Jun. 8, 2009, at 11:34am
There is a fascinating article in the current issue of the Middle East Quarterly on the question of violence in religion. Its author, Raymond Ibrahim, takes issue with those who contend that there is no significant difference between the place of violence in the Muslim and Judeo-Christian traditions.
Here’s an excerpt:
In light of the above, as Armstrong, Esposito, Jenkins, and others argue, why should Jews and Christians point to the Qur’an as evidence of Islam’s violence while ignoring their own scriptures and history?
Bible versus Qur’an
The answer lies in the fact that such observations confuse history and theology by conflating the temporal actions of men with what are understood to be the immutable words of God. The fundamental error is that Judeo-Christian history (which is violent) is being conflated with Islamic theology (which commands violence). Of course, the three major monotheistic religions have all had their share of violence and intolerance towards the other. Whether this violence is ordained by God or whether warlike men merely wished it thus is the key question.
Old Testament violence is an interesting case in point. God clearly ordered the Hebrews to annihilate the Canaanites and surrounding peoples. Such violence is therefore an expression of God’s will, for good or ill. Regardless, all the historic violence committed by the Hebrews and recorded in the Old Testament is just that: history. It happened; God commanded it. But it revolved around a specific time and place and was directed against a specific people. At no time did such violence go on to become standardized or codified into Jewish law. In short, biblical accounts of violence are descriptive, not prescriptive.
I would love to see this question, too, taken up by personalist philosophers, especially in view of the imperative of inter-religious dialogue and the problems related to freedom raised, for instance, in Josef Seifert’s post below.
Part 2 of comment:
As a convert, I am deeply disappointed in what is going on. I had depended on Church teaching authority for an understanding of doctrine -- and I also depended upon the magisterium when teaching others. When in doubt, I have turned to the writings of the Saints, Newman and DVH, etc.
Right now, I think I speak for most reacent converts (including all those hapless Anglican communities) when I say that I wonder about my own "faith" in the "Church"-at least as represented by its current teaching authority --these bishops and Cardinals -- and yes, all in authority who have deliberately created this confusion.! I feel like a child of divorcing parents. The bishops are ignoring the terrible harm they are doing to the faith and understanding of us little ones -- all of us and our students, all who have hoped in the Church . I do think it is time to calm down and make up -- stop accusing one another and start focusing on the sheep.
Nov. 22 at 5:54pm | See in context
Katie, (Part 1 of comment). Thank you for your responses -- and for your patient tone. In reference to conservative cricisms, you say,
"The problem with this kind of attitude and talk has nothing to do with commitment to dogma. It has rather to do with a profound lack of faith in the Church and the way truth (in the sense of its practical application in the here and now) is worked out through dialog and debate. "The collision of mind with mind," as Newman put it.
I have not yet seen the comments,o (but I did read your article in paper copy and I was quite impressed telling all my friends -- "why, I know her!")
But even when I read the comments, I doubt that I will be in a position to know what is a genuine attempt to work out the truth and what is just a "lack of faith in the Church"
Nov. 22 at 5:42pm | See in context
lots of finery to choose from above, but:
Katie and Stellatum[snip] Second, there is the community of spirit. Here we have individuals cooperating to create something worthwhile for human kind, e.g. the development of an art museum or philosophical study club. The third type of community is the community of the heart. Here we have the profoundest sharing and enrichment.
I'm not sure I quite comprehend your distinction, but I'm also not sure I need to to support you at this time. Howison, p.188:
The doctrine which thus comes to light, that in art man not only shares literally in the creative office of God, but enriches Nature with new members that express its divine Ground in a still higher form, will seem to many overbold -- extravagant and irreverent. But its advocates are neither few nor inconsiderable; ..."
The true artist worships, and must worship, God;
And thus every work of art is and must be an embodied Theodicy - a symbol of the justification of the ways of God to man, ...
...poetry rightfully takes the highest place...
"we are here for all of us"?:
Nov. 22 at 5:36pm | See in context
"A scribe approached and said to him, 'Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.' Jesus answered him, 'Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.'"-Matthew 8:19-20.
"For the very quality of personality is, that a person is a being who recognises others as having a reality as unquestionable as his own, and who thus sees himself as a member of a moral republic, standing to other persons in an immutable relationship of reciprocal duties and rights, himself endowed with dignity, and acknowledging the dignity of all the rest."-Howison, p.7 (http://books.google.com/books?id=dg3wkAkfKQ4C&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false).
"We need round-table discussions to keep trained minds from becoming academic. We need round-table discussions to keep untrained minds from becoming superficial. We need round-table discussions to learn from scholars how things would be, if they were as they should be. We need round-table discussions to learn from scholars how a path can be made from things as they are to things as they should be.
"-DynamicBanner here (So many fine ones!)
Yet we know that love demands reciprocity. In ...[Bl.J.P.II], “this reciprocity is the very foundation, the soul of the Christian life.”
Nov. 22 at 4:58pm | See in context
I was wrong! It was a youthful misunderstanding! I still like the French toast the way we always made it!
Nov. 22 at 4:41pm | See in context
Whaddaya mean, strange? ~Abba
Nov. 22 at 3:51pm | See in context
Abby, thank you for that qualifier. You are right that we have to constantly examine our own consciences, realizing that we are imperfect and have blind spots.
I, too, have known cases of a person cutting ties and putting all the blame on the other party, convinced of her own rectitude and totally blind to the part she obviously played in causing the breach. I have a particular friend in mind. She tells her story without the slightest openness to the possibility that she might be in the wrong. It's sad and frustrating.
And like you, I can only assume I have similar blind spots. I agree with you that to check ourselves on that point, we should ask someone we trust to be honest with us in telling us if they see fault in us that we don't see.
But I also want to say that the false teaching that "we have to stay unified" interferes, imo, with the normal moral process by which a person comes to recognize her fault in a situation where she is mainly the victim of wrong. It skews the adjudication by suggesting moral equivalence and putting pressure on her to drop her claims.
Nov. 22 at 1:42pm | See in context
In case your family might appreciate it:
Last year our 16 year old son had to write an essay in response to a DBQ (document based question) on the subject of women and science in the 19th century for his AP European History class. I was shocked by the documents involved—the blatant and revolting patronizing of women by men. A woman could not dream of being admitted to a science program at a university unless she first gathered evidence (from men) that she was an exemplary housewife with a perfect moral character. Then they would think about it, and perhaps make an exception in her case.
Nov. 22 at 12:48pm | See in context
I'd like to add a point to your added point. Often, I think, people who decide it's time to cut ties don't recognize their own part in the rift--they don't recognize their own need to repent. They think they're completely innocent, and all the wrong-doing is on the other side.
As you suggest, that's rarely the case. But we can be so blind to our own faults! Friends tell me stories of outrageous wrongs done to them by family members (often in-laws), and even though I've only heard their side, I can see the part they've played in the problem. It's that obvious, but they can't see it. So I deduce that the same thing applies to me, even when I feel innocent.
So I would add to the steps towards reconciliation and/or the righting of a wrong: examine your own conscience, with help, if possible, from someone who can see more clearly than you can. Ideally, this clear-sighted person is the person you've wronged without acknowledging it. Repent of, and ask forgiveness for, your own sins towards the sinner. Then proceed through the rest of the steps.
(Please feel free to address yourself to my sins,)
Nov. 22 at 12:29pm | See in context
Priests are not to be "enforcers" so much as pastors, offering love and healing.
In my "members-only" thread (/comments/george_holmes_howison_prophet_of_personalist_freedom) I suggested I had a story - of mine. When I go to mass, I go mainly for the Blessed Sacrament, and praying that my silent presence through any immature teachings will not cause too much harm to the children present. Following mass on November 2, there was a coffee gathering where I mustered the gumption to approach Pastor M.P. (Light of the World, Littleton, CO: the (main) Church of my youth). I addressed myself regarding his Homily comments on Eternal Life. Though he seemed to want to "blow me off", I maintained enthusiasm for composing the email he suggested. a/A/b/B/c/C/d/D:
It is sad the division that exists, but the Catholic Church is for those who hold to Her truth and teach others to do the same. To avail oneself of Her sacramental grace you must be in communion with all her teachings. I'm afraid you are not and therefore may not partake of Her communion.
When I sought "a second", he rebuffed me.
St. Francis Cabrini is far more beauteous anyway!!! ;-)
it's perfectly fine
Nov. 22 at 11:41am | See in context
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