This story was reported on January 5, 2008 by the Christian Post: Vatican Announces ‘Historic’ Catholic-Muslim Meeting for Spring. I will quote the relevant part of the article:
In the Muslim letter, the 138 scholars focused on the commonality between Islam and Christianity – love for God and love for one’s neighbor. They also highlighted that Christians and Muslims make up about 55 percent of the world population and therefore reconciliation between the two faiths is a must in order to maintain world peace.
Much has been made of this letter. I read the letter that was sent from Christians to Muslims. It was a deplorable letter and beyond reproach. Recently, the signers of this letter were rebuked–and I think rightfully so.
The paragraph above highlights what I believe to be the main problem with this entire situation. Christians are somehow being deluded into thinking that there can be peace with Islam. Islam is not even at peace within itself so how can anyone possibly think there can be some sort of ‘reconciliation’ between it and other faiths?
First of all, I want to say this: There is nothing in common between Islam and Christianity. Nothing. The ‘love for God’ for starters is not a common thread because Islam rejects the saving work of Jesus Christ on the Cross and Jesus made it quite abundantly clear that NO ONE comes to the Father except through Him (see John 6:44, 65; John 8:20; John 14:6). Muslims and Christians do not ‘share’ a ‘love for God’ because Muslims, for all the esteem they heap upon Jesus, reject his efficacious sacrifice for sin. (I have elsewhere rejected the teaching that Christians and Muslim worship the same God for the same reason.)
Second, what does ‘love for neighbors’ have to do with anything? I know atheists who love their neighbors so does this mean that somehow, now, by some strange magic, I have something religiously in common with the atheist? Does this mean now there should be a reconciliation between the two of us, that we are both on equal tracks to godliness? No. It does not. It means that we have a shred of common sense, but it does not mean that we are religiously equal at any level. The church, while inhabiting the world, is also ‘called out’ of the world. That is, we are somehow ontologically separated from the world even while living in it. We are not ‘better’ than the world, but somehow we are strangers, aliens, sojourners (1 Peter 1) who do not quite fit into this place.
Third, note what it says the Muslim letter said, I’ll repeat it for emphasis:
They also highlighted that Christians and Muslims make up about 55 percent of the world population and therefore reconciliation between the two faiths is a must in order to maintain world peace.
I am the only one who sees in this ‘hightlight’ a threat? There must be ‘reconciliation…in order to maintain world peace’?? Really? We can have world peace if Muslims will stop blowing themselves up in crowded malls and stop flying airplanes into buildings and stop sponsoring terrorism around the globe, stop killing Jews, Christians, one another, and anyone else they don’t care for. And peace will also be maintained when Christians stop compromising Faith in Jesus Christ by trying to reconcile with Atheists and Muslims and the American Culture as the last two posts have shown. This is a test for Christians and so far, Christians are failing miserably.
Besides, what reconciliation can take place between Faith in Jesus Christ and a religion–however ‘moderate’ some may be–that advocates conversion by the sword in their book and death to all infidels (i.e., Christians and Jews)? That Christians and Muslims make up 55% of the world’s population is a meaningless statistic, because while anyone can be Muslim anywhere they want, people cannot be Christians anywhere they want. I defy this notion that Muslims want peace with anyone, let alone with Christians. They want control over every nation on the planet. And I defy this idea that we can sit down at a table and talk about ‘what we have in common’ because we have nothing in common and that mere table talks will achieve anything. Table talks are a way of trying a new tactic to achieve the same goal: Death to all infidels.
This is another attempt by the Muslim community to wrangle more control. It is another attempt by the Muslim community–however ‘moderate’ some may be (I defy the notion that a Muslim, who follows the Qu’ran faithfully can be anything remotely close to moderate)–to get another foothold. Christians are being duped. And Benedict is an idiot for even supposing this is a good idea just as those ‘evangelicals’ who signed a letter to Muslims are idiots for supposing it was a good idea. (I’m sorry. Use of the word ‘idiot’ is strong and unbecoming. Perhaps I should follow my own advice and be more gracious and use a word like ‘dense’.) Does anyone see the devil at work here besides me?
Are the 138 Muslim scholars who signed the letter suggesting that if Islam and Christianity do not reconcile that there will be no peace in the World? (Who holds that power in their hands: Christians? Muslims? Are Christians blowing themselves up in pizza parlors and road-side cafes? Are Christians sending bomb laden children onto busses at midday after prayer? Who holds the power for such peace?) That’s what I hear. And if that is what they are saying, it’s quite a hefty statement. I suppose it is too much for them to simply go on with their lives, work hard at converting people through preaching, say their prayers, and get up each day and go to legitimate jobs where they work hard at providing for their families and allowing Christians to do the same. That would bring some peace to the world. If more Mulsims would stand up and denounce and condemn those radicals of their faith that would be a place to start. Physician, heal thyself!
My criticism, however, is not really of the Muslim community. They are smart. They know what they are doing. Rather it is the Christian community that concerns me. Christians must divest themselves of this silly notion that there is going to be anything remotely close to peace in this world simply because we have ‘reconciled’ with others–what reconciliation can there be? There is only One legitimate way for there to be peace and that is through Jesus Christ and His Cross Work. Apart from the Cross, there will be no peace in this world. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world!” (John 16:33) “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).
I know, we are told to–if possible, and as far as it depends upon us–live at peace with everyone (Romans 12:18). I don’t see how compromise is going to solve anything: And it will not be the Muslims who compromise to make this world peaceful.
Soli Deo Gloria!