Political turmoil in the Islamic strongholds of Egypt and Tunisia, along with continuing attacks on Christians throughout the Middle East, causes one to consider the future of Christianity in these Muslim lands. Religious freedom is lacking. At one time, it was lacking in "Christian" Europe.
The Protestant Reformation was based upon liberty of conscience and "Sola Scriptura", the Bible and the Bible only. Both were unknown in Roman Catholic Europe at the time. What is the Roman Church's stance today on the important Biblical principle of "liberty of conscience"? One Roman Catholic priest has some important thoughts on the subject reported here:For the future of the dialogue, Fr. Samir believes there needs to be a new recognition in Muslim countries of the need to respect freedom of conscience and the rights of religious minorities. He said few Muslims have yet to see the issue as important in political or religious terms.“The importance of liberty of conscience, few people feel that or understand it,” he said. “But the Pope is repeating it — and in my experience it is fundamental.”While he is optimistic about the possibilities of peaceful co-existence, Fr. Samir believes there must be an agreement within Islam that all violence is “anti-religion” and in fact, a work of the devil.
These are very strong statements coming from within an institution that has in the past not valued liberty of conscience in matters of worship. It would be a great blessing to know that the Vatican and her church will not attempt to interfere in state matters that involve how we worship our God.The Roman priest, Samir, has stated an important Biblical truth, "The importance of liberty of conscience....in my experience it is fundamental." And he states that "the pope is repeating it--" They are correct when they state that the Muslim religion does not separate church from state. Therefore, the state is put in the position to force allegiance in matters of worship. Thus we see violence against those who convert from the Muslim religion. This Roman priest has introduced the subject of separation between church and state and has indicated that Rome values the Protestant principle. Commenting on Islam he said “In their mentality, the West is still seen as Christian nations. It is still Christianity against Islam — precisely because they don’t make a distinction between religion and the state.” Often in false religions we find inconsistencies in such important matters.