Sunday, September 17, 2006

The proof is in the pudding

To recap, since the Pope gave his speech about how violence can not be used to spread religion we have had several churches attacked, an elderly nun killed, the ever popular general call for his beheading in addition to a death sentence from a powerful Islamic cleric as well as just general declarations numerous protests world wide.

Now I'm no fan of Catholicism, and we all know it's history of using violence and oppression to force religion on people, but the main difference between the two religions is that while Catholics have used the power of their church to spread their religion using violent means, those actions were in direct contridiction to the teachings of Christ. Jesus never spoke about forced conversions or handing out death sentences to those who would no follow his laws; his declarations of condemnation were in reference to eternity, not the here and now. Those actions were based solely the failings of the leaders of the church at the time. Some were power hungry, some honestly thought that forced conversions were the best way to spread the word, but no matter what the reasoning behind it, their actions had no biblical basis.

Islam on the other hand, based directly on Mohammad's teachings and actions, are not violating their beliefs when they partake in these types of activities. Mohammad himself routinely handed out just the type of sentences todays Muslims demand non-Muslims be forced to endure. Even when talking about living together in peace, Islam, when not villifying them, talks about Christians and Jews as second class citizens, only being allowed freedom if they pay their non-believer tax and respect Islam. At any time should a Christian or Jew show disrespect for Islam, their life is forfeit. Unlike Catholicism of old, those ideas are directly stated in the Koran and it's accompanying texts. While many 'moderate' Muslims tend to downplay those versus, many more, as seen by the almost constant state of outrage, demand the rest of the world follow them.

It seems like from the time the comments the Pope made reference to were written, some 600 years ago, to today, the only difference has been that the Catholic church has moved closer to the original teachings of Christ, and as such at least partially abandoned it's struggle for worldly power. Islam, on the other hand, seems to be carrying on the same today as it was then, with the exception that by way of modern technology, a perceived insult made thousands of miles a way can have a reaction on the 'Muslim street' within hours.

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