Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Pope, etc

I suppose I ought to comment briefly on the Pope and his words about Islam. But pretty much everything there is to say is obvious, so I'll do it by quoting someone who said it better than I could.

The point is, if you want to undo stereotypes the best way of doing so is not to blame a person who supposedly reinforces a negative stereotype, but in reacting in a way that different than the stereotype. The stereotype of Muslims tells us that they would react to the pope's words with anger, violence and calls for blood. Sure enough, many Muslims reacted with anger, violence and calls for blood. So who is reinforcing the negative stereotype?
Tim Challies

Yes, it's a war. Yes, we as Christians are probably going to have to fight it. I hope and pray we're not going to use violence in doing it, because that would be really stupid.

This might be for some an occasion to dig out that great victory hymn from the book of Revelation.

They overcame him
by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony;
they did not love their lives so much
as to shrink from death.
Revelation 12:11, NIV

This is not talking about suicide bombers - this is talking about people winning by being willing to die (rather than to kill) for the one whom they love - Jesus. And yes, I know in context it's talking about defeating Satan, but the principle holds the same.


Anonymous said...

Do you think that a translation of the full speech by the Vatican into Arabic, with the quote in context, might do anything to rectify the situation/quell the anger?

John said...

Probably not. I think it's being orchestrated by a comparatively small bunch of very influential agitators, who are using this as an excuse to up the tempo in what they see as the jihad for the West.

I rather suspect that the Arab on the street doesn't read Papal speeches.

What do you think?

Anonymous said...

There was talk a few days ago that the Vatican were going to translate it into Arabic in the hope that the message might be clearer. But I suspect you're right - it probably won't make much difference. I don't see any reason why there wouldn't be Muslim scholars who couldn't translate the whole thing anyway. Perhaps if it had been done sooner it might have made a difference, but I don't think anything that the Pope does now on this issue is really going to cause it all to be forgotten.

Anonymous said...

What do you think about the "End of Days" theory?

John said...

Which one?

In general, I think it's far more important to get on with doing the right thing now in the light of what we know about the future than worrying about things that might or might not happen.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure which one, just we had a talk on it in 'assembly' today. I guess my initials should tell you who I am, in depth blog you've got going here. As a not very religious person some of it is hard to understand but its clear to see you believe in this stuff, good luck on your course

John said...

Yes, I know who you are. Who was talking about it? If it was LEL, I might well agree with her. If not, I probably don't...

I take it it's not End of Days the film we're talking about.

I think the world will end one day, and it will be messy and we will be held accountable for what we have done in life, and none of us will be able to say that we've been good enough.

What more did you want to know?

Anonymous said...

Nah it was the procter, Dr. Smith didn't agree with it either

Anonymous said...

They were mainly talking about how the Jews must take down a mosque somewhere to allow Jesus to ressurect and Jesus' reappearance will somehow trigger the end of the world. It was all a bit controversial for our school.

John said...

Sounds wacky to me. But I think I know the one you're talking about...

If you try reading what the Bible says about the future without paying much attention, without much theology and assuming it's all still in the future (even though a lot of it is talking about various Roman campaigns against Jerusalem, starting in AD70, which were future then but is past now) - if you do all that then it kind of needs the Jews to have a temple, and the Jews are very fussy indeed about where their temple has to be.

The temple got destroyed by the Romans in AD70/71, because the Jews tried rebelling against them. Most of the site is now covered by the Muslim shrine called The Dome of the Rock, which is their third holiest mosque.

So some Americans (and it seems to be mainly Americans) think that the Jews need to get their temple back before the end of the world can happen. It has been suggested that that's actually partly behind the US backing for Israel.

Sound familiar?

Personally, I think it seems really dumb as an understanding of what the Bible is teaching, and it's much more important to get on with living life now.

Anonymous said...

yep thats exactly what the speech was about, but yeah was a bit weird for our school to be having a speech about it.

Anonymous said...

It is true that there is a certain breed of numbnuts fundamentalists here in the US who are actively working to bring about the end times or whatever they call it. (More moderate sects believe it is wrong to try to hasten the end.)

If you are not frightened by these people, perhaps you should be. This is where extremists take Christianity.