I am not a scholar of religion. I am not well versed in knowledge of every religion around the world. I will tell you this. I am a C. I am a C-H. I am a C-H-R-I-S-T-I-A-N. Yes, I am a Christian. And exactly what does that mean for me? It means that I believe in God the Father and His son, Jesus Christ. I believe that Jesus died for my sins and rose on the 3rd day and is seated at the right hand of the Father. Got it? Good.
That does not mean that I hate folks who believe differently. My love of Jesus Christ does not diminish because of your love of Buddha or Allah or any other deity you choose to worship. I am not threatened by your love of your deity. Do you. As a Christian, it is my job to share the gospel with the world. But sharing that gospel does not mean that I holler or berate your religion. Sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ means that I first check myself. I try to walk with more love. I try to extend kindness. I try to treat others well. Believe me, that is hard enough for me. I don't have time to worry about what your temple/mosque is doing, if I am trying to live as Christ did.
Too many people have been killed in the name of religion - on both sides of the aisle. I am shocked by the number of religious leaders warning against jihad when their Muslim-AMERICAN neighbors want to open a mosque. Jihad? Really? Call me crazy but isn't crusade another word for jihad? The Spanish Inquisition killed between 1000-2000 people in the name of religion. And how many died in the crusades? We will never know. I am sad to think that we didn't learn anything from seeing our Saviour on the cross. Our Saviour - Jesus - was persecuted because of religion/politics. Have you ever paused to think about that? I am not so naive to think that jihad is a myth. Are there religious zealots out there? Yes. But there are crazies in every religion. There is a "christian" church that goes around protesting other churches. There is a "christian" church that holds up horrible signs outside of soldiers funerals. There are churches that proclaim that the white race is "God's chosen people." There were churches that supported slavery. There are sick people in every group. The muslim that supports jihad is no different from the Christian that supports "christian warfare."
It saddens me that some Christians are so quick to feel scared of another religion building a church in their section of town. Is your Christianity so shaky that the mere presence of another religious building might cause you to backslide? If so, stay home and lock the door and immerse yourself in the Word of God. You need to shine up that armor. (Ephesians 6:11) I am not saying that you have to go out and recruit for them. But I am saying that you extend to them the same love you would to anyone else. Jesus didn't go out and strong arm people into following Him. He didn't say "take up your cross and follow me" or else. Jesus loved people into following Him. An encounter with Christ changed people's lives. He fed people and healed people. He loved them because they were His children. And we still are. All of us. Love your neighbor wasn't a suggestion. Mark 12:30-31 "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'There is no commandment greater than these." It seems that we listen to the first part but not the second.
Maya Angelou said "While I know myself as a creation of God, I am also obligated to realize and remember that everyone else and everything else are also God's creation." Shouldn't we treat people accordingly?