In an earlier post we looked at how we, as western Christians, perceive Muslims. Today we reverse things as we look at how Muslims perceive Christians.
Have you ever considered what a typical Muslim view of a Christian might be? As shared previously, only one in seven Muslims worldwide have had personal contact with a Christian, so this cannot be a deciding factor. Sadly, more prominent will be what they are taught in Islam as well as what they see in news stories, television programmes, movies and music. None of these reveal are particularly helpful.
The Qur’an does say some positive things about Christians. It calls us (and Jews) the ‘people of the book’ and says that we will have our reward from the Lord. It also says that among us are men devoted to learning, who have renounced the world.
However, it also makes a point of saying that Christ was only a messenger; that we should desist from using the word trinity; and that we should have stood fast by the law, gospel and revelation that were sent to us. This paints a picture of a people who have misunderstood and fallen short. It misses crucial elements from our faith (such as salvation by grace) and our understanding of God. We don’t appear to know what we’re doing or who we really are.
Muslims do not differentiate between westerners and Christians. In a Muslim country, there is no divide between secular and sacred. Islam influences everything.
This misconception leads most Muslims to believe that our governments represent our beliefs, when in fact they don’t. Hollywood movies mislead them into believing that immorality, violence and bad language are acceptable to us, while pop stars make it seem that dressing and dancing provocatively is normal.
Muslims have no reason to doubt that the things they see and hear represent Christianity, and no one is there to tell them otherwise.
It’s not all bad
Muslims are as much online today as we are, so they have far more access to our world than was once the case. This presents us, as believers, with a great opportunity to be salt and light. It is why organisations like Arab World Media are so important.
What to do now
As a church, we have a great opportunity to show Muslims that we are not what they think us to be. Today, let’s think how we can each make a difference.
Do you know or live near to any Muslims? If so, start looking for ways to demonstrate that your faith makes a difference to the way you live your life. Do you have a public online presence? Maybe you could make more of an effort to share what you believe and why. Pray that God would give each of us a chance today to begin changing someone’s misconceptions of Christianity.
Make a comment below or use social media to let us know your thoughts about today. Use the hashtag #RethinkingRamadan.
Tomorrow, as we reassess, we’ll be testing our knowledge of Arab food.