Monday, April 20, 2009

Tony Blair Aims to Bring Together World's Religions

Curt Here...

Here is a very interesting article about former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair. After Tony Blair left office he started a foundation called the "Faith Foundation." This foundation that he leads has been created to help bring together the worlds religions and to wrestle away the influence of extremists from all the major religions.

In doing so, the thought is that if we all work together and set aside our differences and compromise on our major religious disagreements, than we can do a lot of good together in the world. Sounds good doesn't it, but the truth couldn't be further from this.

You see, when you hear the word extremist in relation to religion these days you have to understand, they are not just talking about radical, violent Islamic extremism anymore. They are clearly talking about any religious individual of all the major faiths that believe that their way to Heaven or God is the only way.

This of course would include us Christians that believe Jesus when he said in John 14:6 - I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life and no one comes to the Father but through Me.

When we read this Scripture it seems pretty clear that the only way to God the Father who is in Heaven is through Jesus his Son. Unfortunately today, if that is your position you will soon be labeled as a religious extremist.

This should not surprise us, especially if the return of Christ is near. The Bible told us in advance that there would be persecution in the world that would be different from any other period of time. This time will include the persecution of the Saints. Persecution for believing that Jesus is the only way to God the Father. This period of time would occur during the Great Tribulation.

Mathew 24:9,21

9. "Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name.

21. "For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will

Now we have a major global political leader attempting to discredit the major foundational cornerstone of Christianity and is also marginalizing the followers. Yep the form work for this upcoming period of time is beginning to happen, just like the Bible said it would.

Stay Tuned


Tony Blair answers new calling

Former British PM's 'Faith Foundation' aims to bring together world's religions

Tony Blair, via his wily spin doctor, once famously told a reporter he didn't "do God."

When it came to invoking the Almighty, British leaders aren't like American presidents. Blair feared being branded "a nutter," he later said, if he talked about his religious convictions.

But he had them. And he's no longer wary of saying so.

"I'm really, and always have been in a way, more interested in religion than politics," he says.

Blair converted to Roman Catholicism six months after leaving office in 2007. But that was just the start of a formidable quest to bring together the world's major religions. The Tony Blair Faith Foundation was launched last spring.

"To understand the state of modern politics you have to understand the modern state of religion," Blair says in an exclusive email interview before a visit Friday to Toronto. The foundation's aim is to advance interfaith action and wrestle back influence from extremists – of all faiths, not just Islam.

A restless former leader in search of a legacy?

Blair was appointed a Mideast peace envoy within hours of leaving Downing Street, a role observers said was unlikely to yield him either fulfilment or success. Will a bid to bridge religious divides fare any better?

So far, so good. One year later, the foundation, now partnered with Yale University, offers academic courses to 25 religiously disparate students. And another 30 young people from Canada, the U.S. and U.K. have been recruited as "Faiths Act Fellows" to campaign against resurgent, deadly malaria.

Blair, who's taken to reading the Old and New Testaments and the Qu'ran daily, says the foundation isn't a short-term interest: "This is not for me a `this year and next year' project. This is a rest-of-my-life project. Over time, people will be able to see me in a different light."

In other words, not just as the U.S.'s chief ally in the Iraq invasion.

Once hugely popular, Blair ended his 10 years in power vilified by the anti-war British public, accused of toadying to the U.S. and outright lying about the reasons for invading: "Bliar," the protest placards read.

"You can certainly understand the skepticism about his new role," says Stephen Brooke, a British historian at York University. "He ended up so disliked that people wondered if he even knew what the truth was any more."

Yet Brooke doesn't doubt his sincerity: "He's right about the importance of religion. But is he an appropriate mouthpiece? He's been soiled by his foreign policy."

Blair, 56 next month, is impassioned about the new vocation, saying it gives him "a powerful sense of mission, every bit as powerful as I felt in politics."

The BBC recently filmed him at Yale, giving a seminar to the first crop of students, batting ideas back and forth on how to unite disparate faiths into a force for global good, not dissension – and clearly relishing the byplay.

"I think I got my whole life the wrong way round," he says at one point. "I should have started with the conceptual debate first."

In fact, he did. At Oxford University in the 1970s, a fellow student, an Anglican priest, awoke in him a sense that Christianity should mean "living action," not just spiritual belief. It was there, through a diverse set of friends, he first learned about the six major faiths: Judaism, Christianity and Islam, which share common roots; and Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism.

"There's a clear record of religion being a constant theme in his life," says Paul Webb, a political scientist at England's University of Sussex. Because so many Muslims saw the attack on Iraq as an attack on Islam, "he may be trying, perhaps, to resolve that issue in some way."

Or perhaps not. Blair still insists his decision to join the U.S. in the war was made for the right reasons: "I regret the consequences of Iraq, but not the decision to remove Saddam."

But the foundation isn't all about Islam. He's also been busy trying to explain the mindset of the Vatican. Questioned by a gay rights magazine about Rome's hard-line stance on homosexuality, he said the problem was "generational," then added in a newly fitting, ecumenical way:

"There's probably that same fear among (other) religious leaders that if you concede on an issue like this ... where does it end? You'd start having to rethink many, many things. My view is that rethinking is good, so let's carry on rethinking."


the70thweek said...

I can't wait to hear how our media and new President will react to this.

Good find Curt, keep on truckin'

Craig said...

I find it interesting how Blair refers to Islam, Christianity and Judaism as the Abrahamic faiths as if there's a lot of similarities between the three. Of course, there's no denying similarities between Judaism and Christianity; but, yet, there's that one glaring difference -- Jesus Christ. A rather large one!

I also find it interesting that Rick Warren is on Blair's advisory board. Oh, yeah, and that both Blair and Warren are members of the Council of Foreign Relations...