I wrote this post on April 28th, 2006. I'm reposting it because I feel it demonstrates a gracious, but firm approach regarding truth claims in other religions. The post has a few insignificant word changes.
Something I've noticed in the blogosphere, particularly among the Christian blogs, is the consistent portrayal of Islam as an evil and wicked religion. This phrase was coined by popular evangelist Franklin Graham and has sparked much controversy in the media over the past few years. Given the increased polarization in the world today, I think it is necessary to restore some intellectual honesty to the issue.
What do I mean by intellectual honesty? First, let me start by saying that the radical Islam of the terrorists is nothing short of demonic in inspiration. I have no problem with saying that the likes of Iran's current president Ahmadeenijad and Osama Bin Laden are the moral equivalent of Hitler in our generation. The Islamic-fascist movement is the most serious threat to the world's population in the 21st century. Having said that, I feel that Christians need to approach the moral question of the Koran with some honesty. One of the harshest criticisms of Islam by Christians is the fact that the Koran advocates the spreading of its religion through military struggle. To be sure, this is an unavoidable aspect of Islam regardless of what moderate Muslims and the Western media has to say. Anyone who believes that the Koran does not advocate theocracy is not playing with a full deck.
My question is this: Is the concept of theocracy in the Koranic sense necessarily evil? Here is where the intellectual honesty comes in. How can we as Christians say that Islam is evil and wicked for engaging in military struggle, suppressing freedom of religion, and seeking to establish a theocracy when the God in our Bible basically did the same thing in the Old Testament? The answer is-we can't. But we can say that the Islamic concept of theocracy is a step backwards in God's plan for the human race and is out of step with the values that Jesus introduced to the world.
When Jesus said "My kingdom is not of this world" and "For all who take the sword will perish by the sword", He forever did away with the idea that the sword is a legitimate means of spreading religion. Through his life and teachings, Jesus introduced to the world the concept of freedom of the conscience. The idea that man should be free to make his own decisions regarding his eternal fate uncoerced by the state is what eventually led to concepts such as freedom, democracy, and human rights. For the sake of world peace, let's pray that the values of Jesus beat out the competition in our generation.