold) of them and kill them wherever you find them, and take neither Auliyâ' (protectors or friends) nor helpers from them." As long as they consider the Koran God's message to man, you're going to create jihadists, even if the mosque elders try to tell them not to take things that literally. That puts us in an awkward spot in having to shoot down a literal following of a religion's scripture; that runs counter to an American's core belief in religious liberty. However, that might wind up having to become needed, for if people take the Koran at face value, they will find themselves at war with the non-Islamics of the world. Thus, we will have to fight the Wahhabi brand of Islam taught in Saudi Arabia and comparable variants taught elsewhere in the world. This is a religious war in the sense that straight Islam and western freedoms aren't compatible. The Western side isn't religious to the extent that they are trying to establish Christianity but they are against having Islam spread via force around the world. We'll be in the awkward spot of fighting a religion in order to protect religious liberty, but straight Islam doesn't want to coexist neatly with other religions. However, the best way to fight Islam is to fight for freedom within Islamic culture and present people a better alternative. The other speaker that moved me last week was George Rafidi, who heads up an Assemblies-of-God-based Arab Outreach Ministries in Jacksonville. He repeated a thought Wednesday that he used here in response to 9/11-"I'm praying that the church realizes more that we need to pray and reach the spiritual sons of Ishmael." There are quite a few Arab Christians, especially in Lebanon, Iraq and Palestine; Rafidi is a transplanted Palestinian who's dad is a Orthodox priest in the West Bank. We need not just to think about Muslims as potential jihadists but also as children of God who are being deceived by their spiritual leaders. As we roll back militant Islam, we're going to have to roll back Islam as well. However, our American ethics will require that we do it by conversion and not by the gun. Slowly, we'll have to get countries to allow freedom of religion and show people that Mohammed’s teaching aren't the way to Heaven. While we're at it, we need something to replace that faith in the God of Mohammed’s teachings and the best alternative is the real God that sent his Son to die for us all.

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