Only a Sith believes in absolutes.
So says Obi Wan Kenobi to Anakin Skywalker in the new(er) Star Wars film. The line apparently was intended to make a political point against the current presidential administration, and it has all the feel of a late insertion. After 30 years and 5 1/2 films watching rebels fight the Dark Side to the death, we learn that absolutist thinking is for Siths.
What a cheat. And so late in the game. The line invites revisionist thinking. Perhaps we shouldn’t have been rooting for young Luke, and maybe we should reevaluate the Death Star… or at least see its positives.
It’s hard to imagine Sir Alec Guinness saying something so inane. Many of us wouldn’t have made it past A New Hope if he had.
Too many Christians live like there’s no happy ending. But there is! The fairy tales point to it, as does our longing for security and a family reunion. Any sacrifice or suffering in this life is dwarfed by the unending joy of the next (Rev 21: 4-7). Paul calls it “the hope which is laid up for you in heaven.” (Col 1:5)
When Catholicism goes bad it becomes the world-old, world-wide religion of amulets and holy places and priest craft; Protestantism, in its corresponding decay, becomes a vague mist of ethical platitudes.
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.