I discovered the beauty and calm of the desert while in Arizona last year, and captured the early moon from the driveway of Frank Loyd Wright's home, Tailsman. Religions speak of spiritual encounters with God, angels, Satan and demons in the desert. The peaceful void, lack of distractions, and absence of man's presence there makes it possible to hear and perhaps even see the spiritual world about us which is so clouded by noise and visual pollutions of the mind. In the desert we discover ourselves.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
In the 15th century when the Muslim Turks conquered Constantinople they entered its most sacred church, the great Hagia Sophia, Church of the Holy Wisdom, women were violated, men killed, holy objects looted, and the sacred altar desecrated as the conqueror stood on it and faced Mecca with a prayer of thanksgiving. Hagia Sophia was not just another church. It was the seat of the entire Orthodox church rivaling the Vatican in size, age and beauty. The Muslims covered its great mosaics with plaster, removed its cross, and declared it a mosque. Later, they made it a museum. Recently, it was announced that a church in Tarsus, Turkey, birthplace of Saint Paul, would no longer be recognized as a church and was now also a museum. People wishing to pray there were to make an application weeks in advance, secure tickets, and wait for final governmental approval. When Hitler was certain he would win World War II and all of Europe's Jews would be killed, he decided to build a museum dedicated to Judaism. Prior to that Stalin, after destroying 35,000 of Russia's 45,000 churches decided to make surviving buildings (not needed as warehouses or trash dumps) museums as well. Apparently, placing a faith considered an enemy of the state in a museum is an official government declaration that a people and their faith are dead.
Today, apologists for Islam and proponents of Turkish membership in the European Union speak often of the peaceful tolerance of Islam. I find such evidence rare. Islam in total power erases all it opposes one way or another. Western liberal atheists, unceasing in their attacks on Christianity and the state of Israel, would be wise to read history. Surely, after the Christian and Jewish believers are erased they would be next.