What We Can Learn From Muslims

Archbishop Chaput: exemplary once again.

Very interesting blog post of Archbishop Chaput (one of the best of the new generation of orthodox, vocal bishops in the United States).

The blog post focuses on the fundamental choice given to anyone of us to choose whether we want to follow Christ, or the world. But what I think makes this article particularly interesting is the frank admission that in some Muslim countries, the time devoted to their sacred texts is vastly superior to the time devoted to the same purpose by us.

This relates, of course, to the usual problem of the missing instruction of the Catholics from the part of those who should care for them in the first place: the priests; but at the same time, it stresses the fact that in the Muslim countries, this instruction effort becomes mind- and world-shaping:

They read and discuss the Koran every day, for hours each day, every day of the week until they know it by heart. Many of them can recite whole sections of the Koran without thinking. Little by little, like water dripping on a stone, it shapes their whole view of the world—what’s right and what’s wrong; what’s important and what’s not.

Now don’t get me wrong: what they do is wrong in the sense that they spend their time on the wrong texts, believing a lie. But what they do is certainly admirable in the zeal they show, in their desire to have their lives shaped by their religious convictions, instead of doing the contrary as many mickey mouse-Christians in the West try to do. In the end, my being a Christian must lead me toward seeing my entire existence and the world around me in the light of Christ’s teaching. It cannot be that Christianity becomes just something we put in a corner of our consciousness, to be used only when it doesn’t conflict with the rest of our lives.

This is why I find the discussions about what do so-called homo-marriages take away from (the only) marriage so useless: the problem with so-called homosexual marriage is not that homos will, after having been “married”, try to kill as many husbands and wives as they can. The problem is that so-called homo marriages are the contrary of what Christianity teaches and must therefore be refused by every Christian not only as a private choice, but in their very existence.

Coming back to our eagerly reading Pakistanis, the observation can be easily made that such a zeal can degenerate into fanaticism, and it rather often does. But my answer to this is that such ardent zeal can become fanaticism because they follow the wrong religion, not because it be wrong to be zealous in the first place. You just can’t be too Christian.

We live in a world which looks with mistrust at sound knowledge; a world more ready to rely on the often misguided “common feelings” – those things that everyone in one’s social group believes – than on sound knowledge recognised as truth. As a consequence, our countries are full of people sincerely claiming to believe in Christ, but who never made the effort to understand the implications of this. Muslims seem to have less of a problem with that.

Bishop Chaput puts the Christian alternative as follows:

American Catholics have the one true Word of God in the Bible. If we took just one hour of the time we waste on television every day and used it to study and pray over the Gospels, we’d be fundamentally different people, and our country and our world would be transformed.

Bishop Chaput is here referring himself to the American Christians as a whole, the majority of whom are (for the time being…) Protestants; but we integrate the encouragement with the reading of sound books of Catholic doctrine it certainly applies to Catholics, too.

To conclude, let me express once again my deep gratitude for the work of those rare determined, orthodox and vocal bishops who, like bishop Chaput, are not afraid of saying it as it is irrespective of the “hurt” it may cause in those, well, permanently hurt. If in Western Countries we would have had more bishops like him in the past twenty or thirty years, I doubt that we would be discussing euthanasia and homo so-called “marriages” now.


Posted on July 13, 2011, in Catholicism, Good Shepherds and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I completely agree, having long thought and said what powerful Catholics many Muslims would make.

    It’s good to have it said by a Bishop.

    You write, “You just can’t be too Christian.” Simply brilliant!

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