Just had an interesting session with some sixth formers at a local school. The same one I went to last week to talk to the year 10s. I had been warned they might be feisty as half of them study philosophy. Actually it was very interesting, and there were only 3 of them as lots of them are doing exams. One admits to being a committed Christian, one says he is but some of his statements made me wonder and the other was probably an atheist judging by his questioning.
Actually I liked him the best, (in a non-weird way, I should point out) he was intriguing, I wanted to spend time talking with him further to see where he is coming from, he frowned a lot and that made me wonder about him as a person too. But anyway some of his questions were quite pointed. For example, there is just as much historical evidence for the bible and existence of Jesus as there is the Quran, so why should I chose Christianity over Islam (I'm not sure if he is actually correct but let's just look at his question). In my head I was thinking, because of what Jesus did, because he did that out of love and without expecting anything from us in return. But actually that isn't an answer is it?
If someone totally unchurched in any faith studies both Islam and Christianity, which should they chose? The answer I guess is the one that speaks to that person as an individual, not what anyone else tells them, and that comes from them as a person. The one that appeals most will depend on their upbringing, their state of mind, their knowledge. I realised it was pointless me saying, 'well Christianity of course, for this reason and that reason', because we each have to make that decision for ourselves don't we. And ultimately God has to guide each person to make that decision.
I don't know enough about Islam to have gone into a theological discussion about it with him and anyway would it help?
It seems, in a way Christianity is the easy option. God accepts us as we are, he loves us no matter what, someone can turn to God on their death bed and still be ok with God. Other religions require people to do specific things, to stick to the laws, to spend a lifetime in service to a God who may or may not accept them.
When you look at it like that it seems simple, I want to know the God who loves me for me, but when someone can't even be open to the idea, it's hard to describe to that person how I feel and how they could feel if they would be open to it.