‘Why Christians and Muslims Can’t Get Along’

Why Christians and Muslims Can’t Get Along

What do I know?

Like most other American Christians, I can’t claim to know much about Islam. I took a two-month class on the religion in college, and learned a bit about it in high school, but other than that, I have had no immersion into the religion, and only see it through the lens of the war.

But let’s focus on what we do know. Muhammad was a normal and pious man, born around 570 C.E., married to an older woman, living his life when the angel Gabriel came to him and ordered him to recite. The Qur’an is the result of this recitation from illiterate Muhammad. The Qur’an is the living word of God, similar to how Christ is the living word to the Christian God. Muslims worship only God, Islam means “submission to God,” and Muhammad was a prophet, just as Abraham, Jesus, and all the Old Testament prophets were.

Out of the Qur’an comes the Five Pillars. They are 1) Confessing faith in one God, 2) Prayer five times a day, 3) Alms-giving, 4) Fasting at Ramadan, and 5) hajj, which is a pilgrimage to Mecca, a historically relevant city to the Muslim faith.

Sunnis follow Muhammad’s example. Shiites follow Muhammad’s example but also, long ago, chose to follow the example of Muhammad’s descendants, like Ali, Muhammad’s son-in-law.

Jihad means “struggle.” It is not holy war, but it can be. It puts a name to the inner struggle each Muslim goes through to submit to God rather than follow their own ego.

Muslims believe that humans were created with fitra–a good framework everyone is born with, but that many people forget and get distracted from the true path. This negates the need for a Savior, unlike Christianity, which is a religion based on the saving blood of Christ. All one needs to do to be saved in the Islam faith is to follow the Five Pillars.

Treatment of Women

We look at Muslim women covered head to toe, living under strict rules and say the religion and culture is oppressing them. Muslims look at American women wearing next to nothing on TV and billboards, putting all their worth in their bodies, and say American culture and Christianity are objectifying and oppressing their women. Both sides argue that their women are better off.

These differences will always bother the modern, democratic West as well as the traditional, Islamic East. It overlaps into all the question both religions ask: do we move forward with our ideas and technology, or do we try to go back to the way things were in the Bible or in Muhammad’s time? No text or living example can tell us what to do about stem cell research. The ambiguity in both Christian and Islam doctrine create unanswerable questions and unnegotiable relations between nations.

But we look at the stories of Muslim men killing their sisters because they were raped, or seen with a man who wasn’t part of the family, and we Westerners cannot condone it due to cultural difference. How can two civilizations agree to disagree when innocent people die? It is difficult to know when to intervene with another nation.

Yet, many Muslim women feel hopeful that they will attain more freedoms as time goes by. Only a hundred years ago in the US, women weren’t allowed to vote. How can we rush other cultures to catch up to us?

Violence and Jihad

Another reason Christians and Muslims can’t get along is violence. The unforgettable attacks and counterattacks of the last decade have shown us that people will fight and die for their religion. Christians and Americans question Muslims: how is your religion peaceful when so much war and killing has happened since its beginning?

Muslims turn around and ask us the same thing. Christianity has a history of violence, too. The US has turned to violence to get what it has wanted.

But why did Islam extremists attack us? As Western thought and modernism spread, along with American culture, to almost every nation, Muslims cannot help but see these new ways of thinking and living as imposing on their religious tradition. When we try to make their religious governments into democracies, they don’t see it as a gift of freedom, they see it as an attack on their religion. When the World Trade Centers fell down and fingers were pointed to Al Qaeda, Christians too felt their religion was being attacked. Christians tend to tie up their religious conviction with patriotism, and freedom has become a synonym for the American way of life.

The majority on both sides want peace. But both sides are also called to spread their religion to all nations. Dedicated Muslims and Christians alike will fight for what they believe is right. This is the cause of the clash.

What Can We Do?

We have only dipped into this topic, and have already found material for endless debate. What can we do with this rising issue?

  • For now, the best thing to do is to learn as much as we can about Islam. We must stay updated on what is going on in Islamic countries and we must hush our assumptions and listen for awhile.
  • Understand and remember that there is fear on both sides. Western culture has become a force, a blind pillar of great evil to many other cultures in the world. Muslims also understand little about us. They fear us as much as we may fear them.
  • Find the beauty in Islam. Instead of looking for its faults, look at it for inspiration for your own faith. How do Muslims find happiness? Looking for the positive aspects, we will have more than enough to love about this other culture.
  • Talk about it with as many people as possible. Really listen to what other people are saying, and be respectful while still arguing your point. Communication is always the first step, and most of the time, we cannot even manage that. Let’s start the discussion.
  1. casey
    June 15th, 2012 at 02:13
    Reply | Quote | #1

    wow this place died since I’ve been away

    • June 19th, 2012 at 15:12
      Reply | Quote | #2

      I’ve been really busy…

      • Redirected
        July 4th, 2012 at 06:18
        Reply | Quote | #3

        Ian;

        What happened to all of those wonderful forum debates you folks had back in 2009?

        • September 20th, 2012 at 16:29
          Reply | Quote | #4

          They weren’t wonderful. The token Christian we had on there hardly made the debates wonderful.

  2. September 18th, 2012 at 01:57
    Reply | Quote | #5

    You been offline 24 hrs, we been worried the intifada got you. What happened? I blogged on yr disappearance.

  3. steve
    September 19th, 2012 at 22:23
    Reply | Quote | #6

    Islam is different to all other religions, it is dependant on fear to promote itself.

    • September 20th, 2012 at 16:27
      Reply | Quote | #7

      Nope. Wrong. ALL monotheistic religions are dependent on fear to promote themselves. How do you think Christianity got so big? What if the Bible told us there was no such thing as eternal damnation? Then Christianity would have likely died out.

      • steve
        September 24th, 2012 at 21:09
        Reply | Quote | #8

        True however Islam have taken it to a whole new level in an age where most other religions are becoming more enlightened.

        • September 25th, 2012 at 18:22
          Reply | Quote | #9

          I would say much of what triggered Islamic extremism would be the sudden rise of Israel and Zionism in the past.

          A lot of media brainwashing is also being done in part of the Zionist Jew propaganda, to make Muslims and “racist” Whites look bad (the number one priority of the enemy).

          America is the only country that supports Israel, so I can understand why a lot of Muslims are angry. I’m not even for Islam, but it’s pretty fucked-up to kick people out of their own homeland.

          Religious differences caused all this mayhem — I don’t think it’s ever gonna die out.

  4. FinallyFree
    February 3rd, 2013 at 22:21

    The article tells us to wait,do nothing,find the beauty in Islam. It is also asking us in the same token to ignore the murder and rape of woman,to ignore the bombings. This I cannot abide whether it be Islam or Christian. Any religion that would ask a person to stand aside and pretend it didn’t happen is utterly ridiculous. I won’t stand aside and ignore,I won’t wait as I am asked. Rather I will continue to showcase and comment on act’s of religious intolerance and other acts against humanity, in an effort to hopefully hasten and then one day see it’s final downfall and ending.