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Oct 21 2010

Iran and the Catholic Church – not at all strange bedfellows

It never fails to amaze me how regularly religious groups fail to see that they are exactly the same. I saw a clip on The Colbert Report a few nights ago, where an evangelical Christian minister was warning people about how Islam was planning to take over America, and that we should all be worried. I had to do a double-take, as I realized that nobody called the guy out for being an evangelical Christian. By its very nature, evangelical anything means your stated mandate is to convert as many people as possible – this guy is just as guilty as those he’s accusing. Of course Islam has an interest in converting everyone, so does Christianity. Any religion that claims to be the “one true religion” is basically out-and-out stating its intention to bring the whole world under its thumb. To deflate the predictable protest from moderate Muslims and Christians who claim that their faith doesn’t mean they have to convert anyone, I’ll say that your particular version of belief is at odds with direct commandment from your scripture:

Matthew 28:19-20

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

Matthew 24:12

And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

Luke 9:1-6

When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. He told them: “Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra tunic. Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. If people do not welcome you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave their town, as a testimony against them.” So they set out and went from village to village, preaching the gospel and healing people everywhere.

That’s just a handful of passages, please trust that there’s a loooot more. And for the Muslims… well I suppose you can just read this list – YahwAlladdha’s not exactly cool with non-believers.

With both religions claiming to be “the right one”, and having very clear commandments to destroy, convert, or otherwise gain supremacy over those who believe anything differently, it’s hard to imagine that there could be any kind of dialogue between them at all. But of course there is, as long as it’s politically convenient:

Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has written to the Pope, thanking him for condemning an American pastor’s threat to burn the Koran last month. In his letter, Mr Ahmadinejad also called for closer co-operation between Iran and the Vatican.

I hope nobody is thinking “but the president of Iran isn’t a religious leader.” Iran is an Islamic theocracy, whose real power is wielded by the Ayatollahs. You can’t separate state power from church power – they’re the same thing.

At any rate, the hypocrisy of cozying up to an enemy when it’s convenient doesn’t surprise me, and shouldn’t surprise you. The thing that I found hilarious was this:

Mr Ahmadinejad also called for “a close co-operation of divine religions to restrict destructive moves such as ignoring of religious teachings, influencing people to be materialistic, which were eroding human societies”.

As though not enough religion was the thing eroding human societies. By my count, somewhere around 74 of the posts on this blog alone have been about religion, representing about 1/3 of my total output (including the 6 weeks I intentionally took off because I thought I was talking about religion too much). Iran is a country that is trying to bludgeon people to death with fucking rocks because of religion.

Anyone who thinks that the religions of the world will sit down at the table and play nice once they have unchallenged power over the countries of the world is delusionally ignorant of history and the mandates of religion. This is a match quite literally made in heaven – two oppressive religious theocratic forces attempting to enforce their small-minded agenda on everyone else have finally learned to team up, either out of expediency or necessity.

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