Mainstream contemporary discourse represents a relativist worldview, wherein there is no truth, only ideas and arguments; all beliefs are generally valid, although some are more valid than others. Yet it is doubtful that this worldview is widely held within faith communities.
It is impossible to ignore the fact that my belief in Islam causes deep unhappiness in my family. I am not a good believer and my practice is hugely wanting, but I do believe in Islam sincerely. It is not something that I take lightly, nor is it something which I took on as a choice of fashion. I came down this path because I believe that it is the correct way to worship God. For this reason I cannot turn my back on it for the reason of bringing ease in my relationships.
Most people who are sincere in their faith hold a position similar to this, whether they are Roman Catholic, Pentecostal or Jewish. I have been told that my family and friends continually pray that I may be guided back to the truth. They worry about me, fear that I have taken the wrong path and that, on the Day of Judgement, I will be amongst the losers. This situation is just one of the things which come with the territory of believing there to be a definitive truth and a reason for our existence. On both sides we believe that we have a hold of the truth.
There is a problem, however. To believe in a path as the one authentic way to worship God and yet withhold that from one’s loved ones is obviously hypocritical. In life it is easier to hide – fearing to cause offence by saying that you believe this to be the way – than to invite others to believe in what you believe. Our pluralist society insists that there is no single truth and that while some views may be more valid than others, all beliefs are nevertheless legitimate. We are therefore uncomfortable when it comes to sharing our beliefs with others; we avoid being a nuisance or causing resentment at all costs. Even as this dominates, however, with belief there is always an uncomfortable feeling inside: one day, when our meeting with our Lord finally comes, will my family and friends not hold me to account for failing to adequately explain this belief to them? The uncomfortable voice within says that though you fear their anger now, there is something worse along the line if you are silent. Such is the lesson of the lamp which was hidden beneath a bushel.