He apparently said, with great insight, that the key to World harmony in the 21st century is for these two faiths to 'get on' with each other.
Well there's a shocker - you mean if they fight one another, and can't agree about who's book is best, we won't have World peace? Damn.
Unfortunately this was about the high-point of his lucidity and hold upon the realities facing our World, as he then went on to say that many of the challenges facing the world today were similar to those that confronted Jesus and Mohammed. Yeah, like not knowing how rainfall works, thinking the desert is full of djinns, thinking that the World beyond the horizon is populated by Giants and mythical creatures, that sort of thing. Oh and of course mistaking 'voices' for the creator of the Universe - all problems we are dealing with today.
“Each was made to feel an outsider. Each stood out against the conventional teaching of the time. Each believed in the universal appeal of God to humanity. Each was a change-maker.” He said.
Where to start?
Jesus, if he even existed, was made to feel an outsider because he went around claiming to be the Messiah. Not the first, and by no means (still) the last person to do so of course, but if there's one thing gauranteed to piss off a Jew, it's claiming to be the Messiah. Seriously, go to Golders Green and find an Orthodox gentleman, minding his own business, and tell him your the Messiah. If he doesn't get really pissed off, I'll eat my hat.
And of course, not content with annoying Jews he had to go around bothering the Romans too, which is never a plan.
Mohammed, on the other hand, was just a merchant, and by all accounts not a very good one. He was treated as an outsider for disappearing into a cave and coming back with a load of stories - sorry I mean the final and immutable word of God - that bore an uncanny resemblance to local and nearby legends, plus a few bits about how he could treat his wives, of course. Were it not for his large family, and their penchant for murderous conquest, the World could have been spared this particular 'change maker'.
Such is history.
Mr Blair's talk pretty much went downhill from there. He then went on to say that faith was 'abused to do wrong'. Once again, an incredible insight (I'm beginning to understand why he became a Catholic) that ignores the fairly obvious point that faith is not only abused, but lends itself very freely to any idiot going who cares to interpet it in any way they choose. Faith is a whore - she'll do anything you want, just depends how you say whats written. Reminds me of the iphone advert - "You want peace and justice for all? - There's an ap for that." You want World domination and stoning for the infidels? There's an ap for that." And so on.
“We face an aggressive secular attack from without. We face the threat of extremism from within.”
Arguing that there was “no hope” from atheists who scorn God, he said the best way to confront the 'secularist agenda' was for all faiths to unite against it.
At least he recognizes that those who 'scorn' God are unlikely to willingly submit (or resubmit) their brains to the intellectual torpor required to believe in the big man in the sky. And if the best way for faiths to defeat the 'secularist agenda' is for them to unite, then I don't think we nasty 'secularist agenda-ists' (if you'll forgive that appalling grammatical construct) are in any particular danger, at least for the forsee-able future. Less chance, I feel, of the Pope standing shoulder to shoulder with an Ayatollah than of the bikini becoming all the rage in Riyadh.
He said: “Those who scorn God and those who do violence in God’s name, both represent views of religion. But both offer no hope for faith in the twenty first century.”
Sadly, there's plenty of hope for faith in the 21st century. Between them, followers of Islam and Christianity comprise about half of the World's population. I don't have a decent estimate of the numbers of atheists, agnostics and other non-believers, but I don't suppose its much more than one or two percent of the Earth's population. So I suppose we should feel at least slightly happy that such a minority is seen as a threat to religion. Only a threat, of course, because the evil 'secularist agenda' of the last couple of hundred years has made it very difficult to burn us.
I can't wait for born-again Blair to become unelected 'president' of an unelected European Government, I really can't. It's a prospect that fills my soul with boundless joy. Sarcasm? As if I would...
Link to this story: Times Online