“So what if Muslims hate my country?” I ask myself. Should we do anything differently for that reason? As one Christian citizen of the U.S., desiring to think with “the mind of Christ” but not presumptuous enough to suppose that I always do, I raise some questions for further thought. For example, do we too easily go along with the immorality that characterizes contemporary American culture? Must Muslims be the voice of conscience for our country? I certainly do not want the Muslim (or non-Muslim) world to associate the media-promoted life of sex, drugs and booze — or even of materialism, self-centeredness and entertainment — with “Christianity.”
I am not a politician but I cannot help wondering: must we maintain military forces in Saudi Arabia, supporting an autocratic ruling family that denies religious freedom to Americans as well as to its own citizens, even while sponsoring Wahabism — a radical form of Islam that produces terrorists by the score? Does our dependence on Middle Eastern oil as our major energy source forever align us with a totalitarian regime that despises our faith and values? Must geopolitical calculations concerning global balances of power outweigh all other considerations? Has the urgent warning by U.S. founding father George Washington to avoid foreign entanglements become meaningless in the 21st century? Finally, does our unwavering commitment to Israel’s security not permit and oblige us to criticize its leaders when they sometimes make wrong choices (as both Jewish and Christian Scriptures say all humans regularly do)?
We live in a troublesome world of only precarious stability. At the very least, we ought to think clearly and know what we are doing. Better information equips us to make better decisions. Misapprehensions and incorrect assumptions set us up for easy manipulation by advocates with axes to grind and by politicians of any party. Some “solutions” to global turmoil are easily recognized as extremes — “appease” and “annihilate” are opposite examples that quickly come to mind. My concern is not only with our answers; it bothers me that I hear so few questions.
Is there hope for peaceful coexistence, if not for reconciliation? Given the radical dissimilarities between the Islamic world view and our own, the fundamental, irreconcilable and conflicting truth claims held by both camps, and the constant provocation of the Muslim masses by strident jihadist extremists, such a prospect seems humanly impossible. But humans will not have the final word and we need not finally to despair. Instead, as Christians, we can cling to those certainties that transcend politics both national and global. God — and only God — is totally trustworthy. His kingdom — and only his — will last forever. Whatever happens in the meantime, whether we thrive or suffer, whether we live or die, we are safe in his hands.