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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Back to School

by David Warren

In Jerusalem, on the Dome of the Rock -- situated on top of what is almost certainly the Holy of Holies, within the ancient Temple precincts -- is an inscription, in their earliest angular Kufic script, on what was also the earliest monument the Arabs caused to be erected in a conquered land. It reads, in its most significant part: "Praise to Allah who begets no son and has no associate in power and who has no surrogate for humiliations." The point is sustained by repetition, together with the contrary assertion that Mohammed alone can provide intercession on the day when the Muslim community is resurrected.

That is on the outside of the Dome. On the inside, there is a further long inscription, which mentions Jesus and Mary by name; states that Jesus was an envoy of Allah; that the religion of Allah is Islam; and that Allah will reckon with those who dissent.

Nearly 14 centuries have passed since this challenge to the existence of Christianity was made; and indeed, we are living in the fallout of certain manifestations of it today.

Yet we have today, at least in the more progressive and nominal Christians of North America and Europe -- most certainly including Catholics -- the curious notion that Christianity is compatible with Islam. That it is likewise compatible with all other religions. That it is compatible with a Darwinian cosmology, and therefore with atheist materialism. That it is part of "diversity"; and so on...

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Fr. Phillips is the founding pastor of Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church, the first Anglican Use parish, established on August 15, 1983. Not that there is any confusion, but he is on the left, shown in his younger, less gray-headed days.