Five Concepts Christians Could Learn from Muslims
Do Muslim's Have Something Right?
The Islamic religion is one that is as old as organized Christianity. Both claim the same ancestry through Abraham - worshiping the same God. However, because of centuries of battling and uneasy treaties between the two, Christians have often looked at Muslims with skepticism and intimidation. As wars continue to break out between governments and factions of the two world religions, it is understandable why Christians might be afraid of studying Islam too deeply.
Though the religious governments and extremists are not a great example (and the same could be said about Christians), when actually looking into the beliefs and lifestyle of the Islamic religion, there are many lessons that Christians could learn. Below I will list 5 that I have observed.
Disclaimer: I know that it is very likely that some people will read this article with an opinion of distaste already in their minds. My goal is not to convert anyone to Islam, it is simply to open people's minds and help them grow personally. I want to make it clear that I do not believe any religion should control a government, Muslim or Christian. I am not suggesting that any of these ideas be made into laws that all must follow. However, for Christians desiring a deeper walk with their Creator and God, Jesus Christ, an implementation of some of these concepts into one's personal life could add great value.
View of Muslims
What is your personal view about this issue?
Some of Islams Admirable Traits
As someone who has been born and raised a Christian, it is sometimes easy for me to treat God more as a pass-time - a vending machine where I can place prayers for rewards, or a one way ticket to eternal life. I've noticed that our Muslim brothers have some very noble lifestyle choices that I believe are seriously worth considering.
1. Praying 5 Times a Day
How many Christians do you know who don't even pray five times a WEEK? Although it is sad, I can say that it is difficult for me to dedicate a specific amount of time (even 30 seconds to a minute) to God five times a day. Imagine if Christians, who have the assurance that God loves them even when they mess up, prayed five times a day... I am confident this world would be a much different place - for the better.
2. Dressing Modestly
Although the conservative Islamic view of dressing may be a bit more then I think is necessary, the concept is a good one. The Ten Commandments tell us not to covet or commit adultery, and Jesus tells us not even to look at someone lustfully. Although this is something that takes place in the mind, a doubt there is anyone who can honestly say that what they see doesn't effect their thoughts. If Christians spent a little bit less time focused on looking attractive, and focused more on accepting others, maybe we would have healthier communities with lower crime rates.
3. Avoiding unclean meat and alcohol
Muslims do not believe they should eat unclean meets (those mentioned in Deuteronomy 14 and Leviticus 11 as unclean by God). Although it can be debatable about whether or not this is a salvational issue, the fact is, the meats listed in these verses are the most unhealthy meats available. They are the meats that carry the most diseases and have the largest amounts of fat. Personally, I've never seen a fat Muslim.
Alcohol is something that causes serious problems in the lives of many people. In fact, it is estimated that 1 out of 3 people who start drinking end up having some form of addiction to liquor. As Christians, if we believe our bodies are the temple of God, and we need to be in our right mind to serve him, should we even risk the chance of being that one out of three who becomes addicted? Can I love my family if I abandon them for the bottle? Again, this is another place where Muslims may be making the right move.
4. Being Able to Quote One's Holy Book
How many Christians can actually quote scripture? I've heard about many Muslims who, even though they cannot read, know significant amounts of the Koran. How can I claim to be a follower of God when I don't even read or know the book that he's given me. That's like saying that I'm married to a woman but I never listen to anything she has to say! (I'm sure that happens frequently, but I doubt you would call that a healthy relationship). Us Christians should start to consider spending a little less time criticizing other religions or memorizing movie lines, and a little bit more time learning about the God we claim to follow.
5. Making Life Part of One's Religion
Many westerners are comfortable making religion a part of life, but that is not what God asks of his followers. He wants us to make our lives a part of his religion. Jesus committed fulling to teaching about the love of God - all the way to the cross. Many times we are uncomfortable speaking about God if it means someone looks at us funny. The famous liberator of India, Mahatma Ghandi, said, "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." Could it be that many of our struggles with Islam have less to do with how Muslims act and more to do with how Christians act?
Making It Personal
So often we like to look at our personal religion and the religions of others as ideas, rather than beliefs. We theoretically discuss and debate them, never spending enough time pondering them to start falling in love with the God behind them. We argue and we fight, but we forget about God. We believe that God is too small to stand up for himself and so we fight and kill to "defend" him, when in all reality, all he has ever asked us to do is to love.
I know that it may be very tempting to debate ideas and theories in the comments below, and that is acceptable. However, I do request that you spend some time thinking about you personal relationship with whatever view of God you may have, and ask yourself, "Am I living the life that He desires of me?"