Ed: continued from Part I published here yesterday.
An Anglican church in southern England held a joint birthday celebration for Jesus and Mohammad which ended with an Islamic prayer. In Southern Italy, a parish priest actually produced a Muslim crèche, starring Mary in a burka and Joseph as a North African Muslim while another Italian priest eliminated the Christmas nativity scene outside his church ‘because it could offend Muslims’, and Islamic songs accompanied Christian ones in Florence’s Cathedral.
But possibly the most worrying of the Christmas services was that held in an Episcopal Church in Scotland because this included a reciting in Arabic of verses from the Koran which denied the deity of Christ which is of course, the whole point of the New Testament of the Bible.
And it was at this point that it dawned on me in this handshake of friendship there was one hand taking and the other giving. The Christians were giving in and the Muslims were taking it for granted. As far as I could find, no mosques were hosting Christian priests or combined faith services and no fully Muslim countries, such as Saudi Arabia or Iran, were accepting ‘Chrislam.’
So why are most Christian denominations — including the Catholic Pope of Rome himself — agreeing to Chrislam and even insisting upon it?
Pope Francis was elected in March 2013 and since then his main aims seem to have been firstly to mollify Christian opinion of all Muslims and secondly the early creation of a One World Religion.
Friendship and even the merging with Islam is obviously important to the Pope as he has said or intimated several times during his reign that Islam is a religion of Peace and that terrorist attacks are only made by ‘extremists’. Strangely, for a Christian, he equates this violence with the Bible instruction to preach Christianity in all lands. But it seems that Pope Francis has not read the various verses of the Koran which command Muslims not to make friends with ‘Disbelievers’ or ‘Idolaters’ and that any alliances with them can be broken. Nor does he seem to have heard about ‘Taqyyia’, the permission given to Muslims by Allah to lie if it is to the benefit of Islam.
Whether this idea was suggested by Pope Francis or not, Chrislam was given another boost in June 2014 (this time involving not only Islam but also Judaism) when a crowd-funded Temple was planned to be built in Berlin, Germany, with a church, a mosque and a synagogue all under one roof, where Muslims, Jews and Christians could worship together. This is to be called ‘The House of One’.
As to his drive for a One World Religion, this has been going on since his election. It began in November 2014, when Pope Francis hosted a global ecumenical conference at the Vatican, sponsored partly by the Pontifical Council for Inter-religions Dialogue with more than 30 speakers from Islamic, Jewish, Buddhist, Jaina, Shasana, Taoist and Sikh religions as well as Roman Catholics and Professing Christians. And by November 2017 the Pope had completed the nineteenth foreign trip of his papacy, this time to Myanmar and Bangladesh, the common thread of all these trips being to push the Catholic Church towards interfaith dialogue, especially with Muslims.
Now, the idea of a One World Religion, no more religious wars, no more ‘phobias, all worshipping the same God, living in peace, does sound, well, civilized — just what Pope Francis has set out to achieve.
But once again, there is a problem and it’s this: who’s going to be the boss?
At the moment, there are two main religions: Christianity and Islam. And currently, both religions have approximately two billion members — with Jews, Hindus and Buddhist membership counted in the millions. However, in Europe, the religion’s heartland, the numbers of Christians are now falling rapidly, with 30 churches closing a year in Britain and a higher number expected over the coming years. But the Muslim congregations are rising just as rapidly as the Christian ones are falling, due largely to fertility rates and to the increase of migrants into Europe. This increase in immigration is very much approved of by Pope Francis — after all, his family were immigrants into Argentina back in the 1920s — but it could well ruin his hopes for an equal Chrislam, if not for a One World Religion.
In any group there is a Leader, one who can inspire respect and even fear. But that is not the Christian religion, especially at the moment when it is cringing and jettisoning its beliefs for fear of ‘offending’, bowing to one which will never bow back.
If there ever is a One World Religion (to go with the One World Government which Pope Francis also seems to favour), it will be Islam.