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"Dear Lord,
May we always be mindful of your teaching: Love God & love your neighbour."

Religious stereotypes

This is on the thread started by Father Aloysious Mowe :

and its continuation by Daniel Moszkowicz

Like Daniel, I have not found a way to enter a comment, so I am forced to create a new thread topic.

There is some dispute currently on who first said words to the effect "The things that unite us are greater than the things that divide us."  John F Kennedy, Ban Ki-moon and Barrack Obama are all offered as candidates.

Regardless of the origin, I think this is a powerful sentiment , well worth remembering in current times.

I think Australia has been very successful in creating a nation where different races, faiths and cultures can live together in harmony while celebrating their differences. (Perhaps this week, we should modify that to say "Australia since Gough Whitlam....). Of course, as William Deane said, we are diminished as a nation until we treat our indigeneous people with full equality.

We have not had to face the scale of problems that other nations have been facing in dealing with millions of refugees.

History, I think, will record us as going through a dark period, where the major political party leaders demonised the most vulnerable people - asylum seekers and other who sought our help - for political gain.

Hence it is inspiring during this period in our history, to see statements like that from Father Aloysious making us think about the issues, providing a perspective, and allowing a dialogue from which better understanding of different view points may come.

I'll offer my thoughts on your posting, Daniel.

First of all I will admit that I had never until now heard of Max Weber. However, I am having great difficulty with his stereotype of the ideal perfect carrier of the Christian faith as an itinerant journeyman. as opposed to his stereotype of the ideal perfect carrier of the Islamic faith as the warrior seeking to conquer the world.

I think I had a fairly orthodox Catholic upbringing. We did not sing "Onward Christian Soldiers" every morning, but we were certainly familiar with it. In our history classes we studied European history, which seemed to consist mainly of the Christian nations of Europe - England, Scotland, France, Spain and others - fighting wars against each other. After doing this for a few centuries, the Christian nations of Europe moved on to crossing the oceans to America, Africa and Asia, in order to colonise the indigenous people. The lands in America, Africa, and Asia were rich in natural resources at the time, but by the twentieth century the countries in South America, Africa and Asia had become "The Third World".

I don't immediately think of the Christian nations as being populated by "itinerant journeymen" as opposed to warriors, when I consider these historical events.

Looking to more contemporary times, the political leaders that seem to have made their Christian faith most public, I would think, are George W. Bush and, closer to home, Tony Abbott. When I think of George W. Bush standing on the deck of an aircraft carrier, in a flight suit ,in front of a "Mission Accomplished" banner, after the intensive bombing campaign of Iraq, the image of an itinerant journeyman as opposed to a warrior does not immediately spring to mind. And when Tony Abbott talked about shirt-fronting Vladimir Putin, the image of an itinerant journeyman was not the first that arose in my mind.

Our Christian leaders have been all too keen to take us into war based on false premises, while lying about asylum seekers throwing their children overboard.

I wonder then if Max Weber thinks that adherence to what Jesus taught would make Christians into itinerant journeymen, not warriors but that in reality Christians have totally misinterpreted the teachings of Jesus for two thousand years.

The Jesuit Priest John Dear, for example, is a pacifist who, I think, believes Jesus taught unconditional non-violence.

Gandhi has been quoted as saying that if the Sermon on the Mount constitutes Christianity then he would call himself a Christian, but that in fact the practice of Christianity that he saw was the absolute opposite of the Sermon on the Mount.






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