'Triple heritage' hope for Mideast peace
Hesston speaker presents vision to reconcile Muslims, Christians, JewsBy Phil Richard Hesston College
HESSTON, Kan. — A history professor at Seattle (Wash.) Pacific University contends that the common heritage of Abraham claimed by Jews, Christians and Muslims can lead to peace, instead of conflict, among the people of those three faiths.
Don Holsinger spoke on “Abraham’s Triple Heritage: Foundation Stones for Middle East Peace” during the Melva Kauffman Memorial Lecture Series at Hesston College Sept. 7-9.
Holsinger drew from his studies over the past 30 years, along with firsthand experiences in Algeria and Israel/Palestine.
“All three faiths begin with one God who was revealed through history and time, with Abraham being the key person,” he said. “All three faiths believe in the importance of prayer, individual free will, a strong ethic of social justice, a final judgment and a tie to the Holy Land.”
Beyond that commonality, the three faiths diverge.
“They have different takes on God’s revelation,” he said. “Jews see themselves as people chosen by God. Christians believe the fullest revelation of God was through a person, Jesus Christ. Muslims, meanwhile, believe God revealed himself to Muhammad through a book, the Quran, in the seventh century.
“The problem comes when exclusive claims are made, like ‘It belongs to me and not to you.’ All three faiths have used Abraham to serve their own purposes. That runs counter to the spirit of Abraham, who was known for his hospitality and generosity.”
Holsinger said that since Muhammad’s life in the seventh and eighth centuries, negative stereotypes and distorted images of Christians, Jews and Muslims have exploded through shifting thrusts of military power that continue today.
He called the city of Hebron in the occupied West Bank, about 20 miles south of Jerusalem, a microcosm of the animosity between Christians, Jews and Muslims.
“Half the world’s population see Hebron as sacred,” he said. “For one thing, it’s the city of Abraham, where, according to Genesis, he is buried.”
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