5/11/14 Beco, Muhammad, and Fashi all 20
Three young men hanging out at a local park turned out to be English language students from Saudi Arabia. Beco, Muhammad, and Fashi, all Muslims, were more than willing to chat and practice their English even after I told them that I am a Christian interested in talking about our respective beliefs. It was interesting to hear their perspectives not just about Christianity but also about Islam, having grown up in a society where asking questions about matters of faith is frowned upon. They were well aware of the basic difference between the faiths, that Islam views Jesus only as a prophet whereas Christianity beliefs him to be God’s divine son, but outside of this they really didn’t know much about the history of each or what the Bible actually teaches. Muhammad in particular was critical of the Bible, that it consists of separate writings by different authors, and proud that the Quron was written only by the Prophet Muhammad himself. He couldn’t comprehend that the many biblical authors could be in agreement about God, and apparently had heard that they are not and that the Bible is internally inconsistent. He was also very critical that the Bible doesn’t give the dates of Jesus’ birth and crucifixion. Outside of being critical of Christianity, mainly based on hearsay and peripheral issues, I didn’t get the sense that they felt able to learn about it in a positive light, possibly due to peer pressure. Aside from their time here in Chicago learning English, the three are engineering students and plan to make big money working for oil companies, so I appealed to the need to just be better informed and well-rounded businessmen in learning about Christianity. They bought me ice cream and we talked for over an hour, but our language difficulties prevented us from discussing these issues in depth, which was frustrating. Beco took some literature comparing the faiths, but Muhammad and Fashi weren’t interested. I pray God could somehow use this conversation in reaching these young men with the Gospel, but at the very least it just showed me what a tremendous gulf of understanding there is between our two faiths and cultures.