Do you, like me, have a tendency to impugn the motives and character of people who think differently from you? If someone favors the New England Patriots over the Denver Broncos, they definitely approve of cheating. If someone dislikes Indian food, they’re a cretin. If they say “irregardless,” they’re illiterate.
Sadly, for me this often extends to how I think about other Christians and other faiths. Calvinists are rigid. Mormons legalistic. Unitarians adrift.
I think this happens to Muslims, too. We don’t understand the way they think, so we assume they’re dumb or maybe even evil, for thinking as they do. We might ask, how could a rational person believe that stuff? Why would they follow a religion like that?
Why indeed? Some Muslims have told me they love Islam because it thoroughly lays out for them how to live their lives. Between the Quran and the Hadith, most questions of thinking and behavior are answered. They find comfort in the completeness, reward in the rigidity.
I’m sure that’s not true for all Muslims, but for some it feels good to know the rules; to believe that if you follow the rules, God will reward you. I suppose there’s a pleasurable measure of control there, as well.
Even while not agreeing with the tenets of Islam, we can understand some of its appeal. We can acknowledge the logic, while disputing the conclusions.
If we do the admittedly hard work of understanding, acknowledging, even empathizing, we open ourselves up to relationship with Muslims in a way that’s impossible otherwise. And, doing so, we take steps toward loving our neighbor as ourselves. Those are good steps to take. (Tweet this.)
What have you heard, experienced or simply guess motivates Muslims in their adherence to Islam. Please share your thoughts here.