Monday, September 20, 2004

Christian-Muslim dialogue

Sarah and I went to a Christian-Muslim dialogue meeting on Saturday morning (in fact, we were two of the four guest speakers). It was great! I'm one of those weirdo pinko commy liberal christians who doesn't believe that everyone following a different religion is Da Debil, and I've always been curious about Islam, having heard that a lot of its basic teaching is very similar to Christianity. I discovered that a lot of the history of Islam is the same as the history of Christianity, and the core of Islam is like the core of christianity, all about peace and respect.

I had a lot of fun talking with some Muslim people, asking some basic questions, and Sarah discovered that one of the other people who spoke there studies at the same campus as she does, so they're going to get together for coffee etc. I picked up some literature on Islam, and it was great to meet some young Muslims (well, as much as I count as being "young" any more).

One very cool thing I learnt: Sumeja said there's a passage in the Qu'ran1 that says something along the lines of "Before you judge your brother, make 72 excuses for what he has done". Remind you of "'How many times should I forgive?...' 'As many as seventy times seven.'"?

  1. Apparently that's the accepted way of writing it, judging by the Islam literature that was there; "Koran" is so 1999, evidently.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Moderately ironic that someone so interested in matters religious is really keyed up to go so a band called "Faithless" :)

Regs,

Cmdr. Q. Fortesque

12:47 am  
Blogger Saemon said...

Sounds like a great experience to dialogue with our Muslim brothers. I would be interested to know how you fielded the question (assuming that it was asked) "Is Jesus the only way to God?"

That is a question that some of us are wrestling with at the moment. Are we as Christians arrogant enough to declare that Jesus is the only way to God, thus declaring that all other faiths are bunk? I think that God is so much bigger than that - starting to sound a lot like Spong, eh?

So How Big is God?

10:34 am  
Blogger Ben said...

I would be interested to know how you fielded the question (assuming that it was asked) "Is Jesus the only way to God?"That question didn't actually come up with the people I talked to; that might be because I got the impression that most of the people there had been to one or two of these sessions before (it's an ongoing series, apparently).

That is a question that some of us are wrestling with at the moment.Yeah, I've thought about that in recent times as well. As I move towards a more "gentle" faith (more accepting, more open, or so I like to think), I'm starting to think the answer to that is no.

Are we as Christians arrogant enough to declare that Jesus is the only way to God, thus declaring that all other faiths are bunk?I'm not; however, I can definitely say that there are a lot of christians that would be that arrogant, but would not see it as such. As one person put it, "I like God, it's his fan club I can't stand".

I think that God is so much bigger than that - starting to sound a lot like Spong, eh?

So How Big is God?
My God is so big, so strong and so mighty :)

I'm starting to sound a bit spong-like as well in my beliefs; The things we believe and say about God aren't capturing God, but merely pointing the way. And yes, I do think that God is big enough that other religions can point the way to God. "There's nothing my God cannot do" - as long as it agrees with my belief structure?

One of the paradoxes that has meant the most to me over recent years is that if God can do anything, why if he so wanted relationship with humans, did he need a sacrifice to achieve that? Doesn't that, by it's very definition, place a limit on what God can do? if God can do anything, surely he could step around that "restriction"?

Well, I guess it's not a paradox as such (the answer is clear to me), but it helped me come to terms with a point of cognitive dissonance in my faith.

11:53 am  

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