Yes, this is a crazy suggestion, especially in today’s heated theological climate. But, it’s an important and valid idea, especially when we consider the line of reasoning. Consider this…
David Warren, a writer for the Ottawa Citizen, provided some comments last week pertaining to the current conflict between the Catholic Church and Islam. As we’re all aware, Pope Benedict’s speech at Regensburg a little while ago hasn’t been sitting too well with many Muslims. Well… it sounds like a group of Muslim leaders have provided a coherent, civil and well-timed response that accepts the Pope’s clarifications to his original comments. And, those same Muslim leaders also “applauded his call for dialogue”. As with the Christian calling for peace, these Muslim leaders cited some scripture of their own in defense of the pacifist messages of their respective religions:
Christianity – Mark 12:29-31: “‘The most important one’, answered Jesus, ‘is this: Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your sould and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
Islam – Surah 2:256: “Let there be no compulsion in religion: truth stands out clear from error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy handhold, that never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all things.
Warren argues that both Christianity and Islam are religions of love, which hits the nail right on the head. Neither religion has, at its heart, hatred or evil intentions. Both religions only want what is best for its participants. Thus, it is important to keep focused on the path to peace and love that both of these religions hold as their fundamental principles.
I urge you to consider the impact of this radical idea of love… Is it more effective to approach someone who differs in opinion from you with love or hatred? If you are defending Christianity which has a message of love at its core, can you represent it well without showing love? Are you acting out the life that you have been called to live as a Christian if you disregard the loving embrace that Jesus has met us with? I think not! In fact, wouldn’t it be counter-productive to represent a religion of love by waving a banner of violence? That sounds a bit hypocritical if you ask me.
In my human weakness, I find it difficult to show love for my fellow man on a daily basis. I sometimes trip and fall. But, I remind myself of the great commandment and Jesus’ direction to us all: “Love your neighbour as yourself.”
If only more people reminded themselves of this simple rule… Life would be so much more peaceful.
Reference material for this article:
David Warren’s article: Now We’re Talking
Pope Benedict XVI’s Speech at Regensburg
Open Letter to Pope Benedict XVI from leading Muslim Scholars and Leaders