“One should be willing to be converted if one wants to enter authentic interfaith dialogue.” That’s a statement I heard recently.
Upon first hearing it, I found it interesting, but concerning. My personal relationship with God is everything to me, as I often think about God and what He is doing in my life, as I thank Him as well as ask Him for things, as the assurance of eternal life with God warms my heart. No, I don’t dwell on my relationship with God, and the “goods” He offers, all the time, but if they were threatened to all be taken away, or given up? “No way!”
For us who are devout, Great-Commission followers of Jesus (“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son, and the Holy Spirit”—Jesus’ words in Matthew 28:19), who believe that Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the life,” and that “no one comes to the Father except through (Jesus),” isn’t that what we would expect of others? If that is us, we would expect devout Muslims to turn from their religion and embrace Jesus as God the Son. We would expect non-Christian followers of other religions to do the same.
(If you are a devout adherent to another religion or philosophy, other than Christianity, is exclusive loyalty to that religion or philosophy important?)
So, we expect that openness, and eventually even that leap, by others, but we couldn’t imagine it of ourselves, as we seek to authentically know others in order to be effective bearers of the Good News?
Admittedly, I’m not there either, if that’s the place to get to. I am more like the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23: “To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews….To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.”
My friend, Maru, as a Muslim, was open in the ways discussed above. Listen to our podcast dialogue, Insight from a Former Muslim, which comes out on July 19.
Thought questions: 1) How open are you, personally, to the statement, “One should be willing to be converted if one wants to enter authentic interfaith dialogue?” 2) If being an effective witness for your faith is important to you, depending on your level of openness in question #1, how effective do you think you are? 3) What could you do to become a more effective witness?