Warning: I’m venting…
If not for me but for anyone else who’s given this much thought I’ve put mine down and in doing so may rattle a few cages here, but this experience got my thought “muscles” working overtime.
I was asked the following question on Quora yesterday and what follows in blue was my response.
“I’m a Muslim man who came to America for a better life. I like the food and women in bikinis. However, I don’t like Christians because of their beliefs about Jesus. How can I avoid Christians in America?”
“This is interesting. You like what America has to offer, but you don’t like Christians. Put the shoe on the other foot for a moment. What if I went to the country you came from and said the same thing? I like this… but I don’t like Muslims. This actually happened to a friend of mine. She resolved it by returning home to America.
It was not the Muslim religion itself she did not like but it’s tradition of women being subservient and having to walk behind her husband rather than alongside him. And, there was more, all having to do with their beliefs and customs.
Even though America was primarily Christian when it was founded, it has evolved to embrace people of all faiths. If I went to your country, I would want to get to know the people better regardless of whether or not I agreed with their worship or them calling their deity by a different name than the one I believe in.
To Christians, God, Jehovah, Yaweh, is the equivalent of the Muslim Allah, Jesus as to Muhammad. I have not read the Quran though I do possess one. My father, however did read and study it. He told me, “Something most people do not know is, if you were to read both the Christian Bible and the Quran, you would find many equivalents.” Their prophecies, though not exactly the same, bare many similarities to those in the Christian Bible. As I understood what he told me is, it tells the same story using different names. Any Christian reading this might find his simple assessment disagreeable.
Aside from that, take a look at the figures. The thing is, 74% of America is made up of those who believe in Jesus, and that does not include those of the Jewish faith, which is the root of Christianity. That’s a lot of people to stay away from. 20% believe in no god. The remaining 4% are Islamic or of non Christian faiths.
The best way to overcome prejudice is to get to know it’s people and beliefs. Look beyond the superficial and find a common ground. If that doesn’t work, then I would politely suggest you do as my friend did and go home.
I hope this answers your question.”
I really tried to be polite because whether the question was contrived to get a rise out of me or not, I treated it with sincerity. I also didn’t include the caveat that just because someone says they’re Christian, that they really are. Sigh
Today is Cinco de Mayo and because we have a huge Hispanic population in California, it wasn’t unusual to see trucks with huge Mexican flags waving behind them which made me wonder. Prior to the USA annexing California as it’s own, California and Texas were once part of Mexico. The thing is, we aren’t anymore, so why do we share in that celebration, besides it being an excuse to party? I mean, even in Colorado and Alabama, where I’ve lived, there was some form of observance. No day off of course, but there would be Cinco themed partying in the streets and restaurants.
If you were a wee bit offended by the question above, it’s understandable. It’s not that unusual for people who flock to our country’s doors for all the bennie’s they can get to have allegiance to their own country of origin and none to ours. That’s a lot of takers. However, most folks don’t want to live in a country where they can’t thrive or better themselves. In the case of this man who, himself said, he wanted “a better life”, implying he can’t get it in his country. To them we are a prostitute, to use and throw away, ie devalued.
Personally, we are nothing more than used toilet paper to a good many of the folks that come over. They deride us and demand more. Yes, they may work, but their money is going “home”, with a meager amount used to sustain themselves with. They use us, giving back nothing, then throw us away when we have nothing more to give. The audacity of that man. But, I remained kind and even if I had added all that came to me after I was done with my reply, I would have done so with graciousness. It breaks my heart that this occurs. Other countries wouldn’t tolerate it if we did that to them, but then we wouldn’t even get through the front or any door if we didn’t have something to offer them. It is also why our country is torn between should they stay or should they go.
I know there are those born and raised here that do the same thing, disrespect, gripe, complain and ask for more and that breaks my heart as well. As citizens they can legitimately exert their first amendment right to decry what they see as unjust. After all, if they’re paying taxes and putting back into the system then … it doesn’t make it right, but they are free to do so.
For some reason this reminded me of the girl who lived across the street from us, when I was a kid, who called her mother a whore because she had split from her dad and was dating someone else. At some time in the future, I, at 14 years of age, referred to her mother as “that whore” and holy hell was rained all over me for that. That was when I learned that it’s human nature to mouth off about your kin when you’re upset, but by golly, no one else better do so.
I truly don’t mind helping folks but for pete’s sake, I would like to see a bit more gratitude and loyalty from those folks that take advantage of our bounty.
If America is that awful, then yeah, you know where the door is.
Then, again, we must ask “What would Jesus do?”
There are two answers from the Bible that could defend two ways of thinking.
One, illustrates how he felt about the money changers as he ran them out of the temple for defiling (disrespecting) a holy place … Matt. 21:12, Mark 11:11
Then, the one, where he tells us to turn the other cheek… (forgiveness and generosity) Matt. 5:38-39, 5:41
Then again, there’s the warning about leaven (attitudes that corrupt) Mark 8:15, Galatians 5:9
I think because we, as Christians tend to be compassionate and giving, we find ourselves perplexed or torn as to what course is the right one to take, not only for us but in dealing with others.
If the man who asked the above question fears or dislikes Christians, could it be he is actually afraid he may begin to like us or become one of us? We can be a like-able bunch.