Yes Holly, There is an Allah !
Since posting our endorsement of George W. Bush we received hundreds of emails of support and disgust, not surprisingly, evenly divided. One email, above all addressed what our founders considered to be the greatest political weakness of Kings and Queens, religious tolerance. In the wake of this "Holy War" aberration against the United States of America we must hold fast to the philosophy that the reasonable practice of religious tolerance within our borders is paramount to the world's success against terrorism. I have, reluctantly, decided to address the following email as a former Franciscan Friars of the Atonement Seminarian and citizen of the United States in the hopes that Christians embrace this philosophy of United States Founders more whole heartedly.
On 10/31/2004 at 5:10 AM Holly wrote:
"I enjoyed reading your article Kerry vs. Bush (http://stanklos.com/endorsement/). I have one comment that will help you to understand the difference between Allah, the Muslim God, and Jesus Christ, George Bush's' and my God. You see, Allah never mentions Christ. Allah is a "God" of hate and discontent. Christ is the God of love ... period. Anyone that mentions their "God" without mentioning Christ is not worshiping the God of our Ancestors. God is Christ and Christ is God. To mention one without the other is said to be living in the dark, not the light. It is also said that they will not be awarded the eternal life that we can have for the asking, because of Christ's death and resurrection."
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Thank you for your kind comments and please permit some lack of brevity license in this reply. Like many Americans, I am searching for an answer to the mystery of life and take spiritual instruction seriously. Holly, you maintain that "Allah is a "God" of hate and discontent" while "Christ is the God of Love." This is quite a perplexing statement as Christian theology stems from the God of Abraham. The God of Abraham is the God of Prophet Mohammad.
A study of the Koran clearly purports that Allah created Adam, and then Eve. Later, Abraham is instructed by Allah to take his son, Ishmael, to a hill and to sacrifice him, which Abraham prepares to do. This, of course, is a variance from the Five Books of Moses which maintains it was Isaac who was to be sacrificed. As in the Five Books of Moses, Allah stopped Abraham from carrying out the sacrifice of Ishmael. The Koran's Abraham pleased the deity by demonstrating his unwavering faith as the very first true believer in the One Allah.
Today Abraham and Ishmael remain central to Muslim Faith. In fact all Muslims face Mecca when praying to Allah. Muslims believe that Abraham constructed a special building on that site, the Kaaba, on a command from Allah.
In the Koran you will find the entire story of Moses, including the escape from Egypt, wanderings in the desert, the Ten Commandments, Aaron permitting the worship of the Golden Calf, and all the major tenants of faith in the Five Books of Moses. Often in the Koran when Allah chose to bestow guidance to man, the Angel Jibril (Gabriel) materialized. So many Biblical characters that are enveloped in the stories of the first Five Books of Moses are similarly presented in the Koran.
If what you purport, Holly, that "God is Christ and Christ is God," than surely the Judeo-Christian "God the Father" must be Allah. Just because the Muslims assert that Jesus was only one of Allah's many prophets and not Godís only begotten Son doesn't nullify the fact they believe the God of Abraham is Allah. If Allah is God and Christ is God then doesn't it stand the test of Christian reasoning that Christ is Allah or Allah is Christ ? In a nutshell, Jews reject the New Testament, Christians rebuff the Koran, and Muslims view Jesus as just as another prophet. The common thread, however, is all three theologies embrace the God of Abraham as their "Yhwh" (), "God the Father", or "Allah."
To me, however, your claim that "God is Christ and Christ is God" is an impenetrable theology. "God is Christ and Christ is God" was the REVELATION of the first ecumenical council in 325 A. D. (C. E.). It was Constantine's Council of Nicea that requested a New Testament, from what historians know to be an editing of thousands of Christian manuscripts and letters, to be formed for his subjects in The Holy Roman Empire. In fact it wasn't until the second ecumenical council in 381 A. D. (C. E.), 66 years later, that the third person in the Trinity was even recognized a full 350 years after the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The infallible papal edict of 381 A. D. that God is the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit is God finally revealed the great mystery of Christianity, three persons in one God. It was the Nicene Creed of 381 that introduced the word "homoousious" or "consubstantial" meaning "of one substance" explaining how only one God can exist in three different distinct forms. Quite baffling if you ask me NOW but as a young man I actually offered a group of Catholic Bishops my solution to this mystery:
Given that we are made in God's image then perhaps, like the Holy Trinity, we also will exist in three persons.
The Father - each person all and sundry in the mind of God before birth
The Son - each person, like Jesus, fulfilling a mission here on earth
The Holy Spirit - each person fulfilling our final form of spiritual rebirth after death
I know --- I know --- I know -- How over enveloped I was in theology even back then.
Today, my foundational problem with "they will not be awarded the eternal life" visavee the New Testament is that all the 2nd and 3rd Century primary source documents, letters, and manuscripts that the 1st and 2nd Ecumenical Council abridged, changed and declared as HERESY have been lost or destroyed. There are no gospels or epistles in Aramaic or even Greek that are of the period of Jesus Christ! Yes theologians point to one or two so called 2nd Century A.D. fragments with contain less then two paragraphs as primary sources but these fragments are miniscule and on mediums that are impossible date. There are no "Dead Sea Scrolls" of Christianity known despite the fact that all the great apostolic works were gathered under the Holy Roman Empire in a time of great triumph for Christianity. The earliest New Testament Gospel(s) we have, by any factual standard, are the Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus of the mid-4th Century A. D. They are both in ancient Greek and not easily translated into English due to the complexity and age of the lexicon.
One of the greatest heroes of the American Revolution, Charles Thomson, understood this problem and took it upon himself in his retirement to solve it. Charles Thomson was the Secretary to the Continental Congress and the United States in Congress Assembled from its beginning to its end. He kept notes of all those closed debates in Congress (very little is recorded in the Journals of Congress). He also administrated the fledgling nation through four Continental Congress and ten United States in Congress Assembled Presidents. Charles Thomson was the power behind the the scenes from the start in 1774 to Confederation Constitution's finish in 1789. It was his name, along with John Hancock's, that was boldly printed on the 1776 Declaration of Independence Broadsides. It was through these broadsides and newspapers that "King and Country" received the news of Independence with Charles Thomson's name displayed prominently at the bottom as Secretary to the Continental Congress. The other delegate names were not published until January 1777. Sadly when it came time for the delegates to sign the engrossed copy of the Declaration of Independence on August 2nd they refused Charles Thomson the opportunity to autograph the very document he ardently supported and then released to the world. After his political retirement in 1789, Mr. Thomson started to compile his personal journals, notes, letters and manuscripts along with a narrative of what he recalled happened behind the scenes in old Continental Congress. Unfortunately, Thomson had a change of heart and turned instead to mastery of Ancient Greek in the hopes of translating the Bible of Constantine. He was successful and published The Holy Bible, containing the Old and New Covenant, Commonly called the Old and New Testament; Translated from the Greek which contained the first English version of the Septuagint that had been published at the time. His work was considered by biblical scholars in Great Britain to have reflected high honor on American scholarship. What a loss that decision was, however, to the scholarship he was most qualified to undertake, the founding of the United States!
It never ceases to amaze me how many Christian Ministers can insist that each word in their English Bible must be taken literally when there are several different translation possibilities, as demonstrated by Thomson and other biblical scholars, for each paragraph. More importantly, Christianity is a problematic theology from a scholarly standpoint as the New Testament was formulated 300 years after the Death of Jesus Christ. The Christian Bible from which you quote and boldly pronounce "they will not be awarded the eternal life" demands, if anything, for you to open your mind to both sides of the question before pontificating infinite damnation or eradication.
My point is best supported by this literal analogy. Suppose in 2100 A.D. our scholars took the Virginia Declaration of Rights, Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, the US Constitution, all the 18th Century constitutions of the States, thousands of books, letters, manuscripts and resolutions from the founding of the United States and abridged them into publication the size of the current New Testament. Additionally, upon the completion of the new text all the originals were destroyed. Would you accept this publication as the definitive founding document and laws of the United States? Would you accepted this as the one true "New Testament of the United States" if the work also lumped in the abridgment of all other pivotal U.S. Laws and Resolutions from 1789 to 2076?
I have spent the last 5 years of my life pouring over these very original documents in one small area and have proved, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that ten men held the Presidency of the United States under the Confederation Constitution before George Washington. A case that is slowly but surely righting this one tenant in American History. Just think what would be revealed if we possessed the primary sources that lead to the creation of the Christian New Testament?
So, in my humble opinion, the major mystery of Christianity is not the Holy Trinity but that the source manuscripts are missing. These foundational tenets of Christianity are not the gospels according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. They are the gospels according to the Council of Nicea. Any theologian worth their salt accepts this as a material fact. The leap of faith is that the Council of Nicea was divinely inspired when they abridged at least 50 gospels into four in 325 C. E.
It is, therefore, impossible to prove what the apostles 1st hand account really was of Jesus Christ as the original texts are missing. We do know, however, quite a bit about the history of Christianity from the Council of Nicea, 325 C. E. to the present. For instance, at the Council of Nicea the bishops and theologians were bitterly split with some maintaining Jesus was just a prophet (Future Muslims?), while others claimed Jesus was the Son of God but a separate "divine entity" (Arius) while the Constantine majority held fast to your belief that Jesus is God and God is Jesus (homoousius). Unfortunately there are no primary source manuscripts, letters, and carvings in wood or stone to allow me or anyone else to revisit the ancient and Apostolic texts to draw scholarly conclusions. All New Testament scholars must rely on faith that the Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus (about 425-450 C.E.) are true to the accounts of the Apostles, Mary, Paul, and Mary Magdalene. It is here, on this point that my journey for truth in the ancient and Apostolic texts dead ends. NO primary proofs exist from the time of Christ that can give evidence that the New Testament is any more accurate to the Apostolic message for humanity then the Five Books of Moses, Koran, Book of Mormon (Where are those gold tablets?) and a host of other wonderfully written theological treatises to their tenets.
Hopefully Holly you might now understand why I made the statement "Unlike our current President, the God of Abraham has not enveloped my being with a sense of purpose."
When it comes right down to it life is first faith in people and second in God as it is humanity (even if with Divine Inspiration) that records and teaches the theology of "Yhwh". This is why one must embrace religious tolerance. Man or Woman can not even comprehend the intricate workings of a simple mammal mind let alone begin to understand what the "Divine Plan" is of an Almighty God for so many generations and earthly cultures. Therefore, one must be most reticent to question the revelations of God to any person of intelligence, character and "good will" who purports he or she has uncovered the great mystery of life through "Divine Intervention."
This is what our founders summed-up as religious tolerance. I am convinced what the world needs now is more respect for God's wisdom and revelations to the complex cultures of the earth in so many various forms. What the world needs now is religious tolerance and the recognition that Allah is NOT a "God of hate and discontent. "
Yes, Holly, you should continue to purport your faith in all honesty and in earnest. I greatly appreciate you taking the time to do so. In this effort, however, you must be like Diogenes, the 4th Century B.C. philosopher, who used to walk through Athens in broad daylight carrying a lighted lamp while searching for an honest man. When you find one, especially when his or her theology differs from yours, heed our foundersí wisdom and practice religious tolerance. No man or woman can ever truly know what God has revealed to another who walks a righteous path. For me, I much rather be able to know a righteous path then be able to define it. The religious zealots who attacked the World Trade buildings, Terrorist Arafat (the father of suicide bombings of women and children) and Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi "The Beheader" are just a few examples of un-righteous men who eloquently warp the teachings of the Koran. They are messengers" of hate and discontent" not Allah.
With that said, please let me state that I am in awe of your Faith. It is truly a gift from God. I do agree that we are perpetual and look forward to seeing you on the other side. May God continue to bless you with such conviction and peace of mind that the Spiritual Road you travel leads to everlasting life.
Stanley L. Klos
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