One of the dangers as Christians is that whenever a competing view or a perceived threat to our system of beliefs comes along we immediately demonize it and distance ourselves. This is especially easy when those others, whoever they are, act in destructive ways. Think about fundamentalist Muslims painting all Muslims as terrorist or evangelical atheists who say that religion should be wiped off the face of the earth. But what happens when atheists and muslims reach out to help someone, much like we are called to do as Christians? I remember once reading about a soup kitchen run by Sikhs and was blown away. “They do that stuff to?” I asked myself. I was reminded of this when I read about Atheists Helping After Tornado in Oklahoma.
In a pluralistic world, much like the one the early church inhabited, our challenge is to discover what it means to be with those who don’t know God through Jesus. Perhaps what we can offer is the understanding that the good works we do aren’t the reason that God loves us as if we’re little children trying to get attention. God loves us despite our good works. No the good we do, however limited at times, is a response to the merciful and grace filled God we encounter in Jesus. We have been freed to love. Of course this encounter with other beliefs forces us to think about such things which is both scary and exciting but we trudge forward with the hope that God guides us along the path.