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Changing theology

Reader comment on item: Islam's Future [Can Be Modern]

Submitted by Kevin McFarley, Ph.D. (United States), Aug 14, 2002 at 00:34

If the foundation of Christianity can be changed, why not Islam?

James Carroll, in his book Constantine's Sword, reviews in great detail the history of anti-Semitism in Catholic theology, from the foundation of Christianity to the present. He said that Pope John XXIII charged Vatican Council II with somehow dealing with this enormous sin of the Church. The Holocaust could not be simply ignored, as had past genocides of the Jews. Pope John XXIII had the benevolence and goodness of soul that framed this self-examination of the Church.

The result of this work has focused on the anti-Semitic polemic that crept into the Gospels in the first century. Not even the disciples of Christ were able to articulate his message of the love, forgiveness, and redemption of the Jewish God, without error. They allowed their desperate situation of Roman persecution to influence and pollute the teachings of Jesus. Error entered the text. They faithfully conveyed most of Jesus' teachings, but instead of "adding a little hate toward Rome" they added a little hate toward the competing strain of Judaism, the Torah Jews. This human error (or the evil of Satan?) has drenched the world in blood and tears for two millennium. But what to do about it?

The great goodness of Pope John XXIII, the most beloved Pope in history, has been brought to fruition by the brilliant intellect and awesome moral courage of John Paul II. He has both acknowledged this error and kept the structure of Christianity firmly embedded in the Bible. A Vatican document issued last November and signed by the Pope's theologian, Cardinal Ratzinger, states that Jesus did not fulfill the ancient messianic prophesies of the Jews and therefore he was not the Jewish Messiah, but that he was the Messiah for all the rest of humanity. The Old Testament says that God has a special covenant with the Jews and a special plan for their redemption. It will not be easy for Christians, but not impossible to accept that God has a special Messiah for the Jews.

With this change, the Jews did not reject Jesus because he was not their Messiah, and Christianity no longer needs the anti-Semitic polemic. John Paul II has restructured the foundation stones of Christianity. He has taken world history in his hands and set it on a different path ? a better path, a more Godly and Holy path. He has purified the message of Jesus because it is absolutely inconceivable that Jesus preached Jew-hatred, or any hate. It sends shivers down my spine to think of the power of John Paul' courage.

I am not a believer in what a Hindu friend of mine calls "the white man's fairy tale," but nonetheless, I can appreciate the tremendous historical importance of this change.
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