Before we talk a little bit more about Islam, I want to introduce a point that Medearis talks about in his book at the end of the first chapter:
How Muslims see us.
Knowing how Muslims view our devotion to Christ takes away some of the intimidation of being open about your walk with God (i.e. your prayer life, time in God’s Word, etc). We are not called to wear our devotion on our sleeve, however, we are called to be witnesses that are open about our faith and love for Christ.
Medearis tells us that “Many Muslims are pleasantly surprised when they see someone praying, reading the Bible, or treating religious things with a sense of devotion. In the West, we are so used to the separation of church and state that in public we acclaim to the non-religious norms of our culture. Muslims see this as a blatant disregard of devotion to God...Within Islamic nation-states, the opposite is true. Every Islamic state (even the secular ones) is permeated with religious devotion and/or tradition. Every public figure is Muslim. (Except for those in Lebanon).”
Muslims do indeed have negative views about the West, but only because the West is heavily tied to secularism. It is the supposed absence of religion and respect for God’s holiness that causes Muslims to disapprove of the West as well as Christians who behave secularly. They disapprove of the West because it is viewed as a region that does not take religion or God seriously.
Obviously our goal is to show Muslims that Christianity is NOT a religion but a grace-filled RELATIONSHIP with Christ (which we will discuss further). However, until we reach that understanding with them, it is important that we realize that many Muslims actually do respect people who are seeking God and involved in so-called “religious” practices. They respect people who respect God.
(NOTE that there is a heavy exception regarding those who have converted from Islam to Christianity. They are seen as having committed the greatest sin in Islam and are treated very differently than those who had backgrounds in atheism or other religions.)
If you are someone who wishes to be more open about your faith around your Muslim friends, don’t shy away from it! Instead, be aware’’ that there is a very strong stigma associated with the West and that because of this we must protect our testimonies and show that we genuinely love Jesus and take His holiness seriously. As a result, we will find that there will be more open doors to conversations about Him.