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Religious Principles

“Few days back”:http://varnam.nationalinterest.in/archives/000372.html we saw how “The Da Vinci Code”:http://varnam.nationalinterest.in/archives/000340.html united Protestants and Catholics. Now according to this report, Shias and Sunnis have united in certain regions of Iraq to fight the “the coalition forces”:http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/story.jsp?story=519245.

bq. Extraordinary scenes as Iraqi Shia were invited to pray in Sunni mosques yesterday were evidence of how deeply the Americans have misunderstood Iraqi society. Only months ago, the US was issuing dire warnings of civil war between Iraq’s Sunni and Shia. Instead, the two communities have united against the occupiers.

But then when the world goes one way, Pakistanis “go the other way”:http://news.ft.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=FT.com/StoryFT/FullStory&c=StoryFT&cid=1083180354708.

bq. Pakistan’s paramilitary and security services were on high alert on Friday night after a suicide bomber attacked a Shia mosque in Karachi, the southern port city, leaving at least 15 dead and more than 125 injured. That attack was widely believed to be the work of members of hardline Sunni groups including factions that have campaigned for years for Shia muslims to be officially declared heretics. Some groups are believed to be linked to militant outsiders such as al-Qaeda, according to intelligence officials.

If Shias and Sunnis are confused, the “Christians and Muslims of Nigeria are not”:http://straitstimes.asia1.com.sg/world/story/0,4386,249819,00.html.

Religion! What a wonderful thing.

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Ban The Movie

So far we have been hearing only the accusation of anti-Semitism for Mel Gibson’s Passion of Christ. But now one Christian group has asked for a “ban on the film”:http://www.newindpress.com/NewsItems.asp?ID=IER20040504024758&Page=R&Title=Kerala&Topic=0&

bq. Eliyas told reporters here that the movie seems to have a hidden agenda to dispute Christian beliefs and historical facts centered around the Bible. The resurrection of Christ has been portrayed in a purely mythical light and though the language used in the movie is said to be Aramaic, the language used by Christ, in fact it is only a mixture of Arabic and ArabiSyriac. So are many facts which go against traditional beliefs and history. One should also take note of the fact that a controversy is already raging in the West that the movie is a product of an international conspiracy to distort Christian beliefs, he noted.

This is surprising considering the fact that Mel Gibson is a firm believer and he made the movie after “meditating on the Gospels”:http://www.thisiscornwall.co.uk/displayNode.jsp?nodeId=85092&command=displayContent&sourceNode=85091&contentPK=9727036. The movie was adapted from the four Biblical Gospels of Matthew, Luke, Mark and John and so if a Christian is saying that a movie adapted from the Gospels is an international conspiracy, then it must be.

Now if Eliyas has finished attacking this movie, then he should pay attention to the book, “The Da Vinci Code”:http://varnam.nationalinterest.in/archives/000340.html which has Christians all wild, and has “united both Protestants and Catholics”:http://www.iht.com/articles/517522.html.

bq. Among “The Da Vinci Code” critics are evangelical Protestants and Roman Catholics who regard the novel – which is laced with passages celebrating feminism, anticlericalism and pagan forms of worship – as another infiltration by liberal cultural warriors. They also say the book exploits distrust of the Catholic Church in the aftermath of the clergy sexual abuse scandal.

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Christianity and EU

Now that more nations have joined the EU, the Pope thinks he has more souls to harvest

“Only a Europe that does not remove, but rediscovers its Christian roots will reach the stature needed for the great challenges of the third millennium: peace, dialogue between cultures and religions, the safeguarding of creation,” he said. He has repeatedly called for bloc to enshrine Christianity in its constitution, but this has been resisted by secular politicians. Earlier, in a sign of his growing concern with the secularization of society, the pope warned 26 new priests it would be hard to convince people God was still important in a materialistic world.

The Pope has a reason to get concerned as the religion is on the decline in Europe

Church attendance has dwindled by more than 30% in Britain since 1980. Over the same period, the percentage of the population claiming membership in a religious denomination has dropped more than 20% in Belgium, 18% in the Netherlands and 16% in France. Christianity remains Europe’s main religion, with about 550 million adherents. But the number of Europeans who identify as Catholic ? by far the biggest denomination on the Continent ? has fallen by more than a third since 1978.

Most European countries no longer have state religions, and there’s pressure to disestablish in Britain and Norway, two that still do. The crucifix has long since been taken down from public schoolhouse walls; today’s argument is about whether teachers ? or students ? should be allowed to wear the Muslim veil. That’s a reminder that Europe has good reasons to make the Christian God a little harder to find. In a pluralist society that takes pains not to exclude any religion or culture ? and now includes more than 37 million Muslims ? the days of Christianity as the “official” religion should be over.

The new EU Constitution is still being trashed out behind closed doors and one of issues that is being discussed is: Should the constitution have a reference to God ? Or should it just talk about Christian values ?

With many countries having large muslim population and Turkey thinking about joining the EU, any reference to Christianity explicitly may cause problems.

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