Multi Faith Witness

Posted to Surefish 24th April 2004 at 02:13

It is true that the Muslim does say that Jesus did not die on the cross, and that he was raised and exalted by God beforehand. This is scandalous to Christians.
However, those who like to quote Bible verses might like to ask how long it takes to suffocate through crucifixion. About three days left there to be sure. Did not the solider reported as certify his death show his belief and sympathy. If there was a tomb as a burial place, why were healing herbs taken? Would not resuscitation be taken as a miracle? Jesus would certainly then have regarded this as a confirmation of his messianic role. His second coming may have been simple in interpretation: he is coming back but as a marked man leaves the Roman power area (we are on its eastern border) and goes looking for other tribes of Israel.
As it happens I think he probably was killed. The evidence, so far as there is evidence, is in the way Paul writes and then the different writers of the gospels. This is not just their moral urgency of the preaching but also the way narratives are introduced, the tomb being a later tradition for example with Mark leaving so much open to the immediate future and then others starting with Matthew filling in the gaps. They would not have written first about appearances and then theologising had Jesus turned up for a meeting with the disciples somewhere. The eschatology and narratives cannot work well enough if he was alive.
Nevertheless different accounts are possible and carry different meanings. The Muslim account is about prophets as messengers and they do not accept a fallible scripture. I think the fallibility of the Bible is its strength: it really is a book of stories and theological points from the nuggests available whereas the Quran suffers because it has to be regarded, after a certain point in Islamic history, as correct in every word and punctuation mark in the Arabic. This carries little credibility with me, but taken on a story level the Quran has important messages.

Posted to Surefish 30th April 2004 at 02:01

Why can't multifaith witness be about (some examples): the Bahai faith showing aspects of modern(ist) universalism and particularity and about democratic centralism and covenant breaking, Hinduism showing openness and pluralism yet having still caste and nationalism; Buddhism having a way that relates to contemporary thought and a programme for the mind and action; yet raising some issues of spiritual superiority and sometimes dependency; Zoroastrianism and the dual nature of much in life, and a source for other faiths; Judaism and community and faith around a people; Islam and purity and order, yet a curious case of a black stone in Makkah; Sikh purity of God too and oneness and community with its stress on equality, Christianity with its universalism but problem of dogmatism. Every faith, and varieties within and emergent, have much to offer and learn from, and even aspects to adopt and reject.

Posted to Surefish 2nd May 2004 at 23:39

Every faith without exception has people who regard their own as sufficient and not needing dialogue with anyone else; and there are those who seek dialogue and even mix about a bit. I've taken part in the Bahai and Western and Tibetan Buddhist communities as well as Unitarian, Methodist and Anglican. I've created a bit of Paganism (some people wanted a private wedding ceremony in the open air so I did the service). I am sure I could be quite happy with Reform Judaism and rationalised Hinduism. Currently I'm back to the Church of England where it satisfies my theological interest and views on ritual self-giving. People like me and others interested in multi-faith witness do tend to be of a range of belief in each faith community (though it is part of Bahaism anyway). The interesting thing is when people who are not of this more open tendency in each faith engage with listening to and talking with others.


Adrian Worsfold