TOLERANCE OF OTHER RELIGIONS DOES NOT MEAN LYING DOWN AND TAKING MUSLIM PERSECUTION, BRUTALITY
Like Pontiffs before him the Pope recently emphasized that we must respect other religions (including Islam) and that if they posit one God they are basically, if not always perfectly, seeking to tap into the same source. We must find common ground, he says, as have other Popes.
John Paul II once created an uproar by declaring that salvation is possible for Christians in other denominations.
Vatican Radio (owned by the Church) had as a headline story a few weeks back (one missed by the Catholic media) about the Orthodox Patriarch of Greece convening a conference on the environment.
The significance: a Patriarch is not technically Catholic -- yet the Vatican was reporting on what he was doing, as if he were part of the Church.
Venezuelan mystic Maria Esperanza, whose cause for sainthood is moving forward, once said:
"I don't deny anyone his own faith. I respect the faith of all people because you just follow what your parents teach you. I think we all go to the same source, but through different fountains. And so, why do we all fight against each other?" (in The Bridge To Heaven).
It was a fore-echoing of Pope Francis.
In turn, Esperanza hearkened to the Blessed Virgin of Medjugorje, where Mary said (October 1, 1981), "Members of all faiths are equal before God. God rules over each faith just like a sovereign over his kingdom. In the world, all religions are not the same because all people have not complied with the commandments of God. They reject and disparage them."
The Blessed Mother had caused a minor uproar in the early 1980s when asked who the holiest woman in the area was, for she allegedly told a visionary (Mirjana Dragicevic Soldo, in Sarajevo at the time) that the answer was a local Muslim woman.
The Virgin pointedly chose to appear in an impoverished hamlet in Communist Yugoslavia where Catholics, Orthodox, and Muslims all lived side by side (though not heart to heart) and where -- as she knew in 1981, when she first came, but as we did not -- that there would soon be horrible bloodshed between those religious groups (a three-way civil war).
God judges as God judges, and tells us not to.
"Each religion on earth, Jesus explained, exists at its own level of truth," said a prominent near-death experiencer. "Religions mingle truth with man's beliefs. But each religion is important because it united people at a distinct level of growth. As people explore truths at one level, a desire awakens in them for the next level. And that level -- whatever it may be -- is the next step in that person's individual growth. I was told that all truth eventually leads to Christ."
Another who allegedly encountered the other side, Dr. Howard Storm (an atheist turned believer), said he asked an angel what the best religion was and was told, "The one that brings you closest to God."
Hard to argue with that.
But at Medjugorje the Virgin also said that not all religions have equally complied with the commandments -- which include not killing; loving thy neighbor; and not having false gods. It means acknowledging Christ as the Son of God, part of the Trinity, in our view -- as part of honoring God. Moreover, at Medjugorje (yet to be discerned by the Vatican), she also said that it was "no coincidence that I choose to appear in Catholic churches." This past week (10/2/14), her message to a seer:"My dear children, do you not recognize the signs of the times? Do you not recognize that all of this that is around you, all that is happening, is because there is no love?"
By their fruits we will know them, we're likewise told, and so we must ask -- without anger (with brotherly love), but without a modicum of hatred -- what have been the fruits, down through the centuries, of Islam? Has it preached love to the world? Charity? Do Christians persecute Muslims as radical Muslims persecute (and even behead) Christians? Do we burn down mosques as they do churches (one just yesterday in Tikrit) and even entire Christian hamlets in the Philippines? Do we kidnap Muslim clergy -- for not being Catholic? Or hang a man (after imprisoning him eight years) for disputing the story of Jonah?
They still stone folks to death over there -- slowly.
Something is very seriously wrong.
"I have lived in the Middle East for years among Muslims and am familiar in some detail with the religion of Islam," a Christian deliverance minister, Derek Prince, once wrote. "I have said many times that it has never made one person happy in fourteen centuries. Not one person. It is a religion of misery, of rigidity, of slavery. Why then are Muslims so passionately dedicated to it? Because it appeals to their pride. They can quote you all that they have done to earn the approval of Allah."
Said a Canadian viewer (in our mailbag): "I read the Koran from cover to cover three times and re-read some suras a number of times. (Read it yourself. Buy it or go to your local library and borrow this book.) Islam is not a religion of peace. It is a religion of violence - to put it mildly. Some teach us that Christianity, Judaism and Islam are monotheistic religions worshiping the same God and that we are all children of Abraham. How could that be true? Judeo-Christian God teaches us that we come to Him freely and willingly, that He is merciful. He created us in His image. God gave us the Commandments. Thou Shall not Kill. Hence, He is not a killer and we, created in His image, must not do so. God does not need any human being to kill on His behalf and force anyone to believe in Him. And yet, this is precisely what the, ostensibly, same God dictates in the Koran. How is that possible? As for being 'Abrahamic' children, perhaps we are. Judeo-Christians embrace Abraham's son Isaac. Islam embraces his son Ishmael. Regrettably, Koran is full of suras filled with hatred -- read 8:12 or 9:5, among others. [And now click on and read this link."]
Looking for the good in others -- such as devout Muslims -- does not mean ignoring basic issues with a religion. Yes, a Muslim may be holy, in a religion that is obviously flawed. We are to love everyone and respect everyone; we are called to find common ground (before we find a battlefield).
But that doesn't mean compromise. Nor does it mean absolute tolerance. It doesn't mean we won't fight for what is good. It doesn't mean we won't defend ourselves and our faith.
It doesn't mean we'll hide under a pew and hope for the best.
Pray for everyone. Yes. Love? Always. Concede?
Never. Nothing. Not an iota. Christ is our only King -- beyond a prophet, One True God.
[resources: A Life of Blessings and The Other Side]
[See also: Retreats: signs of the times: Louisiana and Midwest retreat: Kansas City]
[Image above is not touted as miraculous]
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