Monday, June 24, 2013

A Christian View: To Judge Muslim Ways?

Reading The Last Mughal, I am reminded
 of the walls that religious 
judgments have been building for centuries. 
Judgments of others have layered societies and cultures
with hatreds. Jesus told 
his disciples, "Judge not, so that 
you will not be judged." 

Jesus' teachings about judgments are contrary to what some followers in His time on earth expected. They are ignored today wherever personal judgments run rampant, diluted to name-calling in growing numbers.   

Jesus made a statement that continues to startle people, when He said that He did not come to earth to judge the world; He came so that the world might be saved. He taught His followers to follow His example and not to condemn. He taught this more than once, emphasizing, as in Matthew 5-7--The Sermon on the Mount--the abundant life.  

Yet, deep within our human  nature is the tendency to jump to criticize others, often based on emotions. In The Last Mughal (William Dalrymple, author), is a historical account that shows how some British commanders and other European Christians alienated India's, particularly Delhi's, local leadership. Harsh condemnations due to blindness to the richness of Indian culture proved destructive. Mainly, the British empire wanted to colonize India, not understand her. Thinking they were helping the Faith and the people, foreigners professing Christian beliefs harmed themselves and the country they failed to love. Note that there were British visitors who took a different view and suffered for it, in many cases.   

As a Christian of another time and place, I increasingly am convinced of the good that is part of being informed about others' religious beliefs. And I want to know what Christian scholars know about other religions; in addition, I am learning more about what general members of Islam say about their beliefs.  

I am convinced that peace-loving people of every religion share an opposition to extremism and violence. I remember, as I update this post, that Mogama, in his book Refugee Was My Name, told how Christians and Muslims broke habits of long-standing to pray together in public, due to darkening clouds of rebel warfare spreading over their city and country...Monrovia, Liberia.  

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