Posted by Craig Borlase on 12 December 2014

Before you get annoyed with the title, hold on a moment and watch this West Wing clip:

 

Kate: "The tragedy is the Palestinians and the Jews are so much alike."

Charlie: "How's that?"

Kate: "All through history, no one's wanted either of them."

Forget terrorism, Sharia law and a thousand other unhelpful stereotypes. Forget the theology too, for this piece is in no way suggesting that the two belief systems are identical. Just ask yourself this: is there a chance that Evangelicals have more in common with Muslims than we might think?

Back in 2007 Robert Ruby and Greg Smith of the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life researched the connections between Evangelicals and Muslims. As well as having a strong connection in views on homosexuality, they found that 72 percent of Muslim Americans, 80 percent of white evangelical Protestants and 87 percent of black Protestants believe that religion is "very important" in their own lives. By comparison just 49 percent of Roman Catholics and 36 per cent of white traditional Protestants agreed with them.

There are other similarities too: a sense of unease at the way that mainstream culture is dismantling traditional family values, a deep-seated respect for scripture, a shared assumption that regular attendance at a place of worship not only helps an individual in their faith, but also helps strengthen the local faith community itself. Added to that is the fact that we both have vocal wings that are often misunderstood by the media.

Perhaps these are just some of the factors that are influencing the significant number of Muslims that are converting to Christianity.

But what’s the point of all this? Well, perhaps the point is simply this: if we do have things in common, and if the tensions between Christian and Muslim are making the news as much as they are, do we really need to be so shy of Muslims? If we are even just a little bit alike, what would it look and sound like for worshippers to join the increasing number of people who are looking for ways of showing Christ’s love to Muslims? 

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