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BB4 01A classic illustration of this is the "theory" that eating ice cream causes men to commit rape.

Scientific evidence can be shown that when ice cream sales go up, the incidence of rape always goes up with it. The evidence is not concocted. It is quite valid.  But the conclusion that one causes the other is actually a giant leap in logic which could never be proven.

What is more likely is that hot weather causes both ice cream sales and the incidence of rape to go up at the same time.

Most prejudice stems from this same kind of mistake.  We see a correlation between two things, so we assume a cause and effect relationship rather than considering other factors.  Sometimes the relationship is much more complex than the rape/ice cream illustration, making it even more difficult to point out the error.

For example, wars have been fought between Jews and Muslims.  So it is easy for both sides to conclude that the opposition's religion made them violent, dangerous people.  Yet both religions have great teachings about tolerance in their scriptures. (e.g. Surah 5, Maida Aya 32, Koran, and Exodus 23:4-5; Pr. 25:21)BB4 02

Being a Muslim (or being a Jew) does not necessarily make a person a war-monger. But believing that the others are war-mongers can make either side feel justified in a little war-mongering themselves.

So the real problem on both sides may not be in their religion so much as it is in how their religion is applied (or perceived).  While some might see arguments for being peaceable, there may be others who would try to promote a belief that the other side are aggressors, and that violence is needed to put them in their place.BB4 03

The more we look at the "enemy" as sensible, peace-loving people, the more inclined we are to behave toward them as sensible, peace-loving people ourselves.

All religions have some truth. So if we want to challenge a belief system, we can do it best by first recognising the truths that are present in it.  For it is usually these same truths that attracted sincere people (the ones we're looking for, after all) to such groups in the first place.

Most religions teach that there is a God, and that we should worship him.  Problems only arise if we get specific about the name, number, or characteristics of the particular god being worshipped.  But the teaching that people should worship the true God (whoever he/she might be) is, in itself, a great teaching.In every religion there are people seeking to worship the true God to the best of their ability. But if we say to these people, "You are evil, because your religion is evil," they are not going to be convinced. In fact, they are quite likely to see our actions as evil - aimed at deterring them from seeking to worship the true God as they perceive him.

BB4 04When the disciples complained to Jesus that another group was casting out devils in his name, without their authorisation, Jesus replied, "Leave them alone. If they are not against us, they must be for us." (Luke 9:49-50)"

He called me a heretic, a rebel, a lout. He drew a circle that left me out. But Love and I had the wit to win. We drew a circle that took him in!"  This is the proper Christian approach to other groups and individuals. Let them be the first to discriminate not us.

When Jesus sent his disciples out two by two, he said, "When you enter a house, let your peace abide on that house. If they are peaceable people, the relationship will be a good one. If they are not, then you can withdraw your offer of friendship." (Luke 10:5-6)

It is debatable how much we must endure before we can end a friendship.  But clearly, the first step should be a peaceable one. 
And we will find it easiest to be friendly if we will examine the truth in the message they were already preaching before we came along, and build our relationship on points where we agree.
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