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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Using the Nativity to Cause Offense

I saw the following image shared on the Facebook yesterday and I wanted to offer something of a corrective to it.

A nativity set depicting the birth of Jesus is not likely to offend Muslims. Joseph, Mary, and Jesus are all highly revered in Islam. And the Quran repeatedly describes the virginal nature of Jesus' conception. In many ways Muslims are closer to a Christian understanding of Jesus than Jews (who those Christians who seem most upset by Muslims are likely to embrace).

Using the nativity stories of the Gospel to purposefully attempt to cause offense strikes me as counterproductive and anti-gospel.


Relate in the Book (the story of) Mary, when she withdrew from her family to a place in the East.
She placed a screen (to screen herself) from them; then We sent her our angel, and he appeared before her as a man in all respects.
She said: "I seek refuge from thee to (Allah) Most Gracious: (come not near) if thou dost fear Allah."
He said: "Nay, I am only a messenger from thy Lord, (to announce) to thee the gift of a holy son.
She said: "How shall I have a son, seeing that no man has touched me, and I am not unchaste?"
He said: "So (it will be): Thy Lord saith, 'that is easy for Me: and (We wish) to appoint him as a Sign unto men and a Mercy from Us':It is a matter (so) decreed."
So she conceived him, and she retired with him to a remote place.

Maryam 19:16 – 22 (Abdullah Yusufali translation)

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