Archive for the ‘Love Muslim Neighbors’ Category

I am all for loving others as taught in Scripture. Nevertheless, the author of this article is just another evangelical leader who clearly has no idea what he is speaking about. My responses are in red.

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Loving all our neighbors, even our Muslim ones: Column

Ed Stetzer 1:37 p.m. EDT April 26, 2013

Don’t be so lazy to assume that the worst of a group represents the entire group. They hardly ever do. Perhaps a better idea is to meet them, learn about them and treat them as your neighbor.

For many Americans, their knowledge of Muslims is what they see on television news rather than what they know from experience. Yet, forming your view of any group based solely on what you see on the news is a bad idea.

Bo: I agree with the statement that most Americans do get their views of Islam and Muslims from sources like TV. Yet, what he is attempting to do is to try and disconnect what he mistakenly calls terror from Islam. The real problem with his thought is that after an Islamic jihadi act our present MSMs present hundreds of TV hours to present the typical Islamic line that Islam is peace and rejects terrorism. 

When the Boston Marathon bombing occurred, many Americans were quick to assume it was the work of Muslim extremists, even before it was confirmed. The connection of terrorism to radicalized Islam is no secret. Yet, far too many take it further, leading me to ask, why do some people assume that all, most, or even many Muslims must be terrorists?

Bo: The author’s argument is based on how the individual Muslim acts which is faulty. Would the author decide how to view Christianity by how each Christian acts? I would doubt it. I am a minister and I know how many individual Christians act and it would  be akin to blasphemy to describe Christianity by their actions. Rather, we ought to investigate Islam the same way we ought Christianity by examining their holy Scriptures. When the authoritative Islamic texts are examined properly, it is clear that Islam demands of its adherents to fight and kill those who refuse to accept Islam.

Why is so much hate directed at Muslims today — the vast majority of whom are peaceful people and, when living here, love their country?

Bo: Really? Hate? What about the 270,000,000 non-Muslims Muslims have murdered since the inception of the Islamic Caliphate under Mohammad. He does not seem to be concerned about the historical basis for the fear many do have of Islamic adherents. But of course, Islam can not do anything wrong. It is always the non-Muslim who is at fault and it is interesting that the individual making the very claim Muslims do is supposedly a man of God.

Simply put, too many people make decisions about a group based on what they see on television news — and that’s a bad place to make sweeping conclusions.

Bo: So what? The fact is that many, many Americans come to the same conclusion as what you might see on TV by examining the authoritative Islamic texts. His argument fails.

For example, a couple of years ago my young daughter was watching a television news report about a black man charged with a crime — one of two reports that night. “I don’t want to be a racist, but why are so many black people arrested?” she asked. She was contrasting the African Americans she saw on the news with several of our neighbors, who she plays with in our cul-de-sac, who are African-American.

The reports of disproportionate number of young black men being arrested is not what she knows from her own experience and, she now knows after our conversation, it is not representative of the vast majority of African Americans.

Bo: This is example is not merely faulty but meaningless, philosophically. The Black community does not have a history of jihad, attempting to take over the world and killing those who refuse to acknowledge the God they worship. Rather, the violence has come from the white community toward the black community. Yet, what the author does not admit is that there is an extraordinary number of young black people who are arrested just as it seems on TV.

We widely recognize that people who don’t understand this are intellectually lazy.

Bo: Actually, what ought to be called lazy is the author’s arguments. He continually compares apples to oranges.

I am neither a Muslim nor African American, so here is another example that is closer to home, though it is hardly on the same level.

Watching the evening news, you might conclude that evangelicals are hate-filled bigots constantly making vitriolic statements and saying crazy things about hurricanes being caused by immorality. Why? Because, evangelicals are often depicted in news reports as angry people who say crazy things. Often, neither the journalists nor those who read or hear their reports know many evangelicals personally. As such, they connect with what they see on television, rather than reality. That, too, is intellectually lazy.

Bo: Again, this is a lazy argument. Many people say “crazy” things including Muslims. The author is probably claiming that the evangelicals who make the above statements are crazy because what they say cannot be backed up with Scripture. This is where his argument fails. The so-called crazy things said by Muslims can be backed by their authorized Islamic texts.

The same is true of Muslims, Hispanics, Mormons, homosexuals, union members, and any group of people with whom we are not personally familiar. Our lack of personal knowledge and experience, coupled with our unwillingness to learn more, leads us to jump to conclusions that are, more often than not, wrong. We believe it is true because we have seen it on television or read it on the Internet.

Bo: The author’s argument fails because how this or that Muslim acts is meaningless. What matters is what he or she believes. 

On the day before the Tsarnaev brothers were identified as Chechen Muslims, I drove by my Muslim neighbor’s home on the way out of our neighborhood. His trash can had spilled into the street, so I stopped, picked everything up and put it back on his curb. Why? Because I know him. He is my neighbor. Because our kids play together. And he more realistically represents his religion to me than terrorists do. And my African American neighbors also better represent African Americans than news reports. And, I pray, I am a better representative of my faith than some of the nuts in the news.

Bo: So, what? Every person who is interviewed after an jihadi event always talks about how kind the individual was, how their kids loved to play with another and they just cannot believe he would do such a thing. But they did do such a thing which means the author’s argument is meaningless. So, is his perception that the Muslim who is his neighbor, with whom his children play and who is so kind represents his religion more than the terrorists. The author clearly does not understand Islam and really ought to stop putting his ignorance into script.

As an evangelical leader and researcher, I have no vested interest in — and receive no personal benefit from — speaking out for my Muslim neighbors and friends. Yet, while it is irresponsible not to see the link between radical Islam and terrorism, it is the height of ignorance to assume that all (or most, or even many) Muslims are terrorists.

Bo: Who cares whether he receives any benefit. What is irresponsible is his failure to understand Islam, the tie between Islamic authoritative texts, the Ummah and jihad. The height of ignorance is the arguments he has presented in this article.

Don’t be so lazy to assume that the worst of a group represents the entire group. They hardly ever do. Perhaps a better idea is to meet them, learn about them and treat them as your neighbor.

Bo: What hypocrisy!

Ed Stetzer is president of LifeWay Research.

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