Wednesday, July 13
My response to the bombings in London, as all of ours, I imagine, is that of the Holy Father -- the fervent offering of prayer for that consolation which only God can give.
Along with prayer, P.B. Griswold (presiding bishop of the ECUSA) also offered this admonition:
"The three Abrahamic faiths are called to be the servants of God's peace which embraces all people and alone can overcome the fears and hatreds that divide us and prevent us from regarding one another as God's beloved children. May all who call God Father and the Compassionate One be drawn together in a renewed commitment to peacemaking for the sake of God's world."
Now, I totally agree that I hope all who call God Father might be drawn together in peacemaking. I think most people do.
What I don't understand is his freedom of conscience to tell Muslims what their faith dictates.
Speaking simply on basis of my probable natural human reaction, if an imam in Cairo tried to tell me what Christianity was called to do, even if I agreed, my immediate psychological reaction would be: Who do you think you are?
Now, if an imam in Cairo gave interpretation of Christianity which I totally disagreed with, my natural psychological reaction would be: Who do you think you and your crackpot theories are? I've been studying this stuff for a decade trying to get it right, and you think that because you saw a Copt once or because the Koran says such-and-such, you understand Christianity and can speak in its name?
Now, grace and virtue might temper my reaction, but naturally, that is what it would be. Now, the one thing we all have in common with the moderate Muslims, or with Muslim suicide bombers, is, of course, our human nature. And so, I assume their natural reaction would be the same: totally unconvinced, and either annoyed or ticked off that you're trying to teach the expert a religion you don't even embrace.
So why do so many Westerners insist on telling Muslims what Islam is really about? Do they really think what they say will come across as credible to Muslims of any stripe?