I’m not saying Christians are more to blame than Muslims for the world’s diverse Christian-Muslim tensions. In Nigeria, for example, the intensity of Christian proselytizing comes partly from past persecution by a Muslim majority; the Christians seek safety in numbers, so the bigger their numbers, the better. (Griswold explained this to me, and confirmed that, yes, assertive Christian proselytizing exacerbates tensions in Nigeria.)
Still, even if proselytizing isn’t the prime mover, my guess is that it pretty consistently falls in the “not helpful” category from the point of view of world peace and, ultimately, American security. And some of it ”” e.g., the “Camel Method” ”” is particularly antagonistic. Which explains why I’m not a big fan of that first headline, “A Christian Overture to Muslims Has Its Critics.” Overtures, when effective, don’t heighten tensions.
I’d like to be able to report that the “critics” in this headline are Christians who worry about heightening tensions and so refrain from offensive proselytizing. Alas, they’re Christians who favor assertive proselytizing but are offended by any suggestion that Muslims and Christians might worship the same god. One of them, Ergun Caner, president of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, in Lynchburg, Va., said in a recent podcast, “There’s nothing that the two gods ”” the god of the Koran and the god of scripture ”” have in common. Nothing.”
Well, to look at the bright side: Maybe that’s a basis for interfaith rapport; Caner can sit around with Malaysian Muslims and agree that they worship different gods.