It bothers me that all the really fascinating things I learn about – moral courage and social entrepreneurship, Paul Farmer and liberation theology, taking the core of your “religious” beliefs seriously and public service – I learn about outside the classroom, church, and mainstream media. That some of the best public health measures could actually be things like what Scott Harrison is doing with charity:water – gathering support and raising money to install wells in Africa so that people can have easily accessible, clean water. Development in Gardening, which helps people in developing countries start their own gardens so they can improve nutrition for AIDS patients and community members in general. Or Oxfam
The last time I cried as much as I did while watching The Stoning of Soraya M. was when I watched The Passion of the Christ. Except, it was worse this time, and not because my hands were tied with rope. The Passion…well, most people have heard about the story of Jesus…He died for our sins on a cross, He was ridiculed for calling Himself God. He was a great person. But Soraya was also a great person, and yet she was killed too, for no good reason. Not just by her community, but some of her own family members, as well. Leading up to the event, people in Soraya's community had uneasy feelings about the accusations and following through with the stoning. They knew that there was something wrong with the situation, and yet…the stoning still happened.
This story is about more than “stoning.” It’s not saying that the stoners should be punished, or the Islam faith rejected. Firstoff, the takeaway from tonight’s film screening and discussion is that we need to stand up for things that we find wrong in society, as Zahra did. She is the reason the book was written, and the reason this film exists. She used her moral courage to take advantage of a journalist in town to bring to light a horrible situation, that of suppressed women’s rights and an unconscionable practice that still exists today called stoning. Two thousand years ago, Jesus said “let him who is without sin throw the first stone.” Nobody could throw the stone because nobody was without sin. Too bad people still haven't learned this lesson.
Yet there is a moral fiber that runs through virtually every religion, and Islam is no exception. Irshad Manji has made that clear with her book The Trouble with Islam Today. What happened here (and that I believe has happened with many Catholics and other Christians) is that people strayed from the fundamental truths of their religion. Religion fosters groupthink, which is bad. Belief in God and spirituality should be a personal endeavor. Just as Muslims should know the truth about the Quran, Christians should know that the Nag Hammadi texts exist, and that there are gospels which may be just as valid as the four gospels that made it into the Bible (which only cover the Outer Mysteries).
I'd like to leave you with these lyrics, from a Follower-of-Christ perspective:
But if we are the body
Why aren't His arms reaching?
Why aren't His hands healing?
Why aren't His words teaching?
And if we are the body
Why aren't His feet going?
Why is His love not showing them there is a way?
There is a way
"The single greatest cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, then walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyles. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable." -DC Talk