An Open Letter to a Well Meaning Friend
Over the past few weeks we discussed a few things…or rather you accused and I tried to explain. Let me start by saying I harbor absolutely no resentment towards you. I only pity your unwillingness to actually listen…especially when you are ignoring answers to your own questions.
However I also thank you deeply! Every word you have said to me has been a blessing…every word has motivated me to seek out the voice of God…and all the time He reassured me...and all the time my faith grew stronger in Him. So you could say you helped me add layer upon layer onto my beautiful pearl!
Your latest email to me contained two links to audio lectures by an Islamic “da3ya” or one who preaches Islam to non-Muslims. I will not post the links here basically because I don’t know if I’m allowed to…which is a shame because he is a very funny man. Both lectures make claims about His Holiness Pope Shenouda the Third [which is his real title and name by the way and not Pope Shushu like the good sheikh called him :)], the Coptic Pope. Apparently HH Pope Shenouda denies the divinity of our Lord and Saviour and admits the fabrication of the Bible!! (note to others reading the open letter: didn’t I tell ya he was a funny man)
My response to this is very simple my well-meaning friend.
First you need to understand that HH the pope is nothing less than an intellectual and spiritual giant! He is a well educated, well read, well versed man who wrote so many books on the Christian faith, not to mention he owns an extensive Islamic library. As a Coptic people we hold more love and respect for him than you can imagine.
Even if…and that’s a BIG HUGE IF…if we assume that he indeed meant what this Islamic scholar claims he meant…which is something with the probability of say…0.0001 in a 1000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
You know, kinda like the hell freezing over probability…
Anyway, lets for the purpose of this exercise assume he indeed meant those things:
1) Although we pray that God grant him good health and a long life…he is only a human being and will ultimately die. Do you expect me to abandon the one true living God and follow the words of a man who will one day die?
For the Book teaches us that ينبغي ان يطاع الله اكثر من الناس
"We must obey God rather than men!” Acts 5:29
2) Again I pray that HH lives a long and healthy life and continue to guard the flock…but you (and the Islamic scholar) forget that the Christian faith has been standing tall and proud two thousand years before Pope Shenouda…and the faith will continue and grow for thousands more after him.
3) We don’t believe in Christ as God and Saviour just to please the Pope…or just because he said so…or just because the Pope believes
It follows that if the Pope himself was to reject Christ (here’s that hell freezing over thing again)…our faith remains intact and well.
(just think: would you reject islam if Sheikh el Azhar was baptised?)
The Christian faith does not start and end with Pope Shenouda or Pope Benedict
Our faith doesn’t reside in St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican or St Mark’s Cathedral in Abbassya
Nor is it bound to the Anglican Bishops, or the Protestant Pastors…
Our faith lives because of the blood of martyrs who preferred death to life without Christ
Our faith lives because of the courage of many like St Athanasious and St Augustine
Our faith is ALIVE…because it lives in beating hearts that never cease to believe in Him: The One True Living God.
You will note that I haven’t even attempted to defend or explain what the Pope says and what the Islamic scholar “interpreted”. It’s because it is simply not necessary!! His Holiness Pope Shenouda is greater than any explanation I can offer.
The only thing I will say is that I don’t blame the Islamic scholar for “misinterpreting” the Pope’s words. After all, he (the aforementioned scholar) quiet likely does not possess adequate intellect, aside from an apparent strong desire to mar a great man and a great faith (feelings of inadequacy perhaps?)
I say this not because I categorically disagree with the man…but it is quiet evident from his speech, the dodgy recording of HH that he plays and stops several times thus interrupting continuity and his loud forceful voice, which he wouldn’t really need if he had any logic, rhyme or reason to his argument. Having said that, I appreciated the entertainment all the same!
My dear friend, if you are still reading this letter: I repeat that I respect your zeal for your religion. Although of late I am starting to see this zeal as borderline fanaticism: you have been condescending and totally oblivious to my request that you respect my choice to be Christian…and a proud one at that! In fact I don’t even know if you actually read anything I write to you because you never address any of it.
I appreciate your feeling that your own faith is right and all else is wrong. But rest assured my own choice has been an educated one. And I mean really educated: I studied Islam like I studied Christianity.
I sincerely hope that you stayed on to read till the end. I also hope that you understand what I am trying to say…thank you for trying to show me the “truth”…but I have already found it!!
I pray for you that God may give you peace and salvation.