Egypt recently had a bit of a row with an Islamic group, The Muslim Brotherhood. I mean that term herein totally differently. During our time in Newcastle we had the opportunity to meet with an interesting group of Muslim students. The youngest and only undergrad was Mohammed, the most common given name in the world. Mohammed was a delightful young man studying engineering. Another interesting student was a physician undertaking advanced training in infectious diseases to help in his home country of Pakistan. Several of the other were Ph.d. students in linguistics.
One of the most interesting of these was Abdel, whose interesting fact was that he had been hired to teach English to native English speakers. Indeed he had a terrific command of English and was well aware of the etymology of many interesting English words.
What made this group of Muslims most appealing to this group of US Christians was their seemingly genuine interest in spiritual matters. We had numerous interesting conversations. I was asked to give a short talk about being a religious person working in a profession that is often hostile to all religions. Higher Education in general views all religions as mere superstition with neither value nor interest.
Their questions were numerous and their postures were very attentive. They seemed to relish a chance to speak of spiritual truths to those interested in discussing such matters.
It strikes me as odd that Higher Education with its post-modern emphasis on personal autonomy and interpretation, with its self-proclaimed open-minded search for “truth” would selectively prove so hostile to people of faith, whether Muslim or Christian.
So, whereas we might NOT share a brotherhood of belief in Jesus the Christ as Immanuel, we might still share a brotherhood of self-preservation in the face of an opponent who would prefer to see us all extinct. And, that is a common bond from which perhaps we can build.