Mental shift

Manage your mind and you can manage your life

Christian-Muslim statement on world financial crisis

Posted by jytmkh on October 16, 2008

The Common Word group of Muslim scholars met Christian leaders and theologians in Cambridge and London this week. Discussions in this interfaith dialogue have mostly been theological, based on the idea that the love of God and neighbour is a core dogma of both religions. In a statement on Wednesday, they included a paragraph about the world financial crisis. There have been lots of comments from various faith leaders about the crisis, but this is the first Christian-Muslim statement I’ve seen.

Here’s the paragraph:

We live in an increasingly global world that brings with it increased interdependence.  The closer we are drawn together by this globalisation and interdependence, the more urgent is the need to understand and respect one another in order to find a way out of our troubles.  Meeting at a time of great turbulence in the world financial system our hearts go out to the many people throughout the world whose lives and livelihood are affected by the current crisis.  When a crisis of this magnitude occurs, we are all tempted to think solely of ourselves and our families and ignore the treatment of minorities and the less fortunate.  In this conference we are celebrating the shared values of love of God and love of neighbour, the basis of A Common Word, whilst reflecting self-critically on how often we fall short of these standards.  We believe that the divine commandment to love our neighbour should prompt all people to act with compassion towards others, to fulfil their duty of helping to alleviate misery and hardship.  It is out of an understanding of shared values that we urge world leaders and our faithful everywhere to act together to ensure that the burden of this financial crisis, and also the global environmental crisis, does not fall unevenly on the weak and the poor.  We must seize the opportunity for implementing a more equitable global economic system that also respects our role as stewards of the earth’s resources.

Do you see any link between faith and the financial crisis? Could this crisis lead to tensions between people of different religions — or bring them closer together?

Cranmer’s Comment: Christian-Muslim statement on the global financial crisis

This could, of course, be a Jewish-Christian-Muslim-Hindu-Sikh-Buddhist-Jedi Knight statement, and it is all very pleasant indeed. Words are nice, especially the word nice, but they do not feed the starving, house the homeless, heal the depressed, of provide jobs for the unemployed. And where is there any mention of prayer?

It is one thing to talk of respect and understanding on a human level, for this is the very nexus of loving one’s neighbour. But talking of the ‘shared values of love of God and love of neighbour’ is precisely the sort of pseudo-theological multi-faith pap which confuses the faithful and leads people astray. Jesus defined one’s neighbour as everyone, including our enemies. The Qur’an makes it clear that the Muslim’s neighbours are ranked, with the kuffar treated somewhat differently from the ummah. The God of the Christians is not the God of the Muslims. One is YHWH, the other is Allah; one is immanent, the other is aloof; one has revealed himself, the other cannot be revealed; one is Father, the other is unknown and unknowable; one became man and dwelt among us; the other cannot condescend; one is mutable and responsive, the other is immutable and immovable; one is agape, the other is more judgemental; one is Trinity in unity, the other is unity; one died for us that we may be redeemed, the other refutes that Jesus died.

But as long as we can all agree that God is the omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent transcendent creator, there can be a joint strategy for dealing with global financial meltdown.

Isn’t that so very heartening?


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