Comments: opinion columns for Saturday

The article by the Right Rev Dr Geoffrey Rowell in The Times about faith in the hypothesis does not add that the hypothesis then gets tested and, if falsified, is rejected, so it is rather a different matter to have a faith by a tradition that goes on rather regardless, or where a change for cultural or humane reasons of inclusion has bishops standing up trying to damp down change and advancement.

By the way, Rumania is also the land of village Unitarianism, thanks to Bishop Francis David and King John Sigismund, with bishops to this day (all of two). It is a Unitarianism with a catechism and so is a different tradition from Anglo-American Unitarianism. It blossomed with nearby Turkish power and in the forested hills survived the repressive attack of the Catholics with the resurgence of Austria-Hungary (surviving, unlike the Hungarian side and indeed the Polish Socinians under Jesuit oppression). These churches, the fabric of many villages, just managed to avoid the coming worst excess of Romanian Communism, and now are able to get on with their activities - receiving, incidentally, plenty of money from the American denomination that is far more progressive and plural than they (but relative to their situations). I wonder where this variation is also seen but with so much more rancour?

Posted by Pluralist at Sunday, 22 July 2007 at 3:15am BST

I like Karen Armstrong. Just do.

She's on the money that we can't be intolerant of Islam if we claim to be strong enough to handle diversity.

I am so tired of Muslims being insulted and used by bullies to justify their own bullying.

History tells us that when the bullies become too rough, the muggles band together to challenge the bullies.

The bible has the same imagery.

I always think of Ezekiel 19 and Psalms 105-106 as a warning. God allows peoples to build themselves up on oppression, greed and hypocrisy. Then when they become too satiated, God raises up a suitable force to contain their excesses.

The Muslims and the Christians are an equal counterweight to each other. Bound at the wrist, neither can escape their destiny or each other. They can make both their lives miserable and exhaust themselves in resentment and aggression. Or they can accept each other's inevitability and work to bring out the best in the other and thus in themselves.

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Monday, 23 July 2007 at 9:51am BST

Similar to an incident that Armstrong described, citizens of a small Michigan town were upset when a Mosque asked to be allowed to broadcast the Muslim call to prayer. I'm not so sure that there would be as much protest if a church was loudly ringing its bells a few times a day.

Armstrong is on the money. If Westerners don't learn to get along with Muslims, then everyone will be sorry. If we do, though, then Muslims in Muslim countries and the West who might otherwise become radicalized will soften their stances.

Posted by Weiwen at Monday, 23 July 2007 at 6:48pm BST

Weiven. Yours is a noble sentiment and parallels my own.

Unfortunately it will not completely solve the problem.

In any society there is always a certain number of souls who crave violence. There are always those who become part of gangs.

What we can do is bring that back into a perspective that these are souls who simply crave violence and will develop a subculture to justify their aggression. We can make it clear that this is not godly and that there is always a consequence for oppression and tyranny. God does not always intervene immediately, sometimes God hands us over to act out our worst fantasies. Then once the revolting fruit is made manifest for all to see, God can intervene to reexplain why it is a failed paradigm and what needs to be done to prevent it happening in future.

There's a Sean Connery movie where at the end, the youth is taken home ashamed. His parent comments that problems can become exacerbated if people think they can succeed in being criminals and never held to account.

Every human must die. Every human faces to possibility of going to Zion. Not every human is made welcome.

They can do whatever they want on this planet, and distort the prophets such as Jesus as much as they want to justify themselves. It is all whitewashing in the afterlife, and their veils of deception are burnt to ashes.

Do unto others as you would have God do unto you. Love others as you would have God love you.

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Monday, 23 July 2007 at 11:09pm BST
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