A bunch of Catholics and Muslims have been chin-wagging all this week to try to reach common ground for Islam and Catholicism.
They’re discussing a document called A Common Word Between Us and You, which proclaims itself as an attempt to bring peace to the world by finding this common ground.
But they have problems. Real problems.
For a start, the god the Catholics believe in has a son and his pal the Holy Ghost – that three-in-one thing. It’s a ménage à trois posing as a ménage à un. The Muslim God – “You can call me Allah” – is strictly a loner.
There’s a bit in the Koran – Sura 3:64 – that denies the identity of the Catholic god (and, of course, that of most Christians). It goes, in part, something like, “Say: O People of the Book! Come to common terms as between us and you: that we worship none but Allah; that we associate no partners with Him.” To say that God/Allah has any sort of “partner” is blasphemy to Muslims. So get out of that one, you bunch of pontificating arseholes!
Previous Muslim entreaties to meet them halfway have really been a way for Muslims to say, “Psst. Wanna become a Muslim, brother?” In other words, no way are they going to step over the Catholic side and risk accusations of apostasy. Muslims like to kill people for that little transgression.
Then there’s another big stumbling block: their desiccated old scriptures. The Muslim worldview sees the Koran as a valid, authoritative source and that Muhammad was an authentic prophet. Christians don’t quite see it that way.
There are oodles of differences. They wanted to base their common ground on the idea of loving God above all things and loving your neighbour (just what Jesus is supposed to have said in the New Testament, though God knows where, and I can’t be arsed to look it up).
And that’s the easy bit. Those who actually believe in the god of their chosen religion, rather than pay lip service because dabbling in religion is sort of rather nice and you get to dress up, will of course love him/her/it. And loving your neighbour is just the sort of thing most people aspire to, whether they have these disturbing delusions about invisible friends or not.
Anyway, this document is being a bit naughty in suggesting that the “love thy neighbour” thing is a tenet of Islam. There’s nothing in the Koran that supports love of neighbour. Indeed, Islam teaches love of other Muslims; nonbelievers can either be converted or disposed of.
So a bunch of Catholics and imams have just had a nice little junket for a week, really, and there will be no peace on Earth – not as a result of this totemic little effort, anyway.