Today, Charisma News published a very interesting article by Joseph Mattera entitled "10 Ways Muslims ViewChristians." Mr. Mattera asserts at the outset of the article that the list was compiled based upon his "numerous personal conversations with Muslims, personal study and intensive training I received from a missions organization in preparation for one month of outreach in a Muslim nation in 1979."
According to Mr. Mattera, the following ten things are true of how Muslims view Christians:
1. Muslims see Christians as wimps.
2. Muslims see Christians as espousing idolatry.
3. Muslims see Christians as morally decadent.
4. Muslims see the church as compromising true religion.
5. Muslims connect Christianity with radical feminism.
6. Muslims view the Bible as filled with contradictions.
7. Muslims view the church as espousing feminism
8. Muslims believe Christians hate them.
9. Muslims believe that Christians have conformed to this world with regard to bearing of children.
10. Muslims view the church as full of impractical mystics who separate the spiritual from the natural world.
Personally, I can see how Muslims see Christians in this light. Certainly, Christians are directly told by the Bible to turn the other cheek. To many, this seems as if we are told to be pushovers by any bully that comes along. So, some of these problems arise because Christians have not done a good job at articulating what Christianity actually teaches about self-defense and standing up to evil. (See, e.g., Proverbs 24:11-12)
But some of the criticisms Muslims hold about Christians is based upon the fact that Christians in the Western world live in society that upholds freedom of conscience and does not force religious practices on everyone. Thus, Christians in the Western world do live in a morally decadent society. We do compromise true religion (mainline protestant denominations have long ago abandoned teaching the Bible as the true Word of God). Some mainline denominations do support radical feminism and many Christians have conformed to this world with regard to bearing children.
I think that this list is very instructive both with respect to speaking to Muslims and learning about ourselves.