Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Dare to be Truthful, Dare to be Real!

Now, I know that everyone has gone ga ga over what the Pope said about the poor Muslims. Everyone, on both sides, has an opinion on either why he was incredibly insensitive to Muslims or whether he should have said more. Yes, there are fanatics on both sides of the line. Personally, I don't care so much as to the content of his speech. What concerns me is the fact that "Political Correctness" has gone so far as to eliminate the freedom of speech. Furthermore, this so-called "correctness" is somehow always in favor of all religions except Christianity.

Really, am I the only one that has noticed that Christians are repeatedly getting the short end of the "politically correct" stick? Why is it that no one can say anything about Muslims, or Jews, but when television, news papers, books, commentators, comedians, and actors speak out against, and slander Christianity, nobody seems to care much? Bill Maher continuously bashes Christian institutions in his comedy show but no one makes a protest. The pope says one thing about Islam, and they're burning his effigy in the streets! How many Christians have we ever seen burning Mohammed effigies?

The point is that this so-called "Politically Correct" world is yet another mask for our intolerance of each other; what we stand for, and what we believe. We do not live in a society of free speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of ideas. We can't even say Merry Christmas out loud for fear of offending someone not of the Christian persuasion. I mean c'mon people. If a Jew puts a star of David on his door in my apartment building, why should it bother me? And yet I am not allowed to hang a Christmas Sign on my door for fear offending others. Indeed, in some buildings it is prohibited.

Our western society has this delusion that we can all live in this perfect "Politically Correct" bubble in which everyone can live in peace and harmony as long as they never express their true belief system. This is oppression at its worst! At least in 3rd world countries, places we consider to be uncivilized, they are not so fake. They may be killing each other over their beliefs, but at least they have them! Here, we seem content with a bland, no-confrontational, let's all get-a-long Protestant mentality that seems to be eroding the very foundations of our faith.

So Big Deal, the Pope said he disagreed with Islam. He stated a historical fact that Islam has brought much more war than peace. This is a historical observation that even the most novice of historians could make. Who cares. He is entitled to his opinion. I, for one, am proud of him. Proud because he dared to say that, which most Christians are thinking! We all belong to a faith of some sort. And by belonging exclusively to a faith, we imply that what we believe is right, while others are wrong. If we didn't believe this, be it Christian, Jew, or Muslim, than what is the point of following anything exclusively? If a religion does not claim absolute truth, how can it maintain any kind of following or offer any kind of ontological teaching?

Therefore, if we believe in our respective religions, than why pretend like we don't? Muslims have no problem damning the whole world according to their belief system. That's fine, it's their right. That's why they're Muslims. When will we, as Christians, wake up and realize that we have religious rights too. We have the right to say that we have the truth, that we are right. That's what being in a true multicultural society is; accepting different points of view, even if they disagree with yours. "political Correctness" is just a way of stifling such freedoms so that we can all live peacefully in denial of our most fundamental beliefs. This is because most westerners do not have the stomach for the alternative: actually discussing our differences openly. They do not have the religious conviction in most cases. And we Orthodox often fall into the same group.

The Pope attempted to tell the truth in a global society that reprimanded him because it hurt its ears. It didn't want to hear because accepting such criticisms makes things a whole lot harder. Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world. Muslims exist in most countries, far and wide. Therefore, it is too painful to consider the consequences of actually having to theologically debate them in every society. Just as it is hard to debate with any other religion. We simply are not up to the task and furthermore, we are afraid. Don't get me wrong; I'm not a hater of Muslims, Jews, or any other people. I have friends in both these circles. And because I am there friend, and I respect them and their freedom, I believe that they can say anything they want about Christianity. I will not retaliate because I love my fellow man and allow him to disagree with my faith; a policy practiced by most Christians today. However, is it too much to ask that we Christians actually demand the same respect from those who burn papal effigies? Can we not live in a world where we disagree, but at least have the freedom to dare to be truthful about our beliefs? Dare we be real?

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