When I was a child growing up just a few blocks from San Francisco’s notorious Haight Ashbury neighborhood in the 1960s and 1970s, I was surrounded by the hippie movement. It was the age of sexual freedom, cultural revolution and social carefree („turn on, tune in, drop out“).
Fortunately, I was never caught by the hippie movement, but since I was so close, I couldn’t intervene, but I could watch their evolution. One thing I remember well was the many hippies called „Jesus Freaks“. When I leaf through my childhood memories almost four decades later, this euphemism (glossing over) strikes me as if it were something unquestionably strange. These hippies were called „Jesus Freaks“ because they were dressed as Jesus did, their hair grew long as he did, renounced materialism as he did. They propagated devotion to God, peace, alms and public love.
Many of those who chose this path became addicted to hallucinogenic drugs and rampant sexual drives – things that are far from Jesus‘ example – but that’s not why these hippies were called Jesus Freaks. Rather, they were called Jesus Freaks because of their long hair, loose clothing, asceticism, public unity, and passivity – all as a result of their attempt to live like Jesus. The House of Love and Prayer, which was close to the Avenues, was a meeting place for many of these well-meaning souls, and the name of this facility reflected their center of life.
In retrospect, what seems strange to me is not that people wish to embody Jesus‘ values, but that others criticized them for it. What strikes me as even stranger is that only a few Christians today correspond to these values. But what struck me as strangest before I converted to Islam is that Muslims embodied Jesus‘ values better than Christians.
Well, this claim needs an explanation, and it looks like this: Let’s start with this: Both Christianity and Islam consider Jesus to be a prophet of their religion. However, while the teachings of Jesus have been lost in the faith and deeds of most Christians (see my article: „Where is the Christian in Christianity?“), These teachings are very respected in Islam and are important.
Let’s look at a few examples.
1. Jesus was bearded, like most Muslims, but only a few of the Christians.
2. Jesus was dressed modestly. When we close our eyes and get a mental picture, we see flowing fabrics from the wrists to the ankles – similar to the loose Arabic thobs and the Indo-Pakistani shalwar kameez, which are typical for the Muslims of these regions. What we would not imagine is the display or seductive clothing that is so ubiquitous in Christian cultures.
3. Jesus‘ mother covered her hair and this practice continued for a long time among Christian women in the Holy Land, until the middle of the twentieth century. And again, this is a way of doing things that is maintained by the Muslims as well as by the Orthodox Jews (of whom Jesus was one), but not by today’s Christians.
1. Jesus focused on humility and avoided splendor. How many “righteous” Christians fit in this “Not only on Sunday” picture? And how many Muslims pray “five prayers a day, every day of the year”?
2. Jesus spoke with humility and kindness. He didn’t do a show. When we think of his speeches, we don’t imagine a drama. He was a simple man, known for his kindness and truth. How many preachers and how many evangelists follow this example?
3. Jesus taught his disciples the greeting of “peace” (Luke 10: 5) and then set the example “Peace be with you” (Luke 24:36, John 20:19, John 20:21, John 20:26) . Who continues this tradition today, Christians or Muslims? „Peace be with you“ is the meaning of the greeting of the Muslims: „Assalamu alaikum.“ Interestingly, we also find this greeting in Judaism (Genesis 43:23, Numbers 6:26, Judges 6:23, I Samuel 1:17 and I Samuel 25: 6).
1. Jesus was circumcised (Luke 2:21). Paul taught that this was not necessary (Romans 4:11 and Galatians 5: 2). However, the Muslims believe that this is still necessary.
2. Jesus did not eat pork in agreement with the Old Testament (Leviticus 11: 7 and Deuteronomy 14: 8). And the Muslims also believe that pork is prohibited. Christians … well, that’s what you get …
3. Jesus, in agreement with the prohibition in the Old Testament, gave no interest (Exodus 22:25). Interest was banned in both the Old Testament and the Quran, just as it was banned in the religion of Jesus. Nevertheless, the economy of most Christian countries works with interest.
4. Jesus did not fornicate and abstained from extramarital contact with women. Now this thing is exaggerated to the greatest possible „normal“ contact with the opposite sex. With the exception of performing religious rituals and helping those in need, Jesus never even touched any woman other than his mother. Orthodox Jews who practice strictly up to this day maintain these moral rules in the face of the laws of the Old Testament. Likewise, practicing Muslims do not even shake hands with women they are not related to. Can the same be said of Christians who hug their neighbors or kiss someone else’s bride (to congratulate)?
Acts of worship
1. Jesus purified himself before prayer by washing himself, just as it was in the tradition of the pious prophets before him (see Exodus 40: 31-32 regarding Moses and Aaron), and how it was done the muslim is.
2. Jesus prostrated himself (Matthew 26:39) as the other prophets did (see Nehemiah 8: 6 for Esra and the people, Joshua 5:14 for Joshua, Genesis 17: 3 and 24: 52 for Abraham, Exodus 34: 8 and Numbers 20: 6 for Moses and Aaron). Who prays like this, Christians or Muslims?
3. Jesus fasted for over a month at a time (Matthew 4: 2 and Luke 4: 2) as the pious had done before him (Exodus 34:28, I Kings 19: 8) and as did the Muslims do annually in the month of Ramadhan.
4. Jesus made a pilgrimage out of worship, as all Orthodox Jews strive for. The Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca is well known and it is also mentioned in the Bible (see The First and Last Command).
Foundations of Faith
1. Jesus taught the uniqueness of God (Mark 12: 29-30, Matthew 22:37 and Luke 10:27) as communicated in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20: 3). Nowhere did he explain the Trinity.
2. Jesus described himself as the man and prophet of God (see above) and never claimed that he was divine or even the son of God. Which belief is more in line with this – the commitment to the Trinity or the absolute monotheism of Islam?
In a few words, Muslims seem to be the “Jesus freaks” of modern times, but by this expression we mean those who live by God’s laws and follow Jesus‘ example.
Carmichael notes: „… a whole generation after Jesus‘ death, his followers were pious Jews and proud to have caught the attention of their fellow religious professionals and they did not even deviate from the seductive ceremonial laws.“ 
One wonders what happened between the practices of the first generation that followed Jesus and modern Christians today. At the same time, we have to respect the fact that Muslims put Jesus‘ teachings into practice more than Christians do. We should also remember that three prophets were announced in the Old Testament. John the Baptist and Jesus Christ were number one and two, and Jesus Christ himself predicted the third and last. There is talk of a last prophet in both the Old and New Testaments, and we would not be orderly if we ignored the fact that Muhammad was this last prophet and the last revelation was Islam.
Copyright © 2007 Laurence B. Brown.
About the author:
Laurence B. Brown, MD can be contacted at: BrownL38@yahoo.com. He is the author of “The First and Final Commandment” (Amana Publications) and “Bearing True Witness” (Dar-us-Salam). A story thriller “The Eighth Scroll” will appear soon, and a second edition of The First and Final Commandment, revised and divided into “MisGod’ed” and the sequel “God’ed”.
 Carmichael, Joel. p. 223.