With all the actions of ISIS in the Middle East and all the ISIS (or other jihadist) inspired events in Europe, Australia, Canada, and the U.S., we need Muslim – Christian dialogue now more than ever. Every news report of the latest violent act of an extremist causes many (but thankfully not all) Christians to react negatively with anger. . .or fear. . .or both. It is a huge part of my life’s purpose to see this changed. Well meaning Muslims and Christians have to talk! We have to get to know each other on a human level. On a personal level. And yes, even on a spiritual level.
In the last blog post, we talked about guidelines for Muslim-Christian dialogue. It was mostly about attitudes that we would be wise to bring into faith and life discussions between us: having an open heart and mind vs. holding to harmful stereotypes; taking the humble posture of a learner vs. a lecturer; letting go of any need to “win”; speaking heart-to-heart vs. head-to-head; using honesty vs. political correctness, etc.
But when we do get together as Christians and Muslims – hopefully with these attitudes in mind – what do we talk about?! This blog post will give some suggestions for that.
Below are 20 faith and life questions we can ask one another to build bridges and tear down walls. They are not meant to be debate questions. They are meant to be relationship building questions and meant to be used primarily in informal settings for people who genuinely want to get to know someone from another faith background. They are not about winning. They are about learning.
20 Faith & Life Questions
* Who has been the most significant living person in your faith journey?
* Outside of Muhammad or Jesus, what person of faith would you most like to emulate?
* What is your favorite attribute of God?
* How would you best describe your emotions – your feelings – about God?
* What is the most meaningful verse in your Holy Book? Most meaningful story?
* If you could use one word to describe your own personal prayer experiences (outside of formal prayer times), what would it be?
* What kind of things do you pray about?
* How do you address God in your prayers?
* What kind of thoughts do you have about God when you pray?
* What word best typifies your relationship to God?
* Tell about a “high” in your relationship to God? A “low.”
* Who is Jesus to you?
* If you say that you love Jesus, why? What is it specifically about him – his person, his work, his character – that inspires your love?
* When you think about being before God in the Day of Judgment, what thoughts do you have? What emotions do you feel?
* What would be the greatest thing about heaven? What would be the worst thing about hell?
* Why are we here on earth? Besides your general answer, why do you think God put you on earth? For what specific purpose that is unique to you?
* If you could do anything for God in gratitude for what He has done for you, what would it be?
* If you could give one message of faith to the whole world, what would it be?
* What has this experience been like for you in going through these questions together?
* What do you think would be the single most important thing that could be done to bring Muslims & Christians together in sincere, honest, meaningful dialogue and relationship?
Have you talked with someone from the other faith background using questions like this? If so, what happened? What was it like? If not, why not consider getting together and talking “faith and life”?
Muslim – Christian dialogue like this might just change your life. And if enough people did it, it might just change our world.