Sunday, December 25, 2011


No hint of snow here, but we can't handle it anyway.  Meanwhile, in the spirit of the day, here's CNN exploring how other religions perceive Christmas:
Two days before Christmas, Imam Mohamed Magid, the executive director at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society, preached about Jesus at Friday prayers. "We live in a country with a majority of Christians, where Christmas is a major holiday... It's a reminder we do believe in Jesus. Jesus' position in Islam is one of the highest prophets in Islam," Magid said, adding that Muslims view Jesus as a prophet on par with Abraham, Moses, Noah and Mohammad.
Often when he says the name of Mohammad or Jesus in conversation, Magid adds the Islamic honorific "Peace be upon him" after his name. "Jesus is a unifying figure, unifying Muslims and Christians," he said. The Quran, the Islamic scriptures, makes specific mention of Jesus and of his mother Mary. "It's very interesting that there are many places where the prophet (Mohammad) is quoting Jesus."
Which if nothing else seems to suggest AD 700 circa evidence of Christ's existence.  CNN continues...
Magid said Muslims believe many of the same things about Jesus that Christians do: Jesus was born of the virgin Mary, he lived a sinless life, he raised the dead, and he preformed miracles. He also said many Muslim scholars believe that Jesus will one day return to the earth, using the Christian vocabulary of "the Second Coming."
Well sure, if by "same things" they mean everything aside from the very reason we have a "Christianity"--the divinity of Christ.  Muslims believe Christ was just another prophet along the path to the 'one true prophet', Mohammad.   Their view of Jesus would be like a Christian person saying Mohammad was just a man who wrote a book and talked about Jesus, but wasn't the one true prophet chosen by Allah because Christ filled that role 700 years earlier and warned his disciples about false messiahs to come.  One might think the reaction could be a bit extreme.

If CNN really wanted to explore some differences between the faiths they could have explored this story out of modern day Iran in comparison to the Biblical story of the stoning of Mary Magdalene:
Authorities in Iran said Sunday they are again moving ahead with plans to execute a woman sentenced to death by stoning on an adultery conviction in a case that sparked an international outcry, but are considering whether to carry out the punishment by hanging instead.
Yes, Iran stoning this woman under Sha'ria law inspired by the Koran is about punishment, Jesus pardoning Mary was about forgiveness.  But the latter represents the very heart of Christianity.  Jesus was said to have died for the sins of mankind so we might all be saved.  His dying on the cross was to allow our entrance to heaven, even after sin.  On the contrary, forgiveness doesn't seem to be a central theme of Islam, whether they believe in Jesus or not.

And that leaves a chasm of brutal honesty nobody wants to acknowledge.  If indeed Islam does not accept Jesus as divine they are left to believe he was at worst a liar and at best misguided, rendering the entire religion based around his existence as a fraud.  After all, there's only one true prophet.  Nor can Christians believe there was anyone beyond Jesus of any religious significance, since Christ claimed to be 'the way, the truth, and the life', nobody coming to the Father but through Him.  That's fairly absolute.

CNN suggests that by recognizing Christ, Islam is the most ardent believer in monotheism of all religions. Not really.  Most Christians also believe Mohammad existed and formed Islam, they just believe he was at best misguided, or at worst, a liar.   Not somewhere they were likely to go--especially on Christmas--after all let's face it, the rationale behind the Belief Blog was likely not to create fatwas against Anderson Cooper but to create a vehicle for subtle condemnation of conservative Republican Christians on behalf of the one true leader.  But it's not something the Pope would admit either, on Christmas or any other day.   And as long as the divide exists, so will the trouble.  

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