Amid current sectarian tension and clashes in Indonesia, a Catholic biblical scholar has warned against fanaticism that uses the Bible to cultivate enmity instead of spreading the message of peace.
   Franciscan Fr Martin Harun told some 100 participants of a seminar on the Bible and communication that the involvement of Christians in the clashes might reveal a lack of internalisation of Gospel ideals.
   While acknowledging that Bible publication and distribution have increased, he wondered whether the Bible is always "read and interpreted to foster the faith and life of Christians in a way that really reflects the Gospel spirit."
   "We need to question whether that quantitative increase is followed by the qualitative progress of Christians," said the priest, a lecturer in biblical studies at the Jakarta-based Driyarkara Catholic Schools of Philosophy.
   "Does the use of the Bible tend to foster biblical fanaticism and fail to elicit the message of peace in the heart of the Gospel?" he asked.
   He underscored the relevance of the answers to such questions as feedback for Indonesian Christians amid the sporadic sectarian clashes.
UCAN 2/3/00

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