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(Pope) Francis challenged Islamic countries to grant religious freedom will west follow lead?
Catholic Herald ^ | November 27, 2013 | FR ALEXANDER LUCIE-SMITH

Posted on 11/27/2013 2:32:51 PM PST by NYer

U.S. President Barack Obama wears a gift from Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah (CNS)

U.S. President Barack Obama wears a gift from Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah (CNS)

The Pope’s apostolic exhortation on evangelisation, Evangelii Gaudium, The Joy of the Gospel, will, I hope be closely studied in the next few weeks and months. A quick scan of some key quotes seems to indicate that any such study will be worthwhile.

The first thing to catch my eye was the section on Islam. First and foremost the Pope tells the governments of countries such as Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan (he doesn’t name them, but it is obvious whom he means) that they ought to extend the same religious freedoms to Christians as Christian majority countries do to Muslims. The Pope’s words are very polite: “I ask and I humbly entreat those countries to grant Christians freedom to worship and to practice their faith, in light of the freedom which followers of Islam enjoy in Western countries!” I would love to know how the Saudis are planning to respond. My guess is that they will say and do nothing, sadly. But I am pretty certain that this Pope will continue asking until they do something positive. Even if the Saudis ignore this plea, surely the countries of the freedom-loving West will note it, and add their voices to it? Over to you, Cameron and Obama!

Not unnaturally the Pope’s words on Islam make reference to Nostra Aetate, the document of the Second Vatican Council that dealt with inter-religious dialogue. Back in the 1960s inter-religious dialogue presented quite a sunny landscape; now, ever since 9/11, there has to be more caution. Hence the Pope makes reference to “true followers of Islam”, as opposed to those wedded to violence, who by implication are Islamic in name only.

Why should the Pope make this point? After all, can’t Muslims make this point for themselves? Consider the words that the Pope uses of pious Muslims: “Many of them also have a deep conviction that their life, in its entirety, is from God and for God. They also acknowledge the need to respond to God with an ethical commitment and with mercy towards those most in need.” It is almost as if he is pointing out a contrast – if such a thing needs to be pointed out – namely, that the people who bombed the World Trade Centre clearly had no ethical commitment, let alone a sense of mercy towards the vulnerable.

The Pope is making an old Jesuit point that your religious progress can only really be verified by your ethical progress. In other words, if you are not a good person, or a right-acting person, then it follows that you are not a religious person, whatever your assertions to the contrary. Applied to the 9/11 bombers, this means that their religious talk was just that – talk, representing the instrumentalisation of religious language in the service of a terrorist ideology. A Catholic like the Pope makes this point to undermine the assumption that the 9/11 atrocity was caused by religion. It wasn’t. It was caused by an ideology, and it was carried out by men who were not in the least bit religious. Their hatred of the West and their nihilism, coupled with a very obvious desire to kill themselves and take a lot of people with them, these are hardly the fruits of piety.

A counter-argument that I have heard is that the 9/11 bombers were in fact deeply religious because they killed themselves thinking that they were bound for Paradise. If they had not had a blind faith in Paradise then they would never have undertaken their suicide missions. But the trouble with this analysis is that it confuses martyrdom with suicide. Martyrs die for a cause, believing in a heavenly reward. Suicides kill themselves, and in this case many others too. Such a violent act can only merit eternal punishment. Moreover the violence of the act springs from a very different source and looks very different from the calm faith-filled assurance of the martyr, who bears no ill will to anyone. Mohamed Atta and his companions were so full of hatred towards themselves and their victims, that I doubt they had room in their minds for anything else, let alone the concept of Paradise.

The 9/11 atrocity has been used to defame Islam, while at the same time it has, correctly to my mind, been seen as revelatory of a deep psychosis in the Arab world. The 9/11 atrocity, and others like it, should not, the Pope makes clear, be used to demonise all religions.

There is another point about Islam in the text as well, that could easily be missed. The Pope says: “The sacred writings of Islam have retained some Christian teachings.” The use of the verb “have retained” implies (at least I can read it no other way) that Islam has its origins in Christianity, and specifically that the Koran is in its origins a Christian book. I do not think any Pope has ever said this before. Indeed, this theory about the Christian origins of Islam, which has been around for centuries, has recently received some academic investigation, as you can read here as well in many other places. Interesting that the Pope should seem to be endorsing these views, which are, as far as I can see, the correct views. But usually Popes are more cautious.



TOPICS: Catholic; Current Events; Islam; Religion & Culture
KEYWORDS: obama; politics; popefrancis

1 posted on 11/27/2013 2:32:51 PM PST by NYer
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To: Tax-chick; GregB; Berlin_Freeper; SumProVita; narses; bboop; SevenofNine; Ronaldus Magnus; tiki; ...

Ping!


2 posted on 11/27/2013 2:33:23 PM PST by NYer ("The wise man is the one who can save his soul. - St. Nimatullah Al-Hardini)
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To: NYer

If islamics were interested in religious freedom they’d already have it
islamics want anyone who does not worship allaH dead
Hard to have freedom with that mentality


3 posted on 11/27/2013 2:44:39 PM PST by svcw (Not 'hope and change' but 'dopes in chains')
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To: NYer
St.John of Damascus (LINK), who had profound personal, professional, and scholarly contact with the Syrian Muslims in the late 7th and early 8th century, clearly considered Islam to be a heretical offshoot of Christianity, and refuted it as such in his book "Concerning Heresy (Perì hairéseōn)".
4 posted on 11/27/2013 2:45:27 PM PST by Mrs. Don-o (What does the LORD require of you, but to act justly, to love tenderly, to walk humbly with your God)
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To: NYer
But I am pretty certain that this Pope will continue asking until they do something positive. Even if the Saudis ignore this plea, surely the countries of the freedom-loving West will note it, and add their voices to it? Over to you, Cameron and Obama!

Hello. The west has already been challenging islamist countries to allow religious freedom.

And other religious denominations have been doing the same.

This guy has for years.

One Free World International

http://www.onefreeworldinternational.org/

He's an Egyptian who was imprisoned and tortured for converting to Christianity. I've heard him in person and he has an unbelievable testimony. He's been doing this for probably a decade now.

5 posted on 11/27/2013 3:14:55 PM PST by metmom ( ...fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith....)
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To: NYer

Good luck wit dat, Pope Frank.


6 posted on 11/27/2013 3:34:49 PM PST by tumblindice (America's founding fathers: All armed conservatives.)
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To: NYer

I start like this Pope yeah do you think Islamicts listen NO


7 posted on 11/27/2013 3:38:11 PM PST by SevenofNine (We are Freepers, all your media bases belong to us ,resistance is futile)
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To: svcw; NYer

The Islamist’s view of ‘freedom of religion’ is similar to Henry Ford’s statement “People can buy my model T’s in any color they want, as long as it is black.” For the Moslems, it is “you can have freedom of religion, as long as you worship the Moslem god and NO other.”


8 posted on 11/27/2013 3:48:19 PM PST by GreyFriar (Spearhead - 3rd Armored Division 75-78 & 83-87)
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To: NYer; Tax-chick; GregB; Berlin_Freeper; SumProVita; narses; bboop; SevenofNine; Ronaldus Magnus; ...

I challenge President Obama to stop waging his war on faithful Christians in this country. And to understand we have Freedom OF, not ‘from’ religion. And that means more than just being permitted to worship only inside our churches on Sunday morning!!


9 posted on 11/27/2013 3:51:57 PM PST by GreyFriar (Spearhead - 3rd Armored Division 75-78 & 83-87)
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To: GreyFriar

Does this ‘fuzzy’, Pollyanna-ish thinking seem familiar?
(”We expect all of the healthy Generation X’s will forego such things as marriages, families, mortgages, etc. because they will be happy performing their duty to the party/country making monthly health insurance premium payments of two grand to pay for the Baby Boomers health needs ...”)


10 posted on 11/27/2013 3:54:47 PM PST by tumblindice (America's founding fathers: All armed conservatives.)
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To: Mrs. Don-o; GreyFriar
St.John of Damascus (LINK), who had profound personal, professional, and scholarly contact with the Syrian Muslims in the late 7th and early 8th century, clearly considered Islam to be a heretical offshoot of Christianity, and refuted it as such in his book "Concerning Heresy (Perì hairéseōn)".

Indeed, it is. I posted the following article to the forum several years ago. It provides some fascinating insight into the origin of Islam. Enjoy!

The Virgins and the Grapes: the Christian Origins of the Koran

11 posted on 11/27/2013 4:51:20 PM PST by NYer ("The wise man is the one who can save his soul. - St. Nimatullah Al-Hardini)
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To: NYer
Hence the Pope makes reference to “true followers of Islam”, as opposed to those wedded to violence, who by implication are Islamic in name only.

Does the author actually believe a "true follower" of Islam is going to be an Infidel collaborator, and turn his back on God (Allah).

I bet the author has never read the Koran or Hadiths.-Tom

12 posted on 11/27/2013 4:52:12 PM PST by Capt. Tom
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