For the purposes of this Piece, attention would be focused on the temporalities of enmity across Christian and other Abrahamic traditions – namely, Judaism and Islam.
The Abrahamic religions are those faiths that trace their origins to the Israelite prophet Abraham.
The three Abrahamic religions believe in the monotheistic God – that there is only one all-supreme being that is universally referred to as God.
Monotheism is distinguished from, Henotheism, which is a religious system in which the believer worships one God without denying that others may worship different gods with equal validity.
Christianity, Judaism and Islam, are all regarded as Abrahamic religions due to their shared worship of the God (referred to as Yahweh in Hebrew and as Allah in Arabic), that these traditions claim, revealed Himself to Abraham.
Abrahamic religions share the same distinctive features and the Hebrew Bible is considered sacred by all three Abrahamic religions.
One of the Mosaic commandments (Exodus 20:13), prohibits murder. Why is murder wrong? Because, people are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27, 9:6). (Leviticus 19:17-18, 33-34), admonishes humans to “love our neighbours as ourselves”.
The Qur’an repeatedly refers to God as compassionate and just. It also says that, “there is no compulsion in religion (2:256): submission to God must be freely chosen, not forced.
The Qur’an urges Muslims to use “beautiful preaching”, to persuade people to accept Islam and to “argue nicely” with Jews and Christians who are seen as worshipping the same God as their own (16:125, 29:46).
According to the Encyclopedia of Wars, out of 1,763 known/recorded historical conflicts, 121, or 6.87%, had religion as the primary cause.
It is matter of fact that in as much as the Bible and the Qur’an all preach peace, the same Holy Books, also preach war – therein lies the opened gates that allow extremism to find roots, fester, flourish, blossom, and bear fruits that are devoured ravenously in the lines of, brutish and barbaric lasting infernos that have burnt up significant portions of human existence.
Of course, Christians, Muslims and Jews, are prone to seeing in their Holy Books, only what they choose to see and ignoring (selective amnesia) other passages that contradict their preconceived beliefs.
For example, Qur’an 2:190, says that, “Fight in the path of God those who fight you, but do not transgress limits, for God does not love transgressors”.
In the Holy Bible, it is written; “Repay no one evil for evil … never avenge yourselves … vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord”. (Romans 12:17-19).
If religious extremism led to the, Holocaust, Apartheid, Yugoslav War, and is making the current war in Gaza beset the optics of this generation, then why hold on to any form of extremism?
If the extremism (too much of everything is bad), has led to bloodletting and the destruction of human existence in diverse forms, should we then not be heartily embracing “Religious Prostitution”?
Where “Religious Prostitution” is defined by this writer to mean, “the ability of all faiths – especially believers of faiths that hold on to Father Abraham, to be able, out of personal volition, exchange worship without compromising the faith they hold on to by day, nor abusing the faith they associate with by night”.
Day and Night in this contest simply means, the faith which anchors your understanding of God and that which you visit as a matter of respecting other faiths, respectively.
If the God of Christians and Muslims, is a Compassionate God, and so we must allow compassion to temper our fury and restrain us from waging war of annihilation; are there also times when justice should override mercy? A subject of continuous wide and varied discourse.
As Ghana approaches a very crucial election in 2024, let every sinew be stretched to vehemently “kill/ slaughter” all forms of religious bigotry aimed selfishly at stepping on dead bodies, walking in innocent blood, just to secure political power for personal/clannish ravenous and marauding covetous dissipation of the nation’s resources.
Ghana does not have scarce resources; what we have, is, scarce genuine leadership, that has the sacred and genuine development of the nation at heart.
As a student of the Platonic School of Theological Political Thought, I am of the firmest of conviction that, a proper understanding of the divine nature is critically essential to finding human virtue and lasting happiness within the time space of our ephemeral human existence in this earth realm.
“Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you” (Mathew 6:33).
Samuel Koku Anyidoho
Founder, Atta-Mills Institute
Student of Political Theology.