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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Spiritual Confusion

I'm not very good at apologetics. I know that defending my faith is a Biblical mandate, and I know the basics. I'm just not good at arguing. I stink at it. But, when I read stories like this, I feel the need to take a stab at it.
A veteran Episcopal priest says she became a Muslim just over a year ago and now worships at a mosque Fridays – but that hasn't stopped her from donning her white collar Sunday mornings.

"I am both Muslim and Christian, just like I'm both an American of African descent and a woman. I'm 100 percent both," Rev. Ann Holmes Redding told the Seattle Times.
No, ma'am, you're not. You can't be. As was referenced in the article, the two religions have very different views. She claims that she doesn't need to reconcile every belief of both religions, but she is very wrong. How can you believe two opposing viewpoints at the same time? Either Jesus is God or not. You either follow the god of the moon or YHWH (two very different deities). Which sacred text do you believe (they say very different things about almost everything)? Does your salvation lie in Jesus' death and resurrection for your sins or in adherence to the Six Articles of Faith? Do you pray for your enemies or strike them down? (Those are just the ones that came to mind quickly- there are plenty more.)

How does she deal with the disparities? Well, in honesty, she doesn't really have to, because she doesn't believe the same as most Christians (well, the ones that haven't fallen off the liberal end of the spectrum, that is).
She has never believed in the Christian doctrine of original sin, and for years she struggled with the nature of Jesus' divinity, the Times said, concluding Jesus is the son of God insofar as all humans are the children of God, and that Jesus is divine, just as all humans are divine — because God dwells in all humans.
Wow. Where do I start? Well, her view on original sin is quite Islamic, for starters. As for Jesus' divinity (or lack thereof), that's quite Islamic, as well (as opposed to what the Bible says.) Her view that God dwells in all humans is neither Christian nor Islamic (New Age, if anything).

Rev. Redding's bishop knows about this and approves. He thinks "interfaith possibilities are exciting." No, Rt. Rev. Warner, they're not exciting. They're blasphemous. Read the 10 Commandments some time. (They do still teach that in seminary, don't they?) Actually, just read the first one.

One the other hand, the president of the Islamic Center of Washington actually has a clue about this.
Being both Muslim and Christian — "I don't know how that works," he told the Times.
It doesn't work. That's the point.

Rev. Redding needs to face the facts. She can call herself a Christian and a Muslim all she wants, but she's not. In spite of what she thinks she understands about the religions, they are not compatible. They are contradictory at best, violently opposed at worst.

She can call a dog a cat, but that doesn't mean it will suddenly use the litter box. She can call a skunk a rose, but it won't smell any better. And she can call herself a Christian all she wants, but that doesn't mean she's saved.

(No, I'm not going to get into the debate of whether or not Episcopalians are actually Christians or not. She's claiming to be a Christian, and that's what I'm going with. Generic Christianity v. generic Islam.)

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