By Brian L Brink
“Is religion the problem?” asked renowned world leader Rev. Dr. Munib Younan, who spoke at Thiel College on Thursday, April 12 during the penultimate interfaith lecture for this term.
Younan, Bishop Emeritus from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Jordan and the Holy Land, is a native Palestinian. He was the first to translate a sacred Lutheran text into Arabic and cofounded a Lutheran church in the Holy Land.
Throughout the lecture he spoke a lot about Israel/Palestine Conflict and extremism on both sides of the conflict. He also spoke about Jerusalem and how it is a city of two peoples and three religions.
When speaking of extremism, Younan said how it goes against love and therefore against religion. He said how all three religions preach love and all three have some version of the golden rule. The most notable of which is, “do unto to others as you would have done to yourself.” He said how he lived under occupation from the Israeli government and has had to deal with people who have forgotten this rule.
When speaking about Jerusalem, Younan said that currently the mayor is taxing Christian churches so that they have to close. According to him, this is a way to try to drive Christianity out of the Holy Land.
Younan said that the city could be for both Israel and Palestine. He stated that if they split the city in half then the western half could be used as the capital of Israel and the eastern half could be used as the capital of Palestine. He said that the people could live in peace.
Younan started his lecture by asking if religion was the problem but also said that religion could be the solution. He sated that if all three religions work together in peace with love that the conflict could easily come to an end.
There will be one more interfaith lecture this term on Sunday, May 6, for those graduating, during commencement.