I’ve been writing a post on a related topic for a few weeks now. It keeps growing and changing, so in the meantime, I’ll share this one, which I’m pretty sure will be short and to the point. Maybe.
Yesterday, more than 700 Muslims were killed in a stampede during their pilgrimage to Mecca. It seems that many people thought these deaths should be celebrated. This baffles me because most of the people who feel this way probably claim to be Christians.
Now, I don’t have a degree in Jesusology, but I can read, and I’m considered fairly intelligent, even by those who don’t agree with everything I say (or write), so I’m going to throw a couple of things out here.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”
I’m missing the part where wishing others dead or in hell comes from a pure heart.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
There is no good in declaring those of another religion evil or deserving of death. We are to pray for our enemies, not condemn them to death.
“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.”
Merely holding hatred in your heart for others is a sin comparable to murder. And why do you hate them? Because they chose a different religion than you? You can’t claim it’s because “they” are murderers or terrorists, because they are not all murderers or terrorists. (And even if they are, that does not excuse our behavior as Christians. If we’re supposed to be “better” those of other religions, then we need to act like it.) There is a small percentage of Muslims who are radical and dangerous. Just as there is a small percentage of Christians who are radical and dangerous (although the number of radical and dangerous Christians seems to grow every day).
I have Muslim friends. They are wonderful, loving people. Now, it’s possible that once they are behind the security of their locked front door, they are doing horrible things to my voodoo image, but I kind of doubt it, and frankly, I’m willing to take that chance. I judge people on the content of their character and how they treat others, not on how they choose to worship (or choose not to worship in some cases).
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Even assuming every single person who died in the stampede was truly evil, we are still called to love them and pray for them.
I’ll leave you with one final thought. Does God rejoice when a soul goes to hell? If you believe that Muslims are all going to hell, then how can you celebrate all those souls lost yesterday?
As I will explore more in my upcoming wayward post, it’s not my job to change your mind about this or anything else. I do encourage you to read your bible and pray that God will show you the truth.