When Your Mother Reads Your Blog …

She calls you up when you haven’t posted for three days to wonder if you’re out of town. I’ve simply been busy with work and other things, and when on-line I’ve been updating The Oak Tree and my other webpages.

One thing I can say about this week: I gave a talk Sunday at a local masjed (mosque) on Muslim/Christian understanding, using some positive stories from the Middle Ages as examples. It was a 30 minute talk to a class of 70 people, followed by an hour of discussion, then more discussion over lunch and afterwards. I got home at 3. It was a great conversation, and yet another reminder of why I cannot heed the “prophets of gloom” who think every Muslim a possible terrorist.

8 thoughts on “When Your Mother Reads Your Blog …

  1. I’m reminded of the Muslim (Abdul Aziz) who befriended Thomas Merton and carried on a long correspondence on Sufism. Or the Muslims who rescued Louis Massignon and in a roundabout way led him back to Christ.

    Do you have copies of the text of your talk?

  2. Bill, my question regarding Islam concerns Sharia… from what I’ve read, all of the orthodox schools of Islam support the global spread of Sharia, which seems to indicate that being a faithful Muslim necessitates having the hope that Sharia become the rule of law everywhere, including the U.S. Obviously, this differs from Christianity, in that no specific form of governance is mandated by the Christian creed. Did this come up in your conversations?

  3. Nope.

    But how is this different from the teachings expressed by Catholics (until not long before Vatican 2) that Christ must reign as King in the social order?

  4. I think it differs in that the Catholic teaching on Christ as King didn’t carry with it a specific rule of law & form of government, in the way that Islam brings Sharia.

    From a properly political perspective, that — together with the nature of Sharia, if my understanding is accurate — is my primary concern regarding Islam.

  5. Islamic nations have had many forms of government. All laws are subject to interpretation and the subject of debate among scholars; Islamic law is no different.

  6. While all laws are subject to interpretation, not every law is the object of widely varying interpretations; that is, in every culture, there are certain laws for which the standard deviation is relatively small.

    But this is somewhat tangential to my point, which in essence is this: as imperfect as the various forms of Western democracy are, I’d rather see our nation and European nations under their respective forms of government than under Sharia. Speaking (at least) as a Christian. Why? Because of the lack of religious liberty which is (apparently) intrinsic to Sharia, as understood by all of the Islamic schools of law.

    I’d love to be wrong on this, meaning that if there is an orthodox school of Islam in which public & communal forms of worship by non-Muslim believers are allowed, my concern is alleviated. I’d love it if someone can point me to an orthodox school of Islamic thought which sees religious liberty & Sharia as compatible.

  7. I guess it depends upon what you mean by religious liberty. Most Muslim countries say they have it … meaning you can be free to follow your faith and to worship in private, you just can’t convert Muslims.

    And Catholicism did not embrace religious liberty until Vatican 2. And that Council’s teachings on religious liberty are rejected by groups like the SSPX on the grounds that the Council departed from Catholic teaching.

    Christians and Jews worshiped freely in Jerusalem and in Spain under Islam, did they not?

  8. “I guess it depends upon what you mean by religious liberty.”

    True. I’m guessing that you and I are in agreement, though, as to what it is, and that Muslim countries do not have it.

    “And Catholicism did not embrace religious liberty until Vatican 2.”

    Embrace? No. But religious liberty as DH understands it was not seen as *contradictory* to Catholic teaching among all schools of orthodox Catholic thought prior to 1962 as religious liberty seems to be contradictory to orthodox Islam. However…

    “Christians and Jews worshiped freely in Jerusalem and in Spain under Islam, did they not?”

    From what I’ve heard, yes. And hence this might be the key to my concern. The follow-up question I have regards whether this permission was seen as faithful to Muslim teaching. This is important to me because if religious liberty *is* incompatible with orthodox Islam, I’d think it would be strange (to say the least) for us to ask Muslim Americans to violate the tenets of their faith if they are going to be good U.S. citizens. OTOH, if religious liberty in fact is *compatible* with orthodox Islam, we wouldn’t be put in that situation.

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