In any conflict, reconciliation becomes possible when the antagonists cease dehumanizing each other and begin instead to see a bit of themselves in their enemy.”
- Madeleine Albright, The Mighty & The Almighty
For centuries, from tribe to successor tribe and from generation to next generation, the world has reached for peace ……only to find (instead) persecution, and prosecution. Ethnic biases (including intolerance and prejudice), ignorance, arrogance, and uncompromising (and unforgiving) racial attitudes have all helped fuel conflict, hatred, and war between religious traditions on all continents.
From Jewish slavery in Egypt to the Babylonian Exile … the martyring of Christians throughout the Roman Empire….the Crusades…..the Inquisition ……the Shoah (Nazi genocide of the Jews): a path of violence and death marks the lives of Muslims, Christians, and Jews ….. generations of persecuted people struggling to raise families and live in peace.
Rooted in fear, suspicion, and misunderstanding, our human history – specifically, the history of interfaith dialogue, tolerance and mutual respect (and acceptance) – is a minefield of disappointments.
During the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, while European scholars were sitting at the feet of Muslim scholars in Spain, the European Crusaders were slaughtering Muslims in Palestine and Syria. There was, at this formative period of Western civilization, an unhealthy imbalance. In their efforts to build a new identity, Western Christians saw Jews and Muslims, the two victims of the Crusades, as a foil, a symbol of everything that they believed they were not (or feared that they were). They tended to project buried anxieties about their own behavior onto these two ‘enemies of civilization.’
Thus it was during the Crusades that scholar-monks of Europe stigmatized Islam as the religion of the sword, even though Christians themselves had instigated brutal holy wars against Muslims in the Middle East. During the Crusades, hatred of Jews became a chronic disease in Europe, and this shameful tradition led to some of the worst crimes of Western history. But our Islamophobia is equally ingrained, and the cruel atrocities of September 11 have confirmed many in the old crusading prejudices.’
- Karen Armstrong, as written in the Forward to What’s Right With Islam,
(Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, author)
Is hope for the future any less (or more?) optimistic? Certainly, our human condition can (and should) do better than the tragic examples of the past. Or can we, really?
NewCordoba.com is a web site that seeks to create dialog, understanding, sharing, and discussion around humanity’s search for a common, and yet distinct (personal) path to God – a journey [I want to emphasize] that is not solely limited to Jews, Christians and Muslims. But, as a starting point, I decided to begin with the Abrahamic traditions. Not because they are “popular” or “well understood” or "comprehensive”, but because I can speak from some baseline of partial understanding (..as incomplete as it is) of these three, historic […and complex] monotheistic religions.
Over future years, I would like to expand the scope, and content, of this site to encompass Hinduism, Taoism, Buddhism and several other faith traditions……in the hope that we can explore deeper (…and in a direction parallel to that of author Houston Smith): ‘Why Religion Matters’.
And finally, with God’s guidance [as well as with spiritual input, advice, counseling and (yes) criticism …..from pastors, priests, imams, and rabbis], I pray that we, together, may (one day) achieve the goal of helping build a more compassionate, and more forgiving and understanding, humanity.
The Prophet [Muhammad] once said, ‘If you love me, then love those whom I love,’ which flows from the principle that if we love God, then our love is incomplete if we don’t love those whom – and that which – God loves…. .....When Jews, Christians, Muslims, and all people of any faith discover a way to help each other truly adhere to these shared teachings, treating each other as they want themselves treated, religious conflict between them will cease.” - Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, What’s Right With Islam
‘Hope and Love’, derived from the God of Hope and the hope of God ....... and from the love of God and the God of Love, is the true energy that builds and fuels a brighter future – a future built on reconciliation, and healing. A future that moves beyond past failures. A future that promotes tolerance and understanding, compassion and healing, in a world that longs for peace, and religious unity.
Please join me on a discovery of spiritual roots, beliefs, differences, similarities, hopes and dreams.
Welcome …..to NewCordoba.com!