Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Ground Zero Mosque A Challenge To Basic Christian Beliefs?

Let me clear at the outset. I have absolutely no grasp or comprehension of the nature, scale and grief of the families and friends of the 9/11 victims. It is because of this that I find the the challenge put before us to 'turn the other cheek' such an incredibly demanding thing to ask. The phrase comes from Jesus' Sermon On The Mount and is reported in the Gospel of St Matthew as:

"You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.' But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you."
Matthew 5:38-42, NIV

Putting aside any discussion of religious freedom, I presume senators such as Mr Harry Reid are Christians. Therefore I believe he is being given a truly demanding test of his christian faith to sublimate his anger, grief, thirst for revenge etc and allow something to happen which his core instincts find so deeply wrong.

Notwithstanding the fact that some of the Americans killed by the 9/11 terrorists were in fact Muslims, the issue seems to be much deeper than one of religious freedom. It is a test put at the philosophical basis of Christianity. Turning the other cheek is a philosophical 'turn' (sic) in direct opposition to the historical Jewish approach of 'an eye for an eye'. It is a 'catch phrase' if you like that sums a very deep insight into human nature that shows that an eye for an eye philosophy will degenerate into a viscous circle of vendetta. Because our natural (basest?) instincts are confronted with such a challenge marks the incredible difficulty if the task, because the greater the grievance the greater the challenge of turning away. The philosophical demand to forgive increases in proportion to the scale of the hurt.

Of course with elections looming I'd never say that any of the Senators were turning this into a political vote catching issue rather than a philosophical or theological issue. That would be mean I was being rather gullible.

More... read Rationally Speaking
The Mosque Analysis Part 1 Technorati

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