Christians hate Muslims. Muslims hate Christians. Is that right? Is it true? Most emphatically NOT! I will not be ignorant enough to say that no Christians hate Muslims nor will I be oblivious to the fact that we in America are labeled as the Greater Satan. (Israel being the Lesser Satan.) What I will say is there is a great disconnect between the two cultures. Understanding is vital. Cultures are different, and those differences make a difference. A hand signal that means insanity in one country means you have a phone call in another. A leisure such as putting your feet up in one country is an insult to the highest degree in another. Cultural differences make a difference. With a disconnect between Western and Middle Eastern culture, such misunderstanding run rampant and, needless to say, lives have been lost upon such ignorance.
The connection between hot and cold, east and west, high and low is relation. The oven is hot in comparison (or in relation) to the fridge. Oregon is south in comparison (or in relation) to Alaska. The disconnect between our cultures is wide and it is most evident in the fact that there is a relational disconnect. We have a hard time connecting or relating to each other (in general).
The difference of night and day is NOT light and dark. But of the sun and the moon. Night is not pitch black, there are stars and the moon. The difference between night and day is the difference between the light posited. The good news is both night and day give out light (in differing forms), the problem is we operate in only one of the two lights. To understand, we must be cognizant of the commonalities. The light. Do not ignore the differences for that would run into the opposite but just as grievous mistake, but at the same time stand upon common ground.
Think of it this way. To understand the differences (hot and cold), we must stand on common ground (warm). If we start in our differences we will either be standing on thin ice or burning up the bridges. At the same time if we never understand these differences, we are blind and our ignorance will be our downfall. If we never understand our differences, our common ground will disappear and we shall continue to have heated situations and icy relations.
So, in order to make a connection so as to create a better understanding of our differences, I will attempt to start with the commonalities and from there explain our differences.
A good start is monotheism. The belief in ONE AND ONLY ONE GOD. Christians say there is one and only one God and He is a trinitarian God (Three persons, One essence). The Muslim see that and says, Christians believe in three gods. Muslims believe in one God who is Sovereign. He is to be feared and He is infinite and unknowable. Christians look at that and say, Islam’s God is impersonal and cannot relate to us Human beings. (Argument being if God cannot relate, then He cannot be relevant to everyday life and thus to our life.)
Here is the commonality. There is ONE AND ONLY ONE GOD.
The differences. The Christians believe a paradox that God is one, but at the same time He is in community with himself. Not some spastic schizophrenia, but true essential communion AND unity. The analogy (though not perfect) is of mind, body, spirit. I have yet to meet a Muslim who would disagree that he/she has a mind, a body, and a spirit, and is yet just one person. We Christians ourselves do not completely understand the intricacies of the Trinity, but what we do know is that similarly, God is three in person, one in essence.
Muslims do not see God as inconsequential. On the contrary, God is the point in life. He is to be feared because he is just and good. Because he is sovereign and in charge. Their worship does not come from fear of destruction, but a healthy fear that comes from devotion (the fear of disappointing).