Over the past month I have seen and heard a growing resentment for Islam and Muslims. Since 9/11 there has obviously been a greater examination, and prejudice of this world religion. It has been continually and more frequently been brought into critique by Western culture. With the latest events in the Middle East, including the brutal rise of The Islamic State of Iraq (ISIS), it is understandable that many Americans feel such strong aversion to Islam and what it represents. The broadcasted violence speaks for itself as far as those events are concerned and it begs the question of what other Muslims are doing in the midst of these atrocities that their ‘brethren’ are committing. It has been reported, Muslim leaders are speaking out and casting these murderous group out, despite their labeling as such. So, our concern over the religion seems to be somewhat misplaced and misdirected.
All of this aside, at my university there is an atmosphere of rancor towards Islam and those who follow it. There are numerous articles that are calling for Christians to take up arms and ‘fight’ the rise of Islam. Given I’m not entirely sure what sort of ‘fighting’ we as Christians should be doing, but those points are a bit vague. It also may be a little late, since Islam worldwide is the second largest religion after Christianity itself. I’m not going to speculate on these Christian writers’ motivations nor of their intentions, because what I really want to talk about is where the enemies of Christianity truly reside.
They inhabit our churches. We go to mass with them. We are with them every day. I’m not talking about demons or sins or unbelievers or even ‘cafeteria Christians’. I’m talking about ourselves. We are Christianity’s own worst enemy.
How could I say such a thing? Well, how often are Christians held to their actions? How often are we viewed by our actions rather than by what we actually say? Quite a lot honestly, and it is no surprise why Christianity has such a derogatory connotation when it is brought mentioned in secular circles. Even when it comes to what we say, there are times when our communication isn’t the best. Sure, I realize Christians are human, I get that. (I’m Christian and human too). I only feel as if that sometimes we are not as conscious of what we represent.
There have been occasions in the past that I have been confronted by individuals, who are proclaimed ‘faithful Christians’ and have then proceeded to almost push me out of the Church.
An increase in awareness of what we are doing as persons and as Christians is necessary. There should be an accounting of compassion and sympathy for our fellow man, rather than a cold hostility. I’m not saying that all Christians are like this, nothing of the sort, but the fact that I have come across individuals like this does not speak well of our ‘Christian Culture’ that we are trying to cultivate. Being judged by how often we pray or how well we keep feast days or even paying attention to the finer intricacies of Mass or what have you is uncalled for and entirely pharisaical.
Coming back to ISIS and Islam, I just want to say that we have enough enemies right next to us rather than making more half way across the world. There isn’t a need to try and create ill feelings toward people that have in the past been our friends and given us help in the past. We can be our own greatest obstacles in achieving what we wish. And even with the temptation of sin brought into play, there are enough hindrances on our own in expanding the Kingdom. We have to be better. Better persons. Better Christians. It is up to us to change this attitude on both fronts.