A Response to Ben Corey’s “5 Things I Wish Conservative Christians Understood About Islam”: Part 1

This 3-part article has been written by Dr. Fred Farrokh* as a response to Dr. Benjamin L. Corey’s Patheos blog“5 Things I Wish Conservative Christians Understood about Islam.” If you haven’t read that piece, we encourage you to do so! Parts two and three of Fred’s response will be posted on Wednesday and Friday, respectively.

First, I would like to commend Ben Corey for addressing an important topic. He also makes a key distinction in his opening sentence: “Conservative Christians seem to have a lot of opinions about Islam and our Muslim neighbors.” When studying this topic, it is indeed helpful to look at “Islam,” a religion whose core teachings have been known for 1,400 years. Contrasted to this is “our Muslim neighbors,” who truly are a wonderfully diverse population—young and old, men and women, rich and poor, observant and non-observant, Sunnis, Shi’ites, Sufis, etc. In the same way that not all people who confess to be “Christian” believe and practice what the Bible teaches, so too not all of our Muslim neighbors believe or practice what the Qur’an teaches. As a Muslim-background Christian I appreciate Ben Corey’s attempt to comment on Islam and Muslims. Unfortunately, he toggles back and forth between describing “Muslims” and “Islam” in such a way that only causes confusion. It is apparent from his article that Corey has

It is apparent from his article that Corey has real little understanding of Islam. His URL of “formerlyfundie” seems to indicate he may have an axe to grind with fundamentalists. And he seems to grind that axe on Rev. Franklin Graham, who has again made a courageous statement regarding national security that will redound to the well-being of Muslim and Christian Americans alike.

Let me assist Ben Corey by offering revisions of his “5 Things I Wish Conservative Christians Understood About Islam.”

1. Corey’s Original: “Muslims Love Jesus.”
My Revision: “Muslims love the Islamic Jesus who is only a prophet, not the biblical Jesus who is Lord and Savior.”

When Corey states that “Muslims love Jesus,” his statement is misleading. Muslims, typically, have a deep respect for Jesus, who is considered a great prophet who announced the coming of Muhammad. Islam categorically denies that Jesus is God Incarnate (Sura 5:116; 112:3). Therefore, Muslims tragically believe in a Jesus who never existed. If someone asks a Muslim, “Do you love the Lord Jesus?” I doubt he or she would find Muslims responding affirmatively.

2. Original: “Muslims are some of the most hospitable people you’ll ever meet.”
Revision: “Some Muslims are some of the most hospitable people you’ll ever meet.”

Here I have added the word “Some” to the beginning of Corey’s second point. In fact, if he had just made the point without explaining it, I would largely concur with it as it stood. However, Corey goes on to explain condescendingly: “People who think Muslims are angry and full of hate have likely never met a Muslim, because when you do, they’ll often invite you over for dinner and treat you like an honored guest.” Yes, most Muslims are amazingly hospitable. This is something to celebrate. But the stated context of this article is the terrorist attacks in England. In fact, these terrorists abused and spurned the hospitality shown to them and their families by the UK and massacred innocent victims.

To be continued… 

*Fred Farrokh is an International Trainer with Global Initiative: Reaching Muslim Peoples. Dr. Farrokh has a PhD in Intercultural Studies from Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, with a dissertation on Muslim Identity.

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