Hamas Leader's Claims about Israel
Hamas leaders claim that their understanding of Islam makes Israel's Survival a theological and moral impossibility. What's your response to that? How should Israel respond? How should other Muslims respond?
Religions of all sorts have a way of elevating their convictions and their prejudices to the levels of ultimacy. When one stands outside that religious tradition such claims are absolute non-sense. While we can see that clearly in other religious traditions besides our own, the destructive nature of these claims is such that they must be confronted in our traditions as well. Please note that Christians have through the centuries used their religious convictions that they possess the ultimate truth of God in especially destructive ways. This arrogance is expressed in Catholic circles as the infallibility of the pope and in Protestant circles as the inerrancy of the Bible. Every religion and every Christian tradition has some version of the claim that they are the True Religion or the True Church. All such claims have throughout history been used to justify such things as the divine right of kings, the institutions of slavery and segregation, the defining of women as second class human beings and the oppression of gay and lesbian people as either mentally sick or morally depraved.
Christians have also used this peculiar idea that Christianity is the only and final truth of God to validate excommunication, burning heretics at the stake, conducting religious wars, the legitimizing of the inquisition and a host of other evils for which numerous victims have paid the price.
The idea that ultimate truth can or does reside in a single religious tradition is the primary place where religion in all its forms almost inevitably turns demonic. We understand it when confronted by the absurd Muslim claims, like those expressed by Hamas leaders. The time has come to recognize it when it comes perfumed with Christian vocabulary.
John Shelby Spong
January 13, 2009; 5:32 PM ET
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Posted by: sami_jadallah | January 19, 2009 4:53 AM
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