In recent years, we have seen wave after wave of violence generated by Muslims seething with hatred of Jews and Christians, and sometimes even with hatred of other Muslims of a slightly different stripe. People ask, why are Muslims so hard to live with, so quick to fight and kill? There is a cultural reason and a religious reason. We find both by examining Islam in the light of the Bible.
The Muslim religion is rooted in Arab culture. Its founder was Mohammed, a descendant of Abraham's son Ishmael. According to the Bible, God said of Ishmael before he was born, "And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren" (Gen. 16:12). In other words, the family and culture that would spring from Ishmael would always be noted for two things: violence and clannishness. Indeed, Arab history is a saga of bitter conflict with all who are seen as enemies. Also, clan loyalty runs extremely high among Arabs. Group thinking may seize the mind and group honor may capture the heart. Then, a fanaticism conditioned by tribalism overrides a proper attention to what is good for self or for people outside the group. In the age-old character of Arab culture, we again see that the Bible is the key to understanding the news.
Yet in any group there are many who diverge from the average. It is never wise to assume that individuals have the characteristics of their group. I myself have known Arabs who were not in the least violent or clannish. Yet groups do have pronounced traits that are reliably expressed in group behavior.
The religious reason for Muslim violence stems from Mohammed's teaching. His ethical system is gravely deficient. It has a huge hole right in the middle. That hole is the absence of any recognition that the wellspring of all righteousness is love. Unlike Jesus, Mohammed never said, and never imagined it right to say, "Love your enemies." Nor did he offer anything comparable to the precept, "Blessed are the peacemakers." If the young Muslim militant raging against the West understood that he has an obligation to love his enemies, he would never seek to blow them up.
It does not follow that we should hate Arabs or Muslims. No, every man is made in the image of God, and his soul is precious. We must labor to give every Muslim the gospel that will liberate him from a religion that leaves him largely ignorant of His Creator's love. Through the power of God's Spirit, every Muslim, like every other living man and woman, can become a beautiful, immortal being.
Evangelizing Muslims not only rescues individuals from a futile religious faith, but also fosters real peace between the antagonistic worlds of Christian and Muslim. The only way to heal the breach between these two worlds is to convert Muslims to Christianity, the only traditional religion that upholds peace and love as the preeminent goals of human society.
© 2007, 2012 Stanley Edgar Rickard (Ed Rickard, the author). All rights reserved.