Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Christmas is a conspiracy to convince Muslims that Jesus is the Son of God

Strange though the headline may seem, it is what some people think.

But then the West may not be treating Christmas quite the same as other parts of the world. A Tweet alerting me to the existence of this Kiwi Christmas play suggested that the slightest religious should not attend it. I suppose it got past the censor ...

Keeping up with reading on Islam, here is Ross Douthat.


Anonymous said...

Ross Douthat has framed the problem, but not the solution.

For Jews, Christians, and Muslims, belief in a Creator who is at once transcendent over and immanent in all of his creation necessarily entails some political vision. And so these joint heirs of the dream of Zion have successively struggled with an early political practice of immense prestige that has come to be seen as unrepeatable in later ages-- the Davidic monarchy did not return in the C1 bar Kochba revolt; Constantine did not return in C20 Carlism; the commonwealth of Mohammed has not returned in C21 Qutbism. How indeed are any of us to sing the songs of Zion in a foreign land?

Probably, as Douthat implies, the common problem has common solutions. Believers in the Judaic Creator may recall from Genesis 1:28 and 11:1-9 that a diversity within humanity is a part of God’s will, and perhaps even necessary to the wholeness of humanity that is the image of God. (BTW this is probably the simplest biblical approach to That Topic.) After bar Kochba, the rabbis came to emphasise that the messianic age will come by an action of God for which the human part is simply to live a life of personal holiness in the present. Although they practise it in very different ways, Christians have added to this emphasis another that their Zion stands among the nations as a visible witness to an unseen kingdom that is itself a sign that God has inaugurated a new creation in which heaven will be manifest on earth. Unless contemporary biblical scholars are badly mistaken, the apostles recognised that this Zion is incompatible with Caesar’s secular imperium. Contemporary Muslims might well empathise with that.

What might the Muslim contribution be? My guess is that it will be a rejection of the sort of secularism that is, not a pluralism of peoples awaiting the fulfillment of God’s purposes, but the invisibility of religious hope in the public square. At the moment, Arab and Iranian anger at Western imperialism has made targets of the Christians of West Asia. But it is not unthinkable that a later generation with more pride in the way every pre-modern Muslim state conserved pluralism by protecting those same communities will view this genocide much as Christians today already view medieval ghettos, czarist pogroms, and the Holocaust.

If this is so, then the task of peace is interreligious and profoundly theological. It is ours. We have an inescapable vocation to consequential work than helping Caesar to select tomorrow’s bombing targets.

Bowman Walton

Andrei said...

The National Fatwa Council has decreed on 2005 that Muslims are prohibited from attending Christmas celebrations if there are “Christian symbols” on display, such as Christmas trees, Santa Claus-like red attires and Christmas carols.

Shall we laugh or cry?

All this stuff is popular in Japan of course where Christianity is most definitely a minority religion

In Russia under the Soviets all this tinsel got attached to the New Year festivities where it remains to this day - Santa Claus is very similar to but not quite Ded Moroz (Grandfather Frost) and the Feast of the Nativity comes later on January the 7th

As for the play you linked that carries echos of Soviet culture - snide digs at religious beliefs particularly at the same time as major festivals

Funny old world

Father Ron Smith said...

Regarding the 'Basement Theatre' offering, this says it all:
"R16 - Some content may offend." - Base and Offensive?

Regarding Ross Douthat's piece; this is perhaps an important point"

"They (devout Muslims) also might notice that many of the same conservative Christians who fear that Islam is incompatible with democracy are wrestling with whether their own faith is compatible with the direction of modern liberalism, or whether Christianity needs to enter a kind of internal exile in the West."

Andrei said...

... whether their own faith is compatible with the direction of modern liberalism, or whether Christianity needs to enter a kind of internal exile in the West."

The West is post Christian Fr Ron - as for internal exile

Matthew 5

14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Andrew Reid said...

From the Middle East, where we Christians are the significant minority, I give you this example of forming true friendships and genuine partnerships as a way forward.
It doesn't ignore or under-estimate the significant challenges, but helps local faith leaders engage meaningfully with each other and work together to address common local challenges.

Father Ron Smith said...

Thanks Andrew, for this link. A very heartening message, which is being repeated in many different places in the western world as well. It is the only viable way forward from oppositional religion. Abrahan, after all, is the father of more than one religous tradition.