There are a few must-read articles I encounter from time to time and I point them out here. This particular one is a reflection on western culture of today and how a direct encounter with Islamic society can bring into focus the value of our own Christian and western culture and tradition. Please read and share your thoughts.
Many years ago when Islam didn’t exist where I lived, there was a Muslim who befriended me. He was new to the area and he had many questions about the local religion. I was circumspect in how I answered because as a Catholic I am even today not representative of the predominant religious live where I live. I would answer, “The Protestants this the Baptists and Methodists that.” At one point he stopped me and said, “I don’t want to know about the other people. I wand to know about your religion.” Thus began an explanation about what the Catholic Church believes.
I really like this article.
I once worked in a place with some devout Muslims. We used to discuss religion a bit, but mostly I saw them practicing their religion, the prayer rug they shared rolled up in a corner, their serious fasting, their avoidance of haram foods, their adherence to the social traditions which had grown from their faith, such as sacrificing an animal to give the meat to the poor in thanks for certain good events.
Oddly, it was much easier to discuss religion in this workplace than any other I have worked in. Altho our religions were different, everyone accepted the importance of religion and the consequent naturalness of talking about it.
I saw an integration between their faith and their lives that I do not feel in my life.
The Muslims who pray a lot, including in public, made me feel I should be praying more also and should be more open about my faith in public.
I am happy that God put some Muslims near me to teach me that lesson.
From the article:
There is not much left to save in Western society;
our task now must be to recover what has been lost.
I am grateful to Islam for helping me see this.
I would only add:
Beginning with ourselves…
Do you have something to propose as a way to begin?
Self denial, prayer, fasting, vigils, obedience, suffering, humility, self-reproach and almsgiving, to name a few…
The only real authority anyone has is over him/her-self, and that is or can be very tenuous indeed… But that is where the beginning is - It is how Christ discipled His Disciples that they disciple all the nations… We cannot regain in society what we have lost without first regaining it in ourselves…
First things first:
"Seek ye first the Kingdom of Heaven,
and the rest will be added unto you…"
Pope St John Paul II shortly before he died said that Catholics should wear/demonstrate their faith more openly.
I once visited an Islamic country with a small Christian minority. I used to buy my fruit at a local small market which prominently displayed Christian icons. The owners had no problem demonstrating their faith in a potentially hostile environment.
This is definitely an interesting article. Thank you for posting!
I will say that there is tendency for all religions to seek control, especially in terms of sexual relationships. On some level trying to guide intimate relationships is a good thing. For example Jesus gave a teaching on marriage. However, Catholicism isn’t immune to trying to control people in negative ways that don’t even reflect Christian teachings.
I read the article and wondered why in Tunisia, Christianity comes across as a good understanding community that advances woman’s rights, while in Ireland in the 1950’s which was over 90% Catholic there were a host of major problems including severe sexual abuse, the magdalene laundries, and the Tuam children deaths. What is the difference? I don’t have a good answer to that question…
How and when did we Christians and Catholics lose this feeling of integration? We seem to be fearful of each other. Many feel that even our pastors can’t be trusted.
It seems to me that urbanization and relative affluence of the West contributed to this process.
Many of the Muslims still retain their faith and traditional family values. Is this something we can strive for? Are we Catholics able to restore our old faith and traditions?
Maybe we could ask our Muslim neighbors for help?
That’s only when it’s not ordered properly and I can’t say that’s much of a meaningful problem except in the political arena that chatting online becomes.
If you have been banned once you shouldn’t be posting at all. Also, your issues with women are your own to sort out I’d add.
There’s a poem by an Irish monk from the early middle ages. He was reacting against a trend of blaming women for the fall of men and portraying them as all lustful vessels of sin blah blah. He makes the very simple but telling point that anyone who hates women by extension hates their own existence as they came into the world via a women and furthermore so did Christ.
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