I have previously discussed what our approaches can and should be in addressing the spread of Islam in our country and world here:
But this past weekend, I had a long talk with a friend of mine who is busy with Muslim evangelism abroad, and I asked him – if you agree with me that Islam is a pernicious, wicked, and enslaving ideology, what do you do when you evangelize Muslims? His answer? We have (at least) two main arenas in which we attempt to diffuse, if not conquer Islam – the Public Marketplace, and Personal Missions. And you can’t really engage in both arenas because their methods are so different.
Marketplace: Defeating Islam from without with Argumentation
You’d think that the disturbing life and history of Mohammed, not to mention the daily murder and mayhem done in the name of Islam would cause Islam to lose favor in the marketplace of ideas like rotten piece of meat in the market. So why does Islam still have traction? Possibilities include:
- The Witness of Nature to Monotheism: The existence of God, and of one creator God, is reasonable and self-evident (see Romans 1:18-22)
- The Security of Rules: People like rules – it’s easier than true piety
- The Appeal of Power to the Downtrodden: Islam’s empowering violence appeals to the poor, especially young men who are angered by their situations. In addition, its victimization viewpoint is easier to adopt than the idea that one’s situation is largely their own fault and responsibility. Or their parents’.
But here’s my main point. In the battle of ideas, you have to be armed with courage, truth, and the willingness to articulate your opposition boldly. This means offending people – not purposely, but by disagreeing in a civil but tough manner, you won’t be winning over many Muslims (though you may by responding well to attacks). You are mainly appealing to non-Muslims to understand your concerns, and win them to your side so that Islam does not have the opportunity to fool people into thinking it is innocuous.
But if you become known for your vocal opposition to Islam in the public market, you probably won’t get far in majority Muslim nations – in fact, you’ll probably be executed. Unfortunately, like other totalitarian systems, you have to criticize and reason loudly when outside, but inside, you have to play by other rules to change hearts and minds without dying.
Missions: Defeating Islam from Within with Love and Service
On the ground inside Muslim cultures, of course, you don’t want to offend – you want to demonstrate a better way – through kindness, living on principle, and sharing your ideas carefully when asked. Rather than focusing on the very real evil of the ideology, you focus on the needs of the prisoners of the ideology, in order that they may see Christ serving them and awake.
In addition, you don’t just have to share religious ideas – while half of the ideas that made the west free and great are Christian in nature, the others arose from the Enlightenment – ideas like Democratic Rule, the equality of all races and genders, are not religious in nature, but they are ‘self-evident’ truths that we can live by.
We each have to decide which realm we want to major in – service or public ideas. The former is done with love and service, the latter with truth and reason. Choose your weapon.