Rev. Ann Holmes Redding believes you can and is spreading her version of the good news to the masses in Seattle. The Seattle Times did a story a couple of weeks ago about her and her newly adopted faith in Allah. The story attempts to address the some of the contradictory issues surrounding her dual religion.
Shortly after noon on Fridays, the Rev. Ann Holmes Redding ties on a black headscarf, preparing to pray with her Muslim group on First Hill. On Sunday mornings, Redding puts on the white collar of an Episcopal priest
Friends generally say they support her, while religious scholars are mixed: Some say that, depending on how one interprets the tenets of the two faiths, it is, indeed, possible to be both. Others consider the two faiths mutually exclusive.
Fundamental to Christianity is the belief that Christ is God. 100% God. 100% human. Not just a great teacher or prophet as Islam and other religions claim, but God. No if and or buts. So as a Christian I wonder how I could believe Christ is God and at the same time be Islamic and believe he is not. I don’t think it is possible and I was glad that the article touched on this.
“There are tenets of the faiths that are very, very different,” said Kurt Fredrickson, director of the doctor of ministry program at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif. “The most basic would be: What do you do with Jesus?”
“I don’t think it’s possible” to be both, Fredrickson said, just like “you can’t be a Republican and a Democrat.”
Being both Muslim and Christian — “I don’t know how that works,” said Hisham Farajallah, president of the Islamic Center of Washington.
I’m a bit relieved that at least a couple of people beyond myself, especially learned people, don’t think it is possible to be both Muslim and Christian. But how does a woman of the book and a reverend no less reconcile the theological differences?
Redding doesn’t feel she has to resolve all the contradictions. People within one religion can’t even agree on all the details, she said. “So why would I spend time to try to reconcile all of Christian belief with all of Islam?
I guess her answer is that she doesn’t reconcile the theological differences. I do think she has a point about people agreeing on the details of their religion, but there is a bit more to religion than doctrinal details. Religions, especially Christianity, are about faith and choice. Do you believe in Christ’s teachings or don’t you? Christ believed himself to be God, do you believe Christ is God or don’t you?
I and my Father are one. Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.
Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
I’m in the Christian camp. I believe what Christ said, I believe He is God. Christianity is a religion of choice and Christian doctrine doesn’t say that there aren’t other spiritual beliefs. We have a few ale carte churches in this area who claim to be homes for spiritual people regardless of whether they are pagan, Christian, Islamic, Jewish, or even atheist. I can’t buy into mixing Christianity with any other religion. Christianity is a religion of choice and the rewards of the right choice are immense.
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
So I come back to her statement “I am both Muslim and Christian” and ask the question of whether or not she has chosen Christianity.
As much as she loves her church, she has always challenged it. She calls Christianity the “world religion of privilege.” She has never believed in original sin. And for years she struggled with the nature of Jesus’ divinity.
Pretty tough to call yourself a Christian let alone a reverend while you still struggle with your religions core tenets. So we don’t really have an answer to whether or not you can be both Christian and Muslim because, although I am not the Judge, I don’t think she qualifies as a Christian.