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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Asymmetrical Sympathy

I know this post is long but I think it is actually pretty good.
I had my Islamic Tradition class today. Lots of things really didn't surprise me. I've taken courses in Religious Studies before such as Philosophy of Religion, and Greek and Biblical Traditions. As a Christian, I was welcomed with a warning from profs in both classes that "all Christians must approach this subject with an open mind" and a whole bunch of other stuff that gave away their opinions of Christianity and the narrow-minded and naive people who practice it. No such warning was given in my Islam class today. On the contrary, the topic of Islam as a Religion and a faith was treated with much reverence.

As a side note, as far as I remember my Philosophy of Religion class pretty much turned into a class that compared the defense of the Christian faith and the attack on the Christian faith. What I mean by 'Christian faith' is Biblical doctrine.

Another thing that I noticed in my class today was the asymmetry of nationality among those in attendance. Our tutorial "meet and greet" time revealed that 98 percent of the students, in a class of around 25 or so, were Muslims yearning to "learn more about their Religion." I am so very white. So clearly non-muslim. Those last two statements have nothing to do with anything I've said or will say. I had to chuckle, maybe unfairly, at the readiness with which so many students defended the slightest "misconception." My previous religious studies classes were populated by students of all nations and religions. Shots were being taken at my Saviour and his word from all over the room. Most Christians in the room spend the Bible-bashing time sighing, throroughly unimpressed with and not intrigued by the arguments being posed. We're just so used to it. I just thought of something. I think I can say that Christians are the most objective people in the entire world. I think it has something to do with our spiritual blindness being healed by Christ. We can see the world as it truly is (see Romans 1:21-22)

I really haven't met a more tolerant group of people than true Christ-centered, evangelical Christians. I was recently reading some material provided by one of the more 'left' clubs at York University. It amazed me that in one statement made in two or three sentences, 'the political and theocratic right' turned into Christians. Stunning. Christians sure put up with a ton of crap from everybody. Of course, we were called to it (2 Timothy 3:12). We take joy in it (2 Corinthians 12:10). And we bless the bashers (Matthew 5:44). That is, wish God's deepest blessing on their lives, and seek to love them in any way possible. Ochuk has a terrific satirical post on this subject. Man, who doesn't love that guy?!


Blogger Lydia said...

Christians sure put up with a ton of crap from everybody. Of course, we were called to it (2 Timothy 3:12). We take joy in it (2 Corinthians 12:10). And we bless the bashers (Matthew 5:44). That is, wish God's deepest blessing on their lives, and seek to love them in any way possible.

hmm..what a great reminder. with my overwhelming pride its often facile to swell in anger and decrease in love when the comments come..

7:33 PM  
Blogger shellieos said...

you know for a minute there....i thought that you might go off on a j. rob equivalent of a rant on the complacency of Christians not standing up in class for their faith.

this is quite the different and the interesting take.

8:42 PM  
Blogger Nick Hill said...


Yes, I would have to agree with you. Christians are the most self-critiquing group of any "ideology" that I have ever known. The most close minded people I have met are secular people. I know because I did not grow up in the church and new very few Christians growing up. Blessings on you! Challenge there socks off!


11:11 AM  
Blogger Caleb said...

This post is tight. Amen.

3:45 PM  
Anonymous Jill said...

Really good post, Josh. Ya, at SFU, if you say you're a Christian, it's assumed you are irrational, unthinking, close-minded, bigoted, etc, etc. In our student newspaper, one guy refered to Christians as 'lobotomised individuals.'

But ya, I second Lydia's remark about that part in the last paragraph being a great reminder. Thanks for that.

7:41 PM  
Blogger Loco said...

i heart this post.

7:45 PM  
Blogger Amanda said...

Isn't that weird how Christians have this reputation for being so closed minded and yet, you're right, we really are one of the most open minded groups. I think we're less defensive because we know we have the truth--there's no need to get uptight about it.

AND, we know how lost the rest of the world is and are sympathetic and loving towards them...Definitely an awareness of our own sin and need for salvation as well as a rememberance of how tolerant Christ was with us helps us to be tolerant of others as well. :)

9:01 AM  
Blogger aban said...

YEAH!! for a solid post. A woo-hoo for taking an Islamic Traditions class. Last, but not least - a yippeee, for being a generally swell guy.

2:24 PM  
Blogger Jonathan P said...

Hehe, that's awesome Josh.

You know, I realized that exact thing that you said about Christians being open minded. Having to go against the flow on these things does generally tend to make you that way.

Defending your faith against these arguments that you hear makes you practice your analytical and debating skills to boot. It's like... being a Christian = being enrolled in a debating class for life!

Or, seen on the other way, it's simply that everyone is close minded, but in a different manner. Athiests are close minded to God. Legalists are close minded to alternatives. Etc.

Sweet post Josh. And tell your sister I'm sorry for getting her name wrong.

9:21 PM  

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