A letter to The News-Times (Sonny McDowell, "Letter-writer 'hijacked' words in Bible to 'fuel hatred' for Obama, April 29) presented two rather polarized views of religion. While complaining that a previous letter (P.K. Fitzgerald, "President is endangering America by failing to support Israel, April 19) borrowed from the Bible to support an agenda of hatred and narrowness, the more recent letter-writer quoted biblical passages to support a policy of total acceptance and unity of religions.
As with most issues, the truth lies somewhere between these extremes. The primary fallacy in McDowell's argument is the insistence that the concept of "God" transcends religions: "We all worship the same God!"
Sadly, this is only wishful-thinking. One need only examine how Christianity, Judaism, and Islam view Jesus Christ to understand that there are fundamental, irreconcilable differences between these three monotheistic faiths. Christians worship Christ as God incarnate. Judaism considers Christ, though possibly a good teacher, to be a false Messiah who led many of his countrymen astray. Islam reveres Christ as a prophet, but considers it blasphemy to attribute any deity to him. Worshiping Christ as God might even be a capital offense in some nations.
So a simple review of the basic facts makes it clear that no, we all do not worship the same God. Despite McDowell's well-intentioned attempt to homogenize religions under an inclusive umbrella of "faith, hope and love as well as a sense of oneness with each other," he forgets that Jesus said very clearly that his coming to earth would bring division and set brother against brother. Human history and letters to editors verify the accuracy of these words.
Has McDowell also "hijacked" certain ideas from the Bible to support a personal viewpoint, while neglecting the complete teachings of Christ? We can be thankful that we still, at least for the time being, live in a land of religious liberty - a place where religious or philosophical differences should be discussed openly without fear of retribution.
Nevertheless, we should not take liberties with the truth. Can't we just admit our differences, yet still live with one another in harmony?
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