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2.26.2007    |    Something in common?
There is a lengthy review at WSJ.com of Dinesh D'Souza's new book, "The Enemy at Home." The reviewer takes D'Souza to task for "going native" in his treatment of Islamic terrorists.

This isn't about the former enfant terrible of Dartmouth straying from the path of PC-buster. It's about the broader thesis that both D'Souza, in his book, and the reviewer, allude to: the notion that those who fear God, and do His will, have much in common. Whether they are Jews, Christians, or Muslims. And that, conversely, the godless sinners and their culture of idolatrous sin are equally the enemies of all three faiths.

There are doubtless more than a few Christian fundamentalists who might agree. Who can forget certain Protestant preachers, who will be nameless, who claimed that 9/11 was caused by our sinfulness? This stupidity hurt us, "us" being the community of believers who don't quite see God as taking this kind of vengeance. Baptists is Baptists, after all...

By way of example, from the review:
Mr. D'Souza says, for example, that he would rather go to a baseball game or have a drink with Michael Moore than with the grand mufti of Egypt (is this another lame stab at humor?), but that when it comes to "core beliefs," he feels closer to "the dignified fellow in the long robe and prayer beads than to the slovenly fellow with the baseball cap."
Core beliefs, indeed. If one focuses solely on the Scriptural requirements for obedience to God and His commandments, then, yes, from outward appearances all three of the faiths do share certain moral prescriptives.

But there is also a "core" difference: Jews and Christians worship a God who has acted in human history, and who has chosen (some) of His people to carry His torch. Our God is both imminent and transcendent. Muslims, on the other hand, worship an always-remote god called Allah. Allah issues commands. Period.

According to Muslims, one of Allah's commands is to convert everyone to submit to him, Allah. In different words, to become a Muslim. What's left are arguments between and among "moderate" and "conservative" Muslims as to how best to accomplish the desired end state of Islam. Hence it isn't a question of objectives; it is a question of means.

Christians, too, are told to "baptize all the nations." The Great Commission, for which Christians have struggled and died for over the centuries. But which we now know must be done with no coercion. Freedom of conscience, in other words.

And this is the gulf that will always divide Islam from Judaism and Christianity.

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About this site and the author

Welcome. My name is John Luke Rich, (very) struggling Christian. The focus here is Christianity in its many varieties, its fussing and feuding, how it impacts our lives and our society, with detours to consider it with other faiths (or lack thereof).

Call this blog my way of evangelizing on the internet.

Putting it differently, we're only here on this earth a short time. It's the rest of eternity that we should be most concerned about. Call it the care and feeding of our souls.

I was born Jewish, and born again in Christ Jesus over thirty years ago. First as a Roman Catholic; now a Calvinist by persuasion and a Baptist by denomination. But I'm hardly a poster boy for doctrinal rigidity.

I believe that Scripture is the rock on which all Christian churches must stand -- or sink if they are not so grounded. I believe that we are saved by faith, but hardly in a vacuum. That faith is a gift from God, through no agency on our part -- although we sometimes turn a deaf ear and choose to ignore God's knocking on the door.

To be Christian is to evangelize. Those who think it not their part to evangelize perhaps haven't truly understood what our Lord told us in Matthew 28. We must preach the Gospel as best we are able. Using words if necessary.

Though my faith waxes and wanes, it never seems to go away. Sometimes I wish it would, to give me some peace of mind. But then, Jesus never said that walking with Him was going to be easy...

Final note: I also blog as Jack Rich on cultural, political and other things over at Wrong Side of the Tracks

Thanks for stopping by.