In much of the Western world, the United States in particular, Islam has gained a sort of stigma: Due to the emergence of terror in the Middle East in the past few decades, many people in America have been quick to label Islam as a violent religion. However, Islamic people all over the world insist that theirs is, indeed, a truly peaceful religion. In addition, approximately eighty-three percent of Americans identify as Christians (Langer, 2015). When looking at these two statements side-by-side, one concludes that there is at least a small fraction of Christian-Americans who believe that Islam is a primarily violent religion. By studying the factual and historical basis of Islam, a person who holds such a belief may change their mind. By learning the facts, even the people who are most set in their preconceptions can open their minds. When a Christian engages in study of the religions of the world, the knowledge that they gain will both change their preconceptions about the people around them and allow them to continue to have informed encounters with people of other faiths.
One of the most important parts of Christianity is evangelism. Mark 16:15 tells us to “…’Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation,’” (Bible Gateway passage). This verse tells Christians to literally go to all corners of the world, where they could encounter people of different cultures, and, inevitably, different religions. The average evangelical Christian worldview considers these “interreligious encounters as opportunities for sharing the gospel of redemption,” (Corduan, 2012, p. 21). These experiences can certainly be chances to share the Gospel. However, they should not be approached simply as opportunit...
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...m. Experiences with people of other cultures are for learning things.
The most important result of a Christian’s study of religions from around the globe is the knowledge gained from the experience. People can overcome their personal prejudices, spread the facts and beliefs of their own religions, and perhaps even convert a person to Christianity through cross-cultural interactions and study. While a Christian cannot maintain that each other religion that they studies is valid without bordering on henotheism, they can accept that there are truths involved in each religion. To have a successful experience, Christians should try to learn these truths and apply them to their own spiritual lives. In this way, Christians can overcome preconceptions and, therefore, be able to engage in similar encounters for many more years to come, spreading the Gospel to those in need.
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