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Reader comment on item: [Moderate] Voices of Islam

Submitted by Gordon Mullings (United States), Sep 24, 2003 at 08:43

Dr Pipes

I appreciate your attempt to argue that extreme forms of Islam are the problem, and moderate forms are the answer.

However, you cite Ms Manji in the above, without comment:

"I appreciate that every faith has its share of literalists. Christians have their Evangelicals. Jews have the ultra-Orthodox. For God's sake, even Buddhists have fundamentalists. But what this book hammers home is that only in Islam is literalism mainstream."

I happen to be an Evangelical Christian, and find this most objectionable and unfair:

1] Over the long haul of history, those who take the common-sense view that one should read the Bible essentially as one reads any other book -- in light of setting, genre, text and context -- are very probably the majority of Christians.

2] Evangelical Christians as a rule take seriously Jesus' commands to "love your enemies" and to "pray for those who despitefully use you and persecute you." The Paul Hills of this world are decided exceptions to the principle that we must love the sinner, even as we must expose and call for repentance from the sin.

3] Thus, we seek to "turn the other cheek" in the face of insult, while standing up on the principle that we must peaceably obey God's underlying moral laws of nature: "do to others as you would have them do to you" [Matt 7:12 cf. Lev. 19:15 - 18 & Rom 10:8 - 10] -- rather than blindly obey the arbitrary rulings of abusers, usurpers and tyrants. This is a specifically NT position: Ac 5:29. (That is a big part of how slavery was brought to an end here in Jamaica, and it is why our Anthem calls out "Justice, truth be ours forever . . ." Oh that this land would repent!)

A sharp contrast is therefore to be drawn between jihad-crazed suicidal terrorists who cite texts from their founder (out of context?) in supporting unquestionably wicked acts, and those who seek to live and bear witness to the Prince of Peace in accordance with his explicit instructions to live by love to God and man. [Cf. Matt 22:34 - 40. A discussion of how this leads to a different order for society is at: http://www.angelfire.com/pro/kairosfocus/resources/SD_concept.htm ]

From this also, we can see the Philip Jenkins thesis you have previously cited is at work in an adapted form: there is actually a three cornered struggle for the future:

(1) Islam, in the militant forms that now dominate the global agenda
(2) Secularism and its neopagan and liberal theological allies,
(3) the ongoing Southern Christian reformation.

Ms Manji advocated secularising Islam through application of liberal theological principles. With the ongoing example of what happened to mainline Protestant Denominations before them -- e.g. the current Gene Robinson affair -- do you think this strategy has a chance to succeed in the Islamic world?

I rather doubt it.

But, if Islam owns up to its violent and as yet unfinished past (and associated oppressive behaviours towards dhimmis and kaffirs), including the complicity in slavery; maybe a real reformation can be sparked.

So, the key principle to apply is to hold up a prophetic mirror to the Muslim world, showing the ugly truth in love, and calling for repentance, reconciliation and reformation towards the right, the true and the good.

A slender hope, but a hope.

The Kairos Initiative

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