Christianity and Islam comprise the world's largest communities of faith - 2.1 billion Christians and 1.5 billion Muslims. If these two religious traditions cannot find ways to keep peace between themselves, the world will be in very serious trouble. As Brian McLaren posted earlier on this blog, a group of 138 Muslim scholars and clerics recently sent an open letter to Christians around the world, A Common Word Between Us and You. In it, they proposed that
Muslims and Christians together make up well over half of the world's population. Without peace and justice between these two religious communities, there can be no meaningful peace in the world. The future of the world depends on peace between Muslims and Christians.
The basis for this peace and understanding already exists. It is part of the very foundational principles of both faiths: love of the One God, and love of the neighbour. These principles are found over and over again in the sacred texts of Islam and Christianity. The Unity of God, the necessity of love for Him, and the necessity of love of the neighbour is thus the common ground between Islam and Christianity.
A group of scholars at Yale Divinity School's Center for Faith and Culture wrote a response, Loving God and Neighbor Together. To date, the response has been endorsed by almost 300 Christian theologians and leaders, and it appeared on Sunday as a full page ad in The New York Times. The response begins by acknowledging that