Wednesday, January 20, 2016

In defense of Pope Francis

You have this article by John Allen.  A good guy who gives a different take on the emphasis Pope Francis has given to ecumenical dialogue and interfaith relations.  There is one problem.  Toward the bottom of the article, he says this:

Given the bloodshed associated with ISIS, Boko Haram, Christian/Muslim conflict in the Central African Republic, the rise of both Hindu and Buddhist extremism in parts of Asia, terrorist attacks across Europe, and on and on, even reasonable people with no axe to grind may be tempted to conclude that religion is inevitably destined to pit people against one another.

No, the Christian/Muslim conflict in Africa is a long time coming, and is on the heels of other Christian/Muslim conflicts across the Dark Continent, most notably Nigeria.  In these cases, however, it is typically the rise and encroachment of Islam into areas held by Christian witnesses.  At some point, the conflict happens as the Muslims become aggressive in their attempt to seize control of the area and the Christians respond in defense of their own.

But apart from that, and an aside about the Hindu and Buddhist conflicts in Asia, what is the unifier in the rest of those mentioned?  Yes.  That would be the Islamic terrorists.  Once again, even one so respectable as Mr. Allen doesn't want to elevate, or single out, Islam as a major source of global terrorism today.

I don't know if he takes the approach of Pope Francis, linking fundamentalism and terrorism, and therefore who is to say which is really worse: the little old lady thinking the KJV is the only Word of God or the terrorist who flies jets into skyscrapers?  But again, you can't help but get this itchy feeling that there are truths in our world today that we just don't want to confront.  No matter how obvious they are.  And not wanting to confront them, you wonder if all of our goodwill gestures will ultimately be for naught. 

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