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Thursday, December 29, 2005

Why European Women are Converting to Islam

I think many of us would see Islam as oppressive to women. Polygamy. Temporary Marriage. Burqas. But apparently, many of the Western converts to Islam are women. And what is attracting them? A sense of moral clarity. See this article. Now this gives me a couple of thoughts.

First, it reminds me that all human beings innately understand that there must be moral standards by which to live. It stems from the natural law imprinted by God upon every human heart. Contemporary Western culture has largely eviscerated the notion of moral absolutes. And this will result in oceans of suffering. As a pastor, I am constantly made privy to the chaos, frustration, cruelty, and hopelessness of people's lives. Law and order are attractive. I find that many times, damaged people prefer tyranny over anarchy. They'd rather have a moral slave-driver than utter confusion. So I believe this is one of the attractions of Islam. Not only is it entirely law based, it creates such a system of laws that submission to God is seen as obtainable outward observance. This is not unlike the Pharisaical religion Jesus confronted. A legal system that defines what you eat, what you wear, how many steps you can take on the sabbath, etc. As burdensome as this is, it is better than having no direction whatsoever. It also seems easier than the conversion of the heart that Jesus demands.

So in the first place, the Christian Church must not shy away from its responsibility of instructing people in morals. This includes behavior and attitudes. There is a place for moralism. But it has to be done properly. What I see in the modern church is on the one side, a form of antinomianism, a belief that we shouldn't tell people that they are wrong or sinning because it might hurt their feelings. Instead we should talk only of God's love. Or His grace and forgiveness in Jesus Christ, if you will.

But there is also the trend to re-define moral teaching so that it better suits us. Thus churches invent new virtues: tolerance above all others. Love is redefined as affirmation. We think we are loving when we make people feel supported in whatever it is they choose to do or be. That is, in fact, not love. Love means telling a person that the house they are living in is on fire so that they know to escape, even if it means disrupting an otherwise peaceful dinner.

In a way, Islam might be scratching an itch. And if the Christian Church were doing a better job instructing and guiding people on how to live good lives, then perhaps they would be less likely to subjugate themselves to tyranny.

And finally, we must continue tirelessly to emphasize the God-Man Jesus Christ. We must hold him before the world, not merely as a moral examplar, but as the final sacrifice for our sins. For no matter how we re-invent morality to make it more attainable, our hearts - and the Holy Spirit - will continue to condemn us. And that is because we all do, in fact, fall far short of the standard of perfection set by God. And it is only when we teach morality properly, when we communicate to people that God requires us to be perfect, that we can actually make sense out of the cross. People are despairing. And some are turning to counterfeit religions, built upon submission, for solace. The Church offers authentic hope, not in a moral system, but in the forgiveness of sins.

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3 comments:

Carl said...

Scott,
Your comments are well-taken. I think you might be interested in this article for further reflection
about the church!
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2006/001/13.69.html

GrannyGrump said...

Well put!

Anonymous said...

Well, your idea about islam is absolutely wrong. I dont think ur way of passing the message of christianity is wrong, especially when your make fun of islam. I just want to say something, how can people worship man who eats, talks, walks and even use toilet. I cant imagine God urniating and defcating. God is unique and it is hateful to God by comparing with his creature. God alone is worthy to be worshipped and if u have the time also read the story of Jesus in the Quran and also read about the last prophet Mohammed, then God might guuide u to the right path. As jesus says search the truth and the truth will free you.
Peace Be Upon the follower of the right guidance.

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