Page 8 of 8
Many more comparisons beyond these on God, man, salvation, nature, the future, and revelation could be made. Islam and Christianity are very different from each other. We must not embrace the logical consequence of having no religious affiliation, which is that all religions are essentially the same. Western civic structures are founded in a Judeo-Christian religious heritage. Conversely, Middle Eastern and Central Asian civic structures are founded in a Muslim heritage. Structures for government, justice, education, public works, civil defense, marriage, and family are connected to the corresponding, underlying beliefs and values of these two very different religious systems.
If all religions are basically the same, then civic structures would be interchangeable between societies regardless of different religious heritages. But Islam and Christianity are not the same. Their belief and values systems are different, and those differences result in vastly different behaviors and different civic structures. The cultural momentum in America towards denying the relevance of religion is causing military leaders and diplomats to treat democratic civic structures as if they are plug-and-play components between different societies. But they are not, and blindness to this reality is sabotaging efforts to facilitate democratic reform in the Muslim world.
Blindness to these spiritual realities not only undermines world peace, but it threatens religious freedom in America as well. If Christianity and Islam are essentially the same, then their fundamentalists are also the same. A potential challenge to religious freedom in America will likely come from people with no religious affiliation. These people may well begin to treat Evangelicals as if they were the same threat to civic order as their fundamentalist counterparts in Islam.
Bruce Sidebotham spent seven years doing cross-cultural ministry in Indonesia. The son of a Navy chaplain, he is a geologist, a civil engineer, and a former officer in the Army Corps of Engineers. He has a Master’s degree in Intercultural Studies and Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) from Columbia International University, and a Doctor of Ministry degree from New Geneva Theological Seminary.
|Last Updated on Saturday, 27 April 2013 20:30|