Jerusalem, A Treasured City

Jerusalem is mentioned often in the Bible. Wikipedia gives a good overview: “Jerusalem is a city in the Middle East…It is one of the oldest cities in the world, and is considered holy to three major Abrahamic religions – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.” The Abrahamic religions are the religions that claim descent from the Judaism of the ancient Israelites, and the worship of the same one God of that of Abraham. Each of these religions is a monotheistic religion, which means that the people worship one god.

For centuries people have been fighting over Jerusalem, even to the point of its destruction- twice. God accepts good people from each one of these religions into his Heavenly home. Unfortunately, these religious groups have been at war often; they have been at war despite each of them worshipping the one God. I have a very simplistic way of looking at the fighting between the three groups. Christianity was seen as a threat to Judaism. Some Jewish people killed some of the early Christians. Some Jewish people have killed some Muslim people. Some Christians killed some Jews and some Muslims. Some Muslims have killed some Jewish people and some Christian people. God wants this to stop!

Quite a bit of the fighting has involved the sacred city of Jerusalem and surrounding countries. Yet, it is a sacred place. “Jerusalem has been the holiest city in Judaism and the ancestral and spiritual homeland of the Jewish people since the 10th century BCE.” A very sacred Jewish temple was destroyed in Jerusalem. Jerusalem is a pilgrimage location during Passover, Shavuot, and Sukhot. (myjewishlearning.com)

Jerusalem is also considered to be a holy city in Christianity. Jesus was brought to Jerusalem when he was a child to attend religious events and festivals. According to the gospels, “Jesus preached and healed in Jerusalem….” (Wikipedia). The Last Supper, Jesus’ trial, the crucifixion, and resurrection took place in Jerusalem.

“Jerusalem is considered a sacred site in Islamic tradition, along with Mecca and Medina. Islamic tradition holds that the previous prophets were associated with the city….” One Muslim pilgrimage site is the Ali-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. Wikipedia (Note, prophets previous to Muhammad)

Interfaith site: uri.org “Islam: Basic Beliefs“

whyislam? “What is Islam?”

Prayer – It would be nice is people could work out some of their differences during our battle with the Corona Virus. A prayer for resolving differences and looking beyond those difference would be good.

The Age of Discovery – More “Souls” to Be Saved in the New World, But Most Forced or Coerced Baptisms

I am again using the National Geographic issue called, “Jesus and the Origins of Christianity” as a reference. “Large Colonial Empires of the 19th Century” comes from this source, as does, “The Age of Discovery”.

There were inventions around 1500 that allowed for “enhanced navigation” including the sextant. There was a drive to find territories in Southeast Asia in order to meet the demand for spices. There was also the drive to “…Search for Gold and Souls”. This section of the National Geographic magazine does not avoid the “Christianity Issue” (my words). “The search, however, was often concealed under a second loftier goal of bringing the civilizing grace of Christianity to people in remote regions of the Earth.” It’s sad how people can so easily use religion to justify ruling and dominating people.

Portugal ended up with trading areas along the coast of African and they had limited success with Brazil. Christophe Columbus did do some feats as far as his sailing goes, but treated some natives called Taino in Hispaniola terribly. Columbus had described them as being friendly. They were forced to find gold. If they didn’t find enough gold, they had limbs cut off. I assume that death soon followed. Columbus, of course, kept a portion of the gold. I can truly now say that we should not celebrate Columbus Day.

biography.com “Was Christopher Columbus a Hero or a Villain?”

Christopher Columbus’s expeditions were financed by Spain. As the reformation was unfolding in Europe, many expeditions were undertaken with the goal or “converting” native peoples. Many Spanish “…expeditions were accompanied by monks and priests, mostly Dominicans and Franciscans, whose mission was to baptize newly discovered peoples.” In “The Age of Discovery” it says that many natives agreed to be baptized for fear of retribution, but others were moved by Christianity and wanted to be Christian. I have to find another source before I accept that statement.

10.7 million survived “the dreaded middle passage.” They were taken to “North America, the Caribbean, and South America.”The main point I want to make here, which is a bit off topic is that the Africans were taken to North America were 450,000. This is significant in that in the United States our awareness of history from the rest of the Americas is limited.

the trumpet.com A Brief History of Catholicism in America.

The Spanish Inquisition was felt in South America. This makes me feel ill. Other peoples who practiced other faiths settled in areas of South America. They were tortured and killed as heretics. I think they were tortured until they admitted that their religion was wrong. Judge not lest the be judged.

So, God sees Christians fighting with Muslims during the Crusades. Then, Christians are fighting with each other over Catholicism versus other religions. Then, Christians take their same views over to the Americas. It sounds like there were a few people from the Catholic faith who persuaded gently, but there were many, many more by far who used the threat of violence.

I don’t know if the peoples who came from Europe to the “New World” tried to “convert” the native peoples. They most decidedly destroyed the natives way of lives as they new it (I don’t include the deaths from illnesses except where smallpox could have been prevented by vaccine – and someone wouldn’t give it). California and, perhaps, a few other states fell under the rule of the Spanish for a time.

We need to use these historical conflicts of religious groups as an example. We shouldn’t be judging people and there is no justification in judging others’ religions. There is teaching by example, there is guiding and teaching when welcomed to an event. But, never should there be coercion, promises, or violence when encouraging peoples to accept the one God.

Prayer: it is Palm Sunday, so there are appropriate prayers; thanking Christ and God is always good (we don’t thank them enough and it is really important that we do so), As far as the virus goes – if you want, pray about people’s fears. I think my sister is seeing a bit of the fear that the elderly patients feel. People are dying and they can’t be with loved ones. The health care givers who have to deliver bad news via the phone – they feel it. Pick one. I just listed too many.