Saturday, 11 September 2010

Jesus and Qur’an burning

An early painting of Jesus. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Joel Kontinen

The events of 11th September 2001 have been etched indelibly on the minds of most people in the western world. The terrorist attacks in New York spoke of the vulnerability of America and left behind a deep trauma.

Even today, there is much that reminds us of the attacks and the heroic struggle of the fire fighters and other New Yorkers against the flames.

Seen against this background, it is understandable that the suggestion of building a mosque near ground zero gives rise to resentment if not anger in many Americans.

However, burning Qur’ans might not be the best way to heal this trauma. Although the hijackers vowed in the name of Allah, the New Testament offers a very different solution. Jesus does not call the warmongers blessed.

It is the peacemakers whom He calls blessed.

Muslims have hardly respected the human rights of Christians in Islamic countries. Often, the followers of Jesus have had to pay a high price for their faith. But even this does not justify burning the book that Muslims regard as holy.

That book cannot help them find the living God.

Although the Qur’an describe the Muslim god as ”Most Gracious, Most Merciful”, Islam does not know a truly merciful God. Only Christianity knows the God who cared so much for the people He created that He lived a while among them and died for their sins.

As Christians we have some idea of what grace is. Thus, we can (at least try to) show mercy towards those who refuse to believe in the Son of God instead of trying to get even with them.

This does not mean that we should compromise on the truth.

It is good to remember that even Muslims are among those whose minds ” the god of this age has blinded … so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. ”(2 Cor. 4:4).

They do not need to be offended. What they need is the genuine gospel that can open their eyes to see the truth.