Now that I have your attention…the title may not be exactly what you are thinking. Followers of Islam and prophet Muhammed are concerned about the superiority of their religion. They refuse to be ridiculed by anyone, as evidenced by the recent upheaval over the Danish cartoons. Many seek to prove their premiere status with violence against those who disagree.
In that sense Islam is the opposite of Christianity. Muhammed is the opposite of Christ. Islam seeks superiority. Chrisitanity embraces inferiority.
Christians have, unfortunately, also become obsessed about our representations in the media. From the Book of Daniel to the supposed Will and Grace episode with Brittney Spears hosting a cooking show entitled “Crucifixin’s” (which I actually thought was clever in a blasphemous sort of way).
Muslims and Christians reacted differently to this situation – Muhammed followers burned buildings, Christ followers sent emails to television stations. While I appreciate the fact that Christians did not react violently, I do not believe we are intently following the methods and message of Christ. We spend way too much time trying to make culture like us instead of making ourselves different from culture and there is a huge difference.
In seeking to make culture more “Christian,” we come across as over-bearing, controlling and hostile to freedoms. Many people view Christianity as simply another tool for personal or political power. That is the fault of Christians, we have behaved that way too often. This allows non-Christians to brush off Christianity, and as a result Christ, because they see us like every other group vying for power.
If we sought to make ourselves different from the culture, then those within the culture would observe our Christlike nature, forcing them to make a decision on Him. It would either raise questions that we could answer and point them to Christ or it would cause conviction which would ultimately point them to Christ, as well.
Therefore the question becomes, why do we seek to “defend” ourselves so much. Why are we always so eager to be offended?
I believe part of it, is an honest effort to defend Christianity and the validity of our faith. We must show people that Christianity is truth and no worldview is as complete and comprehensive. I understand, applaud and am part of that battle.
But much of what goes on, surpases the legitimate expression of apologetics to the realm of seeking to not be offended – which is a strange place for a Christian to find themselves.
Recently John Piper perfectly illustrated what should be the difference between Muslims and Christians. He pointed out the differences between our founders:
That’s the most basic difference between Christ and Muhammad and between a Muslim and a follower of Christ. For Christ, enduring the mockery of the cross was the essence of his mission. And for a true follower of Christ enduring suffering patiently for the glory of Christ is the essence of obedience. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account” (Matthew 5:11). During his life on earth Jesus was called a bastard (John 8:41), a drunkard (Matthew 11:19), a blasphemer (Matthew 26:65), a devil (Matthew 10:25); and he promised his followers the same: “If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household” (Matthew 10:25).
Islam was founded by Muhammed by the threat of his sword. Christianity was founded by Jesus by the sacrificing of his life. Piper issued his conclusion:
It means that a religion with no insulted Savior will not endure insults to win the scoffers. It means that this religion is destined to bear the impossible load of upholding the honor of one who did not die and rise again to make that possible. It means that Jesus Christ is still the only hope of peace with God and peace with man. And it means that his followers must be willing to “share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” (Philippians 3:10).
As Christians, we can let Muslims fight and rage about superiority. Let us be more concerned about following and showing truth. I don’t care about being superior, but I do want to be right.