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Christians in Gaza appeal for help/ Episcopalians name first Imam
Posted by: McQ on Monday, June 18, 2007

Yes, I know, you think I'm messing with you, right? Story one:
Christians living in Gaza City on Monday appealed to the international community to protect them against increased attacks by Muslim extremists. Many Christians said they were prepared to leave the Gaza Strip as soon as the border crossings are reopened.

The appeal came following a series of attacks on a Christian school and church in Gaza City over the past few days.

Father Manuel Musalam, leader of the small Latin community in the Gaza Strip, said masked gunmen torched and looted the Rosary Sisters School and the Latin Church.

"The masked gunmen used rocket-propelled grenades to storm the main entrances of the school and church," he said. "Then they destroyed almost everything inside, including the Cross, the Holy Book, computers and other equipment."

Musalam expressed outrage over the burning of copies of the Bible, noting that the gunmen destroyed all the Crosses inside the church and school. "Those who did these awful things have no respect for Christian-Muslim relations," he said.
Can't have Christians polluting a rising new radical Islamic state like Gazamastan, can we? Seems "Christian-Muslim" relations, however tenuous previously, are pretty much gone in Gaza now.

OTOH, the Episcopalians here in the US are just hell-bent on accomodation and inclusion (no pun intended):
Shortly after noon on Fridays, the Rev. Ann Holmes Redding ties on a black headscarf, preparing to pray with her Muslim group on First Hill.

On Sunday mornings, Redding puts on the white collar of an Episcopal priest.

She does both, she says, because she's Christian and Muslim.

Redding, who until recently was director of faith formation at St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral, has been a priest for more than 20 years. Now she's ready to tell people that, for the last 15 months, she's also been a Muslim — drawn to the faith after an introduction to Islamic prayers left her profoundly moved.

Her announcement has provoked surprise and bewilderment in many, raising an obvious question: How can someone be both a Christian and a Muslim..?

She says she felt an inexplicable call to become Muslim, and to surrender to God — the meaning of the word "Islam."

"It wasn't about intellect," she said. "All I know is the calling of my heart to Islam was very much something about my identity and who I am supposed to be.

"I could not not be a Muslim..."

Redding's bishop, the Rt. Rev. Vincent Warner, says he accepts Redding as an Episcopal priest and a Muslim, and that he finds the interfaith possibilities exciting.
Exciting? That's it?

As Mark Steyn pointed out:
Four years ago, after the appointment of the "openly gay" Bishop of New Hampshire, Scrappleface offered the following headline:

Episcopal Church Appoints First Openly-Muslim Bishop
Parody becomes reality. Why don't the Episcopalians simply get it over with and declare themselves a new sect of the Unitarian Universalist Church?

(HT: Tom Perkins)
 
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[Rev. Redding’s] announcement has provoked surprise and bewilderment in many
Plus I bet a number of people barfed, especially if they kept reading the freaking Seattle Times write-up. I’m just glad I haven’t had lunch yet. Maybe now I’d better not.
 
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://
Religion as currently practiced and understood is not a rational and effective form of spirituality for the era of globalization. That’s because most religions are exclusive (only those of ’my’ faith get ’saved’ or ’paradise’), rationalizing conflict with other faiths, or denying the legitimacy of anyones’ faith but ones’ own. Christianity is further along the process of developing a more inclusive form of spirituality than is Islam, obviously, as the story suggests. Unfortunatly, Muslim extremists are far from that kind of more enlightened look at religion, and the result is violence and intolerance. (I go more into all this on my blog of May 4th "Needed: a New Axial Age" and May 8th "Time and Space" — if you click the blog address you’ll have to scroll way down to get there). Exclusivist religions are becoming anachronistic and certainly are not rational. Yet they endure because they speak to a human need for spirituality and meaning, and they are the socially acceptable path, one programmed into us by parents and society. While it’s obvious I believe in respecting peoples’ religious perspective, we really need to move beyond the kind of dark ages religious beliefs which dominate — and whose worst aspects come out in places like Iraq, Gaza, and on 9-11.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Hat Tip, the estimable Glenn Reynolds.

And I still can’t quite grasp it isn’t a jump to the left, a step to the right—a time warp back to April 1st...

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Exclusivist religions are becoming anachronistic and certainly are not rational.


As a practicing and believing Catholic Dr. Erb, I must say you have a poor grasp of religion...at their core ALL religions are non-rational. They require BELIEF. Even Atheists have a belief, they believe there is no God, without any proof, as no proof of God’s Existence or non-Existence can be provided.

Further, by definition Islam and Christianity ARE exclusive and not anachronistic..."No one can come to the Father, save thru the Son" or "There is no God but Allah, and Mohamet was His Prophet." That’s what makes this sad women so sad, and funny...she tries to be a member of two exclusive religions, simultaneously...which is it toots, Jesu Christi or Mohamet?

And Dr. Erb you ae so silly on this point, exclusive religions being anachronistic? Really so the fact that there are Muslims and Christians WORLDWIDE, is accounted for how in this philosophy of yours. Both the followers of Christ and Mohamet have been traveling and evangelizing for centuries and our brands appeal to many divers folk. I’d say that ours were the first "Global" brands established! But you go on about how in this Global Age exclusive religions are anachronisms. But I think it is safe to say that we shall see many of the "Brights" off long before our time runs out in this Plane of Existence.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Religion as currently practiced and...Erb’s apotheoetically meaningless drivel...and on 9-11.
There’s something wrong with you, Erb.

Honestly.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl,& pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Currently Christianity and Islam are exclusive for most who practice it. There is much more of a trend in some Christian churches to moving away from exclusivity (many interpret ’except through the son’ not as meaning literal belief in the story created by the Gospel writers but rather by the kinds of teachings attributed to Jesus). Exclusivity is anachronistic.

Spirituality and belief are not necessarily irrational. Indeed, belief can be very rational, since most of what you do in a day is predicated on various beliefs about the world. As I note in my blog on May 4, exclusivist religions arose primarily because they were a way of establishing identity while dealing with core questions about why is a world here, what is its meaning, etc. But as enlightenment thinkers realized, a belief about God which relies primarily on the "accident of birth" as to whether one is "saved" or not is simply not credible. While one can hold on to beliefs that aren’t credible for some time, I think the changes in the world political economy — changes similar to those that led to the first axial age — mean religions will need to change too, in order to survive.

I think its important to understand religious traditions. Many kids today don’t, since increasingly households do not actively go to church (especially if you get away from the south). I’m going to be sure my children learn about the fundamentals of Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, and Hindu faiths, and read books holy to those traditions so they can understand how many in the world think. I increasingly do this in course work analyzing international affairs as well. But as with the secular equivalent to religions, ideologies (which also need to be understood), it’s dangerous to grab one and hold it to be true, interpreting and defining the world through that "ism" or faith. We need to move beyond that, both intellectually and spiritually.

And that really fits with America’s core values — the great thinkers among founders were Deists, for the most part.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Currently Christianity and Islam are exclusive
Full stop. Everything else you wrote is an irrelevance—a non-sequitor or an untruth.

What you don’t or cannot get, Erb, is that this is like the Anti-Defamation League announcing it’s just accepted its first member still avidly attending the National Socialist Party meetings.

In fact, you’ve about convinced me you’re pulling our legs.

You just can’t be this vapid.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Tom, you apparently aren’t reading carefully. I defined exclusive as meaning that they believe only people accepting their belief system are able to "be saved" or go "to paradise." That is exclusivity. Inclusivity would be believing that while their path may be right, there are other paths up the mountain, and good Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists might be saved as well, and so might atheists. In fact, inclusivity requires recognition that concepts like "god" and "heaven" are human attempts to understand something unfathomable and incomprehensible.

Many Christians are accepting that exclusivity is not reconcilable with a loving and benevolent God. A God who would send a kind man of good works to hell just because he didn’t believe a particular story written in the second century would be a complete jerk, an a**H**e. By definition, a loving Christian god can’t be that way. So that interpretation of what Christian belief means is at its core contradictory. Christians are starting to figure that out. Many Sufi sects of Islam were going that way too, as was the rationalist strain of Islam in pre-Ottoman days. Those can be built upon.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Erb wrote:
"Tom...[a bunch of stuff that just isn’t germane]"
Oh, Jeez. My mistake. You can be.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Well, Tom, perhaps these ideas are outside of what you can or are willing to try to understand. It’s like kyou’re bothered enough to post an insult, but incapable of actually refuting anything or offering an alternative. In a battle of ideas, insults lose.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Erb,

A) I can’t remember the last time you responded directly and simply to a direct riposte, even one requiring only a yes/no reply, or even a one sentence reply.

B) What you’ve managed to say here which is true is tautology. It’s like you started spouting that the sky is blue, while occaisionally digressing that it appears black at altitude.

True, yet meaningless.

You. Have. No. Clue.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
There is much more of a trend in some Christian churches to moving away from exclusivity
Yes and that’s why their membership is DECLINING, and other sects increasing....
Spirituality and belief are not necessarily irrational
Not what I said, I said they are not rational...."rational": accessible to/Comprehendible by the human intellect....Religion and it’s anti-particle Atheism, are not rational, i.e., not fully accessible to human reason. God, the maker of all things, is INCOMPREHENSIBLE to humans. Our study of God, therefore is a study of a thing larger than ourselves, at a fundamental level, akin to trying to grasp that light BEHAVES as both a Wave and a Particle, but is indeed, NEITHER, and that we simply can not grasp it’s EXACT nature. The Catholic Church calls these things’ "Mysteries". The human mind, as evidenced by Augustine, Aquinas, and other Church intellectuals, can only grasp so much of God, but certain things, The Triune God, One God in Three Persons, or the fact (to me at least) that God the Father knows the hour and the day of Christ’s Return, but that God the Son does not know this, a sub-set of the Triune God question, can not be fully answered by human reason and is therefore a mystery, and NOT RATIONAL. That is not teh same as IRRATIONAL.


Further, the very belief in God’s Existence or Non-Existence, is a mater of Belief, not Rationality. Nothing can PROVE Go’s existence and nothing can DISPROVE it either. One believes in God or not, rationally one is left with Agnosticism, not belief or dis-belief.

exclusivist religions arose primarily because they were a way of establishing identity while dealing with core questions about why is a world here,
Having attended, as a sub-contractor, an Eid al Fitr in my home town I would say, "Nonsense" to this...as the members of the Ummah were: Lebanese women in stylish pant suits, Indonesian men and women in traditonal garb, Indians in Sari’s and the like, women in Burqua’s, men in suits, and several gentleman, white and South Asian, who dressed like Mujahideen. My point being that Islam IS WORLDWIDE, it’s identity is NOT regional or ethnic, akin to my Church, the Roman Catholic Church, all 600 million of us. Around the world we share a reasonably common theology, that is not ethnically based, but based on the traditions and beliefs of the clerics and laity, in a complex interplay of politics, belief, and money. Both seek to explain man’s place purpose, and provide an indentity, but it is not simply a tribal identity.
a belief about God which relies primarily on the "accident of birth" as to whether one is "saved" or not is simply not credible.
Again you confuse Christianity and Islam with, something, but not the religions themselves. It is NOT an "accident of birth" as to whether one is saved or not. For me it is Faith AND Works and God’s Grace, plus working at the church fair diligently and drinking beer, for a Muslim it is the acceptance of the Five Pillars...in neither case does my birth canal having anything to do with my soul’s final destination, my faith in God/Allah and my remaking the world in His Image, do that....
We need to move beyond that, both intellectually and spiritually
How sad in the Erb household there is no "Truth." After all if Hindoo=Buddhism=Islam=Christianity=Judaism, why practice anything or hold to anything? Instead, you might as well introduce them to Satanism and Virgin Sacrifice, after all why be so "exclusive?"

I KNOW that the World is Jesus’ and that the Pope is his Vicar on Earth, until His Return....that does not mean "Off with Ghandi’s head" because he’s wrong, only that I have fear and trepeidation for Ghandi’s soul when his end came. Exclusivity need not mean intolerance, Dr. Erb. Note I can hold that Ghandi was WRONG, temporally and spiritually, and yet allow his continued existence, THAT is the effect of the Enlightenement, but the Enlightenment has NOT rendered me IR-religious.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Islam arose as Muhammad tried to unify the Arab world. It became global as Islam spread through empire. That’s the problem. Religions that are exclusive (only their faith is the true faith) and become global end up clashing with other exclusive religions if they can’t find a way to accept that other relgions can legitimately co-exist. They also are used by leaders as justification for the use of force. Christians, having modernized their faith, have come a long way to overcome this problem, the Islamic world has not come as far. Your thinking is a lot farther along that path than the thinking by most Christians back before modernism. Christianity is not what it was 400 years ago.

Where do I say there is no truth? Does truth have to be one of the existing organized religions? And if I hold spiritual beliefs, how is that less a belief in the truth of something than you believing in your Roman Catholic faith? Does my admission that I cannot be certain of the truth of my beliefs in any way suggest there is no truth? I used to get in vigorous debates posting to a newsgroup when threads were cross posted to alt.atheism, and I was usually debating the atheists and defending theists. At base I consider atheism to be a belief about the nature of reality, just like religious belief. So-called atheists don’t like to hear that. It makes them confront the fact that holding their beliefs is an act of faith. (I use so-called because true atheists are simply people who don’t believe in a god. Most proclaimed atheists are really anti-theists).

How can expressing uncertainty about a belief be the same as saying there is no truth? The reason for teaching children about the major faiths is so they understand their world better, it’s more of a sociological study. But for spiritual reflection science, reason, and history also come into play. BTW, I do like Augustine, especially as his theology borrowed heavily from a neo-Platonist philosopher named Plotinus. Plotinus’ thought had bits that are similar to Hinduism, Buddhism, Platonic thought of course, and Zorastrianism (he had access to all). I find the Christian theology so fascinating as that through Augustine it incorporated aspects of many other traditions. In fact, my own spiritual beliefs are very similar to the kind put forth by Plotinus (though since I was raised a Christian, I probably have a bias towards that kind of thinking).
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Islam arose as Muhammad tried to unify the Arab world.
Neo-Marxist clap-trap, he was spreading the Word of God/Allah as we revealed to him by Gabriel...simply because YOU don’t believe it doesn’t mean that Mohamet or his followers didn’t. As it now has followers worldwide, I’d posit that its appeal is and was based on a lot more than that.
Where do I say there is no truth? Does truth have to be one of the existing organized religions? And if I hold spiritual beliefs, how is that less a belief in the truth of something than you believing in your Roman Catholic faith
You poor man, you make a number of errors here...one Truth does NOT equal Belief...I’m sure that Mohamet BELIEVED, a lot, he was WRONG....so too you may hold as much belief as you want, but sadly it won’t get you into Paradise, UNLESS your belief equals the truth. Yours is akin to the modern Progressive mantra, "I believe it STRONGLY" so cognisance must be made, a strong belief does not equal a TRUE belief. Plus I find that the "spiritual" tend to fold up when they meet the "Devout." It’s akin to what the Frnechman wrote of the 1940 Campaign, "We wanted to defeat the Germans, but we weren’t willing to die to do it..." The Germans WERE and consequently the Victory Parade was in Paris, not Berlin...be "spritual" all you want, but sooner or later the Universe will kick yo inthe teeth and at that point, "spiritual" tends to evaporate into anger and atheism, or belief in something that is a bit stronger than "spiritualism" Spiritualism is "nice" it’s NICE to do certain things...well in a choice between "It’s Nice to" and "You must" usually the "Nice-to" People get steam-rollered.
just like religious belief. So-called atheists don’t like to hear that. It makes them confront the fact that holding their beliefs is an act of faith. (I use so-called because true atheists are simply people who don’t believe in a god. Most proclaimed atheists are really anti-theists).
Oddly, improbably I believe you have wandered into a verity here....

Yes, yes much of Church theology is based on the Pagan past, EXCEPT that part about Jesus and the Father....that was pretty much the starting point for the whole exercise, so whilst it was influenced by it is not an outgrowth of Pagan philosophy.

Religion as a sociological exercise ultimately leaves one a bit cold....


 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Religion as a sociological exercise ultimately leaves one a bit cold....
I’ll go for that. If it’s warmth she’s looking for, this approach won’t get her to it on this side of the bar.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Yes, belief does not equal truth. So you cannot know that your religious belief is right, by your own admission. I cannot know if mine is right. You suggested that I thought there was no truth. That is not my position. And being a pragmatist at heart, I look at the human condition and especially science as guides (great book: The Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene). I learn different religions to compare their beliefs and think about what it says about humanity.

But there is room for the poets and artists as well: I like these lyrics, as well as these.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Science is no good to religion Dr. There are the Whale and the Elephant, each the great beast in their own realm, but they have no connection....I would no more ride an elephnat to the sea than I would use a whale to shift teak logs.

I can not "know" but I believe my religion to be right. In that I can demonstrate QED that God IS and that He is in Three Parts... That I can not know it, in that manner, does not make it untrue. Science and Reason, at best, ony REINFORCE our beliefs or rule certain things out as UNTRUE, but they can never prove one’s belief or disbelief. I think it is safe to say that Geology would show the belief that the Earth was created 6,000 years ago to be false, HOWEVER it does not touch the core of God’s Message to His World, either. And Geology can not prove that God is or is not, or that he is Allah, YHWH, or that He is God the Father, or none of these three.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Science is no good to religion? Galileo, a devout Catholic despite his run in with the Church, said that science can show when our interpretation of scripture is wrong. I think that quantum physics shows us insights both to the limits of our knowledge and the possibility of spirituality. So I’m not about to claim for sure that they are of no use to each other or have no connection — after all, the whale and the elephant are genetically related to each other as well!

I agree that science cannot disprove religion as long as religion stays away from falsifiable claims (indeed, that was my big debate against the atheists). Aquinas, after all, argued that reason and faith go together. I think what’s really interesting are the arguments put forth by the fideists like Pascal and Bayle. Fideism was later declared heresy by the Church, but I think Bayle and Pascal saw that a belief in pure reason would lead to what we now know of as post-modernism and nihilism, and they saw faith alone as the only way to avoid the trap of reason. Brilliant thinkers, the fideists.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Reason and Religion go together, but separately, like Infanrty and Artillery...one is not the same as the other and one can not substitute wone for the other.

And don’t get me started on the whole Galileo ting, the root of the Science v. Religion MYTHO’S that inspires so much needless pain and suffering on both sides of the issue!
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
I can indeed prove the Christian God does not exist. Since he claims to be the only God, if I demonstrate that Thor exists, God, us understood by Christians cannot.

Thus is a negative proved. That particular canard out of the way....

Before one can criticize a religion, one should understand what it says. Your statements about Christianity demonstrate you do not, Scott. And both time and the character limit here prohibit.

If, like most modernists, you object to a religion that claims access to God in fullness, you may certainly believe that, and I won’t quibble a bit; I, on the other hand, have little use for a religion which does not, like I have little use for disorganized religion, or religion which encourages cafeterianism.
 
Written By: The Gonzman
URL: http://
I can imagine Henry VIII or his daughter, the redoubtable Elizabeth the First, dealing with this woman. Strictly as an historic exercise, you understand.

In my imagination, I hear the cry delivered as if in an operatic duet:

"OFF WITH HER HEAD" repeated over and over.

No appeals, as the process due is merely the whim of the sovereign.

The Reverend/Imam Redding’s problem is not attempting quietly to absorb, harmonize, explain or, perhaps even believe in, intellectually inconsistent religious doctrines. Her problem is attempting to be a member of the clergy in both at the same time.

Even Herr Erb should have a problem making any sense of that attempt.

 
Written By: vnjagvet
URL: http://www.yargb.blogspot.com
Before one can criticize a religion, one should understand what it says. Your statements about Christianity demonstrate you do not, Scott.
Wow does he ever not. Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Before one can criticize a religion, one should understand what it says.
But to understand a religion one must ask for explanation to any query. To make a critique, is to invite a response. How are we to learn if no answers are provided?

 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
What do you mean that I do not understand Christianity, Tom? Is there one understanding available? I understand Luther’s rationale for nailing the 95 theses and starting the reformation, and then how his thinking continued to diverge from the Catholic church. I understand the debate about Calvin’s notion of predetermination (both of being saved and of being damned). I understand the Augustinian notion of grace (originally of course from Paul), and have read quite a bit of Augustine and Aquinas. I know the essential differences between the major sects of the Christian faith, have of course read the New Testament several times (the Old only once straight through, but I am particularly fond of the book of Job as exemplifying the Jewish tradition). I also have followed some of the debates amongst theologians, such as Drewermann from Germany, who have argued about who wrote the Gospels, many claiming that they were written later or by other people. Drewermann was disciplined by his Cardinal, Joesph Ratzinger, and a couple years ago quietly left the church out of disappointment over the lack of real dialogue on fundamental theological issues. By the way, Joe, Ratzinger really is a marvelous intellect. I’ve watched him on German TV many times when he was a Cardinal, and he is provocative, quick witted, and brilliant. I don’t agree with him on some fundamental issues since I’m no longer a Christian (and my Grandfather was a Lutheran minister who still gave German sermons in South Dakota until he retired — Ratzi is a Bavarian Catholic, my Grandfather’s family Stuttgart Lutheran), but I think your church really has a top mind at its helm.

So sure, I know there’s many things I don’t understand about Christianity. But I daresay I’ve spent a lot more time than most Christians really digging into the history and intricacies of the faith. Now I’m trying to learn more Islam - I’ve been studying that the last year, it’s another fascinating faith.

So one request: if you’re going to criticize me for not understanding, please tell me what I got wrong so I can learn from you.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
With all that study Scott, pause for a second, take a deep breath and let me know how this development helps the Episcopal/Anglican tradition advance the Gospel?

...and how the development advances the prophecies of Muhammed?

Is it wise for The Reverend Redding to maintain her clerical office in the Episcopal Church? Acquire a clerical position in Islam,to the extent possible for a person of the female gender?

Or should she attempt to found a new denomination/sect/tradition — in the nature of a 21st Century combination of Mary Baker Eddy, Luther and The Buddah?



 
Written By: vnjagvet
URL: http://www.yargb.blogspot.com
With the caveat that I find arguing about religion a little bit ridiculous, Dr. Erb’s getting the best of this one.

Tom’s got nothing in his arsenal but ad hominem, and Joe is kind of circling around a point (is it whales and elephants or artillery and infantry?) but not really landing on one. This is interesting:
You poor man, you make a number of errors here...one Truth does NOT equal Belief...I’m sure that Mohamet BELIEVED, a lot, he was WRONG....so too you may hold as much belief as you want, but sadly it won’t get you into Paradise, UNLESS your belief equals the truth. Yours is akin to the modern Progressive mantra, "I believe it STRONGLY" so cognisance must be made, a strong belief does not equal a TRUE belief. Plus I find that the "spiritual" tend to fold up when they meet the "Devout." It’s akin to what the Frnechman wrote of the 1940 Campaign, "We wanted to defeat the Germans, but we weren’t willing to die to do it..." The Germans WERE and consequently the Victory Parade was in Paris, not Berlin...be "spritual" all you want, but sooner or later the Universe will kick yo inthe teeth and at that point, "spiritual" tends to evaporate into anger and atheism, or belief in something that is a bit stronger than "spiritualism" Spiritualism is "nice" it’s NICE to do certain things...well in a choice between "It’s Nice to" and "You must" usually the "Nice-to" People get steam-rollered.
So, belief does not equal truth, no matter how strong the belief is. But the stronger the belief, the better real-world results you will get compared to those with weak beliefs. Which is fascinating, although tangential to this discussion.

Erb and Joe agree (I think) that there is no objective, rational way to determine the truth of a religious belief, so the point of contention seems to be Joe’s insistence that his belief happens to be true—which he admits is unverifiable—and that Erb’s "spirituality" (which remains undefined) is weak.

As for the Rev. Redding situation, Erb was merely noting that it demonstrates a greater tendency towards inclusiveness on the part of contemporary Christianity as compared to contemporary Islam, and that this inclusiveness is more enlightened than the alternative—which, coming from a lefty academic, is kind of wonderful and surprising, given the usual moral relativist, anti-Western stance taken by a lot of academics, including Erb himself if I remember some of his previous comments correctly.

The actual thing-in-itself, i.e., being an Episcopal and a Muslim cleric at the same time? Yeah, that’s just idiotic. In response to vnjagvet’s last question, it would have to be a completely new thing, because I don’t see how you could be both Christian and Muslim, as the religions are broadly understood.


 
Written By: Robby
URL: http://
As for the Rev. Redding situation, Erb was merely noting that it demonstrates a greater tendency towards inclusiveness on the part of contemporary Christianity as compared to contemporary Islam, and that this inclusiveness is more enlightened than the alternative—which, coming from a lefty academic, is kind of wonderful and surprising, given the usual moral relativist, anti-Western stance taken by a lot of academics, including Erb himself if I remember some of his previous comments correctly.

It’s pretty typical, actually. I rather imagine Professor Erb’s response towards HH Benedict XVI’s reported issuance of a letter expanding the use of the more traditional Tridentine Rite will be a lot different.

This ECUSA priestess is guilty of fuzzy thinking, and that is being kind. The Brand of Christianity she is a part of still professes faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. Islam denies it. The two are logically incompatible. And it is that simple. And the fact that her Bishop - her BISHOP - is supportive of this is to me, as an orthodox Christian, a thing which heaps shame upon the Episcopal Church to the point where I’m about ready to strike them off the list people I will acknowledge as brother and sister Christians.

Unlike Muslims, though, who would be dragging her out into the street and murdering her for first daring to speak as a woman, and second for "Blaspheming the Prophet" by embracing anything other than Islam, all I want to do is (metaphorically) tear upo her "Member in Good Standing" card. Leftist and "progressives" will of course see this as extremist, reactionary, "exclusive," and "No different from Islamic Radicals."

Which only demonstrates their moral paucity and intellectual bankruptcy.
 
Written By: The Gonzman
URL: http://
Robby,

I have responded to Erb for over a year now point for point, and he does not make an attempt to do the same. I’m done with him, he’s a stuffed shirt.

You wrote:
"The actual thing-in-itself, i.e., being an Episcopal and a Muslim cleric at the same time? Yeah, that’s just idiotic."
Everything else Erb wrote is superfluous in that light.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Tom, Robby:

I take silence from Erb as his agreement at least with "the actual thing-in-itself".

We at least accomplished that much:>)

Thanks for your help.
 
Written By: vnjagvet
URL: http://www.yargb.blogspot.com
Christianity has broken into various sects, many believing things that other Christian sects would consider heresy or blasphemy. Most mainstream Christian sects wouldn’t consider it possible to be Christian and Muslim at the same time, but I’m sure another sect could define that as possible and still call themselves Christian. After all, if you really take the New Testament literally you cannot be Christian and support war.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
After all, if you really take the New Testament literally you cannot be Christian and support war.

Really how so, Dr Erb? Christ COMMANDED His followers procure swords if they did not have them...Christ Commands us to love our enemies, not to not oppose them. Jesus’ commandment concerning the "plucking of your beard and turning the other cheek" refers to the HUMILIATION of a person, not their death...after all Christ Commands us to Love others as we love ourselves, note that we are required to love OURSELVES as well as we love others...not love othres MORE than ourselves (A common misconception amongst the faithful). And in the turn the other cheek Christ makes no reference to third parties, Christ DID NOT say, "If Usama has slaughtered one family, you shll let him slaughter another family or offer up thine own." We must love, ourselves and others, not be sheep tot he slaughter and we must do Right...so I think Jesus could easily say, it’s OK to fight Hitler, Hussein, or even Jeff Davis. Our requirement is to love our enemies, not acquiesce to them.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
All faith is exclusive.

If, as this woman seems to, a person believes that anything that makes you feel spiritual counts, then that person believes that anyone who disagrees is *wrong*.

Every bit as much as a Christian who believes in salvation by grace through faith believes that anyone who disagrees is *wrong*.

If a person believes that religions can be "inclusive" then they believe that anyone who disagrees is *wrong*.

The person who believes that "what you believe is true for you" also believes that anyone who disagrees is *wrong*.

Anyone who disagrees is *wrong*.

A person can hold a bit aside, an acceptance that they might have errors in their understanding, but what they search for is to be right. No one sets out to be wrong.

If they believe that it doesn’t *matter* then that is a belief and they believe that anyone who does think it matters is *wrong*. They are as right in their own mind, holding their "inclusive" viewpoint as the person who believes the polar opposite.

The modern notions of religious tolerance are really establishing a non-negotiable "truth." That "truth" is that all religions are equally lies, all the same, useful only for warm fuzzies, charity work, and socializing. Anyone who objects to this is "intolerant" or "hateful."

There really is no room to disagree. Your religion really isn’t as good because it’s *wrong* if you are not properly believing that any religion is an equal way to ultimate truth... which seems to be... whatever.
 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
Christianity has broken into various sects, many believing things that other Christian sects would consider heresy or blasphemy.
A true statment, but not germaine to the questions I asked, Scott. The Reverend Redding is an Episcopal Priest. That denomination/sect does not subscribe to the teachings of the Quran.
Most mainstream Christian sects wouldn’t consider it possible to be Christian and Muslim at the same time, but I’m sure another sect could define that as possible and still call themselves Christian.


As the Episcopal Church is a mainsteam Christian denomination/sect, I take it you agree that her membership in its priesthood is incompatible with her purported Islamic beliefs.
After all, if you really take the New Testament literally you cannot be Christian and support war.
A red herring if ever there was one. This has absolutely zero to do with The Rev. Redding’s retaining her priestly office is wise in view of her newly-adopted Islamic beliefs.

I presume in view of your considerable effort to redirect the discussion, Scott, you at least agree that The Rev Redding’s simultaneous retention of holy office in one religion while professing adherence to another may at least be confusing to some of her flock, and therefore subject to valid criticism.

 
Written By: vnjagvet
URL: http://www.yargb.blogspot.com
A true statment, but not germaine to the questions I asked, Scott.
He’s got real problems giving a direct answer. I think he’s trying to avoid both our framing and the effort of explaining what’s wrong with it in an even slightly convincing fashion.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Vnjagvet: Christianity, like any religion, changes. If the Episocopal church in America is evolving to a position to allow her to hold both faiths, then it’s changing in that direction. That’s my point: expanding the definition of a faith to move beyond exclusivity of belief is a good thing. That’s not "redirection," that’s my point!

Now, of course it’s subject to valid criticism — no one denied that. And, of course, if she accepts the conservative traditional doctrines of the Ulama it probably would be impossible to profess both — she’ll need to define Islam in a way compatable with beliefs in her church. But if the story is real, it’s sort of a cool — I love bold, rebellious actions, and I love paradoxes. This combines both.

Joe: You prove how people can twist and quote scripture to support whatever they want. That’s why you have Christian pacifists and those who aren’t. But I think you’re stretching it, and certainly not taking the entire Sermon on the Mount literally. Early Christians were pacifists, that was a core part of the original faith.

Synova: I made clear what I meant by exclusive: the belief that the only way to be "saved" or achieve whatever eternal reward a religion believes in is through that particular faith. It is possible to have a belief in one thing, but still think other people of other faiths or beliefs can achieve some kind of eternal reward or salvation. A lot of Christians in fact believe that. And one can believe something without necessarily believing that what another person believes is wrong. If one admits to uncertainty, then they have to accept that other beliefs might be right, and their own might be wrong. In that case they are saying, "well, this is what I believe the truth to be, you believe something else, I think you’re wrong, but you might not be." That isn’t as harsh as the stark right/wrong dichotomy you describe.

Tom, what question did I not directly answer? I made my point — and you do not have the power to provide the framework within which my points should be made. You can ask a question, and I’ll answer that — but if I think your framework invalid, I’ll not adhere to it.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Scott, I think that the Bible is pretty clear that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation. Only way. Now I know people who believe that "It is finished" proclaimed forgiveness and salvation for everyone no matter what they believe, if they want to be saved or not, and that proclaiming the good news of this salvation is proclaiming what is a done deal. In any case, Jesus did it.

There’s a whole lot of varieties of thought and doctrinal discussions from evangelicals to predestinationists to follow the rules and belong to the church sorts. To be "Christian" they have something in common and, yes, that’s exclusivity. No one comes to the father but through Jesus Christ.

Now, if a person believes that there are many ways and Christianity is one of them then they belong to some *other* religion. They might go to a Christian church and feel that is doing it for them, but it’s awful hard to call them a Christian.

What they belong to is a non-exclusive (by your definition) religion. They may believe that people who believe in Christ are saved but they don’t believe it’s necessary at all. They don’t, in fact, believe the Christian faith.

Now, if to make Christianity acceptable to you or to others of the "inclusive" school of religion Christianity has to cease to be itself, I think that’s not very tolerant. That only a washed out, false faith, is acceptable is intolerant. That I have to cease to believe in order to believe in an acceptable manner is intolerant.

Now I don’t dispute for a moment that any religion out there can be a vehicle for a spiritual experience, warm fuzzies and purpose in life. But there is a reason that theistic religions are exclusive. It has to do with actually thinking that there is a God out there. A real being with real attributes. Something or someone that *is,* separate from our belief. With Truth comes the possiblity of falsehoods. I AM. I would far rather be completely wrong than to have the possibility of being right taken away from me.

If nothing is false, nothing is true.

Too often I’ve been told by someone entirely full of their own self-righteousness that "what you believe is true for you." Quite frankly, I’d rather a Baptist told me I was going to hell. It’s more *honest*.

As for Moslems, I hope that the people who believe "it is finished" means no one is going to hell are right, but I don’t know that. In the mean time my wants are simple. I want Islam to find the age of enlightenment that it lost so very long ago and quit killing people.
 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
"Currently Christianity and Islam are exclusive for most who practice it."

They are exclusive for all who actually practice it. In addition to Joe’s quotes, "Thou shalt have no other God before me".

" Exclusivity is anachronistic."

So now you are infallible in matters of faith, also.

" As I note in my blog on..."

Crikey, he even quotes his own scripture.
Tom Perkins is right, but thanks for the laughs.

"But as enlightenment thinkers realized, a belief about God which relies primarily on the "accident of birth" as to whether one is "saved" or not is simply not credible"
"I think its important to understand religious traditions."

Me too. So just how many of those anachronistic religions believe salvation is an accident of birth?

"By definition, a loving Christian god can’t be that way."

Whose definition?

"Islam arose as Muhammad tried to unify the Arab world."

Whoa! Careful there. Most Muslims seem to think he was spreading the word of God, not just another politician. Remember Rushdie.
********************************************
"What do you mean that I do not understand Christianity, Tom?"

" After all, if you really take the New Testament literally you cannot be Christian and support war."

Asked and answered.

*************************
"The Reverend Redding is an Episcopal Priest. That denomination/sect does not subscribe to the teachings of the Quran."

Give it some time.







 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Of course Christianity changes, Scott. Typically, changes within a denomination are evolutionary, not revolutionary in character. I submit to you that The Rev. Redding’s stance, were it accepted by the Episcopal Church as a body, would be evidence of a revolutionary change within the denomination. I also submit that it would make the issues of gay priests, female bishops and the 1928 Book of Common Prayer look like minor bumps in the road to denominational unity.
 
Written By: vnjagvet
URL: http://www.yargb.blogspot.com
Scott, I think that the Bible is pretty clear that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation. Only way.
I know of Christians and theologians who would adamantly disagree with that statement. Beyond that, Christians disagree on the status of the Bible. Many theologians recognize that it was a haphazard process to choose which books and gospels to include, having as much to do with the political disagreements of the time as anything spiritual. So the idea that the Bible is the true word of God is contested even amongst Christians (though these theological debates often don’t get into mainstream churches).

One of my favorite professors in college was Dr. Orvis Hanson, an ordained Lutheran Minister, and a gentle, elderly man (who has since died) who in 1947 had been a missionary to China. He told the class that he quit because he realized the Chinese had a religion that worked for them, and he felt it wrong to try to bring them Christianity. At my Lutheran college (Augusta College in Sioux Falls) this caused some real debate in class, but he was adamant that it was arrogant to think that God would really damn people for not believing in the right story. How could a God of love do that?

How can you say "Christianity ceases to be itself?" It is not what it was in the past, and it is not what it will be in the future. All religions change as times and context changes. I’m not sure what you mean by truth or no truth. I believe there is truth. I do not think we have the capacity for certainty about spiritual truths, the questions are outside scientific testing and reason. Most people believe simply what they were programmed to believe by their parents or culture. That leads me to an essential core tenet of my belief system: Since I cannot be certain if that which I believe true actually is true, I should avoid dogma and claims that my spiritual beliefs are right and others are wrong. Note: I am not saying there is no truth, I’m only being humble about my ability to know if I have it, and noting that I should not try to impose my beliefs on others. It is really a very libertarian position.

Hindus have numerous Gods, but really only believe in one, Brahman. But because God is incomprehensible and has attributes we cannot imagine, they accept literally thousands of Gods as being different images of the essential same God, believing that since we cannot comprehend God, you get closer with a variety of representations. Muslims have a similar view of God, but say you shouldn’t even try to represent God because any human effort will fall short. Most Christians are tri-theists rather than monotheists, with three God images, though like the Hindus they claim only one true God lies underneath.

Also, I agree with your sentiment in the last line, I’d limit it. Islam isn’t killing people, most Muslims are peaceful, friendly, and normal. Muslim extremists are trying to prevent the spread of reason back into the faith, and really essentially creating a new form of fascism. I think it’s important to differentiate between Islam and the acts of some Muslims. Christianity did not slaughter natives in South America or have the inquisition, or say ’convert or die’ to Muslims when Jerusalem was conquered. Those were acts by some Christians, arguably subverting many of the core beliefs of their faith.

This whole discussion is causing me to want to get out my copy of the old Albert Brooks/Meryl Streep movie "Defending your life" and watch it. Great film.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
vnjagvet: I agree mostly with your last comment. I suspect this is a fluke case, something unique, a curiosity rather than any trend. If it is accepted, but no one else goes this route, it won’t really mean much. But it might set the stage for evolutionary change down the road.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
If bet if she keeps this up, she could produce a document that would make the Book of Mormon or the Gnostic Gospels seem orthodox in comparison!!!

Watchathink, Scott?

It sure would be fun to do a comparative lit type course with those texts, wouldn’t it?
 
Written By: vnjagvet
URL: http://www.yargb.blogspot.com
I like the view of some anthropologists that accept any religion or science as equal in value because they work to explain the world in a coherent way that results in a society that works.

The thing about that is that truth is irrelevant. The fact that science is true is irrelevant if science explains germs and religion has rituals that keep people from getting sick.

If the question was just this life there are any number of ideas that work equally well to make life decent for most people. It still means, though, that we can look at each system, science or whatever religion, and judge how well it does for the people who live in it.

Islamic countries are not doing very well, even if most Moslems are regular folks who are tolerant and care for people outside their clan or family or sect. Economically they aren’t doing well, by and large. The restrictions on women aren’t isolated and aren’t limited to public decency. Granted, in the areas controlled by radicals the conditions are horrific, so the mere lack of legal status and a dress code might not seem as bad as it is. When women can’t get medical care because unrelated men aren’t allowed to see them, that’s a religious element that deserves the strongest condemnation. When girls can be raped and then killed for adultery if they don’t have three male witnessess to the rape, that’s pretty dang bad and an indictment on the religion. The practice of honor killings can’t be considered an aberration that only happens in remote back-ward villages controlled by the taliban. These things are widespread and must be attributed to the religion.

Christians are blamed for crimes related to homophobia simply because they say homosexuality is a sin. How can Islam not be blamed when religious leaders aren’t just calling something a sin or warning of hellfire after death but are telling their people that apostates, adulteresses, and homosexuals should be killed? And that’s the moderates! The radicals are the ones recruiting suicide bombers to the holy cause, killing those outside the religion that the religion ought properly excuse from following the rules, and generally calling for the forced conversion of the whole world.
 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
I believe those who think all religions are cool "inclusive" are called Unitarians, no?
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
I agree with a lot of what you say, Synova. As a scientific pragmatist, I don’t think that we can ever say science gives us truth — indeed, 500 years from now we’ll find that most of our scientific beliefs of today will be seen as wrong. Rather, we judge reality according to what works in the world. I believe there is a truth, but I can’t know objectively if I have it. I can try to discern what works, and assume that that brings me a little closer to the truth.

What I disagree with is taking practices done by people professing a faith and using that to "indict" the faith. Especially if we go back in history, we can find practices done by Christians that are horrid. I have equal respect for Christianity as I do for Islam. But I have no respect for many of the things Islamic extremists are doing, and recognize there are more Islamic extremists (for sociological and economic reasons rather than religious since the rise of extremist violence is recent) than Christian. I have a lot of respect for what loving caring Muslims and Christians do. My belief that "what works" will ultimately win out is why I am convinced that the extremist and brutal form of Islam (more fascism than Islam in many cases) that we see from Hamas and the Taliban are not going to work — if they get power, they’ll internally destruct. That’s why communism failed. But, of course, that doesn’t mean a lot of damage can’t be done before that happens.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Extremism does work, though.

As do dictatorships.

How long will... oh, whats-his-name in Africa who nationalized all the farms and is starving everyone... how long will he last?

How long could have Saddam stayed in power?

Would the people of Afghanistan have prevailed against the Taliban in this generation or the next?

There is nothing about History that shows us that, eventually, the bad guys give up power. When things change it’s because a force was applied, an influence, a circumstance changes. And nothing says the good guys have to win. There’s nothing says that movement is in the desired direction only.

Because there is a huge range of systems that function.

 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
I don’t think those things work in the long run; nor do I think applying force historically has been effective at positive change. Usually it’s ’meet the new boss, same as the old boss.’ I actually think slow generational change brings better long term changes — after all it took thousands of years to get to a place where we have a modern democracy, and America had slavery for 80 years and women couldn’t vote for 140. In fact, the general view in poli-sci is that until the voting rights act in 1964 we didn’t fit our current standards for a democracy. An idealist sees the world as it should be and can’t stand the fact it can’t get that way quickly. A pessmist figures things have been so bad for so long any hope is an illusion. A pragmatist figures that we’ll have to continue to see a lot of pain and suffering and denial of freedom, but the path forward, slow and often with backsliding, will succeed — but has to go at it’s own pace. Africa’s problems, for instance, can really be traced to how the Europeans destroyed their political systems and shattered the existing political culture/traditions. And they thought they were bringing enlightened civilization.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm

 
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