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Focus on the Family Broadcast

Bringing Gospel Clarity to a Feelings-First World (Part 1 of 2)

Bringing Gospel Clarity to a Feelings-First World (Part 1 of 2)

Abdu Murray, Senior Vice President of Ravi Zacharias Ministries, shares his story of how he converted from Islam to Christianity and offers insight into modern evangelism which faces the challenge of sharing the Gospel in a "post-truth" world where personal preferences often override logic and truth. He offers hope to Christians who feel silenced by cultural hostility toward their faith. (Part 1 of 2)
Original Air Date: February 27, 2020

Excerpt:

Abdu Murray: At one point I was saying, as a Muslim, “Islam is true, everything else is false,” so I identified with truth. But when I began to see the power of the truth of Christianity, I did not want to embrace it because my feelings actually mattered more than my stated love of truth.

End of Excerpt

John Fuller: That’s Abdu Murray. And he’s our guest today on Focus on the Family with your host, Focus president and author Jim Daly. And I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: Hey, John, the most important question we can ask ourselves is, what do I really believe to be true? And Jesus makes it perfectly clear in the Bible that he is our truth. In the New Testament, he says, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” And later in the Book of John, you know, after Jesus is arrested and questioned, he says he came into the world to testify to the truth. But, you know, as Christians, we can’t just memorize these verses and believe that’s all we need to do. We need to live the truth. We need to know the truth deeply in our hearts. And we need to know what it means that Jesus is truth. And we need to be able to lovingly communicate the hope of Jesus to a world that has made truth somewhat obscure and maybe you could say a dirty word, right? That’s why I’m so looking forward to our conversation today with our guest. His unique testimony and his experience evangelizing all over the world gives him quite an insight into the powerful ammunition of the Gospel and the clarity of the Gospel.

John: Mmm hmm. This is really going to be a great program. I’m looking forward to it. Abdu Murray is the senior vice president for Ravi Zacharias International Ministries and host of a radio program and podcast called The Defense Rests.

Jim: Abdu, welcome to Focus on the Family.

Abdu: Guys, it’s great to be here. Thanks for having me.

Jim: Great to have you for the first time. Uh, you’ve been a Christian, an evangelist, for many years, but for most of your life you were actually a devout Muslim. And that’s intriguing, obviously. And I’ve met many friends who have become friends who come from a Muslim background. We actually have an office in Egypt. A lot of people don’t realize that but Focus on the Family right there in Cairo. And it’s doing great work.

Abdu: Oh wow. That’s fantastic.

Jim: And it is fantastic to show the love of Christ all over the world. But let’s describe those years as you were growing up to help our listeners get an idea of that experience.

Abdu: Yeah, absolutely, I’d love to. Um, so I grew up in the metro Detroit, Michigan, area. And, um, the suburb I grew up in actually was – we lived in a very heavily Muslim-populated area when I was first born and all these. But then we moved out to a suburb of Detroit. And back then we moved there, it was largely, homogeneously white. I mean, there were a couple of pockets here and there of Arabs or Indians or African Americans. But largely it was homogeneously white, which made me exotic, so to speak. It’s like, oh, what do you guys believe? And they’d say things like, “What do you Muslims believe,” and that kind of thing. And it…

Jim: They were trying.

Abdu: They were trying. They were trying. But they wanted to know what I believed and why I believed it. Um, and it gave me amazing opportunities to share why I thought Islam was true. But it also gave me the opportunity to share why I thought Christianity was false. Um, and while there were people from different backgrounds, people who weren’t necessarily Christians or at least people who were Christian in name only, I would – I was an equal-opportunity, faith-knocker-outer-of-er. It didn’t matter who you were, what belief system you had, if it wasn’t Islam, I would eventually tell you why you were wrong, and I was right.

Jim: In – in that context, let me just make sure the listener is – is hearing that because as I read the book and looked at the material, it sounded like to me you were well-prepared. You had really studied the Quran. You knew what it is you believed better than many of the Christians around you.

Abdu: And I – not only did I know what I believed, um, but I knew in large measure what they believed better than what they believed as well because there was a nominal Christianity. You know – you know, today, when you think about the – the rise of nones, people – N-O-N-E-S – people who would describe themselves as none of the above or spiritual but not religious, it’s fashionable to give up the pretense of being Christian. But back then, when I was growing up, you could be a Christian in name only, and you’d still say you were a Christian. And what you meant was, I’m not an atheist. Um, but it didn’t mean you were really a Christian. But as a Muslim, you know, being a Muslim is a part of an identity. So, there are Muslims who don’t believe much of Islam or they don’t really follow Islam. They don’t read the Quran, or they don’t pray five times a day. But they would defend Islam in a verbal death match if they had to. And you’d ask them, “Well, why is it you care so much about this?” And the reason is that they don’t practice it, but it is who they are. It’s an identity. So, I translated that onto Christians. So, when you said you were a Christian, I thought you meant it. And sometimes they did. But a lot of times, they just did not.

Jim: See, that right there is a conviction, don’t you think?

Abdu: Yeah.

John: It is.

Jim: That, you know, we’re trying to talk to a world that doesn’t know Jesus. And sometimes when we do that, if we haven’t prepared ourselves, if we don’t know what it is, we believe – right to that opening question I mentioned a moment ago – it really comes across as flat – right? – at best.

Abdu: It did. And, uh, so a question I would often begin with – and I would have conversational discussions. I wouldn’t beat them over head with my Quran. I would never try to convince them in a mean-spirited way. It was very conversational. And so, I’d often open up my conversations somewhere in the beginning with this question, “Why are you a Christian?” And most of the time I got blank stares back or the question was answered this way. They’d say, “Well, uh, we go to the, uh, Presbyterian Church or the Lutheran Church,” whatever they’d say, and they’d say, “On Christmas and Easter, so I’m a Presbyterian?” And they’d have that little lilt in the voice, you know, that goes up. I’m like, “Was that an answer or a question? ‘Cause I’m not sure you even know why you are.”

John: Yeah, no conviction there.

Abdu: None.

Jim: Yeah, and again, that applies to just about every denomination.

Abdu: And every religion, by the way.

Jim: Right, and it just happens a lot of cultural influence, et cetera. But there did come a time when you were in college that you, uh, came face-to-face with two – what I would call convictional Christians.

Abdu: Oh, they were definitely convictional.

Jim: And they – what? They knocked on your door?

Abdu: They were going door to door – these two Baptist guys were going door to door…

Jim: (Laughter) God bless the Baptists.

Abdu: Indeed. Well, I was at the University of Michigan, which, if you know anything about Ann Arbor, it’s like Berkeley, California, but cold.

(Laughter)

Jim: Being from California, I get that entirely.

Abdu: Yeah. Exactly. Uh, so they would go door to door at the apartment complexes talking about Jesus. And people would close the door on them and all this stuff. Well, I was an apologist for Islam. So, when they came to the door, I was like, “Come on in, gentlemen. You guys deliver? This is fantastic.”

Jim: (Laughter).

Abdu: Um, so they came into the door. Dave and Pete were their names. Pete was this tall, skinny guy, almost stone bald. Dave was this short, squat guy, hair coming out of everywhere. I called them my walking number ten because that’s what they looked like to me, a walking number 10.

(Laughter)

Abdu: And I invited them into the – into the apartment. And I made them very uncomfortable for hours. But they were challenging me. They were responding to my challenges but offered some challenges of their own. So, this caused me to want to delve into Christianity more to prove it false. And the reason wasn’t just because I was a debater, although that’s how I’m sort of built. Um, it was because I actually grew to really like Dave and Pete. And they grew to really like me. They wanted me – clearly wanted me in heaven. They – I wasn’t on the evangelism scorecard. They wanted me in heaven, and I wanted them in God’s paradise. So, we had this mutual respect and admiration for each other.

John: And all this is developing during a short visit?

Jim: Well, hours.

Abdu: Well, hours.

John: OK.

Abdu: And then over time. So, these guys were like the – the Energizer Bunny or the Terminator, you know? No matter how many times I would knock them down with an objection, they would lumber back up and come at me. And I couldn’t get these guys to stay down.

Jim: You know, Abdu, I want to make a point or have you make the point here because wonderful Scripture in Romans 2:4 that says, “Don’t you know it’s God’s kindness that leads one to repentance?” And in that context, I really would like you to describe that emotional connection that you had with them that you felt like they had your best interests in mind and contrast to maybe some of the other conversations you may have had where it was more militant or how – however you would describe it…

Abdu: Right, yeah.

Jim: …with Christians, and why Pete and Dave worked so well ’cause I think there’s a good lesson in there for us.

Abdu: Oh, very good lesson. It’s – it’s – I think it’s not only – it’s a critical lesson because when I would make good points or make a point that I thought was good at the time and the Christian had no response because they weren’t informed. It was a lousy point, but everyone thought it was great because they didn’t know any better and neither did I. Um, they would get belligerent or defensive or they would go, “Meh, OK, fine. I believe what you believe.” But Dave and Pete knew what they believed. They knew what I had, um, in terms of Islam. And they were willing to listen. But they were also willing to disagree agreeably. And oftentimes, I mean, I can’t remember one time – and I would get heated, and they would never raise their voice.

Jim: Hmm.

Abdu: And it stuck with me. These guys are unflappable. I cannot get their goat.

Jim: (Laugher).

Abdu: Um, and they would come back, by the way, I think it was almost every Thursday for an entire semester. If I wasn’t – if I didn’t have a class or an exam, they would come back. And sometimes I could see them, sometimes I couldn’t, but they would come back. And one of the things they did for me was this – I would offer an objection, and they’d say, “You know what? I don’t know the answer to that. Can I get back to you?” And then they would actually get back to me, and they’d said, “We thought about it. And we asked a expert in this and thus and such. And here, what do you think of this?” And they would listen. And that’s how I got the feeling that they actually cared about me because they actually listened. I think an important precept we have to understand in communicating the Gospel is – and I think it was George Bernard Shaw who made the statement that “The greatest myth about communication is the illusion that it’s actually occurred.”

Jim: Right (laughter).

Abdu: “The greatest myth of communication is the belief that it actually has occurred” – when it hasn’t. People often listen to respond, not to understand. And Dave and Pete, though not perfect, they often listened to understand me. And then it was catchy. It’s a very catchy thing. You get infected with this sort of posture of listening to understand. And that started the journey. Now, that was at the beginning of a nine-year process.

Jim: Well, and the obvious question then is what was that moment. What was that conversation that you finally opened your heart and said, “OK, I – I believe”?

Abdu: Yeah, well, it was a nine-year journey. And it was not one specific thing. But the thing that started it was I was asking Christians, “Why are you a Christian?” They’d say, “Tradition.” I’d say, “Not good enough.” And then in order to prove Dave and Pete wrong, I was reading the Bible to try to find some contradiction. And I came across Luke chapter 3 verses 7 and following where John the Baptist is baptizing people. And he says to them, “Do not even think to say to yourself you have Abraham as your father” – as if that would save them – “for I tell you, God can raise up children of Abraham from the stones.” In other words, tradition doesn’t save you. Well, that’s what I was saying to Christians. Tradition’s not going to save you. Truth saves. Well, it was funny because this book that I didn’t trust, this Bible, which I now know has been preserved over 20 centuries by the power of the spirit, actually engages me in my college apartment and through John the Baptist’s words, what no Christian had ever asked me, John the Baptist asked me. He said, “Why are you a Muslim?” And my real answer was tradition, not just truth. It was tradition. That was the fundamental. I had to be this way because it’s who I was. That got me started on a sincere journey.

Abdu: But the moment that really, I think shaped the whole thing – and this is the power of God’s word. This is why I believe the Bible to be not only this propositionally true book that contains all these wonderful truths but it’s also existentially powerful, is that it gives those truths in immediately relevant ways to our lives. So, as a Muslim, I believed this phrase Allahu Akbar. We hear this all the time. Allahu Akbar. Unfortunately, we normally hear it on the news when something bad happens. The reality is what the phrase means is “God is greater.” So, for the Muslim, God’s greatness is the pinnacle of all of theology. So, I thought Christianity insulted God’s greatness with the trinity, the cross and incarnation. Like, how could God be three? And if God is three, then God the Father needs help from God the Son. And if God the Father needs help, then he’s not great. And if God was trapped in a body, he couldn’t be great. And if God dies at the hands of the very sinners he creates, how could he be great? I began to study these things. And I began to see that God is great because God is triune. God is great because God is incarnational. And God is great because he’s self-sacrificial. And that was the pinnacle thing for me. If God is the greatest possible being and Muslims believe this and Christians believe this, then he would express the greatest possible ethic, which is love, in the greatest possible way. And the greatest possible way is self-sacrifice. And I remember where I was when I read Romans 5:8, when I read those words, “For God demonstrates his love” – his greatest possible love – “in that while we were sinners, Christ died for us” -the greatest possible being expressing the greatest possible ethic in the greatest possible way. If I wanted to believe in a God who was truly great, the God of the cross is the God I should believe in.

John: Oh, wow. This is Focus on the Family with Abdu Murray as our guest today. And, uh, if what Abdu is sharing is news to you, if it’s stopping you in your tracks, then please call us or go to the website and, uh, ask us how you can know more about this Jesus and this truth that he’s talking about, that Abdu is sharing about. We’ve got a lot of resources, and we’d be happy to – to share those with you. Our number is 800-A-FAMILY. And online you’ll find us at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: You know, Abdu, it’s hard to let identity go. And you’ve done it, so it’s intriguing.

Abdu: Yeah.

Jim: For those of us that maybe grew up here in the United States where we had Christian culture all around us – I didn’t grow up in a Christian home.

Abdu: Mm hmm.

Jim: But even my mother, you know, taught us the golden rule. And we ate fish on Friday, which I always – she never answered the question why.

Abdu: Right.

Jim: It’s one of those things. You know, I’m an 8-year-old going, “Why are we eating fish and” – “Well, because Jesus did on Friday.”

(Laughter)

Jim: I was like, “Wow, OK.”

John: Quite possibly, he did.

Jim: I mean, that – that is part of the cultural experience here, is we can identify without really rooting ourselves in it. And that’s probably a very – it is a dangerous element where you don’t understand what you believe.

Abdu: Mm hmm.

Jim: But in terms of your experience of letting go an identity to embrace a new identity in Christ, and if you can’t apply it to, gosh, the identity politics of today, um, how do you let go and really embrace God that your identity is rooted in him?

Abdu: Yeah, and – and that’s – identity is this buzzword now, right?

Jim: Right.

Abdu: This is the, um – it’s the panacea for all things that allow you to be whatever you want to be. If you say I identify as, whatever comes after that phrase is perfectly legitimate. And if you don’t affirm it, you’re somehow a horrible person.

Jim: Well, you’re – you’re a hater if you don’t affirm that quasi-identity.

Abdu: Right.

Jim: I mean, we get that here at Focus.

Abdu: Well, absolutely. And, uh, I think that the – I understand that part of the culture. And I can really identify with a culture that elevates preferences over facts and feelings over truth because at one point I was saying, as a Muslim, “Islam is true, everything else is false,” so I identified with truth. But when I began to see the power of the truth of Christianity, I did not want to embrace it because my feelings actually mattered more than my stated love of truth.

John: Mmm.

Jim: Mmm.

Abdu: And that’s a human condition.

Jim: That is a big statement.

Abdu: And I think it’s every single person. I think if a Christian looks and talks to a person from a different worldview or who has – who experiences same-sex attractions or whatever it might be and you say, “Just change, just embrace the Gospel,” like, OK, it’s easy for you to say. But you’re giving your identity over, something that you really feel is – defines who you are. And I was doing that with Islam. I liked being a Muslim. Uh, I was liked as a Muslim. I liked being the guy who made Christians look a little silly. Um, so when I had to give that up, it was very, very tough for me. But this Jewish guy 2,000 years ago did say, “You have to die to yourself.”

Jim: Right.

Abdu: Um, and I believe Him. And the reason I believe Him is because He died and rose from the dead. He did give of Himself. And how can I say I want to hold onto my identity when He was so willing to give so much for me? But the trick here to understand is – eventually when you understand this – is that when the answers begin to creep in and they begin to take root in the heart, your identity begins to shift. And yes, there is a mourning of the loss of that identity no matter what. But there is an excitement for the new one. And it’s not even – I would even say it’s new. It’s actually true. It’s not just new. It’s your true identity because you forget something. And we all forget this. The Bible says, “We are made in the image of God,” no matter what our persuasions are, no matter what our beliefs are, no matter what our backgrounds are.

Jim: And no matter what our behaviors are.

Abdu: Exactly.

Jim: I mean, wow.

Abdu: Exactly. We can’t even take that away from ourselves. That’s how indelible it is in every human being that we’re made in God’s image. Christianity uniquely not only affirms that but then proves it. Jesus said, “You’re made in God’s image,” and how – why do I believe him and not Darwin, who says, “I’m made in the sort of image of my genetic ancestors”? Because Jesus died on a cross and rose from the dead. And guys who rise from the dead tend to have credibility.

Jim: Right. (laughter)

John: (Laughter).

Abdu: So, he speaks on this, and he says this is the case. So that true identity starts to come through. Not a new one. It is new to me. But I’m not uncovering something new. I’m discovering something true.

Jim: Yeah, Abdu, I don’t want to – uh, because of the learning moment that I feel like we’re talking to you and your perspective and what you’ve come through and what you embraced today…

Abdu: Mmm hmm.

Jim: …When you were that Muslim thinking, “OK, this is the truth, and there’s no other truth that’s valid.” Now you’re on the flip side of that saying, “Christianity is the truth.”

Abdu: Mmm hmm.

Jim: And frankly, not all roads lead to God.

Abdu: Yeah.

Jim: One does.

Abdu: Yeah. Yeah.

Jim: And Jesus said, “There’s one way, and I’m the way, the truth and the life.”

Abdu: Mm hmm. Yeah.

Jim: Now you have to defend that from a different perspective, right?

Abdu: Indeed.

Jim: And I don’t want to miss the opportunity to hear your heart on that.

Abdu: Yeah.

Jim: Because some that here that will say, “You’re just the same guy now. You were telling me before that Islam was the only right way. Now you’re telling me Christianity is the only right way. Are you that narrow?”

Abdu: Right. You know, that’s…

Jim: I mean, I’m being an antagonist, obviously, but tell me why.

Abdu: Well, I’ll tell you what, though, that – I’ve had that…

Jim: Yeah.

Abdu: …lodged at me before. I was in a conversation with a young man who was from a Muslim background but from a very mystical part of the Muslim world. And he was saying, “You know, you didn’t really change very much. You were an absolutist before, and now you’re just a different kind of absolutist. You didn’t really grow that much.” And I said, “Then you don’t understand, fundamentally, what it means to be a Muslim. It is who you are. And when you change that, you change everything about you. There’s – there’s consequences to this change.” I said, “It’s interesting because now you’ve become more New Age. So, you were mystical, and now you’re just a different kind of mystical. So, I could lodge the same charge at you, that you have exactly the same level of growth, which is almost none. You just call it a different name. So, let’s not do these ad hominems.” Here’s my heart on this, though – and I actually talk about this quite a bit, in my book and in other places. First, I think this happens. When I’ve spoken on and defended the notion that Jesus is the only way, oftentimes I get the “amens” in the crowd…

Jim: Sure.

Abdu: …And fist pumps. You know…

Jim: (Laughter).

Abdu: …That kind of thing, which is fine. But I often wonder to myself, why? Are we signaling to people that we believe there’s only one way, which is true, but we’re happy about it because it happens to be our way? In other words…

Jim: That we’re the club.

Abdu: We’re in the club and we’re proud that it’s our way. It’s not your way; it’s my way. When the reality is, is you ought to say “amen,” and instead of fist-pumping in a sort of a triumphalist notion, what we’re really doing is we’re raising our hands in praise that, thank God there’s even a way, and this is the one that found – that I found because Jesus pursued me with all he has. So, it’s not that Islam is false because I’m not a Muslim. It’s not that Hinduism is false because I’m not a Hindu. It’s that Jesus is true, and what he gives to me is the truth. And I embrace that truth to the exclusion of all others, not because it’s my truth; it’s because it’s the truth. And I just happen to be – I don’t think it’s – I think it’s providential that I happen to be a person for whom Christ died and that I know that truth now.

John: Hmm.

Jim: Yeah.

John: I appreciate that, uh, Abdu. Why – why don’t you go ahead and help our listeners understand, not necessarily your specific experience, but for the Muslims, since that is such a big part of the identity. What does it mean to the family and friends when that change comes? If they convert to Christ, if they say, “Oh, Jesus, he is Messiah, and that’s the truth. The Bible is the truth I’m going to follow.”

Abdu: Yeah. Well, there’s lots of consequences. I can recall a friend of mine – uh, I didn’t go through this kind of a thing, but I can – I know that there’s a friend of mine, uh, who became a Christian while he was in Iraq, and his brothers wanted to kill him. And his – his mother helped to get him out of the country. And as she put him on the plane to go – I think he was going to Turkey – she looked at him with tears in her eyes, trying to save his life. But then looked at him and spit in his face and said, “Now you’re actually dead to me.”

Jim: Ugh.

Abdu: So that’s the paradox, right? You have this intense love of a mother.

Jim: Yeah.

Abdu: Concerned for her son. And she won’t support him being killed or whatever, but she also has to disown. But there’s a varying – degrees here.

John: Yeah.

Abdu: There’s plenty of people who don’t have that.

John: But… But there are illustrations that show this is not an easy believism. This is a…

Abdu: No.

John: …significant undertaking for me to say, “My identity has been. But now…”

Abdu: Right. Absolutely. And – and that’s – there’s so many consequences. There’s communal consequences. Friends you once had look at you askance or they don’t look at you at all. Um, maybe the harsh words come. Uh, maybe the – there’s family consequences as well. And sometimes there’s job consequences. If you’re in the Middle East, there’s even more consequences to it, or in Asia, even. I found this to be a universal truth – and this is why I think we can learn from when Muslims convert to Christianity – is that there’s actually a universalism here in the sense that even the most embracing of religious systems, the Baha’is for example. Baha’is believe that all revelation of religions is progressive truth towards an ultimate truth; we’re not all there yet. So, in other words, they’re all equally valid. If you convert from Baha’i to something else, you’re excluded. So, it’s ironic that the inclusivists exclude the exclusivists.

Jim: (Laughter) Right.

Abdu: In other words, everyone’s an exclusivist when it comes down to it.

John: So, there’s a general, broad application here.

Abdu: Absolutely.

John: Is that it’s not an easy road that Jesus has said to follow him on.

Abdu: Atheists I know – absolutely.

John: Yeah.

Abdu: Atheists I know will tell you over and over again that when they became Christians, they lost something. And one of the reasons they feared becoming a Christian was because they feared the consequences of their decision. So, I think this is a universal truth.

Jim: But importantly, Abdu, as some of our listeners do not have a faith in Christ – we just know that from our research, and we hear from them. And I want to make sure, as they’re listening right now or watching on YouTube, just that they get the right impression that what’s amazing about Christianity as you’re talking about it is that it’s almost upside down to every other religion.

Abdu: You know…

Jim: If you want to be great in the kingdom of God, then be the least.

Abdu: Yeah.

Jim: Be selfless, like Jesus was selfless.

Abdu: Absolutely.

Jim: And it’s just upside down to our human nature. And it seems so many of the religions are expressions of our human nature – conquer, be on top, you’re the winner.

Abdu: Yeah.

Jim: And where Jesus comes along and says, “No, I’m going to come from a different perspective.”

Abdu: Yeah.

Jim: Even the fact that he was born in a manger with straw and animal manure.

Abdu: Mmm hmm. (Laughter) That’s amazing.

Jim: Somebody once said to me, “Doesn’t that show you the humility of God?”

Abdu: Mmm hmm.

Jim: Don’t you think the Father could have created a room in the inn…

Abdu: Yeah.

Jim: …for his son to be born? But he allows his son to be born in dirtiness as a sign of his humility.

Abdu: It’s so profound. It really is.

Jim: That’s profound.

Abdu: You know, I think of Augustine’s statement, uh, when he says that “He so loved us that, for our sake, he became a man, though he made all men. He became a man in time, though through him, all times were made. He was born aloft by hands he created. He was born of a mother he himself made.” And this line – I love this line where he says, “He sat crying, a – uh, a babe in wordless infancy – he, the word, without whom all human eloquence is mute.”

Jim: Wow.

Abdu: That is humble.

Jim: Yeah.

Abdu: But also exalting at the same time. Your point is so valid, Jim. When I look at the other religious systems – you know, it’s true; this is true – all religions are superficially similar and fundamentally different.

Jim: Yep.

Abdu: Except in one way. The one way all religious systems are actually fundamentally true is they believe that humanity can save itself. In Islam, if you do enough good works, you’ll earn God’s mercy. In Hinduism and, uh, Buddhism and all these other things, if you work off your karma through good words, good thoughts, good actions, you’ll eventually achieve enlightenment. Uh, even in atheism, essentially, if we educate ourselves enough and believe in human spirit, we’ll have a Star Trek-like existence one day where we’ll just talk to machines and food will pop out and poverty will be gone. That’s always a self-aggrandizement. Christianity’s upside down on this in that it’s the only religious system that tells you, “You are incapable of saving yourself. You need someone who’s not you to save you from you.”

Jim: (Laughter) That’s so good.

Abdu: And I think there’s so many truths there that if you’re going to be a revolutionary – especially in a world where counterculture is considered cool – you want to be counterculture? You want to be on the cool side of counterculture? Be a Christian because they’re the ones who are different.

Jim: Well, and it’s so true. And man, I want to continue this conversation…

Abdu: Yeah.

Jim: …and come back next time and continue with you, but I’m really, uh, sensing that if you do not know Jesus Christ, get hold of us.

Abdu: Yeah.

Jim: This is what we call the good news. And sometimes we get in the way of that, as Christians, and we don’t express the good news. Jesus died for you and for me. Our sins were taken upon Jesus on the cross. And man, this is fundamentally the whole message of the Christian faith.

Abdu: Yep.

Jim: That our works are like filthy rags and that only Jesus, only the son of God, could come and save us.

Abdu: Indeed.

Jim: But we need to believe. It’s that simple. Do you believe?

Abdu: Indeed.

Jim: And we want to talk to you about that.

Abdu: Mm hmm.

Jim: So, call us. Get a hold of us. Get on the website. Uh, get in touch with us, and we will continue to talk to you about what it means to be a Christian. Abdu, I do want to come back next time, talk about post-truth and what that means for the culture and maybe get into some of the social issues of today – the issues of same-sex marriage and the way we are changing definitions that are so core to humanity and the impact on us. Can we do that?

Abdu: I would love to.

Jim: All right.

John: Meantime, uh, as Jim said, we have caring counselors who would be honored to talk with you and answer any questions you might have about the Christian faith. And we have Bibles as well. And, Abdu’s book, Saving Truth: Finding Meaning and Clarity in a Post-Truth World. All of that available when you call 800-A-FAMILY or stop by Focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family. I’m John Fuller, inviting you back next time as we hear more from Abdu Murray, and once more help you and your family thrive in Christ.

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Saving Truth

Saving Truth

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