I was shocked recently by a priest who said to me that he prays every day for the downfall of Islam. As if to explain, he told me that he believes that Islam is “of the devil”, and that the world would be a better place if it had never originated.
Well. See my previous blog re “vilification”, but in return, I not only pointed out that it was perhaps a good thing that the Muslim religion had converted so very many from paganism to monotheism, but that we could have no idea what might have been the alternative. I can imagine Jews not being totally thrilled about Christianity, and even thinking that Christianity was “of the devil”, nevertheless, it was via Christianity that the names of Abraham and Moses, the Torah, the practice of monotheism, etc. etc. came to the entire civilised world, and surely that can be “no bad thing”. Likewise, has not Islam carried the name of Abraham, Moses, AND Jesus to the world? Albeit in a way that we would not endorse, nevertheless, can all this be “of the devil”?
And then that very night I was reading the evening bible story to the kids, and I read aloud this passage:
“Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:1-3)
I recently challenged one of my co-workers on the common “snobbery” of favouring other religions according to their “longevity” (ie. regarding Buddhism, Hinduism etc. as more “respectable” than Mormonism and Scientology). He defended himself with the prophecy of Gamaliel:
“So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this undertaking is of men, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!” (Acts 5:38-39)
Contrary to my friend’s prayers, Islam looks like it is here to stay. Perhaps this is because God is blessing them for blessing Abraham? Perhaps it is because, far from being totally “of the devil”, there is in fact something “of God” in the religion of Muhammad?