Saturday, October 2, 2010

Bishop Younan online at the Washington Post's `On Faith'

OpEd piece by Bishop Younan online at the Washington Post's "On Faith" Blog

An OpEd piece written by the Rev. Munib A. Younan is now available online at the Washington Post "On Faith" Blog. Younan is bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jerusalem and the Holy Land. The article examines the role of religion in the Middle East. Here's the link:

Bishop Younan calls on religion to be "prophetic, a catalyst for reconciliation, and to offer peace education."

The OpEd piece is part of a special series about religious leadership and its role in the Israeli-Arab conflict and was written for the Common Ground News Service (CGNews). Copyright permission for this 700-word OpEd is granted through Common Ground News, please contact them if you are interested in having this published in your local newspaper.

Can religion solve conflicts in the Middle East?
By Bishop Dr. Munib A. Younan

Is religion the problem in the Middle East conflict? Or can religion be the solution?

Many people have opted for the former, observing that so often the negative side of religion is what is being covered in the news. Those who attract the cameras are people we call hardliners--like Pastor Jones in Florida earlier this month--those who appear inflexible, and leave no room for compromise. They are the ones stoking the flames of the conflict and creating an image that religion is at the heart of the ongoing struggle.

Is the problem religion or extremism in religion? The answer can be found in an early Christian text: "Those who say, 'I love God,' and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen" (I John 4:20).

At the heart of Christianity are two principles: love of God and love of neighbor, as Jesus himself taught (Matthew 22:37-40). Yet this was not original with Jesus. It came right out of the Jewish Torah. Islam teaches the same.The problem is not Islam, or Judaism, or Christianity. The problem is when certain individuals claim to be speaking for God, or defending God, and act counter to this core teaching that love for God shows itself in respect for the other. We call such individuals extremists.

For the full article, go to the Washington Post:

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