Tuesday, April 23, 2013

What Makes Islam So Great?

President Obama: What's your opinion about jihad?

"The phrase 'jihad' has a lot of meanings within Islam, and is subject to a lot of different interpretations. But I will say that, first, Islam is one of the world's great religions. And more than a billion people who practice Islam - the overwhelming majority - view their obligations to their religion as ones that reaffirm peace and justice and fairness and tolerance. I think all of us recognize that this great religion, in the hands of a few extremists,  has been distorted to justify violence towards innocent people that is never justified."

What's so great about Islam? What does Islam teach?

Let me tell you what Christianity teaches: Christ died for us. Know what radical Christianity looks like? What a fanatical Christian does?

He turns the other cheek when someone slaps him. He loves the unlovable, and forgives all of his enemies, because he knows how much he's forgiven.

He's patient and kind. He does not seek his own well-being over others, and keeps no record of wrongs. He pours his life out daily for those around him - especially for the most unlovable - because Christ first loved us and gave His life for us.

Do all "Christians" act this way? Hardly. But THAT'S what radical Christianity looks like.

What does "radical" Islam look like? If Mohammed is my hero, should I emulate him? If he's my example, should I strive to live like he did? What words of Islam inspire, build up, and edify? What does Islam offer that makes this religion so great?

Do so-called Christians do dumb things? Certainly. Even hateful things? Surely.

So what makes Christianity so great?

Jesus died for me.

Without that, I have no hope, though I have all the riches in the world. With that, I have everything I need.

Christ died for me - purchasing my forgiveness, a clean conscience, and right standing with God that no amount of "goodness" (bribery) can purchase.

Christ died as me - releasing me from my futile self-effort and a life of self-gratification that leads down a road to nowhere but pity and sorrow.

Christ lives in me - providing the daily enabling power that helps me live a life that pleases God.

Christ lives through me - loving others and producing joy, love, and peace in my own life through genuine, heartfelt service (instead of service out of selfish ambition or false humility).

That's what makes Christianity so great.

So I ask, with all sincerity: what makes Islam so great? Show me. I see the fruit of Islam - what's actually taught in mosques across this world - when a 19 year old kid places a backpack on the ground next to an 8 year old boy and watches him die.

When Jesus was on the cross, being mocked, spat upon, hanging naked, bleeding, struggling for breath, taking the wrath of God that you and I deserve upon Himself - having done nothing on this earth worthy of a criminal's humiliating death - he cried out: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they're doing."

He died for me.

That's what makes Christianity great.

What makes Islam so great?