When we as Christians deem it necessary to criticize other religions, we should do so with respect, objectivity and insight. Why don’t we all agree, especially as it relates to the current fire storm swirling 'round Islam, to first observe some common rules of respect? Here’s one: ‘ do unto others as…’ you know the rest!
The Golden Rule or ethic of reciprocity is a maxim, an ethical code found in all 8 of the world’s largest religions and states that essentially:
‘One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.’ Religion is an integral part of the history of this concept.
Christianity All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye so to them; for this is the law and the prophets. Matthew 7:1
Islam No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself. Sunnah
This concept describes a reciprocal, or two-way, relationship between one's self and others that involves both sides equally, and in a mutual fashion.
A person living by this rule treats all people with consideration, not just members of his or her in-group.
And Kant's first formulation of his Categorical Imperative: "act only in accordance with that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it become a universal law” echoes the rule, universally. Philosophy too (love of reason) sees the wisdom and value in this maxim.
Christian criticism of Islam has been all too generalized. In fact, most Muslims in the West are quite secular, and denounce religious violence no less vehemently than we do. We Christians do not want to be subjected to improper, unwarranted or biased abuse and criticism. We want our faith to be understood and respected, and that demands that we too must treat other people and their religion with respect.
Therefore, we must refrain from expressing criticism of Islam in a generalized way. Should we win people with the gospel of Jesus, we must do so by first observing His golden rule, to meet others with respect and love.
Dr. Sven Ljungholm
PhD Formation of human values