A Religious Double Standard

islam_christianityWhile one would hope that Americans hold informed, respectful, and tolerant views of persons of all religious traditions (including those who have opted to not follow a religious paths) numerous studies indicate that most people have very limited levels of religious literacy.  Sadly, one recent study found that there is a religious double standard regarding religious violence. More specifically:

  • when people claim to be a Christian and commit violent acts in the name of Christianity, only 13% of Americans believe such individuals are really Christian whereas
  • when people claim to be a Muslim and commit violent acts in the name of Islam 44% of Americans believe such individuals are really Muslim.

 

So What?

Christianity and Islam are two of the great monotheistic peace promoting Abrahamic faiths.  The 31% gap in perceptions among Americans regarding whether or not one who commits a violent act in the name of one of these religions is truly practicing the religion he or she claims is unacceptable.  I believe that it is our job to educate ourselves and our neighbors about the basics of the religions of the world.  Ignorance and fear can and must be overcome.

  • On a personal basis, what have you done to learn more about Islam in recent years?
  • What interfaith or multifaith educational opportunities are available in your area?
  • Over the next decade what types of intentional conversations, activities, and opportunities do you think have the greatest potential to bridge the current gap?

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