Sunday, October 18, 2009
I have been doing proof-reading working for some Saudi Arabian Masters and PhD students and am having some really interesting chats about their home, culture and religion. I have given the issue of religion a lot of thought and I have realised that I can't do it. I can't tell them that their religious views are wrong and that if they don't "give their heart" to Jesus then they won't be spending eternity with God in heaven. I just don't believe that any more.
What also concerns me is that I don't think many Christians believe this deep down because, if they do, they aren't going very far out of their way to tell anyone. If Christians really believe that non-believers go to hell (whatever that is) then they don't seem to be very concerned. There are a large number of Saudi and Sudanese Muslims in Newcastle and they are not difficult to find. They are very friendly; I have had coffee and meals with a number of them now and, yet, I don't see the local Evangelicals going out of their way or making any effort at all to tell these people about their faith in Jesus.
In fact, I think much of the evangelical talk is simply pious rhetoric. All over Newcastle are lovely posters saying "Jesus. All about Life" but I don't see anyone sharing that message with any urgency.
I simply don't believe, any longer, that the Christian message is correct. I don't believe that only those who have made the evangelical commitment to Jesus will spend eternal life with God. I am not sure what heaven is but, whatever it might be, it's not a bigger version of an evangelical church.
Ask the average Christian how many people they REALLY share the gospel with. Ask the average Christian how many people they have personally "converted" or "led to the Lord" and you will find a lot of embarassed silence. There is a lot of talk in the church and little action. I, for one, want to live with integrity so I will love and support my Muslim friends and affirm their beliefs and devotion.