It isn’t very political correct to say it, but, I am glad that Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali has had the guts to do so: Islam isn’t good for our nation (see the Sunday telegraph article 6th January 2008 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml;jsessionid=D3UJIJJSXW5KJQFIQMFSFFWAVCBQ0IV0?xml=/news/2008/01/06/nislam106.xml). Admittedly he was writing about the impact of Muslim-extremism making some parts of the UK “no-go areas” in our country. For my part, the “terror threat” to our country is not primarily suicide bombers, but rather a philosophy and ideology which does not have Christian ethics and world-view at root. It comes as a surprise to many people that a Christian world-view is, in fact, very tolerant of alternative views, and a loss of that world-view is quite terrifying. The foundation of Christian Tolerance is found is passages such as these:
1 Peter 3:15-17 – “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behaviour in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.“
Christian believers are absolutely committed to persuading others to becoming followers of Jesus Christ. However this is not through the imposition of law (despite the fact that some aspects of Christianity’s history have not been that commendable). Rather the power of persuasion, Peter asserts, comes through an apologia for the faith backed up by godly, Christlike lifestyle. That is the reason for this blogs title: metamorphe. It is a word based upon Paul’s commendation for transformation in Romans 12:1-2 – that we should be “transformed” (“Metamorphosed”, if you will) by the renewing of our minds…
Moreover, Jesus assumed, Christians are good for society because of the stance taken on issues of truth, mercy and justice, and the preserving factor of good models of Christian living: Matthew 5:13-1613 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. 14 “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
Such an outlook on life should lead to people praising God the Father as the one who is the source and ground of all goodness. Yes, Christians are – or at least should be – good for society, and I think that the Bishop of Rochester’s concerns about Shi’i law and no-go communities should be heeded.