Shortly after noon on Fridays, the Rev. Ann Holmes Redding ties on a black headscarf, preparing to pray with her Muslim group on First Hill.How does that work? After all, there are significant differences between the Christian faith and the Muslim faith. Most of all their view of Jesus:
On Sunday mornings, Redding puts on the white collar of an Episcopal priest.
She does both, she says, because she's Christian and Muslim.
Christianity has historically regarded Jesus as the son of God and God incarnate, both fully human and fully divine. Muslims, though they regard Jesus as a great prophet, do not see him as divine and do not consider him the son of God.Redding explains it this way:
"I am both Muslim and Christian, just like I'm both an American of African descent and a woman. I'm 100 percent both."Um, sorry, Rev. Redding, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't work that way. You're an American by your citizenship, African by your ancestry, and woman by your gender. Those are three distinct categories. Muslim and Christian are in the same category of religion/faith, but are quite contrary to each other.
The programming director at the Al-Islam Center of Seattle, Ayesha Anderson, doesn't agree:
"Islam doesn't say if you're a Christian, you're not a Muslim. Islam doesn't lay it out like that."Would Anderson say the same about the Jews, who are also considered to be "People of the Book"? Why is there so much Muslim vs. Jew and Muslim vs. Christian persecution? How do you explain much of the Middle East and places like Sudan?
Later on there are some more clues regarding Redding's beliefs:
She calls Christianity the "world religion of privilege." She has never believed in original sin. And for years she struggled with the nature of Jesus' divinity.After reading that, Rev. Redding, I'd say you're definitely Muslim. If Jesus is not part of the Trinity, is not the Son of God, then His death and resurrection are meaningless, and He is not able to be the Savior.
In March 2006, she said her shahada — the profession of faith — testifying that there is only one God and that Mohammed is his messenger. She became a Muslim.
She believes the Trinity is an idea about God and cannot be taken literally.
She does not believe Jesus and God are the same, but rather that God is more than Jesus.
She believes Jesus is the son of God insofar as all humans are the children of God, and that Jesus is divine, just as all humans are divine — because God dwells in all humans.
What makes Jesus unique, she believes, is that out of all humans, he most embodied being filled with God and identifying completely with God's will.
She does believe that Jesus died on the cross and was resurrected, and acknowledges those beliefs conflict with the teachings of the Quran. "That's something I'll find a challenge the rest of my life," she said.
She considers Jesus her savior. At times of despair, because she knows Jesus suffered and overcame suffering, "he has connected me with God," she said.
Being Muslim has given her insights into Christianity, she said. For instance, because Islam regards Jesus as human, not divine, it reinforces for her that "we can be like Jesus. There are no excuses."