A standout song in 1964’s lavish and lovely “My Fair Lady” asks the question, “Why can’t a woman be more like a man?”
At first blush, the question above—“Why can’t a Christian be more like a Muslim?”—appears to flow in the same vein. After all, the structure of the question sets two diametrically-opposed “things” into their respective corners, then asks why something so X can’t be a little more Y.
The difference, however, is that men are born men and women born women, and—surgical intervention notwithstanding—that will always be the case; not so with religion, which can be changed very easily. In most sane countries, anyway.
I say this because there are some nations in the world that make it a punishable crime to convert.
Actually, that’s not true. These kind countries, havens of freedom that they are, do count one type of conversion as acceptable: the conversion into a faith known as Islam. They neither recognize nor accept a conversion out of this religion, however.
But perhaps they are not so misguided. One has to admit that there are many good and wonderful qualities found in many Muslims.
For example, despite Koranic verses that instruct the devout Muslim to kill infidels and hate enemies, many Muslims actually do a better job of being generous and not holding grudges than do many Christians.
Also, while the Bible actually teaches love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, while Christians are told to love their enemies and turn the other cheek, it is Muslims, particularly those in the west, who oftentimes reek of kindness and generosity.
This is not to say that they have no ulterior motive, because what lies beneath this kindness is a desire to gain favor with/avoid the displeasure of Allah, a longing to see everyone convert to Islam, and, in some cases, a decision to practice the art of Taqeya, or military deception. (“Taqeya” is what allowed the 9/11 hijackers to visit bars with their American friends—it nullifies the sins committed, as long as “furthering Islam” is the goal. It should be noted that all Muslims do not agree with the validity and even acceptability of this strategy. Then again, many Muslims claim to be outraged by acts of terror, calling the strength of their devotion, nay, “submission,” into question.)
To return to the original question, there is one aspect of a Muslim’s life that all Christians should envy, and that is the aspect of devotion. Muslims are, overall, more devoted to their faith than Christians are. Could it be because there are less Muslim “denominations” than there are in the Christian church? Perhaps.
It is more likely, however, that people are loyal until death to Islam because they see it as an all-encompassing foundation of their lives. They don’t say “I’m a Saudi Wahabbi” or “I’m an Egyptian Sunni,” but simply “I am a Muslim.”
On the other hand, many religious minorities in the
Middle East are more concerned with identifying themselves as “Chaldean” or “Coptic,” than “Catholic” or “Orthodox.” Or “Christian,” for that matter.
At the end, it is not wrong to be proud of one’s ethnic affiliation, but it is wrong to place religion in a less-prominent section of one’s life. (Always assuming their devotion to religion.) So again, it is the devout Muslims’ insistence on making their faith the topmost “defining characteristic” or “master status” in their life that makes some of them such devoted followers of a faith that many Christians consider to be flawed, in the light of their own, shining religion. In closing, the Bible is very clear about the status of people who follow Christ nominally and superficially. Revelations 3: 15-16 says that:
“I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will vomit you out of my mouth.”
Since vomiting is a universal expression of being sick to one’s stomach, it is worth noting that, following the logic of “If A = B and B = C, then A = C,” the above verse means that people who call themselves Christians—and then live in a manner inconsistent with this label—at the end of the day, make the Lord God sick to his stomach. May we followers of Christ endeavor to never upset Him thus… or make him go searching for the Alka-Seltzer.