Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Interfaith dialogue

TimesOnline reported Tony Blair intends to create a global foundation to foster “greater understanding” between the three “Abrahamic faiths” of Christianity, Judaism and Islam after he leaves Downing Street, The Times has learnt..... A member of his tight-knit inner-circle of advisers confirmed yesterday that Mr Blair is looking to “set up some sort of interfaith organisation”, saying: “He sees this as where the action is and nobody else is really doing it.”.... the interfaith project will attempt to foster religious – rather than political – harmony in the Middle East and elsewhere across the world, including Britain, where rising tensions with militant Islam have provided the backdrop to many of the worst moments of his ten years in office.
I wish him luck. He will be dealing with two faiths that have the ability to reason and have intelligent discussions, and one that views violence as the way to prevail. I urge him to check with Robert Spencer at http://jihadwatch.org/
Mr Blair, who was enthusiastically reading the Koran even before the September 11, 2001, attacks on the US, said recently: “The tragedy is that as Christians, Jews and Muslims we are all Abrahamic religions. We regard ourselves as children of Abraham but we have fought for so long.”.... He added: “Most Christians are hugely surprised to be told that the Koran reveres Jesus as a prophet.
It also lists Jewish prophets like Abraham and Moses, but it refers to them as Muslims. This was done during the Mecca period when Muhammad was trying to convince Jewish and Christian tribes that their religious scriptures predicted a new prophet, and that he was that prophet, and that they should accept his new interpretation of their faith and become Muslims. When that did not work, he killed them, and transitioned into the Medina phase where the verses he added to the Koran called for the use of force to compel people to accept Islam.
Many Jews, Muslims and Christians are entirely ignorant of the rich Abrahamic heritage we share in common.”

Although aides acknowledge that the new project may face resistance from Muslims who loathe him for his role as an ally to Mr Bush and in the invasion of Iraq, Mr Blair believes that he can appeal to moderate Islam.
If he can just find it.
Swaraaj Chauhan blogged How about including Hindus, Buddhists and others in your future religious networking, Prime Minister Tony Blair?
Because he is trying to find Moderate Muslims, and Islam considers Jews and Christians to be "People of the Book"
Surat Al 'Imran, 64 (Qur'an 3:64) says "O People of the Book! Let us rally to a common formula to be binding on both us and you: That we worship none but God; that we associate no partners with Him; that we erect not, from among ourselves, Lords and patrons other than God."
and it considers Hindus, Buddhists and others as pagans. That does not mean that Islam treats "People of the Book" as equals. They still must pay a special tax called Jizya if they want to practice their faith without converting to Islam
Surah 9:29
Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.

2 comments:

Swaraaj said...

(Quote from this blog begins:) "Swaraaj Chauhan blogged ‘How about including Hindus, Buddhists and others in your future religious networking, Prime Minister Tony Blair?’

Because he is trying to find Moderate Muslims, and Islam considers Jews and Christians to be ‘People of the Book’.

Surat Al ‘Imran, 64 (Qur’an 3:64) says ‘O People of the Book! Let us rally to a common formula to be binding on both us and you: That we worship none but God; that we associate no partners with Him; that we erect not, from among ourselves, Lords and patrons other than God.’

and it considers Hindus, Buddhists and others as pagans. That does not mean that Islam treats “People of the Book” as equals. They still must pay a special tax called Jizya if they want to practice their faith without converting to Islam." (Quote ends)

This is the reaction to my above post in the Don Singleton blog.

According to Wikipedia: “The term ‘Pagan’ is a Christian adaptation of the ‘Gentile’ of Judaism, and as such has an inherent Christian or Abrahamic bias, and pejorative connotations among Westerners, comparable to heathen, and infidel, mushrik and kafir in Islam. For this reason, ethnologists avoid the term ‘Paganism’, with its uncertain and varied meanings, in referring to traditional or historic faiths, preferring more precise categories such as polytheism, shamanism, pantheism, or animism.”

“The term Pagan is from Latin paganus, an adjective originally meaning ‘rural’, ‘rustic” or ‘of the country.’ As a noun, paganus was used to mean ‘country dweller, villager.’ In colloquial use, it could mean much the same as calling someone today a ‘bumpkin’ or a ‘hillbilly’. Some believe Paganus was almost exclusively a derogatory term.”

It is understandable that certain customs/cultures/religions must need to prove their superiority/solidarity in the face of religions that have greater antiquity and cultural strength, such as Hinduism and Buddhism.

Hinduism and Buddhism are much older than ‘Abrahamic tradition/heritage/religions’ and have survived/flourished without having to resort to the sword.

The former’s sweep is wider and the vision all encompassing. Hence its popular appeal and intellectual dominance.

The followers of Hinduism and Buddhism have found conflict resolution, and non-violence, much easier to follow than the ‘Abrahamic religions’. It is immaterial who is ‘pagan’ and who is not.

Don Singleton said...

I don't know that I would consider Wikipedia the final word, but in says The term can be defined broadly, to encompass the faith traditions outside the Abrahamic monotheistic group of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

In any event it refers to non Abrahamic faiths. When Mohammad was inventing Islam some tribes were Jewish, some Christian, and some were pagan. He plagerized a lot from both Judaism and Christianity hoping to lure them into his new religion, and then turned against them when they were not fooled. I personally respect Hindus, Buddists, those that follow Baha'i, Confucianism, Sikhism, Taoism, etc.