Re: Theological reflection on Just War

From: george murphy (
Date: Sat Oct 27 2001 - 07:45:57 EDT

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    Preston Garrison wrote:

    > Jon Clark wrote:
    > >In the bigger picture, you may be right. So far it is mainly
    > >extremist groups of
    > >Muslims who advocate holy war against the western war. If this
    > >should become the
    > >policy of most Muslim countries then the world will be in for a
    > >torrid time. I grew
    > >up in a country with a substantial Muslim minority and have known Christians
    > >threatened and shot, for being missionaries or converts. I have no
    > >illusions about
    > >Islam and regard it as being anti-Christ in a most profound sense.
    > I have just begun reading The Middle East: A History of the Last 200
    > Years, by Bernard Lewis, the grand old man of American Middle Eastern
    > studies (very well written, with plenty of telling vingettes, the
    > sort of thing that makes reading history interesting to me). His
    > account of the origins of Islam makes it clear that it was conceived
    > as an explicit, emphatic rejection of Christ (and that the Dome of
    > the Rock was the architectural expression of that rejection.)

            This is an exaggeration. The Qur'an shows great respect for Jesus (Isa)
    as a great prophet. In the Islamic tradition he is the virgin-born Messiah
    (Christ) who will preside at the last judgment. But the Qur'an denies that he
    died on the cross & that he is "associated" with Allah - i.e., is the Son of God
    or in any way divine. Muhammed's knowledge of Christianity was shaky & to the
    extent that he knew of anything like Christian belief in the Trinity he probably
    thought that it was something like the Arabic polytheism that he rejected.
            The earliest Christian theologian we know to have had substantive
    interaction with Muslims was John of Damascus, who called Islam "the heresy of
    the Ishmaelites". In many ways it is most accurate & also most charitable to
    consider it an extreme Christian heresy. That is of course not a term of praise
    - it can also be applied in a quite different way to Marxism.



    George L. Murphy
    "The Science-Theology Interface"

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