I was planning on doing this as a 9-11 post but didn't have the time to finish it off yesterday. So here it is today.
Yesterday in particular there were many Christian people talking about being open and accepting to Muslims. Mainly the admonitions come across as classic liberal ideals and I am left wondering if there is any manner of theological basis beyond, "Jesus wants us to be nice."
In a sermon I heard yesterday we learned that Muslims are not so different, actually they are just like us, very few of them are truly dangerous and we ought to show them the love of Jesus. Not only that, but we were reminded to let go of anger against Muslims for 9-11 because "Jesus tells us to forgive our enemies." (how many problems can you find in this? Hint: more than 2)
So, what is the foundation of our relations with people of this world? "Be nice" just doesn't cut it for me and though I like the classic liberal ideals they just seem to be missing something......like a foundation.
First, really, Muslim/Christian it makes no difference. Granted, there are variations in style, but religion is religion and to put it bluntly, I am no longer able to convince myself that God is a gnostic, kicking the shit out of us unless we discover and give mental assent to a specific and precise set of truth claims. Religion is about how we make good with God. That is the point and thrust of all religion. Everyone is playing the same game with the same basic rules but with some slight variation in their playing style. They are all on the same field.
Second, this Jesus thing is about participating with the empowerment of the Spirit of the Living God in his plan for redeeming this world. This participation looks like Jesus on the cross.
Third, in the end God gets everyone. I have lost the ability to insist that God lacks the love or cleverness to get what he wants in the end. (Or was Jesus a liar, or Yahweh a foolish weakling?)
So, yes, forgive evil doers because that is participation in the Spirit of Christ (if in fact that Spirit is in you.) Yes, be open and accepting to Muslims because their religion has just as little to do with the actual gracious structure of redemption as yours does. Yes, find the value in other cultures because the more colors, the more better. Yes, love your neighbor because God loves all his children.
God is not on our side. God is on his own side, doing his own thing, making and executing his own plan. The question is, are we on God's side? That is a question we do not get the answer to till it is too late. So, show some humility, do some good, pray that God would fill you with his Spirit to give you life and the power to participate in his plans.