Ethical Dilemmas in Islamic Pursuits
I have a lot of respect for my brother-in-law. On two separate occasions in the past 5 years his army unit was deployed first to Afghanistan and then to Iraq. He has seen and experienced in a few years what most people experience in a lifetime.
This last time that we got together over Christmas, we talked and shared stuff together like never before. He respects the efforts of our current U.S. administration in seeking to bring democratic reform and policy to the Arab world. But, as a committed follower of Christ, he also has a keen understanding that there is a bigger mission at hand that cannot be attained by mere behavioral and structural changes. He understands that this is a heart issue. He explained to me that though our efforts as a country to bring diplomatic change were noble, the real change must happen in the heart of the Arab world to whom Christ came to save.
And so lately I’ve been struggling in my spirit on this issue. I’ve especially been contemplating the responsibility I have as a Christian who lives in America to reach the heart of these precious people. I’m grateful for Christian apologists like Emir and Ergun Caner who were raised as Turkish Muslims, later found Christ, and are now defending their Christian faith to Muslim clerics and Christian skeptics on an international platform. I praise God for that.
One of the things to which my brother-in-law opened my eyes is the growing economic repercussions of radical Islam. He told me how mosques are sprouting up all over northern Africa in places where there are virtually no Muslim converts. This begs several questions: Why this advancement? And how is it being financed? As we pondered these questions together, it struck me. Why the advancement? Because Islam is one of the fastest growing religions in the world, despite negative media attention from radicals. They are confident in their growing success and want to win the world. How is it being financed? Well, I have an educated guess. Oil.
And here is where the struggle begins for me. Since the number one natural resource of the Middle East allows me, as a Christian in America, to go anywhere I want to go via automotive transportation, am I helping the spread and proselytization of Islam every time I fill up at the BP? Do I finance a mosque when I take a road trip? Do I spread Islamic ideals when I commute to work? What are the ethics involved in this dilemma? And how do I help reach the heart of Muslims even in our own country from a biblical standpoint? Should believers be more environmentally aware and involved? And is that even possible without veering to the theological left?
I have a pretty good churchy answer. And I have some even better biblical solutions and conclusions, but I’d love to hear some feedback from some of you first before I post them.