I just finished watching the Netflix movie, “King Arthur”. I watched with tears in my eyes for the showing of King Arthur as a righteous man who actually freed the serfs from torture and death under the hands of cruel Roman Catholic lords and leaders.
In 467 AD the movie takes place just about when Muhammad was said to be born a few years later. What I found fascinating is that Arthur was a Catholic, but did not approve of the torture and murder of the pagan Brits coming from the Celtic regions, called “Woads”. He actually meets Guinevere by rescuing her from death under the hands of roman priests said to be doing the “work of God”. Of course, knowing what we know today we can look at this scene of torture with absolute disgust and see this is indeed not the work of God, but instead the work of cruel men.
After the movie, I was interested in learning more about the movie and went to read about it deeper. I find out that in this particular film directed by Antoine Fuqua, Arthur is shown as a devote Christian, but follows the teachings of Pelagianism, which many considered heretical at the time and surprisingly today. I am starting to like the Christians that were considered “heretical” by the Catholic church. They seem to be the ones who think on their own and really follow the teachings of Christ without following man.
Pelagianism is the belief that original sin did not taint human nature and that mortal will is capable of choosing good and evil without special Divine aid from the church. Sounds a lot like Islam, actually. In the Quran there is no middle man granted to get you into heaven such as a priest or bishop. It is simply what you do on earth and your relationship with the creator.
I am not sure if King Arthur really was a pelagianist and as gallant of a character he is depicted in this movie as he reunites all pagan and religious brits together allowing diversified belief in Britain once again when he becomes King. But I will say that his form of Christianity expressed in this movie shows a connection to Islam and the way the Quran guided us. These were peaceful pagans who just wanted to live their lives with their own beliefs. Muhammad too was guided to teach the pagans of Mecca, but if they did not fight them, then there was no need to fight as the Quran revelations teach.
I am not suggesting at all that Muhammad took the ideas from the monk Pelagius who rejected the idea of the Augustinian concept of salvation through faith alone. What I am proposing is that these are the types of Christians that Islam is recognizing in line 2:62:
Indeed, those who believed and those who were Jews or Christians or Sabeans – those among them who believed in Allah and the Last Day and did righteousness – will have their reward with their Lord, and no fear will there be concerning them, nor will they grieve.
These were the Christians that were not listening to the ideas of men that say you had to follow the church and seek salvation from a priest alone through rituals and loyalty to the priests. And instead looked for salvation through good works and a good heart, these were the brothers and sisters of the Muslims reaching the same wisdom about God at the time.
..and you will find the nearest of them in affection to the believers those who say, “We are Christians.” That is because among them are priests and monks and because they are not arrogant.
Pelagius was indeed our Christian brother monk, my fellow Muslims.