On Saturday, CSpan ran an interview with someone named Bruce Feiler. Mr. Feiler has apparently been out to show that Jews, Christians, and Muslims have a common heritage. As it relates to avoiding bloodshed, this is laudable enough. But throughout the interview, Mr. Feiler made the tiresome error of assuming that any differences among the religions are trumped by other considerations such as a common belief of God, a shared view of tolerance among “mainstream” adherents, etc.
I couldn’t find the transcript to this interview, but a search revealed a separate interview that continues along the same vein. In it, Feiler cites this “instance of hatred:”
I went deep into East Jerusalem to meet a Muslim cleric. He was very friendly and open in our early conversation about Abraham, but over time grew more hostile and said that Jews and Christians were blaspheming God and would be punished. When I asked him if he was suggesting that something would happen to me, he said yes. I asked him what. And he looked directly in my eyes, and said, “You’ll die.” I began to wonder if I had been set up, and how I would get home. I eventually did get home, and just wanted to take a shower.
How can one do anything but laugh at this? Mr. Feiler has to take a shower because a Muslim would take the Koran’s writing seriously? How does Mr. Feiler, nominally a Christian, react to the Gospels which state over and over again that those who do not accept Christ as God in the flesh come to take away the sins of the world, are bound for hell (eg. 1 John 2:22)?
What must a man do to be saved? That’s an important question, and stating that all of us are saved begs Pilate’s question: By what authority do ye say these things? None of the “holy books” say it. There are no two ways about it: the Muslim and the Christian claim exclusive routes to salvation. The wishful thinking that gets warm applause at progressive gatherings will not change that fact, nor will infantile appeals to downplay eternally important differences.