With the return of Fox News reporter Steve Centanni and cameraman Olaf Wiig, there was a tale of a forced “conversion” to Islam. There are those, as the Captain notes, who condemn these men for doing so. I agree with Captain Ed, that we’re really in no position to pass judgement on them. Never mind that we don’t know what, if any, religion they do adhere to, I have to ask myself how I would react in the same situation. I would sincerely hope that I would have the guts and the faith to refuse, knowing that perhaps it may lead to a rather gruesome and painful death. Would my faith be enough to overcome the very present fear? I hope it would. I hope, but I don’t know. I’ve never been in a situation remotely similar to the one those two men were in. I can say what a Christian should do, but I won’t speak ill of someone who has the same human frailties and weaknesses I do.

As an aside, Rev. Sensing notes these confessions, as foreign as this idea may be to Christians, are completely valid to Muslims.

But, let us remember that the basis of Islam, indeed the very meaning of the word, is “submission,” not faith. There is no concept of original sin in Islam as there is in Christianity; indeed, while original sin is the conceptual glue that holds Christian doctrine together, it is entirely rejected in Islam. Christianity teaches that original sin cannot be remitted by any human works, only by the works of God, namely, Christ dying and resurrected. Hence, no deeds human beings can do can bring them to salvation. Thus, wrote St. Paul, “If you believe in your heart that Jesus was raised from the dead and confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, you will be saved.” Note the order: confession follows a change of heart, an affirmation of belief. Without the change of heart the confession’s utterance is of no value.

But in Islam, the confession’s utterance is unconnected to a change of heart. In fact, a change of heart is wholly irrelevant. The confession stands alone and its only point is that it is done, not that it is believed. The entire edifice of salvation theory in Islam is built on one thing alone: human submission to perform deeds ordered by Allah. Islam does not teach that Allah desires human beings to love him; they are commanded to obey.

Christians are to obey God as well, but out of love. It should come as a response to the relationship.

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