Friday, September 15, 2006

Here We Go Again?

No sooner do certain Muslims perceive that they are being accused of belonging to a violent religion than they react, well, by resorting to violence.

On a day when voices around the Muslim world were denouncing Pope Benedict XVI for linking Islam with violence, someone threw a hand grenade into the compound housing the oldest church in the Gaza Strip. Mercifully there were no casualties.

Should we now expect another wave of violence, as witnessed following the publication of cartoons of Mohammed, to demonstrate how peaceful Islam is?

Watch this space.

Kyrie eleison.


Anonymous said...

Criticism of Islam is in danger of becoming a forbidden topic. This simply must not happen. Important principles of free speech are at stake, and the quotation of historical material in the course of an academic lecture should be the most basic kind of free speech, allowable to everyone. And it shouldn't matter who's giving the lecture, either.

Seraph said...

It is a fact that the Meditteranean was a Christian lake at one point...Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, the Holy Land, Egypt, north Africa, much of Iraq were all Christian lands. Until Islam spread by the sword.

Granted, in a self-denfense attempt, Christian crusaders ended up doing some hateful things centuries later. And granted that Christians have sometimes relied on violence and coercion to spread or keep the Faith (forcible baptisms under Charlemagne, inquisition). Of course such violence was against the original spirit of Christianity, and against the teachings of the Lord Jesus. But Islam is unique in that it actually originally spread by the sword....

Warwickensis said...

I see the Holy Father has apologised if his remarks caused any offence, though it is unlikely that he will retract the sense in which he spoke the "offensive" quote.

I hope he keeps it up, he's displaying a degree of saltiness that the world needs.

poetreader said...

I posted this elsewhere, but felt it needed to be said here as well.
OK. I can't hold back any longer. There are truly fine people, humanly speaking, in every religious grouping. There are Muslims anyone would be proud to call friend. "God so loved the world ..." includes Muslims. Hatred and prejudice are entirely unchristian, even antichristian attitudes, and cannot be tolerated among Christians.

All that being said, however, The Christian attitude toward other religions is uncompromising. "Thou shalt have no other gods before me", and "I, the Lord thy God am a jealous God." (both in Exodus 20). Martyrs uncountable have died rather than give even token worship to other gods, or even to admit their divinity.

Now, some other religions (preeminently Judaism) may be seen as prefatory to Christianity, as a sort of introductory step on the way to the fullness of faith, but there are others that were constructed as a specific rejection of the Gospel of Christ.

Islam was invented centuries after Christ by a man who had heard much of the Gospel, one of whose wives was a Christian of some sort, and who was aquainted with many others. The 'holy book' that he invented recognizes this. It is not prechristian, but a deliberate and conscious rejection of the Christian message. His Allah (though using the same name used by Arabic Christians) is deliberately placed in opposition to the Christian God. He is not trinity. He has no son. That is specifically and often asserted. Moreover Jesus is presented in the Quran, as another Jesus from that of the Scriptures. He is indeed born of a virgin, but this is not incarnation, but a mere wonder. He is not God, nor the son of God, and though crucufued did not die on the Cross, nor was he resurrected. He is the greatest of the prophets before Muhammed, but ranks below this final and greatest of the prophets. He is in no sense Savior.

What, then, can a Christian say of a religion presented in the face of Christianity with the intent to oppose and deny the faith, and thus to keep mankind from salvation? Benedict was right in quoting this medieval texts, and milder than he should have been. Such a program is not only 'evil', but positively Satanic. It needs to be said.

Furthermore Islam has, from its foundation, and even today, thrived upon forced conversions, upon severe restrictions upon the Christian (and Jewish) communities, and upon active persecution. In the twentieth Century there were three major persecutions of Christians, all resulting in huge numbers of deaths and much suffering: the Communists, the Nazis, and the Muslims. Of the three, it is the last that continues active today.

If Benedict has apologized, I am disappointed.


Anonymous said...

One of the beautiful things about being Anglican is that we don't have to buy into Nostra Aetate. I quite agree one should respect other people's religious practices and beliefs, but this 'three monotheistic religions all worshipping the one God' thing is really wearing on me. As Ed said quite rightly, Judaism came first. Now, surely the test of a new religion is what improvements it brings to the older one. Christianity is in exactly the same line of development as Judaism but, for historical reasons to do with God revealing Himself in the world through the incarnation, it brings improvements. Islam brings no improvements. It takes away the best thing that Christianity brought--God incarnate and all that follows therefrom--and the result is heresy at best or idolatry at worst. I'm happy to say that I worship the same God as the Jews, since after all that's what Jesus did. But let's compare God with Allah. God is both immanent and transcendent. Allah is entirely transcendent. God is reasonable. Allah isn't, because reason is a human category and Allah doesn't fall into any of these by reason of being entirely transcendent. (None of the rioters has read enough of the Regensburg lectures to have hit on that one.) How is this consistent with Nostra Aetate saying that we and the Muslims worship the same God? The Pope has to decide whether he's the Pope or Lessing. I'm very fond of Lessing, but I don't look to him in matters of faith.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Both Islam and Mormonism (with their respective new "prophets" and harems) seem to have been foreseen by Saint Paul. See Galatians 1: 8.

Anonymous said...

Interesting to relate, the English translation 'sincerely regrets' may not be accurate. The Italian is 'vivamente dispiaciuto'--and 'regret' is only a secondary meaning of 'dispiacere', which means 'upset'. The German papers are using 'extrem betrübt', which means more like 'extremely saddened' or 'extremely disturbed'. I think 'mightily cheesed off' might be appropriate--if so, the 'apology' is actually an expression of dismay at the reaction of the unreasonable people who haven't read the statement in context.
Pity. I was hoping that if Anglicans started burning effigies of the Pope on other than 5 November, it might lead to a reconsideration of Apostolicae Curae.

twist871 said...

I believe the pope knew what he was doing. I suspect that he has decided to lift a banner against that Muslim madness. ...and he is probably the best candidate for the job. Islam was started as a violent religion and it is probably safe to say that it will always be violent. Of course there are peaceful Muslims, lots of them, but unfortunately they don't count. I was sad to hear that the pope had apologized, but reading the Vatican's website, I am not sure, whether that was really an apology or a clarification.
I know, that as Christians we have to love our enemies, but I don't think we are called to be door mats.

Albion Land said...

VATICAN CITY, Sept 17, 2006 (AFP) - Pope Benedict XVI was to deliver the Angelus blessing on Sunday in his first public appearance since sparking an outpouring of rage from Muslims around the world over his comments implicitly linking Islam to violence.
Security was tightened around the papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo, just south of Rome, as Islamic groups in Somalia and Iraq threatened to kill the head of the Roman Catholic Church.
The pope was due to give the traditional Angelus blessing from the balcony of Castel Gandolfo at midday (1000 GMT) followed by a message to pilgrims gathered there.

poetreader said...

And this is how they prove that they are not a violent religion? Somehow I just don't get it.


Rev. Dr. Hassert said...

I don't really like this worn and misused phrase, but it aptly applies to the comments of the Bishop of Rome at this moment--he truly spoke "truth to power" with his words.

I think, in light of this, that I'll post some of the teachings of the Church Fathers on coercion in religion on my blog.

It must be pointed out that when Christians of all stripes have used force in the past, it has been without the justification of the Scriptures or the Fathers. We have no Scripture to fall back on, whereas it seems other religions do.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Well, I am convinced by their argument. Yessiree. The Angry rioting Muslims who have been murdering people and burning churches have proven that they are not violent at all. Really, they are just filled with the milk of human kindness, and have argued the point in their usual way.

Warwickensis said...

So, either this was a shrewd move by a clever Pope (and I wouldn't put it past him), or that there is a Divine hand at work.

It's quite clear who's been embarrassed by this, and it certainly isn't His Holiness.