So I've been talking with this Muslim guy on Facebook for the last couple weeks. I didn't mean to, it just sort of happened. Today, hopefully, marked my last post in the conversation. I never tried to convert him to Christianity or badmouth Islam, I was just trying to clarify some points, both historical and theological. Watching 'Jersey Shores' would have been more productive. The funny thing is, this conversation coincided with another FB conversation about socialism that more or less had the same result (I think). Today marked the end of my patience.
I'm all for interfaith dialogs, finding common ground, debating sociopolitical systems, and avoiding the "you are going to hell/your very own moron kingdom" statements that tend to erode dialogue to the "My Dad is stronger than your Dad", "My force-field protects me from your death-ray", and "You can't triple stamp a double stamp" level of juvenile pissing contests (though those can be fun). That said, they never seem to happen, at least to me. I don't need people to agree with me, I just want them to acknowledge reality.
If you want to be a Muslim, fine, just don't tell me my faith in Christ is wrong because Mohammad says so. I give you the common decency of talking about your religion within its own historic and social context in a desperate attempt to not make the conversation Jesus vs. Mohammad, Arabs vs. The West. Likewise, it's fine with me if you dislike capitalism, it certainly has it's problems, just don't tell me socialism works, has ever worked, or that Stalin was violent but Lenin was a nice guy. Unfortunately the simplicity of this approach seems to be a bit too complex for the people I end up talking to. Acknowledging that Islam has its flaws/inconsistencies/contradictions or that socialism has a worse history than fascism doesn't make you a bad person or mean you have lost the argument, it just means you are willing to deal with reality and that you aren't afraid to think.
Before you get too offended, many Christians struggle with the same insecurity. The insecurity and fear that prompts a kid to hide underneath his covers and close his eyes. Granted if there really is a monster in the room then its possible that the kid purchased magical covers from his local WOW distributor, and staying under them is actually his best play. That specific scenario not being the case, getting out of bed, turning the lights on, and seeing what you actually have to deal with is the only smart and secure thing to do. People who are actually looking for the truth tend to make this play. People who are afraid that they are wrong and don't want to deal with the consequences say things like, "capitalism is bad and socialism makes me feel good so it must be right", "Mohammad says that Christians are wrong so they are", and "My pastor says this so it must be true". These are all valid arguments, as long as you don't have your own brain.
The political arguments don't matter that much in the big picture, but the religious stuff might. When you stand before the judgment seat of God, something Jews, Christians, and Muslims are all expecting, you are going to be standing alone. What your rabbi, pastor, or imam said no longer matters. It is strange that so many don't bother to figure out why they believe what they believe on this side of things. At the least it would make for less discouraging conversations and I'd be less likely to call you a moron behind your back. Not that that would stop you from calling me one.