Friday, December 01, 2006

The Pope Prays Toward Mecca

Pope Benedict XVI made what Al-Jazeera called "something beautiful, a gesture ... even more meaningful than an apology" (quoting Mustafa Cagrici, the mufti of Istanbul). He "assumed an attitude of Muslim prayer while facing Mecca in Istanbul's Blue Mosque."

I am willing to grant that the Pope wasn't praying to Allah, and that he did not consider himself to be participating in a Muslim rite. Nonetheless, I find this move completely astonishing.

The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians regarding participation in the worship of other religions:
Consider the people of Israel: Do not those who eat the sacrifices participate in the altar? Do I mean then that a sacrifice offered to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord's table and the table of demons. Are we trying to arouse the Lord's jealousy? Are we stronger than he?
--1 Cor. 10:18-22.
It is one thing to exhibit kindness, generosity, and mercy toward people from other religions. It is quite another to validate them by participating in their worship.

(HT: Smart Christian)