The Philos Project seeks to promote positive Christian engagement in the Near East by creating leaders, building community, and taking action in the spirit of the Hebraic Tradition.
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Positive Christian engagement is learned, principled, practical, relational, and action-oriented activity that defends human life, human thought, and human diversity.
Philos is a non-sectarian organization whose board, staff, and members belong to various Christian churches and hold to various schools of theological interpretation within the realm of Nicene orthodoxy.
The gospel “is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek.” (Romans 1:16) We insist upon the right of all people to embrace, pursue, and discuss the gospel in every country, basing that right on the dictates of our faith and Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”
We affirm the right of all Christians to live and flourish as indigenous citizens of the Near East. Given the long history of discrimination and persecution, we believe that Near Eastern Christians deserve unique protections – even affirmative action – in order to preserve their language, culture, and religious practices. We call upon all Near Eastern states to embrace Christians as equal members of society, not second-class citizens. We also call upon Western states and non-state actors to steward their resources and influence in a way that advances the best interests of Near Eastern Christians in their ancient homelands.
Philos is a non-partisan organization.
We believe that the Jewish nation is an indigenous nation of the Near East with a right to live in its ancient homeland. We believe that the State of Israel is a legitimate expression of Jewish nationhood. We also believe that Israel has the right to defend itself, as well as the obligation to protect its citizens regardless of race, creed, or color. Our support for Israel’s legitimacy does not imply support for any particular party, ministry, legislative or executive action, or public statement issued by any government official. Israel is a state and should be held to the same standards as any other state.
We make a distinction between Muslims and Islam. Muslims are human beings made in the image of God who merit the same dignity and respect accorded to all human beings. Islam is a world religion, even a world civilization, with views about faith and politics that diverge from Christian views at key points. As Christians we recognize commonalities between our two religions: a shared patriarch in Abraham, a commitment to monotheism, and a joint affirmation of traditional values. We also recognize a tremendous range of opinion within the Muslim world. As Christians, however, we reject the central truth claim of Islam – that God superseded prior revelations by giving one final revelation to Muhammad in the Qur’an – and disagree with those schools of Islamic interpretation that reject pluralism, denigrate non-Muslims, or seek to impose Islamic doctrine through violence. We respect and affirm the right of Muslims to practice their faith freely. But we respect a religion only until it forces itself on those who don’t believe. We seek to build lasting friendships with those Muslims who share a commitment to pluralism and endorse the right of Jews and Christians to live as equals in the modern Near East.
Our position begins from principles, not paradigms. We support Jewish security and self-determination in the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea; we also support Palestinian security and self- determination in the same area. Broadly, then, we support some variant of the two-state solution – ideally a Jewish state with a Palestinian minority and a Palestinian state with a Jewish minority – although we are open to new approaches that recognize both Jewish and Palestinian rights, including innovative ideas about confederation. We adamantly oppose those who deny the connection of Jews or Palestinians to the land, or who call for violence against the other. Both the Jewish state and the Palestinian state should be democratic and pluralistic.