Islam reveres Christ – Held with Prophetic Respect

appreciated fellow blogger, Jay Heiler’s insight into the theological message and national dialogue on The Passion of the Christ. One cannot deny the fact, as Jay eloquently points out, that the hard question this movie poses is the most obvious – who was Jesus Christ? Jay, I do feel obliged to humbly point out that the binary proposition you present concerning Jesus as written by G. K. Chesterton is not so binary to some, or at least humbly in the mind of a moderate Muslim. In the teachings of Islam, a religion revealed around 610 C.E., Jesus is held in the same prophetic respect as the prophet Abraham, Moses, and Mohammed to name a few. In fact, most would not remark on a dichotomy regarding Jesus between the great monotheistic traditions of Judaism and Christianity, but rather a ‘trichotomy’ of a Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition of monotheism. As you eloquently imply, the issue has filled many a course on comparative theologies. There is little doubt that the movie will certainly bring to the fore the obvious religious conflict born of this signal moment in human history between Jews and Christians. But, it is also quite interesting to stop and take a different side route: To note that the religion of Islam, so maligned today by media because of a few barbarians who claim to be Muslim, does in fact take a middle ground on Jesus, believing in his divine message, believing in Mary and his virgin birth, and in fact believing in the divine origins of the Torah and the Gospels from the same God. While most interfaith dialogue points to common ground as the fulcrum of cooperation and free religious expression, eventually most dialogue must end up confronting the differences. We must cherish these differences in the light of our similarities that bring us together. For as we each take our individual paths in life, our ability to, not only tolerate, but celebrate the divine nature of our differences while also cherishing our common values will be the beacon of freedom for us all. This column first appeared at the Arizona Republic at this link. http://www.azcentral.com/specials/pluggedin/articles/0225jasser0225passion.html

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