Because some site is bound to inflict this on you anyway, it may as well be here in our dark little corner of the blogosphere where it belongs…
Well, at least now we know what happens when geeks drop acid. I know that picking just one weird thing out of this freak show seems futile, but there is one extra confusing moment in the video for me. At about the 3:40 mark, the correct lyric should read “Bismillah!”, but the onscreen subtitles declare “It’s my law!” Why?
According to Wikipedia (I know, I know, but it’s what I had on short notice), “Basmala, or Bismillah, is an Arabic noun used as a collective name for the whole of the recurring Islamic phrase bismillahi r-rahmani r-rahimi. It is sometimes translated as ‘In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful’. This phrase is recited before each sura, except for the ninth; according to others it constitutes the first verse of 113 suras/chapters of the Qur'an, and is used in a number of contexts by Muslims. It is recited several times as part of daily prayers, and is usually the first phrase in the preamble of the constitutions of Islamic countries. It also forms the start of many dedication inscriptions on gravestones, buildings, and works of art, which go on to name the deceased or the donor.”
So, considering Bismallah is a Muslim exclamation, were the lyrics changed so as not to offend Muslims? Doubtful. I sure don’t remember anyone declaring a fatwa on Freddie Mercury when he first sang the song all those years ago. So it could just be that Shatner’s getting old and couldn’t understand the words Queen was singing in the first place. Or maybe (and this is a long shot) the Jewish Shatner is uncomfortable using a Muslim term. Now, I doubt that’s the case, but wouldn’t it be something if it were? After all, people can get a little wonky when you start bringing religions together.
If you want to experience just how wonky, try reading paragraph 841 of the Catechism to one of your more stringent evangelical friends. That’s the passage which says, “The Church's relationship with the Muslims: ‘The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind's judge on the last day.’ Now I can’t tell you how many protestant websites there are which takes this paragraph as proof, PROOF I TELL YOU, that Catholics are not Christians. Because after all, Muslims worship God (Allah) but don’t recognize the trinity, so if the Church teaches that Catholics and Muslims worship the same God, then Catholics must worship God (Allah) and not recognize the trinity, so Catholics must not worship the same God as other Christians, ergo Catholics are not Christians. And they put this kind of stuff on their websites with a straight face.
Sigh. Sometimes, there’s just nothing so dangerous as a Christian with a highlighter. Paragraph 841 of the Catechism by itself does read a little iffy when taken by itself. But if you keep reading, paragraphs 846 and 847 not only leave little doubt where the Church stands on Jesus, but puts paragraph 841 in its proper context. "All salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is His Body....They could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it." So you see, paragraph 841 is NOT ecumenism gone wild. By itself it just recognizes that Islam (not without errors) stems from the same Abrahamic tradition that the Church herself does. And when combined with the surrounding paragraphs, it hints at the way God may save folks who are not “fully incorporated into the society of the Church” because they never knew “that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary".
All this whole section of the Catechism basically does is recognize that since Islam helps foster a belief in one God, Muslims who are truly and innocently ignorant of Christ (another post for another time) can still be saved by the singular grace of God. This whole notion of “baptism of desire” goes all the way back to the Bible. It’s what St. Paul was getting at when he stood up at Areopagus in Acts 17 and said, “You Athenians, I see that in every respect you are very religious. For as I walked around looking carefully at your shrines, I even discovered an altar inscribed, ‘To an Unknown God.’ What therefore you unknowingly worship, I proclaim to you.” So really, if you’ve got a problem with paragraph 841 of the Catechism, you’ve got a problem with the teachings of the apostles. All I can say to that is put down the highlighter and back away from it. Everyone will be better off in the end.
Now, with that cleared up… can anyone please tell me what’s going on in this Shatner video? Please?