Maurizio – Omnologos

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Archive for the ‘Christianity’ Category

Fitna: Anti-Koranic Freedom of Expression It Ain’t

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What to say about Fitna, the anti-Koran movie by far-rightist Dutch MP Gert Wilders who’s enjoying his spot in the limelight in these days?

First of all, the fact that it has had a difficult time getting published is not a serious matter of censorship and/or an attack on freedom of expression. Freedom of expression doesn’t mean playing up polemic for the sake of polemic: I’ll defend Rushdie’s right to write literature that some may find offensive, but I won’t waste a second to defend the author of Fitna or anybody that publishes something with the one and only intent of causing offense.

On the other hand it is simple historical truth that Christians and Jews have been able to prosper in Islamic states: the opposite, unfortunately, is much harder to argue (just think at the Armenian genocide, that follows the de-islamization of the Ottoman State).

The Qu’ran is quite explicit about this:

2,62: Those who believe (in the Qur’an), and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians and the Sabians,- any who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.

5,69: Those who believe (in the Qur’an), those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Sabians and the Christians,- any who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness,- on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.

22,17: Those who believe (in the Qur’an), those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Sabians, Christians, Magians, and Polytheists,- Allah will judge between them on the Day of Judgment: for Allah is witness of all things.

One should compare that for example to Roman Catholic exclusivity: at least until the Second Vatican Council, there was no path to Heaven to anyone that was not a RC. All sort of Christians have managed to kill each other (and others) for centuries, on the basis of some sort exclusivity. Compared to that, the Qu’ranic text verges on the ecumenical:

2,135: They say: “Become Jews or Christians if ye would be guided (To salvation).” Say thou: “Nay! (I would rather) the Religion of Abraham the True, and he joined not gods with Allah.”
2,136: Say ye: “We believe in Allah, and the revelation given to us, and to Abraham, Isma’il, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and that given to Moses and Jesus, and that given to (all) prophets from their Lord: We make no difference between one and another of them: And we bow to Allah (in Islam).”
2,137: So if they believe as ye believe, they are indeed on the right path; but if they turn back, it is they who are in schism; but Allah will suffice thee as against them, and He is the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing.
2,138: (Our religion is) the Baptism of Allah: And who can baptize better than Allah? And it is He Whom we worship.
2,139: Say: Will ye dispute with us about Allah, seeing that He is our Lord and your Lord; that we are responsible for our doings and ye for yours; and that We are sincere (in our faith) in Him?
2,140: Or do ye say that Abraham, Isma’il Isaac, Jacob and the Tribes were Jews or Christians? Say: Do ye know better than Allah? Ah! who is more unjust than those who conceal the testimony they have from Allah? but Allah is not unmindful of what ye do!

To anybody talking about Islam as “intrinsically fascist” I can then only answer that as far as I am concerned they can write that on the surface of the Moon, but all they’ll show is ignorance (and unwillingness to learn).

Written by omnologos

2008/Mar/29 at 21:50:52

St. Paul Against the Christian Churches’ Secular Activities

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2 Corinthians 9, 7: “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

It is a pity that so many Christian religious leaders, from Episcopalians to Roman Catholics, have decided to forget St. Paul’s message: one is saved by Grace, and not by (Divine) Law, let alone by human law. All their struggles to make politics follow their ethical rules, don’t really sound like something to be expected from people of Faith.

Written by omnologos

2008/Mar/18 at 23:55:57

Posted in Catholicism, Christianity, Ethics, Politics

Tagged with

Gandhi, Jesus and the Vatican

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Excerpts from an interesting article published in Italian weekly newspaper supplement “Domenicale del Sole24Ore” (“A Hindu Saint at the Vatican“, by Gianfranco Zizola, February 3, 2008), about the Mahatma’s presence in Rome at the end of 1931:

[… ] the opportunity arises for a unique meeting between the Roman Church and the Nonviolent movement. Gandhi is encouraged by an article published in the front page of the Osservatore Romano on November 27: “The Way Gandhi Speaks Of God“.

Signed “X”, the Vatican newspaper talks with surprising warmth of Gandhi’s speech at the Columbia Gramophone Company and traces in its language “memories of Aristotle and St Thomas“, hoping that “the voice of Christ may succeed in being listened also by this exceptional man, who shows so much love for the truth that makes free“.

However, Gandhi had met Jesus long time before. On the wall of his mud hut there was a black-and-white print with the image of Christ and the writing “He is our peace“. Reading the New testament, Gandhi felt attracted by the Sermon of the Mountain. “It’s the Sermon that made me love Jesus. Reading the story of his life in that light, it seems to me that Christianity hasn’t been realized yet. As long as we will not uproot violence from our civilization, it will be as if Christ had not been born. It’s the Sermon of the Mountain that revealed me the value of passive resistance. I was overflowing with joy reading `Love your enemy, pray for those who persecute you` “.

In a meeting in Losanna Gandhi confirmed of feeling attracted towards the figure of Jesus Christ, but of finding it difficult to embrace the Christianity distorted by Paul’s Greek mind and then recycled in the West. Once he asked: “What brotherly love can be given by people that believe they possess the absolute truth?

The meeting at the Vatican, unfortunately, does not materialize:

According to reports by the fascist Police the Vatican refusal could have depended on banal issues of clothing… because Gandhi “did not want to submit himself to a more decent attire“. Mussolini, he found the time to receive Gandhi at Palazzo Venezia. Another explanation is that the Pope feared, by receiving the “rebel“, to offend England. One third hypothesis will be formulated years later by Jawaharial Nehru: the refusal would have been motivated by the fact that “the Catholic Church does not approve of saints and mahatmas outside of its own jurisdiction“.

Gandhi obtains in any case the opportunity to visit the Vatican palaces

[… ] he walks several times around [the great Crucifix of the XV century above the altar of the Sistine Chapel], as if executing the Indian ritual of the circumambulation of a cult object. “It is not possible to avoid being touched [by this experience] to the point of tears“.

The idyll between Gandhi and the Vatican abruptly terminates after the Mahatma’s departure, as the forces of spiritual close-mindedness take the upper hand:

Less than two months after the meeting that did not happen, the “Catholic Civilization” magazine publishes two long articles about the pacifist leader, on February 6 and 20, 1932, without signature, as customary when coming from High Authority [… ] the first one explores the main elements of the “nationalist Indian agitator”’s biography and of his “Satyagraha” theory (“firmness in truth“), whose comparison also by some catholics to St Francis is seen as a “deplorable profanation“, while his independence program is defined “nefarious”. The second article criticizes Gandhi’s religious universalism, accusing him of trying to bring Hindu elements in Christianity in order to subordinate it to his nationalist goals, or at best to to dilute the Christian sense in a sea of indifferent sincretism.

Thirty-seven years had to pass to read, in the same “Catholic Civilization” (I, 1969) an article “Gandhi and Nonviolence” that acknowledges that “many of his ideas and methods have been adopted all over the world, becoming part of modern man’s common inheritance, and inspiring the fight for human freedom“. “It’s strange – it’s the conclusion – that while Christian nations resort to violence in order to achieve their goals, and try then to justify the violence, it had to be a Hindu, faithful and convinced, to discover the link between truth and nonviolence in the realization of social change“.

Unfortunately, that’s not strange at all, if the “Christian” nations have followed the example made by the Vatican when it avoided the “Indian nationalist agitator“.

Written by omnologos

2008/Mar/10 at 22:43:12

Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor, or How Much Can the Media Distort Opinions

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So what is Roman Catholic Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor’s opinion on the “Sharia Law” brouhaha around the Archbishop of Canterbury?

Who knows? Because from a look around the internet, it’s hard to tell…

(a) BBC News
(a1) Carey weighs into Sharia law row
Last Updated: Sunday, 10 February 2008, 08:11 GMT

Catholic leader Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor said he was “saddened” by the way the archbishop’s comments had been misunderstood. “I think he did raise a point of considerable interest and concern at the moment, namely, the rights of a religious groups within secular state. “Everyone in Britain must obey the law and therefore the question of how one can be a loyal British citizen and a faithful member of a religious group is a very pertinent question,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Sunday programme.

(a2) Sharia row persists for Williams
Last Updated: Sunday, 10 February 2008, 18:53 GMT

Catholic leader Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor is one of the many to come out in defence of Dr Williams. “I feel he may fear that people with a Christian conscience will be put to the sidelines and not allowed to say what they believe to be true for the common good,” he told the BBC.

(b) AFP
Anglican leader ‘horrified’ by Sharia law row: predecessor
6AM Sunday

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, the leader of the 4.5 million Catholics in England and Wales, weighed into the debate, saying there were aspects of sharia that were not wanted in Britain. “I don’t believe in a multi-cultural society,” he told The Sunday Telegraph. “When people come to this country, they have to obey the laws of the land,” said the son of Irish immigrants.

(c) The Independent (Ireland)
Sharia law comments leave bishop in hot water

In an interview, Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor, the leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, said that government promotion of multiculturalism has destroyed the unity that used to hold British society together. Immigrants must “obey the laws of this country”, he said

(d) Sunday Telegraph
(d1) ENGLAND: Sharia law may result in ‘legal apartheid’
By Jonathan Wynne-Jones, Religious Affairs Correspondent
9/02/2008

In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, said that the Government’s promotion of multiculturalism had destroyed the unity that used to hold society together. Immigrants must “obey the laws of this country“.

(d2) People here ‘must obey the laws of the land’
Last Updated: 1:16am GMT 10/02/2008

Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor, leader of the 4.5 million Catholics in England and Wales, begs to differ. He is adamant that such a move would only make segregation even more entrenched. “I don’t believe in a multicultural society,” he says firmly. “When people come into this country they have to obey the laws of the land.” He has a mellifluous voice and an affable manner, but the cardinal becomes steely when discussing the problems facing British society, and the issue of sharia law.

(e) Evening Standard
Two of the most powerful clergy in Britain launch stinging attack on Archbishop over sharia row
Last updated at 20:37pm on 10.02.08

Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor added his criticisms and went on to urge Muslims to do more to integrate. “The extent to which multiculturalism has been encouraged recently has meant a lessening of the kind of unity that a country needs.
“There are common values which are part of the heritage of this country which should be embraced by everybody.
“I don’t believe in a multi-cultural society. When people come into this country they have to obey the laws of the land.”

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Notably (alas, I haven’t kept any evidence…) the BBC (a1) article mentioned the Cardinal’s criticisms at first this morning, then around 9AM switched to a more supportive note (Radio 4’s Sunday Programme was broadcast today between 7.10 and 7.55AM).

So what can we be sure of?

(1) Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor has expressed complex thoughts, and felt the need to clarify them

(2) Those thoughts were anyway too difficult to translate into a soundbite

(3) Every media source opted to pick-and-choose whatever pleased them

(4) Even after the Cardinal’s change of tones between the Telegraph’s interview and the Sunday Programme’s appearance, most if not all stuck to their first choice

(5) Only the BBC made any significant change, but more or less “under duress”: to avoid ridicule, that is

The end result is that whatever the Cardinal’s opinions, his words were and still are just fodder for the Media animals. And whatever is read via one source or another, is very very unlikely to communicate the nuances of the Cardinal’s actual opinions.

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The question then becomes, given the above, how should one relate to the British media to avoid continuous distortions of one’s thoughts?

Written by omnologos

2008/Feb/10 at 22:30:14

The Archbishop of Canterbury Is a Christian…

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…hence his words are cause of scandal and upheaval among “humans”.

You see, it’s all written in Paul’s 1st Letter to the Corinthians:

1, 23: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
1, 27: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
4, 10: We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised.
4, 12: And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it:
4, 13: Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.

This means that for once we have solid evidence that a person high up in a Christian denomination’s hierarchy is actually a Christian in the fullest sense of the term.

A bit like with Pope John XXIII, “a real Christian” in the carefully camouflaged words of Hannah Arendt, that went on wondering “How could that be? And how could it happen that a true Christian would sit on St. Peter’s chair?” (“The Christian Pope“, The New York Review of Books, Volume 4, Number 10 · June 17, 1965).

For now: Monday 11 Dr Williams’ own Synod will meet with more than one participant asking for his resignation. Let’s check instead what Paul recommended to the Christians in Corinth:

5, 13: But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person

Written by omnologos

2008/Feb/09 at 22:32:43

Islamic Law: My Comment (and Picture) on the BBC News Website

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Maurizio Morabito - BBC News

Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has written an extremely insightful piece on “Islam and English Law“.

It is a lecture that everybody should read, as it is intelligent, thoughtful, humble, and single-handedly describes the basis for solving the Islamic Question in Western societies, once and for all.

It can also be seen as the inspiration for a re-writing of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, making it even more universal than it is at the moment.

Dr Williams goes at great lengths to analyse the possible drawbacks of allowing people to use Islamic (but not just Islamic) Law within the framework of English (secular) Law, and offers challenges and solutions to all circumstances. He even mentions the existing settings of Inuit Law, as an example.

I say, rarely I have seen a document more profoundly Christian, in the best possible sense of the word. And yet (or… of course!) reactions have been overwhelmingly negative!!!.

The number and virulence of the ill-informed attacks against Dr Williams is a clear indication of how much Islamophobia has now become ‘mainstream’.

Written by omnologos

2008/Feb/08 at 19:55:24

Posted in BBC, Christianity, Ethics, Islam, UK

Tagged with ,

Reactions to Archbishop Williams’ Sharia Remarks Reveal Depth of Islamophobia

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Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury and spiritual Head of the Anglican (“Reformed Catholic”) Christian Community, has written an extremely insightful piece on “Islam and English Law“.

It is a lecture that everybody should read, as it is intelligent, thoughtful, humble, and single-handedly describes the basis for solving the Islamic Question in Western societies, once and for all.

It can also be seen as the inspiration for a re-writing of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, making it even more universal than it is at the moment.

Dr Williams goes at great lengths to analyse the possible drawbacks of allowing people to use Islamic (but not just Islamic) Law within the framework of English (secular) Law, and offers challenges and solutions to all circumstances. He even mentions the existing settings of Inuit Law, as an example.

====================

I say, rarely I have seen a document more profoundly Christian, in the best possible sense of the word. And yet (or…of course!) reactions have been overwhelmingly negative!!!.

Having read those 8 pages, I can affirm without any doubt that the Office of the Prime Minister, Home Office Minister Tony McNulty, the Tories’ shadow Community Cohesion Minister Baroness Warsi, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, Trevor Phillips, Chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission and Mark Pritchard, Tory MP for the Wrekin, in Shropshire have not bothered to read Dr Williams’ lecture before opening their mouths to utter banalities.

Not to mention (of course!) the hundreds of people clamoring to repeat the same inanities. How ironic, the champions of the Rule of (Single) Law are behaving like enraged fundamentalists!

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The underlying point is that anything that sounds related to Islam is nowadays seen as something to hate. Some will object that that is the consequence of 9/11, 7/7 and al-Qaeda. I do not think so. Jews have been isolated, hated, killed for centuries and then even exterminated, and they had no murderer called Osama on their side.

It’s the “advanced” Western nations that still cannot understand how to relate to the “others”. And so we are sowing again the seeds of hell

Written by omnologos

2008/Feb/07 at 22:00:02