Thursday, September 14, 2006

Lecture Notes: Christian-Muslim Relations in Wake of 9/11

My friend S. has typed up his notes on Archdiocese of Denver Chancellor Francis Maier's lecture, and has graciously allowed me to post them here:


- There are many sensitive issues between both faiths and a lot of misinformation.
o Catholics have an obligation to find the Truth

- Many followers of Islam will not listen to Christians and their articles of Faith
- Today there is a deep need to Truth in Christian - Muslim relations

- The Kurds of today occupy many of the areas where once Christian Armenians lived
- Christianity, prior to AD 622, was the majority faith in what is now Iraq
- Since the Islamic conquest in the 7th century many Christians fled
- Today many Christians are kidnapped and forced to convert to Islam under death threats
- In some cases the men are killed and the women raped

- To this day Turkey denies the Armenian Genocide. Many people go along with the denial because Turkey is a NATO ally and is seeking entrance into the European Union
- In Egypt many Coptic Christians (6% of the population) are kidnapped, raped, and/or killed
- In the Sudan the slavery and genocide is not reported by the secular press for fear of offending Islam

- Interfaith dialogue is vitally important but denying the Truth or watering down the Catholic Faith to accommodate Muslims is not helpful
- Catholics have a duty to respect truth and justice everywhere it is found
- Catholics must respect and be willing to listen to Muslims
o Catholics need a strong grasp of history, both Christian and Muslim
o Must be committed to truth
o Willingness to listen

- Shared points of faith with Islam
o Belief in One God
o Origin from Abraham
o Ideas of prayer, fasting, pilgrimage, almsgiving, etc.
o Importance of family
o Pro-Life
o Belief in God's desire to give his word to Mankind
o Respect for the Virgin Mary
o Belief in Jesus birth
o Judgment and Jesus Second Coming
o Belief in Satan

- Differences
o Reject Trinity
o Reject Christ's Divinity
o Deny God the Father
o Do not see need for Redemption
o No Original Sin
o Denial of Nicene and Apostles' Creeds
o Belief that Old and New Testaments are corrupted by Jews and Christians
o No separation between Mosque and State
o Strong belief in female inferiority
o Polygamy
o Justification of violent expansion

- Mohammed fought 78 known battles. Only 2 were defensive
- It was not until AD 1095 that "Armed Pilgrimage"� began in Christianity and it was not popular at first

- Christianity and Islam have two completely different worldviews
- 9/11/01 was NOT political it was religious
- Current dialogue with Islam is not moving forward
- Christians often delude themselves
- Some Christian leaders say dialogue with Islam is like a dialogue with the deaf
- However, Christians have a duty to seek mutual understanding and goodwill

- Media
o Refusal to see religion as a driving force
o Over secularized
o Much of the media sees Islam as tolerant and Christianity as intolerant
o Media fears offending Islam
o Does not care about offending Christianity
o Media ignores persecution of Christianity in Sudan , Iraq , Pakistan , Egypt , Indonesia
o Case of Oregon shooting at a Jewish center by an Islamic man was barely reported by most media where Mel Gibson's anti-Semitic comments were featured for many days in the media

- What should Catholic do?
o Pray
o Self educate
o Learn history
o Demand truth

Suggested book: Burning Tigris
Suggested website:

A few of my afterthoughts on the meeting:

I worry the concentration on Islamic atrocities, being reactions to obvious holes in Americans' knowledge of history and substandard media coverage, can end up taking us into a tribalistic mode where evil deeds are never forgotten. Like many tribal disputes, this attitude can close off hopes of forgiveness and forget that even very corrupt individuals and societies have the potential for reconciliation with their enemies and redemption in the eyes of God.

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