In a book in which he was interviewed, when asked about the mission of the Church, Pope Emeritus Benedict said in essense that the contrast between the Christian message and other religions is that we bring “Him” to the world as against religions that bring a system of belief and practice intended to please God.
Does this mean the Christian Church does not need to focus on right belief and practice? Of course we do…but there is a very different orientation in that we need to intermediate a Being to the world who seems indeed to be the Perfect Human and the more we show Simply Him and strive to be like Him, the more we fulfill our mission. And what a glorious task we have. When seen in His Fullness, Jesus is overwhelming in so many ways. This is not true of other founders of belief systems. Despite the human respect we may carry for those of the Muslim faith, in discussions I have had with Muslims they do have to defend Mohammed when I have never felt the need to defend Jesus and what He did.
You see, Mohamed looks like one of us in so many ways. He is so really human in all the “dusty and fleshy” sense that we are all human. We see in him a stronger, more focussed version of what a human being can be. One might indeed build a system of belief around such a being. However, in Christ we see Otherness yet recognize in the otherness the self that calls to us to push away the flesh; push away the striving; becoming childlike and pure. An entire book could not do duty to the contrasts between Jesus the Christ and Mohammed.
In Mohammed, like in my own flesh, I see Adam after the fall, and I see Noah and Jacob and David…the ambition of mankind in action. In Jesus I see Adam before the fall and in perfect communion with the Father. To which should we direct our lives?