This is going to be an interesting conversation tonight on BlogTalkRadio, and if you can’t listen live at 6 o’clock Pacific time, be sure to go to our BlogTalkRadio site later when you can. We will have as our guests Dr. Safi Kaskas (calling in from Saudi Arabia) and Dr. David Hungerford, creators of a new version of the Qur’an in simple English with over 3,000 references to the Bible.
I must admit, things took an interesting turn for me yesterday, and now that I think about it, I’m glad they did, because we have even more to learn from this experience than I thought.
What I’m saying is that I initially thought Dr. Kaskas was a converted Muslim — that he had put together this version of the Qur’an to try to lead his fellow Muslims to Christ. Not so. He’s a very committed American citizen, and a devout Muslim, who is trying to find common ground with his Christian neighbors. He’s not trying to convert us to Islam; he’s not trying to kill us; he’s trying to say, “Look at all these things we agree on,” and he’s pointing this out because he wants to live at peace with his neighbors. How can you fault that?
And here is the big question we need to answer here, and I trust our conversation tonight will help us answer it: If this man is willing to come this far to meet us — to spend five years of his life finding common ground with our scriptures — what are we going to do about that? Are we going to tell him to take his book and go home; we don’t want to have anything to do with his religion — it’s false, it’s evil, Allah is not God, so go away? Or are we going to meet this man with the same kind of respect and kindness he has extended to us, and accept his book as a means of creating fresh dialogue with our own friends and neighbors who are Muslim?
It just might be that many of our Muslim neighbors feel the same way, if we got close enough to hear them out.
Someone who has gone to these lengths to try to find common ground with us deserves to be met with equal love and compassion. No one is trying to convert anyone here; we are merely trying to live together as friends.
There is one bit of information I have found out that will give you a head start on tonight’s conversation. Down through history there have been many versions of the Qur’an, with many of them interpreted quite differently. This version was not created by an international council of Qur’an scholars pouring over the original manuscripts and coming up with a consensus. It was created by Dr. Kaskas himself. This is his version of the Qur’an. This is how he reads it. We’ll find out for sure tonight, but I’m pretty sure that there is no justification of violence or harm towards another person in his version of the book. The way ISIS and other Muslim extremists base their violence and murder of all “infidels” from the same book, tells us there must be other versions of the Qur’an with a much different message. And before you cry “Foul!,” I would be quick to mention the Crusades, Apartheid in South Africa, slavery in America, Jonestown, Jehovah’s Witnesses (etc., etc.) as examples of those who claim our Bible as justification for their beliefs. We understand how this works.
As most of you know, Paul said that he became as a Jew to speak to the Jews, and he became as a Greek that he might speak to the Greeks. He became all things to all men that he might by all means save some (1 Corinthians 9:21-23). So if Paul were alive today, would he become like a Muslim in order to possibly lead a Muslim to Christ? Why not? The Jews reject Jesus, and the Greeks worship pagan idols, yet he is willing to get in their shoes that he might understand them and know how to talk to them with respect. I don’t think a Muslim would be any exception. Do you?
Be sure and join us for tonight’s discussion; it should be a good one.