Robert Wright on a recent New York Times Story on Christianity and Islam

I’m not saying Christians are more to blame than Muslims for the world’s diverse Christian-Muslim tensions. In Nigeria, for example, the intensity of Christian proselytizing comes partly from past persecution by a Muslim majority; the Christians seek safety in numbers, so the bigger their numbers, the better. (Griswold explained this to me, and confirmed that, yes, assertive Christian proselytizing exacerbates tensions in Nigeria.)

Still, even if proselytizing isn’t the prime mover, my guess is that it pretty consistently falls in the “not helpful” category from the point of view of world peace and, ultimately, American security. And some of it ”” e.g., the “Camel Method” ”” is particularly antagonistic. Which explains why I’m not a big fan of that first headline, “A Christian Overture to Muslims Has Its Critics.” Overtures, when effective, don’t heighten tensions.

I’d like to be able to report that the “critics” in this headline are Christians who worry about heightening tensions and so refrain from offensive proselytizing. Alas, they’re Christians who favor assertive proselytizing but are offended by any suggestion that Muslims and Christians might worship the same god. One of them, Ergun Caner, president of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, in Lynchburg, Va., said in a recent podcast, “There’s nothing that the two gods ”” the god of the Koran and the god of scripture ”” have in common. Nothing.”

Well, to look at the bright side: Maybe that’s a basis for interfaith rapport; Caner can sit around with Malaysian Muslims and agree that they worship different gods.

Read it all.


Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Asia, Evangelism and Church Growth, Islam, Malaysia, Muslim-Christian relations, Nigeria, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology

4 comments on “Robert Wright on a recent New York Times Story on Christianity and Islam

  1. driver8 says:

    1. Allah is God in Arabic. It’s not a technical Koranic term and has been used by Christians in the Middle East as long as they have spoken Arabic (that is for about the last 1000 years).

    2. Religious persuasion has as much place in a just society as any other kind of persuasion. Clearly pretending to be of another faith is profoundly unethical (though I suspect that one needn’t look to, shock horror, meddling American fundamentalists or, raise hands in alarm, crazed Nigerian pentecostals to find such a ruse. There’ve been a couple of stories in the United States about Buddhist and Islamic believers suggesting they are also faithful Christian clergy over the last couple of years that the author might have mentioned). However just as clearly, forbidding religious persuasion is a serious abuse of human rights.

    3. Whilst critiquing fundamental human rights such as religious freedom isn’t the cause of the persecution of religious minorities it is depressingly “unhelpful” and particularly “antagonistic” in a week in which hundreds of Nigerian christians were murdered.

  2. Jill Woodliff says:

    I wonder if Mr. Wright has lived in an Islamic nation. I haven’t. This author has:
    Adapted from Dr. Peter Hammond’s book: Slavery, Terrorism and Islam: The Historical Roots and Contemporary Threat
    Islam has religious, legal, political, economic, social, and military components. The religious component is a beard for all of the other
    Islamization begins when there are sufficient Muslims in a country to agitate for their religious privileges. When politically correct, tolerant, and culturally diverse societies agree to Muslim demands for their religious privileges, other components tend to creep in as well.
    As long as the Muslim population remains around or under 2% in any given country, they will be for the most part be regarded as a peace-loving minority, and not as a threat to other citizens. At 2% to 5%, they begin to proselytize from other ethnic minorities and disaffected groups, often with major recruiting from the jails and among street gangs. From 5% on, they exercise an inordinate influence in proportion to their percentage of the population. For example, they will push for the introduction of halal (clean by Islamic standards) food, thereby securing food preparation jobs for Muslims. They will increase pressure on supermarket chains to feature halal on their shelves — along with threats for failure to comply.
    At this point, they will work to get the ruling government to allow them to rule themselves (within their ghettos) under Sharia, the Islamic Law. The ultimate goal of Islamists is to establish Sharia law over the entire world.
    When Muslims approach 10% of the population, they tend to increase lawlessness as a means of complaint about their conditions. After reaching 20%, nations can expect hair-trigger rioting, jihad militia formations, sporadic killings, and the burnings of Christian churches and Jewish synagogues. At 40%, nations experience widespread massacres, chronic terror attacks, and ongoing militia warfare. From 60%, nations experience unfettered persecution of non-believers of all other religions (including non-conforming Muslims), sporadic ethnic cleansing (genocide), use of Sharia Law as a weapon, and Jizya, the tax placed on infidels. After 80%, expect daily intimidation and violent jihad, some State-run ethnic cleansing, and even some genocide, as these nations drive out the infidels, and move toward 100% Muslim.
    100% will usher in the peace of ‘Dar-es-Salaam’ — the Islamic House of Peace. Here there’s supposed to be peace, because everybody is a Muslim, the Madrasses are the only schools, and the Koran is the only word. Unfortunately, peace is never achieved, as in these 100% states the most radical Muslims intimidate and spew hatred, and satisfy their blood lust by killing less radical Muslims, for a variety of reasons.

  3. StayinAnglican says:

    What upsets me about this article is that is seems to think that the camel method is a Christian invention. Its not. Muslim proselytizers use it all the time, trying to show how the Bible supports Islam and predicts the coming of Mohammed. (Of course all the stuff in the Bible that contradicts Islam is naturally the result of a corruption of the text.)

    Not only do Muslims do it but Bahai’s too. In fact, I would bet that all faiths founded post Christianity do the same in their proselytization in some form or another. The reason being that Christ must be dealt with somehow. He has to be tamed and accounted for. He can’t be left on the field as he is in the Bible. But that is another subject I guess.

    So I don’t see what the big deal is for us to use the same quite successful tactic to win souls to Christ. In order to evangelize isn’t it a fact that some common ground must be established?

  4. driver8 says:

    In other words this article comes unappealingly close to blaming the victims for their persecution. A more fitting argument would begin by acknowledging the right to religious freedom and note the catastrophic infringements of fundamental human rights that the recent religiously motivated communal violence have inflicted upon the innocent.