How sweet would that be? Ha!
Abdul Rahman embodies the question at the heart of this struggle: If Islam is a religion one can only convert to, not from, then in the long run it is a threat to every free person on the planet.From here.
In a more culturally confident age, the British in India were faced with the practice of "suttee" - the tradition of burning widows on the funeral pyres of their husbands. Gen. Sir Charles Napier was impeccably multicultural:
"You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: When men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks, and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours."
"The irony is inescapable: This is the country that we rid of the Taliban because of its religious oppression. This is the country in which we have spent at least $70 billion to establish a free democratic government. This is the country whose freedom cost us three hundred American lives and eight hundred casualties. And this is the country that is preparing to execute a man for becoming a Christian after he witnessed other Christians caring for his countrymen.
"Is this the fruit of democracy? Is this why we have shed American blood and invested American treasure to set a people free? What have we accomplished for overthrowing the Taliban? This is the kind of thing we would expect from the Taliban, not from President Karzai and his freely elected democratic government.
"I have supported the Bush administration's foreign policy because I came to believe that the best way to stop Islamo-fascism was by promoting democracy. But if we can't guarantee fundamental religious freedoms in the countries where we establish democratic reforms, then the whole credibility of our foreign policy is thrown into serious question."
I am seeking to learn more about the Episcopalian Church. I am currently taking RCIA classes at my local Catholic church and want badly to convert but am assailed with doubts for the following reasons: the Church’s stance on divorce, birth control, abortion, homosexuality and women as priests. I am a liberal and cannot and will not betray my conscience by accepting the teachings of the Church hierarchy that I view to be implicitly wrong. I love Christ will all my heart and long to serve him, but don’t know if I can reconcile my personal belief system with these teachings, not to mention the overall alarmingly conservative outlook of many Catholics. I know that many former Catholics have become members of the Episcopalian Church. Do you know of any yourself? Is it true that many have become members since Pope Benedict took his place in the Holy See?
I have encountered some Catholics online who are progressive and share my views but they seem to be the minority, alas. I’m feeling pretty lost right now and I don’t know where I can find a home, so to speak, a church that will accept and embrace my views. I love so many aspects of Catholicism, the dignity of Mass, the sacraments, the emphasis on social justice, but don’t want to feel as if I’m living a lie but rejecting other teachings. Does the Episcopalian Church offer the sacrament of Reconciliation? I don’t know if I could stand to leave this behind. Thanks for taking the time to read this.
I applaud your commitment not to betray your conscience “by accepting the teachings of the Church hierarchy” that you believe to be wrong. The Catholic Church teaches that the conscience is the voice of God and therefore a person should and must obey his conscience, even though it is possible that he may have misheard the divine voice. “It is never lawful,” Cardinal Newman writes, “to go against our conscience.” However, we also have a moral obligation to inform and train our conscience. How are we to do so?
You write that you disagree with the Catholic Church’s positions on divorce and remarriage, birth control, abortion, homosexuality, and the male priesthood. May I suggest that you bracket these convictions for the moment and consider a more fundamental question: Is the Catholic Church who she claims to be? This question must be asked and answered before you can reasonably address the specific teachings of the Catholic Church, for if the Catholic claim is true, then you will be forced to reconsider your present beliefs. Let’s be honest. Given the beliefs and values of our culture, you would be a remarkable person indeed who did not disagree with the Catholic Church on the issues you mention. Since your birth you have breathed in a spirit of inclusivity, relativism, and anti-authoritarianism. You are a grandchild of the sexual revolution. You have been indoctrinated in a worldview that is hostile to the Catholic faith. The teaching of the Catholic Church on sexual morality is especially offensive to secular culture. The Catholic Church now exists in the United States as a counter-cultural community. I propose that this counter-cultural stance be considered as one piece of evidence in favor of the claim that the Catholic Church speaks to the world with divine authority and truth. How easy it would be for her to conform to contemporary sensibilities. How the cultural elites would applaud if she would just affirm the permissibility of abortion or gay marriages. Yet the Catholic Church will not accommodate. She knows she is entrusted with a solemn responsibility—to guard the faith once delivered to the saints and to pass it on intact to future generations.
For the Catholic, the decision to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and the decision to accept the authority of the Church is one decision. They cannot be separated, for the risen Christ will not be separated from his mystical body. We love to manufacture religions that express our own ideological and religious preferences. As Luther once remarked, “Every man is born with a Pope in his belly.” The grace of the Catholic Church, with all her weaknesses, sins, and failures, is that she confronts me as other. She is not, and refuses to be, a projection of my ego. She simply is. She speaks with a voice that is not my own. She challenges me with the authority of God. Here is one meaning of the ancient Christian dictum extra ecclesiam nulla salus: outside the Church there is no salvation. The Church saves me. She saves me from the sin of self because she cannot be assimilated into my self; I must be assimilated into her. I am the one who must change. I am the one who must be willing to submit my intellect to her wisdom and knowledge. Incorporated into the Catholic Church I am simultaneously incorporated into the glorified and risen Christ and brought into the ecstatic life of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
If the Catholic Church is who she claims to be, then she speaks to me with an authority that binds my conscience. Because she is indwelt and guided by the Holy Spirit, she is protected from error in her formal teachings. She speaks truth. She can be relied upon. And so I trust her and seek to think with her. I do not ask her, must not ask her, to accept my views; she asks me to accept her views. One enters the Catholic Church in order to change; one enters the Catholic Church to be changed.
In your letter you write “I love Christ with all my heart and long to serve him.” Yes! I commend your faith and your desire to serve our Lord in all things. But how does one discern the will of Jesus, given the manifold and contradictory voices in the world? If the Catholic Church is the Church, then assent to her authoritative teachings is assent to Christ; obedience to her commands is obedience to Christ. I plead with you: pray for the grace to see the true identity of the Catholic Church. She is the Body of our Lord and Savior and his unblemished Bride. She speaks his goodness, his justice, his truth. For two thousand years she has proclaimed and lived the good news of Jesus Christ.
When I became Catholic just under a year ago, I made this profession: “I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God.” Believe me when I tell you that this was one of the hardest moments in my life. I had been an Episcopal priest for twenty-five years. As my friends will tell you, I have strong convictions about a great many things and especially about matters theological. If nothing else, I am opinionated. Yet with that surrender to the magisterial authority of the Church came true intellectual liberation. Finally, for the first time, I had a knowledgeable and faithful guide. As Chesterton wrote, “To become a Catholic is not to leave off thinking, but to learn how to think.”
Is the Catholic Church who she claims to be? Is she the Church of Jesus Christ? This is the question that you must answer.
If I may, I recommend the following writings: George Weigel, Letters to a Young Catholic; Richard John Neuhaus, Catholic Matters; G. K. Chesterton, The Catholic Church and Conversion; and John Henry Newman, “Faith and Private Judgment.”
God bless you in your journey.
The stem cells were then cultured in a way to induce them to become heart cells.
After five days about half of the cells contracted "spontaneously, rhythmical and synchronously, suggesting the presence of electrical communication" between the cells, Miyoshi says.
That is to say, they behaved like heart cells.
Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.Great quote on why sometimes "enlightened conscience" needs to be shoved up one's ass, especially when used to defend the killing of the unborn, for example.
-Cardinal Ratzinger, 2004
It was apparent from the interview that Wafa Sultan has stopped being a Muslim for reasons that she alone can tell. This fact alone will discourage even the most moderate Muslims from listening to her. She is exactly like Irshad Manji. Western readers can get excited as they want over Sultan and Manji, but don't expect Muslims to heed the call of a former Muslim and a lesbian*.
In addition, I believe the Sultan vs the Al Azhar professor debate was an attempt by Al Jazeera to discredit anyone who thinks differently about Islam. By putting these 2 together, Al Jazeera was forcing its viewers to choose between Sultan and the professor. 99.9999% of viewers had no option but to side with their fellow Muslim the professor.
We don't need former Muslims, we don't need atheists, we don't need lesbians, what we need are reform minded Muslim thinkers. Only these people have the necessary legitimacy to pull us from the dark abyss we're in now.