Monday, July 21, 2014

Don't worry folks, all religions are the same and their many ways all lead to the same God

I can think of no other way to explain this news out of Mosul than to say it is simply an expression of the plurality of religions which, at root, are just the same as the other.

No one religion has a monopoly on the truth.

It's all just happy families, this one great family of God's children.

NOT!


26 comments:

Jean said...

Excerpts from https://www.biblegateway.com/blog/2014/04/interview-nabeel-quresh-author-of-seeking-allah-finding-jesus/

Dr. Qureshi: In the Christian worldview, love explains why God created this world, why God died on the cross, how we are to respond to God, how we are to treat our neighbors, etc. Love is the central ethic of the Christian faith, and it underlies everything. The central ethic of Islam is Tauheed, the absolute oneness of God. In Islamic theology, Allah’s sovereignty and unity explain creation, salvation, the human response, etc. Anything which stands against his absolute unity, like the Trinity, is blasphemy. This explains the Quran’s discussion of the Trinity in 5:72-73: believing in the divine Lordship of Jesus is the greatest sin, shirk, and will condemn you to Hell. There is no greater affront in Islam.

Dr. Qureshi: It has to do with the claims made by the two faiths, and the strength of the sources to validate those claims. In the case of Christianity, there is excellent historical reason to believe that Jesus claimed to be God, and that He proved His claim by dying on the cross and rising from the dead. In the case of Islam, the historical sources are simply incapable of making a case for the prophethood of Muhammad, and the Qur’an cannot make an effective case for its inspiration.

Dr. Qureshi: The first time I ever turned to the Bible for guidance and not to critique it, God spoke to me powerfully through it. It felt like a spiritual fountain, and I felt as if I had never drank such water before. But since I had submitted to the authority of the Qur’an for 22 years of my life, I was reluctant to submit myself to the Bible...........

Dr. Qureshi: The best way to share your faith is to love your neighbor as yourself while you love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength (Matthew 22:37). When you truly love others as yourself, you will spend your strength and money for them, you will look after them, you will rejoice with them, and you will cry with them. And when they see you loving Jesus with your whole being, they will realize that He is the reason for your overwhelming love. That will open doors for dialogue, move hearts towards the gospel, and cause scales to fall from people’s eyes.

The faith we are called to have is faith that moves mountains. The love we are called to have is a love that extends even to our enemies.


Peter Carrell said...

Hi Jean
That is a very clear statement of the distinct, uncompromising differences between Islam and Christianity at the heart of their respective understandings of God. Thank you.

Bryden Black said...

Good to see you are getting rather a lot out of that Book Jean ...!

Have you read Andrew White's The Vicar of Baghdad? A great read; most inspirational.

Prayers for both these men - and all the Christians in Iraq, especially now these Monks:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iraq/10980404/Jihadists-seize-ancient-Iraqi-monastery-and-expel-monks.html

Peace in the Risen Jesus Christ!

Father Ron Smith said...

Here again, Peter; what we are dealing with in Mosul, and in other hot-spots of Islamic Fundamentalism in the middle East and elsewhere in the world at this time - is precisely that - Fundamentalist Religion - the enemy of True Religion.

The Crusades (so-called) similarly sought to eradicate Muslim believers in a past age that does not reflect well upon the Christian Church.

Sectarian wars within sectarian faith groups is an inescapable sign of a lack of understanding of common human rights and values that ought to be part and parcel of human thriving under God.

Christianity, sadly, is just as capable of tribal sectarianism as other faith communities. Anything that promotes schismatic severance - on account of a perceived moral superiority - needs to be closely examined for its potentiality for self-righteousness.

Jesus really did set the standard:
"They'll know you're my disciples by your love" not by your hatred.

I pray for all Christians who are persecuted by sectarian religious fundamentalists - of any type.

Jean said...

Thanks Peter, Dr. Qureshi is the one who has adds a lot of understanding from growing up as a Muslim.

I did enjoy the book Bryden, I know from many friends the struggles they face when questioning whether the faith the have followed is true and its associated consequences. I have also never met people with such as a strong, vibrant and uncompromising faith as those who have gone through this walk. Such people challenge my dedication. I have not read the book on Rev White but have seen his website.

Fr Ron you are right there have been many instances when those labelled Christian's have historically contributed to actions opposite to our core beliefs. And their and many Muslims who have lived peacefully with the Christian's in Iraq and in other countries. May we continue to practice hospitality towards them and to pray for them.

A religion can not outrightly be judged by the actions of all it's followers, but can be witnessed to by a large percentage of them. A religions merits must also be evaluated by it's core belief's and the truth (or not) contained within them.

Blessings to all, Jean

Anonymous said...

“there is excellent historical reason to believe that Jesus claimed to be God”

Of course! That is why the divinity of Jesus was never, ever an issue from earliest Christian times.

And Christians, of course, have never, ever committed atrocities – neither against fellow Christians, nor against people of other religions!

EVER!

Alison

Anonymous said...

If anyone wishes to pronounce on the Crusades with knowledge instead of prejudice, it would be helpful to engage first with the work of lifelong scholars of the subject like Jonathan Ridley-Smith: http://www.firstthings.com/article/2009/06/inventing-the-crusades
The Crusades were *not* about 'eradicating Muslim believers'; they were about defending Christian lands in the Byzantine Empire from Turkish invasion and resisting attacks on Christian communities and pilgrims to the Holy Land. If you don't understand the Catholic piety of the Middle Ages, you will never understand what was going on in people's minds then. It is fashionable but erroneous to retroject ideas we find persuasive to ourselves to a different age and people. It is even worse to get your ideas on history from Hollywood.
The truth is, there were Christian communities in the Middle East for centuries before Islam ever existed and they remained majority (but largely powerless) communities for centuries afterward. Egypt and Syria are cases in point. It took generations of dhimmitude, jizya and conversion (for whatever reason) before this changed. Read the Egyptian Jewish writer Bat Ye'or on the subject.

Grammaticus

Anonymous said...

And your point is what, Alison?

That past failures by other people necessitate silence and doing nothing now while Christians in Iraq are raped, murdered or driven from their homes?

Yes, of course. That makes perfect sense to me. Good to have such clear and courageous moral vision.

Grammaticus

Father Ron Smith said...

"And Christians, of course, have never, ever committed atrocities – neither against fellow Christians, nor against people of other religions!" - Alison -

Alison, did you never hear of armed Crusader knights on horseback killing Turks in the time of the European Crusades.

Did you never hear of 'Christian' Presidents who subscribe to severe penalties against LGBTI people?

Did you never hear of 'Catholic' Adolf Hitler and his henchmen killing Jews?

Where have you been all this time?

Jean said...

Hi Alison,

“there is excellent historical reason to believe that Jesus claimed to be God..."

This comment was made by a scholar who is an expert on the foundations of the Christian faith. It was researching the faith he was born into (e.g. the facts) in a search for truth about God which lead him to acknowledge the discrepancies in what he had been bought up believing and to apply the same rigorous analysis to Christianity. If you were to read his book you would see he did not take this lightly nor choose to accept Jesus lightly, the cost - rejection by his family.

It is no secret peope who belong to every religion have at one time or another done horrific acts. Whether the teaching of that religion contributes to those acts is a different question. Whether all religions teachings are the same and lead to God is different again.

At present in Iraq the 'Islamic State' is using the teachings of their religion as the reason for taking control of the whole country, expelling Christians but also refusing to recognise as legitimate the other Muslim sects.

Blessings Jean

Anonymous said...

Your knowledge and logic has always been without peer, Grammaticus (well almost – one other here does spring to mind).

Of course past failures by other people (let’s not call them “Christians” that might be too close to the bone and give the impression that “Islam is a non-identical twin of Christianity”) necessitate silence and doing nothing now while Christians in Iraq are raped, murdered or driven from their homes.

Clearly that was my point.

But for those who actually do want to do more - anonymous blog comments really help.

Alison

Bryden Black said...

Assessment of ISIS continues - and in ways richer than hitherto posted here perhaps:

http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2014/07/n-is-for-solidarity?utm_source=First+Things+Subscribers&utm_campaign=6bda0a1858-7_22_20147_22_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_28bf775c26-6bda0a1858-172525621
http://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2014/07/a-line-crossed-in-the-middle-east?utm_source=First+Things+Subscribers&utm_campaign=6bda0a1858-7_22_20147_22_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_28bf775c26-6bda0a1858-172525621

Father Ron Smith said...

Alison, you do realise that anonymity on a blog does give the person concerned a let-out - from responsibility for their comment. I'm surprised it is still allowed.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for these links, Dr Black.
I knew an 'Assyrian' Iraqi years ago (now a bishop of his church)and we had fascinating discussions about Syriac Christianity, a more ancient stream than most European Christianity - and centuries older than Islam either. He must be utterly grief-stricken at the destruction of one of the oldest continuous Christian communities in the world.
To add to his bitterness is the knowledge that the United States, which bombed Serbia to protect Bosnian Muslims, will do nothing to protect Iraqi Christians from genocide.
Their neighbors the Armenians will understand how they feel.

Grammaticus

Glen Young said...

Hi Grammaticus,
You are getting close to the mark.
What has happened to the Apostolic brotherhood???The 'better' Christians around the world will offer up some prayer, and of the Anglican Communion; will then get back to their main preoccupation of getting justice for woman who wish to become Bishops and the LGBT's.
But what about the U.N.with its hullabaloo about the plight of the
Muslims, who wanted to take over Chistian Kosovo.They were quick to get involved then.
The last thing that a'IDOLATROUS' U.N. wants to be involved in, is to help those of a religion,which
shows humanistic ideologies up for what they are-- CONTRADICTORY
and HYPOCRITICAL.
This teaching of 'all roads lead to Rome'is being espoused big time by the leadership of TEC(USA) as part of their mission of spreading Progressive Christianity.

Bryden Black said...

The 'god' of secularism reigns seemingly Grammaticus ... But crucially, it too is doomed, since it has white-anted its very foundations: by biting the hand (of the Christian Faith that created it) that feeds it, it can only self-destruct. I wonder whether Islam itself will be the True God's means of that destruction ... Ala Isa 10 and Babylon vs. Israel.

Father Ron Smith said...

Doom, doom, all is doom and gloom. Anyone for Millenarianism?

BUT, Christ is risen, Alleluia!
The Gates of Hell will not prevail against Him. Alleluia!

"Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us; therefore, let us keep the Feast - not with the old leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth! Alleluia."

Glen Young said...

Hi Ron,
No DOOM and GLOOM here.
Jesus said;"These things have I
spoken unto you,that my joy might remain in you,and that your joy might be full'.
His words bring me alot more peace and joy than those of Lloyd Geering
The Gates of Hell will not prevail against Him;neither will
secular ideology.Alleluia.

Bryden Black said...

Intriguingly - providentially? - a recent sermon at church posed the question: what do you/we think of Judgment? It was both a rhetorical question and a real one, with a pause for contributions from the floor. The preacher went on to point out - correctly - that, without Judgment, sin and evil would never be banished, either individually or cosmically.

What is therefore secularism’s necessary “doom” is the Rule of God’s victory - even as there are of course some features of a secular view and its exercise which are derived directly from the West’s Christian heritage.

As always, the only way to ‘read’ history is Christologically: the ‘lense’ of the crucifixion-and-resurrection of Jesus features both continuity and radical discontinuity; Jesus is one and the same resurrected person as he was before, yet, as everything passes through the prism of crucifixion, the old is rendered old by the emergence of the new (H/T Eberhard Jüngel); the real transformation of the resurrection relegates precisely the old to its due place, to be left behind with the grave clothes, where death, sin and evil belong.

Perhaps Ron we need yet again those Matt 13 parables: both wheat and darnel, both good and bad fish. And Matt’s more futuristic eschatology gets balanced by elements of its ‘judgmental’ note always being brought into the present: otherwise, there’d be neither D-Day nor VE-Day.

That’s why the Hallelujah Chorus is what it is!!!

Father Ron Smith said...

Christianity, thank God, is not about judgement but salvation!

This is one of the problems with fundamentalist religion - too much judgement and not enough salvation!

Jesus was quite clear about the provenance of His followers:
"They'll know you're my disciples by your LOVE" - not your judgement.

Bryden Black said...

Dear Ron; we've been down this road before. Last time it was the need to integrate Gospel Truth with Gospel Love. This time you see a need to divide Gospel Love from Gospel Judgment.

The Gospel Reality is the extraordinary revelation, declaration and demonstration of divine Holiness, which comprehends love, judgment and truth. Please do not rend asunder what God has eternally joined together. To do so perverts the Gospel of Jesus.

Father Ron Smith said...

"The Gospel Reality is the extraordinary revelation, declaration and demonstration of divine Holiness, which comprehends love, judgment and truth. Please do not rend asunder what God has eternally joined together. To do so perverts the Gospel of Jesus.
- Bryden Black -

Bryden, in your rush to deny the fact that Love is at the heart of the Gospel, please ponder, again, on the FACT that "GOD IS LOVE"

God alone is 'Holy'. God alone is 'Judge'. God alone is 'Our Righteousness'. We are ALL sinners! Without God, none of us has the power to save ourselves. In God alone can we trust.

Not even the Church, without God, can redeem us. Christ alone is our Redeemer, Saviour and Lord.

Certainly erudite theologians will never save us. God alone is our Wisdom, our Joy and our Salvation!

The Gospel is more about deeds than words: "Insomuch as you do this for the least of my Little Ones, you do it as to me" - Jesus

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
By all means debate what Bryden says, but do not assert what he does not say. I see nothing he has said which denies that love is at the heart of the gospel.

The gospel is a message to the world simultaneously of judgement and renewal. To state that is completely non-controversial because it is a simple summary of the overall message of the gospel. That is all Bryden is doing.

On the other hand I think you need to explain to us how and why judgement (which you also affirm) works in your conception of 'love' which sweeps all before it. Does the love of God, for instance, include an unrepentant Hitler or Pol Pot within the kingdom?

Father Ron Smith said...

Well, Peter; the Orthodox actually believe that - at the eschaton - even Judas will be rehabilitated. Now that could be the extend of God's mercy. Something like Dame Julian's "All shall be well" phrase that you have said on this blog that you do not like. Naivety may be something you attribute to Dame Julian, but does God see it that way, I wonder?

Bryden Black said...

Well Ron; I am aware there is among those who speak for the Tradition a theologoumenon that advocates apokatastasis - that is, universal salvation for all and sundry. Yet that’s just the point: it’s a mere theologoumenon, an opinion that lacks the due authority of say an Ecumenical Council. And more so; even if there were such a canon or whatever in a Council, Article 21 speaks of the possibility of Councils “erring”. For the authority of Scripture is quite simply ambivalent on the matter (see Art 20): a certain thrust, especially after the resurrection and ascension of Jesus, seems to suggest universal salvation; and yet other texts clearly speak of eternal punishment as a serious possibility. (I guess you are also aware of those interpreters who speak not of such eternal punishment but simply annihilation ...) Chief among them re Judas is Jn 17:12ff.

All in all Ron, if you wish to really pursue this, may I suggest a section within Hans Urs von Balthasar’s Theodrama, V: The Last Act, “Aspects of the Final Act”, B 2 onwards especially. This is not try to subject you to yet another tome; rather, it pleads with you to acknowledge that your assertions regarding the “love of God” mostly just do not accord with the full Tradition - that is, if you wish to align yourself with the voice of that Tradition - even as it offers a few allies whose opinions might resonate with your own.

I shall let Karl Barth sign off for us: “The question is not whether God can save all men: what we have to oppose is the idea that this possibility implies the impossibility of its opposite.” The beautifully qualified logic of this sentence runs throughout his Church Dogmatics. For while his notion of the election of Jesus, the God-man, might project us towards universalism, yet his desire to honour the sheer authority of the Scriptures prevents him from avoiding the dire confessional weight of such Matthean texts that we have as well as Jn 17.

Father Ron Smith said...

"I shall let Karl Barth sign off for us: “The question is not whether God can save all men: what we have to oppose is the idea that this possibility implies the impossibility of its opposite.” The beautifully qualified logic of this sentence runs throughout his Church Dogmatics. For while his notion of the election of Jesus, the God-man, might project us towards universalism, yet his desire to honour the sheer authority of the Scriptures prevents him from avoiding the dire confessional weight of such Matthean texts that we have as well as Jn 17." - Bryden Black -

And, as you well know, Bryden; there is no such thing as the complete and absolute truth being restricted to the statements of any one of our favorite designated theologians.

Dame Juloan of Norwich knew a thing or two about the mercy of God, and she expressed it, I do believe, even more fervently that Mr. Barth. - And this has been acknowledged by many more would-be theologians than you and me.