Saturday, June 26, 2010

Religious Geography Roundup: June 26

Coptic Pope Authority Challenge by Islamic and Civil Law Based Egyptian Court

The old joke goes something along the lines of "If the Orthodox and Catholic Churches are so similar why did Protestants not declare the Patriarch of Constantinople to be the Anti-Christ? Because the Anti-Christ has better things to do than listen to the Ottoman Sultan for 500 years." The joke is based off of the fact that after the fall of Constantinople the Orthodox Church was split apart from a new communion with the Catholic Church and further split along ethnic lines by the Muslim Turks.

The Muslim Arabs of Egypt gave the Coptic Christians of Egypt a little more leeway in freedom. However, the rise of Islamism has encouraged groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and al Qaeda to target Copts for oppression and violence. Now the government has formally gotten involved with the oppression with a court (Egypt's legal system is based on Islamic Law and French Civil Law) ordering the church to allow divorced members to be remarried in the church.

Unlike the Eastern Patriarchs of old the Coptic Pope is fighting against the ruling. Time will tell if the court ruling is a fluke or if Egypt's government deems the Coptic Church as subject to Islamic-Civil rule.

Conference Debates the Locations of Book Mormon Events

Earlier I blogged about the Limited Geography Model of the Book of Mormon which stated the alleged North American events of the Book of Mormon took place in Central America. Last month a conference of (Salt Lake City) Mormon geographers gathered to debate the location of the lost cities of White Indians who were descendants of Ancient Jews. The debate seems to have gotten heated between those who think the events happened in North America as opposed to South America or North America (Mormons believe the Garden of Eden was in present-day Independence, Missouri. There is a movement within the Church that most Biblical and Mormon events occurred around Independence).

The Church of Jesus Christ and Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City Mormons) has no official position on the geography in the Book of Mormon. Neither does the Community of Christ (Missouri Mormons).

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