Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Respect and Disagreement?

This is a response of sorts to a post Dave recently posted about respecting other religions.

Although there is some common ground between us, there is a big problem with any sort of reconciliation between Christianity and Islam. That problem is that even though we (depending on if you agree with this or not) both worship the God of Abraham, the Muslims differ greatly in their teachings on Jesus. Yes, we both believe that He existed and was a great teacher. The Muslims believe however, that he was merely a prophet. An important prophet but just a prophet nonetheless.

They deny his divinity. However, this is not a big problem because there are a lot of groups of people claiming to be Christian that don't believe Jesus was God.

However, they also do not believe that Jesus really died or that he really rose from the grave. This presents the big problem because to call yourself a Christian, these two ideas are absolutely essential.

So Muslims obviously are not Christians. But does that mean they have no hope for salvation? Personally, I don't know for a fact. I'm not God. Determining who is saved and who isn't is not my job.

However, Jesus Himself did say "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father but by me." This leads me to believe that a person must believe in and follow Christ in order to be saved.

Call me arrogant. Call me intolerant. Call me whatever you want to call me. But this is what I believe.

To be perfectly honest, I have to think that if all religions led to salvation, there would be little point for a person to follow a particular religion in the first place.

If you don't have the faith that your religion is the "right one" what would be the point in following it?

Going back to respect though. I certainly do respect other religions. I don't agree with them though.

I can respect a person religion by, for example, not out right telling the person they are going to hell (that is not my style) and by talking to them in a respectful (or in my case usually an inquisitive) manner and by rationally discussing our differences. This does not mean, however, that I have to agree with their beliefs.

Honestly, if I thought their belief system was any more or even just as true as mine, I probably would not be following mine in the first place.

So I have to agree with the idea that a person can respect a person's religion but not believe it to be true. And I don't necessarily think it would be arrogant of a person to preach at a person from another belief system. Especially in the case of Christianity, that is one of the things we are called to do. To preach the Gospel. Although I myself am not much of a preacher, I just try to live my life the way Christ would want me to and hope that nonbelievers might see that and look into why I live that way. However, if by preaching you mean standing in front of a crowd of Muslims telling them all they are going to hell for being Muslim, yeah I could call that a bit arrogant and (in my opinion) not the right way to go about doing things, especially in a Muslim community.

There is some common ground among us. And that you can agree with. But there are many things that we do not agree on. But we can still respect each other.

10 comments:

  1. I think Mohler's article is right on. It is not "arrogance" (as Dave called it) to define the obvious difference between Christianity and Islam in stark terms. Jesus was God who came to earth as a man to live a perfect, sinless life and to die in our place as a substitute for us, then rose again conquering the power of sin over us. Those who believe in Jesus will be saved. This is the definition of salvation according to the Bible. There is no other definition. The Jews who also hold "the faith of Abraham" are clearly described as being unsaved unless they believe in Jesus Christ so there is clearly no room in Christian doctrine for salvation outside of Jesus. This is by definition not arrogance. If there is any question what Christianity teaches on the topic look at 1 John 2:22-23.

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  2. Excellent post and I happen to agree with you too.

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  3. Watch yourself Red, people might start thinking you are league with me. LOL!

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  4. This is a great post Steve. There are some specific things that I'm going t ocomment on.

    Otter said: "Call me arrogant. Call me intolerant. Call me whatever you want to call me. But this is what I believe."

    There is a world of difference between how you have expressed this opinion and how Mohler expressed the similar opinion. Mohler was being arrogant, you are not.


    Otter said: "To be perfectly honest, I have to think that if all religions led to salvation, there would be little point for a person to follow a particular religion in the first place."

    I disagree. Just look at the world around you, heck just look at the people you work with. They are all different. That is the point. That is why there are so many different religions, IMHO. I think the Dali Lama put it best when he once said that all faiths lead to salvation but that Buddhism is the one that works best for him (I'm paraphrasing here). I think he is 100% spot on.


    Otter said: "If you don't have the faith that your religion is the "right one" what would be the point in following it?"

    Because it is the right one for you.


    Otter said: "Going back to respect though. I certainly do respect other religions. I don't agree with them though."

    THANK YOU!!!!! This is the point that Mohler so amazingly missed. You do not have to agree with someone or something to respect it. I do not agree with Red much of the time but I respect him.


    Otter said: "I can respect a person religion by, for example, not out right telling the person they are going to hell (that is not my style) and by talking to them in a respectful (or in my case usually an inquisitive) manner and by rationally discussing our differences. This does not mean, however, that I have to agree with their beliefs."

    And if that is how more Christians behaved, then much of the anti-Christian sentiment would go away. Unfortunately you get people like Mohler and the AFA who basically tell everyone "if you don't believe EXACTLY what I believe then you are going to hell." That is the arrogance that I was talking about in my post.


    Otter said: "So I have to agree with the idea that a person can respect a person's religion but not believe it to be true. And I don't necessarily think it would be arrogant of a person to preach at a person from another belief system. Especially in the case of Christianity, that is one of the things we are called to do. To preach the Gospel. Although I myself am not much of a preacher, I just try to live my life the way Christ would want me to and hope that nonbelievers might see that and look into why I live that way. However, if by preaching you mean standing in front of a crowd of Muslims telling them all they are going to hell for being Muslim, yeah I could call that a bit arrogant and (in my opinion) not the right way to go about doing things, especially in a Muslim community."

    This paragraphs speaks volumes about you my friend. There is wisdom and kindness here that is greatly lacking is so much of the religious (and not just Christian mind you) communities.



    Scott said: "It is not "arrogance" (as Dave called it) to define the obvious difference between Christianity and Islam in stark terms."

    No but it is arrogant to tell people that unless they agree with you then they are going to hell. Basically what Mohler is saying is "I'm right and you're wrong, end of discussion." There is no humility in his column. There is no sense of desire to hold an open and honest discussion. All he is doing is telling people that they have to follow his idea of Christianity if they want to be saved. That is arrogant. This man is neither God nor Jesus so how can he even pretend to speak for them.

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  5. I don't see Mohler saying that.

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  6. That's probably because you agree with him Scott.

    Look at what Mohler is saying and think about how that would be viewed as a non-Christian (or even by a Catholic). He is essentially telling people that if they do not believe what he believes then they are wrong and based on said beliefs then they are going to hell. One way of interpreting that is that he is saying that he is right and everyone else is wrong. That may not be his intentions but that is the message that is being delivered to all who disagree with him.

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  7. Believing you are right and others are wrong... and enforcing laws on the non-believers hmmm... sounds just like the global warming crowd to me.

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  8. Fanatics come in all shapes and sizes Red. The sooner you realize that, the better off you'll be. There are as many right-wing nut cases as there are left-wing nut cases. If you don't believe me then you are just kidding yourself.

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  9. Soooo now anyone who believes that they are right is a fanatic?

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  10. *sigh* By your own words, you think that the global warming crowd are fanatics. I was simply pointing out that the left doesn't hold a monopoly on nut-jobs.

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