Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Episcopal Muslim

I read this story first over at Targuman. The Rev. Ann Holmes Redding says that she is both a Christian and a Muslim. Notice the "Rev" before her name. She has been an Episcopal priest for 20 years, a Muslim for 15 months.

The Reverend Redding sees no problem with her two faiths, noting that, "At the most basic level, I understand the two religions to be compatible. That's all I need." She goes on to say that, "I am both Muslim and Christian, just like I'm both an American of African descent and a woman. I'm 100 percent both." Here is where I have to call shenanigans. Her analogy is mind-blowingly fallacious. There aren't any ideologies involved with being an American of African descent. They aren't mutually exclusive. Islam and Christianity are mutually exclusive. What's scary - She starts teaching New Testament at Seattle University next semester (Firstly, because of what she's teaching, and secondly...because someone is allowing her to teach at a university when she makes analogies like that!).

Chris Brady at Targuman gave his two cents on it, and I agree. However, a key part in the article let me know that her beliefs aren't really incompatible. The article goes on to say that the Reverend Redding does not believe in the Trinity and that Jesus was just a man who was filled with God's will. That's what separates Him from the rest of humanity. These few little bits let me in on something....she wasn't a Christian in the first place. In fact, she's nearly been a Muslim the whole time without realizing it. Islam teaches that Christ is just another created being, and worshipping any created thing is the highest sin (cf. Surah 4:48, 116). The sad thing is that she's been in a leadership position in a church (and will continue to be; the article says her Bishop is excited about her new faith...?). This is what has always ruffled my feathers about John Shelby Spong. The man uses the title "Bishop" at every opportunity, but then proceeds to bash all Christian beliefs (which is fine, but quit calling yourself a Christian).

She admits that she believes that Jesus died on the cross and was resurrected, which obviously conflicts with Islamic teaching. There's no standard interpretation of what happened to Jesus in Islam. Some say he hid in a niche in a wall, others say Judas Iscariot actually died on the cross, and others say that Jesus switched with Simon of Cyrene and allowed him to die. Regardless, in Islam, Jesus did not die upon a cross, and in Christianity, He did. You can't adhere to both the Biblical account and the Islamic account. That's not something you ponder the rest of your life while feeling very spiritual. That's breaking the law of non-contradiction. She is essentially saying, "I'm willing to believe that X and not X are simultaneously true."

Then...she just throws me for a complete loop. She says that she considers Jesus her savior, and that he connects her to God. But..."That's not to say she couldn't develop as deep a relationship with Mohammed. 'I'm still getting to know him,' she said." Do what to who? Does she realize that you don't have a relationship with Muhammad in Islam? And it's particularly unlike the one you have in the Christian faith with Christ. Very odd.

1 comment:

T Michael W Halcomb said...

This whole thing is so laughable. This lady has gone off of the deep end and I think educated Muslims and Christians alike will agree on this!
I remember a few years back when I was doing some substitute teaching at a local high school and one of the students was Muslim. He knew I was a Christian and proceeded to tell me that it was preposterous to even imagine that God (to him, allah), would have a relationship with humans. This was a 15-year old mind you!
It seems to me that in an attempt to appear "extra holy," this woman has revealed her heresy--not only according to Christians but also Muslims!
--Michael Halcomb

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