The Islamic question is on everyone’s heart and mind these days. There are two ways this question is posed in our circles:
- What should be the Christian relation to Islam?
- What should be the Judeo-Christian relation to Islam?
These are by no means the same question.
However, I want to propose a different question for us to consider, namely: What should be the Christian relation to Judeo-Islam? This post simply describes two lines of evidence for why that may prove to be the real question.
There is an interesting Jewish website called JewsOnFirst which provides a sustained critique of the Christian Right. Unfortunately, much of it is right on target, even if the reasoning to get there is not quite correct.
It is interesting to hear the discussion about Christian Dispensationalist/Zionist John Hagee. Even though Hagee is bending over backwards to honor Jews, and has renounced his right or duty to evangelize them, these liberal Jews are still nervous and won’t meet with him.
If you click on the audio link embedded in this article, then you can listen to them.
The moderator expresses shock at how the Christians’ attitude dehumanizes Palestinians!
And of course he is right about that.
While the Christian Right led by the neo-cons is screaming “Islamo-fascism,” thinking this is a way to placate and win Jewish support, Jews are quietly building bridges to the Muslims. The long-range strategy will be to isolate and demonize Christians as the real “extremists,” against which Muslims and Jews must shake hands and ally themselves.
To be fair, they also talk about opening up discussion with Presbyterians. They mean the mainstream, unbelieving Presbyterians, not us. All unbelievers can unite (Psalm 2), even “Christian” unbelievers.
Fifteen years ago or so I attended a three-way debate between Dr. Greg Bahnsen, an Islamist, and a Judaic. This debate can be ordered here. However, what the audio won’t indicate is what I saw.
The speakers rotated around every 10 minutes or so. For the first couple rounds, the two non-Christians were giving the usual “we all believe in God, we just think our tradition has things worth preserving” type of shpiel. It soon became clear that Dr. Bahnsen was not taking that approach. He was explaining that everyone without the God of Christianity is lost– intellectually, morally, eternally. As always, he was kind and gentle in tone, but nuclear in his message. Gradually, a sick look overcame the visages of the Jew and Mohammedan. Next time up, the Jew with barely concealed loathing said to Bahnsen, “just keep your hands off our children.” Then he stalked back to his chair, sat down, and with histrionic exaggeration, to make sure no one missed the point, reached over and shook the Mohammedan’s hand with a great flourish.
(I hope it goes without saying that Bahnsen had said nothing about anyone’s children.)
Dr. Bahnsen spoke next, and when he finished, he walked gingerly over to the other two, to see if they were also going to offer a handshake. They did not.
Thus, the Judeo-Islamic handshake.
When faced with the uncompromised claim of unique truth presented by Christianity, the apparent hatred between Jew and Muslim cools to a small sibling rivalry.
The dispensational Christian right, along with their many non-dispensational fellow-travelers, do not know what is about to hit them. Their unfair favoritism toward the Jew and unfair hatred of the Muslim is going to come back and hit them in the head in a very embarrassing way.