Should the Pope apologize for offending Muslims?

TOPICS: Will Muslims use violence to protest to being labeled as violent? - use your religion to overcome anger - certain Muslim groups create anger against the West; not the people - the pope’s speech was unintelligent - more violence committed by Christianity than Islam - believing your religion is superior cannot foster interfaith dialogue - how can an infallible pope apologize? -

Question from Kim: Jesus, I would like to ask for your comments on the Pope’s speech in which he quoted a 14th-century Byzantine emperor, Manuel II Paleologus, who said, "Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached."

Apparently the Pope was not agreeing or disagreeing with this emperor but was using the remark to show the incompatibility of religion and violence. Nevertheless, offense was taken by a number of Islamic groups and governments. The Pakistani Parliament has just voted to condemn the remarks and here is another example:

"The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) regrets the quotations cited by the pope on the Life of the Honorable Prophet Mohammed, and what he referred to as 'spreading' Islam 'by the sword.'"

"The attribution of the spread of Islam around the world to the shedding of blood and violence, which is 'incompatible with the nature of God' is a complete distortion of the facts, which shows deep ignorance of Islam and Islamic history."

Muslim Brotherhood Chairman Mohammed Mahdi Akef said: "The pope's statements come to add fuel to fire and trigger anger within the Muslim world and show that the West with its politicians and clerics are hostile to Islam."


Answer from ascended master Jesus through Kim Michaels: (September 15, 2006)

 

Well, it is a bit early to comment on this since one does not have to be a prophet to predict that Muslim anger will spread, as it did over the Mohammed cartoons earlier this year. The “big” question is whether the protests will become violent? In other words, will the Muslims – who claim to be offended by having their religion linked to violence – use violence to protest that they were labeled as violent? Or will they respond peacefully so as to disprove the claim?

My immediate response is to say to both parties:

Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother's eye. (Luke 6:42)

 

I have already talked about the changes that need to happen in Islam when I made my remarks on the Cartoon conflict, LINK so let me be brief here.

If you truly look at the example and teachings given by the Prophet Mohammed, you will not take offense over anything. Thus, you will not attack others and say, “You should not have said something that triggers anger in me.” Instead, you will use your own religion to overcome all anger in yourself, as Mohammed demonstrated by forgiving his enemies. Those Muslims who do take offense over something like this are demonstrating that they have a “deep ignorance of Islam and Islamic history.”

A remark such as, "The pope's statements come to add fuel to fire and trigger anger within the Muslim world and show that the West with its politicians and clerics are hostile to Islam" is so deeply hypocritical that it almost defies description. As I just said, the very fact that the fire is there in the first place shows an unwillingness to apply the teachings and follow the example of Mohammed. If more Muslims were willing to do so, nothing could “trigger anger” within the Muslim world. Jihad would have been a thing of the past that no modern Muslim would consider worth a second thought.

Using the remarks of the Pope to generalize and say that “the West with its politicians and clerics are hostile to Islam" is not only hypocrisy but shows a clear agenda. This demonstrates that anger against the West does not come from the Muslim people themselves. It is an anger that is created by a few groups within Islamic countries, groups that have a vested interest in creating anger against the West and setting up a “clash of civilizations.” There are several of such groups and their motives are both complex and contradictory. Nevertheless, my point is that the people in both Muslim countries and in the West need to see through such hidden agendas – in both areas – and avoid forming a negative opinion of each other.

Let me now focus on the Pope. It is clear that the Pope actually intended to further dialogue on the matter of violence and religion. The remark quoted above was taken out of context and used to characterize the entire speech—as the press loves to do in order to create a sensation. Nevertheless, the big question is why the Pope chose to include that remark in his lecture?

If you are trying to promote interfaith dialogue with Islam over the topic of violence, why would you quote from an emperor who lived at a time when – after centuries of crusades – hostility between Christians and Muslims was at a high point? Could this emperor possibly have an objective view of Islam? So why quote him in a speech that is supposedly meant to build bridges and promote dialogue?

Using the statement that Mohammed has brought nothing but things that are “evil and inhuman” is not likely to foster dialogue. Furthermore, it is a statement that is patently false. We of the ascended masters are in no way blind to the violence created by Islam, but we also see that this religion has brought much good and has brought many people closer to God. Thus, for the Pope to use this statement is simply unintelligent.

The ascended masters also clearly see the violence committed by Christians, much of which was created by the very church the Pope represents. In fact, it is undeniable that Christians have caused more violence and killing than Muslims. Even the Catholic Church itself has caused more violence than the entire religion of Islam. Could the Pope possibly have “forgotten” this? Or does he think the Crusades were justified on the part of Christians?

Obviously, in today’s age Muslims have turned more violent and Christians have become less violent. Nevertheless, before you attempt to create interfaith dialogue, you should – especially when you claim to be a representative of Christ – remove the beam in your own eye before you address the mote in the eye of a brother. And this the current Pope has not done and neither did
his predecessor. I am aware that the Catholic Church has modified its outer behavior to become less violent, yet the underlying belief that caused violence in previous centuries has not been completely removed from the Church.

It is a simple fact that if you talk about interfaith dialogue while still maintaining the belief that your religion is superior, then you are acting as a hypocrite. The Catholic Church is still based on the following assumptions:

  • Christianity is the only way to salvation and all people who are not baptized will go to Hell.
  • The Catholic Church is the only true Christian church.
  • The Pope is the only true representative of Christ on earth.

It is not my intention here to comment on the validity of these claims as I have done so throughout this website, Link 1 , Link 2. Yet even a person who believes the claims are valid should be willing to admit that if you believe that your religion is the only true religion and that all people should be converted to it, you cannot at the same time honestly engage in interfaith dialogue. The real purpose of interfaith dialogue should be to foster understanding between religions that can lead to mutual respect and peaceful coexistence. So as long as both the Catholic Church and Islamic leaders hold on to the belief that their religion is the only true one, there can be no meaningful interfaith dialogue. There can be no peaceful coexistence between groups who claim exclusivity and seek to convert everyone.

Take note that I am not hereby saying that interfaith dialogue is worthless. On the contrary, many of the people who are engaging in such dialogue have already let go of the belief in exclusivity and superiority. Therefore, such talks are essential for reducing the tension between religions. Nevertheless, unless people also address the topic of exclusivity, there is a very real limit to how far such dialogue can go. I talk about this in much more detail in the book Beyond Religious Conflict.

So, in the case of Christians, there will be no real progress in interfaith dialogue until the Christian community is willing to openly and honestly address the issue of whether Christianity is the only true religion and whether all non-believers will “burn forever in hell.” Until that happens, I will consider that those who claim to be my followers are acting as hypocrites and refusing to remove the beam in their own eye. For I tell you that the belief that the outer religion of Christianity is the only road to salvation is the major beam in the eye of the worldwide Christian community.


Kim: So do you think the Pope should apologize for using the quote?


Jesus: A good question—as they say when they really have no answer.

I think the Pope should have had enough sense not to use the quote. Now that the act cannot be undone, one could say that apologizing would be an act of humility and an admission that he made a mistake. Yet for the Pope to admit that he made a mistake would be seen by many Catholics as undermining the claim that he is the true representative of Christ and that the Catholic Church is the only true church. Thus, the Pope could reason that in order to maintain the integrity of his church, he should not apologize. I am not saying I agree with this, I am simply describing the temptation facing the Pope.

Objectively speaking, the Pope has no need to apologize as he has not caused any offense. It is Muslims who have chosen to take offense and it is a fact that Muslims are far too prone to take offense. Thus, apologizing could be seen as submitting to the obvious attempt from Muslim leaders to use the threat of violence to bully world opinion into remaining silent on the violent side of Islam.

On a practical note, no amount of apologies will silence the outspoken clerics of Islam, as their agenda clearly is to spread Islam to the entire world with all means they think are acceptable. And as long as they are not willing to remove the beam of superiority from their own eyes, nothing but the West’s total submission will satisfy them.

So my answer is that I have no answer. What often happens on earth is that because people are blinded by the duality consciousness of the human ego, they create situations where there is no ideal outcome. Thus, it is impossible to come up with a quick and easy solution that will fix this situation. Whether the Pope apologizes or not, it will make no substantial difference.

What would make a difference was that the situation was used to foster real dialogue and attention on the problem of exclusivity that I described above. However, I predict that this is unlikely to happen as the world press and most people involved with this debate are currently too superficial in their thinking to even fathom the problem.

Nevertheless, there is always a potential that a conflict like this will focus attention on a problem and bring certain things out in the open where people can finally see them for what they are. Thus, I am ever hopeful that situations like this will help some people on both sides see the beam in their own eye more clearly. 

 

 

 

Copyright © 2006 by Kim Michaels

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