CHRISTIANS, MUSLIMS AND JEWS … OH MY!
By LEN ANTHONY || For forty-five years I did not darken the door of a church. Why? Because when I was young it all seemed to be a case of “is to, is not” or “can to, cannot.” Two years ago, I began attending church again and it seems nothing has changed.
So, let’s start at the beginning with Abraham. Remember him? He is about the last piece of ancient history upon which Christians, Jews and Muslims all agree. Abraham had two sons. The first was Ishmael whose mother, Hagar, was a servant in Abraham’s house. Abraham’s wife, Sarah, encouraged Abraham to impregnate Hagar because it was believed Sarah was sterile and Sarah wanted Abraham to have a son. Then thirteen years later it turns out Sarah was fertile and she had a son by Abraham. His name was Isaac. Isaac is the patriarch of the Jews and Ishmael is the patriarch of the Muslims. It seems Ishmael and Isaac did not like each other so for the past 2000 years the Jews and Arabs have been fighting because one says Isaac is better and the other says “no, Ishmael is”: is to, is not.
But it gets better, the Jews and Muslims don’t believe Jesus is the son of God while Christians do. So, the Muslims and Jews are on the same side of this argument. Christians say Jesus “is to” the son of God, and the Muslims and Jews say “is not.”
But wait, we are still not done. Muslims are divided in to Sunnis and Shiites. Shiites believe descendants of Mohammad should be his successors, while the Sunnis believe his successors should be selected from those qualified for the job. Shiites say “a relative is better.” Sunnis say “is not.”
Oh, but there is more. Catholics and Protestants cannot agree. Catholics believe the road to heaven is belief in Jesus and good works. Protestants say only faith in Jesus is needed.
Protestants believe the Bible alone is the source of God’s teachings while Catholics believe the Bible is to be supplemented by sacred Roman Catholic traditions. Faith in Jesus alone is the only way: is to, is not.
But wait there is more. Protestants disagree over: the role of women in church; women’s obligation to be subservient to their husbands; whether remarriage after divorce (for reasons other than unfaithfulness) constitutes adultery; same-sex marriage; homosexuals or unchaste heterosexuals being leaders of the church; abortion; and support for Israel. Women can be leaders: can to, cannot. Homosexuals can be leaders: can to, cannot. Remarriage is ok: is to, is not.
I could go on, but you get the point.
My wife is attending a Bible study class. After her last meeting she came home and said “I think you are a humanist.” I looked in her study materials and read the chapter that addressed humanists. Let’s just say according to the study materials being a humanist is nothing to brag about. The study materials main criticism of “humanism” (which, according to a Google search, apparently has several definitions) is it involves using science and analytical thinking to understand the world instead of blind adherence to theological doctrine. It seems to me given the situation with the Jews, Protestants, Catholics, Sunnis, and Shiites, a little consideration of science and the use of critical thinking might be an improvement over “is to, is not.”
Len Anthony spent thirty years as an attorney for a public utility. He’s now semi-retired living in North Myrtle Beach, S.C. Wanna sound off on FITS? Submit your letter to the editor or opinion column HERE.