Is Islam a religion of peace?
This year’s Understanding and Answering Islam (UAI) is designed to pick up on the issue of peace and what it means, especially in regard to Islam. Secularists are very public and vocal about the claim that religions are the source and reason for much of the violence in the world and if we could just end religious influence and teaching, the world would be a better and safer place. At first glance they seem to have good reasons behind their claims: since last year’s UAI, from Brussels to Orlando to Aleppo, from shopping malls to transportation hubs, from individuals to Islamic State, numerous acts of religious terror have dominated news headlines and social media.
Many spokespersons for and on behalf of Islam are quick to say Islam is a religion of peace. Many of us have spoken to ordinary Muslims who firmly believe that any violence perpetrated in the name of Islam is a corruption of their faith. At the same time, critics of Islam are just as quick to respond that Islam is inherently violent since this is exemplified, and even commanded, in its authoritative texts. These critics claim that the violence we see today is not an aberration, but the continuance of a pattern seen throughout Muslim history. Which is more accurate? Our expert speakers, including those from Muslim backgrounds, will speak to the issue of peace, especially in regard to Islam’s central doctrines, its theological debates, its history and the everyday experience and aspirations of Muslims.
Christians also claim they follow a religion of peace, indeed that Jesus is the “Prince of Peace.” Proclaiming this in the public square presents Christians with a perplexing and complex set of challenges. We are uncomfortably taken to task publicly for the violence in the Old Testament and for many of the historic examples of things done in the name of Christianity. In the encounter with Islam, in particular, the Crusades loom as a major apologetic challenge. How can Christians challenge Muslims about peace without risk of hypocrisy? Our speakers will seek to equip Christians to speak powerfully, and graciously, into this debate with a true gospel of peace that successfully negotiates these objections.
In the current social, global-political, and religious climate, few issues are more pressing for Christians than to properly engage Islam on the question of peace. To that end, we hope you and your friends, families, and church communities will join us for this year’s Understanding and Answering Islam. As we journey together in an environment of prayerful dependence on God, our global speaking team will equip you with the depth of understanding that is needed to thoughtfully invite your family members, friends, neighbors, and co-workers into the kingdom of God’s peace.
Conference web site and registration, here