Yesterday I had hope that Islam might be able to find a place at their table for me, a Christian.  Today, I am condemned once again:

Those who say, “God is the Messiah, son of Mary,” have defied God.  The Messiah himself said, “Children of Israel, worship God, my Lord and your Lord.”  If anyone associates others with God, God will forbid him from the Garden, and Hell will be his home.  No one will help [such] evildoers.  Those people who say that God is the third of three are defying [the truth]: there is only One God.  If they do not stop what they are saying, a painful punishment will afflict those of them who persist.  (5:72-73)

Then a few ayahs later we come to this passage, and the “generous” side of Islam comes out again:

You are sure to find that the closest in affection towards the believers are those who say, “we are Christians,” for there are among them people devoted to learning and ascetics.  These people are not given to arrogance, and when they listen to what has been sent down to the Messenger [Muhammad], you will see their eyes overflowing with tears because they recognize the Truth [in it].  They say, “Our Lord, we believe, so count us amongst the witnesses.  Why should we not believe in God and in the Truth that has come down to us, when we long for our Lord to include us in the company of the righteous?”  For saying this, God has rewarded them with Gardens graced with flowing streams, and there they will stay: that is the reward of those who do good. (5:82-85) 

Committed to learning, inclined towards a simple life, devoid of arrogance, inclined to listen to those with whom one disagrees, one who recognizes Truth no matter what religious garb in which it may come, faithful in doing good — these are all descriptions of the kind of person I want to be.  For these kind of Christians the Qur’an is willing to extend the hope of the Garden of reward. 

But how can these two passages go together?  What do you think?

It seems the Qur’an likes the way devoted Christians live, in other words when we live the way Christ lived.  There is just this wish that we would see Jesus for what the Qur’an contends he really was: a prophet, a son of Mary, a man and only a man. 

But then I guess I would say the same: I admire devoted Muslims who truly live their religion of total submission to God (islam).  I just wish they would see Jesus for who he really is.