The Easter conundrum
In this blog from Georgina, she poses the question, 'How can we talk about Easter with our Muslim friends?' The death and resurrection of Christ are crucial to our faith and our understanding of who God is, yet our Muslim friends reject it. How do we deal with this conundrum?
How can we talk about Easter with our Muslim friends?
Our Bible testifies to the crucifixion which is a historical event that even non-Christian historians agree on. The Quran denies the crucifixion in Surah 4:157.
Avoid my holy text against yours
You can use this as a starting point but if the conversation does not move on you are in danger of an impasse, pitting ‘my holy text against your holy text.’
There are many other elements to ‘Easter’ (i prefer ‘Passover’) beside the crucifixion: the Last Supper, Gethsemane, the trial before Pontius Pilate, the testimony of the centurion, RESURRECTION etc.
Look for similarities of meaning
I suggest that it is more fruitful to find similarities of meaning, rather than similar texts, symbols or characters. Ask yourself what is the meaning of the crucifixion?
The significance of Jesus' death
I focused on the moment of Jesus’ death when the curtain to the Holy of Holies tore – God removed the barrier between Him and his people. We now have direct access to God, i.e. the heavens opened. Jesus is ‘the ladder’ between us and the open heaven – John 1:50-51: “you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”
What can you find in the Qur'an?
Islamic Comparison: Night of Power, a night when heaven is open to all the Muslim’s prayers IF they get it right: the exact night somewhere in the last 10 days of Ramadhan, with the right prayers, with the right intentions and expectations.
Similarity between crucifixion and Night of Power: heavens are open
Explore meaningful differences
Difference: In Christianity God has made atonement for us (the ‘effort’ is from God down to us) and the heavens are permanently open, I can pray to God anywhere, anytime, He promised that He hears. In Islam, the Muslim must put in all the effort, the heavens are only open at a specific, non-descript time and the Muslim must follow many prescriptions on which many Islamic interpreters differ, to try and ‘catch’ the open heaven (must try and build ‘the ladder’ between them and God).