When the two aggressive militantly evangelistic faiths come in contact, the result often is packed with danger. One thing is important to remember in any dialogue with Muslims. It is possible to respect the faith of others, while living out one’s own Christianity. There are more reasons to engage in such contact than evangelizing the other person. These can include living peacefully together in your neighborhood, joining in some humanitarian or social activity, or other items of common concern. As the article points out, fully living out our Christian faith becomes a powerful witness.
note (Radical Islamicists as well as radical Christian groups are dangerous and not to be trusted).
We are called to live a full and varied life. Not every breath is to be evangelistic. Our jobs, families, and civic activities call for us to display Christian virtues in all our actions. If Muslims evangelize us, all we need to do in most circumstances is continue to demonstrate our respect for the others faith while remaining safely in our own.
Pamphlets are displayed during an open house at the Islamic Center of Long Island in Westbury, N.Y., in 2010. (CNS/Gregory A. Shemitz)
By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which started July 20 in many countries, is a time of fasting, prayer and repentance, when Muslims distance themselves from worldly activities in an effort to align their lives more closely with God and his laws.
According to the Vatican’s point man for dialogue with Islam, Ramadan is also an opportunity for Catholics to learn from Muslims’ example of obedience to the Almighty — and thereby strengthen their own Catholic faith.
Msgr. Khaled Akasheh runs the section for relations with Muslims at the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, an office founded by Pope Paul VI in 1964, during the Second Vatican Council.
One of the most important aspects of Vatican II, Msgr. Akasheh told Catholic News Service, was that “the church accepted all that is right and beautiful in religions.” The council thus fostered a culture in which theological disagreement did not mean disrespect for what others hold sacred.
Even half a century later, however, many Catholics perceive a tension between the need to respect other religious traditions and Christ’s call to bring his truth to all people.
“Managing mission and dialogue is perhaps the major theological challenge” in communicating with other faiths, Msgr. Akasheh said.
Catholic experts engaged in dialogue do not make any “explicit appeal to others to embrace our religion, but this doesn’t mean that we are not faithful to our faith and our mission, because in dialogue we say what we are,” he said.
For Msgr. Akasheh, who was born in Jordan and has taught at the seminary of the Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem, dialogue is a process of witnessing to one’s own beliefs, learning about others and sharing common concerns.
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