Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Holy Father in Holy Land

I followed the Holy Father’s visit to the Holy Land on EWTN last night. What a day for the pope. First the visit to the Shoa Memorial; the whole thing was so stiff and formulaic. The Holy Father looked uncomfortable, kind of lost. I guess the whole thing is supposed to be grim, but there was a glacial attitude about the whole event. Then later the surreal and just wacky situation at the ecumenical meeting where a Muslim cleric got up (previously unannounced I think) and started to rant in Arabic (or at least I think it was Arabic). The pope simply had to endure without understanding what was being said. The uncomfortable look from the audience gave a hint and then a Cardinal tried to get the ranting Mullah off stage unsuccessfully.

The Holy Father’s words were right on during the inter religious event, only truth can give a fixed point of reference to seek a peaceful coexistence. Yet I think that neither the Arabs nor the Israelis want this. The Muslims hatred for Israel precludes any meaningful dialogue and on the other hand the Jews stiff intransigence just makes things worse. Neither the Muslims nor the Jews want to hear about Jesus Christ as savior either; they are so stiffed necked to the Gospel.

There has been calls from Jewish religious leaders to have the pope declare that the Jewish people need not convert or accept Jesus Christ as Messiah. This is preposterous! It would negate the whole commandment of the Lord to announce the Gospel to the whole world, gentile or Jew; if the Jews are exempt from the Gospel, then so why not also the Muslims or Buddhists or even Atheists for that matter. If Jesus is not the Lord of all then he is not the Lord of anyone or anything. In the other hand the Muslim intolerance and outright hostility is increasing. Converting to Christianity in most Muslim countries is a grave offense and can lead to ostracism, discrimination, jail time and even a death sentence.

I think that working from the assumption that Jews and Muslims want to “coexist” peacefully and in tolerance is a flawed premise. Islam is NOT a religion of peace; it is a religion of dominance and if followed to its logical consequences means the eradication of all other faiths. And that is just fine; Christianity also seeks to convert the whole world. The difference is that Islam justifies and blesses the killing of others in order to establish Islam. Christian martyrs die for their faith but in peaceful submission, Muslim martyrs die killing others. And our elder brothers the Jews, they will not have none of Jesus; His name is even unmentionable to them.

The pope is right to look for peace and understanding but I think we are at a stage in history were things are so out of quilter, so radicalized that it is naive to expect that Muslims, Jews, Secularists, etc., will just give up their own claims and sing Kumbaya together. We should pray that all of these people will come to the light of truth and that truth is only found in the Lord of Creation, the Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, God in the flesh.

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