Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sunday School Theology for a Time of Crisis

In a posting on Chiesa yesterday Sandro Magister writes as follows:

The letter from the 138 Muslims addressed last month to Benedict XVI and to the heads of the other Christian churches received a spectacular collective reply in a message signed by 300 scholars and published in "The New York Times" on November 18.

The message originated in the Divinity School of Yale University, specifically through the initiative of its dean, Harold W. Attridge, a professor of New Testament exegesis.

The signatories belong mainly to the Protestant confessions, of both "evangelical" and "liberal" strains, and include such a celebrity as the theologian Harvey Cox. But the list of the 300 also includes a Catholic bishop, Camillo Ballin, the apostolic vicar in Kuwait. Other Catholics include the Islamologist John Esposito of Georgetown University and the theologians Donald Senior, a Passionist, and Thomas P. Rausch, a Jesuit from Loyola Marymount University. Also Catholic – although at the margins of orthodoxy – are Paul Knitter, a specialist on interreligious dialogue, and Elizabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, a teacher at Harvard and a feminist theologian.

The message lavishes praise upon the letter of the 138. It endorses the letter's contents, or the indication of the love of God and neighbor as the "common word" between Muslims and Christians, at the center of both the Qur'an and the Bible. And it prefaces everything with a request for forgiveness to "the All-Merciful One and the Muslim community around the world."

This is the reason given for the request for forgiveness: "Since Jesus Christ says: 'First take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor's eye' (Matthew 7:5), we want to begin by acknowledging that in the past (e.g. in the Crusades) and in the present (e.g. in excesses of the 'war on terror') many Christians have been guilty of sinning against our Muslim neighbor."

In releasing the message, its promoters announced that it will be followed by meetings with some of the signers of the letter of the 138, in the United States, Great Britain, and the Middle East, meetings that will also be open to Jews.

Magister starts his article on the subject with a question contained in the title "Why Benedict XVI Is So Cautious with the Letter of the 138 Muslims", which he rhetorically answers with the assertion that what Benedict wants is a dialogue that is completely different. "The pope is asking Islam to make the same journey that the Catholic Church made under pressure from the Enlightenment. Love of God and neighbor must be realized in the full acceptance of religious freedom.

God bless Pope Benedict! The former Professor Ratzinger of Theology and Philosophy at the Regensburg University is a unique, shining light of reason and intelligence in a world which is self-destructing under the debilitating madness that is called Postmodernism. What can a person say when dumb struck by a protracted exercise in jaw-dropping?

The School of Non-thought that equates all uniformed men with Nazi brutes and cannot for the hell of it perceive any difference between BushHitler, Nazism and Zionism, has made devastating inroads into organized Christian religion over the past decades. It has been gnawing away and sclerocizing its vital organs like a malignant form of cancer.

Although God knows that Roman Catholicism has been plagued by its own brands of virulent, post Vatican II, politically motivated heresies, it is Protestantism that is really seriously in trouble. I think the obituaries on the Episcopalian Church have all but been pronounced. The sclerotics collected in the Emergent Church are simply too much deluded to understand that they are being used and that what they are proclaiming, is directly opposed to the Christian message. False prophets and scions of Satan indeed!

At the present time of deep social, cultural and religious crisis this putrefied collection of hypocrites that calls itself the followers of Christ have seen fit to reply the Muslim letter in the most debilitating terms imaginable - oozing false humility: the infantilized platitudes are not even fit for a sub-quality Sunday school!

Forgiveness indeed! For efforts to roll back the Muslim conquests of the Holy Land, the Levant, and Outremer? For defending Christian lands in Egypt and Asia Minor against Islamic onslaughts? For throwing them out of Al Andaluz? For driving them back at Tours and Vienna? For excesses on the War on Terror: moral trauma in the defence against a brutal, barbaric, blood-thirsty, indiscriminate war declared on Muslim, and Infidel civilians alike? These people are red hopping, criminally insane!

I think we shall find that the invitation to the Jewry, when push comes to shove, will "not be opportune at this stage", and that Pope Benedict in the end - in the most woolly, theological terms possible - will have to distance himself from the whole affair ... but that last may be wishful thinking on my part.

I pray to God that he may keep us from the Postmodern All-Merciful One and that bees may pee upon them all!

~ For an historic overview on this subject, see: "Historical Letter from Islam to Christendom". ~

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