Orthodox Coptic Intellectual, Egypt
One of the main goals of Islamic Christian Dialogue is to be aware of common ideological and ethical grounds to cooperate in protecting a sound society as human values are facing great challenges.
In a world where globalization is a fact bringing challenges, we are to study its aspects in order to respond thereto open-mindedly, taking advantage of its positive aspects and confronting the negative ones with combined Muslim and Christian efforts. Our common ethical values are our tool that enables us to do such.
here follow some of these challenges:
1- Faith challenge:
confusion is beginning to surround us in terms of knowing God. Some people are beginning to have their doubts about God. Atheism takes two forms, one denying God's existence and the other, refusing His existence. The bible says in Psalms 14: 1 " The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God". Atheism appears in societies for political, social reasons or as a result of physiologic traumas, religious pressure or misunderstanding of some dogmatic issues. Believing in God is beyond reason and science; however, it is not against reason.
The term "atheism" originated from the Greek ??e?? (atheos), meaning "without god(s)", used as a pejorative term applied to those thought to reject the gods worshiped by the larger society. This is the ideology of some people such as the German philosopher, Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) who said “religions endeavor to explain to the people by symbols the metaphysical significance of life.”
Atheism we face today is not concerned about the idea of God's existence as much as it is concerned about the relation between human with God, it is more of refusing God than denying His existence.
Atheists refuse God as it threatens human existence. They believe that in order for Man to live, the idea of God is to disappear.
Christianity and Islam should cooperate to confront such faith challenge by proving God's existence through religion books and scientific evidences.
The Bibles says” In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth “Genesis 1:1
The Quran says" Taught man what he never knew" al-'Alaq 1-5
Christianity and Islam believe in God's existence and seek deepening the relation between the Creator and the created. They should seek catching the attention of the youth in front of PC screens following open -minded - even with no belief background- all information coming in his /her way
Islam and Christianity should cooperate as sound society is the one based on ethical values and sound human values as in holy books.
2- Spiritual challenge
Communication revolution (satellites and internet) as well as information technology revolution through large, small and PC screens dominates the world to the extent which led to ethical deviation. Movies are stuffed with instincts scenes, followed by sexual arousal and violence movies, the matter which made violence is the prevailing culture in society.
Through the internet, youth can see all deviations. Besides, the high populations in some countries made some families live in one flat in mixed room.
Christianity and Islam should cooperate to deepen values in the coming generations.
By confronting this spiritual challenge, relation of youth with God will be deepened through reason knowledge by cultural lectures and religious preaches which call for virtuous life, by printing booklets about ethical values and through emotional knowledge by establishing a love relation with God.
Youth should be convinced that virtuous life is a great benefit to spirit which seeks God and that reason is enlightened with words of the holy books.
The bible says: ""God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth" John 4:24
The prophet Mohamed says that (God doesn’t look to your faces and appearances but to your hearts and deeds) narrated by Muslim, quoted from The Book of Virtue, Good Manners and Joining of the Ties of Relationship
3- Cultural challenge
It is said that we are in the cultural globalization era or planet culture, which means that media –T.V and satellite channels – dominate the world in spreading one global culture affect human, especially youth. By this spreading of coming culture, youth forgets his national culture tradition and values.
In the open skies, there is no border to prevent any external culture or ideologies to invade societies.
Here below, we will discuss culture coming to our country:
A- culture of consumption
Our culture nowadays depends on it is broadcasted by Media and Media is based in essence on ads revenues. Ads keep on pursuing people, convincing them to buy things they do not need or others not suitable for them, thus consumption rates of the family increase above the limited income. To get the advertised merchandise, the family members may be an easy catch for corruption to get money.
Prophet Mohamed says ("When honesty is lost, then wait for the Hour.")
B- lust culture
All what we see in the media nowadays is nothing but dangerous sexual deviation, for example: sexual relations out of wedlock. As a result, youth became indulged in flesh instincts even to addiction.
In return, it leads to drugs addiction, violence, crime and failure. From statistics, we can observe that AIDS rate is high, and the result is a failure marriage.
Christians and Muslims should support family values by establishing sound religious values which confirm our eastern values.
The bible says"
"My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments:
2 For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee." proverbs 3:1-2
The Quran says:
"The hearing, and the sight, and the brains-all these will be questioned" The Night Journey 36
C- Violence as a culture
Through our globalization culture, we see violence movies. A police officer in the United Sates observed that certain type of crime was spread in the hour following action movie on the T.V. We get to know that youth used information to make a bomb and exploded a huge building.
The Quran says:
The Table 32 " that whoever kills a person-unless it is for murder or corruption on earth-it is as if he killed the whole of mankind; and whoever saves it, it is as if he saved the whole of mankind"
The Bible says "You shall not murder. 14 "You shall not commit adultery. 15 "You shall not steal. 16 "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. 17 "You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's." Exodus 20- 1 / 13-17
Materialism has become the target not the means. We find that evaluation for people and couples about to get married are through material stuff not in terms of spirituality. We should not forget what the bible says:
"What good will it is for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? Matthew 16:36.
Money doesn’t provide happiness based on Quran:
"But seek, with what God has given you, the Home of the Hereafter, and do not neglect your share of this world. And be charitable, as God has been charitable to you. And do not seek corruption in the land. God does not like the seekers of corruption" the history 77
By cooperation between Christian and Muslim leaders, incorporating study and wisdom, we may help in protecting our present and coming generations from media adverse effects, should provide:
The Bible says:
“A satisfied soul loathes the honeycomb, but to a hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet" Proverbs 27:7
Our values in Christianity and Islam will enable us to find spiritual satisfaction from dominated planet culture and made it easy to overcome the negative aspect of it.
B- Cultural satisfaction
Our homes should contain libraries of all new books in spiritual field as well as sciences. We should leave no rooms for empty time which led our youth to deviation.
4- Information challenge
Information revolution dominated itself after the industrial revolution. We should admit that this century is the information century. It is all about information flows, however, information and nets should not dominate people by spending their time on chatting rooms. Some people chose to talk to unknown persons through chatting rooms and the result is shocking for the two parties.
We should take care of computer addiction by resisting this desire which we may call this desire information fever to let people consider important spiritual, cultural and social issues. Besides, we should avoid dangerous of approaching television screens about eyesight and bending of spine.
5- Scientific challenge
Science is the big challenge is this century. Next struggle form will not be between those who own and those who don’t but with those who know and those who don’t know.
We can summarize that culture comes in two forms:
It forms experimental sciences, material and nature, which are undoubtedly important sciences for human's happiness on this planet and for his health and life.
It forms various humanitarian sciences such as religion, education, psychology, sociology, philosophy, media, literature etc. These sciences are important for human as he is not only a flesh but a flesh, mind, soul and spirit who contemplate beyond the nature and death.
Jesus Christ says"
"What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? Matthew 16:26.
6- Social Challenge
This type of challenge comes in many aspects:
It is the prevailing culture this day due to misunderstanding of religion which encourages people to love and mercy. The Bible says about love
"But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" Matthew 5:44
B- Values' deviations
In the society hierarchy pyramid , we can note that a class became the superior on top of the pyramid and another in its bottom. We started to see new values such as cheating and money seeking, violence in dealing and ethical declination.
C- Family separation
Struggle between generations and their parents became common phenomena in a world of external effects and denial of values and traditions. Instead of love and care, there is more fighting between brothers and sisters due to absence of love.
Here comes the role of Islam and Christianity to seek union of family to build a sound society eventually.