Short, Sharp and Shocking
by Abu Daoud
Normally when I'm talking with M's I take an irenic approach, but I have also learned that sometimes you meet someone who wants to talk about religion with you but from a combative point of view. This happened the other day and I felt in my spirit that I should take a short, sharp, and shocking approach (I learned this from an Egyptian pastor). One can hope that something you say will stick in the person's head and over time lead to a genuine openness and questioning attitude. John the Baptist and Jesus used this approach quite often when they were talking with the self-righteous folks of their day.
Sitting in his shop this man started off with what he thought were the weaknesses of our faith. I had pulled up the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5-7) on his computer, in Arabic, and told him to read it, which he did not want to do. And then he pointed out how our book is translated, while his book is the same all over the world (in Arabic). Time for some apologetic judo-using his argument against him: Yes, I said, praise be to God that our book is translatable and people in any place can read it in their own language and pray to him in their own language, whereas his deity understood only Arabic. "You speak Arabic and another language, I speak three languages, and yet your god only hears prayers in Arabic." I responded (kindly, by the way).
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