Monday, June 09, 2008

Internal Discussion in Islam

Christianity is not the only world-faith that continually examines its theology and the impact of that theology on the contemporary world. Increasingly, in the post-9/11 world, Islam is going through its own internal discussions on its intent and its future. Many Americans were shocked after 9/11 in that we were reminded that what we believe really does matter. And while most Americans are very pluralistic in our religious practice and apathetic in our attitude toward religion, we are in the minority. We do ourselves a disservice when we don't spend serious time examining our own religious convictions and when we don't seriously study the religious views of others. Of course, one of my passions is to help people examine their beliefs in a safe environment. But, even beyond my passion for each person to grow in their understanding of faith, I believe that it is impossible to understand our world today (and the conflicts within it) without a serious examination of religion.

Lawrence Wright is a writer who lives here in Austin and has written extensively about modern development in Islam. He is a regular writer for New Yorker magazine, and he won a Pulitzer Prize for his book about the run-up to 9/11 called The Looming Towers. I am working my way through his book right now to gain perspective on the development of the militant wing of Islam. It is a fascinating read. Recently, however, Wright has written a new piece for the New Yorker about internal conflict even inside the extreme elements of Islam. I encourage to read this article to help you understand what is going on in our world, especially in the area of religion.

1 comment:

GLMeece said...

I wonder what you might think about the recent brouhaha about A Common Word, and some of those signing it. Granted, a number of the signatories of far-left and would probably sign anything. OTOH, many of those signing are well respected in the field of Muslim outreach.

Case in point, a former friend of ours - Rick Love. Kathryn & I sat on the missions committee of the sending church for Rick & his family. When they were in Indonesia, real impact for the kingdom was happening. We were thrilled when Rick took over the reigns at Frontiers. His desire to reach Muslims for Christ is obvious to anyone who has ever known them.

OTOH, I am forced to agree with Piper's response (the two have had back-and-forths over the course of several months). If you look on the page of Christian Responses, check out the ones by the Maranatha Community and GodVoter.org. Instead of just blindly signing the statement (including the egregious "we worship the same god"), these groups actually articulated why they believe differently in theological terms.

It seems that we can sit down with Muslims. However, we needn't compromise our core theology to do so.