peace building & conversion

Even though you focus on peace building, don’t you also want to convert Muslims to Christianity? In other words, is conversion one of your goals?

We’re Christian for a reason. We believe we’ve been invited into a way of living and being in the world that is true. Naturally, we want others to experience the beauty and goodness we’ve found. But while our Christian hope is that our Muslim friends would encounter and follow Jesus in a transformative way and even join us in our Christian journey, we also recognize that our Muslim friends hope that we might discover the truth as they believe it and convert to Islam to become part of the worldwide Muslim ummah (community).

These ultimate hopes are natural for Muslims and Christians to have, including those who participate in dialogue and peace building efforts together. However, Christian and Muslim peace builders acknowledge that seeking to convert one another introduces an agenda into their relationships that actually prevents the development of crucial ingredients necessary for building genuine peace (empathetic listening, self-reflection, the pursuit of genuine understanding, and mutual respect). For example, when my agenda is to convert Muslims I know rather than genuinely listening to their experiences, I will tend to focus my attention on what I understand to be the weaknesses of their point of view so that I can offer rebuttals to their thinking and demonstrate the superiority of my own theological position. This is a very natural way to approach any difference in point of view. But does it really change anyone?

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