Christianity Versus Islam: Here’s One Way to Settle Things…

YouTube Preview ImageI’ve been thinking lately about Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s speech at the Fano ecumenical church conference and his insistence that ecumenism could help stave off the war he saw coming. As it turns out, Bonhoeffer was right about the war. Even if the ecumenical efforts of the Christians could could not keep a predominantly Christian Western Europe from waging all-out war on each other for a second time in a half century, I think Bonhoeffer was right about ecumenism as well. Their efforts were an example of what it means to be faithful in the face of war.

So how can we get Christians, Muslims, and Jews to stop killing one another, and what role can faith leaders play in order to increase our chances for peace? I think the Ecumenical Council at Fano is a good example of the kind of dialogue that needs to happen. However, this time it will be much more difficult because the conversation must take place not among Christians, but between Christians, Muslims, and Jews – the three major monotheistic, and Abrahamic religions.

That’s a tougher sell.

Nevertheless, I think conversation among the religious leaders of these three groups needs to become more commonplace. I have zero friends among the clergy of those other Abrahamic religions. This is because I have not pursued friendship. It’s my own fault. I’m not saying we need to start a movement or hold a conference, we simply need to start a friendship. Just get to know each other. Learn to understand one another better.

No doubt church leaders on all sides of this will risk much for this dialogue to take place. Sharp criticism from their own fellowship, congregations, mosques, and synagogues should be expected. Any move toward ecumenical dialogue will draw fire. I think this makes Bonhoeffer’s remarks at the Fano conference even more powerful in our day:

“There is no way to peace along the way of safety. For peace must be dared, it is itself the great venture, and can never be safe. Peace is the opposite of security. To demand guarantees is to mistrust, and this mistrust in turn brings forth war. To look for guarantees is to want to protect oneself. Peace means giving oneself completely to God’s commandment, wanting no security, but in faith and obedience laying down the destiny of the nations in the hand of Almighty God, not trying to direct it for selfish purposes. Battles are won, not with weapons, but with God.”

- Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Ecumenical Conference at Fano, 1934.

Ecumenical dialogue may not be a popular thing, but the alternative is the above Colbert / Carell option. Hilarious as it is this still doesn’t provide a solution. And silly as it is, can we at least admit to ourselves that this video is much closer to reality than any of us would like?

Nevertheless, it is our Friday Funny – because if we can’t always do the right thing (and we can’t, you know…), than we can at least laugh at ourselves while we try to get it together! I really wish I would have taken the time to watch The Daily Show a little bit more from 1999 to 2005 when these two guys were correspondents at the same time.

About Tim Suttle

Tim Suttle is a pastor, writer, and musician. He is the author of several books: Shrink: Faithful Ministry in a Church Growth Culture (Zondervan 2014), Public Jesus (The House Studio, 2012), and An Evangelical Social Gospel? (Cascade Books, 2011). Tim's work has been featured at The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, Sojourners, and other magazines and journals. Tim is also the founder and front-man of the popular Christian band Satellite Soul, with whom he toured for nearly a decade. He has planted three successful churches over the past 13 years and is the Senior Pastor of Redemption Church in Olathe, Kan. Tim's blog, Paperback Theology, is hosted at Patheos.

  • http://www.yeshua21.com/ Yeshua21.Com

    That’s such a funny video… :)

    If anyone is interested in seeing beyond sterotypic images of Muslims and Hindus, I recommend a free subscription to “The Daily Bowl of Saki” — a daily email from Wahiduddin.Net . These emails include a pithy saying from the wisdom of a Sufi teacher, Hazrat Inayat Khan, together with some brief commentary and links to the more extensive collection of his writings from which the commentary is gleaned. Just a glance at these daily emails will, in a few months time, reveal how much you have in common with people of other religious traditions.

    http://wahiduddin.net/saki/saki_date.php

    [scroll down to see subscription options: email, RSS, Facebook]

    • Tim Suttle

      Thanks Yshua21.com – appreciate the tip! This is a great example of how risky it will be. Many Christians will look at your invitation as dangerous. To receive a daily email like this might be a chance of “polluting” our minds with false teaching. Yet an attempt to understand another person’s faith does not have to be threatening. It can be something that creates a sense of connection and friendship. thx. ts

  • http://www.facebook.com/marianwcarter Marian Carter

    Well, I suppose we have a lot in common with several religions because every religion is the latest myth, borrowing from former myths; it just depends on whose myth you have had the fortune, or misfortune, of having been exposed through your mother, father, etc….
    The problem is how the writings came about. For those who do not know, the Haripu People, who were the same people from Mesopotamia who became first “Proto Hebrews,” then “Hebrews.” Now, Hebrew is defined methysically as “those who crossed over from believing in many gods (Elohim) to one god. Now, that did not mean that other gods of the pantheon did not exist, it just means that if you “chose” a god, you had better stay faithful to that god, because if you ventured into another god’s people’s territory, you had to fight. For those who do not know, the first god the Hebrew People had was El of Shaddai – “a god with breasts,” who was accompanied by Shekinah (the glory), and Sophia (Wisdom) – both also female words. However, because when the Haripu People first arrived in Canaan, their chief god (Canaanites) was El (of Shaddai), she became their god, too. When the take-over from the goddesses was transpiring, all of a sudden, when Abram went to the mountaintop to “receive the law, their god underwent a sex-change or switched to another sex – YHWH. You see, they were always undegoing an evolution in consciousness in finally arriving at who or what god was. Finally, it was decided that all of the gods of the pantheon were idol gods and one God of Spirit was declared. The only crew who has “shut down” any opportunity to be included in how that God is viewed, no matter that Abraham was a Jew – the Patriarchal figure for the three monotheistic religions – and any other resemblances stop there with him. That is because Islam had its Koran written some 1450 years after Judaism had its Five Books of Law (The Torah) written. They chose Allah, who had a consort, Allat, to be their god. Just like the Jews observe Deut. 6:4, “Hear, O’Israel, the Lord our God alone is One,” Islam has come along much later and declared Allah to be the one god, stolen the story about Abraham and Isaac and assigned it to Ishmael.. Then, of course, the Kabba is supposed to have been erected by Abraham, and the stone therein was a meteorite he placed in it, Credibility of the claims are essentially lacking. in historic truth, time-wise, when viewed from the etiology of the Hebrew people from whence they claim lineage.

  • Paul Waters

    This must be one of the most serious “Friday Funnies” ever…. But one we need to pay attention to!


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